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Fantastic vintage Japanese movie posters
12.02.2016
10:51 am

Topics:
Art
Design
Movies

Tags:
posters
Japanese film posters

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‘A Hard’s Day Night’ (1964).
 
A friend collects Japanese movie posters. He’s rich enough to afford it. The walls of his house are almost covered with these bright, garish, beautiful film posters. Last time, I visited him I asked why he never exhibited them or at least scanned them digitally to share on the Internet. He said he thought of them as art—and as art they had to be viewed in person and not through a screen. I thought he was just being a pretentious twat—but there you go.

Fair to say, it was an impressive collection—a mix of Japanese features and American/British imports. But his collection went no further than the late-seventies to early-eighties. I wondered why? This, he explained, was because the best Japanese movie posters originated during the Shōwa period—the time of Emperor Hirohito’s reign 1926-1989—when the printing process meant the posters were by artists creating collages from cut-up photographs. These were airbrushed and colorized to glorious effect. There was an art and craft to making these posters—which remained roughly the same from the twenties to the seventies—which the digital era no longer employs.

Inspired by my dear friend’s collection, I’ve collated together a mix of images which exemplify some of the best in Japanese poster design—and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want one of these hanging on their walls?
 
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‘Batman’ (1966).
 
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‘Bedazzled’ (1967).
 
More fantastic Japanese movie posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, Beefheart, The Residents, Sun Ra & more as ‘South Park’ characters
12.02.2016
10:10 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Brian Eno
Kraftwerk
Sun Ra
South Park


The Residents
 
If you like your music adventurous, you’ll probably get a huge kick out of Noise Park, a Tumblr that features South Park versions of many avant-garde, experimental, and generally out-there musicians. Whoever is making these charmingly made the decision to follow his or her own esoteric musical tastes, which is a nice way of saying that a good many of the subjects are a bit obscure (Blevin Blectum, Moth Cock, Rotten Milk, etc.), which has the effect of turning it all into an inside inside joke of sorts.

But a lot of the subjects are quite well-known, covering the more cerebral end of the musical spectrum (Kraftwerk, Beefheart, Residents). I spent a fair amount of time trying to come up with a plausibly minimalist South Park episode plot involving Terry Riley, but I failed. Then I switched to Throbbing Gristle and my brain exploded.

Some of the images on the blog are actually reworkings of The Wire magazine covers, which is a good indication of where the tastes run.
 

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
 

Brian Eno
 
Lots more after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Poor Donald Trump hates pics of his double chin, so the Internet decided to help
12.01.2016
10:18 am

Topics:
Art
Politics

Tags:
Donald Trump
double chins


 
We have not yet reached full-on buyer’s remorse on the election of Donald Trump to be our nation’s president, but we’re getting there at a rapid pace. Not everybody regrets voting for Trump, to be sure, but he’s the first president to have an approval rating south of 50% after the election since we’ve been measuring that kind of thing, and I think we all know that Trump doesn’t have the kind of personality that’s going to thrive under the peculiar pressures that the presidency affords.

Which doesn’t mean that he’s been unable to use the same Trump distortion vortex that has served him so spectacularly well for the last year and a half, because it hasn’t failed him yet. Yet.

Still, there have been no shortage of episodes demonstrating Trump’s manifest unfitness for office. His meeting with the news media before Thanksgiving surely was one of the more striking examples of this. The network reporters in attendance expected the meeting to be about “the access they would get to the Trump administration,” but they underestimated the shallow form of vanity that constitutes the primary personality trait of one Donald J. Trump.

As the New Yorker reported, “Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use ‘nicer’ pictures?” Even worse, a participant at the meeting observed that our president-elect “truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment. He doesn’t. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”

Awwwww. Poor little Trump doesn’t get that a free and unfettered media is permitted to write what they please about him. The citizenry at large. of course, is also armed with similar freedoms…

When Trump threw down the gauntlet on angrily demanding that media and media consumers alike conspire to pretend that he does not have an unsightly double chin, the Internet responded. Boy, did it respond, with hastily slapped together Photoshopped montages that (when taken in all at once) somehow reveal something about the true nature of our future president. Everything from Jabba the Hutt (so. many. Jabba. the. Hutt. references.) to Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote became fair game for the legions of self-appointed “First Amendment People.” Here are some of the best results:
 

 

 

 
Tons more after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cum Face, the hyperrealistic sculpture
12.01.2016
09:47 am

Topics:
Art
Sex

Tags:
sculpture
orgasm
Luigi Rodriguez

01cumfscul.jpg
 
Venezuelan artist Luigi Rodriguez claims he has always been intrigued by orgasms. So he decided to study his own. The result is an unflinching hyperrealistic sculpture of his own face during orgasm—which he calls “Pure Luigi” or We Come As We Are.

