Desert X

The first time I heard about DesertX I knew it was for me. Large scale art installations set all over the desert!!? Sign me up! The timing of the first DesertX exhibition in 2017 didn’t work out for me. Luckily they extended the Doug Aiken mirage house and I was able to see it. I was hooked. When the 2019 lineup was announced I made prompt plans for a girls weekend to check it out.

There were too many installations to see them all, but we got to see quite a few and below are a few of my favorites. Not surprised my favorite ones turned out to be the most colorful ones 🙂

 

 

SPECTER BY STERLING RUBY

Sterling Ruby’s fluorescent orange monolith, SPECTER, appears as an apparition in the desert. The bright, geometric sculpture creates a jarring optical illusion, resembling a Photoshopped composite or collage, as if something has been removed or erased from the landscape. The block acts as a cipher or stand-in, mimicking the form it could be — a shipping container, a military bunker, an unidentified object, an abandoned home-stead. Fluorescent orange is traditionally used for safety, as a warning. Here that logic is reversed: a ghostly object, set apart from the natural environment, hiding in plain sight.

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LOVERS RAINBOW BY PIA CAMIL

Set in two locations across the U.S.–Mexico border, Lover’s rainbow is conceived as an identical set of rainbows made from painted rebar. Exposed rebar usually signals development, but too often in the Mexican landscape we see those dreams thwarted and abandoned. Historically, rainbows have symbolized rain and fertility. Located in desert territory, the act of bending the rebar into the ground is a way to re-insert hope into the land. The mirror rainbows are also meant to throw light into the current immigration policies, prompting viewers to see things from two perspec-tives. Those who cross the border get the full experience. After all, going in search of the rainbow should highlight its symbolic power to re-establish hope, love, and inclusive-ness when we need it most.

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DIVE-IN BY SUPERFLEX

It was the unexpected discovery of an abundance of fossilized marine life more than 100 miles inland from the Pacific shore that led the early Spanish settlers to name this valley Conchilla, which means “little shell.” Because of a mis-spelling the region became known as the Coachella Valley, thereby stripping it of the reminder that 6 million years ago, what is now desert had been underwater and connected to the so-called Western Interior Seaway. For the Danish collective Superflex, geological history and the not-so-distant future meet in the recognition that with global warming, rising water levels will again submerge the land- scape along with all the structure and infrastructure that made it habitable for humans. Rethinking architecture from the point of view of future submersion, their mission has been to create land-based forms equally attractive to human and marine life. Using the preferred color palettes of Walter and Leonore Annenberg, Palm Springs, and marine corals, Dive-In merges the recognition that global warming will drastically reshape the habitat of our planet with another more recent extinction: the out- door movie theater. Here the interests of desert dwellers and sea life come together in the coral-like walls and weekly screenings of a structure born of a deep past and shallow future.

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JULIAN HOEBER

Going Nowhere Pavilion #01 is a Möbius strip made from concrete breeze blocks in a variety of fleshy pinks and browns. Technically, the Möbius strip is a surface with one continuous side formed by joining the ends of a rectangular strip, but it has a direct relationship to methods of psychology. Famed psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s own attempts to use topology – the study of geometric properties – as a vehicle to describe the human mind is a subject artist Julian Hoeber has explored for years. As with the Möbius strip form, what is inside and outside the self can quickly become indiscernible.

Executed Variant DHS #1 (Q1, CJ, DC), the painting sited in a pool connected to the property, is a loose variant on a series of works Hoeber titled the Execution Changes. It is connected to its neighboring Möbius strip by proximity, but also by color. The painting, like the pavilion, is an image of the mind in its own way: the painting is a study of phenomenological consciousness. Both the sculpture and the painting attempt to parse out how forms can represent the logical, irrational, historical and corporeal experiences of human consciousness.

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Magic Circle

I had heard about this magical sculpture garden called Queen Califia’s Magic Circle in Northern San Diego for a long time. It’s only open for only a few hours a week and I don’t make it to Escondido much so it took me years to make time to get there, but I was finally able to make the trek last week to meet up with photographer friend Nevena. The artist Niki de Saint Phalle is well known in San Diego due to her many mosaic covered public art works installed all over town, but nothing else she has done reaches this remarkable scale. It’s a true dreamscape and I was able to get a sense of the way she merged fantasy and history in her work more than anything else of hers I have previously seen. I tried to embody some of the fantasy while playing with the high contrast color and delicious textures…perhaps a modern day Queen Califia. Nevena’s photos turned out wonderful and I hope you enjoy.

