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The psychedelic optical illusions of Victor Vasarely
07.25.2016
12:37 pm

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Art

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Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely is considered to be the father of the Op Art movement, a style known for creating optical illusions—often extremely psychedelic ones—from extremely precise repeating patterns, interlocking shapes and vivid yet strictly defined color palettes. In his hands, mundane elements became a wholly unique geometric abstract art. Vasarely’s Zebra, created in the 1930s, is considered by some to be the earliest example of Op Art. His notion of visual kinetics considered the viewer’s perception of the work—indeed where they stood as they looked at it—to be integral to the creation of his artform. In his more sculptural work (plastique cinétique) he might superimpose acrylic panes that would dynamically move—at at least create the perception of movement—as you walked around it, or past it. He was also an innovative architect.
 

‘Zebra’

His Folklore planetaire serial art was first unveiled to the public in 1963 and there have been several (now quite expensive) innovative monographs dedicated to his work that usually contain foldout panels and portfolios of clear acetate sheets that can overlay the images. Two museums of his work were set up in the mid 70s, but have now largely been allowed to fall into disrepair. Examples of other “name” Op Art players who followed in Victor Vasarely‘s wake were Bridget Riley, Yaacov Agam and Jesus-Rafael Soto.

Although Vasarely’s time of greatest prominence was the 1960s and his work has gone in and out of fashion since, his reputation is on the upswing today as “mid century modern” enthusiasts have rediscovered his work via the pieces seen on the walls in Roger Sterling’s office in Mad Men. (Sterling is exactly the sort of person who would’ve had multiple Vasarely prints in his office. I thought that was a deft and knowing touch on the part of Mad Men‘s art directors.) What was once for sale on the early days of eBay for mere hundreds of dollars can sell for ten times (or more) what they sold for in the 90s. You can also see his influence on the art direction of Gaspar Noé‘s Enter the Void.

Some characteristic examples of Victor Vasarely‘s work follow.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is now a poseable action figure
07.25.2016
10:42 am

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Art

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Figma, who manufactures articulated action figures, unveiled their new Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” figure. Exactly when it’s available to purchase is a bit unclear. I couldn’t find its release date anywhere on the Internet. Sometime before the US elections in November would be my guess…

Figma has been releasing some pretty cool action figures based on classical sculpture and artworks lately. Their most recent designs—which you can purchase—are Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man,” Michelangelo’s “David,” Rodin’s “The Thinker” and the Venus de Milo.


The Screamer throws one of those Illuminati hand signals...
 

Vitruvian Man
 

David
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Please Don’t Hit Me’: Provocative work by ex-KLF art terrorist Jimmy Cauty for sale on eBay
07.25.2016
09:29 am

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Art
Class War
Dance
Music
Politics

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Artist Jimmy Cauty achieved international fame as “Rockman Rock” one half of The KLF (along with Bill Drummond aka “King Boy D”) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The KLF released a series of highly successful and influential records including “Last Train to Trancentral,” “What Time Is Love?” and “3 a.m. Eternal.” Under the name The Timelords the duo had a number one hit with “Doctorin’ the Tardis” their playful mash-up of the Doctor Who theme, Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll (Part Two)” and “Block Buster!” by Sweet. They had a further number one (in eighteen countries no less) with “Justified and Ancient (Stand by The JAMs),” their collaboration with country and western singer Tammy Wynette in 1991.

The following year The KLF appeared with grindcore band Extreme Noise Terror at the Brit Awards when they fired blanks from a machine gun over the audience’s heads. At the end of the ceremony the duo dumped a dead sheep outside the venue, then announced the end of The KLF and deleted their entire back catalog.

But this was only a taster of what was to follow.

In August 1994 Cauty and Drummond (now under the moniker The K Foundation) burned a million pounds in cash on the Scottish island of Jura. What the fuck that was about—well, no one is really quite sure—but it has become a moment that has defined the careers of both men since.
 
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A kilted Jimmy Cauty fires blanks at the Brit Awards audience 1992, and an image from the K Foundation’s burning of one million pounds.
 
From 2000 Jimmy Cauty has been making political and provocative artwork—ranging from a limited edition series of stamps Black Smoke, Stamps of Mass Destruction (2003) which was eventually withdrawn after the Royal mail threatened legal action, to opening a “gift shop” at the Aquarium Gallery in 2004 selling “terror ware” based on the British government’s anti-terror leaflet Preparing for Emergencies.

In 2011, Cauty started producing a series called A Riot in a Jam Jar featuring miniature dioramas depicting violent confrontations between the police and the public. These jam jars contained imagined scenes including the execution of the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and the execution of bankers and the execution of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
 
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Cauty’s imagining of Prince Charles and Camilla about to be bludgeoned after their car was attacked during a student riot in 2010.
 
