Articles by Juan Cornejo

Architecture

Massive Lego House set to open in popular brick toy’s hometown

Close to 60 years since the Lego brick was first designed and developed, the Lego company is still building up on its massive cross-generational popularity as it prepares to open a giant brick playhouse, called Lego House. And what better place to put up the structure, a 12,000-square-meter building, than the beloved toy's hometown of Billund in Denmark? A handiwork of architect Bjarke Ingels and opening in September, the building is designed to pay homage to the enduring popularity of the product. "Lego House will be the only one of its kind in the world and it will remain so, because Billund is the home of Lego and this is where we will always be," general manager Jesper Vilstrup told Reuters. Lego House will have a Lego store, four playgrounds, three restaurants, and a gallery that will exhibit Lego's history as well as fan-made Lego figures. Lego House will "display everything the Lego brick can do," Vilstrup said. ...
Art

The ancient Chinese art of carved lacquer bares its intricacy in an ongoing exhibition

Carved lacquer, an important traditional Chinese art form, is the subject of "Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer," an ongoing exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On view through Oct. 9 are 45 examples of the artistic tradition which showcase its development from the 14th century through the 19th century. Chinese carved lacquer enjoyed its glory for hundreds of years, from the 10th century until the 19th century, although evidence points to its origins in the Tang Dynasty (618-906).  A type of lacquerware made by carving intricate patterns, characters and figures into thick coats of lacquer, carved lacquer took very long periods of time to create and, as such, was considered luxurious. To vary the color of lacquer, which formed from the resin of a tree family in China, minerals were added to it. Cinnabar was used to give it a red appearance, while carbon made it turn black. Some of the Chinese carved lacquer items on display at the Met were given as gifts...
Art

William P. Chappel’s paintings offer glimpse of life in early 19th-century New York City

If for any reason you've wondered what New York City was like in the 19th century, you might want to look to William P. Chappel's (1801–1878) paintings to get both broad and specific ideas. Chappel, who was a tinsmith by profession but was also an amateur -- and accomplished -- painter, depicted life and happenings in New York, which, if the artist's works are any indication, seems to have always been lively and animated. Twenty-four of his works whose subject is the city are currently on view at the the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in an exhibit that will run until May 14. The paintings show the many facets of life in New York City, including how the dwellers plied their trade, what they did for pastimes, what technologies were present at the time, what the traditions were like, and what happened at night, among other subjects. The 24 paintings by Chappel that are on display at the Met may be viewed here. ...
Architecture

Marcel Breuer’s legacy in architecture and design is remembered in photos at the Met Breuer

The Met Breuer, the iconic museum in Manhattan, New York, formerly known as the Whitney Museum of American Art, has commissioned photographers Luisa Lambri and Bas Princen to take photos of some of the renowned works of the museum's namesake and architect, Marcel Breuer (1902-1981). Now exhibited at "Breuer Revisited: New Photographs," the museum's first architecture exhibition under its new name, Lambri and Princen's works capture the modernist spirit of Breuer's approach to architecture and as well as pay tribute  to the visionary quality of his oeuvre. Lambri and Princen took compelling snapshots of four of Breuer's landmark buildings, namely the Saint John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville, Minnesota, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the IBM Research center in La Gaude, France, and, fittingly, the Met Breuer, which is renowned particularly for its form as an inverted ziggurat. The photos are characterized by their masterful employment of chiaroscuro,...
Art

Artist breathes new life into found objects by placing them in unrelated drawings

Have you ever found yourself seeing or regarding something as an entirely different, and much bigger, thing? Neuroscience PhD student and artist Desirée De León most certainly has, and her online project "100 Days of Tiny Things" sprang right out of an instance in which she gave life to a found object by treating it in a way that only someone with artistic inclinations would. “I remember noticing the disembodied head on the coins,” she says, “and I impulsively drew a speech bubble coming out of the coin’s mouth.” De León's series is a collection of minuscule objects that she has put a spin on and, thus, given a new existence to by situating them in drawings that point to an entirely different context. One work features a real orange segment that took on the image of the sun after De León drew a tree and giraffes beside it. Another work shows a dried flower heading in the direction of a drawing of dinosaurs, suggesting that it was the asteroid that killed the creatures....
Art

Tray tables of Delta Airlines aircraft come alive with colorful drawings of vibrant cities

