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Handpainted Calvin and Hobbes Vans shoes
07.14.2014
10:14 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion

Tags:
Vans
Calvin and Hobbes


 
Sweet Calvin and Hobbes handpainted Vans by Laces Out Studios. It’s not entirely clear on their website how much they are or how to order a pair. I’d message them via their “Contact” and hopefully they’ll respond.


 

 

 
Below, Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill shoes:


 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘The Executive Coloring Book’ is a vicious satire of post-war America (and self-important jerks)
07.11.2014
03:09 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Drugs
History

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The Executive Coloring Book


 
I had a pretty good laugh reading The Executive Coloring Book published in 1961 by Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman, and Martin A. Cohen. Even though this book is well over 50 years old, it’s witty, smart and still kinda… relatable? Who doesn’t want to pop a “pink pill” at the end of the day after working at a dull job? That’s evergreen. Timeless!

According to A Hole in the Head blog:

The early 60’s showed the strain on an America post-war populations that were struggling with the idea that they fought for freedom only to be forced to live in glass buildings and conform to the ‘status quo’. It was the age of The Apartment and The Sweet Smell of Success.

While some of its humor is dated, I got a kick out it. Maybe you will too. You may even want to print out these puppies and color them in all grey…


 

 

 

 

 

 
Read the rest after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Photo series of Americans lying in seven days worth of their own garbage
07.11.2014
06:06 am

Topics:
Art
Environment

Tags:
Gregg Segal


 
7 Days of Garbage could have come off way preachier if the subjects weren’t photographed portrait-style—some of these folks are absolutely working the camera! Households and individuals were shot among a week’s worth of their own garbage, and while the results aren’t really a shock, the fakey-nature sets really drive home the reality that human beings don’t live “outside” of the environment—the trash has to actually go somewhere. As photographer Gregg Segal puts it, “We’ve made our bed and in it we lie.”

It’s worth pointing out that not all garbage is created equal. Biodegradable orange peels aren’t really comparable to a plastic milk jug or used diapers, the latter of which I notice to be conspicuously absent from the pictures featuring a sweet-faced infant or toddler. It’s quite possible those families do cloth diapering (or didn’t feel like bringing clean diapers to the shoot to represent the used ones), but it might be even more interesting to show the sheer bulk of disposable nappies required to keep a baby happy, healthy and clean.

The tragedy in all of this is the fact that our refuse output can’t be solved by conscientious consumerism. Reducing waste will require political intervention and modifying our manufacturing practices. Until that happens, we’re just going to be… kind of filthy. New Yorkers can check out 7 Days of Garbage at The Fence, in Brooklyn.
 

 

 

 
More people and their garbage after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Incredible H.R. Giger bar puts you in the belly of the Xenomorph
07.10.2014
10:34 am

Topics:
Art
Food

Tags:
H.R. Giger

Giger Bar
 
H.R. Giger’s art is among the most recognizable in existence—it’s very easy to identify something he made, and the unbelievable bar attached to the museum dedicated to his work in Gruyères, Switzerland, is no exception. Amazingly, it’s not the only one in existence—at various times four locations have been able to boast a Giger Bar, two in Switzerland (the other one is in Giger’s birthplace, the town of Chur), one in New York City, and one in Tokyo. But the ones in Switzerland are the only ones that are open today.

The New York branch was located in Peter Gatien’s legendary Limelight nightclub in the Chelsea neighborhood, but once it closed in the 1990s, the Giger Bar closed with it. The story of the ill-fated Tokyo version is even more fascinating:
 

A fourth Giger bar was located in Shirokanedai, Tokyo in the late 1980s. Giger dissolved his involvement with this location after facing frustrations with Japanese building codes and with the Japanese company behind the bar, which created the bar after only rough preliminary sketches. Giger had wanted private booths that functioned as individual elevators which traveled up and down the interior four stories of the design. This design was problematic given restrictions caused by earthquake resistant engineering. Giger disowned the Tokyo Giger Bar and never set foot inside. Within a few years, the establishment was out of business.

 
Giger Bar
One of Giger’s sketches for the bar
 
The description of the bar on the museum’s website is suitably Gigerian:
 

The interior of the otherworldly environment that is the H.R. Giger Museum Bar is a cavernous, skeletal structure covered by double arches of vertebrae that crisscross the vaulted ceiling of an ancient castle. The sensation of being in this extraordinary setting recalls the tale of Jonah and the whale, lending the feel of being literally in the belly of a fossilized, prehistoric beast, or that you have been transported into the remains of a mutated future civilization.

 
The Giger Bar is open every day of the week, except that between November and March it is not open on Mondays.
 