Based in Madrid, Rodriguez spent most of this year learning the necessary skills to create his orgasmic self-portrait. He wanted “the finished artwork to be as close to real life as possible, so it was completely honest.”

It was a challenging and difficult process which Rodriguez admits took him outside of his comfort zone—putting himself in a highly “vulnerable state.” This exploration led Rodriguez to the conclusion that at the point of orgasm “we lose ourselves in the moment, removing all layers of fear, judgment and ego, revealing a face that represents who we are in the most pure state.”

“Pure Luigi” is certainly a powerful work of art. Rodriguez is keen to collaborate with others on further hyperrealistic sculptures—so, if you’re interested you can contact him here.
 
04cumfscul.jpg
 
More of Rodriguez’s orgasmic self-portrait plus a video of him at work, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Jean Cocteau speaks to the year 2000’ (or Jean Cocteau is dead, long live Jean Cocteau!)
11.30.2016
03:50 pm

Topics:
Art
Movies
Queer
Thinkers

Tags:
Jean Cocteau


 
Prior to his death in 1963, Jean Cocteau, the great French artist, filmmaker, novelist, playwright and poet, made his cinematic last will and testament, a time-capsule titled Jean Cocteau s’adresse… à l’an 2000 (“Jean Cocteau speaks to the year 2000”). Cocteau, seen seated in front of his own work at Francine Weisweiller’s Villa Santo-Sospir (where his Testament of Orpheus was shot), offers advice and perspective to a generation just being born. Cocteau gives his definition of genius and of the poet, “an intermediary, a medium of that mysterious force that inhabits.” He also discusses the technical progress of science and how it must not be impeded by intolerance and religion.

In his Cocteau biography James S. Williams wrote:

Just a couple of months before his death, in August 1963, he made one last film: a 25-minute short entitled Jean Cocteau s’adresse à l’an 2000 (Cocteau addresses the year 2000). The film comprises one still and highly sober shot of Cocteau facing the camera head-on to address the youth of the future. Once recorded, this spoken message for the 21st century was wrapped up, sealed and posted on the understanding that it would be opened only in the year 2000 (as it turned out, it was discovered and exhumed a few years shy of that date). If in The Testament Cocteau portrays himself as a living anachronism, a lonesome classical modernist loitering in space-time in the same buckskin jacket and tie while lost in the spectral light of his memories, here he acknowledges explicitly the irony of his phantom-like state: by the time the viewer sees this image, he, J. C., our saviour Poet, will long be dead.

Temporality is typically skewed: speaking from both 1963 and 2000 Cocteau is at once nostalgic for the present that will have passed and prophetic about the future. There is thus both a documentary aspect and projective thrust to the film, another new configuration of ‘superior realism’ and fantasy enhanced by Cocteau’s seamless performance as himself and his now ‘immortal’ status as a member of the Académie Française. He reiterates some of his long-standing artistic themes and principles: death is a form of life; poetry is beyond time and a kind of superior mathematics; we are all a procession of others who inhabit us; errors are the true expression of an individual, and so on. The tone is at once speculative and uncompromising, as when Cocteau pours vitriolic scorn on the many awards bestowed upon him, which he calls ‘transcendent punishments’. He also revels in the fact that he can say now what he likes with absolute freedom and impunity since he will not be around to suffer the consequences.

The status of Jean Cocteau s’adresse à l’an 2000 remains ultimately unclear. Is it a new testament or confession, or a heroic demonstration of the need for human endurance, or a pure ‘farce of anti-gravitation’ as he puts it? Or everything at once? It is entirely characteristic of Cocteau to leave us hanging on this suspended paradox. What is certain, however, and what we have consistently seen, is that Cocteau’s life and body are his work, and his work in turn is always mysteriously alive. This is Cocteau’s final gift to his fellow human beings. Let us retain and celebrate the force of that gesture. He is resurrected before our eyes, ever-present, defiant and joyfully queer.

