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Furry furniture that looks like taxidermied Dr. Seuss creatures
11.06.2014
07:19 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
Dr. Seuss
furniture
taxidemy
fur


Golden Corral and Beast Guests, 2014
 
Texas twins Nikolai and Simon Haas desperately wanted to see the Ralph Bakshi flop, Cool World as kids, but their parents wouldn’t let them. Mom and dad were right. Not only was the the film a little seedy for 8-year-olds, it was a half animated, half live-action mess, high on concept and low on plot. The movie came out in 1992, four years after Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but it lacked that film’s imagination (and writing) and the animation felt cheap and gimmicky. The Hass Brothers haven’t seen the movie to this day, but their fantasy idea of it serves as the inspiration for their new show, “The Haas Brothers: Cool World,” at R & Company in New York.

The furniture and furnishings they created in the name of Bakshi’s box office bomb are actually far less louche than their inexplicable source material. I’d argue the work is downright Seussian—comic and surreal, but with the added element of a playful sexuality (including an actual “Sex Room Entrance”). The ceramics could be the work of Whoville artisans, and the furniture resembles the animals from If I Ran the Zoo. The use of leather and fur (real), alongside horns and feet (metal), leave the viewer with the distinct impression that a few Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dills were harmed in the making of that chaise lounge.
 

Mini Beasts, 2014
 

Beast Bench, 2013
 

Accretion Vases and Zoidberg Lamp Series, 2014
 

Beast Club Chairs, 2014
 

Beast Setee, 2013
 

California Raisin, 2014

Candelabras, Accretion Vases, Hematite Vases, 2014
 

Anna Nicole, 2014
 
“Hairy Belafonte” and more after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Witchcraft and Black Magic’: Surreal occult fantasy paintings
11.06.2014
06:37 am

Topics:
Art
Occult

Tags:
Jan Parker


 
In 1971, artist Jan Parker, who’d been a sketch artist on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, executed a series of macabre illustrations for Witchcraft and Black Magic by the prolific occult author Peter Haining.
 

 
Though he wrote some reference works on Doctor Who, Haining may have become most well known for arguing, in two books, a claim that Sweeney Todd was a real person. That assertion has never been widely embraced, and Haining passed in 2007. Jan Parker, on the other hand, is alive and well, and remains active as an artist. But if all you know of him is work like we’ve reproduced here, you wouldn’t recognize his current output. No longer a dark and surreal arbiter of fantasy and the arcane, he’s now a painter of almost flourescently vivid impressionistic abstractions. Though some of his newer pieces are indeed quite striking, the lurid horrors below are more our speed.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Heavy metal T-shirts transformed into heavy metal quilts
11.05.2014
01:14 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
heavy metal
quilts


Skull Kontrol
 
A San Francisco-based artist named Ben Venom (nice name!) cuts up heavy metal t-shirts and turns them into fantastic handmade quilts on general themes that are pretty heavy metal in their own right. He also does the same thing with motorcycle t-shirts (not pictured here).

Hard to make out any specific logos…. I do spot Red Fang, Manowar, and King Diamond. Pausing the video at bottom makes it much easier—also saw Metallica, Kreator, Ozzy, Pantera, Death, and AC/DC.

Can you spot any others?
 

In to the Sun
 

Tools of the Trade
 

Killed by Death / Strange Case of Mr. Wolfman and Dr. Death
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Myopia: New art book by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO
11.03.2014
06:17 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
DEVO
Mark Mothersbaugh


 
Is there such a thing as a natural-born pop artist? I don’t really think there is, but the voluminous graphical art of Mark Mothersbaugh, well known to Dangerous Minds readers as the frontman and co-founder of DEVO, is enough to give me pause.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver on Thursday opened Myopia, a very large exhibition showcasing the art of Mark Mothersbaugh that runs through April. (If it rings a bell, it may be because we wrote about it last winter.) Adam Lerner, director of the museum and curator of the show, takes pains in the book accompanying the show published by Princeton Architectural Press, to emphasize Mothersbaugh’s almost preposterous productivity: “Mark Mothersbaugh is a fountain of creative energy. He creates postcard-size drawings and collages on a daily basis (more than 30,000 of them so far) and uses them as the basis for other works. ...”

