The Red Penguin:
21c co-founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson discovered the Red Penguin at the 2005 Venice Biennale when they were installed across the city in conjunction with the celebrated international exhibition of contemporary. Laura Lee and Steve brought the red flock home, where they were included in the inaugural exhibition at 21c Louisville, Hybridity. Guests and visitors fell in love with the red penguins, prompting 21c to keep them on permanent view and to commission new penguins in a spectrum of colors for all 21c locations. Founders Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown divulge the history of the Red Penguin during this video on the history of 21c.
Story of Cracking Art:
Cracking Art was founded in 1993 by seven artists: Alex Angi, Kicco, Renzo Nucara, Carlo Rizzeti, Omar Ronda, Marco Veronese and William Sweetlove. They have exhibited widely throughout Europe and first exhibited at 21c Museum Louisville in 2006.
“We have sought the origins of life in the earth’s oldest natural material, that is petroleum. A black, dense liquid disgorging from the warm womb of Mother Earth, and the natural repository of the planet’s entire history of organic life-forms, from its origins to the present day. We have studied the technique known as ‘cracking,’ which breaks up this natural magma into a series of synthetic, artificial derivative products. We have discovered plastic, the most modern and extraordinary element that any artist can manipulate.
We use objects and shapes in plastic that evoke or simulate nature, so as to reinstate petroleum’s ancient, primary forms of life and imagery. This means turning life back in its tracks, as a way of finding the poetical voice and soul of art in the material itself.”
“The group has chosen to express itself in atypical fashion through irony. After all, is learning not best accomplished when it is fun?”
Manifesto for the Third Millennium
Biella, Italy, 30 May 1993
The Philosophical Project of Cracking Art Group
- We want to change the codes for the art of the future.
- Art is as important as our own life.
- We are men of the present and want our work to interpret contemporary problems.
- Art and life do not exist without a wholeness of nature.
- Art and culture are the only possible saviours of the world and humanity.
- We have chosen ‘Cracking’ for our work as it shows the molecular fission between natural and artificial.
- Our elected material is ‘plastic’, containing the whole experience of the planet, natural / artificial, ancient / future, and in which we seek the archaic anthropological, vegetable and animal origins, in order to build a new kind of iconography.
- We are enemies of hypocrisy, conspiracy and suspicion.
- We fight for the defense of nature and man with all our force.
- We want to leave behind a better world than the one we found.
*Cracking Art: Nascita di un’avanguardia. Milan: Mazzatta, 2005 is a comprehensive catalogue of Cracking Art Group up to 2005 and is available at the 21c Museum Shop.