Before there was Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons and their brand of self-aware, “meta” art that serves as both commentary and appropriation, there was Louise Lawler. Born in 1947, the photographer’s work focuses on challenging prevailing art worlds, and systems of aesthetics. Under the assumption that taste and style is merely a byproduct of institutional spheres of influence, her work is cheeky – always presented with a wink. Along with other greats like Cindy Sherman and Barbara Krueger, these art stars came to be known as “The Pictures Generation” due to an eponymous exhibition at the Met.
Some of her best-known works include photographs of uniformed art handlers carefully transporting a Gerhard Richter painting (as if it were an holy relic, or a vestige of a lost culture) and a Damien Hirst spin-painting shown through a closet door.
Here is a modern take on a vaguely antiqued, yet very minimal room:
Jonathan Adler Smart Phone Dock: Cast in the shape of a rotary telephone, this porcelain docking station will keep a smartphone secure with a dash of old school style.
Ore International Off White Ceramic Table Lamp: A simple, contoured design adds a decorative element to any room. Topped with cream-colored nylon shade.
A Modern Digital Illustration by ColourscapeStudio: “I’ve nicknamed this piece the Yarn Ball… it came to me as I was unpacking my craft box after moving house. I’d never really noticed the lines before other than a rolled up ball! Perfect for a minimalist home in neutrals, or your craft room in bright and cheerful colors, this print will certainly get some attention.”
The MIAC Whirlwind Jute Rug in Natural/Iron: Made as part of an exclusive collection of handwoven rugs with Santa Fe’s Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (MIAC). Hand braided from handspun jute by artisans in India, the printed pattern is inspired by design elements from an early 20th century Native basket.
Brick White Quilts and Shams by Villa Home: Welcome to the world of incomparable comfort, beauty and style. Enter an oasis of serenity: your bed, made with sumptuous Villa bedding designed to create a splendid haven, a place to escape the demands of everyday life.
“Dream” Sparkler art print by Lucy Hodkiewicz:Everyone’s favorite summer activity, drawing with sparklers, expertly captured in an instant.
Safavieh Bali Brown Nesting Tables: A transitional design and an easy-to-match brown finish. The table can be un-stacked to add extra table space when entertaining. Made in Indonesia; a piece of paradise in your home.
As seen on many feminist artist’s prints and advertisements, and quoted by Louise Lawler, “Whenever I hear the word culture I take out my checkbook.”
Print:Untitled piece by Doug Galante. Galante’s work is a response to his curiosity with internal mental states (such as dreaming or solitude) and how we process those experiences. His work is mostly abstract, using pattern and repetition to evoke a sense of structure and simplicity within something complex. // Room: A minimal, black and white, abstract friendly bedroom. With mobile closet and spartan decor. Featuring “Venezia” artwork by Vladimir Dubko.
Photograph: Amanda Charchian’s Calm Sea, Come See, Comme Ci #5. This series of photographs are from the artist’s travel to Costa Rica. // Room: The opulent space filled with animal prints and nudes found via Elle Decor, October 2011.
Print Set:Petit Drawing Set by Heather Day. Day’s interested in the relationship between decay and upkeep that relies heavily on human interaction. These paintings are never planned. Each piece is a product of an experience, leaving behind documentation of how an event transpired. The paintings often act as pages in a book requiring several in a series to tell a story. // Room: A master bedroom in a West Village, NYC penthouse by Lauren Stern Design. Bright pops of yellow, pink, dusty blue and orange are subdued by repetitive and calming abstractions.
Photograph: New York 16 by Jay Ezra. Ezra’s photography aims to destroy the notion of buildings as inanimate monuments and to anthropomorphize them as living members of the local community. His goal is to have his photographs embody the personality and character of each city. In this instance, birds as part of New York. // Room: A woven, cotton tapestry in a subtle tie-dyed print topped with a bird design. The dizzying floral, Palantine blue and flying birds evokes the sky.
Valerie Chiang is a wunderkind photographer from Raleigh, North Carolina who began her artistic career as a teenager. Born in 1992, by the current, ripe age of 22 she has exhibited in Mexico, Australia and across the USA. Did I also mention that she speaks English, Chinese and German? Whoa.
Now living in Los Angeles, California, Chiang’s goal in photography is to turn ordinary, sometimes even banal, surroundings into something more magical and imaginative. She shoots dreamscapes that reflect her love of the make-believe and strives to offer viewers a chance to stretch their imaginations and form their own stories from my photographs. She would love to go on a dinner date with independent film director and screenwriter, Jim Jarmusch. She thinks that the ocean always has the best colors in nature and would like to steal and display in her home anything by Edward Hopper.
Chiang’s work features touches of surrealism ala Renee Magritte, but also the quaint New England vibe of a Robert Frost poem. A master of escapism (the Houdini of the Lens), her work looks as though it’s been shot through a cloud and tumbled through hazy memories. Touting herself as a “professional human being,” her Instagram channel is following by over 25,000 other homo-sapiens who look to her to capture quite and under-appreciated moments: a shadow on a coffee cup, the dizzying height of redwoods, an empty parking space.
“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” ― Carson McCullers
Aside from having a killer eye and visual instinct, Chiang also dabbles in personal playlists that are instantly transportative. Check out her dreamy and “shoegazey”mix meant for cruising down the highway at 99 mph during sunset.
1. From The Morning Heat // Craft Spells
2. Drifter // Wild Nothing
3. Now Is Not The Time // CHVRCHES
4. Sometimes // Beach Fossils
5. Time Will Tell // Blood Orange
6. Only Heather // Wild Nothing
7. Follow // DIIV
8. Second Chance (RAC Mix) // Peter Bjorn & John
9. Bring On The Dancing Horses // Echo & The Bunnymen
10. These Days // The Jesus & Mary Chain