Futurism Explained: Protest and Modernity in Art

Speeding Train by Ivo Pannaggi, 1922, via Fondazione Carima-Museo Palazzo Ricci, Macerata

When hearing the word “futurism,” images of science fiction and utopian visions tend to come to mind. However, the term was not initially linked to spaceships, final frontiers, and surreal technologies. Instead, it was a celebration of the modern world and a dream of movement that never stops: a revolution in ideologies and perceptions.

Coined by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909, the word “futurism” first appeared in the Italian Newspaper Gazzetta dell’Emilia on February 5th. A few weeks later, it was translated to French and published by the French newspaper Le Figaro. It was then that the idea took the world of culture by storm, reshaping first Italy and then spreading further to conquer new minds. Like various other art movements, Futurism took flight to break away from tradition and celebrate modernity. However, this movement was one of the first and the few that pushed nonconformism to its limits. With its unyielding militant nature, Futurist art and ideology were bound to become dictatorial; it sought to demolish the past and bring change, glorifying violent raptures.

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Sunlight Filters through Misty Spruce Forests in Enchanting Photos by Kilian Schönberger

Image © Kilian Schönberger

In 2020 alone, a combination of droughts and a raging bark beetle infestation spurred by the climate crisis diminished Germany’s spruce tree population by record numbers. The European nation lost an estimated 4.3 percent of the evergreen species, which tend to grow in both commercial and naturally established forests in the Bavarian Alps and along the southeastern border. Photographer Kilian Schönberger (previously) visited these regions in the early part of 2021 to shed light on the enchanting beauty of the wooded areas that are undergoing substantial transformations.

Endorsement for Spruce Forests captures the species’ ethereal nature as sunlight filters through fog and morning mist, casting a warm candy-colored glow on the landscape. Pink light illuminates the barren branches that splay outward alongside trees covered in needles, while other shots show the rough, labyrinth-like paths that wind through the hilly terrain.

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Frida Kahlo Is the Latest Artist to Get the Immersive Installation Treatment With a New Projected Light Show in Mexico City

Installation view of “Frida: La Experiencia Immersiva.” Photo by Claudio Cruz/AFP via Getty Images.

There’s a new way to experience the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Art lovers making a pilgrimage to her hometown of Mexico City, where she lived at La Casa Azul with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, can now add a second stop to their itinerary: “Frida: La Experiencia Immersiva.”

That’s right, Kahlo, perhaps the world’s most famous woman artist, has gotten the “Immersive Van Gogh” treatment, with a 35-minute projected light show that animates 26 of the artist’s works in larger-than-life fashion. Because Kahlo specialized in self-portraits, the experience is something of an immersive autobiography, telling the story of her struggles with illness and disability, as well as her unconventional and often fraught romance with Rivera.

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Rory Scott Shares Design, Animation & Glitter with artistvenu Community

Images © Rory Scott

artistvenu Welcomes Professional Artist Rory Scott as Co-Curator of Upcoming '21 Juried "Photography & Digital Art" Members Exhibits

Rory Scott is a multidisciplinary artist, whose work is recognized for its use of patterns, glitter and for its likeness to the Universe. Through both digital and handmade means, Scott explores the ideas of impermanence, the passage of time and the impacts of technology upon the evolution of humanity.

Her project Impermanence, which began in 2010, is an ongoing documentation of her life and struggle with accepting change and mortality. Through recorded thoughts, sounds and use of retro sci-fi imagery, her work confronts and reconciles the passage of time by juxtaposing the old with the new.

The prominence of patterns in her work, draws parallels between the existence of patterns in nature and in the rhythm of our thoughts and lives. Illustrating repetition creates form over time.

Using the passage of time as a medium, she has spent the last 7 years gathering, constructing and deconstructing elements that will be used in 60 short films detailing her past and current life.

Rory Scott

“What defines being human more than impermanence? It’s what we all have in common but are reluctant to share. I hope when people view my work they feel a connectivity to me and our shared experience of traveling through time.”

Rory Scott lives in Chicago and is an Alumni of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

How Joseph E. Yoakum, an Enigmatic Former Circus Hand and Untrained Artist, Found Drawing in His 70s—and the Hairy Who as Admirers

Joseph E. Yoakum, Waianae Mtn Range Entrance to Pearl Harbor and Honolulu Oahu of Hawaiian Islands (1968). Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1962, Joseph E. Yoakum had a dream that told him to make drawings. 

