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‘Amazing Stories’: The bizarre-o pulp science fiction artwork of Frank R. Paul
09:24 am

Pop Culture

Frank R. Paul

Frank R. Paul Covers
The hardest part about this post has been deciding which of Frank R. Paul’s mind-bending works of satisfyingly strange science fiction art NOT to feature here on Dangerous Minds. Virtually everything the man touched was oddly compelling. The creative genius behind some of the most delightful pulp magazine cover art in history and widely recognized as the “Father of Science Fiction Illustration,” Paul crafted hundreds of vibrant and wonderfully weird compositions to be used as illustrations for several pioneering science fiction periodicals including Fantastic Adventures, Wonder Stories, Science Fiction and Amazing Stories among many others. 

Some of Paul’s work was collected in a 2013 book called Frank R. Paul: The Dean of Science Fiction Illustration from IDW Publishing. In the portion of the book on trailblazing science fiction publication, Amazing Stories, the chapter’s author, Frank Hill documents Paul’s storied working relationship with influential science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback. According to Hill, Gersback began publishing Amazing Stories in 1926 after the success of his Science and Invention magazine at a time when there were only two other science fiction magazines available: Argosy and Weird Tales

It’s pretty incredible what you could by for a quarter in those days. Here’s Hill’s description of the first issue of Amazing Stories:

Naturally, the cover and interior illustrations for this issue were supplied by Frank R. Paul, who had been in Gernsback’s employment since around 1914. The new magazine had a distinct look about it, containing ninety-six pages and printed on heavy paper with even heavier cover stock. The whole magazine weighed in at half a pound, measured over a half-inch thick, and contained stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, among others.

With Frank R. Paul working as illustrator, Amazing Stories quickly became very successful according to Hill, reaching a distribution of 100,000 readers. Ray Bradbury once said: “Paul’s fantastic covers for Amazing Stories changed my life forever.” 

Frank R. Paul was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009.

I did the absolute best I could in matching the images below with the publications in which they originally appeared, and I hope that I wasn’t too egregiously off on any of these.
Tetrahedra of Space
“Tetrahedra of Space,” November, 1931 Wonder Stories Cover
Air Wonder Stories Frank R. Paul
Air Wonder Stories Front Cover August, 1929
Wonder Stories Cover, February, 1933 Frank R. Paul
Wonder Stories Cover, February, 1933
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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‘The Act of Drinking Beer With Friends Is the Highest Form of Art’ AKA ‘FREE BEER’
10:29 am


Tom Marioni

If you intend to go out drinking beer with friends tonight or over the weekend, then you are engaging in “the highest form of art,” according to California-based conceptual artist Tom Marioni. If you do it with Tom Marioni, you’ll be taking part in a piece of ongoing conceptual art that has been happening at specified times and places since 1970. He can do it anyplace he likes; all he has to do is let a gallery know that he intends to host a night of beer and art—“I send plans and they build a bar,” he says. He’s done it in places like Vienna, Paris, and Bristol, England.

Often, at these events, he draws a large circle on a blank wall, in front of which he tells a few jokes, similar to like the famous brick wall at the Improv, while his guests quaff bottles of Pacifico, which he favors “because I like the yellow label.” The full title of this expansive work of art—the events, the drinking, the conviviality, the comedy—is “The Act of Drinking Beer With Friends Is the Highest Form of Art.” It also sometimes bears the name “FREE BEER.”

He has turned half of his studio into a piano bar, and has designated the shade of yellow, probably related to the label used by Pacifico, he likes to use “Marioni Yellow.” He first used the alcoholic beverage in his art in 1970, when he staged a beery event at the Oakland Museum of California. He invited sixteen friends to join him at the museum after hours; the curator supplied the beer, and everyone “drank and had a good time.” The empty beer bottles and the tables and chairs were left in place for the duration of the exhibition. That was a one-time thing, but since 1973 Marioni has been hosting a weekly salon, making “The Act of Drinking Beer With Friends Is the Highest Form of Art” an ongoing artwork that is still not complete.

