BEST OF 2012: Art & Design

As the year comes to a close we take a look back at some of the art and design that made 2012 a feast for our senses. The art world is continuously expanding onto new galleries, pop up spaces, and museums, and in it’s most accessible forms through street/graffiti art around us, as well as in print and digitally from those of us who cover it. The endless amount of great work and coverage kept us busy this year and left us with some great memories. The following are our selections for Best of 2012 in their respective categories.

Outdoor/Graffiti/Street Art

JR/Liu Bolin

JR/Liu Bolin. Liu Bolin typically photographs himself blending into scenes. For this work, he blends JR into a photo of himself which JR pastes in his typical style. Layers upon layers of collaboration, in process and concept. We see you JR, sort of.

Judith Supine/Jesse Hazelip

The addition of Jesse Hazelip‘s tattoo drawings on the Judith Supine figures gave the work an extra kick to make us do double takes. While kids should not sport make up, in our opinion, we think it’s perfectly O.K. if they have two mouths and purple glowing sperm hair. Clearly this green creature is also old enough to sport face tattoos. You can catch the scary creatures in and around Williamsburg, Brooklyn… and Judith Supine’s characters as well.

Mural at 4560 Urban Art Meeting SB, The Weird

German and Austrian artists FRAU ISA, DXTR, CONE, LOOK, VIDÀM, NYCHOS, ROOKIE, HRVB, QBRK and NERD are Weird Crew. They have been making the rounds as a collective since 2011. We hope they continue to make a splash in Europe and the rest of the world. We will always look forward to their Ren & Stimpy world meets Disney on a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style bender meets the apocalypse in well put together compositions. Any departures from these series would probably still leave them on high ground.

Song 1, Dough Aitken

Doug Aitken‘s Song 1 changed the light and sound on the National Mall in Washington DC. The video installation, projected unto the circular walls of the Hirshorn Museum, gives us snippets of urban life paired with interpretations of the Flamingo’s song I only Have Eyes For You, by artists such as Beck, No Age, Devendra Banhart, and others.  The looping video is meant to create a landscape out of the song in many forms.

I Love NY, Takeshi Miyakawa

Takeshi Miyakawa made headlines when he was arrested and accused of terrorism after being caught placing these light sculptures during Design Week. The Brooklyn furniture designer was later released pending a psychiatric evaluation. The charges where later dropped but the warning to all street artists was clear: Get permission or face prison and/or the nut house.


Drawing with Light, Uta Barth

Recent McArthur fellow Uta Barth takes photographs. She hopes they get us thinking about the process of formulating ideas about what we think we see. She attempts to get us to let go of what we are looking at and really think about what we think about. It’s a hard concept to practice. We’ve been trying since she said it was the thing to do.

F*CK Art (Museum of Sex, NY, NY) Detail of Patch Whisky installation

The F*ck Art exhibit at the Museum of Sex in New York, NY was one of our favorite exhibitions to get inside of. It featured many prominent street/graf artists including Patch Whiskey, DROID, Gen 2, OZE 108, Dick Chicken, and LUSH. Artists were free to depict the fun, scary, gross, and every other aspect of human sexuality.

How and NOSM

How and NOSM give us this glimpse into their universe in three dimensions in this installation in Norway. We’d love to see this concept go further and see entire 3 dimensional rooms done in their style. We’d also like to commend the brothers on their recent installation flanking either side of the huge Vhils piece in Wynwood during Art Basel. It’s one of our favorite new pieces.



Ordos Art Museum, Beijing, China, MAD Architects

Chinese firm MAD Architects invoke the words of Chairman Mao, my dad’s hero in his adolescence, when describing the larger goal of creation, with a clean sheet of paper. They do this with their new building on a site on the Gobi Desert. And not only is the structure new, but so are the forms and concepts behind the Ordos museum. This museum, not a park, nor shopping center, nor municipal building, will serve as the nucleus of the newly relocating town of Ordos. We hope this central location motivates the residents to always engage with culture, and to make it a central and essential part in their lives.

Perot Museum, Dallas, Texas, Morphosis

Morphosis created this vehicle for understanding the intricacies of science and nature. As our environment arouses our curious nature, so does the Perot Museum. With these themes in mind Morphosis uses native and artificial materials molded in bold geometric forms intersecting one another the way ideas and theories do. We also appreciate Morphosis’ commitment to green building technology used to create this museum and future projects on thier boards, like the upcoming Cornell University project on Roosvelt Island.

Hill on a House, Tokyo, Japan, Yuko Nagayama

Yuko Nagayama was tasked with bringing in light and maintaining privacy in this residence that she calls Hill on a House. She accomplishes this by employing glass walls that are set back to shield the homeowners from the traffic and people below. White walls serve as reflectors to bring in optimal amounts of daylight into the spaces, and the concrete wall in front of it helps maintain the homeowner’s privacy.



Manhattan Apartment, David Hotson, Images from Interior Design Magazine

David Hotson created this whimsical and elegant apartment with all of the trimmings for the kid inside all of us. The central structural post serves as a climbing wall, with a harness attached. There is a three level chrome slide that swirls through the apartment, angular walls, a glass and bright floral patterned “nest” loft area, and artwork with dishes. The kids and adults that commissioned this penthouse are lucky to call this fun place home.



MCA Chicago Exhibit, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec are French interior and product designers known for their furniture, lighting, and sculptural fabric pieces among other things. They currently produce furniture and products for Vitra, Kvadrat, Magis, Kartell, Established and Sons, Ligne Roset, Axor, Alessi, Issey Miyake, Cappellini, Mattiazzi and lighting for Flos. The exhibit at MCA Chicago showcased their many talents. The two have worked together for over 10 years.

Bloom – The Game

Bloom designed the unique shape that links to others like it. You can create sculpture, furniture, tunnels, or an environment. Many things are possible.


Communication Design

Melt (Young Magic album cover), Leif Podhajsky

Leif Podhajsky‘s client list include the bands Foals, Tame Impala, Lykke Li and others. On album covers, he works with artists that he listens to. It’s an ideal situation when the clients inspire the work. He uses mirrored, distorted, patterened, shaped, concentric perspectives, all in various combinations of those. His scarves, which are wearable prints of his work, are pretty dope too. (friends and fam, secret santas, hint hint)

Blind Barber Website, Gin Lane Media

Gin Lane Media has been creating sophisticated, unpretentious web environments, and other graphic services for clients such as NYCs The Blind Barber, J. Crew, Stella McCartney and Adidas. Their attention to detail and hand crafted logos and designs create solid brand identities for their clients. They make the new look established, and the simple seem far from boring.


Selections made by Raymond Herrera and Liz Belfer. What are some of your favorites, and other sub-categories you’d like to see included? Follow @couchsessionsart and @couchsessions on instagram.