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DRUGS: Trippy photos from a ‘unique’ volume of the ‘LIFE Science Library,’ 1969
09.12.2014
11:13 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Design
Drugs

Tags:
Drugs
LIFE


The cover of Life Science Library: Drugs

Back in the 60s LIFE had a series of hardcover books—26 volumes total—called the LIFE Science Library that tackled many subjects like Mathematics, The Mind, Health and Disease, Time, Food and Nutrition and so on. One of the volumes printed in 1967 was simply titled Drugs and it gave the history of medicines and how drugs affect the human body. Now if you were to judge a book by its cover, the LIFE hardback cover on drugs looks pretty boring, right? I woulda walked right past it without a second thought! The thing is, if you’d open it up, it’s chock full of trippy eye-candy delights.

Why such a boring cover with such delicious psychedelic imagery on the inside?


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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More, more, Moore: How much is a Henry Moore sculpture REALLY worth???
09.12.2014
09:19 am

Topics:
Art
Crime

Tags:
sculpture
Henry Moore

01mooreportrait.jpg
 
So, how much is a Henry Moore sculpture really worth?

Well, if we were to judge this by the money some criminals have made from the theft of a few of Moore’s best known works, then we may be surprised to find that a giant bronze statue can be bought for as little as a few thousand dollars.

This was how much thieves made on one of Moore’s most revered sculptures “Reclining Figure” (1969-70) after it was stolen from the 72-acre Henry Moore Foundation estate in Much Hadham, England in 2005. Weighing over 3-tons and standing six feet in height and ten feet in length, this elegant bronze statue was valued at $5 million. The theft baffled police, who originally suspected the statue had been stolen to order, but on investigation discovered it had in fact been taken by “a group of travellers from Essex” who sold the giant bronze to a scrap metal dealer for $2,500. A bargain considering the value of the art work and the Henry Moore Foundation’s offer of $18,000 reward for the statue’s safe return.
 
recliningmoore.jpg
‘Reclining Figure’ (1969-70).
 
Over the past decade, Moore’s beautiful sculptures have been the unfortunate focus of thieves across England and Scotland who hope to make quick buck selling these giant art works for scrap metal. In 2012, two men were jailed after stealing Moore’s piece “Sundial” once again from the Much Hadham estate. The dastardly duo sold the sculpture for a mere $75. While “Standing Figure” (1950) was stolen from the Glenkiln Sculpture Park, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, and is also believed to have been melted down and sold for scrap.

So, it’s true—crime doesn’t (always) pay and thieves, it would seem, have no idea of the value of art.
 
moorewarren.jpg
Moore by Allan Warren.
 
Henry Moore was one of the twentieth century’s greatest sculptors. Born in July 30th, 1898, the seventh of eight children, Moore was encouraged by his father and mother to be self-reliant and to value hard work:

She [his mother] had tremendous physical stamina. She used to work from morning till night until she was over seventy. To be a sculptor, you have to have that sort of energy and that sort of stamina. Sculpture is of all the fine arts the one which you have to have an absolute physical fitness. You can’t—in the early stages at least—be tired or ill if you want to be a sculptor.

 
hmooreyscpark.jpg
 
Moore later described his childhood as “a very good time” filled with “the warmth and friendship of a large family.” This was when he made his first tentative steps towards a career as a sculptor, playing games with friends at a local quarry where they made small wooden carvings and built clay ovens (“little square boxes with chimneys and a hole at the side, and we’d fill these with rotten wood and light it and blow on the fire to warm our hands in winter”) .

Moore was encouraged in his artistic ambitions by his father, on the condition that he had an alternative career to fall back on. In 1915, Moore became a teacher at his elementary school until he was called up to fight in the First World War, which he later described with characteristic understatement:

For me, the war passed in a romantic haze of hoping to be a hero. Sometimes in France there were three or four days of great danger when you thought there wasn’t a chance of getting through, and then all one felt was sadness at having taken so much trouble to no purpose; but on the whole I enjoyed the Army…After I was gassed at Cambrai I was in hospital for three months and it still affects my voice at times, but as they made me a PT instructor afterwards I suppose I must have got pretty fit again.

