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‘Oops’: Greeting cards for ruined lives
07:18 am


greeting cards
Sam McPheeters

Shopping for greeting cards can be a humiliating ordeal. They command an entire aisle at your local drugstore, but damned if you can find a single one worth stealing. No matter how they’re tricked out with chirping sound chips, ornate pop-ups, encrustations of glitter, or the wisdom of Garfield, they tend to express feelings you don’t feel in images you don’t recognize and in words you don’t believe. Speaking plainly, they’re for people whose lives are perhaps simpler than yours and mine.

But don’t despair: now there’s Oops, a set of real talk greeting cards for grown folks. Did you “get wet” last night and run into trouble with John Law? Oops has “got your six.” Sexually attracted to your mother-in-law? You’re a loser at Rite Aid, bucko, but you’re royalty here. Need to comfort a bereaved friend and hit him up for cash at the same time? Then you need Oops. Or has a toilet with muscular arms been controlling your nervous system by means of a PlayStation handset that is plugged into your brain? Oops can help you express how that feels.

(inside) Let’s have this one end in some death?

(inside) I’m so sorry, This card didn’t seen nearly so inappropriate when I bought it

(inside) Can you drive me to the hospital?

(inside) Can I borrow $40

(inside) “WHY THAT”
The set of eight cards is the latest offering from Sam McPheeters, the polymath hardcore singer, visual artist, graphic designer, record label boss, novelist, raconteur, magazine editor, VICE reporter and army of clones. I know Sam personally, but our friendship has only strengthened my suspicions that “Sam McPheeters” may be no more of a real identity than “Carolyn Keene,” “Betty Crocker” or “Luther Blissett.” Didn’t lots of people believe they were close, personal friends of JT LeRoy’s, too?

Oops is available from

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Awful things: Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli publishes his photographs in book of seedy haiku


She placed the barrel
under her chin and smiled big
quick, take a picture

Amid the flurry of renewed Afghan Whigs activity over the last couple of years (their new album, Do to the Beast is 100% worthy of the band’s legacy, in case you wondered), an altogether different project by that band’s singer Greg Dulli is attracting notice. Dulli’s contributed his photographic work to illustrate I Apologize in Advance for the Awful Things Im Gonna Do, a book of haiku (you read that right) written by former Cat Butt/Dwarves member (you read that right, too) Danny Bland. Bland and Dulli aren’t the only figures from independent music involved in I Apologize… Calligraphy was contributed by X vocalist Exene Cervenka, the book was designed by Camper van Beethoven/Monks of Doom’s Victor Krummenacher, and it’s been published by Sub Pop, the record label that introduced Cat Butt and Afghan Whigs to the world.

I hid the razors
you bought, you sucked the pills from
my throat, quid pro quo

Though they all strictly adhere to haiku’s typical 5-7-5 syllable count, Bland’s haiku are far from traditional—not only do they not take nature as their subject, these poems are just downright raw and seedy. His debut novel, last year’s In Case We Die, was a junkie fable of porn, bad relationships, and damaged humanity, and his haiku hit all the same notes, often with a brutal sense of humor.

I paged my sponsor,
I paged my dealer, then I
waited; heads or tails

While Dulli’s lyrics can often revolve around similar themes of wastedness, obsession, and human relationships gone horrifically wrong, his photographs don’t particularly strike those chords. The most engaging shots seem intended to evoke moods or represent emotional states, concealing as much about reality as they reveal. (The least interesting images just straight up look like they could have been culled from a random art student’s Instagram account, but thankfully there’s not a whole lot of that.) Dulli talked a bit about his photographic work in an interview with the Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger:

I think a picture presents itself. For me, photography and songwriting both seem to start with a strange inspiration. I don’t necessarily go around looking for photographs, I wait to find them. [Pauses] It’s hard to quantify it exactly. Catching a picture is the same kind of spirit as catching a song. You hear a melody in your head, you start to interact with it—that’s what photography is to me.


