Category: Installation

Last days of La Luz.


On the last evening, the bottles were illuminated and given away. By 9pm, they were all gone. (Photos by C-M.)

In what has to be one of the intense-surreal art experiences I’ve ever had, Celso wrapped up the La Luz installations at Qorikancha in Cuzco this past Wednesday by giving away all of the soda to the public. It started slowly. A couple of folks took bottles. Others approached tentatively. Within half an hour, word had spread on the street that soda was being given away Qorikancha. Police, old ladies, young boys — all showed up and took home a piece of La Luz. Some told us they’d serve the soda at a celebration for Santa Rosa de Lima, a Peruvian saint whose saint day was the next day. It’s almost as if people felt compelled to give us an explanation for why they were taking a bottle. In less than an hour, every last bit of the installation was gone.

Find pix of the last three days of installations below. And thanks again to curator Vera Tyuleneva, the awesome Willy and everyone at Qorikancha for such an unforgettable experience. I’ll be mulling this over for years.

Continue reading

La Luz update.


Bottles of soda touch on the base of a Spanish arch, on Day 7 of the La Luz install. (Photos by C-M.)

This week, Celso will be wrapping up the La Luz installations at the Qorikancha Museum in Cuzco, Peru. This has been an absolutely incredible project to work on: spending our days studying every corner of this remarkable building, which is a layer cake of both Inca and Spanish history.

This Wednesday, August 29th, represents the last day of installations. At 7pm, every last piece of La Luz will be given away to the public. If you are in the area, please come by and take a piece of La Luz home with you. The event is free and open to the public.

In the meantime, you can gander the last few days worth of installations below. For previous installations — e información en español — click here. Also, see Celso’s blog for additional coverage.

Continue reading

La Luz, at Qorikancha — in Cusco, Peru.


Old and new: the Inca walls that surround Qorikancha were once edged in gold. Here they are topped with golden soda. Seen here: La Luz 08.19, by Celso. (Photos by C-M.)

For the last four days, Celso has been building a series of architectural interventions around the Museo Qorikancha y Convento de Santo Domingo in Cusco, Peru. The museum houses two important structures: the remains of one of the most important temples in the entire Inca empire and a working Dominican monastery that dates back to the 16th century – and which was built on top of and around the original pre-Columbian structure. In honor of the gold that once covered the interior walls of this important Inca shrine, Celso has been creating a series of installations out of golden Peruvian soda titled La Luz. These installations will move around various locations in the museum until the end of the month.

On August 29th, at 7pm, the museum will host a free event in which the public will be invited to take a piece of La Luz home with them. If you are in Cusco, please consider yourself invited!

In the meantime, check out our photo diary of the work-in-progress below. Find more on Celso’s blog.

***

And a little Spanish borrowed from the museum’s publicity materials:

La Luz es una instalación artística hecha por el artista mexicano-norteamericano Celso, con la curaduría de Vera Tyuleneva. Está compuesta de una serie de estructuras de pequeña escala, diseñadas específicamente para este contexto arquitectónico, elaboradas de botellas de gaseosas peruana. Empleando la luz y el color dorado de esa bebida, el artista rinde homenaje a la luz resplandeciente que emanaba antaño de los legendarios adornos de oro en el temple del Qorikancha. La instalación será movida entre diferentes ubicaciones dentro del museo del 16 al 29 de Agosto.

A las 7pm el 29 de Agosto 2012 – el ultimo día de la muestra – los elementos primarios de la instalación (botellas selladas de gaseosa de 2 litros) serán repartidas gratuitamente al public. Todos están invitados. Entrada libre.

En el intertanto, podrán ver en las siguentes fotos como las primeras instalaciones se han llevado a cabo. La obra no hace uso de materias de construcción y no altera ni daña de modo alguno el patrimonio arquitectónico y arqueológico.

Continue reading

Calendar. 06.06.12.


Fallen Star, by Do Ho Suh, at the Stuart Collection at UC San Diego. Opens Thursday, in La Jolla. (Image courtesy of the artist and UCSD.)

Cuba Diary: San Suzie visits the 2012 Havana Biennial.


A 2012 sculpture by Alexandre Arrechea sits in the art deco lobby of the former headquarters of Bacardí Rum, built in the 1930s by architects Castells, Fernandez, and Menendez. (All photos by San Suzie.)