After the war, Moore attended the Leeds School of Art in 1919, where he considered himself “very lucky not to have gone to art school until I knew better than to believe what the teachers said.” At college he was influenced by such artists as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Picasso, Epstein, and Eric Gill, and in his sculpture he intended to get rid of the:

..complete domination of later, decadent Greek art as the only standard of excellence.

Moore won a Royal Exhibition Scholarship in sculpture to attend the Royal College of Art, London, in September 1921. Here he fell under the influence of RCA Principal, Sir William Rothenstein, who encouraged creativity, originality and the belief that his students should not be held back by England’s class structures as “a man was what he made himself.” Rothenstein also introduced his students to established artists, writers and politicians. This was how Moore found himself one evening talking to the Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald:

Rothenstein gave the sense that there need be no barrier and no limit to what one can embark upon, and that is very important to a young student. Here was I, a student straight from Yorkshire, and it seemed perfectly natural for me to be standing in front of the fire and talking to the Prime Minister.

This new environment offered Moore the opportunity to try out different ideas in his work:

When I first came to London I was aware of Brancusi, Gaudier-Brzeska, Modigliani and the early Epstein, and of all that that direction in sculpture stood for. I couldn’t help—nobody can, after all—being a part of my own time. But then I began to find my own direction, and one thing that helped, I think, was the fact that Mexican sculpture had more excitement for me than negro sculpture. As most of the other sculptors had been moved by negro sculpture this gave me a feeling that I was striking out on my own.

 
hmooreanimalhead.jpg
Animal Head.
 
Much more Moore after the jump, including The Art of Henry Moore documentary

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Trapped between realms: The ghostly photos of Christopher McKenney
09.12.2014
08:02 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Christopher McKenney


 
Human figures, their identities concealed with sheets, half their bodies missing, what remains suspended in air, as though they were transitioning between planes of existence, or between life and death, or, more horrifyingly, trapped between them. The eerie photography of Wilkes-Barre, PA artist Christopher McKenney recalls the portentous surrealist otherworlds of De Chirico and Magritte. His works, as you’ll see below, are dramatically staged, horrific tableaux. Knowing nothing about his working methods, I assume these are digitally crafted, though it’s far from impossible to achieve identical effects with film and darkroom skill.

McKenney, unsurprisingly, maintains a presence on Flickr and Instagram. Both are well worth following.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Drop down The Memory Hole with America’s Surrealist Home Videos
09.11.2014
06:40 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Everything Is Terrible
The Memory Hole


 
Sweet Jesus, have you seen The Memory Hole yet, or their Vine account? It’s truly… something... Exactly what it is, I cannot put into mere words, but it’s something, that much is for certain. Something hideously funny. Grotesquely hilarious, even.  You’ve spent hours losing brain cells on Internet K-Hole haven’t you? This is a video version of that. Be prepared to get sucked in.

Although there has been some coyness about the actual people behind this project, it’s “rumored” to have been culled from over 300,000 VHS tapes housed in a basement storage space belonging to the producers of America’s Funniest Home Videos by the madcap geniuses of the Everything is Terrible collective.

These demented transmissions emanate from a flickery nightmarish twilight world that exists as the creepy crawly low res flipside to cute baby and pet videos. It’s very Gummo meets Un Chien Andalou meets like Andy Milligan meets Tim and Eric. The producers are aspiring to get either David Lynch or Werner Herzog to host the show as a computer generated character. The pilot they’re currently shopping around Hollywood is probably the hottest thing since Jackass started making the rounds on VHS in the late 90s. Everybody wanted to see that tape and the same thing seems to be happening for The Memory Hole‘s sizzle reel which already has quite a reputation.
 

 
The Memory Hole is a terrifyingly REAL glimpse into the dark heart of America in the later part of the 20th century… it’s also a gut-busting, hilariously “new” form of comedy. For 24 years, week in, week out, anybody with a camcorder was sending in tapes like these and they’ve just been sitting there, growing mold… until now.

The Memory Hole will fundamentally change you.”
—Anonymous

The Memory Hole trot out a new video each week on their Facebook page.
 