It’s well known that the spark that led to DEVO’s formation was the tragic shooting at Kent State in May 1970, which Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale witnessed. Mothersbaugh puts it well in the book: “For a lot of reasons, the shootings gave me a focus.” To flip through Myopia is to wonder just what button that event pushed in Mothersbaugh’s brain—there seems to be no cessation of the combinations of icons and slogan-like textual elements that Mothersbaugh can’t put together in an arresting image. Lerner wants to emphasize that DEVO is merely one channel for Mothersbaugh’s creativity, with the works featured in Myopia representing some of the others, and that’s perfectly true. It may not be “fair” that DEVO overshadows the entirety of Mothersbaugh’s other output, but that’s the nature of showbiz. A less curmudgeonly way of thinking about it is that Mothersbaugh has found success in the opposed worlds of pop culture and high art in ways that reinforce each other.

It kind of goes without saying for anyone who knows his or her DEVO, but Mothersbaugh’s sloganeering impulse is strongly influenced by advertising. Picking almost at random from the images, you can find phrases in Mothersbaugh’s pictures such as “Don’t Bullshit God, Padre!” “Press My Tummy, Buttwipe!” “I’m Keeping Score, You Fiend!” “Soiled Linen Pantaloons, Yakety Pants,” and on and on. The exclamation points aren’t incidental—there’s a hectoring quality that maybe prevents Mothersbaugh’s images from penetrating the upper echelons of art, but he’s awfully adept and they function really well below that threshold. Hell, even the ones without words are almost as emphatic—the man understands his icons. As for originality, obviously Mothersbaugh owes a huge debt to the pop art movement of the 1950s and after: The Ben-Day dots, visible on the cover, are obviously a nod to Roy Lichtenstein and through him to pop art in general.

My guess is that 90% of DEVO’s fans have no idea just how startling and accomplished an artist Mark Mothersbaugh is. If you take DEVO’s output and convert it to a collection of paintings, it would look a lot like the pieces in Myopia—possibly just because of the sheer number of postcard-style paintings and doodles Mothersbaugh has produced, the graphical art ranges a little wider and more freely than DEVO’s catalog, for reasons that should be mostly obvious. Also, the pretense of the Devolution schtick isn’t quite as present—the levels of pessimistic irony are a little flatter in the paintings, so you can apprehend it a little easier. It’s still about showing you the ugliest side of our noisy culture somehow, but you can admire it purely as an aesthetic thing without the oxytocin hit of DEVO’s spastic 4/4 beat.
 

Riggs’ Class Record No. 101 (No D) (pages 18 and 19), 1971
 

Untitled, 1984
 

LuAnn, ca. 1984
 

Untitled, 1991
 

Untitled, 2001
 

HA, 2004
 

Kiss Me, 2004
 

Untitled (Censor), 2004
 

Are We Not Men?, 2004
 

Untitled, 2010
 
(Most of the images in this post can be clicked on for a larger version.)

Here’s the first section of a roughly 75-minute interview conducted at the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles a month ago:
 

 
(All images from Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia edited by Adam Lerner, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2014. The book goes on sale November 4 but you can pre-order it before then.)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Unsettling photo series of animals in their pointedly artificial zoo habitats
11.03.2014
05:43 am

Topics:
Animals
Art

Tags:
photography
capitivity
zoo


 
Zoos are a sort of moral conundrum in the animal rights debates. Some zoos rehabilitate or rescue animals unable to survive in the wild, and nearly any larger zoo is active in conservation efforts. At the same time, there are some sad zoos out there, where whatever pleasure you might derive from the observation of a wild and beautiful beast is mitigated by the distinct impression that this animal looks… depressed?

For his series, In Situ, the Latin for “in its original place,” Parisian photographer Eric Pillot shoots animals in the bleakest of zoo habitats; the effect is incredibly disquieting. From his website, a (rough) translation:

The animals placed in these indoor runs seem to represent something of the “animal in us,” in all their diversity: ones we can cuddle, pamper, fear… those from tales and myths. Colorful, geometric or “pictorial,” it finally seemed that the facilities that I have endeavored to represent, that have been carefully designed to allow us to see the animals they house, could be a reflection of man himself.