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Clean, cute and cruelty-free knitted dissection specimens are cuddly and gross!
09:29 am



frog on dissection tray
I seem to remember being one of the kids that refused to dissect a frog in Biology class, but I wonder if I could have swung a passing grade if I had offered to do a mock-dissection with one of these beautiful knitted specimens from aKNITomy. Look at those lovely little felted innards! My first concern was actually that I might not be able to remove the creatures from their mounts for fun pranks, but no!

He comes pinned into his actual dissection tray (never used!), but he is not glued down, so you can take him out and cuddle him if you wish.

Fantastic! In addition to hiding one of these ghastlies in your infantile roommate’s childhood teddy bear display, you can actually cuddle with these disemboweled stuffed animals! A cute touch I noticed was the dead-as-a-doornail “x’s” over all the eyes ... all except the alien.. who stares at you, all blank and lidless. The description says “alien autopsy,” but are we dealing with knitted extraterrestrial vivisection here? Because I just don’t think I can ethically support yarn-alien cruelty.

rat on dissection tray

fetal pig on framed cork

bat on framed foam core
More, including the alien autopsy, after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Memory Hole’: Your best source for America’s most DEMENTED home videos

Do you realize that America’s Funniest Home Videos is currently in its 25th season? Well, it is. It’s on ABC, every Sunday evening. I didn’t know it was still on.

Someone who knows it’s still on are the geniuses behind Memory Hole, the most striking recent entry into the well-populated found-video universe. What Memory Hole does is, they take videos that did not make the cut to be on America’s Funniest Home Videos and they add creepy audio and abrupt edits (Actually, the videos aren’t 100% un-fucked-with, but the bulk of the effect comes from the addition of new audio and jarring cuts.) That recontextualization transforms videos submitted to a nationally televised “laff-riot” suitable for the broadest of audiences America has to offer, into an avant-garde commentary on the inherent strangeness of the American people.

As we reported in September, Memory Hole is what happens when the Everything Is Terrible found-video collective somehow obtains access to storage space containing a whopping 300,000 videos belonging to the producers of America’s Funniest Home Videos. The crazy thing that you realize is just how much footage is out there, countless thousands of people have been sending ABC their nutty little videos for a generation now—as well as some videos that aren’t so nutty. (For fear of legal action, I reckon, Commodore Gilgamesh, one of the found-video geniuses behind the site, is obliged to refer to his source material as coming from “the longest running prime-time television series in history,” which, apparently, it is.)

Some of the Memory Hole videos are single-take masterpieces, whereas others are compilations on a theme—few are longer than about a minute. Two of my favorites are “Is She Sleeping?” in which the game is to try to figure out if Grandma is dead or alive, and “Shaving Cream Torture,” in which ... well, you just have to see that one for yourself. Another fascinating one is “Body Horror,” which is a compilation of double-jointed-and-who-knows-what-else-what people showing off the quirks of their insane bodies.

The great thing is that, much as with Adult Swim’s Too Many Cooks, which Richard brought you yesterday—that’s a must-see—or Chris Elliott’s brilliant Action Family one-off from 1986, which I wrote about earlier this year, you realize that virtually anything can be made “funny” as long as you put some sprightly music nearby and pipe in a canned laughtrack. In that sense, the creepy music added by Memory Hole is helping expose the true nature of this ridiculous footage, in some cases.

It makes you realize how much America’s Funniest Home Videos actually was the YouTube of the 1990s. This is the most “Tim and Eric” thing I’ve seen in a while, and it was all done without manipulating video imagery (much), it’s done by manipulating audio, in the manner of one of my favorite fucked-with TV intros, the “creepy” version of the intro to Diff’rent Strokes. It’s a simple trick but it works wonders.

Two more Memory Hole videos after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Furry furniture that looks like taxidermied Dr. Seuss creatures
07:19 am


Dr. Seuss

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
06:37 am


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
01:14 pm


heavy metal

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
06:17 am


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
05:43 am



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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