Holy tigger, I love this – Our university art students are encouraged to paint the man holes aroind campus as projects. This one showed up today! ❤
The design trick behind Erlich’s installation is child’s play: Build the facade of a building on flat ground, and then erect an enormous mirror standing perpendicular to it. The “building” is reflected, life-sized and standing-up, in the mirror. But because the physical facade is safely on the ground, anyone can walk around or lay down or otherwise playfully pose themselves on it, and look up to see themselves “stuck to” the mirror-building’s vertical surface.
Cheap trick? Maybe, but it’s the attention to detail writ large that makes Bâtiment feel more authentic than any digital simulation. . . . .
As reported by the New York Times today, Dr. Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, mayor of Tehran (“[and] a former Revolutionary Guards commander, retired pilot, and the loser of two presidential elections,” the article piles on neutrally) has ordered all of the city’s 1,500 billboards (a significant source of income from advertisements) to be replaced with copies of iconic works of both Western and Iranian art.
The project, installed almost overnight, was organized by the Organization of Beautification of Tehran, a municipal coalition created to improve appearance of parks and public areas. Mojtaba Mousavi, a representative counselor, commented to the Times, “Our people are too busy to go to museums and galleries, so we decided to turn the entire city into a huge gallery.”
Ghalibaf’s sudden zeal for visual art, the article notes, is likely politically motivated. A “canny and ambitious politician despite the two defeats,” Ghalibaf may intend to run for office in the 2016 presidential elections. Art collector and historian Hamid Taheri told the Times, “[This project] is clearly an attempt to win [the people’s] favor. I don’t mind though, it’s amazing to see art across the city.”
Now rising above the streets of Iran are images of Rembrandt paintings, photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Rothko Nos. 3, 10 and 13. Also included is a reproduction of Munch’s The Scream, a choice that will no doubt strike certain residents of Tehran (“who spend hours a day on congested roads”) as empathetic.
The Iranian works, on the other hand, had been selected with far more precaution, or, to put it less euphemistically, with a censoring eye. In Mousavi’s words, “some of the more modern work could lead to objections that we wanted to avoid.”
Only pieces by deceased artists were considered, resulting in the choice of relatively tame images of Persian carpets, paintings inspired by the Book of Kings, and works by painter Bahman Mohassess, fondly known as the “Persian Picasso.”