Passengers of one of Delta Airlines' Boeing 767 planes will be in for a treat when they assume their places on the aircraft. Right on the tray tables in front of the, they will see vibrant drawings by a number of artists commissioned by the airline as part of an initiative to celebrate the liveliness and culture of several cities around the world. The artworks in the project, which was mounted in cooperation with Coca-Cola, feature the artists' interpretation of life in London, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Paris, Mexico City, and Seoul, among others. Some of the artists who took part in the campaign are Stevie Gee, who depicted Los Angeles; Alex Yanes, who drew Sao Paulo; Ping Zhu, who tackled Shanghai; Pedro Campiche, who made an artistic representation of New York City; Sac Magique, who submitted a collage-like drawing of Amsterdam; and Yulia Brodskaya, who took on Seoul. Their drawings appear below in the order that they were mentioned. The original trays are...
Architecture

Illustrations pay homage to the rough beauty of Brutalist architecture

Eschewing refinement, Brutalist architecture was both a reaction to the style that came before it and a necessity of the times. The movement, characterized by ruggedness and bulk and which saw its glory from the 1950s through the 1970s, rejected the flair and finesse of 1930s and 1940s architecture and, at the same time, answered the need for inexpensive structures which resulted from the economic depression that followed the Second World War. Because of its disregard for comfort, at least in a visual sense, Brutalism -- whose name is derived from the French word "brut," which means raw -- has often been overlooked, notwithstanding the appreciation it got for its straightforwardness and utilitarian quality. In recent years, however, Brutalism has experienced a resurgence in popularity. The Brutalist idiom is once again being showcased, discussed and analyzed, on the Internet, in books, and even in film, such as the 2015 dystopian feature "High Rise." Brutalism...
Architecture

Critiquing ideas of national identity and globalization using caged taxidermied birds and an upside-down tree

"Question the Wall Itself," a new exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, is all about the capacity to interrogate symbols and their (varied) meanings. As its title might suggest, the show features installations that poses, and arouses, questions on customary notions of space, both within and beyond a structure -- not only in a physical sense but, more importantly, in a psychological and political one. In the interactions between the works and the viewers, these notions are expected to be challenged or even reconstructed, making beholders reflect on, or perhaps cast a doubtful look at,  their own perceptions of belonging and identity. What belongs to whom? Does anything really rightfully constitute exclusivity of ownership? One of the works exhibited is Rosemarie Trockel’s "As far as possible." The work is composed of taxidermied birds in a cage and a palm tree hanging from the ceiling, along with other exoticized objects. Fionn Meade, artistic...
Art

HoloLens will bring together artworks and buyers in mixed reality at The Armory Show 2017

Do you want to know how a painting looks on your wall before you even bring it home? Do you wish to pore over different artworks in a gallery without actually being there? The Armory Show can make that possible. Online art resource Artsy is teaming up with Microsoft this year to mount the fifth iteration of the annual art fair in order to bring a mixed-reality experience to art lovers and collectors. Happening at Piers 92/94 in New York from March 2 to 5, The Armory Show will bring works by different artists to buyers with the help of technological innovations, particularly Microsoft's HoloLens, touted to be world's first self-contained holographic computer. "By bringing art online and experimenting with the latest technology, including VR/AR, Artsy connects a global network of collectors and art enthusiasts to art from thousands of galleries, museums, auction houses and art fairs located around the world," said Elena Soboleva, Artsy's curator of special projects. ...
Architecture

SXSW 2017 to showcase enthralling installations under new art program

South by Southwest has indeed grown so much from its beginnings in 1987. Evidence of that is its upcoming exhibition of five art installations under the new SXSW Art Program, which launches in March, during the conglomerate's music and film festivals and conferences for this year. Both budding and known artists will take part in the program. Among them is Los Angeles-based artist Refik Anadol, whose work titled "Infinity Room" will be showcased. The work is made up of a space that transforms a beholder's view of reality into a "three-dimensional space of visualization." Speaking of the new program, SXSW chief programming officer Hugh Forrest said, "Art and Design [have] always been central to the SXSW ethos, and we have quickly become a recognized platform for visual artists to showcase art installations and connect with filmmakers, musicians, and technologists. The Art Program is the first time we have formalized the program and sought leading artists to design...
Art

The macabre allure of Enrique Metinides’s crime scene photos is enduring

It goes without saying that to excel as a crime scene photographer, one has to have the guts to shoot macabre circumstances, in addition to the usual photo-taking skills. Celebrated Mexican photographer Enrique Metinides has a surplus of this hardiness, thanks in part to some exposure to bloody situations in his youth. After getting his first camera, he took pictures of crashed cars near his father's restaurant. Metinides, born in 1934, soon found himself tagging along with police officers who frequented his father's restaurant when there a crime scene. Metinides became a published photographer at the young age of 12. At 13, his unmistakable talent earned him a spot at the newspaper La Prensa. From 1948 until his retirement in 1997, Metinides took photos of numerous crime scenes, natural disasters, car crashes and at least one suicide attempt. The gripping narrative contained in his photos, made possible by his masterful composition of them, made him a renowned photographer,...
Art