The series is certainly unnerving—isolated creatures in poor facsimiles of their native lands—but without expertise on the animals themselves, we’re left in the dark, wondering how happy or sad they really are in such a subective context.
 

 

 

 

 
After the jump, more of these powerful images….

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Paintings of Divine, Apu, Amy Winehouse, Princess Leia and more, using old coins as a canvas


Divine, over an image of Generalissimo Francisco Franco
 
Andre Levy must be quite the draftsman, to paint such compelling and amusing images on the unforgiving terrain (copper, nickel) of a coin measuring no more than an inch square. But that’s what the artist, who was born in Sao Paulo but is currently based out of Frankfurt, has done. A cheeky sense of humor (he clearly loves the Simpsons) and a sharp eye have surely aided him in his quest to take over the Internet (which he seems to have done).

Benjamin Sutton of Hyperallergic got in touch with Levy per email: “I’m a graphic designer and split my time between an advertising job and my personal projects, which include street art and illustration. The most notorious of those projects, so far, is Tales You Lose, which became popular on Instagram and Tumblr,” Levy told Hyperallergic. “I never collected coins. What initially made me accumulate a few was the fact that I keep forgetting them in my pockets. I learned, though, that outside its territory of origin the coin leaves behind its illusional value as currency to carry a value defined by its carrier. I saw those coins as massively reproduced sculptures, and felt they could be turned into templates for something richer. Painting the coins was a way to give those metal pieces some room for interpretation. The pop characters were a way to bring in narratives as strong as the original ones and enable the new stories when people relate both characters.”
 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Leonardo, over Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
 

The Flash, on a Greek Olympic coin
 

Princess Leia, over an image of British Queen Elizabeth II
 

René Magritte’s “The Son of Man,” on a Chinese coin
 

YouTube error icon, over Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
 

Amy Winehouse, on a French coin
 

Apu from The Simpsons, on a Thai coin
 

Asterix and Obelix, on a French coin
 

Swiftwind, on an Irish coin
 

Simpsons doughnut
 
via Hyperallergic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Dollhouses of doom: Lori Nix’s post-apocalyptic dioramas
10.31.2014
06:58 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
diorama
post-apocalyptic


Library, 2007
 
The morbid fascination with “ruin porn”—the decrepit or devastated remains of human existence—is hardly a niche interest at this point. People are drawn to the aftermath of destruction or the ravages of time because catastrophe and/or decay is mesmerizing, but many argue that ruin porn is voyeuristic and ghoulish. Well, that’s why we have art, folks—so we can gawk without guilt!

For her series, “The City,” photographer Lori Nix hand-builds tiny, exquisitely detailed diorama models of human spaces in a post-apocalyptic world. Nix grew up in disaster-prone Kansas, and a childhood of flooding, tornadoes, and blizzards shaped her catastrophic visions as much as sensationalist cinema. From her site:

I am fascinated, maybe even a little obsessed, with the idea of the apocalypse. In addition to my childhood experiences with natural disasters, I also grew up watching 1970s films known as “disaster flicks.” I remember watching Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Planet of the Apes and sitting in awe in the dark. Here was the same type of dangers I had experienced day to day being magnified and played out on the big screen in a typical Hollywood way.

The mysterious disaster that’s left Nix’s civilization to fallow is never explained, and no human survivors are ever present. The viewer is simply given permission to stare at what’s left.
 

Casino, 2013
 

Chinese Take-Out, 2013
 

Subway, 2012
 

Beauty Shop, 2010
 

Mall, 2010
 
More of Lori Nix’s dollhouses of doom after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Amazing and disturbing human figures sculpted from typewriter parts
10.31.2014
06:04 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Jeremy Mayer


 
Self-trained artist Jeremy Mayer makes astonishing life-sized human figures and busts using only typewriter parts. He describes his process in detail on his web site’s about page.

I disassemble typewriters and then reassemble them into full-scale, anatomically correct human figures. I do not solder, weld, or glue these assemblages together- the process is entirely cold assembly. I do not introduce any part to the assemblage that did not come from a typewriter.

