When one thinks of the home of psychedelic architecture, Iran probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind. But here it is. It’s undeniable. Northern Iranian student Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji has recently documented the existence of these intricate structures in Iran with gorgeous HDR photographs, so incredible that the Western mind can barely grasp them.
Although these buildings seem to be tailor-made for the likes of Ken Kesey
or Timothy Leary, it’s probably best to keep in mind that any Western traveler who might suddenly decide to become one with the Universe while visiting these sites on LSD, will probably be executed immediately after it’s discovered that they’re using drugs in Iran.
So, just sit back and enjoy these rich hallucinogenic mandalas from the psychedelic Summer of Jihad in the comfort of your own home—and know that they’re out there…in Iran.
It’s hard to imagine what the intricate blueprints might have looked like for these buildings, but it’s fairly clear that the architects knew what to do with the windowpane.
Yuichiro Tamaki is a 30-year-old artist living and working in Tokyo. He’s produced conceptual installations, including one where he silkscreened an image of his sleeping self onto a bed with his own blood as ink. (I’d love to say “JAPAN, WTF” right about here, but that’s a big old fistful of art school no matter where you live on the globe.) His portfolio can be found at his blog and in this age-restricted YouTube video, and while some of it is NSFW (suggested dongs, ladynipples), there are zero naughty bits in the works that concern us today.
For about half a year now, Yuichiro has been posting a daily self-portrait to an Instagram account he maintains under the name “Mywar Yuichiro”—as if to combine the enduring tradition of the long term internet time-lapse with the infamous “The Same Photo of Glenn Danzig Every Day” Facebook group, every single photo features him in a Black Flag My War shirt. And he clearly has a lot of them.
Way, way more “My War” Instagram fun after the jump!
Nonsuch, or “Nonsvch,” as the album cover technically rendered it, was XTC’s final record for Virgin. It was released in 1992 with an arresting medieval cover concept (one might also surmise that this extended to the album’s songs as well). I don’t know anybody who counts it among XTC’s strongest efforts. In fact, last year, when Robert Ham of Stereogum endeavored to undertake a full ranking of all of XTC’s albums, the only XTC album he rated worse than Nonsuch was Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2). Christgau gave the album a bomb, which might be a little harsh.
An advertisement for the album in Alternative Press featured a cute little poem with the title “Subscribe, A Poem,” the idea being that subscribing to AP would enable you to receive a CD sampler of Nonsuch and also enter the subscriber in a raffle. The poem went:
It slices not.
It dices not.
It belches not.
It squelches not.
It lives for you.
It lives by you.
Meanwhile, in what today seems like an agglomeration of dropped names that were extra certain to identify the year as 1992, an ad in the August issue of SPY claimed that “George Bush doesn’t get it. David Duke thinks it contains communist codes. William Kennedy Smith just wants to know if it gets chicks hot.” (Ahem, the “George Bush” in question here was George Herbert Walker Bush….)
Chalkhills, the XTC fan mailing list that later became one of the most exhaustive XTC fan websites, at some point noticed that the attractive woodcut-looking back cover art lent itself to, well, a coloring book (or a “colouring book,” depending). So they asked XTC fans to send in their best “coloured” versions of the various images. Naturally, this became known as The Nonsvch Colouring Book. The results, mostly executed in MS Paint or similar programs, aren’t half-bad.
Here we present a few of the highlights from the colored-in gallery and then the entire panels in their original b/w form.
Jeff Parker, 1998
Molly Fanton, 1998
After the jump, the uncolored versions as well as the album’s first video…...
If you’ve not seen the definitive anime Akira, I highly suggest you make the time to watch it. If you’ve not readthe comic it’s based on, I demand you get on that shit, like, yesterday. Set in post-nuclear Tokyo (well, technically “Neo-Tokyo,” an artificial island in the bay), Akira is a sort of post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story—just with telepathy, gang wars and terrorism. The first of the six volume series was released in 1982, but the decrepit futurism and universal themes have made it a timeless classic.It’s difficult to imagine anyone collaborating with or updating it, but the Akira/Simpsons mash-up, Bartkira, is positively inspired.
