A Story Showing Why 3-D Printing Matters

MORE THAN A NOVELTY, three-dimensional printing pioneered here in Brooklyn by MakerBot and some other companies around the globe is making its mark on the world. Here’s a seasonally heart-warming tale that tells why.

Open Studio at Maria Castelli: Elegant Bags to Covet

 

Cobalt blue bag is soft and chic.

Cobalt blue bag is soft and chic. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

SORRY, FOLKS, THE DISCOUNT WAS JUST FOR THE DAY, last Saturday, the first Open Studios at Industry City in Sunset Park, and you missed it. But you can feast your eyes anyway, as Brooklyn Artisan did, while talking about the Maria Castelli business that just launched last month.

“We just launched,” daughter Veronica explained, “but we’ve been working on it for about a year and a half.” Though her lovely face was free of bags under her eyes or furrows in her brow, her expressive body language managed to suggest some weeks of round-the-clock effort.

“It’s a lot of work,” she confided, as her mother talked to a handful of serious-looking people on the other side of the room. Retail buyers, we hoped, who’d put dozens of these handsome bags into distribution.

Maria Castelli leather bag in black

As some Belle Dame d’Industry City might say, Chic is the thing with feathers.

The bags are rich looking with thick pebbled leather, yet flexible and almost slouchy in construction so that they’re easy to wear on your shoulder. (Just don’t load up with the Yellow Pages or bags of river rocks and you’ll be fine.) Although some small pouches on another table had the ubiquitous industrial zipper as design statement du jour as well a closure, the handsome shoulder-able bags were clean and as zipperless as Erica Jong’s famous **** (Fear of Flying).

We also liked the alternate bag in black that we spotted on a side shelf. The leather tassel of the blue version was replaced by two bunches of feathers on the black. Irresistably touchy-feely—in fact, we were quite tickled by them.

A co-founder of the erstwhile Getting It Gazette, Anne Mollegen Smith also writes about personal finance for investopedia.com. 

See our other Industry City Open Studio coverage, with more to come later this week.

Moving Parts: Brooklyn Furnishings Design at The Factory Floor

SMALL, MEDIUM, AND LARGE: Otherwise, it’s hard to categorize the ingenious designs of Brooklyn makers at The Factory Floor in Industry City in the recent two-weekend show. But starting small, Brooklyn Artisan will do our best, for the record.

Small batch, small scale, big thinking at bhold design: Product development under the eye of Susan Taing, founder, takes certain characteristics from the MakerBot desktop 3D printer used to produce prototypes in the bhold lab. Double-walled thermal saki cups, for instance, with little fingerholds on one side.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, b-hold can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles.

Using the MakerBot 3D desktop printer, bhold labs can turn around and refine prototypes in a few hours that might take days in traditional development cycles. (Photo: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/dfs)

Or—our favorite, above—colorful little two-tone, two-piece objects that separate: the outer C-shape that hangs on the restaurant table and holds your bag or helmet by its handle or chin strap; and the inner part that emerges to wind and store your earbuds tangle free. You can work with the bhold labs on your own designs; contact susan@bholddesign.com. Or like us, you can just stand at a design show and play with the appealing objects fitting them together and taking them apart over and over again as minutes tick by. 

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don't tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint.

Founder/owner Mark Righter crafted sliding shelves that don’t tip, thanks to the sliding dovetail joint. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Small detail, big advantage: Cambium Studio is a Brooklyn-based woodworking furniture and design company founded by Mark Righter. From its Greenpoint location, Cambium will create custom designs for clients, and on its website offers a portfolio of pieces of its own design.

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio's founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

Talking shop with a potential client, Cambium Studio’s founder Mark Righter, with coffee, is next to his shelves with sliding dovetails. (Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool/ams)

What caught our eye at The Factory Floor was deceptively simple but elegant shelving for display of favorite small objects—a place to put the candles, the Japanese vase, the framed photo—that can be adjusted as the array of objects changes. How?

The framework is hung from a secure cleat on the wall, but individual shelves operate on a sliding dovetail joint. The shelves, using bamboo, are beautiful finished and the sliding function gives you an excellent excuse to pat them and fiddle with them for the pleasure of touch.

Then there’s the MidCentury-looking coffee table with lift up hinged covers on its four storage compartments. Three of the covers are in a 60s’s orange and one is in bamboo strip laminate. Fittingly it is named Mod Quad by Wonk, its maker.