I collect typewriters (all vintages) that are in very rough shape, more-often-than-not completely unusable or beyond reasonable repair. I get them from yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, and from my friends who happen upon them and think of me. Even with all the key cutters and crafters out there taking apart typewriters, there are many more out there in the world than you may think. For now, anyway.

I then disassemble the typewriters, very carefully backing out screws, pulling pins, and unfastening springs. I don’t use power tools to do this, because I don’t want to damage the parts or their finish. Someone could take 99% of the parts that I use in my sculpture and put them back in a typewriter, if someone were so inclined.

I tend not to like to clean the parts, and I don’t paint them. I like to leave the patina of age and the traces that the typewriter users left on the components. I like to think that the very DNA of the typist is left on the components.

He’s also done a very cool TED Talk about his work.

Mayer does other critters besides people—in fact, just last year we showed you his chihuahua. There are plenty more marvels to be seen at his Instagram and Tumblr pages.
 

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Time of the Assassins’: William S. Burroughs’ cut-up version of Time Magazine, 1965
10.30.2014
08:23 am

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
William S. Burroughs
Brion Gysin
Time Magazine


 
One of the favored forms of Beat author William S. Burroughs was that of the “cut-up,” basically fancy talk for “collage.” After the Dadaists pioneered the technique in the 1920s, the midcentury artist who had done the most with it was Brion Gysin, a close friend of Burroughs, who once called Gysin “the only man I ever respected.” Gysin stumbled on the technique on his own around 1954 when he slashed a newspaper page and noticed that the page underneath created interesting juxtapositions. Gysin showed Burroughs the cut-up concept in the late 1950s, as he related in Cut-Ups: A Project for Disastrous Success:
 

William Burroughs and I first went into techniques of writing, together, back in room No. 15 of the Beat Hotel during the cold Paris spring of 1958. ... Burroughs was more intent on Scotch-taping his photos together into one great continuum on the wall, where scenes faded and slipped into one another, than occupied with editing the monster manuscript. ... Naked Lunch appeared and Burroughs disappeared. He kicked his habit with apomorphine and flew off to London to see Dr Dent, who had first turned him on to the cure. While cutting a mount for a drawing in room No. 15, I sliced through a pile of newspapers with my Stanley blade and thought of what I had said to Burroughs some six months earlier about the necessity for turning painters’ techniques directly into writing. I picked up the raw words and began to piece together texts that later appeared as “First Cut-Ups” in Minutes to Go (Two Cities, Paris 1960).

 

William S. Burroughs, photograph by Brion Gysin
 
In 1965 Gysin and Burroughs collaborated on a cut-up version of Time Magazine that would end up being 27 pages long. According to Jed Birmingham, “Time was published in 1965 in 1000 copies. 886 copies comprised the trade edition. These copies were unnumbered and unsigned. 100 copies were signed by Burroughs and Gysin. 10 copies numbered A-J were hard bound and contained a manuscript page of Burroughs and an original colored drawing by Gysin. 4 more were hors commerce. ... An hors commerce print was used as the color key and printing guide that the printer would use to insure consistency of the print run.”

Apparently, Burroughs and Gysin chose the November 30, 1962, cover of Time to mess with because that issue contained a dismissive review of Naked Lunch under the title “King of the YADs,” where “YAD” stood for “Young American Disaffiliates.” Burroughs was greatly irritated by the review.
 

 
The Time cut-up was described as follows in Robert A. Sobieszek’s Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts:
 

Burroughs created his own version of Time magazine, including a Time cover of November 30, 1962, collaged over by Burroughs with a reproduction of a drawing, four drawings by Gysin, and twenty-six pages of typescript comprised of cut up texts and various photographs serving as news items. One of the pages is from an article on Red China from Time of September 13, 1963, and is collaged with a columnal typescript and an irrelevant illustration from the ‘Modern Living’ section of the magazine. A full-page advertisement for Johns-Manville products is casually inserted amid all these text; its title: Filtering.

