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Man with Alzheimer’s disease drew a series of self-portraits over the years
08.20.2014
12:17 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Alzheimer's disease


William Utermohlen’s self-portrait from 1967
 
British artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1995. Utermohlen decided to document the progression of the disease by doing self-portraits until he no longer remembered his own face. As terribly sad as these portraits are, they show how rapidly—and with such fury—Alzheimer’s can affect the human brain.

Utermohlen’s widow, Patricia, said, “In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness.”

William Utermohlen passed away in 2007.


1996
 

1996
 

1997
 

1997
 

1998
 

1999
 

2000

Below, Louis Theroux’s eye-opening and poignant 2012 documentary Extreme Love: Dementia. I highly, highly recommend this documentary if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or just want to learn more about the disease. You won’t soon forget it.

 
h/t Death and Taxes

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The 1960s photography of Dennis Hopper
08.20.2014
08:44 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Dennis Hopper


Self-portrait
 
I am a child of the 1970s, so Dennis Hopper really means two things to me, Blue Velvet first and Easy Rider second. For me, Hopper doesn’t have much of an identity before Easy Rider, which goes to explain why I had scarcely any idea of his excellent photography (and excellent connections to the art world) during the 1960s. This information helps inform some of his filmmaking career, for instance his artistic intransigence over The Last Movie—only someone steeped in modernist art and abstract expressionism would ever have made such a stand. Everyday I Show brings us an excellent selection of Hopper’s b/w pics from the 1960s, be sure to click there to see more of them. Hopper wasn’t in the league of a Diane Arbus or a Garry Winogrand, but he clearly knew what he was doing and also had some great subjects in the form of Jane Fonda, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, plus Teri Garr (!).

Three years ago Taschen came out with a gorgeous book dedicated to Hopper’s early photographic work, Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967.
 

Jane Fonda (with bow & arrow), Malibu, 1965
 

Biker Couple, 1961
 

Ed Ruscha, 1964
 

Double Standard, 1961
 

Andy Warhol and Members of the Factory (Gregory Markopoulos, Taylor Mead, Gerard Malanga, Jack Smith), 1963
 

Ike and Tina Turner, 1965
 
More of Hopper’s terrific pictures after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Stockhausen’s audacious ‘Helicopter String Quartet’


 
It was a series of dreams that inspired the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen to write his controversial Helikopter-Streichquartett or The Helicopter String Quartet in 1992-93.

Stockhausen had been asked to compose a quartet for Professor Hans Landesmann of the Salzburger Festspiele in early 1991, but the composer had no interest in writing one, that is until he had a dream. Stockhausen was at a party, where the guests snubbed him, were rude to him, whispered behind their hands about him, and he dreamt he could fly away, quite literally:

l don’t have any philosophy, but all my life l’ve dreamt that l can fly, and that l know what it means to fly. ln lots of dreams l leave earth. l often dream that l’m in a cellar, surrounded by people in tuxedos, holding drinks in their hands, and l know l could shut them all up in one go. They don’t want me there.

Then l’m on tiptoes and l let myself go, l just take off and l end up on the ceiling. And then…l swoop down to the floor and fly up again, and everyone says, ‘‘Oh!’‘

l turn elegantly at the wall. l dream that the people are all speechless, watching me—a man, fly.

In another dream, Stockhausen dreamt he was hovering high above four helicopters in which of each four musicians were playing his music. On waking he saw the potential of such a work and made a series of notes and sketches. However, Stockhausen had never written a quartet, as he later explained in a documentary about the Helicopter Quartet:

lt’s the first and probably the last! All my life, l’ve never composed anything for a classical formation.

ln fact, the string quartet is a prototype from the 18th century. Just as the symphony and the solo concerto are the stamp of a very particular era in composition, both as regards interpretation and form. All my life l’ve kept away from that. l haven’t taken up the classical forms.

l’m a pianist but l’ve never written a concerto, and l’ve refused commissions for concerti for violin or piano. The same goes for symphonies and quartets. This quartet is the result of a dream. When the work was commissioned, l said, ‘‘No way, never!’’ Then l dreamt it.

And that’s when everything changed, because l started imagining the four musicians flying, playing in a completely different room. The show is put on for an audience sitting in a concert hall. They imagine the musicians in the air, playing in four flying objects.

ln the future, they could be in flying objects that go up even higher.

This idea was progressed by two further dreams: one in which Stockhausen saw and heard a giant swarm of bees, buzzing, swirling, turning in the sky like a helicopter blade; and a third in which he saw a violinist play music that captured the magical sound of buzzing bees.