Marioni’s ongoing art salon/beerfest represent just a beginning of his forays into hops-fueled expression. One work, Golden Rectangle Beer, consists of seven shelves of Marioni’s beloved Pacifico beer bottles arranged in a rectangle with the “golden” 1:1.6 ratio (approximately) widely believed to represent an innately pleasing proportion for visual forms. Such was the name given to the 2000 artwork featured at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, but according to the video embedded below, that is the name he also gave to a similar artwork of a Samsung TV screen tilted on its side and displaying slushy footage of a golden, frothy substance immediately identifiable as beer. In 2004 Marioni published a manifesto of sorts bearing the insouciant title of Beer, Art, and Philosophy. In addition to everything else he is the founder of San Francisco’s Museum of Conceptual Art.

Basically, the affable Marioni has found a way to turn his life’s work, art, into an easygoing and enjoyable pursuit not without its share of high pedigree. It may be accessible and frivolous art, but that doesn’t make it not conceptual art.

Here’s an entertaining look at a typical Marioni salon event:

via Glasstire

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Two hours of Patti Smith live and raw in 1979
09:57 am

Pop Culture

Patti Smith live 1979

In honor of Patti Smith’s recent wildly well-received shows at L.A.‘s Ace Hotel and The Roxy, here’s some punk rock history for you: The Patti Smith Group performing live at the Capitol Theater in New Jersey on May 11, 1979. Patti and the band are loose as hell and occasionally veer way off the tracks as Patti re-starts, abandons and mangles a few tunes. Patti’s stage banter is more pose than poetry (her verbal riffage certainly got better over the years) and her free-jazz clarinet solos belong on ESP-Disk’s cutting room floor. But she’s at home in Jersey and having some fun.

The sound is good in this footage and the murky black and white makes the whole thing feel like it was directed by Guy Maddin.

A dynamite set list:

Privilege (Set Me Free)
So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
Dancing Barefoot
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Redondo Beach
Citizen Ship
Ask The Angels
Secret Agent Man
Pumping (My Heart)
Mr. Tambourine Man
Broken Flag
Till Victory
Ain’t It Strange
Cold Turkey
Because The Night
Seven Ways Of Going
Pledge of Allegiance / Star Spangled Banner / My Generation

Patti Smith - vocals
Lenny Kaye - guitar, vocals
Richard Sohl - keyboards
Ivan Kral - bass
Jay Dee Daugherty - drums

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Eye candy for sophisticates: Experience the brain-melting goodness of Tryin’ Times
07:39 am

Pop Culture

Tryin' Times

I normally don’t blog about Tumblrs, but ya’ll gotta check out Tryin’ Times if you haven’t already. It’s fantastic! I discovered it about a year ago and kind of keep it my hidden secret for amazing images to post here on Dangerous Minds. It’s about time I write about Tryin’ Times because you guys really deserve to know about it. The person who curates it has an excellent eye. You can totally get “lost” and lose hours of your time there, much like Internet K-Hole. But different.

If you’re a graphic designer, fashion stylist, designer or just someone looking for visual inspiration, I can’t recommend this site highly enough. It’s a lot of trippy ‘60s, ‘70s and early-80s stuff, and it’s magical.

I like to click on “Archive” when I browse so I can take it all in at once. Total eye candy.



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The ultraviolent 1962 ‘Mars Attacks’ trading cards that inspired the Tim Burton movie

In 1962, an insanely violent trading card series called “Mars Attacks” was painted by the noted pulp novel cover artist Norman Saunders. In sequence, the cards depicted the invasion of Earth (a pretty obvious Cold War allegory) by some just really atrociously violent Martians, who did a lot of shamelessly violent things to our fair planet’s inhabitants both human and animal, and the violent retribution visited upon Mars in violent retaliation.

They were pretty violent.

Even by today’s standards some of these are a little much, but in 1962 parents were freaking the hell out. And children were buying them in droves in response to the parental freakout because somehow parents never figure out how that works. From an informative article on the set’s history on

Cards depicting burning flesh, buxom women and dogs being zapped by aliens are bound to create an uproar, even today. The brainchild of Len Brown and Woody Gelman, this 55-card set conveyed the story of ruthless Martians attacking Earth.

