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Monumental: The Reimagined World of Kevin O’Callaghan

03 May

MonumentalAn M16 transformed into a teddy bear.  A phone booth that finds new life as a fallout shelter.  A typewriter that has a waffle press on its keyboard.  A car that has become a working telephone.

These are just a few of the projects pictured in this book covering the artistic vision of Kevin O’Callaghan.  O’Callaghan teaches a 3D art course at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  Many of his class projects become exhibitions in large New York venues, or even go on tour throughout the country.  This is the kind of book you can open at any page or read cover to cover, finding extraordinary creations on every page.

Some of the collections include: “Yugo Next”, where students took one of the least successful cars ever made and gave it new life; “Horsepower”, which reinvents the buggy for use in the modern world; “Disarm”, which pulls the most common and deadly assault rifle into non-violent contexts; and “Off Roading”, where a gas-guzzling pickup truck is dismantled and turned into apartment furnishings.

O’Callaghan’s focus is on reusing and repurposing obsolete technology.  Thus he works with typewriters, buggies, phone booths, and more, pulling them from obscurity to give them new life.  His students’ execution of his visions are amusing and thought-provoking.  The scope of some of these projects is almost hard to fathom for mere mortals like myself.  His drive is not merely aesthetic, though.  On top of making something new out of old, forgotten objects, O’Callaghan stipulates that the updated design must be functional.  You want to make a pair of headphones out of two cars?  Great, but it needs to be able to actually play music.  A washer/dryer made out of the roof of a pickup truck needs to actually get your clothes clean (and dry).

I don’t read a lot of art books, but I picked this one up while moving the art section during liquidation and found I just could not put it down.  If you like to be amazed and entertained by creative genius and truly monumental art, find yourself a copy today.  (Note: A certain well-known Internet retailer has had it at a deep discount for the past few days.)

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