 
Fall down The Memory Hole, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh’: The glorious cover art of ‘Man’s Life’ magazine
09.10.2014
02:49 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
magazines
Man's Life


 
To the modern eye, vintage men’s mags rarely elicit more than a bit of kitschy amusement, but that’s only because you’re not looking at the right genre of vintage men’s mags. Behold this collection of covers from Man’s Life, a veritable visual symphony of testosterone-soaked pulp and smut. The covers tend to fall in one of a few categories: man being manly, man versus beast (such as the “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” feature above, made famous by Neon Park’s Mothers of Invention album cover), man versus woman, man saves woman, man and woman versus beast, man versus foreign man, and many, many permutations of all the aforementioned—all rendered to glorious, if perhaps slightly repetitive, effect, I might add.

The headlines of Man’s Life not only advertised dangerous and/or lascivious adventures, they sometimes promised the reader actual instructions on how to access such debauchery in real life.  One would assume the writing inside is… similarly less than sophisticated, especially since the captions aren’t any more diverse than the cover art. One screamer declares that “love-starved women are lousing up college towns,” while another proclaims that “women are lousing up sports.” (You know us women, always lousing everything up!)

Tragically, like most adventure-smut of its time, Man’s Life fell victim to the specialization of publishing in the mid-60’s. Bookish readers flocked to literary magazines, while oglers flocked to more explicit porn—no longer was there a need to compile the two between the covers of one absurdly masculine volume.

Nowadays the boobs-and-essay giants like Playboy like to exercise a bit of subtlety in both their prose and their pinups. Long gone are the days of such flagrantly absurd machismo, and I for one believe our culture to be the poorer for it. But I suppose we’ll always have the weasels…
 

 

 

 
See more covers after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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An X-rated doodle from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
09.10.2014
09:00 am

Topics:
Art
History
Queer
Sex

Tags:
Leonardo Da Vinci


 
Well, well, a pornographic doodle buried in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Here’s a description (emphasis added):
 

Casual reminder that in one of Leonardo da Vinci’s many notebooks containing innumerable artistic and scientific sketches and notes of incomprehensible important, there is a sketch of two penises with legs and tails walking towards a crudely drawn anus. The sketch was most likely done by Leonardo’s apprentice Salai, who was not only very likely one of Leonardo’s lovers, but who was also infamously mischievous. Better yet, the anus is literally labeled “Salai.” So either Salai drew these while Leonardo wasn’t looking just to annoy his boyfriend, or Leonardo himself put actual time and energy into drawing these. Either way, the human race is truly blessed to have made such a discovery. There are dick drawings like the ones you see on desks in school in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Please cherish this information.

 
For some background on Leonardo’s sexuality in general and his relationship with Salai in particular, there are few better sources than Ross King’s Leonardo and the Last Supper:
 

According to Lomazzo’s account, Leonardo’s passion for the beautiful Salai therefore reached its peak at about the time work began on The Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie.

In the fifteenth century, Florentines were so well-known for homosexuality that the German word for sodomite was Florenzer. By 1415 the sexual behavior of young Florentine men had caused the city fathers such concern that “desiring to eliminate a worse evil by means of a lesser one” they licensed two more public brothels to go with the one they had opened with similar aspirations a dozen years earlier. When these establishments failed to produce the desired results, and still “desiring to extirpate that vice of Sodom and Gomorrah, so contrary to nature,” the city fathers took further action. In 1432, a special authority, the Ufficiali di Notte e Conservatori dei Monasteri, or Officers of the Night and Preservers of Morality in the Monasteries, was formed to catch and prosecute sodomites. Over the next seven decades, more than ten thousand men were apprehended by this night watch.

-snip-

According to Vasari, Salai was “a very attractive youth of unusual grace and looks, with very beautiful hair which he wore curled in ringlets and which delighted his master.” Giacomo seems to have served as a model for Leonardo. No definitive image of him exists, but art historians refer to a distinctive face that appears repeatedly in his drawings—that of a beautiful youth with a Greek nose, a mass of curls and a dreamy pout—as a “Salai-type profile.”