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

David Gotl lifts the four cubby covers of the streamlined coffee table,

Other combinations of finishes to suit individual clients are possible, Wonk’s website says.  In fact, since each piece is custom-made for you, you are confronted with swatches and urged to pick from them. Takeaway notion? Wonk if you love finishes.

The laminate frame holds the cushions in place; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Pratt grad’s design: The laminate frame holds the cushions; upholstery fits cushions closely.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Change the color statement (or hide the pizza drippings) at will.

Along with others, Pratt Institute was a co-sponsor of the design show at The Factory Floor.  At the Pratt Industrial Design booth—Pratt Institute is, by the way, based in Brooklyn—Brooklyn Artisan was engaged by a very clean-lined yet comfortable loveseat. The foam cushions made it quite sittable. And as its Pratt graduate designer demonstrated, the cushions can be flipped to your choice of color contrasts.

More coverage from the recent Brooklyn design show at The Factory Floor in Industry City, Sunset Park, is to come in the next few days. For Brooklyn Artisan’s prior coverage, follow these links:

Overview by Bruce A. Campbell

Alexandra Ferguson: Done is Better

Sleeping on The Factory Floor

The Factory Floor: Meet Makers This Weekend

FURNITURE TAKES THE STAGE at The Factory Floor in Industry City in Sunset Park. The ground-floor venue is a former industrial space newly converted to showcase local design work. Sponsored by Industry City, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, The Pratt Center for Community Development and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Factory Floor is presenting primarily Brooklyn furniture makers, designers and builders. Last weekend’s show coincided with the Sunday opening of the Coming Together: Surviving Sandy art exhibit in the adjacent building. If you are interested in the art and craft of design, this is the weekend to make it out to 241 37th Street, Sunset Park, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Bring the kids, Construction Kids has set aside an area where they can build their own objets d’art.

Here are a few highlights from Brooklyn Artisan’s visit:

Annie Evelyn at New Colony Furniture takes hard materials and makes soft seats. Really.

DSC00376

Diverse objects, from seats and shelves to vases and trivets at Souda’s space.

DSC00368

Funny and quirky pillow commentary from Alexandra Ferguson.

DSC00370

Beautiful maple stools and a passel of refrigerator magnets made from the leftover bits by Bower.

DSC00371

3-D Printer Pioneer MakerBot Acquired for $403 Million

MAKERBOT, DEVELOPER OF A POPULAR 3-D PRINTER, today announced that it is merging with Stratasys in a deal worth $403 million. The Brooklyn-born and -based MakerBot recently moved into a 50,000 square foot space in Sunset Park. Not bad for a four-year-old startup.

Bre Pettis, CEO of Makerbot, at last summer's Maker Faire in Queens.

Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, at last summer’s Maker Faire in Queens.

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the 2nd weekend of February

caption will go here Aric Snee

Under construction: UrbanGlass’s renovation and expansion in the
1918 Strand Theater on Fulton Street is as fascinating as their exhibits.
Above, A Fuller Translation, by Aric Snee, M.F.A., Alfred University, blown glass.

Thursday Feb. 7 Opening reception for UrbanGlass M.F.A. Exhibition Competition, a juried show of recent M.F.A. graduates from glass programs across the country. Four emerging glass artists, Alli Hoag, Benjamin Johnson, Jessi A. Moore and Aric Snee, are showing work at gallery space 111 Front Street in DUMBO. Tonight’s reception is from 6pm-9pm, and the show runs through March 1. At the conclusion of this exhibition, one of the four will be selected for a solo exhibition at the UrbanGlass gallery. Founded in 1977, UrbanGlass is dedicated to aspiring and established artists wishing to create with glass as a creative medium. Their permanent home is undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion as part of a multi-million dollar investment in the 1918-built Strand Theater by the City of New York and the Borough of Brooklyn. The finished building, a LEED Silver facility, will be a cornerstone of the Brooklyn Cultural District. Meanwhile, classes, studio space and other programming is being offered in temporary space in the Gowanus area.

