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At the end of June, DABS MYLA, a couple/artist collaborative best known for their large-scale street art, unveiled their largest project in New York, “New Cosmic.” The project, which is housed in the headquarters of the Viacom building in Times Square, is a highly interactive installation that invites all to enjoy its psychedelic intricacies. It’s all part of an exciting new venture by Viacom, aptly titled “Art at Viacom,” which reflects their interesting foray into the art world.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, DABS MYLA moved to Los Angeles in 2009 after a kismet visit that left the couple feeling inspired by the landscape and energy that the West coast had to offer. Since then, the two have worked around the clock on various projects worldwide, including a massive takeover of a warehouse in LA where they painted the entire building (inside and out) in a mural. According to the artists they have “never been apart for more than a few hours.”
In their latest work, “New Cosmic,” the couple took aesthetic and conceptual cue from two trips on opposite ends of the world—India’s astrological landmark Jantar Mantar and the Mojave desert’s Joshua Tree Integration, a mysterious place that was built in the 1950s to harness geomagnetic energy for the purpose of time travel. Yes, time travel.
These meditative trips left a great impact and inspiration on the style of their new body of work, which had a way of influencing them even before they arrived at their destinations. According to DABS MYLA, before visiting Jantar Mantar they had already drafted sketches for “New Cosmic,” which eerily resembled the shape of the angular, stair-flanked structure.
Upon entering the Viacom building, you are first met with a digital screen hanging above the entrance, which features DABS MYLA’s first-ever animation on a loop. The animation immediately references the playful symbols that the couple has become most known for over the years, which pull from Golden Age animation from the 1930s-60s.
Inside of the building hanging above the rotating doors are expertly printed cloth banners made in collaboration with the high-end modern design furnisher, Modernica, who fabricated most of the objects within the installation. The banners are a continued nod to their older work seemingly bringing visitors up to speed on the couple’s signature style.
Coming up the escalator towards the visitor center, a former white-box space has been transformed into a trippy colorful interior decked out with various hand-painted sculptures and special edition objects and furniture. A large freestanding staircase in the center of the space has been furnished with tchotchkes one might find in a suburban home such as planter pots with cacti, decorative wooden blocks, board games, records, light fixtures, and more. Each object, including the album covers and books that stand on a nearby custom-made shelf, have been hand-painted by the couple with touches of astrological and Eastern philosophical symbolism to visually unify energy of the installation.
Heading further inside of the lobby one is immersed into the most literal nods to the couple’s trips to Jantar Mantar and The Joshua Tree Integration. A “livable” installation sits in front of the backdrop of a painted desert; cartoonish depictions of a desert night sky wraps around a fabricated wall where two zodiac wheels sit, each with a box of fortunes underneath for a visitor in pursuit of a personal forecast for the day. This area of the show strongly reflects Modernica’s involvement by way of custom-made chaise lounges, end tables, and a small sound-proofed tee-pee that beckons visitors to come inside and listen to a mix that plays on a retro cassette player. This audio is paired with visuals of the duo’s playful animations.
After experiencing “New Cosmic,” you get a sense of what fuels DABS MYLA as artists right down to the music that they listen to and the books that they read, which are all sprinkled throughout this colorful installation. “We love to build spaces where people can step into our world,” explain the couple.