Giger Bar
 
Giger Bar
 
Giger Bar
 
Giger Bar
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Otto Dix captures the violence and brutality of war’s front lines in ‘Der Krieg’
07.10.2014
08:24 am

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Art

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Otto Dix


Stormtroopers Advancing Under Gas
 
When World War I broke out, German artist Otto Dix volunteered for the army. He spent three years amidst some of the most horrifying violence imaginable before being discharged a few weeks after the war’s end. He returned home with a nasty case of PTSD and a new artistic motivation, helping to form the progressive, pacifist artists’ collective, the Dresden Secession. In 1923, he debuted The Trench, an anti-war painting so disturbing the museum hid it behind a curtain. The Mayor of Cologne not only backed out of purchasing The Trench, he got the museum director fired for even displaying it.

A year later, he published Der Krieg, a collection of 50 etchings inspired by the war, a sampling of which you see here. The harsh lines and brutal textures exude a violent intensity that seems to accost the viewer. (If you recognize a bit of “gonzo” in the illustrations, you’re picking up on one of Ralph Steadman’s major influences.) Dix was quickly labeled a degenerate artist when the Nazis took power, and over 260 of his paintings were seized—many of them burned. For a long time The Trench was believed to have been among them, but a bill of sale exists from 1940, leaving many with the hope that it may still be rediscovered someday unharmed.

Although Dix was eventually absorbed into the Nazi propaganda machine, (forced to paint properly nationalist landscapes), he secretly continued to paint anti-Nazi art—many pieces were later found in the 2012 Munich artwork discovery. At one point Dix was even arrested under suspicion of trying to assassinate Hitler, but the accusation was spurious and he was released. In a horrible irony, the pacifist Dix was conscripted into the Volkssturm. He was eventually captured by the French, but he was released at war’s end, and lived to see his work like Der Krieg, extolled all over the world.
 

Soldier’s Grave Between the Lines
 

Buried Alive - January 1916, Champagne
 

Gas victims - Templeux-la-Fosse, August 1916
 

Crater Field Near Dontrien Lit Up by Flares
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Playful ‘Socialist Circle’ animation will delight (and confuse) you
07.09.2014
08:33 am

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Art

Tags:
Pansak Sakpiboonrat

Socialist Circle
 
This video arrived recently more or less unannounced from Thailand. It’s the work of a young artist named Pansak Sakpiboonrat out of Rayong, Thailand (about 60 miles southeast of Bangkok), and I think it’s smashingly good. “Socialist Circle” is the bastard offspring of Seymour Chwast, Edward Gorey, and the animators behind Yellow Submarine, but with a playful 21st-century frankness all its own.
 
Socialist Circle
 
Over the course of five curious tableaux vivant, we encounter ballerinas, cupids, porno directors, riot police, wild turkeys, etc. trapped, at the whim of God only knows what, in a bizarre perpetual motion machine. The title is a puzzle—is it a critique of the recurring cycles of enforced activity mandated by authoritarian regimes? And yet the ostensible themes (golfing and gluttony for instance, not to mention dollar signs) seem more capitalist in nature. I suppose “Capitalist Circle” would make for an inferior title, though. I’ll leave it for you to figure out.

Just click on it, it made my day and might have a similar effect on yours. I’m looking forward to see what insane videos Sakpiboonrat will come up with in the years to come. How long can it be before he’s got his own Adult Swim show?
 

 
via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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You’ll Die Laughing: MAD artist Jack Davis’ wonderfully funny horror trading cards


 
In 1959, Topps trading cards released a set of monster trading cards, illustrated by the great EC horror comics/MAD magazine artist Jack Davis, called “You’ll Die Laughing.” From the informative page about the set on the PSA Card website:

Showcasing creatures from the imagination of Jack Davis, of EC Comics and MAD magazine fame, these pasteboards sparked controversy upon initial release. Worried that the card images would traumatize their children, a group of mothers in Racine, Wis., reportedly protested against Topps and its advertisers.

“The art on the cards was really in the tradition of MAD magazine,” explained Bill Bengen, who owns the top set on the PSA Set Registry, “and I remember my mother’s reaction to MAD magazine, she wouldn’t let me buy it. She said, ‘You can buy Superman, but you can’t buy MAD.’ Today this set wouldn’t even get a reaction. They would probably call it mild.”

With this series, however, Topps discovered that negative publicity could be good for business. Fueled by their parents’ disapproval, kids hoarded these cards and packs sold out across the country.

“The idea of the forbidden, the taboo, that definitely enhanced the sales,” said Bengen.