-snip-

Leonardo was almost certainly homosexual by the standards of later centuries. Freud was no doubt correct when he stated that it was doubtful whether Leonardo ever embraced a woman in passion. Two years after the Saltarelli affair, Leonardo wrote a partially legible declaration in his notebook: “Fioravante di Domenico at Florence is my most beloved friend, as though he were my….” A nineteenth-century editor of Leonardo’s writings hopefully filled in “brother,” but the relationship may well have been more intimate.

 

Here’s a brief video of King discussing Leonardo’s homosexuality:
 

 
via Tumbling down tumbling down…; quoted text seems to have originated here
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Charles and Ray Eames introduce their legendary lounge chair on daytime TV, 1956
09.09.2014
02:32 pm

Topics:
Art
Design
Television

Tags:
Ray Eames
Charles Eames
furniture


 
If Charles and Ray Eames weren’t the greatest figures in American design in their era, they may have been the ones that most encapsulated the American twentieth century. Their careers flourished after World War II, and they made important contributions to the areas of architecture, design, industrial design, photography, and film. Their lounge chair is an undisputed icon of American design. After already having introduced a series of fiberglass and plastic resin chairs and wire mesh chairs for Herman Miller, the Eames introduced the lounge chair in 1956 on the Home Show, hosted by Arlene Francis. (It’s common to refer to this appearance as having happened on the Today Show, but I don’t see any justification for that.) 
 

Charles and Ray Eames sitting on their creation
 
In the interview, Charles mentions a movie about their home, known to all architecture lovers (including Ice Cube) as “Case Study House No. 8.” That movie is linked below in addition to the Today Show clip. Impressively, the music was composed by Hollywood composer Elmer Bernstein.

In that vein, Charles discusses a project he’s doing with the great director Billy Wilder, almost certainly a reference to the montage Charles did for The Spirit of St. Louis, but it’s worth pointing out that the connections between Wilder and the Eameses are extensive.

 

 
Towards the end of the clip Charles plays a cute little movie of a man constructing an Eames lounge chair on his own. Using time-lapse photography, the man skids and slides around with unnatural speed and the chair begins to take form. Once he is done, he sits in the chair and enjoys a brief reverie, during which the image of a woman materializes on his freshly built ottoman and then vanishes, after which the man begins to disassemble the furniture.

Not to be too unkind about this, but that movie cries out for a psychological reading, methinks. I mean, that woman may as well be Ray Eames, right? Ray shows up briefly on the Today Show set but then vanishes too, and at the time Charles was given the lion’s share of credit for the couple’s creations. Arlene Francis even repeatedly emphasizes that Ray is “standing behind”/“supporting” Charles. After stating that her role is too look for the “big idea” and to “look critically at the work”—core elements of an artistic persona, both—Francis inanely says that it’s important to have “a critical viewpoint of your husband’s work, so that he can improve along with it—otherwise he might be stagnant or stand still.” 
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The Melvins/Love mashup shirt you didn’t know you wanted has arrived
09.08.2014
09:08 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music

Tags:
Love
Melvins
Forever Changes


 
Artist/musician Brian Walsby has been active for a solid 30 years, making art for Maximum Rock ‘N Roll and Flipside, and drumming for bands as varied as SoCal hardcore shit-stirrers Scared Straight and math-rock gurus Polvo. His latest opus is a hilarious Melvins shirt that parodies the famous cover art of Forever Changes, the classic third LP by Love.
 

 
The shirt features six members of the Melvins’ forever-changing (GET IT? GET IT?) lineup, including Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk), Jared Warren (Big Business, Karp), Coady Willis (Big Business, Murder City Devils) and, obviously, ur-Melvins Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover. These will be limited in quantity to 500, and per the Melvins’ Facebook page, they’re already running low, so pre-ordering soon would seem wise if you’re just dying for one of these.

