Kenji Kusaka’s Eggs
Printmaker Kenji Kusaka was born on a farm in Tsuyama, Okayama Prefecture in 1936. Kusaka practiced traditional techniques for many years before introducing the “egg” shape into his work in 1967. In Kusaka’s words, “The concept of my works is represented by a kind of the life force. I am searching for my outlook on the universe, particularly by regarding the clarification of colors and speed.”
Gerhard Richter’s Atlas
Gerhard Richter’s Atlas is a collection of photographs, newspaper cuttings and sketches that the artist has been assembling since the mid 1960s. A few years in, Richter started to arrange the materials on loose sheets of paper. "In the beginning I tried to accommodate everything there that was somewhere between art and garbage and that somehow seemed important to me and a pity to throw away." At present, Atlas consists of 802 sheets, spanning a period of almost four decades.
For more on Richter’s Atlas click here.25 notes
Forgotten USDA Bulletins
We came across this obscure USDA Home and Garden Bulletin Archive in our research and had to share. We don’t know which graphic artists were working with the USDA at that time, but we definitely dig on their highly informative work!
Adeus Sergio Rodrigues
In 1951, Sergio Rodrigues graduated from the National School of Architecture in Rio de Janeiro. Within a decade, he was one of the most important designers of Brazillian modernism. A man known for his exceptional taste in materials, and the designer of over 1,200 pieces of furniture, Rodrigues passed away this week at age 86. Perhaps Rodrigues will be most remembered for his “Mole” chair (pictured first, meaning “Soft” in Portuguese). Obrigado e adeus, Sergio!
Back to Reality
Poème électronique (aka “Electronic Poem”) is an 8-minute piece by composer Edgard Varèse, written especially for the Le Corbusier-designed Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. The pavilion, in it’s completed state, was shaped like a stomach, with a narrow entrance and exit on either side of a large central space. Inside, Poème électronique was synchronized to a film of black and white photographs selected by Le Corbusier. In his own words, Corbusier’s goal was the create “a poem in a bottle.”
L’Atelier Populaire, was an artistic collective created during of the occupation of the Paris School of beaux-arts in May of 1968. The graphics created by the artists within the school (many of whom slept and lived on campus for months) became the voice of the heated political uprising. All posters were communally anonymous; no single piece was signed.
Mitsuaki Sora’s Woodblock Prints
Japanese artist Mitsuaki Sora (born in Hiroshima, 1933) is actually primarily a sculptor. But Sora has been producing these colorful, abstract woodblock prints as a side-project since the 1960’s…and we are totally into them! Nice one, Sora.
Japanese Game Parks
This series of images was brought to us through our friend & collaborator, Harsh Patel, who said he was gifted these scans from Bay-Area artist Michael Guidetti. With names like Daytona Park, Namco Wonder Egg, and Time Travel House, we can only image the what the experience of stepping foot into one of these obscure arcades would be like. Please enjoy Japanese Game Parks.
Ugo La Pietra’s Heads
We don’t know much about Ugo La Pietra, but we do know the following vases are his bizarre, and mildly-ironic, tribute to the traditional ceramics of his native Italy. La Pietra, who has been called an artist, architect, and designer over the course of his extensive career, lives and works in Milan.
Commune Cement Tile: The Native Collection
Commune’s latest collaboration with Exquisite Surfaces, The Native Collection, takes inspiration from Scandinavian and Native American textile patterns. Four different patterns, titled Malmo, Stockholm, Navajo and Zuni, can be mixed to create an unlimited number of custom patterns. All four patterns come in four different color collections: Zebra, Python, Navajo and Zuni. For more information, check them out here.
Studio Visit: L’Oeil du Vert
Recently, we were lucky enough to visit the private studio of Haley Alexander van Oosten, the alchemist behind the mysterious fragrance label L’Oeil du Vert. Nestled right off of the beach in Santa Monica Canyon, van Oosten’s studio is truly a sensory experience, full of undeniable warmth and energy. We chatted about essential oils, Japanese literature, various types of wood, her installation at Maxfield’s, and the new scent L’Oeil du Vert has created with us.
(Commune) Where are you from?
(van Oosten) LA-Tokyo-LA with many detours.
When did you begin crafting fragrances?
I started blending botanical oils almost 15 years ago to explore plants—their healing and more esoteric qualities. I started traveling rather remotely for certain ones like frankincense, copal, water lily, and became curious about distilling and extracting methods.
How do you design the structure of a fragrance?
Well, since I design with whole botanical oils, sometimes containing hundreds of chemical constituents, rather than single isolated aromatic molecules, I approach the fragrance like a spider’s web. The structure is formed in relation to its surroundings rather than, say, a linear top-middle-bottom thing that could be constructed the same way anywhere, anytime.
Do you feel there are parallels between creating scents and design?
Yes. Visual or olfactive, there has to be a sensorial, tactile and haptic sense in design.
You’ve worked with many different artists and brands. How do your fragrance collaborations usually begin?
The only “usual” aspect of the process is being inspired or challenged. Everyone I work with is so uniquely talented. I’m actually encouraged to create things I’ve never done before.
What are your strongest memories associated with smell?
The smell of salty, sandy tar stuck on my feet from swimming in the ocean when I was little. And oh, that musty tatami mat mildew smell inside under-ventilated Japanese houses. I love it. Everything is so arid in LA. It really jumped into my nose when I first went there.
Would you tell us briefly about the backstory and inspiration for your collaboration with Commune?
One night, Roman started talking about Viennese successionists. And architects like Schindler and Neutra who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in Japan before building houses that would become icons of California style in LA. This idea of Viennese transplanting Japan into a California context was very cool. So it started to take shape.
Lastly, desert, forest or beach?
Oh for sure, desert, forest AND beach.
For more from L’Oeil Du Vert, go here.3 notes
Daniel Spoerri’s Snare-Pictures
Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri is probably most well known for making what he called “Snare Pictures.” Spoerri and his friends, mostly fellow Fluxus members, would casually consume a meal around a table, and when the meal was complete, Spoerri would miticulously adhere all plates, bowls, cups, silverware, cigarette butts, vases, flowers, dirty napkins, bones, sauces, and crumbs to the tablecloth, cut the legs off of the table, and hang the results on the wall.