A Seductive Bachelor Pad in ~Blue~

December 21, 2012



Made a trip up to The Guggenheim last week and was wowed by the show “Asterisms” by the Mexican-born artist Gabriel Orozco. He has created sculptural and photographic installations from rubble he gathered on two sites in New York and in Baja California, Mexico. Got me thinking about something amazing I had encountered years ago while living in Australia– the lair of a male blue Satin Bowerbird .



photo Tim Lanham



Long story, but while living in Sydney, my sister (an avid bird-watcher) visited and arranged a day-long excursion with an ornithologist. In a quiet little patch of urban park land we came upon the most bizarre work of nature I have ever encountered– a field of blue “stuff” scattered in a large circle with an elaborate thatch structure in the middle (think Blair Witch Project for birds).



via rezinate

Bowerbird males are masters of seduction who lure their females into elaborately built bowers where mating will take place. Their favored color is blue and they collect and decorate their “pads” with all sorts of blue colored detritus– most of it, small found objects of plastic like bottle caps, clothes pins, straws. If you are dying to know more, tune into this little video  “Bower Bird“.



Which brings me to the Gabriel Orozco Asterisms  exhibit at The Guggenheim– similar to the Bower Bird “show” but  a bit more organized. The artist actually found these tiny bits of detritus in the astroturf of a field near Pier 44 in NYC.  The ~beauty~ is in the arrangement– objects carefully spaced and organized by size and color.



No purposeful “mating” motive here, but seductive nonetheless.

And on to the display of objects found in the waters of Baja Mexico (photos below). Again, Orozco has placed the objects in a large field decreasing with size and organized by color– an amazing collection of driftwood, stones, floats, lightbulbs, bottles and even toilet paper rolls encased in plastic.












And there are other artists who work with “found” objects and “everyday trash” .  Take a look at the work of Portia Munson:




via beautiful decay




via Brooklyn Imbecile




via beautiful decay



What do you think of this aesthetic?  Heaps of rubble… found objects…litter…lovely trash?   Or as Ken Johnson, in his review of Asterisms in the New York Times remarked, “The idea is that something greater than the sum of its parts will emerge.”




Addams Family Meets Alice in Wonderland

October 19, 2012



For inspiration, I love taking an “out of the box” stroll through design blogs in Australia.  While living in Sydney, I noticed that there was a fusion of a traditional British vibe with something far more edgy in interior design.  Of course, many stunning spaces there are filled with abundant natural light, where “white” thrives, which is why these images over at The Design Files caught my eye– really dark, brooding spaces but with an odd element of warmth.  The owner, Debra Cronin of Debra Cronin Design actually sought out a “crumbling Victorian mansion” on the outskirts of Sydney, where she could work her magic and “embrace the age of the building and distress of the crumbling walls whilst creating a warm and inviting atmosphere with oversized pieces”.  Take a look–  if you dare.



via the design files


via the design files


I’m expecting Tippy Hedron and Alfred Hitchcock to walk through that doorway at any moment~



via debra cronin design




via the design files



The designer actually lives in this space!  It also houses her design firm and  something called the Bite Club – a  “unique underground dining experience”.



via debra cronin design


So obviously these spaces are at the far end of the “dark and moody” spectrum.  Dark color can be used to create drama to great theatrical effect.  My friend Courtney Lake just interviewed me on the subject of “Embracing the Dark Side” over at Centsational Girl .  And if you need more “dark” drama to get in the mood for Halloween, take a look at my Pinterest Boards: “Dark and Moody” and “Black Love”.