Though often performed as a separate piece, the Helicopter Quartet is only one part (“Scene Three”) of Stockhausen’s opera Mittwoch aus Licht or Wednesday from the cycle of seven operas Licht (Light).

Light or “The Seven Days of the Week” consists of 29 hours of music with “neither end nor beginning” that Stockhausen composed between 1977 and 2003.
 
333helistocknotes3.jpg
 
Stockhausen sent his score for Helicopter Quartet to Professor Landesmann who welcomed it enthusiastically. Of course, Stockhausen has not always been received with such all-embracing support—many considered him to be the P. T. Barnum of classical music, eschewing content for showmanship. One can imagine the sharp intake of breath from some when reading of the requirement list for Stockhausen’s airborne quartet:

4 helicopters with pilots and 4 sound technicians
4 television transmitters, 4 x 3 sound transmitters
auditorium with 4 columns of televisions and
4 columns of loudspeakers
sound projectionist with mixing console / moderator (ad lib.)

Of course, Stockhausen was used to the criticism (perhaps the most famous line coming form conductor Sir Henry Beecham who when asked if he had heard any Stockhausen, replied “No, but I believe I have trodden in some”), and he showed it the disdain it deserved. These “negative critics” were part of that group he had once described, at a lecture on electronic music in 1972, as those who would fail to evolve as humans. Stockhausen believed that not everyone is equal and that his music would only help some people evolve to the next stage—whatever that may be.
 
helistock1.jpg
The composer at work on the ‘Helicopter String Quartet’.
 
Stockhausen is described as one of the most important and influential composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, who casts a long shadow over composers like Harrison Birtwistle and Jean-Claude Éloy; jazz musicians such as Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis—who cited his influence on the album On the Corner and later recorded with him on an (as yet) unreleased track in 1980; to The Beatles to Frank Zappa to Krautrock and beyond—Roger Waters, Björk, Kraftwerk and Can—whose members Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay both studied under him at the conservatory.

And this is before we get to his influence on novelists Philip K. Dick and Thomas Pynchon.

The Helicopter Quartet is one of Stockhausen’s most outrageous and incredible works, performed by four musicians, one in each of the four helicopters, who keep in sync with each other by monitors. The whole piece last 30-minutes with the helicopters hovering in the sky—the sound of the rotor blades adding to the music—as a long series of string tremolos (based on complicated formulae set forth by Stockhausen) are played over and over, in relation to the quartet’s three themes of Michael, Eve and Lucifer.

Surprisingly, the complete opera Mittwoch aus Licht was not performed in its entirety until 2012, when the English Birmingham Opera Company gave the opera its world premiere. This is the complete Helicopter String Quartet as performed by the Birmingham Opera Company on August 22nd, 2012.
 

 
A German documentary was made in 1995 about the preparation, performance and recording of and Stockhausen’s Helicopter Quartet. This film can be seen below, though you’ll have to click through to YouTube in order to turn on the English captions.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Watch incredible ‘electronic makeup’ change and transform human face
08.18.2014
09:41 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion

Tags:
electronic makeup


 
A jaw-dropping short video of Nobumichi Asai‘s real-time face tracking combined with projection mapping of “electronic makeup” applied to a model’s face.

I see a new Björk or FKA twigs video using this technology in the near future.

 
via Gizmodo and h/t Alice Lowe

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Talking stamps: Tiny vinyl record postage stamps that were playable, 1972
08.15.2014
10:50 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
records
vinyl
vinyl stamps
talking stamps


 
Known as the “first talking stamps” in 1972, these tiny vinyl postage stamps from Bhutan were totally playable and when the needle was put on the record stamp you heard Bhutan’s national anthem and a capsule history of the nation. Talking stamps were thin plastic embossed records with removable back to expose the adhesive.

A pretty interesting concept, right? I’ve never seen one in the flesh, but from what I’m seeing on eBay, they’re highly collectable (an entire set is around $495.00) and even still legal for mailing use.

WFMU has a few samples of what these tiny vinyl stamps sound like. You can listen to them here.


 

 

 

 
via WFMU and Bhutan Today

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Lesbian emojis are as adorable as they are sapphic!
08.15.2014
09:50 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Queer

Tags:
lesbian
emojis


As you can see, subtlety is a valued principle in today’s contemporary art.
 