Now a limited edition of one of Cauty’s jam jars has been put up for sale on eBay. The work entitled Please Don’t Hit Me features a policeman interrogating a young boy. In a limited edition of ten—each individually numbered—Cauty’s Please Don’t Hit Me will set you back £465 (around $600). Place your order here.
 
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More of Jimmy Cauty’s provocative jam jar art, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Meat: Strange, disturbing and grotesque sculptures of flesh and bone
07.22.2016
10:01 am

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Art

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Russel Cameron creates surreal life-like sculptures of flesh and bone appendages.

Cameron’s sculptures of deformed limbs and freakish body parts look like they belong in a David Cronenberg movie or are perhaps some remnant meat blown off by an IED, or animal parts, trussed and ready for cooking. His artworks are almost obscene. They are disturbing, grotesque but at the same time compelling and strangely beautiful.

Cameron is a self-taught sculptor based in New York. According to a mission statement at the Macabre Gallery Russel’s main objective when creating a sculpture:

...is to give it life, feeling and a place among us, whether it be a classic bust or a deformed limb mounted on a sheet of wood the piece should speak and tell a story to the viewer.

A majority of Russel’s sculptures possess human characteristics such as skin texture and some form of anatomical structure, these traits all play an essential role in the creation of each piece.

Some artistic influences include Zdzislaw Beksinski, H.R. Giger, Francisco Goya and Hieronymus Bosch.

Russel believes everything on earth has it’s place and those who see beauty in what the masses find grotesque or disturbing have a gift worth exploring.

Cameron has work exhibited by the beinArt Gallery in New York and his work is for sale. You can also follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
 
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Long live the new flesh, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dreamy sci-fi paintings show the world after an alien invasion
07.22.2016
09:30 am

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Art

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While science fiction is a rich genre for both film and literature, the visual art it inspires—most frequently relegated to the covers of bad paperbacks—is very often astoundingly corny, regardless of how good the book it’s interpreting might actually be. Really good sci-fi art is really hard to come by, another reason why Simon Stålenhag is so singular; his post-invasion landscapes are dreamy, intense, and mysterious—completely devoid of the heavy-handed cheese one normally associates with paintings of robots and/or aliens taking over the earth.

Stålenhag has complied his work into two high-concept art books, Tales from the Loop and the sequel Things from the Flood, which comes out in November but is available for pre-order now. Ground Zero for Stålenhag’s dystopia is an alternative Sweden from his own ’80s and ’90s childhood, where experiments with a massive particle accelerator—“The Loop”—go terribly wrong. Despite the disaster, Stålenhag likes to focus on the quiet and the mundane countryside, now irrevocably altered by mysterious invaders. Still, there is an intimacy to his work, with special attention to the domestic lives, childhoods and romances of the people living in this chaotic new world.
 

 

 
Much more of Simon Stålenhag’s work after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Wilco’s new album ‘Schmilco’ will feature Joan Cornellà cover art
07.21.2016
12:40 pm

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Art
Music

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At DM we are yuuuuuge fans of the work of the Spanish illustrator Joan Cornellà, whose delightfully colorful and macabre creations have been warping our brains for a good many years now.

Cornellà‘s comics are invariably deceptive: they almost always appear to be targeted at children, quite similar to a Technicolor version of Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, but the content of the panels is cheerfully replete with grisly and dark occurrences such as beheadings, bestiality, depravity, and the like. Our own Amber Frost took a look at Cornellà‘s marvelous work last year.

In 2015 Fantagraphics published Mox Nox, a collection of comics by Cornellà, and they have a Cornellà title called Zonzo that is slated for early 2017.

A few days ago Wilco announced that a new album called Schmilco (a pretty clear shout-out it would appear to Harry Nilsson’s 1971 album Schmilsson) will be released this September. It turns out that Wilco has had the good taste to outsource the duty of album art to Cornellà, as you can see above. I undertook some rudimentary online searches and was unable to find any previous album art by Cornellà. Lucy Bourton of It’s Nice That asserted that Schmilco represents “the first time Joan’s work has been used on an album cover.”

There’s more after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Sculptor creates a mutant ‘concept human’ to survive car crashes (and he’s horrifying)
07.21.2016
09:30 am

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Art

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Here we have sculptor Patricia Piccinini’s ugly baby, Graham, a high-concept mutant designed to withstand car crashes. Graham’s unsettling physiology was created in collaboration with trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and road safety engineer David Logan in order to emphasize how incredibly fragile our (comparatively attractive) human bodies are, and as far as public safety service announcements go, he really gets the point across. Our mushy little brains are so vulnerable in our (more or less) normal-sized heads!

I’m willing to bet Piccinini added the the row of rippling puppy nipples for shock value, but the construction of Graham’s skull in particular is very medically informed. Our brains are not capable of withstanding the impact of a high speed crash, and we’d need massively reinforced gourds to do so—so wear your damn seatbelt and don’t speed!

