Consumer Union Includes ANDREA Air Purifier on its Loser List

Its inventors call the ANDREA Air Purifier “an innovation in ecological living through plant-based air purification.” The Air Purifier is the “first award-winning air filter capable of absorbing toxic gases, such as formaldehyde, from home and office environments through the natural absorptive and metabolic properties of living plants.”

The ANDREA could be described as a plastic bubble that houses a plant, and into which air is drawn, purified by the plant and then pushed back out. Consumers can purchase an ANDREA at Home Depot for $199 and it has been featured on Popular Science’s website but now Consumers Union, publishers of ShopSmart, are including the air purifier in their Loser List of 22 products not to buy in their January 2011 issue. via Yahoo!.

ANDREA Air Purifier
ANDREA Air Purifier Technology, courtesy of

Trees Run on Dunkin’?

This gift card case that I picked up at Dunkin’ Donuts this summer would seem to indicate that Dunkin’ Donuts believes their slogan America Runs on Dunkin’ has extended to Trees Run on Dunkin’, or that America=Tree.

There is a slight chance that these gift card cases were overstock from last Christmas (Christmas Trees Run on Dunkin’ or Christmas Runs on Dunkin’?) and simply remained out on the shelf… but that would collapse Dunkin’ Donuts’ grand vision of ecologically diverse coffee dependence and deprive us of these ambitious, yet feasible slogans under the world dependence model:

Forests Run on Dunkin’
Paper Mills Run on Dunkin’
USPS Runs on Dunkin’
Junk Mail Runs on Dunkin’
Landfills Run on Dunkin’
(as a bonus to artists and crafters, we could also add: Papier-mâché Runs on Dunkin’)

Easthampton Welcomes Christmas Toss World Championships

Small in scale compared to the Olympics, perhaps. But grand is the first word that comes to mind when describing this past weekend’s first ever Christmas Tree Toss World Championships.

Flying Christmas Tree

Chris Manzione

The Institute for Aesthletics did a fantastic job organizing this event. We enjoyed blue skies and splendid crashing ocean waves following on the tail of Hurricane Hannah. Many Christmas trees were tossed, fewer planted themselves successfully in the windswept beach, but all were appreciative of their new life as aesthletic paraphernalia.

Tom Russotti

We identified a record throw of 85 feet, which is no small hurdle for next year’s competition, the 2009 Christmas Tree Toss Championships. If you would like to participate in next year’s competition, contact 7,000 Evergreens or the Institute for Aesthletics

Until then, hone your Christmas tree toss.

Artificial Grass Carpeting Goes Hip

FLOR has a new Astroturf alternative for hip homeowners called Green Acres. Highlights from the company’s product description include, “Grass on steroids,” “a modular lawn party,” “pleasantly scratchy like stiff lawn,” “summer fun in a box,” “the perfect antidote for city dwellers suffering from lawn deprivation,”

This is maybe the most polypropylene Eden you can find in 19.7″ square.

FLOR Green Acres Indoor Artificial Grass

Frederick Law Olmsted Obsures The Inaesthetic

Robert Fishman’s 1987 book, Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbiaaddresses the monumental act of designing and planning for the planting of several thousand trees in the suburb of Riverside, Illinois: 7,000 evergreens, 32,000 deciduous trees, and 47,000 shrubs to be exact.

The brain behind the plan for this monumental planting was Frederick Law Olmsted, who is best known for his design of Central Park in 1858 for which more than 4 million trees, shrubs and plants were imported by 1873 into the middle of New York City from the surrounding area.