Graphic designer Kimberly Linn and writer/actor Katie Streeter have breached the latest frontier in gay liberation—lesbian emojis. It was in the midst of Linn’s post-break-up depression that the idea was hatched, and now their rapidly growing Instagram account has almost 7,400 followers. There are a lot of lesbians with smart phones—the gay agenda is at hand!

The are the immediately recognizable emojis of stereotypical aesthetics, like the bow tie and the flannel. Then there are cultural signifiers that might go over the heads of the unaffiliated—the Home Depot, for the girl who can swing a hammer, and the moving van, a nod to the ladies’ rep for rapid cohabitation.  I (naturally) favor the vulgar ones—the pillow princess, the turkey baster, lesbian bed death, the double-clicked mouse, and, cleverly, the scissors.

The fish taco though… bold move, ladies.
 

moving van
 

flannel shirt
 

scissors
 
See more after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Blank slate: Hundreds of ‘White Albums’ take up residence in LIverpool art gallery
08.15.2014
06:59 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
White Album
Rutherford Chang


 
Dismissing claims by critics that the Beatles’ sole LP from 1968 would have worked better had the songs been curated into a tighter, single-disc release, Paul McCartney commented: “It was great. It sold. It’s the bloody Beatles’ White Album. Shut up!”

Amen to that. I’m a “late Beatles” guy, and, for me anyway, The White Album is utterly central to the Beatles’ allure. Artist Rutherford Chang appears to be a “late Beatles” guy too, and he’s making a decent bid to be regarded as the world’s number-one fan of The White Album and its decidedly minimalist cover by Richard Hamilton. He’s been buying up as many first pressings of the album as he can (the first pressing numbered more than three million). He now owns more than 1,000 first pressings of it, which he exhibits in spaces that are set up to resemble record shops: you can flip through the “inventory” just like at any record shop, and you are permitted to play any of the albums there on the provided record player. Unlike a record shop, however, the relation of consumer to establishment is reversed: You cannot buy anything there, but you can sell a first pressing of The White Album if you have one. The show is called “We Buy White Albums.”
 

 
Chang has exhibited the always-growing collection of albums for the last couple of years. “We Buy White Albums” has appeared in several locations in the United States as well as Shanghai, Denmark, and Ireland.
 

 
Last year, from January to March,  “We Buy White Albums” was exhibited at Recess, 41 Grand Street, New York. I was a resident of New York City during that time, but unfortunately I was out of town the entire period this show was on. I wish I’d been able to see it. Eilon Paz of Dust and Grooves interviewed Chang during that show, and it richly merits its status as the essential Rutherford Chang/White Album interview. Here are a few excerpts:
 

Q: Are you a vinyl collector?

A: Yes, I collect White Albums.

Q: Do you collect anything other than that?

A: I own some vinyl and occasionally buy other albums, but nothing in multiples like the White Album.

Q: Why just White Album? why not Abbey road? or Rubber Soul?

A: The White Album has the best cover. I have a few copies of Abbey Road and Rubber Soul, but I keep those in my “junk bin”.

Q: Why do you find it so great? It’s a white, blank cover. Are you a minimalist?

A: I’m most interested in the albums as objects and observing how they have aged. So for me, a Beatles album with an all white cover is perfect.

Q: Do you care about the album’s condition?

A: I collect numbered copies of the White Album in any condition. In fact I often find the “poorer” condition albums more interesting.

-snip-

Q: Are you collecting as an artist or as a music fan?

A: I’m collecting them as cultural artifacts.

Q: Do you listen to vinyl records on regular basis?

A: I listen to the White Album every day.

-snip-

Q: I’m trying to figure out if you’re a vinyl collector, or a music aficionado or an artist making an art piece with an object that happens to be a Beatles White album? Can you expand on that?

A: I’m making an art piece using White Albums as material. But the process also very much involves collecting vinyl and listening to music.

Q: Do you buy records other than the White Album for your art project?

A: I occasionally buy other records, but I don’t consider these part of my collection. I “collect” only White Albums.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of collecting first edition white albums? and why just first editions?

A: I got into collecting multiple White Albums because every copy tells a story. Each one has aged uniquely over the course of the last half-decade. The pressings from 1968 were numbered, implying that it is a limited edition, although one running in excess of 3 million.

 

 
Today, August 15, 2014, the show opens in England for the first time. Fittingly, the location is the birthplace of all four Beatles, Liverpool: “Presented by FACT and Liverpool International Music Festival, We Buy White Albums will take over FACT’s loading bay space on Wood Street from 15 August – 16 September.” On August 28, at 6pm, Chang will be on hand for a Q&A with FACT director Mike Stubbs.

