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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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Nikola Bradonjic
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Design
5 Wacky Ideas to Redesign the Skateboard
Design by Karim Rashid
Design by Karim Rashid
Nikola Bradonjic

Most skateboards come in a few basic shapes. They may be different widths or lengths, have kicktails or flat noses, or different imagery painted on their decks, but for the average rider, they look fairly similar. That’s not the case with the skateboard decks below, created as part of a competition during NYCxDESIGN, an annual New York City design festival.

For a competition called DeckxDesign, the award-winning design firm frog asked a group of notable branding agencies, artists, product designers, and other creative professionals to reimagine the humble skateboard.

This is the second NYCxDesign competition frog has hosted—in 2017, the agency asked designers to reimagine the dart board.

This time, individual designers like Karim Rashid and groups from firms like MakerBot, Motivate (the company behind bike sharing systems like Citi Bike), and frog itself came up with new ways to skate. There were no rules, just the simple prompt: Design a skateboard.

The results included a piece of furniture, a repurposed Citi Bike tube on wheels, a board covered in greenery, one covered in black faux alpaca hair, a skateboard made from recycled trash, and more. Below are some of the most unusual.

A white table that looks like a skateboard
Design by Aruliden
Nikola Bradonjic

A recycled piece of a Citi Bike on wheels
Design by Citi Bike/Motivate
Nikola Bradonjic

A wavy skateboard with purple, spherical wheels
Design by Karim Rashid
Nikola Bradonjic

A skateboard covered in faux alpaca fiber
Design by Staple Design
Nikola Bradonjic

A skateboard covered in mounds of greenery
Design by XY Feng & Jung Soo Park
Nikola Bradonjic

All of the skateboards created for the competition were later auctioned off to benefit the New York City-based nonprofit Art Start.

All images by Nikola Brandonjic

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Art
Google Launches World's Largest Digital Collection of Frida Kahlo Artifacts
YouTube
YouTube

Fans of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo have a lot of new material to sift through, thanks to Google’s launch of the largest-ever digital exhibition of artworks and artifacts related to the painter. As reported by Forbes, the “Faces of Frida” retrospective and its 800-item collection were the result of a collaboration between the Google Arts & Culture platform and 33 museums around the world.

A screenshot of Google's digital archive of Frida Kahlo artworks
YouTube

Visitors to the website can peruse rare artworks from private collections that had never been digitized until now, including View of New York, a sketch Kahlo made in 1932 while staying at the former Barbizon-Plaza Hotel. There are also personal photographs of Kahlo, as well as letters and journal entries that she penned.

Using Street View, you can even see inside the “Blue House” where she lived in Mexico City. Another feature lets visitors zoom in on high-resolution paintings, which were created using Google’s Art Camera, according to designboom.

For Google executives, the decision to celebrate the life and work of Kahlo was a no-brainer. “Frida's name kept coming up as a top contender when we started to think of what artist would be the best to feature in a retrospective,” Jesús Garcia, Google's head of Hispanic communications, told Forbes. “There's so much of her that was not known and could still be explored from an artistic perspective and life experience.”

An original artwork by multimedia artist Alexa Meade was specially commissioned for “Faces of Frida.” Photographer Cristina Kahlo, Kahlo’s great-niece, aided in the process. Check out the video below to see how she brought Kahlo's artwork to life in a living, breathing painting.

[h/t Forbes]

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