If you’re considering bodymodding yourself for optimum safety, you can look at Graham’s physiological “specs,” so to speak, in a 360 degree rendering online!
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Sinead O’Connor will illustrate your text
07.21.2016
08:30 am

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Art
Music

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via Facebook
 
We are all big fans of Sinead O’Connor here at Dangerous Minds. Her voice is gorgeous. Her songs cut through lies. She is hilarious. She’s defied the music industry’s sexist, grab-ass bullshit. She confronted the Catholic Church about child abuse two decades before it was front-page news and paid the price for her courage. She is a real, actual artist.

On Monday, O’Connor announced on Facebook that she’s selling handmade, decorated illustrations. They are available in two flavors: sacred (without swears) and profane (with), though there appears to be some overlap (see “The Books of the Fucking Prophets” below). The sacred works draw on Sinead’s heterodox Catholicism, while the profane celebrate “Reasons To Fucking Thrive.” 

Sinead writes:

I make these as a hobby. But am now going to make a living. If you want to order and buy one for yourself with words of your own choosing or mine, please contact. Backstagebetty@icloud.com
Themes are only two… Scripture (no bad words) or Reasons To Fucking Thrive .
Send yours and get it made pretty..

I’m mystified by one or two of Sinead’s selections in the latter category (for instance, she big ups “Don Fucking Lemon,” not one of my personal heroes), so I would probably choose my own words. How about Sinead Fucking O’Connor?

Here are a few samples from Sinead’s Facebook page:
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Artist gives old photographs a superhero makeover
07.20.2016
09:45 am

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture

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Someone’s dead relatives just got a makeover. Artist Alex Gross takes discarded vintage photographs, paints on them and turns them into portraits of pop culture icons like Batman, Superman, Electra, Wonder Woman, Super Mario and Marge Simpson. These mixed media paintings raise questions about the relevance of history, family and memory in our neo-liberal consumerist world—where fictional characters have far more currency and longevity than familial ties or dead relatives.

Gross is best known for his beautiful, disturbing and surreal paintings that explore modern life.

The world that I live in is both spiritually profound and culturally vapid. It is extremely violent but can also be extremely beautiful. Globalization and technology are responsible for wonderfully positive changes in the world as well as terrible tragedy and homogeneity. This dichotomy fascinates me, and naturally influences much of my work.

I like Alex Gross’s paintings. I like his ideas. He is painting a narrative to our lives—and like all good art he is questioning our role within this story and the values we consider important in its telling. More of Alex Gross’ work can be seen here.
 
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More photographs reborn after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Wonderfully lurid and macabre posters from the Grand Guignol
07.20.2016
08:28 am

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Art

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Adrien Barrère was a prolific poster artist in late Belle Époque Paris, noted for having illustrated over 200 cinema posters for Pathé in the earliest decades of the 20th Century. His style was a bit more cartoonish than his more famous contemporaries like Toulouse-Lautrec and Chéret, due to his training as a caricaturist.

And that respected artist made some marvelously ghastly posters for that notoriously gory and debauched theatre, the Grand Guignol.

A huge influence on horror cinema, the Grand Guignol (roughly “large puppet show”) specialized in garish melodramas that typically climaxed in graphic violence. In his introduction to Theatre of Fear and Horror, U.C. Berkeley Drama professor and author Mel Gordon writes:

There is something embarrassing about the Grand Guignol. Like a renegade sect or invented religion from another century, it still touches upon our secret longings and fears. A product of fin-de-siecle France, the Grand Guignol managed to transgress theatrical conventions and outrage its public as it explored the back alleys of unfettered desire, aesthetic impropriety, and nascent psychological trends in criminology and the study of abnormal behavior. Its supporters called the Grand Guignol play the most Aristotelian of twentieth-century dramatic forms since it was passionately devoted to the purgation of fear and pity.

Audiences came to the Theatre of the Grand Guignol to be frightened, to be shocked, while simultaneously delighting in their fears (or in those of the people around them). The more terrifying a performance was—that is, the more it tapped into its spectators’ collective phobias—the greater its success.

Gordon’s book was originally published by Amok Press in 1988, but an expanded edition is being released in a few weeks by Feral House, and will feature a section of color plates, play scripts, and the autobiography of one of the theatre’s company players, actress Paula Maxa, who may be the single most murdered performer in the history of theatre (“I had been shot, burned, poisoned, flogged in the nude, bitten by snakes, dismembered on a butcher’s table, strangled, left bleeding to death—all at the whim of the playwrights”).

The gallery of Barrère prints below was graciously provided by the publisher. Clicking spawns an enlargement.
 

The Puppets of Vice, 1929
 

Harakiri, 1919
 
More macabre mayhem from the Grand Guignol after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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