Ron Mueck’s perturbing hyperrealist sculptures on view at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts

Ron Mueck's works in the last two decades have been relatively few and far between, with only a little more than three dozen completed hyperrealist sculptures making up his oeuvre thus far. This sparseness, however, hasn't kept the Australian artist, who now works in the UK from becoming someone of great renown. That's bound to happen if one has a body of work that's evocative and perturbing as his are. Consisting of tiny and huge sculptures of mostly people (ranging from infants to the elderly ) that warrant a second look for confirmation of their inanimateness, Mueck's works have been in and out of museums around the world. Now, 13 of his sculptures will be on view at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, after having spent time in museums in Paris, Sao Paolo and other cities. The exhibit will open on Feb. 25 and will run until May. You can view some of Mueck's hyperrealist sculptures below. ...
Art

French artist Abraham Poincheval will live inside a boulder for a week to ‘see what is really happening’

French artist Abraham Poincheval has in recent years been known for living inside a bear sculpture for 13 days. In a new performance art, the artist is doing it again, locking himself up in a stone block in which he will stay for a planned seven days. Poincheval entered the stone on Feb. 22 and will come out on March 1. Living inside an object is a way of understanding the nature of that object, the artist told journalists before embarking on his endeavor, taking place at Paris' Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum. For him, it is in fact the superior way of comprehending. "I say to myself, hold on, what is this object really? And you ask yourself the question and say to yourself: 'Well, hold on, instead of distancing yourself and removing oneself from it, let's go inside and see what is really happening,'" Poincheval said. While inside the boulder, whose space within is patterned after the position of a seated person, Poincheval will subsist on stewed fruit, soups and purees....
Art

Jan Cieslikiewicz confronts our discomfort with the random and uncertain with new photo series

"Null Hypothesis," a new series by Polish photographer Jan Cieslikiewicz, bears the trappings of scientific thought. The series takes its title from the name of a hypothesis which posits that the connection between two phenomena is random, unless a scientist proves that it is not at all and is therefore calculable. Considering that Cieslikiewicz went to Harvard to study mathematics and subsequently worked as a Wall Street trader, the theme -- or, more to the point, the thrust --- of "Null Hypothesis" isn't surprising. The photos in the series each show what appear to be unrelated or contradictory components, and it is with this disjunction that Cieslikiewicz seeks to confront viewers regarding their thoughts on and reactions to life's random events and uncertainties. "I don’t think humanity as a whole can accept and genuinely come to terms with fundamental randomness and uncertainty," the photographer says in a statement accompanying the series. "Accepting...
Architecture

Ancient and modern cultural symbols blend in Cairo’s City of the Dead

At the sight of graffiti amid a historic site, the usual, or expected, reaction is one of disdain or anger, right? The huge colorful paintings of cartoon characters on the walls of an ancient necropolis in Cairo's City of the Dead, however, are instead drawing interest from locals and tourists alike because of the creative blending of the ancient and the contemporary. And that's exactly the aim of "Outside In: the Art of Inclusion," a project mounted within the 15th century complex built by Mameluk Sultan al-Ashraf Qaitbey which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . "What we want to do is to bring together the old heritage, the traditions of this particular place, with creative contemporary art and with various cultural events to promote diversity. Old meets new, death and life come together in the city of the dead, where we can exchange ideas and culture between East and West," Agnieszka Dobrowolska, the Polish architect who leads the project, told Reuters....
Art

Photos tackle importance of play to children in hostile environments

Mark Neville's photographs often focus on difficult circumstances, such as hazardous waste dumps and war, as well as the latter's offshoots like post-traumatic stress disorder. In his new exhibition, titled "Child's Play" and which features works collected over a 15-year period, children and the importance of play in their lives stand front and center. The theme may sound like a respite from the unpleasant realities Neville usually tackles with his art, but the catch is many of the children in the photographs are pictured in hardly livable places: a refugee camp in Kenya and a war-torn region in Ukraine, among others. In these dangerous environments, play is a breathing space, according to Neville. Play is "an outlet, a release, a kind of therapy,” the photographer said. "It allows children “to make sense of the horrors going on in the adult world and deal with them." "Child's Play" was launched on Feb. 3 and will run until April 30 at the Foundling Museum in London....
Art