Deadline alerts
Art House co-founders Steven Peterman and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library. (photograph, Blue Window Creative)

Art House co-founders Steven Peterman
and Shane Zucker, at the Brooklyn Art Library.
(photograph, Blue Window Creative)

The Brooklyn Art Library first came on the scene for The Sketchbook Project, a library of over 18,000 artists’ books on display in a storefront exhibition space in Williamsburg. The Sketchbook Project was created by Art House, an independent company that organizes global, collaborative art projects that anyone can participate in. Most projects include a digital component, as Art House strives to combine hands-on art making with new technology. Current project stats indicate that over 52,000 artists from 128 countries have participated in an Art House project; 5,771 sketchbooks are archived in the Digital Library, and 37 worldwide projects have been organized. Several projects are open for participation now: Five Minutes | Buildings, with a sign-up deadline of Thursday, February 7, asks participants to take five minutes to draw the tallest building in your town. Other intriguing projects you can participate in: Memoir Project (500 handwritten books), The Meal 2013 (documenting a global snack on February 22), and The Print Exchange (a print swap), along with the original Sketchbook Project.

hello_etsy_2013

Etsy: “We hope to show
that business does not have
to be brutal to be successful
and fulfilling.”

This event will sell out fast. Hello Etsy at Pratt: Reimagine the Marketplace, March 22-24 at Pratt Brooklyn. This is an annual conference of creativity and ideas as only the entrepreneurs of Etsy can present. The aims of this event are to explore new methods of production, new patterns of consumption, and more lasting and purposeful ways of working. Etsy’s take on building the creative economy of the future as connected, human-scaled and joyful will be discussed. Over 14 high-profile speakers include Chris Anderson, 3DRobotics and WIRED, Rachel Chong, Catchafire, Chad Dickerson, Etsy, along with workshops. Register now.

BOOKMARK THISShout out to redesigned site downtownbrooklyn.comby Smart Ass Design.The events page is a snap tonavigate, colorful, clear.This month, there’s even a drawing to win a ticket to flya friend to Brooklyn.

BOOKMARK THIS:
A shout out to
redesigned site
downtownbrooklyn.com
.
The events page is
a snap to navigate,

colorful and clear.
This month, there’s
even a chance to win
a ticket
to fly a friend
to
Brooklyn.

JumpStart NYC 13.0 is a three-month educational program to help unemployed or underemployed professionals explore opportunities at small entrepreneurial companies. Applications for the next session, starting on March 4 is due by February 11. The backstory: I attended the premiere session of JumpStartNYC in 2010 at SUNY’s Levin Institute. As a traditional-media print art director, I knew that my career choices were becoming limited and less interesting. JumpStart NYC provided me with incentive to explore work in alternative media with entrepreneurial companies. Starting with a five-day intensive boot camp, my sessions included lectures from Wharton and Harvard professors; next came a 10-week consultancy at a start up that provided video-collaboration business services. Regular networking events with peers, mentors and local businesses led me to Apple, where I continue to work while pursuing other media projects, such as Brooklyn Artisan. Sponsored by the NYC Economic Development Corporation and SUNY Levin Institute. Companies wishing to participate as consultancy project sponsors can get information on the Levin site. The program is free and limited to New York City residents.

caption goes here

Back to fun

Be an online cookbook judge: This is a new event to me but sounds like fun: The 2013 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. Every day for the next week or so, the colorful site Food52 is hosting an NCAA-style competition to determine the best among 16 cookbooks published in the past year. Expert judges include Kurt Andersen, Studio 260, Wylie Dufresne, wd-50, and actor and cookbook author Stanley Tucci. Books in the  competition include A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories, by April Bloomfield, Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book, by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey and Paolo Lucchesi, Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, and Japanese Farm Food, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Four rounds of judging lead to a final, and you get to weigh in along the way.

sandwichMaking me hungry: The Brooklyn Sandwich Society, a farm-to-table restaurant with seasonal sandwiches and an attractive website peppered with ephemera and hunger-inducing menu descriptions: The Clermont, roasted maitake mushroom, black ledge blue, lacinato kale, parsley aioli on ciabatta, The Grand, pan-fried squid, baby bok choy, cilantro, hot & sour glaze on ciabatta, and Celeriac Soup with crispy oxtail and chive oil. That’s just some of the lunch menu. House-made soda too. From a chef-and-designer team that started out as the Brooklyn Edible Social Club, but has morphed into a true brick-and-mortar place. Fort Greene.

browniesSweet tooth or Valentine’s idea: Help Red Hook-based Fany Gerson of My Sweet Mexico and La Newyorkina get back on her business feet—knocked out from under her by Sandy—by purchasing Fany Brownies from Robicelli’s. Robicelli’s once shared a kitchen with Fany and her paletas (Mexican-style frozen ice pops) and they have pledged to donate a chunk of profits from online sales of these brownies—swirled with Mexican cinnamon and cajeta—through the end of February. Other BKLYN-based food purveyers have signed on to help out too:  Brooklyn Cured, Liddabit Sweets, Whimsy & Spice, see the site for more. Friends indeed.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Joy’s Best of Brooklyn for the beginning of February

