In theory

Sci-Fi Millinery

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Japanese milliner Maiko Takeda creates beautifully futuristic, sci-fi headware, taking the artform to a new exploration of 3 dimensional space. Her latest collection, “Atmospheric Re-entry,” consists of headpieces with multiple quills in shades of peacocks, all expertly hand-created in clear film, perspex, and silver. Her designs are simultaneously otherworldly and clearly inspired by nature, with their grand forms and animalistic textures. A recent grad of the RCA’s millinery MFA program, having worked with Issey Miyake, Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy and Erickson Beamon, Takeda’s work will be interesting to follow in the couture world.

Emoji Architecture

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In June, Artist Jennifer Wen Ma and lighting designer Zheng Jianwei used clever data mining technology to transform Beijing’s former Olympic swimming venue, the Water Cube, into a lovely responsive installation. “Nature and Man in Rhapsody of Light at the Water Cube” was rigged to display the I Ching and mood of the city each day, displaying as the artist said, “how we are all cells in this society, but we are interconnected.” Each day was first assigned an element by an I Ching master (heaven, water, earth, fire, etc), with a corresponding color and pattern. Then, emoji was collected from what was posted to a Chinese microblogging site, which shifted and altered the patterns and intensity of color on the building based on what emotions were trending, showing a beautiful representation of resident’s moods.

Seeking Hugs

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Sometimes all we seek is that simple, comforting moment of human contact – a hug. Artist Keetra Dean Dixon recognized this, and as part of her ongoing series of projects, “Methods & Apparati for Social Facilitation and Mood Elevation,” she created an anonymous hug wall. A giant pink wall of fabric provides a backdrop and barrier, with two arm-length gloves centered in the middle. Passers-by who need a quick squeeze, handshake, or high-five walk away with a better day.

Zaha’s Endeavors

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Never one to shy away from new endeavors, architect Zaha Hadid recently created a very architectural shoe for United Nude, housing the foot in a vertical building of sorts with shifting planes. The shoes are made of metallic chromed vinyl rubber, with a fiberglass platform and nappa leather lining. Hadid also just opened a gallery in London, displaying her furniture, jewelry, lighting, and paintings. Architectural models are on view on the second floor of the space, by appointment only.

Exploration of Time

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An exhibition of Norwegian designers explores the concept of Time, and how it relates to Space and Place. “On Time,” showing at DogA in Oslo from June 20th to August 25th, presents the work of 17 designers, addressing interpretations of specific moments in time. All are beautifully minimal, like Marianne Andersen’s lamp duo “Just Sleep on It,” and Kristine Bjaadal’s wood “Siska Coffee Grinder.” The exhibition will also be shown for Paris Design Week, in “Now! Le Off” September 9th to 15th.

Food, Halved

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Food stylist Charlotte Omnès’ and photographer Beth Galton’s series “Cut Food” simultaneously makes us hungry and intrigued. The pair took several contrast-heavy foods, and played up their graphic shapes, colors and forms by cutting each in half, then photographing them on a stark black background. All are immediately recognizable, like deviled eggs, cans of soup and corn dogs, but the styling and compositions show the ordinary foods in a whole new light.

Going Deeper with Turrell

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Light artist James Turrell has three major exhibitions opening this summer – at LACMA, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and in New York he takes over the Guggenheim. As Turrell’s work is entirely experiential, the Guggenheim recently released a handy app to accompany its incredible installation. Via a biography, essays, and videos, the application allows users to delve deeper into understanding Turrell’s worlds, their conception and the  process involved in achieving their apparent simplicity. It includes interviews with the artist, the show’s curators, and the show’s installation team as well, revealing how Turrell transformed the museum’s rotunda into “an enormous volume of shifting artificial and natural light.”

Art of Golf

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In a great celebration of summer and the 25th anniversary of their sculpture garden, the Walker Art Center enlisted teams of artists, architects, designers and engineers to create two 8-hole mini golf courses on the grounds. Fifteen teams were chosen from sixty proposals, many of the resulting holes art-related or specifically referencing works in the garden. “Be a Sculpture,” allows other players to block the ball by standing in designated footprints, while “Holey Lighted” (shown) is a sculpture in itself, with a giant steel geodesic canopy with round cut-outs arc-ing over the hole. The games will go on through September 8.

With a Match

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The delicate nature of butterflies, dragonflies, and beetles is captured eloquently with Kyle Bean’s matchstick sculptures of the insects. Bean’s intricate replicas of the creatures show off his precise hand, as they sit suspended, constructed entirely of tiny matchstick pieces glued together. Bean is a master of building incredible likenesses from a series of small, unexpected parts – like his chicken made from broken egg shells, and amazing portraits from pencil shavings.

Height of Hong Kong

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French photographer and graphic artist Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze looks up, a lot. His subject matter are the many buildings of Hong Kong, climbing to the sky from the viewpoint of the street. His work, recently collected in the book Vertical Horizon, is a stunning glimpse into the built environment of a city that seems to never cease its growth upwards. Some are vertigo-inducing views, of the courtyards, ongoing balconies, and steel, stone and glass structures that dominate Hong Kong, all with small glimpses of the sky above.

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