Hundreds of cartoonists are collaborating to re-create all six volumes of the series, panel by panel, recast with characters from The Simpsons—you can see the cast list (pre-determined for consistency) here. The project will run until the series is reproduced in its entirity, and you can actually submit your Bartkira fan art to the Tumblr (which has a ton of great art), or send samples of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contribute to the actual Bartkira comic.
As if that wasn’t ambitious enough, over fifty animators have actually produced a video trailer for the project, and it’s dead-on. If you’re wondering if this is legal, so are the artists involved:
We’re not sure. We kind of just leapt into it. To be on the safe side, we’re keeping Bartkira as an entirely non-profit operation and we’re giving all the proceeds from sales of books, shirts and so on to charity. If you’ve made merchandise from your Bartkira artwork, we encourage you to do the same. We suspect the project occupies a legal grey area protected by parody laws. Regardless, as of writing we’re a year in and we haven’t received our cease-and-desist yet.
Supposedly, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo got a kick out of the project, and while Matt Groening hasn’t been reached for comment, he’s got a huge collection of bootleg Simpsons merch, and likely wouldn’t care. And who wouldn’t be flattered by a project this formidable? The scope and artistry of the parody is positively sublime.
Not too surprisingly, Paris-based artist Helena Hauss’ choice of Bic pens to be her primary artistic implements does go back to her school days. “I first started drawing abundantly all through high school in my exercice [sic] books rather than writing down what the teacher was saying, and using bic pens was always a good way not to get caught when being watched from afar!”
But Bic pens, ballpoint pens, biros, whatever you want to call them, have another virtue that doesn’t have anything to do with avoiding the scrutiny of teachers: “I have always had a big attraction for the color blue, so much so that all my clothes and accessories were a shade of it, so when I drew I very much liked using blue ink, such as the one found in bic pens.” Hauss’ artworks are large and very detailed and most have to do with the wanton, irresponsible lives of teenagers and young adults—with an emphasis on trashy media, the libido, rock music, drug use, and other good stuff. Her skill with the Bic pen is such that if you didn’t already know what was used, you wouldn’t necessarily guess that it was even possible to make works this visually dazzling with them.
More dazzling Bic pen masterpieces after the jump…..
The work of Israeli born artist Tomer Hanuka may be familiar to you. The New York based artist and comic book enthusiast has created pieces for some of the biggest publications, film studios and business in the world such as The New York Times, Universal Pictures, and Microsoft. Of particular interest is Hanuka’s ongoing series of posters based on the films of Stanley Kubrick.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb movie poster
So far Hanuka has produced four posters based on films from Kubrick’s catalog; Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and A Clockwork Orange. The posters are as colorful as they are unsettling. I especially love how Hanuka manages to incorporate the more memorable, as well as troubling aspects from the four films into his posters. I don’t know about you, but I for one cannot wait to see which Kubrick flick Hanuka takes on next. Lolita, anyone?
L.A. based pop-artist Plasticgod has created a series of Nick Cave figures that he’ll be debuting at San Diego Comic-Con on July 9th. (Also debuting at Comic-Con: new Star WarsStormtrooper figures. Different strokes for different geeks, right?) Each is based on a Cave song title. There’s the “Red Right Hand”
Of all the designers in the world, probably none are as exclusively associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s as Peter Max. His symmetrical, kaleidoscopic and highly colorful “Art Nouveau had a baby with Haight-Ashbury” approach was perfectly suited for the days of The Dick Cavett Show and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Alas, trendiness giveth, and trendiness taketh away—while he has never really stopped working, his work will never not be associated with that era.