Jean Cocteau is dead, long live Cocteau!

If you are a Cocteau aficionado, the film is a delight. Here are a few transcribed moments:

We remain apprentice robots.

I certainly hope that you have not become robots but on the contrary that you have become very humanized: that’s my hope.

But I have no idea who you are or how you are thinking, or what you are doing. I don’t know the dances you are dancing.

The dance of our time is called “The Twist.” Maybe you have heard
about it.

You most certainly have your own dance.

I wonder what Cocteau would have made of The Beatles, hippies, gay liberation, punk, Internet pornography, Facebook, the iPhone, Barack Obama and now Donald Trump, but this we’ll never know.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Christmas ornaments featuring Morrissey, Bowie, Adam Ant, Nick Cave, Siouxsie and more


 
This charming set of Christmas ornaments does a wonderful job of letting everyone in your circle know that you love St. Nick—and that the “Nick” in question is Nick Cave. Matthew Lineham designed them, and he’s done a wonderful job of working in “obscure Christmas memories and puns,” as he put it.

Many of his “obscure” references involve network Christmas programming from many decades ago. Siouxsie Sioux is transformed into Cindy Lou Who, the little girl from Whoville in Dr. Seuss’ classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Morrissey plays the part of “Snow Mozzer” and “Heat Mozzer,” the memorable characters from the 1974 stop-motion animated Christmas TV special from Rankin/Bass, The Year Without a Santa Claus. Former Oingo Boingo frontman and soundtrack maestro Danny Elfman appears as “Elfman on the Shelfman,” a reference to the 2004 children’s book The Elf on the Shelf. Robert Smith is perched atop Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and DEVO‘s familiar energy dome is cleverly done up as a Christmas tree.

Lineham calls the set “A Very New Wave Christmas” but he has sensibly gone where the name-puns and name recognition will take him rather than obey strict genre definitions. Bowie and Cave might not be your idea of “new wave” icons but they were active in the early 1980s, at least.

You can buy the rubber die cut bendable ornaments for $10 a pop (“Mozzer” pair $15), or $50 for the entire set, a significant discount. However, due to the unexpectedly high demand, Lineham wants purchasers to be aware that any ornaments ordered today will be shipped “sometime between Dec 21st & 31st,” so don’t bank on them being available for this year’s tree—however, there’s always 2017, 2018, 2019, and beyond to think of. These seem unlikely to go out of style anytime soon.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Morbid and grotesque Italian anti-German propaganda postcards from WWI


‘Danza Macabra Europea’ number 23 by Italian artist Alberto Martini.
 
Alberto Martini was a prolific Italian active during the late 1800s and a good portion of the 1900s who dabbled in many disciplines including painting, illustration, engraving and graphic design. During WWI Martini was enlisted to create a series of postcards called the “Danza Macabra Europea” that were used as propaganda, grotesquely lampooning figures such as German Kaiser and king of Prussia Wilhelm II as well as members of the Austro-Hungarian empire such as the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef. 

Martini’s cards are absolutely horrific, filled with depictions of dismemberment, cannibalism and executions. Sometimes the Germans in Martini’s propaganda cards are pantless or appear to take on feminine forms. Copies of 54 lithographs of the Danza Macabra produced during 1914 and 1916 were widely distributed to Allied forces fighting against the rising Austro-Hungarian empire. According to cultural historians familiar with Martini’s work for “Danza Macabra Europa” the artist’s goal was to show the “horror” of war by using barbaric symbolism such as portraying the neutral country of Belgium as a child whose hands have been severed off at the wrist.

Most of the approximately 450,000 prints of Martini’s exquisitely grim postcards, captioned in both Italian and French, were sent to those fighting on the front lines of the war to help create a clear understanding of the horrific atrocities being committed against soldiers and civilians. Many consider Martini’s work a precursor to the surrealist movement. I’ve included many images of the 54 lithographs done by Martini in this post—all of which are absolutely NSFW.
 

‘Danza Macabra Europa’ number thirteen.
 

 
More ‘Danza Macabra Europa’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Extremely dark, soul-shivering cartoons from Iceland
11.29.2016
11:18 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art

Tags:
Iceland
Hugleikur Dagsson


 
The Swedes have the reputation for being depressing and dour, but based on the evidence of the dark, dark cartoons of Hugleikur Dagsson, we should be keeping a close eye on Iceland as well.