A mixed-bag of talks, rides, exhibits and Valentines for the shortest, but often sweetest, month.
caption tk see below

1922 meets 2013 with an amazing view at Jane’s Carousel. See Friday, Feb. 1.

begraciousThursday, Jan. 31 Artists’ Responses to Sandy, a panel discussion on relief efforts presented at School of Visual Arts. Five panelists will showcase work and discuss the impact the storm has had on the wider community as well as the art world: John Mattiuzzi, video artist; Jessica Rionero and Chelsea Marino, BeGracious.org; Kathy Shorr, The Summer in the City Project; Dena Muller, New York Foundation for the Arts. At SVA’s Amphitheater in Outer Brooklyn, Manhattan. 7pm-9pm.

janes_carousel-9

The Carousel was originally installed in Idora Park in
Youngstown, Ohio. Restoration began in 1984, and
the magnificent Carousel opened to the public in 2011.

Friday, Feb. 1 February Celebration at Jane’s Carousel. If you need an excuse for a treat this month, go for a two-for-one ride ($2) on Jane’s Carousel. Damage from you-know-who has been repaired, and the restored merry-go-round is in full splendor and ready for play—and it’s heated too. Made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922, this carousel has 48 exquisitely carved horses and two chariots along with original scenic panels. The carousel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is housed in a see-through minimalist pavilion designed in 2011 by Atelier Jean Nouvel. Brooklyn Bridge Park. DUMBO.

caption tk not as scary as it looks

Bees in the city: maybe not as scary as this looks. (Photograph from HoneybeeLives.)

Saturday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 3 Organic Beekeeping Workshop, led by HoneybeeLives beekeeper/bee doctor Chris Harp, and beekeeper Grai Rice. This is a hands-on one- or two-day workshop to learn about Chris and Grai’s gentle approach to organic beekeeping. Saturday: Plan a new hive this spring by learning about bee communities and instincts, as well as beekeeper responsibilities. Sunday: How to care for bees through hive design, health and disease management, seasonal concerns. Pre-registration advised. The Commons, Boerum Hill. 10am-6pm each day.

caption tk

Part of Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, this Kachina looks ready to party.

Saturday, Feb. 2 Target First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum. If you’ve attended in the past, you know that from 5pm until 11pm, happy crowds of families, neighborhood types, and fun-seekers descend upon the museum (admission is free) to partake in programs of art and entertainment. The Dance Party, alas, has been put on hold, but there’s still plenty to explore. This month’s First Saturday is themed African Innovations and includes music, dance, hands-on activities, and a fashion showcase/performance by New York-based designers with music by Ethiopian DJ Sirak.

Melissa Godoy Nieto Myrtle ave caption tkSaturday, Feb. 2 A Patchwork Story: Myrtle Windows Gallery. Opening this evening, A Patchwork Story is on view in eight storefronts along Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Over nine artists (Melissa Godoy Nieto’s work is at left) have contributed works to this month-long, curated exhibit that draws inspiration from African American quilts as part of personal identity and cultural heritage. Part of Black Artstory Month on Myrtle, in honor of Black History Month. Reception at Sans Souci Restaurant. 6:30pm-9pm.

Sesame Letterpress caption tk

Sesame Letterpress will pass
along their love of letterpress
on a Vandercook at Etsy Labs.

hearts_lg-300x224Monday, Feb. 3 Etsy Hands-On: Letterpress Valentines, a printing workshop from font-loving Sesame Letterpress. Here’s a chance to get an introduction to letterpress printing using the Etsy Labs’s Vandercook press. After learning about the process and printing a Valentine’s Day card, students will get to personalize their work using colored pencils, ephemera, and other collage materials. The typography class at my college, Tyler School of Art, included a semester’s worth of handset type printed on a Vandercook. Pre-digital, totally bespoke—it was hard work but a lot of fun. DUMBO. 5pm-8pm.