At one point, Topps reportedly made efforts to tone down 13 of the most controversial cards, but after a complaint from a Connecticut district attorney, production was stopped completely. The commotion created by this set must have been somewhat surprising for Brown and Gelman, who previously collaborated on the equally gory 1962 Civil War News set.

Brown wrote the story on the backs of the Mars Attacks cards. Wally Wood and Bob Powell were enlisted to work on the sketches and renowned artist Norman Saunders painted the cards.

So you have some charred soldiers…



More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Fun facts about Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ album cover
03:00 pm


Led Zeppelin

With just a few days to go before the release of the newly remastered and expanded “super-deluxe” version of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album—my personal favorite, although I’m also partial to III—I thought it would be a good time to post about its iconic cover art. Physical Graffiti was originally released on February 25, 1975. I was nine then, and already a budding rock snob and Led Zeppelin fanatic after buying their first four albums at a neighbor’s garage sale for a quarter each (Score!). I can remember seeing Physical Graffiti when it first turned up in record stores—it was a very solid package, heavy in the hand and also mysterious looking, like some sort of mass-produced, cellophane-wrapped occult object d’art. I coveted that album but it was too expensive for me to buy at that age. I think I ended up getting it as like an Easter present or something. In any case, I recall it being a real event in my young life to get to finally own that epic thing and I listened to it so many times before I even reached my teens that it became a part of my DNA. It’s the ultimate Led Zeppelin tour de force.

The outer cover art is a heavily doctored photograph of two side-by-side five-story tenement buildings discovered by designer Peter Corriston located at #96 and #98 St. Mark’s Place in New York’s East Village, near Tompkins Square Park. The fourth floors were cropped out entirely to better form a square album cover, and the windows were cut out holes, something similar to what the group had already done with the spinning wheel cover of III.

The front cover is a daytime shot, while the back cover was taken at night. Amongst the tenants who can be seen through the die-cut windows are JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, astronaut Neil Armstrong, Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, King Kong, the Virgin Mary, Judy Garland and the main cast of The Wizard of Oz, members of Led Zeppelin in drag, their infamous manager Peter Grant, body builder Charles Atlas, the Queen and Laurel & Hardy. The inner sleeve could be combined in a number of ways to make different covers, and there was an inner sleeve designed by Mike Doud with all the song titles that saw the title written out on closed window shades:

For several years in the 1980s, I lived on this very block, and then right around the corner. I’ve walked past this site a gazillion times. Even in a pre-Internet era, I’m pretty sure that most people who lived on that block knew that they lived near the Physical Graffiti cover. Or even lived in it. Eventually a second-hand clothing store called Physical Graffiti opened up in the basement making it glaringly obvious to any tourist with half a clue and willing to look up. It’s the faces (sconces) that are ultimately the dead giveaway. Now there’s probably an app for finding it. Next time you’re in NYC, you can take a selfie or something cute for your Instagram account in front of the Physical Graffitea shop (and then, as the tee-shirt says, you can “go the fuck home.”)

The Google Street View of St. Marks Place between First Avenue and Avenue A:

One of the buildings on the Physical Graffiti album cover are the same stoops where Mick is seen cooling his heels before Keef boogies along and collects him in the Rolling Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend” music video (also shot in the perennially divvy shithole, the St. Marks Bar and Grill on the corner.)

Simon Gardiner recreated the Physical Graffiti cover as the buildings look today. If you click through to his Flickr page, you can see a sharply detailed larger version.

Gardiner also dug up this choice morsel of Led Zeppelin-related arcana…

Unlikely as it may seem, the concept was itself heavily influenced by the design for Jose Feliciano’s album, Compartments (1973).


Entirely plausible. Led Zeppelin were apparently never shy about borrowing…

Below, one of the album’s highlights, “In My Time of Dying” performed live at Earl’s Court, London, 1975

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Artistic masterpieces rendered in Pantone swatches

Vincent van Gogh, “Self-Portrait”
Just the other day, Pantone named Marsala the color of 2015, and the decision, er, “has critics seeing red.” The only thing that gets art and design people more worked up than Pantone swatches is the rampant overuse of Comic Sans. Art and design people LOVE Pantone. ... thus it was inevitable that someone would do what London artist Nick Smith did, and create quasi-“pixelated” versions of famous art masterpieces, only using Pantone swatches.