I stumbled onto this fantastic spread of Peter Max clothing that appeared in Seventeen magazine in April 1970, and they kind of blew my mind. I’m assuming that fashion-conscious people are aware of these already, but I had never seen them before. I have so many questions—were these clothes actually popular? Do they pop up in thrift stores ever, or are they just too expensive for that? Does anyone wear them today? Pics please!
You can click on any of the full-page spreads in this post to get a much closer view—trust me, it’s worth it.
It’s almost impossible to write about this story without referencing The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the successful 2006 movie that did so much for Steve Carell’s career. In Japan, it seems, the proliferation of Andy Stitzers (Carell’s character in that movie) has become something of an active social problem. According to the Japan Times, “A 2010 survey by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research found that around a quarter of unmarried Japanese men in their 30s were still virgins — even leading to the coining of a specific term, yaramiso, to describe them.”
For anyone who is not in that position, the heartache of being in such a situation, a fully grown adult with little experience to draw on and few prospects to look forward to, can be a devastating psychological toll of failure. One 49-year-old whose name was withheld in the Japan Times article felt romantic and sexual feelings for a woman only twice in his life, and both times the woman in question rejected him. “It was devastating,” he said. “It seemed to invalidate my life and take away my reason to live.”
Shingo Sakatsume and his Virgin Academia textbook.
Statistics for a straightforward comparison across international boundaries are scarce, but a superficial look at the numbers suggests that the Japanese do have less sex than most western countries. For instance, a poll conducted by Durex found that 68 percent of Japanese respondents of the ages of 18 and 19 were virgins, whereas the typical figure for Germany was closer to 20 percent, in Turkey 37 percent.
To help alleviate this problem, Shingo Sakatsume, whose company White Hands specializes in finding ways for “people with severe disabilities find an outlet for their sexual needs,” has turned his attention to what he can do for those who are sexually frustrated for more parochial reasons. His motto is “Sexual maturity means social maturity. ... Even if the person has disabilities, one who recognizes and accepts his own sexuality tends to be able to build balanced relations with others. ... People who are not sexually mature tend to get timid socially.”
Sakatsume’s program for adult virgins has been dubbed “Virgin Academia.” One of the main tools for helping such men has been art classes, pictured here, with live models—without clothes on—in order to help them get more familiar with the female body. As Takashi Sakai, a 41-year-old virgin, commented, “The first time I did this, in autumn last year, oh . . . I was so amazed. Their bodies are incredibly beautiful. ... One thing I learned is that there are many different shapes of breasts and even genitals.”
As Sarah Cascone of Artnet reports, “The correspondence course comes with a 100-page textbook, Virgin Breaker!, and runs for a full year, with participants keeping a counselor apprised of their progress in their efforts to meet women.” Cascone continues: “The figure drawing sessions, which take place every other month in Tokyo, allows the yaramiso to encounter a naked woman in a neutral environment, free of romance and pressure to perform sexually.”
Here’s a report from AFP News Agency about the yaramiso phenomenon:
As a sexual Luddite, I’ve never seen the appeal of vibrators. Maybe it’s the tacky synthetic materials, maybe it’s just the idea of electricity near my vulva, but there’s just something about bringing machinery into the boudoir that leaves me feeling like an old-fashioned girl. Even higher-end models like “The Rabbit,” with its little fuckable fauna accessory on top for extra clitoral stimulation, it looks a bit… bestial, for my tastes. No, I was never able to see the aesthetic value of the vibrator until coming across Alexandra Rubinstein‘s tranquil oil paintings.
Rubinstein’s work is all pretty sexual. She does legitimately beautiful portraiture of smutty old skinflick stills, and she has some seriously not safe for work collections, like “Celebrity Cunnilingus,” which features famous guys (you guessed it) just going to town. My favorite though is “Into the Wild,” which she matter-of-factly describes as a “series of animals found on vibrators juxtaposed with their more natural environments.” Rubinstein’s menagerie isn’t exactly sophisticated erotica, but it is a high-brow dick joke, and that’s the sort of thing the arts should aspire to more, if you ask me.