Americantowns, October 30, 2010

Santa Monica Museum Of Art Unveils Wall Works: Zippy’s Nicknacks, Tonics And Magical Gadgets | October 30, 2010

A Public Art Installation Pairing LA Artist Bari Ziperstein with Local Students

Santa Monica – More than a hundred students, teachers, and parents from the Santa Monica-Malibu area gathered at the Santa Monica Museum of Art Wednesday night for the unveiling of the museum’s latest large-scale, public art installation Wall Works: Zippy’s Nicknacks, Tonics, and Magical Gadgets, designed by local artist Bari Ziperstein and created with the work of elementary and high school students.

Wall Works: Bari ZipersteinInspired by Claes Oldenburg’s iconic The Store (1961), Ziperstein’s first public art project transformed an ordinary hallway at Bergamot Station into a site-specific 3-D installation of an imaginary store called Zippy’s Nicknacks, Tonics, and Magical Gadgets. The students designed and created handmade 3-D products constructed with materials–boxes, string, markers, and collaged paper-provided by the museum for free. “Children have the most inventive and imaginative minds. Art taps into that and we are blown away by their creativity, individuality, and enthusiasm,” said Asuka Hisa, the museum’s director of education. “The museum and the Wall Works artist provide an opportunity for all of our ideas to shine.”

These fantasy products solve social issues, cure rainy day blues, and meet our whimsical needs in a delightfully-imagined retail setting. From “Opera Gum” that magically makes every word spoken come out as a song to “The Home Worker” that does all a student’s homework and “Insta-Braces” that eliminate the need to wear the teeth-straightening devices- the students excitedly embraced the art assignment. Other products created included a tonic that makes instant enchiladas, a device to make fussy babies sleep easier, a “backwards talker” to create a secret language, an aging moustache that brings wisdom when worn, and a telescope to see into the future.

“The project was amazing,” said Karen Verham, a fifth grade teacher at Webster Elementary School in Malibu. “We don’t have money for art supplies, so this was especially exciting for the students – and for me. It allowed us to use our imagination and bring art into the classroom in different ways. There were many connections that we made with math, science, art, writing, reading, creating and consumerism.”

“Especially in these economic times, a shift has to happen and we have to collaborate and work together as a community,” said Ziperstein, whose next two public art projects are for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the City of Pasadena. “This has been so fulfilling to work with the students and see their response.”

The installation was designed in collaboration with Minnesota-based architect Wade Ziperstein. The museum made a video with Bari Ziperstein that was given to the schools, along with lesson plans, to explain the project, and supplies were donated. Zippy’s Nicknacks, Tonics, and Magical Gadgets will be on display through January 30, 2011. Developed by Asuka Hisa, director of education at SMMoA, the biannual Wall Works program involves students from Kindergarten through 12th grade in collaborative art-making projects that connect them with important local artists during the academic school year. To date, Wall Works has involved more than 4,000 students, 17 artists, 35 schools in five districts.