The Melvins’ new LP, Hold It in, features Jeff Pinkus and Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers, and is due out in October. While you wait, enjoy the Osborne / Crover / Willis / Warren lineup’s live performance at L.A.‘s Amoeba Records in 2008.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Underground’ Pancake Art
09.08.2014
06:40 am

Topics:
Art
Food

Tags:
comics
pancake


 
Hey kids! Do you like comics? Do you like pancakes? If not, and barring some horrifying pancake-precluding health issue, what the hell is your problem? I’ve seen some pancake art making the rounds, and while some of it is very impressive, it tends to be of the “oh look, I made my son an adorable pancake kitty cat” variety. Illustrator Travis Millard however, brings a different kind of pancake art to the table (oh stop, I had to).

Some of Millard’s pancake masterpieces are reminiscent of the sort of punk comics you’d find in Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll or PORK magazine, while others, like say, the Zeppelin and Dead Kennedys logos, invoke the notebook doodles of a high school stoner in detention (believe me when I tell you I mean that as affectionate praise). Millard’s batter brilliance is actually so popular, they earned him a show at the Slow Culture gallery in Los Angeles,  opening Friday, September 5, 2014. The show will also feature his more “traditional” (though obviously artistically inferior) paper illustrations… if you care about that sort of thing.
 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Saturation 70’: The Greatest Sci-Fi Cult Movie (starring Gram Parsons) You’ve Definitely Never Seen


 
Six years before Alejandro Jodorowsky’s extraordinary but ill-fated 1975 attempt to film Frank Herbert’s Dune—the story of which was compellingly told in the recent documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune—there was another similarly ambitious and ground-breaking film project that, until recently, was largely unknown: Saturation 70, a science fiction movie starring Gram Parsons, Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and Julian Jones, the five-year-old son of Rolling Stone Brian Jones and Linda Lawrence (later Linda Leitch, Donovan’s wife, of “Legend of a Girl Child Linda” fame.)

Unlike Dune, Saturation 70 did actually make it into production and was shot, but never completed, then was forgotten and undocumented for over forty years. Dangerous Minds pal Chris Campion reveals the story of the film’s production in an article for The Guardian:

The film was the brainchild of an American writer-director named Tony Foutz, the son of a Walt Disney company executive and a friend to both Parsons and the Rolling Stones. The film was shot (but never completed) at a 1969 UFO convention at Giant Rock, near Joshua Tree in the Mojave desert, and in Los Angeles. It tapped into the spectrum of esoteric interests and outlandish ideas — aliens, psychedelics, time travel— of the late 60s counterculture. “The whole experience of making the film was like a technological tribal throw-down, with an energy buzz off the Richter scale,” Foutz says now. “It took on a life of its own.”

 

The Kosmic Kiddies, from R to L: Tony Foutz, Michelle Phillips, Gram Parsons, Phil Kaufman and Andee Cohen. Photo: Tom Wilkes

Also appearing in Saturation 70 were Stanislaus Klossowski de Rola (aka Rolling Stones confidant, ‘Prince Stash’, the son of painter Balthus) and Nudie Cohn, creator of the Nudie suit. The shoot took place from late 1969 to early 1970.

Filming guerrilla-style, without permits, they managed to realise several ambitious set-pieces, including a surreal shootout between a Vietcong soldier and an American GI in the aisles of Gelson’s supermarket in Century City (Phil Spector, a noted gun fan, visited the set to watch from the sidelines) and a parade of Ford Edsel cars roaring through the City of Industry in a flying-V formation.

 

Skid Row Los Angeles, 1970. Not much has changed. Look closely at the signs.

Director Tony Foutz was also behind another, even wilder film project, a vehicle for the Rolling Stones to star in and write an original soundtrack for, entitled “Maxagasm,” which was co-written with Sam Shepard in 1968.

Closer to Mad Max than the Beatles’ Help!, the film was to feature the group as a band of unemployed mercenaries wandering through Moroccan desert, in a plot that involved UFOs and Mayan-style human ritual sacrifice.


For years, Saturation 70 was little more than a rumour among Gram Parsons fans—a strange anomalous event in his short gloried career—but now all the existing footage and production photos have been dusted off for an exhibition in London that recreates the film shoot, and the story of Saturation 70 can finally be told.

Saturation 70: the Gram Parsons UFO film that never flew (The Guardian)

Saturation 70, the exhibition, runs at the Horse Hospital in London from September 6th to 27th. More information here.
 

Julian Jones and his fairy godmother

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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