Visually, Dagsson’s cartoons, populated by scarcely adorned stick figures, are a great deal like Randall Munroe’s creations at xkcd, but the sensibility couldn’t be more different, less science dork and much closer to, say, Simon Bond’s 101 Uses For a Dead Cat, which was a bit of a thing during the 1980s. Dagsson is unafraid to stray into taboo areas like cannibalism and incest. Many of his cartoons also make trenchant political points.

His style is a product of an incident at art school in 2002 when he created a slew of cartoons for an important project assignment at the last minute. Ditching his plans to present some wan watercolors, he cranked out some cartoons with stick figures, and—not that he could have known it—a career was born. He told the Telegraph, “I could philosophise about my lifelong love of minimalism, but my style really came from a last-minute panic at college.” His dark influences are not only Scandinavian; he noted that he has been influenced by “dark American comics, like Frank Miller’s.”

According to his bio, Dagsson has written three plays as well as created a TV series called Hulli that wouldn’t look out of place on Adult Swim, from all appearances. He also has 20 collections of his cartoons, with titles like Where’s God?, You Are Nothing, and My Pussy Is Hungry.
 

 

 
More after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Blasphemy, Sex, Satanism and Sadism: The diabolic erotic art of Félicien Rops

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‘Pornokratès’ (1896).
 
There are few nineteenth century artists as controversial or as profoundly shocking as Félicien Rops. Even more than a century after his death, his “blasphemous erotica” can still cause great offense in a world of safe spaces and trigger warnings.

Rops was born in Namur, Belgium in 1833, the son of a wealthy cotton dealer. He was home schooled by a private tutor before attending Jesuit college where he excelled at art. However, he hated the intense Catholic education and quit college at sixteen. He then went onto finish his education at Royal Athenaeum. His talent for art flourished and he achieved some early success as a caricaturist for the student magazine Le Crocodile and local magazines. But it was as a lithographer and etcher that he proved his technical brilliance and unparalleled artistic talent. He co-founded with Charles De Coste the satirical magazine L’Uylenspiegel (1856-1863). They mercilessly attacked Church and State, the bourgeoisie and artistic pretensions. The magazine made both men (in)famous—Rops was even challenged to a duel after one particular provocative attack.

He married, had two children (one dying in childhood), separated from his wife and moved to Paris in 1862. His arrival in the City of Lights changed Rops dramatically—he was like a wide-eyed yokel driven to excess by the thrill of the metropolis. He began to draw and paint with a fevered intensity the world he inhabited. He exhibited some of his work back in his hometown of Namur in 1865—in particular a portrait of a female absinthe drinker (La Buveuse d’Absinthe) which so outraged critics and civic figures that he was denounced by an official rebuke for prostituting his pencil in “the reproduction of scenes imprinted with a repellent realism.” The response pleased Rops—though he described it as akin to being spat upon—as it meant he had found his right subject matter: the dark and neglected and unacknowledged underworld of everyday life. This led Rops to co-found the Société Libre des Beaux-Arts—a group set up to promote “realism” in art in 1868.

Another key event was his meeting with the writer Baudelaire, whose work confirmed many of Rops’ personal beliefs. He illustrated Baudelaire’s banned volume of poetry Les Fleurs du Mal and became one of the resident artists of the Decadent Movement—though he also had a place in the Symbolist camp.

The Decadent Movement was a loose collection of artists and writers who came to prominence in the last two decades—or fin de siècle—of the 1800s. The term Decadent was originally intended to be disparaging—but Baudelaire and Rops considered it a suitable description of their lifestyle and work. The Decadents were in revolt against the constrictive and petite bourgeoise morality of the day. But even this doesn’t quite tell the complete truth. Though Rops had rejected much of his Catholic upbringing—he had some religious beliefs. He was also a Freemason. Some of his work was highly anti-Catholic—take a look at his pornographic re-imagining of the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa being “penetrated” by the lance of the seraphim. He had a fear of women but was for a time happily married and then lived in a menage a trois with two sisters. He was rational but was superstitiously obsessed with the occult—in particular the power of the Devil. He railed gainst the petite bourgeoisie and against fame but harbored a desire for respectability—on his own terms.