All photos by Nevena Marigold Studio 

Below is the description from the City of Escondido’s webpage about the sculpture garden:

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by Niki de Saint Phalle (born France, 1930-2002). Inspired by California’s mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular “snake wall” and maze entryway, sculpturally integrated bench seating, and native shrubs and trees planted within the interior plaza and along the outer perimeter. The garden bears the brilliant, unique mosaic ornamentation that is an unmistakable part of Saint Phalle’s later work.

The sculpture garden’s key architectural features are an undulating circular wall that surrounds the garden. Monumental playful serpents, decorated in colorfully patterned mosaics, slither along the top of the wall, their curved bodies forming a pattern of solids and voids that allows visitors to see landscape vistas beyond the garden. The “snake wall” opens into a maze whose walls and floors are covered with black, white, and mirrored tiles. Once through the maze, visitors enter into the central courtyard. There are nine freestanding sculptures in the garden. The imposing mosaic sculpture of Queen Califia standing on the back of a five-legged eagle commands the center of the garden. Eight large totemic sculptures surround Queen Califia. They are covered with symbols and forms freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian, and Mexican art as well as the artist’s own fantastic imagery.

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Violet Femme

Most people know I like a dramatic look…especially in my editorial shoots, but something I haven’t talked a lot about is my passion for vintage clothing. Something about the craftsmanship, the detail and the special-ness of clothing from times past is lost in this new world of fast fashion. I have long collected vintage dresses and coats and have recently begun to start to collect a little again. I search all over, and when I saw this amazing bright violet hued vintage designer dress by Victor Costa for Neiman Marcus, my heart stopped. The rich royal color spoke to me and nothing short of an ultra dramatic location would do this piece justice.

Luckily in San Diego we have no shortage of beautiful landscape. I have long wanted to shoot at what is known by locals as the Ho Chi Minh trail in La Jolla. This hike is known for its narrow and slippery pathways filled with otherworldly formations created naturally by wind and water. The dress and location turned out to be a perfect marriage, and with the amazing artistic eye of photographer Nevena of Marigold Studio, these photos are among my favorite ever taken.

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~ SG

Let Them Eat Cake

I suppose most little girls have a princess fantasy…and I was definitely no exception.  As I got older, despite my anti-pink. girl-power fight back attempts against my previous Disney-marketing infused princess obsession, I somehow never truly lost a secret soft spot for all things tulle and sparkle. When I was 16, my parents took us to France and I was able to experience Versailles. I was immediately taken by its grandeur and imagined the princesses and their ladies in waiting that inhabited the gilded palace. It enchanted me and to this day one of my favorite movies of all time is Sofia Coppola’s movie about its most famous inhabitant, Marie Antoinette. On my most recent editorial shoot, I was able to temporarily go back to that first romantic childhood fantasy and attempt to embody a modern version of Ms. Antoinette. The chosen location for this shoot was The Westgate Hotel; a place that been a part of my princess fantasy since I had high tea there as a child, and as close to Versailles as you can get in San Diego. My friend Bronson once again helped me bring this to life with a little extra help from some amazing fashion and a very special cake from my friends at Heirloom Cakes that was fit for a queen.

All photos: Bauman Photographers

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Fashion Standouts:

Dress – Vintage A.J. Bari Sourced on Ebay
Asymmetrical Pink Top – Jatual Paris SS18 Collection
Earrings – Kendra Scott Fabia in Rose Gold Blush Mix and Aria Clip On Silver Statement Earrings In Gray Dichroic Glass

 

 

 

 

Beyond Reason

As a museum that has typically specialized in the dead artist, its always pretty exciting when we feature a living artist’s work. We have done this periodically over the years, but have been doing much more of it recently. This particular exhibition we opened this past week, Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason, has been on our tongues for quite some time. The installations and its subject matter in Tim Shaw’s first museum exhibition is nothing short of spectacular. The six psychologically charged environments included in the show address humanitarian issues designed to unsettle and provoke thought.  Much edgier than most of the work I have ever seen at the museum, nerves and excitement were high at the opening celebration as we awaited reactions from our donors and special guests. Not surprisingly to me, overwhelming praise was received for both the charged topics in the show and the feelings it left them with.

With themes such as abuses of power, the threat of terrorism to the use of money to silence free speech, throwing a themed celebration for this exhibition was no small task. Rather than recreating any of the topics in event form, I instead focused on environmental change so that when you entered your mood was slightly altered before seeing the exhibition works. The amazing art, the dark decor and some pretty delicious and beautiful drinks and bites made for quite the enjoyable evening.