Olmsted began his designs for the suburb of Riverside, Illinois in 1868, tens years after Central Park, at the request of the businessman E.E. Childs.Fishman notes that Childs, “had acquired a featureless 1,600 acre tract of Midwest prairie – ‘low, flat, miry, and forlorn,’ Olmsted called it – relieved only by the Des Plaines River and by the tracks of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad, which ran to Chicago some nine miles away. As with Central Park, Olmsted had no ready-made picturesque features to work with. Design alone had to create both the landscape and the community.”[Fishman, 129]

Official Website Header for Riverside, Illinois
Photos highlighting the community of Riverside on the official Riverside website
Continue reading Frederick Law Olmsted Obsures The Inaesthetic

Deborah Kass: ‘take that stuff off your face before your mother sees you’

feel good paintings for feel bad times
Paul Kasmin Gallery – Sept 7-Oct 13

Deborah Kass - Daddy
Daddy, 2007

Looking at Deborah Kass’ recent paintings is like a Sunday afternoon drive through the last half century of American painting. Kass describes her recent work as ‘nostalgic, longing for post-war high times, when anything was possible.’ Each painting headlines a brassy phrase grabbed from Broadway, popular movies, music and Yiddish, with a supporting cast of bold colors, shapes and fonts. Kass ‘ recent series feel good paintings for feel bad times follows her acclaimed Warhol Project of the 1990’s in which she preempted Andy Warhol’s signature silk screening into personalized mementos.

Kass’ new paintings ache for recognition and put everything up front for the taking like all the wannabe actors in A Chorus Line screaming DADDY I WOULD LOVE TO DANCE! If you fancy paintings, you might even find yourself a little randy standing in front of these sexy squares. But despite the staccato smears over the stencil edges, which breaks up the otherwise perfected hard edge and glossy aesthetic in a piece like Mighty Real, the longer you look at these paintings, the less they reveal. It can leave one feeling a bit cheated.

An uncharacteristically bashful painting amongst Kass’ glitz is the cartoony Hard To Be a Jew. The title hearkens back to an ancient Yiddish saying and to the play written by Sholom Aleichem in the early twentieth century, in which two boys, one Jew, one not, exchange identities in Czarist Russia. In 1983 the play experienced a revival in New York, if not to the popular appeal of Dirty Dancing or Sylvester’s Do Ya Wanna Funk.

In the 90’s Kass all but deflated the whoopee cushion of Warhol’s gender ambivalence, getting audiences to laugh at the noise. The joke for Kass this time around is that we don’t take Sunday drives anymore, in fact America doesn’t believe in Sunday. And it’s not hard to be a Jew, it’s hard to be a Muslim.

Deborah Kass - Hard To Be a Jew
Hard To Be a Jew, 2003

Plastic and Paper

In the last three years I have focused on surface as an essential element of my art, experimenting with volume and texture of the material itself. I have made my own paper, combined paper and plaster, worked with collage and simultaneously experimented with imagery, moving back and forth between representation and abstraction.

Handmade paper has become a sculptural material. I can manipulate hills and valleys, craters and crevices, large or small. Paper absorbs and changes the properties of the material I apply to it. At times, imagery grows out of the surface of the handmade paper. When I work with my handmade paper, I am ever fascinated by the textures, colors, absorption qualities and form that it takes. My paper has become a starting point for me. It is the geography in which to work.

I have applied acrylic paints extensively to this geography. Acrylics are absorbed by the handmade paper and often dry with an appearance similar to gouache. Acrylic paint’s quick drying time allows me to build the surface of my paintings with washes as well as impasto layers. I mix much of my paint directly on the surface of the painting from wet pools of paint that I have layered onto the paper. I was pleased to find that through this process I could unearth colors and layers, discovering fortuitous relationships that present themselves like patterns in nature.

I use the qualities of synthetic and natural materials to investigate relationships between the natural world and the built environment. I often work with handmade paper and acrylic paint, but I also incorporate other conventional and unconventional processes and materials. Printmaking and drawing feature in much of my work. I have used silicone, cat tails, foam insulation, and blue jeans to reach the conceptual realization of pieces.

I have focused on retaining the physicality of the surface and finding meaning in my materials while investigating qualities of color, light, place, and experience.


Land development along the Coosawattee River and within the Coosawattee River Resort has blossomed within the past several years, bringing increased road building and second home/cabin construction on small lots. The first indication of progress is the red dirt road and the power lines that sag in the Georgia summer.

The land is incised upon to reveal its red earth, it is conquered by wheeled vehicle, restricted in corridors by telephone poles, power lines, and fencing, and yet, by virtue of geography and the tenacity of its foliage, it becomes a dynamic powerful force against and between the elements of development.

The image’s surface is the parceled landscape.