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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

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Art

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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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Make your own Marcel Duchamp chess set with a 3D printer
07.07.2014
08:44 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech
Sports

Tags:
Marcel Duchamp
chess

Marcel Duchamp
 
It’s well known that hugely influential French artist Marcel Duchamp, after basically introducing the world to the category of “conceptual art,” abandoned the art world for a new obsession, chess, in his early thirties. He qualified as a chess master by achieving a draw in the Third French Chess Championship in 1925 (for which he designed the poster, below).
 
Marcel Duchamp
 
Duchamp’s wife became so consternated at his obsession with the game that she glued his pieces to his board. He designed a handsome chess set, which, as far as I can tell, has never been mass-produced (meanwhile, editions of Man Ray’s minimalist chess set fetch prices of $200 and up).
 
Duchamp chess set
 
At the MakerBot.Thingiverse website, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera have generated a 3D-printable version of Duchamp’s chess set, with the witty title “Readymake” (all of Duchamp’s most famous artistic interventions were called “readymades”):
 

Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set is a 3D-printed chess set generated from an archival photograph of Marcel Duchamp’s own custom and hand-carved game. His original physical set no longer exists. We have resurrected the lost artifact by digitally recreating it, and then making the 3D files available for anyone to print.

Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s readymade—an ordinary manufactured object that the artist selected and modified for exhibition—the readymake brings the concept of the appropriated object to the realm of the internet, exploring the web’s potential to re-frame information and data, and their reciprocal relationships to matter and ideas. Readymakes transform photographs of objects lost in time into shared 3D digital spaces to provide new forms and meanings.

 
Duchamp chess set
 
Here’s a lovely French-language documentary (with English subtitles) about Duchamp called “Jeu d’échecs” (A Game of Chess) that covers both his extravagantly impressive artistic resume as well as his interest in chess: 
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Ghostly fossils’: Beautiful, detailed paper sculptures of cells and microbes
07.07.2014
08:24 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
papercraft
Rogan Brown

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Rogan Brown’s paper sculptures of cells and microbes are an exploration and representation of “natural organic forms both mineral and vegetal.”

I look for patterns and repeated motifs that run through natural phenomena at different scales, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from individual cells to large scale geological formations.

I am inspired in part by the tradition of scientific drawing and model making, and particularly the work of artist-scientists such as Ernst Haeckel. But although my approach involves careful observation and detailed “scientific” preparatory drawings these are always superseded by the work of the imagination; everything has to be refracted through the prism of the imagination, estranged and in some way transformed.

Each sculpture is painstakingly crafted and the process is (obviously!) time consuming and labor intensive. However, all this work is “an essential element not only in the construction but also in the meaning of each piece.”

The finished artefact is really only the ghostly fossilized vestige of this slow, long process of realisation. I have chosen paper as a medium because it captures perfectly that mixture of delicacy and durability that for me characterizes the natural world.

You can see more Rogan’s beautiful paper sculptures here.
 
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Via Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Citroëns make great hovercrafts
07.07.2014
08:08 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Photoshop
Citroën

Citroën hovercraft
 
When I think of Citroëns, I think of the vaguely-VW-bug-like 2CV model, known in France as the “deux chevaux.” (It looks like this.) But just like Volkswagen, naturally Citroën has all sorts of models in their stable, and a few of the older models are quite sporty, lending themselves perfectly to Swedish artist Jacob Munkhammar‘s Photoshopped experiments in retro-futurism. He took a bunch of handsome photos of Citroëns and turned them into gee-whiz flying automobiles of the most adorable type.

The most poignant nostalgia is for a future that never was or will be, as these amusing photos definitely prove.
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
Citroën hovercraft
 
via Fubiz
 
Thanks Alex Belth!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Presidents with Boob Faces’ is perhaps the most important artistic movement of our time
07.07.2014
06:16 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
boobs
presidents


George Washington
 
Emily Deutchman is the Picasso of people who do watercolors of US presidents with boobs on their faces. I mean it! I cannot fathom her equal, much less envision a successor to her artistic idiom. Her Presidents with Boob Faces series is 44 canvases of commanders-in-chief with mammaries fused to their mugs. For Lincoln, it’s the beard, for Reagan, the neck sag—it’s all very intuitive. All the paintings are based off of official presidential portraits except for Obama, which uses the Shepard Fairey graphic. And what is the purpose of her work? From her website:

Presidents with Boob Faces takes the tradition of presidential portraits and, with wry humor, subverts the solemnity of these iconic figures by transforming their faces with schoolboy “boob doodle.”

The work twists the historic grandeur of portraiture and national pomp with this lowbrow interjection. While enjoying the comedic potential of George Washington with boob cheeks, Deutchman also engages with a painterly series and the ready-made both provided by the presidential portraits. The use of the series explores the permutations of one concept played out 44 times and the possibility of diversity found in that idea.