Tuesday, Feb. 4 How to Make It: Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs. Brooklyn-based online marketplace UncommonGoods is sponsoring a panel discussion about the whys and ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices in your business. Guests can present their designs and ideas for feedback by emailing in advance—or tweet #howtomakeitUG. Following the talk, there will be a networking happy hour (free Brooklyn Brewery beer) to mingle and meet panelists Tiffany Threadgould, chief design junkie at TerraCycle, Rebecca Krauss, EcoBizNYC, and Yuka Yoneda, editor of inhabitat.com. At Powerhouse Arena, DUMBO. 6:30pm-9pm.

2todoNOTEJoy Makon curates Brooklyn Artisan’s Craft & Design coverage and creates the weekly Best of Brooklyn lists. Send items for listings to brooklynartisan@joymakondesign.com

Desktop 3D Replicators? Wow,This Is the 21st Century

“STEP INTO THE 3D PHOTOBOOTH AND IMMORTALIZE YOURSELF!”, the MakerBot store on Mulberry Street in Outer Brooklyn/Manhattan says on its website. That sounds like “Beam me up, Scotty” come true, with a dash of  The Immortals. The reality is a little bit different, but still pretty cool. This is not a clone machine, but a copier. A 3D copier.

Retailing for $2200 and up, The Replicator could make lots of models or household objects for you.

Retailing for $2200 and up, The Replicator could make lots of models or household objects for you.

If you want to make a photocopy of something as large as your house or as tiny as a penny, just use a Xerox copier. Take a picture of your house, or just toss the penny on the copier’s glass, and hit Copy. Or Start. That’s the way it’s been done since, well, before I was born. If you want a 3D copy, that presents a problem—or it did until recently. Brooklyn’s Madagascar Institute—a place that teaches mostly shop classes like welding and operating power tools, and also some crafty stuff like sewing—actually offers a class on 3D copying, using, in Star Trekian parlance, a Replicator.

3D printing is harder to master than your average 2D Xerox—at least according to people who’ve never tried to operate a worn office copier—which is why the Institute holds three-hour-long classes taught by Colin Butgereit. Butgereit, who’s been a member of Madagascar Institute for more than a year now, also works for MakerBot Industries, which manufactures the MakerBot Replicator.

“I provide people with the knowledge to generate the files so that the printer can essentially make or build the object,” he says. “It’s a three-hour class, and you can do a fair amount of printing in three hours. The bigger it is, the longer it will take, so we stick with the smaller stuff.”

He usually has four students a class, which works out to one printer per person.

Let’s talk quality. Say I want a copy of my right hand. The printer’s output will be “pretty close to an exact replica,” Butgereit says. “You’re still going to see that it’s for the most part printed; you’re going to see lines, you might get some polygons or different shapes that you would never see on a hand because it’s been computer generated. It also depends on the software—with high-end stuff it could almost look exactly like it.”

Okay, but what about scars? I have a great one on my right index finger dating back to my sophomore year in college, when I was helping a guy work on his ancient, oil-soaked car engine. The wrench broke, I shoved my hand into the dirt-caked starter mount, and after a trip to the ER I ended up with an inch-long scar full of stitches and black grease. Oh, yeah, I stuck my thumb in a table saw. And also, my, um, wrinkles? (I’m, uh, older, so they should be self-explanatory.) “Only if it’s a sort of geographic,” he says. “If it stood out, either from convex or concave form, that’s where you might see it. So far as color it will never show up.” So no black grease, but you’ll see stitches and veins.

For the home hobbyist or designer, this Solidoodle makes up to 6x6x6" objects and sells for around $500.

For the home hobbyist or designer, this Solidoodle makes up to 6x6x6″ objects and sells for around $500.

What about size? The penny, no problem. But the house? He has an answer to that one.

“Fly all the way around your house until you’ve taken enough photos so you could see every part of your house,” he explains. “When you have that, download the Autodesk application [Autodesk manufactures CAD software] on your computer or iPad, and process it and email it to Autodesk. They will essentially send you back another email of the image compiled from the data.” Load it into the Replicator and voila. As for the house’s square footage, “Technically it could be to size,” he says, “but I’m guessing there’s no 3D printer to handle a house. You’ll have to scale it down.”

If you’re interested in the 3D printing class at Madagascar Institute, go to eventbrite.com. The class runs $65.

Executive Editor Phil Scott writes about science, travel and aviation. 

>For a glimpse of the future, where you don’t worry about losing your keys, you just print up a new set before you leave the house, or don’t keep a toolbox, you just print what gadget you need when you need it, and instead of putting it away, you just toss the used one into the materials recycler.

Amazing 3D Printer – YouTube.

ODD CONNECTIONS: ‘Avarice’ at the Brooklyn Museum and ….