He was 71 then, a retired veteran and one-time circus hand living in Chicago. He had no experience making art. But for the next decade of his life—his last, it would turn out—drawing was what he did, churning out some 2,000 wondrous pieces in the process. 

Most came in the form of dreamy landscapes, tethered equally to the natural world and the artist’s own fantastical one: scalloped mountains and pristine pools of water, forests that look like heads of romanesco, and winding roads that disappear into the horizon line. A sense of yearning pervades it all.

The old adage about the Velvet Underground—that only 10,000 people bought their first album, but that every one of them started a band—also applies to Yoakum. Not many people saw his drawings, but those who did came away as immediate and lifelong fans. 

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Anne Wu On Chinatowns, Immigration, and the Uunfinished

Anne Wu: A Patterned Universe, 2021, stainless steel, rigid insulation foam, tinted joint compound, PVC roof panel, tarp, plastic packing rope, cast and found objects, 10 by 20 by 12 feet; at the Shed, New York.RONALD AMSTUTZ

Anne Wu, who received her MFA from Yale University in 2020, is an emerging sculptor and installation artist whose work reflects the material culture and collective experience of Chinese immigrant communities. Wu’s sculptural installation A Patterned Universe (2021) features architectural materials such as polished stainless-steel rods, red string, insulation foam, and PVC roof panels sourced from her immigrant neighborhood of Flushing, Queens. With the help of a fabricator known as Mr. An from New Tengfei Stainless Steel, Wu created an installation that evokes liminal spaces by affixing unfinished staircases, doorways, and windows to the walls and floor of a gallery. Below, Wu discusses how she came to see found materials from her neighborhood as conveyors of Chinese cultural heritage and current socioeconomic conditions. “Open Call: Anne Wu” is on view at the Shed in New York through August 1.

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A Flower Patch of Recycled Denim Grows from the Ceiling in Ian Berry’s ‘Secret Garden’

“Secret Garden,” New York Children’s Museum of the Arts. Photo by Will Ellis

Whimsical tendrils of vines, foliage, wisteria, and chrysanthemums sprout from artist Ian Berry’s wild, overgrown garden plots. Densely assembled and often suspended from the ceiling, his recurring “Secret Garden” is comprised of blooms and leafy plants created entirely from recycled denim, producing immersive spaces teeming with indigo botanicals in various washes and fades.

Since its debut at the New York Children’s Museum of the Arts, Berry’s site-specific installation has undergone a few iterations. “The first one was made with children in mind… hence the more magical secret garden angle,” he says, “just wanting to (ensure they think about) where the material comes from, see what they can make, and seek out outdoor places within a city.” It’s since traveled to London, Barcelona, The Netherlands, France, Kentucky, and the San Francisco Flower Mart, where it’s permanently installed as a trellis lining the space’s windows.

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Mariko kusumoto’s dream-like textile sculptures echo a luminous coral reef

Image courtesy of mariko kusumoto | @marikokusumoto

In a meticulous display of craft, artist mariko kusumoto details an ethereal and otherworldly series of textile sculptures. made from translucent polyester and nylon fiber, the work recalls a delicately floating bed of underwater flowers or a coral reef. the massachusetts-based artist notes that her work reflects the observable phenomena that stimulates her mind and senses, reorganized into a new presentation that is surreal, graceful, and unexpected.

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Paulina Peavy, the Spiritualist Artist Who Channeled a UFO

Paulina Peavy, “Untitled” (circa 1930s to 1980s), oil paint on board, 16 x 16 inches (all images courtesy the Paulina Peavy Estate and Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York)

LOS ANGELES — In 1932 Paulina Peavy attended a séance at the home of spiritualist Ida L. Ewing in Santa Ana, California. There, she channeled Lacamo, an extraterrestrial spirit, or UFO in her words, who revealed to her the secrets of the universe. The encounter was a defining moment for Peavy; then 31, she continued to channel Lacamo, whom she claimed as her artistic collaborator, until her death in 1999.

Paulina Peavy: An Etherian Channeler at Beyond Baroque reintroduces Peavy to Southern California, where she lived from 1923 to ’43, first studying art at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (now part of the California Institute of the Arts) and then teaching art and exhibiting her own work and that of others in her Peavy Art Gallery. The show at Beyond Baroque, curated by Laura Whitcomb, is the artist’s first on the West Coast in 75 years. Rare esoteric and hermetic literature presented in vitrines, and Peavy’s own writings, reflect her life and beliefs, which merged spiritualist and theosophical concepts and astroculture.

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