Sometimes Deutchman uses photographs of actual boobs to append her portraiture, leaving the viewer wondering if they’re admiring a legit tit. Personally, I’m partial to the Gerald Ford—is it the smile that draws me in, or the fullness? Maybe it’s just my insatiable desire to discuss the oft-overlooked Ford administration? Should you be taken with the beauty and vision of Deutchman’s work, you’re in luck! All paintings are for sale, and she asks that you contact her at presidentswithboobfaces@gmail.com for inquiries!
 

George W. Bush
 

Ronald Reagan
 

James Madison
 

Abraham Lincoln
 
More Presidential boob faces after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Beautiful photographs of the shamans of Lima, Peru
07.03.2014
08:48 am

Topics:
Art
Belief

Tags:
photography
Peru
shamans


 
Photographer Andrea Frazzetta‘s “Urban Shaman” series captures a strange array of commerce, tradition and mysticism. The faces and rituals of the curanderos are documented with an eye for intense beauty, but the photos still manage to feel educational, and not voyeuristic—the series is very intimate. Frazzetta provides a context for the shamans of Peru on his website:

”I MAKE LOVE TIES”

”I PASS THE BLACK CUY”

”REFLOWERING BATHS DONE HERE”

”ORIGINAL CURANDERA OF THE NORTH HEALS ALL ILLS”

Writings such as there are ever present, hanging on the streetlights in Lima. Peru’s capital is full of shamans and ”curanderos” who compete with doctors and psychiatrists. The Peruvian parliament even discussed a controversial law proposal that equates curanderos to doctors.

A large percentage of the Peruvian population habitually visits curanderos and shamans to solve a very wide array of issues: health, work, business, travels, etc. Curanderos, on their part, offer a lot of different healing methods.

In Lima, where more than half of the population is the result of migrations, it’s possible to find any type of curanderos. The chaotic and overpopulated capital of Peru assures shamans a very large quantity of patients.

Many, unfortunately, exploit the people’s trust and it is estimated that about three quarters of those so called ”healing masters” are fakes.

But there are others who have inherited a tradition, and a popular knowledge, passed on from father to son for decades.

It’s strange to think of shamans being divided into frauds versus bona fides, but there’s a distinct sense of training and tradition involved that at the very least suggests some kind of “pedigreed” expertise. From Frazetta’s further exposition, we learn that animals are used to absorb illness (then they are killed and their remains are “read” for health indicators), a doll is the artifact of a love ritual, and that one of the most popular curanderos in Lima has his own daily TV show.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Feature Shoot

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Insane illustrators to invade Cleveland this 4th of July weekend, leave trail of bleeding eyes
07.03.2014
07:20 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Cleveland
Dima Drjuchin
Homeless Cop


 
NYC-via-Moscow painter Dimitri “Dima” Drjuchin and Indianapolis’ Jason “Homeless Cop” Fennell will be the subjects/stars of a two-man show, “Mutually Assured Destruction,” at the newish gallery BUCKBUCK in Cleveland, OH, bringing all the colors at once to that fabled grey city. The show’s opening reception is on Saturday, July 5th.
 

 

 

Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender.

Summer is here, but nuclear winter has just begun! Celebrate your independence (again), and come watch the heavens open up as we blast BUCKBUCK into oblivion with an arsenal of paintings and music by Dima Drjuchin and Homeless Cop. If you haven’t been reduced to a shadow on the sidewalk, crawl your ass home with a piece of history (and I’m not talking about radiation poisoning). We’ve been waiting longer than the second coming for this show, so cram your gullet with leftover potato salad and fold up your star-spangled vinyl lawn chair, because if you’re not at this show, you’re probably messing yourself in a concrete bunker.

Fans of Reggie Watts, Marc Maron and Eugene Mirman will recognize some of those comics’ album covers as Dima Drjuchin illustrations. His best-known cover was the piece done for Father John Misty’s Fear Fun album. The Brooklyn-based painter also boasts a large portfolio of concert posters, all on view at his Tumblr.

“My work channels different points of reference from my Russian background, to pop culture, to comic books, to fine art, to spirituality, to the occult. I can’t truly say that it’s a commentary on anything, because I am not interested in judging anyone or anything. I believe it’s more of a reflection of multiple influences that get filtered through my mind and come back out all at once on my canvas redefined to my own liking. That said, I also try not to take anything too seriously and on some level I believe I still paint in a similar mind set I did as a child scribbling on a piece of paper. Most of my ideas are on the spot and I let how I’m feeling at that moment guide me to what happens next in the piece. I think ultimately I’m just trying to entertain myself.”

 

 

 

 
Homeless Cop’s work is likely best known to most of us from his bump animations on the Adult Swim cable network. His paintings strongly resemble vector illustrations, but are in fact rendered in oils.

“I’ve always painted things I like. People, places, and things. My whole life I’ve been drawing and painting, and I really feel like I was born to do this. I think my work evolves in terms of subject matter, but the execution just stays true to my style. My paintings look look like a robot made them, and I get a lot of pleasure being able to say I made them with my hands. My favorite artist is Jean-Michel Basquiat, and my favorite band is Nirvana. I also like pizza.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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