When selection a look for this event, I only knew I wanted something unique made from non traditional materials. I’ve recently become obsessed with a brand I connected with on Instagram called Jatual Paris. Their unique fabric usage really got me hooked and their vinyl capsule collection for Fall/Winter 2018/19 is really special. This is the first of many looks I will be featuring in my shoots by this brand. Below are the highlight shots from a couple my favorite ares of the exhibition  and the event featuring my pretty spectacular purple vinyl dress by Jatual.

All photos by Bronson Pate of Bauman Photographers

 

MIDDLE WORLD, 1989-ONGOING
The Middle World is a large and highly complex sculptural installation created over twenty years. It consists of seventy separate small bronze and terracotta figures, arranged upon a 3m tall vessel that is part altar, part pinball machine. The sculpture is cast in steel reinforced cement.

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MOTHER, THE AIR IS BLUE, THE AIR IS DANGEROUS, 2016
The installation recounts an early life experience of sitting in a restaurant in Belfast when a firebomb explodes on the floor below creating pandemonium. Chairs, tables, old clothes and shoes are scattered across the floor of a fabricated space. Slow moving shadows of people running are cast upon walls, dinner trays revolve through the air filled with haze, and the intense sound of many sirens radiate out from the corners of the room.

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SOUL SNATCHER POSSESSION, 2011-2012
Influenced by a violent disturbance that took place on a street one night, Soul Snatcher Possession sets the scene of a ritual gangland killing or punishment beating. No weapon is visible, the perpetrators smile and gestures betray the moment just before some dreadful act is committed where fear fills the imagination. The installation is a metaphor for the violent extraction of soul, the manipulation of mind and the taking of life by the powerful, in order to perpetuate the myth that those with the power want to portray. It relates to the street, the corridors of governance and commerce.

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THE PARTY

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Picture1assTHE DRESS

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Neon Dream

I have always loved fall fashion and this year there are some particularly fun trends I’m just wild about. My favorite trend du jour has to be neon. Touches of neon were on the runways for some of the biggest brands, but in my opinion, now one is doing it better than Prada right now. When I saw their Fall ’18 Neon Dream campaign, my mind was blown. Immediately I knew I wanted to do a shoot  inspired by this. pradfsw

When thinking about a place that would reference the neon drama of Prada’s masterpiece, Belmont Park and its Lazerblast arcade immediately came to mind. For my two looks, I did a shop the closet session to pull a couple key pieces sourced on eBay that fit the bill and added a few new pops of neon in-stores now that brought the look together; the crown jewel being the most amazing boots I have ever worn. I hope you enjoy the results. I had a lazer-blast pulling this together.

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All photos by Bronson Pate of Bauman Photographers

Featured Fashion:

 

  1. Archive Christopher Kane Bandage Dress sourced on eBay
  2. Archive Alexander Wang technical mesh pencil skirt sourced on eBay
  3. GMJ for Volcom T-Shirt
  4. Quay Australia Hindsight Sunglasses in Violet (color is sold out but there are other colors online)
  5. Prada Laced Leather Booties in Orange and Black
  6. Melody Ehsani Shooting Star Earrings
  7. Ink + Alloy Red Lucite Square Hoop Earrings

 

Silver Lining

I have always been really inspired by editorial fashion content. Since starting my blog, I have especially yearned to create this location-based fashion rich content from my own point of view, but until recently I had always felt I had to be a real “model” with a certain body type or specific look to do this. But I have been thinking a lot about the fact that fashion at the end of the day is made for real people with a variety of body types and points of view to live their lives in and express themselves with. I don’t have to be a model to create imagery that is fashion based and that can inspire others. I have always dabbled in this a but with my work events at the museum, but I have set out on this new focus slowly; starting with my last blog post where my friend Bronson and I created some amazing work at the Salk Institute. Last week I tried my second shoot with a new photographer friend JP Casiano at an East Village park that I have always found interesting.

Fault Line Park is names as such as it is built on a shallow fault line and the space is designed specifically to echo this fact. A sidewalk that cuts diagonally through it traces the line of the earthquake fault zone running below. There’s an interactive public art installation on either side of the sidewalk that monitors the earth’s movement below and emanates a singing sound from their connection to the earth’s vibrations. I have always loved when science meets art and this pair of silver orbs is both gorgeous and interesting. I chose an all-silver look to complement the art and kick-off my coat obsession for the upcoming fall season. I hope you enjoy!

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All photos by JP Casiano

Trench Coat: Gryphon New York

Earrings: Mother of Pearl Diane by Kendra Scott