British Antarctic Survey data manager takes majestic photos of Antarctica for 366 days

Many a professional and amateur photographer have challenged themselves to take at least one photo of each day for 365 days, or one year. Michal Krzysztofowicz, from Poland, took it up a notch quite literally and did so for 366 days, and in an out-of-the-ordinary place at that: the frozen Antarctica. Krzysztofowicz's project ran from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 last year, a leap year, which made it possible for the undertaking to cover 366 days. And as if the project isn't interesting enough, Krzysztofowicz took pictures of the seemingly boundless natural landscapes and atmosphere, the breathtaking Aurora Australis and the mighty emperor penguins while working as a data manager for the British Antarctic Survey at the Halley Research Station. "I have been into photography for several years before I came South, with my favorite genres having been landscapes and underwater photography," Krzysztofowicz said. When I came to Halley for my second winter, I decided it would...
Architecture

Frames and mirrors are more than just boring implements for French artist Mathias Kiss — they’re the artworks

Frames are objects of utility, there to fulfill practical functions rather than serve any more noble purpose, such as inspiring one to reflect on a given subject, as art is designed to do. But that's not the case for designer Mathias Kiss. For him, a frame, presented in a certain way, can be more than a material used to define the realm of an artwork; it can also be a thing of artistic value in itself in that he can use it to provoke thought. For the French artist, frames -- as well mirrors, which are equally mundane in their existence as implements --  can be artworks, ones that can decidedly go against classicism, as one might expect. "My inspiration comes from a reaction to my historical past, which I confront with fashion, music and with contemporary culture," he told The Globe and Mail. Kiss, born in Hungary, uses his training in painting and classicism as a counterpoint for what he intends to achieve with his art. "It’s the materials and codes of French classicism that I use...
Art

Painting in an abandoned soap factory, French artist Seth takes on Rome’s urban planning problem

Artworks created in decaying spaces are nothing new. We’ve all seen sprawling graffiti on the walls and floors of abandoned buildings, haven’t we? Untended structures seem to have some sort of an irresistible allure that beckons artists to create something in them. However, French street artist Seth’s (real name: Julien Malland) colorful paintings and installations in Mira Lanza, a long-since-deserted soap factory in Rome, Italy, make use of the space to pose a sobering question: Why do we just leave things to rot? Art organization 999Contemporary mounted the project, which consists mostly of paintings of children, to put Rome’s problem with urban planning in the spotlight, as well as juxtapose innocence (represented by the children in the works) with decomposition (symbolized by Mira Lanza). “This place [built in the 19th century] has been abandoned since the factory closed in 1957. Since I was a little boy there have been plans to turn it into a museum,...
Art

Singaporean artist Chua Chye Teck zeroes in on forests’ lines and forms in first book of photos

Singaporean artist and photographer Chua Chye Teck perhaps got more than he bargained for when he turned to hiking. Initially a way for him to increase physical activity, hiking provided an opportunity to observe and appreciate the composition of a forest -- not the obviously beautiful landscapes, mind you, but the way the trees are connected to form an expansive body. This is all thanks to his training as a sculptor, in which he is most attentive to lines, form, and structure. Enthralled by the splendor, Chua, 43, took photos of trees as he perceived them. The result of the two-year photography sessions in the forested domains is his recently released first book, "Beyond Wilderness." At first glance, many of the black-and-white photos look like ones of freely applied paint rather than trees. Chua is adamant in his belief that the wilderness possesses codes waiting to be deciphered. “There is a visual language to the wilderness that, just like English or Chinese,...
Art

Apple’s new ad showcases the power of the iPhone 7 in low-light photography

A new advertising campaign by Apple shows just how capable the camera of the iPhone 7 is. The campaign, called "One Night," features photos taken by a number of photographers on Nov. 5 last year using the tech giant's latest handset. The iPhone, particularly its more recent iteration, is lauded for its image-capturing ability, but this ad specifically seeks to let everyone know of the iPhone 7's prowess in low-light photography. From dusk till dawn, the photographers took photos of captivating natural landscapes and lively city streets. Reuben Wu, a photographer from Chicago, spent the night capturing lava in  Gunung Karang in Indonesia. Wu fitted the iPhone 7, whose camera boasts an F1.8 aperture, to a drone to capture the majestic view from above. Ruairidh McGlynn, meanwhile, traveled to Iceland and snapped away in the Arctic, with a dog sled for transportation. "I wanted to produce a series of unexpected images that both pushed the boundaries of mobile photography...
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