The true subject of “We Buy White Albums,” it seems to me, is entropy, albeit entropy in the highly pressurized environment of the mass music marketplace. Issue more than three million albums with an almost completely white cover by the world’s favorite rock and roll band and see what happens. Things will happen to them, they will inevitably diverge from one another. The records will get scratched and warp, the covers will get water-damaged, the creamy, inviting white cover will become the home for doodles and graffiti. Chang revels in the strange forms the White Album can take, more than 45 years after its release. Anyone who’s spent any time plundering LP bargain bins can surely relate.

In that vein, Chang has also released a track in which 100 of his White Albums are played simultaneously (side 1 only, alas). The music starts off pretty much in sync; you can hear “Back in the USSR” just fine but the divergence soon sets in with a vengeance. As Allan Kozinn writes:
 

The albums, as it turns out, have also aged with some variety. Some played cleanly, others had scratches, noise from embedded dirt, or vinyl wear. And though the recordings are identical, variations in the pressings, and natural fluctuations in the speed of Mr. Chang’s analogue turntable, meant that the 100 recordings slowly moved out of sync, in the manner of an early Steve Reich piece: the opening of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” is entirely unified, but at the start of “Dear Prudence,” you hear the first line echoing several times, and by “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” the track is a nearly unrecognizeable roar.

 
For me, the high point—by far—is “Wild Honey Pie.” Enjoy.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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MoMA and Warhol Museum to digitize all of Warhol’s films and videos
08.15.2014
06:45 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Andy Warhol


 
Yesterday the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh announced a joint project to digitize all of Andy Warhol’s film and video work, including his 60 feature-length movies and his 279 screen tests. The undertaking is projected to a “multi-year project.”

On October 15th, fifteen notable works that have never had public screenings will be presented in Pittsburgh.

According The Art Newspaper,
 

The epic project—there are around 1,000 rolls of films to capture frame by frame, and 4,000 videos—is made possible by the technical expertise and sponsorship of the special effects company MPC. The technology company Adstream will provide digital asset management. The partnership will be a “multi-year project”, according to MoMA’s press statement.

The artist’s films have been cared for by MoMA since the early 1990s, and are among the most requested works in its circulating film library. Fifteen of his films, which have never been screened in public before, have already been digitised by MPC. They are due to be shown in Pittsburgh on 17 October during “Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films”.

In a statement, Eric Shiner, the director of the Warhol Museum, said the artist’s films “are as significant as his paintings”, adding that the project will mean scholars and the public will be able to see his total output.

 
It’s not stated that the movies will be available online, but we can hope that that is implied. If so, it will be a chance for movies like Chelsea Girls, Bike Boys, Flesh, Lonesome Cowboys, Trash, Since, Blue Movie, Space, Empire, Sleep, Blow Job, and many others to find a new audience (or indeed, in some cases, their first audience).

Here’s a gander at Nico in a clip from I. A Man:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The (almost) unknown art of Miles Davis
08.15.2014
06:32 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Miles Davis


 
 
Although his art would adorn one of his record releases from time to time, Miles Davis didn’t begin to draw and paint in earnest until he was in his mid-fifties, during the early 1980s and a period of musical inactivity. Miles being Miles, he didn’t merely dabble, but made creating art as much a part of his life as making music in his final decade. He was said to have worked obsessively each day on art when he wasn’t touring and he studied regularly with New York painter Jo Gelbard.

His style was a sharp, bold and masculine mixture of Kandinsky, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Picasso and African tribal art. I also find his work puts me in mind of the output of painter Phil Frost.

Davis’ paintings weren’t exhibited much during his lifetime, but since his death in 1991, his estate has mounted several traveling gallery and museum shows. Quincy Jones is known to own a number of Miles’ canvases.  In 2013, Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork was published.
 

 

“I’ve been painting and sketching all my life. Also, for my tailor I used to draw my suits, ‘cause he couldn’t speak English.”

 

 

“It’s like therapy for me, and keeps my mind occupied with something positive when I’m not playing music.”

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Robin Williams immortalized in street art
08.14.2014
03:25 pm

Topics:
Art
R.I.P.

Tags:
Robin Williams


 
A nice Robin Williams tribute spotted in Belgrade, Serbia. The artist at this time is unknown. If you know who did this I will update the post.

Apparently Williams was in early stages of Parkinson’s disease according to his widow’s statement.

via ANIMAL

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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