 

Here we can see what the cover originally looked like in color. Photograph: Stephen J. Gertz
 
The first few pages (after the “copyright page”) are pretty much pure typewritten text—the metaphor of this being a version of Time doesn’t really obtain until you get to page 5, which has the word “REPUBLICANS” across the top as well as the words “Democratic Governor John Swainson,” who was the Governor of Michigan when the original issue came out (but not in 1965). After that you spot the familiar non-serif typeface here and there. Page 6 is titled “THE WORLD” and is about Red China. Page 8 is simply an unmolested full-page ad for Johns-Manville. Page 10 has a picture of a bunch of dignitaries at Peking Airport and another one with “John and William Faulkner.” Pages 13-16 are a series of ideogrammatic doodles by Gysin, after which the text reverts almost entirely to typewritten text by Burroughs.

Page 22 may be the most interesting page, as it features several short paragraphs of true automatic writing, as for example: “moo moo. .Tally Tillie Valspar Vent flu flu..doo do do. .Ding Dong Bell. .Sell sell sell. .Knee Wall fell. .sell sell sell. .Tele tell yell. .Sell sell sell. .Pell Pow Mell. .Sell Sell Sell. .Pel Tex Mell.”

Here is Burroughs and Gysin’s Time cut-up in its entirety:
 

 

 

 
The rest after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The psychedelic madness of Louis Wain’s cats
10.29.2014
04:18 pm

Topics:
Animals
Art
Unorthodox

Tags:
cats
Louis Wain
Schizophrenia

YY11lswn11YY.jpg
 
Though I do prefer dogs, I cannot but help but love Louis Wain’s cats—those beautiful playful wide-eyed felines that slowly evolve (disintegrate?) into psychedelic creatures of the electric night. These paintings have inspired considerable speculation with the oft-cited suggestion that Wain’s paintings show his gradual psychosis and descent into schizophrenia.

Louis Wain was born into a working class family in Victorian England in 1860, and died just prior to the Second World War in 1939. He was born with a cleft palate and was kept off school during a large part of his childhood. When he did eventually go to school, he spent most of his time playing truant, wandering the city, people watching. However, he must have been clever for he attended the West London School of Art and became a teacher. When his father died, Louis became the chief breadwinner and decided to make his living as an illustrator for the various top line London magazines. He had his own style and wit, and produced satirical cartoons and illustrations of cats in various human situations: playing golf, singing opera, having a tea party, singing carols, eating cake. He explained the inspiration for his work:

I take a sketch-book to a restaurant, or other public place, and draw the people in their different positions as cats, getting as near to their human characteristics as possible. This gives me doubly nature, and these studies I think my best humorous work.

Yet despite his success, Wain was always in financial difficulties—some of his own making, but most by those business people around him who exploited, used and literally stole from him.

When he was thirty, his sister was committed to an insane asylum—it was the first rumble of the fate that was to befall Wain. He continued providing for his mother and sisters, but he spent long seasons in asylums caused by his psychosis and schizophrenia.

News of his circumstances were publicized by H.G. Wells, who organized the funds to move Wain into a nicer hospital with a colony of cats, along with Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald who personally intervened on Wain’s behalf.

There has been some speculation that Wain’s schizophrenia was caused by toxoplasma gondii—a parasite found in cat’s excreta. Whatever began the illness, Wain was incarcerated in various asylums and mental hospitals for years at a time. The changes to his life were reflected in his art. His paintings of cats took on a radiance and vitality never before seen: the fur sharp and colorful, the eyes brilliant, and a wired sense of unease of disaster about to unfold.

But these paintings look normal compared to the psychedelic fractals and spirals that followed. Though these are beautiful images, startling, stunning, shocking—they suggest a mind that has broken reality down to its atomic level.

Though it is believed that Louis Wain’s paintings followed a direct line towards schizophrenia, it is actually not known in which order Wain painted his pictures. Like his finances, Wain’s mental state was erratic throughout his life, which may explain the changes back and forth between cute and cuddly and abstract and psychedelic. No matter, the are beautiful, kaleidoscopic, disturbing and utterly mesmerizing.

Beginning in the late 60s, Wain’s work came into fashion again and has become sought after by collectors. In 2009 Nick Cave, a Wain enthusiast since the late 70s, organized the first showing of Wain’s work outside of England when he exhibited his work as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties concert series in Australia. Artist Tracy Emin and musician David Tibet are also prominent collectors of Wain’s work.

For images from Louis Wain’s children’s books check here and for more cats check here.
 
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More of Louis Wain’s fabulous cats, after the jump…
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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