Things have changed quite a bit since we began Sight Unseen eight years ago, but one interview question has remained steadfast in our arsenal: Who are your biggest influences? And while the same answers tend to pop up often enough — Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Luis Barragán, Donald Judd — there's one name that seems to get checked more than anyone else: Josef Albers, the 20th-century artist, educator, and designer, whose book, Interaction of Color, is one of the most essential design texts ever written. But in a new exhibition at the Guggenheim, Josef Albers in Mexico, one of Albers's own greatest influences is laid bare.
If Constantin Brancusi had worked with papier-mâché and primary colors rather than bronze and neutrals, you might get a collection like “Primitives” — a project initiated by the Italian creative agency Moncada Rangel Studio for a model-making course they recently led at the Design Academy in Syracuse, Sicily.
An expert at making a beautiful image out of banal surfaces and unassuming scenery — the side of a Zankou Chicken, say, or a bus station in Chinatown — Australian-born photographer George Byrne's work has a way of evoking strong feelings from simple Los Angeles palms and awnings. Byrne's first solo exhibition, opening this month in New York at Olsen Gruin — entitled“New Order” — is made up of 15 photographs of Los Angeles by way of crisp shadows, a lot of seafoam green, the clear blue sky, and pops of dusty pink.
In his bold-colored and paneled paintings, textured by a variety of brushstrokes, Los Angeles artist Scot Heywood finds ways to generate perceptual movement and subtle energy. His exhibition of recent paintings, called “Scot Heywood: Shift ǀ Stack ǀ Sunyata,” are on view through the end of February at Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach, conjuring parallels to the geometric styles of Piet Mondrian.
On view at The Hole now, "Fourteen Paintings" is the first New York solo show for Louisiana-born, Los Angeles–based artist Robert Moreland, who in fact creates work that exists more in the space between painting and sculpture — three-dimensional canvases made from drop-cloths, tacks, leather hinges, and acrylic paint, that are hardly paintings at all but rather painted objects that explore how line and color can be disrupted by volume.
The romance of the American road has a lot to do with renewal, how to take what’s fallen into cliché and make it alive again. This is just what Hayley Eichenbaum has done in several photographic series — going on road trips to capture and create images that reframe the familiar as unearthly and surreal. Her work is guided by the geometry and clean lines of minimalist architecture and design, revealing a mysteriousness beneath flat facades and surfaces. But her pictures are also cinematic, echoing everything from Technicolor melodramas to Stanley Kubrick.
This week, we're reflecting back on some of the year's highlights, from the stories you loved, to the images you helped turn viral on Pinterest, to the Instagrams that sent our likes skyrocketing. We've excerpted 10 of your favorites after the jump.
In the age of Instagram, does the most colorful architect win? We've seen a massive uptick lately in people posting — and designers citing as influences — architects such as Luis Barragan, Ricardo Bofill, and Ricardo Legorreta. Sometimes forgotten in all this, however, is the Maltese architect Richard England, who studied under Gio Ponti and designed much of the colorful, Postmodern architecture that dots the Mediterranean archipelago.
Refinery29's 29Rooms event is basically a funhouse of art and culture, where each room presents its own mega-Instagrammable moment. But what if you need a teeny tiny break from all that selfie-ing? That's where we came in. When Refinery asked Sight Unseen to curate the 29Rooms lounge area, we turned immediately to Bower, who came back at us just a few hours later with a sketch for this amazing collection.
The paintings and wall-based textiles of New York–based Senem Oezdogan are like a Venn diagram where Bauhaus and Suprematism meet — almost as if Anni Albers and Kazimir Malevich were to have a baby. Her fiber-based geometric studies — made by wrapping wood panels in natural rope, punctuated by cotton floss color blocks — are deft executions of straight lines and woven shapes that tease the eye yet retain the softness of a tapestry.
If you're familiar with the work of photographer Ward Roberts, chances are you found his work, like we did, on Pinterest. After all, the New York–based photographer's images were practically made for social media, featuring as they do the aesthetic memes du jour: muted, pastel colors; graphic, geometric compositions; and architectural wonders seemingly devoid of any people. In Roberts's case, the backdrop common to all of his photos are the basketball and tennis courts of Hong Kong, where the Australian-born photographer was raised from the age of three.