Brooklyn Museum "Avarice" Fernando Mastrangelo 2008IT’S A SHOW-STOPPING GRAND FINALE TO BROOKLYN MUSEUM’S GREAT-HALL EXHIBIT Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn, and no wonder, for the piece is spectacular. To Brooklyn Artisan’s surprise, it’s even more striking in situ than Gaston Lachaise’s monumental “Standing Woman” –  which we’d gone there to have another fond look at. (That, and the bronze foursome from Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais” who’re standing around in the covered courtyard.)

What stunned us – and won us –  is the disc-shaped piece almost ten feet in diameter that’s called “Avarice.” Part of the museum’s collection of contemporary art, it was made in 2008 by Fernando Mastrangelo, who was then 30. Mastrangelo is a Brooklyn-based artist (whose mom lives in Texas, one learns from his Facebook page). As the name suggests, “Avarice” combines art and politics. Its artistic basis is, of course, the circa-1500 Aztec Calendar Stone – which recorded the creation story of the Aztec world – with the face of Tonatiuh, the Sun God, at the center. The political statement is what it’s made of, a wry example of Marshall McCluhan’s dictum that “the medium is the message.” The media in this case are:  White corn, white and yellow corn meal, epoxy, fiberglass, wood, and metal. (And maybe just a small shovelful from the recycling bin?)

In adjacent panels, some cobs and a Coke. Sounds like a summer snack in Mississippi.

In nearby panels, some cobs and a Coke. Staples of an American summer diet.

Toothpaste, spark plug, sliced lunch meat, see anything else?

Toothpaste, spark plugs, deli sliced meat. (Photos: Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool.)

The museum sign also tells us, “The depiction of corn-based products draws attention to Mexico’s mass cultivation of corn to meet energy needs (via ethanol) and foreign consumer demands.” The Aztec visual reference brings up the whole sordid story of the Spanish Conquest; the devil in the details, however, is the “avarice” of North American agribusiness and consumer culture. Take a look at these close-ups and the large image at top, and you’ll find some telltale items.

Political art is nothing new for Mastrangelo; his 2010 TED Talk spoke of art as an evolving way to record history, to tell the story and capture the spirit of one’s times, including in today’s digital world. Last year he had a 3-month show in Miami at the Charest-Weinberg Gallery called Black Sculpture. The gallery write-up makes clear this is not about race. “After creating exact molds based on the work of Frank Stella and Ad Reinhardt, Mastrangelo casts his reliefs out of compacted gunpowder. The pieces teeter on the precipice of annihilation.” Yikes, talk about jimmy-crack-corn. “Yet the pieces are not simply bombastic,” the gallery says; “submerged beneath the tense potential for destruction is an elegiac calm. They give form to the Existential angst that inspired their Cold War-era predecessors….The black gunpowder, coupled with the Reinhardt’s cruciform and Stella’s teleological line work, firmly suggests an end of something.” Indeed. One hopes all future shows will be firmly No-Smoking zones.

Brooklyn Artisan came across what seemed to be a clear Brooklyn influence in Mastrangelo’s other discographic work from 2008 (click through to have a look). Though our favorite was composed of “Turquoise Sugar, Red Arbol Chili, Corn, Corn meal” and titled “Xochiquetzal,” we knew at a glance its visual vocabulary was from Brownstone Brooklyn’s   ornate plaster ceiling medallions, including the hole for the chandelier.

Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall: The stated purpose of the Brooklyn Museum exhibit is to “create new ways of looking at art by making connections between cultures as well as objects…. Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn was a joint effort of the Brooklyn Museum’s curators, organized by Kevin Stayton, Chief Curator. The installation was designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Chief Designer at the Brooklyn Museum” and financial support for the long-term installation came from Lisa and Dick Cashin. Brooklyn Artisan salutes them all, but as much as we enjoyed working the room, we do admire this comment shown on the museum’s own web site: “it’s a strange collection that doesn’t seem to sync with each other. reminds me more of a victorian living room than a museum exhibit.” — Posted by Tameka G.

From totally outside the museum scope, there was one more odd cultural connection we couldn’t help making. Last fall Brooklyn Artisan visited another great hall exhibit, “American Made,” put on in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station by Martha Stewart. In our photos made at the time, take a look at the sign and its detail.

Painter's tape, sparkly braid and bating brush.

Painter tape, sequin braid, brush.

From the exhibit in Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall.

From Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: