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OPEN 24 JAN until 18 APRIL

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery



SINGING FOR CUP THOUGHTS in Swedish & English Nicola Atkinson Does Fly & Anders Rane. DOWNLOAD SONG SHEET HERE




Around the social institution of taking coffee, the public artwork Cup Thoughts by Nicola Atkinson Does Fly brings people together in two very separate places, Los Angeles, USA and Lidköping, Sweden. The project focuses on big and small actions within the larger contexts of community and dialogue - all symbolized by the single cup of coffee. It involves the exchange of both physical objects and intangible ideas; it is about conversations and intersections that occur on both a local and a global scale.

Nicola discovered in Sweden the ‘Fika’, which is the social institution of taking coffee. It is about taking a break or pausing from one’s daily activities through sharing coffee and cake with colleagues, friends and family.The starting point of Cup Thoughts is a simple question – how do we take our coffee? Do we have it ‘to go’ as we pursue our busy lives or do we prefer to take a break and engage in a more socialized ritual. What if we took a proper break with our work fellows for ten minutes everyday? What if we detached ourselves from our computers, iphones and Blackberries? How much more productive and creative would we be together? This art project sets out to discover the effects of the ‘Fika’ on people and their work environment.

Taking a simple, very human ritual having a coffee break, Nicola transforms it into an opportunity for discovery and dialogue, not only between Lidköping and Los Angeles but also between its people and their everyday, interesting lives. The project uses modest means to reach into the intimate patterns of life, using the connections between individuals to reflect on the nature of collaboration and sharing. It brings art directly into the lives of its participants and it offers a model for future collaborative projects.

The Cup Thoughts artwork is taking place over two years. The first fika event took place in Lidköping on 15 August 2009 with 101 people as part of the Cultural and Porcelain Festival in the Rorstrand Center. For the second, Nicola has created the Fika Shop in the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, located on Olive Hill next to Frank Lloyd Wright, Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park. Starting on 7th February 2010, one can enjoy strong coffee and Nicola’s ‘nadfly cardamom cake’, a recipe created especially for her artwork. This will be the first time since the Art Gallery was founded in 1927 that the public can purchase coffee & cake. Cup Thoughts is part of the exhibition Actions, Conversations, and Intersections, running from 24th January until 18th April 2010, with the main opening of the exhibition on 31st January 2010.

Lidköping, Sweden

The Lidköping Cup Thoughts event in 2009 provided coffee & cake for the 101 people it brought together for a Fika. Hand thrown ceramic cups and plates were used that had been designed and produced by Nicola in the Rorstrand Center, the ceramic centre for contemporary design and production, located in the historic Rorstrand factory. Nicola places the drawings of her 1947 Swedish house on the cup and her garage on the plate to create a bird’s eye view of her plot. This was an intimate location to be while enjoying the conversation with others.

To open the Cup Thoughts event, Nicola and Anders Rane performed in English & Swedish Nicola’s song ‘Sweet Cake’, a love song to a Swedish cake. The placemats contained the words and music, which enabled people to sing along.

The participants in Lidköping were asked to think of a person in Los Angeles whom they would like to drink and eat from the same coffee cup & plate (after washing of course). Some of the participants wanted a person in Los Angeles just like themselves, imagining what it might to be like to be there, while others were quite particular: a male vegan with a beautiful mustache, a social psychologist, a jazz musician, an environmentalist, a fisherman, a music therapist. Many were just open to someone new and unknown. As might be expected, she did receive four requests for famous people: Clint Eastwood, Sam Elliot, Sam Harris and Kat von D.

In December 2009, Nicola continued her exchange with Lidköping by creating 101 wee solid silver cups (wax-cast) necklace, as a memento of their involvement in the artwork and linking them with the Los Angeles participants and the idea of scale.

Los Angeles, USA.

Nicola felt that the best way to share the ideas of Cup Thoughts with Los Angeles was to create a Fika Shop (a coffee house & shop). The coffee house and shop has traditionally been placed in art museums and art institutions to provide additional funding for the art institution, subsequently being a place to promote the exchange of ideas and conversation. So why not use the same model for an individual artwork and artist?

The NADFLY FIKA SHOP has many white curvy shelves, like cake tears or an architecture model of a hillside. Placed on the right shelves are 101 ceramic cups & plates embellished with her Swedish dwelling, on the left shelves are 101 white 12oz paper cups with the ink drawing of her temporary resident in Los Angeles. In the middle are the 13 sugar bowls and milk jugs, coffee and nadfly cardamom cake. The public can use the two high tables in the shape of quarter slices around which you stand. The wall facing is covered with beautiful white pillows, which will invite visitors to take a break and rest against it.

The Items in the NADFLY FIKA SHOP can be purchased starting on Sunday 7 February : the ceramic cup & plate $40; sugar bowl & milk jugs $20 each; the flannel pillows $3 each. These Items must be paid in full before collection at the end of the exhibition on 18th April. Only the NADFLY wee white bronze cups (wax-cast) for $ 20 each, can be taken away on the same day,

Cup Thoughts will have many opportunities for people who are visiting or live in Los Angeles to experience a shared sense of local and global community. A series of events will take place in the NADFLY FIKA SHOP, centered on the shared ritual of coffee, eating nadfly cardamom cake and conversation.

101 Cup Thoughts event is for the 101 invited guests and will be held on Saturday 6th February at 7pm, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery 4804 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90027-5302 - (213) 485-4581. Nicola will perform her song ‘Sweet Cake’ and only this one time the guests will use the ceramic cups & plates, which will otherwise be on display until 18th April.

NADFLY FIKA SHOP - will be open on the weekend 2 – 4pm for coffee & nadfly cardamom cake starting on Sunday 7th February until 18th April. Coffee & cake price is $3. You will drink from the white paper cups with the drawings of Nicola’s temporary resident in Los Angeles. You can keep the paper cup artwork after use

The Cup Thoughts Weekends in Los Angeles will be hosted by the people from the 101 Cup Thoughts event. Each afternoon is limited to 50 coffees. Please arrive on time so as not to be disappointed. Please check this page for more updates.

Cup Thoughts is sponsored by the participants in Lidköping & Los Angeles, individual donations to the NADFLY FIKA SHOP. Funded by the Rörstrand Center, Sweden, NBV, Västra Götalandsregionen, EU funded, Lidköpings kommun, Porslinsfabriken i AB, accents jewelry design and Department of Cultural Affairs, the City of Los Angeles.




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