 

 

 

 

 
More monster madness from Jack Davis after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Marina Abramović makes an Adidas commercial for the World Cup
07.09.2014
05:57 am

Topics:
Advertising
Art

Tags:
Marina Abramović


 
There’s work from Marina Abramović I like—like Balkan Baroque from 1997, where she sat in a pile of 1,500 cow bones for four days, scrubbing them with water and a wire brush in six-hour shifts. The piece was intended as an explicitly political commentary on the war in Yugoslavia. She initially planned to embody a representation of the Serbian state, but the Serbian government was none too keen. Then she planned on being Montenegro, but the Montenegrin government was similarly averse.

Eventually, Abramović ended up staging Balkan Baroque for Italian art exhibition, The Venice Biennale. She actually performed in the basement, and while the setting might have insulted another artist, Abramović found it ideal, partially since it contained the stench of rotting meat.

There is also Marina Abramović work I do not particularly care for, like watching Lady Gaga practice the Abramovic Method—“a series of exercises designed to heighten participants’ awareness of their physical and mental experience in the present moment.” I’m generally left cold by mysticism, and a naked Lady Gaga stumbling through lush upstate New York in a blindfold before eventually straddling a giant crystal set off all my New Age alarm bells.
 

 
Regardless, Abramović has produced some brilliant, affecting, and very interpersonal art, so I’m a little surprised to see her repeat one of her more famous pieces, “Work/Relation,” for a World Cup-themed Adidas commercial. “Work/Relation” is by no means my favorite of her performances—it’s a little too much of a TED Talk parable for my tastes, but it is a meditation on teamwork and the strength of solidarity. There’s an irony to seeing “Work/Relation” presented by a company famous for its sweatshop labor. That irony is only compounded when you remember the performance is in honor of a sporting event that was sanitized with shantytown demolitions.

I guess “solidarity” only counts when somebody’s watching?
 

 
Via Hyperallergic

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Vile Bodies: The nightmarish visions of photographer Joel-Peter Witkin
07.08.2014
03:12 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Joel-Peter Witkin


“The Collector of Fluids,” 1982

“I wanted my photographs to be as powerful as the last thing a person sees or remembers before death” —Joel-Peter Witkin

Looking at his vast body of work, it’s not difficult at all to take photographer Joel-Peter Witkin at face value when he claims that his singular artform was influenced by his first sexual encounter with a pre-op transsexual in a carnival freak show (“that was… a very, very freeing experience”), the fact that his grandmother was missing a leg and by seeing a young girl decapitated in an automobile accident:

It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother’s hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it—but before I could touch it someone carried me away.”

 

“Le Basier,” 1982
 
Although Witkin is a photographer, he is equally a sculptor of corpses, often having to travel to Mexico to make certain pieces that would be illegal for him to produce in America. His shocking—some would say “sickening”—portraits and photographic tableaux mimic classical paintings with the artist’s preferred models of physically challenged people, dwarves, intersex individuals, giants, bearded ladies, the morbidly obese and amputees. Despite the controversial nature of his erotically-charged death and deformity-obsessed imagery, Witkin is one of the top collected photographers in the world.
 

“Melvin Burkhart: Human Oddity,” 1985
 

“Las Meninas,” 1987
 

“Execution of an Extraterrestrial, Petersburg, Virginia, 1864,” 2013
 

Thomas Marino’s feature length documentary from 2013, Joel-Peter Witkin: An Objective Eye is an in-depth portrait of the artist. The first third of the film is free to view on YouTube.
 

“Vile Bodies” a short documentary on Joel-Peter Witkin.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Sculptor creates ‘animal skins’ from metal chainmail
07.08.2014
08:25 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
sculpture


 
When I first heard of Beijing-based sculptor Shi Jin Song, it was for his 2006 exhibit, Na Zha Baby Boutique. The tongue-in-cheek collection of was a series of deadly-looking steel baby accessories intended for Na Zha, the toddler deity of pranks and tantrums who Song says, “cuts his own flesh and commits suicide to save his father, fights the dragon king, and overturns the universe.” The work was interesting, but a little too precious for my tastes.

Song’s Take Off The Armor’s Mountain has a more surreal feel, and I’d argue makes a far more interesting use of stainless steel. The installation is a series of chainmail “pelts” hung from the rafters of the gallery, as if in a tannery. Despite the metal materials, the “skins” maintain a kind of organic quality with their imperfect geometry and varying sizes (say from squirrel to mountain lion). Before the exhibit opened, the skins were glossed with oil for maximum sheen. Bowls were placed below to collect the drippings and the sculptures appeared to “bleed.”

The effect is gorgeous, otherworldly and perhaps a little tragic, implying both a species of shimmering metallic creatures, and their slaughter and skinning.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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