Smith currently has an exhibition called “Psycolourgy” at the Lawrence Alkin Gallery near Covent Garden. The show runs through February 20. Here’s the poster—you HAD to know this was coming:

Here are the two Warhols side by side:

Prints of the two versions of Warhol’s Marilyn were once available at ArtRepublic, and the Van Gogh is currently available.

My favorite thing is to look at a bit up close, where you can’t even tell what the context is anymore, like this:


‎Edvard Munch, “The Scream”

René Magritte, “Son of Man”

Leonardo da Vinci, “La Gioconda”

Andy Warhol, “Marilyn Monroe (Green)”

Andy Warhol, “Marilyn Monroe (Pink)”

David Hockney, “A Bigger Splash”

George Stubbs, “Whistlejacket”

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Disturbingly beautiful collages of Hollywood stars
08:03 am


Matthieu Bourel

Natalie Wood (2014)
Beauty’s only skin deep, French artist Matthieu Bourel’s handmade collages of Hollywood stars seem to suggest. With his Faces series of collage, Bourel cuts holes into studio photographs of movie stars like Natalie Wood, Frances, Farmer, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, to reveal the hidden beauty of connective tissue, muscles, arteries and veins underneath.

Or, in his Duplicity series, he layers multiple “slices” of an actor or actress’s face one inside another, emphasising the falsity of image and beauty, or the possible truth of the character beneath. The affect is surreal, beautiful and disturbing, and “evoke a fake history or inspire nostalgia for a period in time that never truly existed.”

More of Matthieu Bourel’s collages can be seen here
Gina / Headcut (2014)
Colourfull / Diva (2013)
Evolve (2105)
Princess / Headcut (2013)
Yul (2013)
More of Matthieu’s collages after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The amazing, unpublishable burlesque pop-up book
07:22 am


Peter Larkin

Peter Larkin, 88, was, in his day, a Tony Award-winning production designer, who, in the mid-‘50, took top nods for his work on Ondine, The Teahouse of the August Moon, No Time for Sergeants, and Inherit the Wind. He’s also a highly-informed burlesque aficionado. In 1994, he illustrated the book The Best Burlesque Sketches, and in the twenty years since, he’s been mocking up a pop-up book on the subject, with the delightful working title Panties Inferno. The Paris Review published a series of photos of the mock-ups, along with a detailed interview with Larkin.

I started doing pop-ups in 1994. My early ones were pretty crude. I had to figure out the engineering, if that’s what they call it—but I had fooled around with pop-ups before, because I used to make theatrical models for stage sets, so with my experience that wasn’t too difficult. I was a good draftsman and with a drawing board and triangles I could figure it out. You have to use the motion of opening the book to power the whole thing. Nowadays, there are guys who use string and elastic—all kinds of strange things in there, which as a purist, I would say aren’t exactly pop-ups. There’s also a certain amount of tumescence involved there. It’s sort of phallic, the pop-up. Why would you make a book that things popped up out of?

The book is arranged as if it’s a whole evening of burlesque, from start to finish. It always ended with a really awful production number. They got a set of steps—stairs—and covered it with some kind of sleazy material. Then there were all kinds of strange things.

Sadly, due to the complexity of Larkin’s pop-ups, the sheer expense of producing it has led publishers to deem it unpublishable. Mr. Larkin, again, is 88 years of age, so someone please tell him about Kickstarter, and quickly!





More wonderful images and animations at The Paris Review.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Looking for a ton of burlesque matchbook covers? Well, you can stop looking.
‘How to Undress in Front of Your Husband’: the exact opposite of a feminist film

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Weird human body parts candles
09:13 am



There’s something about these “Bodily Candles” by Etsy store Uncanny Art Shop that give me the heebie-jeebies. Perhaps it’s the teeth? Yep, it’s definitely those damned teeth!

Made from soy wax, each candle “is carefully cast by hand with layers of wax.” The candles are selling for a pretty reasonable price of $17.79, but since orders have been high as of late, expect to wait at least one to two weeks to get your candle in the mail.

I hate this so much that I totally want one.



Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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