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Art Lovers: Urine for An Unusual Sight

Art you can use…if you dare! The most interesting thing about this 2005 installation is that it was a fully functional facility, “open to both sexes.” Thanks to Brian Banks for alerting us to American Standard by Vancouver, Canada artist Reece Terris. (Matchmaking opportunity! Reece, there may be a perfect-fit project waiting for you in Toronto!)

From the artist’s website www.reeceterris.com,

American Standard is an installation that featured fifteen functional urinals arranged in a pyramid formation on the wall of the men’s washroom in the Alexander Centre studio at Simon Fraser University.  Transforming the facility into a public indoor fountain, water overflowed from the uppermost urinal and splashed its way down through the formation creating a deluge of water flooding the sunken floor. Visitors enter the space via tiled stepping stones, providing access directly to the sink and preexisting toilet, leaving the facility fully functional and open to both sexes.

At the same page, don’t miss the embedded video which includes the installation in action; this does the work far better justice than these still photos.)

Goon Idea for Canadian Toilet Reuse!

(Note: that’s not a typo!) A tweet this week from World Toilet Day (@worldtoiletday) sought some group-think ideas on toilet reuse. Not toilet-to-tap recycled water, but actual toilets!

And yes, I did have a suggestion: head-snapping, thought-provoking public artwork similar to this too-odd-to-describe installation in China! So, get ready, Toronto, and visionary Canadian artists, please step forward!

Photos are via www.halohalo.ph, self-described as “The Funniest Filipino Blog.” They live up to their description with this hysterical commentary on the sculpture:

Thousand of toilet sculpture in China. I’m not surprise when i saw this sculpture because everybody knows that Chinese people are goon on this.

Drought Mneumonic Monument

In the unlikey event that local citizens forget, a public sculpture was erected in Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea, as a reminder of the hardship and pain of drought and water shortages and the continuing need to conserve. From BaboMike on Flickr is this photo of the Taebaek Water Monument, which was

“…erected earlier this year as a reminder of last winters drought. We were on strict water rationing for a few months, allowed only 1 or 2 hours of water per day. The monument is created out of old plastic water bottles.”

Water Monument, Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea

Detail: Water Monument, Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea

I’m Holding My Breath for this New Museum

Jason deCaires Taylor (via www.underwatersculpture.com)

Jason deCaires Taylor (via www.underwatersculpture.com)

Soon, Cancun may be noted for something more than Spring break underage drinkers. A national park in Cancun will soon feature sculptures of human figures situated in the seabed, with the first four “going down” this month. These are the beginning of what will eventually be hundreds of figures in “the worlds largest underwater museum.” From BBC News on November 19th,

According to the park’s director Jaime Gonzalez, one of the aims is to reduce the pressure on the natural habitat in other areas of the park by luring tourists away from existing coral reef, which has suffered damage from hurricanes and human activity.

One of the sculptures is La Jardinera de la Esperanza (The Gardener of Hope). It features a young girl lying on a garden patio, surrounded by potted plants. When it is installed four meters below the surface, the work will include propagated coral in the empty pots. This well-established reef conservation technique will rescue damaged coral fragments by providing a suitable new substrate. The base incorporates habitat spaces for other marine creatures such as moray eels, small fish and lobsters.

“It all happens rather quickly – within two weeks, we will see green algae,” says artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who is in charge of the project. “Then within a few months, juvenile algae will appear and the project will progress from there.”

La Jardinera (photo: Dr. Jessie Voights, www.wanderingeducators.com)

La Jardinera de la Esperanza (photo: Dr. Jessie Voights, www.wanderingeducators.com)

The BBC article also included this observation from Dr. Paul Jepson, a lecturer in conservation at the UK’s University of Oxford, who applauded the idea of the museum.

“Conservationists need to find different ways of engaging with the world. Artists should get involved in environmental matters so it is not just scientists trying to get the message out there,” he said.

And I wholeheartedly applaud that. In fact, that why I write about “Water and Art” and exactly why it matters.

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Detail, Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Detail, Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies (via trendhunter.com)

Chihuly Loves Water, We Love Chihuly

There’s something about Dale Chihuly’s celebrated work that leaves a lasting impression on many people, even those who don’t normally feel a connection with contemporary “art.”  Could it be something in the water? Chihuly states,

“I love to be around water. There is no doubt in my mind that water is conducive to thought. Water allows me to be incredibly creative. The connections between glass and water are so unbelievable and so visual.”

Thirsty in Suburbia intern Virginia Leonard took these photos on a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis this summer. For part of 2006, Chihuly’s “Glass in the Garden” installation here featured stunning  sculptures placed throughout the garden. Following that, several pieces (including Walla Walla and Sunset Herons, shown here) were purchased to remain at the gardens permanently where they continued to leave an lasting impression on visitors.

For more inspiration, see the the phenomenal water gallery at chihuly.com.

Missouri Botanical Garden: The Reflecting Pools and The Climatron (1960) the world's first geodesic dome greenhouse.

"Walla Walla" installation

"Walla Walla", closer: fantastic interplay of shape, light and color.

"Sunset Herons" are displayed inside the Climatron.

"Sunset Herons" are displayed inside the Climatron.

Create, Destroy, Repeat: A Natural Process

How would it feel to spend months creating this, only to see it destroyed by the natural shifts of the seasons? To the artist John Ceprano, it would feel perfectly right that the works are created by man and dismantled by nature.

Every spring and summer since 1986, John Ceprano has created these stunning sculptures rising out of the river bed of the Ottawa River at Remic Rapids in Canada. The sculptures are constructed entirely by hand using heavily fossilized, color-laden rock that is unique to the region. Before the next spring arrives, the sculptures collapse and vanish in the harsh ice and storms of the cold Canadian winter.

And the next spring he begins again. What has motivated him to rebuild and re-create each year for more than two decades? In his own words,

…At that time, I began Transcendental Meditation providing a perception of balance in all things, natural and man made. It is also the guiding process for the rock sculptures: BALANCE, HARMONY AND PEACE. The TAO balances and harmonizes the space so that everything fits together naturally, as if being there forever. Meanwhile, the Buddhist principles allow the “letting go” each winter season when the sculptures are dismantled by the river and ice.

Nice Photos! Photo #1 From RougeEtNoireon Flickriver.com,, Photo #2 from Watawa Life, and Photo #3 from Ullysseson Flickr.