This past summer may go down as the pinnacle of floating art. The last few months were all about installations drifting upon the open sea, or maybe a freshwater lake. KAWS built a buoyant 90-foot KAWS:HOLIDAY sculpture for Seoul's Seokchon Lake. Christo made the The London Mastaba, a 65-foot tall, 90-foot wide work of 7,506 colorful barrels stacked on Serpentine Lake that was one of the highlights of London’s summer. And, as we cover later in this issue, Tauba Auerbach sailed into nautical history by painting a famous WWI ship with her signature abstract patterns. Maybe something was in the fresh coastal air that compelled such notable names in contemporary art to work on this unique, fluid surface.
It’s invigorating to see so much evolution in the art world, with grand gestures like floating icons, as well as subtle adaptations and experiments in classical mediums like painting and sculpture. For example, JR talks in these pages about how he uses photography as both a means of political activism and installation in a reimagining of the art form. “It’s about creating work in different contexts,” JR notes. “I use the same kind of imagery, but with different context and different forms, in different places. All of this is the continuation of things I started, which reassures me that I’m following one track.” How refreshing and exciting to watch artists like KAWS, JR and Tauba Auerbach continue a narrative throughout their life’s work, and that’s part of the reason art remains as important and popular as ever to even the most casual observer.
These events and projects provide the perfect backdrop to the works and artists we cover in the Fall 2018 issue. We dig deep with an exciting new generation of painters, from Grace Weaver, Cheyenne Julien, Martin Gordopelota and Super Future Kid, to established veterans like Edie Fake and Mark Thomas Gibson, and the Pop Surreal mastery of Todd Schorr. We dive deeper into our founding roots, visiting Juxtapoz originators Robert and Suzanne Williams, whose association with Kustom Kulture and hot rod imagery are synonymous with outsider art, which, in turn, facilitated these new contemporary projects seen on the water around the world. It’s about creating a dialogue that art can be everywhere and anywhere, like the pinstriping legacy that fostered a relationship between art and object, providing a platform where art could be seen and enjoyed. We get excited about these historical threads, mashing them up into one issue to show permutations of underground and pop-culture art.
As we embark upon on our 25th year as a publication, it’s essential to look back, look forward, and celebrate the present and the many fascinating stories happening around the world. Hopefully, in 25 more years, we will be talking about the newest projects in outer space, alongside an oil painter grinding away in their San Francisco studio. Stay tuned. —Evan Pricco