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Chinese families and their stuff

This is good. Huang Qingjun photographs Chinese families and their stuff. Showing at 798. Imagine if someone shot photographs of Americans and their stuff.

Lauren Greenfield: The End of the Dubai Orgy

It’s not so strange for Lauren Greenfield to be focusing on Dubai now. She has long been interested in excess, as in her film Kids and Money. She has now turned her sharp photographic eye on Dubai and its current state after the economic downturn. Read more at this New York Times article: Dubai’s Improbable Tale.

You Are Beautiful

This was big when I was living in Florida. Someone did a “You Are Beautiful” in plastic cups in a fence, Southern-style, in, I think, Niceville (AGHHHH!), of all places. And Panama City. Reports of this have been floating around Honolulu…the phrase found in public toilets and such. Apparently the people who started this, I have heard, want you to feel free to do your own “You Are Beautiful” thang in any way you like. Please do. Read more at the You Are Beautiful website.

The Artist as a Full-on Bird

We love artists who write, and we love artists who use text in their work. Frances Stark is an artist, writer and poet. She occasionally uses test in her work, as in the mixed media work below on the left, “There will also be things that I don’t like,” from 2007. But sometimes her work is straightforward, and the title alone makes it whimsical, as on the work on the right below, entitled “Portrait of the Artist as a Full-on Bird,” 2004 (collage on casein on canvas board). Who can resist? Read more: Art in America feature See more: Frances Stark

Ornamental ball point pen drawings

The curiously named Butt Johnson creates flower drawings with ball point pen that reference an engraved line. See his work at and read about him in Art in America.

Modernist Dollhouses

Annina Günther, who lives in Brighton, England, makes well designed Modernist dollhouses.

Yan Yan Candy Design

I don’t know what I like best about these odd “dipping cookies” from Singapore. The fact that inside this cup are a few long, flat, tasteless cookies, each with the name of an animal and a fortune, or simply a comment? The fact that they are served with a totally artificial looking & tasting “strawberry” “cream”? The Hello Kitty strawberry drawings on the packaging? Hard to say.

The Sweet, Green Little Digger

I don’t usually covet construction equipment, but a Komatsu Excavator is parked two doors down from us on a building site and I can’t keep my eyes off of it. It is such a sweet piece of design: proportional, compact, small, and just generally cute. What’s more, the Komatsu Corporation has been recognized by the City of Los Angeles this year for its commitment to green technology. Now that’s what I call good design.

Reiner Riedler’s Authentic Fakes

Reiner, Riedler, Tree #01, Ski Dubai, 2006

Reiner Riedler is an Austrian artist who originally wanted to study ethnology. It is clear he is interested in ideas of technology, the authentic experience, globalism, simulacrum, and leisure. His series entitled Fake Holidays explores the physical manifestations of manufactured demand, constructed satiation, privileged entitlement, and the tension between excessive wants and basic human needs. His landscapes seem somehow satisfying yet, at the same time edge into the realm of post-apocalypse. He shows us indoor ski slopes in Dubai, a moonlight rest in an indoor tropical dome in Germany, and lunch on the “Star Trek Experience” in Las Vegas.

Riedler’s Fake Holidays series brings to mind a quote from the now famous book Air Guitar by the critic and cultural theorist Dave Hickey on the issue of authenticity, wherein, he proclaims the giant rhinestone as his favorite object in the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada.

-Dave Hickey writes:

“One either prefers the honest fakery of the neon or the fake honesty of the sunset – the undisguised artifice of culture or the cultural construction of ‘authentic’ nature – the genuine rhinestone, finally, or the imitation pearl.”

The distinction that Hickey is making here is that honest fakery allows an appreciation of a scene or object for what it is without deferring to culturally-imposed ideas of beauty considered to be “authentic.” Essentially, Riedler has traveled the world seeking the authentic fake and in this series he gets us one step closer to seeing through the lies and empty promises of advertising and consumerism. These are the images that can only signal the end of the oil age and they stand as cultural relics of a time that has indeed come and will be very soon gone.

Also see his review at Flavorwire and his recent exhibition at Momentum Galerie, Vienna.

Animal Revenge: Marcus Butt’s collage

Marcus Butt of Bristol, UK, was recently featured in Wallpaper* magazine, and I was thrilled by his working process and the end result. So much Photoshop work looks so computer-generated, and this method yields a beautiful hand-made look. His process starts with a hand-drawn sketch, which he then scans into Photoshop. Then he “colors” the scans of various textures, paint samples, textiles, and other materials. “The idea is a kind of digital collage” he says in Wallpaper. “I am always looking for non-computer-generated colours, just to give the final finish a less computer-ish feeling.” And of course I love the content of the work: he creates a fluffy, beautiful world of mild-mannered animals holding shotguns. See more work at the artist’s blog.