The novelist Péladan said of Rops in La Plume (1896):

Three hundred subtle minds admire and love him, and this approbation of thinkers is all that matters to this master; if a man of the middle classes, one of those for whom popular works are written and who actually read them, should happen to show a liking for one of his works, he would immediately destroy it.  As a patrician of art, he wishes for no other judges than but his peers, and not out of pride.  The best token of his modesty is the fact that he is so little known and that is how he wants it, because he knows that Art is a druidic cult which receives into its ranks all minds that rise high enough.

While the author JK Huysmans described Rops as:

...not confined himself, like his predecessors, to rendering the attitudes of bodies swayed by passion, but has elicited from flesh on fire the sorrows of fever-stricken souls, and the joys of warped minds; he has painted demonic rapture as other have painted mystical yearnings. Rops has not confined himself, like his predecessors, to rendering the attitudes of bodies swayed by passion, but has elicited from flesh on fir the sorrows of fever-stricken souls, and the joys of warped minds; he has painted demonic rapture as other have painted mystical yearnings.

Rops described his work as “structured mainly around the themes of love, suffering and death, with the central unifying theme of the woman, la femme fatale in the full meaning of the word.” According to Rops the la femme fatale is:

Satan’s accomplice, [a woman who] becomes the supreme attraction which provokes the most extreme vices and torments in Man, a mere puppet.

This image is repeated throughout Rops work—and even when man attempts to repress his desire—as in his painting The Temptation of Saint Anthony—where (as Sigmund Freud notes) he has “placed Sin in the place of the Savior on the cross”

He seems to have known that when what has been repressed returns, it merges as the repressing force itself.

Rops’ work has been described as blasphemous, sadistic, sexist, misogynistic, pornographic, debased and even cruel—but that strikes me as responding to the effect or the surface rather than the substance of his work—which is far more complex and far more telling of Rops’ own fears and anxieties.
 
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‘La tentation de Saint Antoine’ (‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony’) (1878).
 
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‘L’Incantation’ (‘The Incantation’) (1878).
 
More of sex, sadism and satanism, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rarely seen film footage of hippie bard Richard Brautigan
11.29.2016
10:05 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Heroes
Literature
Pop Culture

Tags:
Richard Brautigan


Photo: Baron Wolman
 
The following is an edited version of an article I wrote on Dangerous Minds back in 2012 when Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan, the then-new biography of the poet, was published. I felt I couldn’t improve upon it so am sharing it again in a different context, as a preamble to this new video I put together of footage I’d never seen before of Richard Brautigan. This is an excerpt from a documentary about The Summer Of Love which was broadcast on the Canadian TV series The Way It Is in 1967. There is very little Brautigan on film, so for fans of the bard of San Francisco this is a short, but sweet, visit with one of our great countercultural heroes.

Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac and The Doors were my saviors in the year of the Summer Of Love. I was stuck in the suburbs of Virginia, surrounded by jocks and greasers, mostly always alone in my room full of beatnik books, magical vinyl and a meerschaum pipe full of banana peel. It was the year I read Brautigan’s second book Trout Fishing In America and the year that I left home for San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury.

Those were the days when a book or a record album could change your life. If literature had a Beatles, his name was Richard Brautigan. It comes as no surprise that John Lennon was a Brautigan fan. They both had a whimsical point of view that started in the square inch field and expanded into the cosmos.

In 1968, I lived inside of a parachute inside of a dance hall in a ghost town near Los Gatos, California. It was my summer of In Watermelon Sugar. I read that book like a preacher reads the Bible. It was my new testament. Brautigan’s poems and prose had this uncanny ability to gently slap you upside the head while disappearing into what is being described. In Watermelon Sugar was Brautigan’s river Tao, a sweet subtle liquid that flowed through the pink flesh of our being.

William Carlos Williams famously wrote “no ideas but in things” and embodied that thought in poems like “The Red Wheelbarrow.” Brautigan wrote from a similar point of view - a kind of American Zen that was ordinary and transcendental, modern and prophetic…

  I like to think (and
  the sooner the better!)
  of a cybernetic meadow
  where mammals and computers
  live together in mutually
  programming harmony
  like pure water
  touching clear sky.

For many of us, Brautigan was a door into a consciousness that was liberating in its playfulness and here and nowness. Reading Brautigan is like taking a pure hit of oxygen. Things sparkle. There is a sense of boundless delight and eroticism in his prose and poetry - a promise of the unspeakable, where language transcends itself.

Watch the clip after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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