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Courtesy Nadir Catalano and The Ballery
Courtesy Nadir Catalano and The Ballery

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of 'Wannabe' with a Spice Girls Art Exhibition in Berlin

Courtesy Nadir Catalano and The Ballery
Courtesy Nadir Catalano and The Ballery

This summer marked the 20th anniversary of the Girl Power explosion of 1996, when five unstoppable Brits took over the world. And while fans dusted off their copies of Spice World, argued over who was still a Posh or a Scary, and showed off their ability to rattle off the "Wannabe" rap ("So, here’s a story from A to Z …"), one Berlin-based creative decided to prove fandom never ends by commissioning a full exhibit of Spice Girls-influenced pieces.

For five days at The Ballery, a Berlin art space and community gallery, curator Nadir Catalano sought to turn the space into “a collective teen bedroom” of pieces dedicated to the Fab Five. Before commissioning pieces, he considered various directions the exhibition might take. "Should it be a celebration of Girl Power? About the female role in the media? About the '90s aesthetic?" Catalano told mental_floss about his thought process. "But I decided that the only way to do it was to create a celebration for people who were teenagers and fans of the Spice Girls in the '90s. Because no matter what you are doing now, if you were a '90s kid, the Spice Girls had an undeniable influence on you."

The idea for this Spice Girls-centered show started on a whim. Catalano and The Ballery's founder and managing director Simon Williams—who is British—were having drinks in February and discussing their shared love of the group. "I thought it was just a joke," Catalano said of their impromptu planning session, "then after a couple of weeks he wrote me, giving me the dates for the exhibition."

Catalano asked the artists to "jump back in time, go into their teenage bedroom" and remember who they were then and how that has influenced who they've become. One artist, Federica Masini, took a turn on the opening "Wannabe" lyrics, calling her set of five portraits "If You Want My Future, Forget My (Punk) Past" and reimagining each of the women as punk goddesses, sporting Ramones and New York Dolls tees.

Artist Federica Masini's five Spice Girls portraits. // Erika Berlin

Other pieces include artist Rory Midhani's highly Instagrammable, two-wall sketch-drawing of a bedroom covered in Spice Girls posters and memorabilia (complete with cutout Pepsi can and cassette tape props to pose with), and a set of illustrated variations on Baby Spice by Mi Nator, featuring copious amounts of glitter and Lisa Frank stickers.

The Berlin show, "Wannabe 1996-2016: A Spice Girls Art Exhibition" runs through August 16, though Catalano says that he would love to expand it and take the show to London. We think that's something the UK would really, really want.

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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