For those of us in the UK, Soho throws images of down town London, late bars, glamorous women, and over priced entry fees. But for New Yorkers, the name brings another meaning. The SoHo Arts Network of New York is an organisation of creatives and artists who make use of public space in the down town area. The exhibition spaces stretch across thirteen individual locations which are managed by the coalition of like minded producers.
Monday 27th sees a convening of a panel made up of artists from the organisation and the local area to discuss the effect and legacy of the institution and the positive benefits to the locale. Then a themed talk on the importance of art criticism from the 60s to the 70s will take place involving panellists Elizabeth Baker (previous editor in chief of Art in America), Elizabeth Rachleff Burtt (a New York University professor and curator of this gallery), and Phyllis Tuchman (a writer and historian).
Saturday 29th of April sees a down town culture walk, celebrating the history of the local culture and art scene of down town New York, and the importance of its continual support, evolution, and criticism. For this iconic city with its vibrant and dynamic art scene, it's warming to know that efforts are being continually made to enrich the location with culture to be directly experienced by those who pass by. Reaching out to artists, and to the community, with expertly co-ordinated and inclusive art events like this can be a great template for other international cities to show what they have and had.
Something that we need to have is good ideas for sustainable resources. As the planet kicks up a fuss about the amount of waste we pile into its crevices year after year, more of us are turning our focus to solutions. Green or environmentally friendly technology and ideas are a good source of opportunity and change, as governments around the world are all in agreement to make an effort to reduce pollutants.
Artist and designer, Simon Kern, has created a concept chair made from autumn leaves and treated cooking oil. This combination of romance and chips brings on images of bus stops and teenagers, but in reality, this composite chair could well be the start of something very interesting. Leaves drop every year from deciduous trees at no cost the the tree. Much like the fruit, the tree produces the crop and naturally releases it. You don't have to chop down the tree.
This Slovak modern thinker has given us a material that looks pleasant, is made from recycled materials, and can be used to produce any number of pieces of furniture or other functional items. The oil is formed into a resin which hardens around the leaves, and as it dries to transparent the leaves remain visible as a solidified mulch which still holds its golden colour.
By using a basic and minimal tubular steel frame, the chair is able to show off its textures and hues to the full extent. Kern hopes the biodegradable furniture will be a prototype for many more items in the future, as he masters the technique he hopes to bring a new viable material onto the market. Let's hope it catches on and we can stop making those ghastly plastic chairs.
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