Hadrian’s Wall To Be Turned Into World’s Longest Work Of Art

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian’s Wall has been the traditional boundary between England and Scotland ever since it was built by the Romans in the second century A.D. This 73-mile long structure was once the northernmost limit of the Roman Empire.

As part of the London 2012 Festival, the New York-based artists’ collective YesYesNo will light up the entire length with a series of tethered balloons lit by internal LED lights to create a line of pulsating colors. The project, called Connecting Light, aims to transform this protective border into a line of communication.

The lights will change color to respond to messages sent across the wall. Go to the website to write your own and it may be picked to be part of this interesting project. They’re looking for messages about connectivity across borders, are pretty much anything positive. Check out their blog to see how this massive art project is shaping up.

If you can’t make it up there, you can follow the action online. The project runs from August 31-September 1.

Dutch Artist Turns Dead Pet Into ‘Catcopter’

The Wright Brothers were true visionaries, able to turn mankind’s dream of flying like a bird into reality.

It’s only fitting then, that a deceased cat be allowed to soar like the pigeons he once yearned after. Dutch artist Bart Jansen has created a fitting tribute for his beloved pet, Orville (his brother’s name is, of course, Wilbur), who was hit by a car. Jansen created the “Orvillecopter,” a remote-controlled helicopter that’s “half-cat, half-machine.”

Before you denounce Jansen as a sadistic kook (like PETA has in a public statement; though, how one can be a sadist by having an already dead animal stuffed is beyond me), watch this CNN video interview of him talking about his art project/tribute.

Orville used to lie at the front door watching birds, and so, Jansen explains, he decided what better way to honor his cat than by allowing him to fly the skies? Notes Jansen, “After a period of mourning, he received his propellers posthumously.”

I recently wrote of my love of all things slightly macabre, including taxidermy, so naturally I think the Orvillecopter is about the most awesome thing ever. For those lucky enough to be in Amsterdam, the Orvillecopter is on display at the KunstRAI Art Festival. To see the flying object in question, check out the video below. Fly the friendly skies, Orville.


Flying To Mars From New York City


The first astronauts are landing on Mars this week. . .at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.

Installation artist Tom Sachs is running his “SPACE PROGRAM: MARS,” a four-week spaceflight involving a crew of actors and elaborate sets made from common materials bought in a hardware store. The sets cover every detail of the mission including getting into space suits, provisions of food and launching Mars rovers.

There will be several liftoffs so visitors don’t miss one of the most popular parts of any space mission.

As this preview clip shows, Tom Sachs isn’t about to put NASA out of business. I kind of like the hokeyness of the whole thing, though. It gives the exhibition a childlike feel that brings back all those fond ’80s memories of watching the Space Shuttle missions. Tom Sachs has tapped into the fact that we all got inspired by space when we were kids, and many of us still look to the stars and planets with a childlike sense of wonder.

Tom Sachs’ “SPACE PROGRAM: MARS” runs from May 16 to June 17.

Austria comes to New York: a look at the Openhouse Gallery’s Austrian pop-up shop

This month, the Openhouse Gallery in New York hosted a free Austrian pop-up shop, which gave visitors a glimpse into what they could experience in terms of art, food, tours, culture, hotels, festivals, museums, and outdoor spaces if they visited Austria.

austrian popup shop in new yorkWhile the space itself was small, it had a lot to offer. The girls who worked the exhibit were extremely helpful and were happy to walk around with me to explain exactly what everything was I was looking at.

When first walking in, I was immediately struck by a giant painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt called “The Kiss”. In 2012, Vienna will celebrate his 150th birthday with an array of event and exhibits in his honor.

If visitors needed help planning a trip to visit Austria, the pop-up shop featured a travel lounge, as well, with comfortable white, leather couches and a table of tour packets, culinary books, travel advice, and even an Austrian memory and matching game called Craz.The most interactive part of the exhibit, and by far my favorite, was the sampling station. Authentic Austrian goodies to try included:

  • Pumpkin seed oil and pieces of bread for dipping
  • Viennese cookies from the Vienna Cookie Company
  • Gðlles specialty vinegar
  • Rupp Alina cheeses
  • Zotter hand made organic chocolate

The next section of the pop-up shop expanded on the idea of art, design, and theater in Austria. Visitors were able to take a look at some Austrian craftsmanship from Wien Products, such as vases and other housewares. Pieces of outdoor furniture that are used to help create the lively atmosphere in the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, one of the largest museums quarters in the world, were also on display.

autrian popup shop in new yorkVisitors could also learn about the theater culture of Austria, with the “Sound of Music” installation. The show, which is set in Austria, will debut at the Salzburger Landestheatre this Fall from October 23, 2011 to June 30, 2012. As you continue walking, you will also be able to explore a small gallery of historical Austrian paintings by Austrian artists.

At the end of the visit to the Openhouse Gallery’s Austrian pop-up shop (or the beginning, if you wanted), visitors were invited to enjoy some traditional Viennese coffee and desert in their Cafe Sacher, which included:

  • Wiener Melange- an espresso coffee with foamed milk
  • Grosser Brauner- a double espresso coffee with cream
  • a slice of original Sachertorte mit schlag with whipped cream
  • a homemade piece of Viennese apple strudel

The waitresses were even dressed in a traditional dirndl-style costume.

Interested in booking a trip to Austria? Visit the Austrian Tourism Board website. Want to know more about pop-up installations at the Openhouse Gallery in New York? Check out Paul Gerben’s Pickers Cafe that will be going on into 2012.