As just about anybody with a Gucci-clad toe in the art industry knows by now, the 11th Havana Biennial opened earlier this month to great fanfare and much speculation about what the month-long exhibit and its accompanying onslaught of American visitors means for the future of cultural relations between Cuba and the United States. Titled Artistic Practices and Social Imaginaries, the biennial is an ambitious citywide project that has attracted a host of likely and unlikely collaborators to produce Cuba’s most important collective exhibit in a decade.

As can be expected of anything artsy held in sunny, big-c Communist climes, the week of the opening was lively and crowded. The international jetset-ati parachuted into one of the oldest ports in the Americas to enjoy installations, performances, rum-fueled parties, dalliances with local working girls and a froufrou culinary-art collaboration that would cost the average Cuban a year’s salary for dishes like yuzu sailfish and guava maki. There was also so much frenzied art buying that the city seemed more like Miami Beach during art fair season than a biennial “born in the heat of a strong and vigorous national art movement.” (Or so says the breathy official website.)

A view of Havana from the main biennial venue.

In countless ways, the Havana Biennial is like most others — a bunch of art stuff thrown together in one place — and therefore held few aesthetic surprises. But it rises above the rest for the way in which the organizers have used the city’s sublime historic buildings and urban spaces. Havana was once the most important mercantile port to Spain and later the closest trading partner to the United States. Because of this, and also because the revolution halted the sort of late 20th century glass-tower development that has decimated historic neighborhoods around the world, the city retains a significant number of extraordinary buildings. Ranging in style from Spanish baroque to Art Nouveau, Neoclassical, Art Deco, and Modern, these buildings make Havana something of a living architectural museum of the Western Hemisphere.

The biennial highlights these locales and makes it possible to visit some that are usually closed to the public. There is the 18th century Spanish fortress that serves as the biennial’s main venue, as well as a crumbling Modernist ballet school and the decayed early 20th century neighborhoods used as backdrop by urban muralists. The art is nice. Some of it is thought-provoking — even enthralling. But it’s Havana’s five centuries of historic architecture that is definitely the star of this show.

The Havana Biennial is on through June 11, 2012. Plenty of pix after the jump.

Continue reading

Photo Diary: Rammellzee at Suzanne Geiss Company, in SoHo.

Am late on sooooo many things right now — this is one of them. I managed to catch the exhibit of Rammellzee’s so-called ‘Letter Racers’ at Suzanne Geiss before it closed late last month. And all I gotta say is: daaaaaaaaang. The man knew his way around his materials. Those high-tech looking toys you see flying in formation are actually beautifully assembled bits of junk: umbrella handles, cheap plastic watch bands, broken milk crates, Bic pens and bottle caps. (And lots of dust.)

For a good backgrounder on where these pieces emerged from, check out this NYT piece. And if you get a chance to see his work in person (no matter how small the show), do not miss it.

Continue reading

Peru or Bust: Please help fund our Kickstarter!


Schematic for La Luz, to be installed by Celso at the old Inca sun temple in Cusco, Peru.

Yes, I’m asking for money.

This summer, I’m going to be working as studio assistant/translator/chasqui for my partner-in-crime Celso on a series of installations that will go up at the Qorikancha  the old Inca sun temple in Cusco, Peru. For the project — which is titled La Luz — he’ll be building a series of architectural installations around the ruins grounds (and the attached Dominican monastery) using several hundred bottles of Inca Kola, the nuclear yellow Peruvian soda (see images above and below). It will be a pop paean to the gold that once covered the site. The piece will be pulled apart and re-installed in a new location every three days. At the end of each installation, the public will be allowed to take the Inca Kola home.

The museum that manages the site, the Museo Qorikancha y Convento de Santo Domingo, has commissioned the piece. But as with most arts institutions in Peru, the budgets are tiny. Which is why we’re asking for your help. This is going to be a beautiful project — unlike anything the museum has ever done. So pleasepleaseplease help us get to Peru! Any donation, no matter how small, makes a difference.

Please click through to Celso’s Kickstarter to send us your pennies. We have all kinds of goodies for rewards. And we promise that your donations will be wisely and prudently spent (on lots of Inca Kola). If you’re a regular reader, please think of this as a way to help me keep doing what I love to do — namely, writing about great-weird art I find wherever I happen to be.

Thanks so much! And thanks for reading C-Mon!!!

xox,
C.