Sue Webster and Tim Noble

February 28, 2008

While I’m luckily surrounded by beautiful jewelry nearly every day, I’m not always able to get out and see as much art as I’d like to. That’s why I was thrilled to be able to spend some time this week with British artists Sue Webster and Tim Noble while they are in town unveiling an installation at Rockefeller Center. (I was introduced by Stephen Webster, my good friend and rock-and-roll jewelry royalty, who is not related to Sue.)

Webster and Noble, if you didn’t know, are two of the most celebrated artists of their generation. They attended art school together, and have been collaborating in work and life for nearly 20 years. Their projects are diverse, but are often alike in using found objects and humble, everyday products to create extraordinary works. My favorite of their projects are those made from discarded trash, then expertly lit with cheap lightbulbs to project gorgeous, detailed silhouettes on the wall, often of the artists themselves. (See above. The top piece, called Dirty White Trash, is actually the artists’ own rubbish collected over six months. Definitely commentary on the wasteful consumerism of today, the work also shows how something ugly can be turned into something beautiful.)
Their work has been displayed at the Guggenheim, the Tate Modern, and nearly everywhere in between. Now, they’ve collaborated on a public art piece that is currently up and running in Rockefeller Plaza called the Electric Fountain. Created from steel and a huge supply of LED lights, the piece aims to look like running water in the middle of the most urban of jungles. 
Also, running through March 29, their work can be seen at Deitch Projects in Soho. A fantastic installation called Polymorphous Perverse (first seen at the Freud Museum in London) is an odd jumble of wires, machines and doll parts that have a life of their own. I highly recommend checking both out if you’re in town over the next month. 
If you need an art fix in your own home, I would immediately click over to this great piece by Helen Frankenthaler that’s currently up for auction. I am a huge fan of this NYC-born artist who is known for creating the Colorist Field movement of painting. The limited edition etching, aquatint, stencil and mezzotint called “Untitled: A Book from Page III” is from 1997 and perfectly embodies her abstract yet detailed style of painting. (I actually use her Grey Fireworks, c. 2000, as my computer wallpaper.)
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