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Blood and Guts in High School: Beautiful and surreal illustrations for science text books
11.14.2016
12:03 pm

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Art
Books
Science/Tech

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From what I can gather Le Livre de la Sante or The Book of Health or the Encyclopedia of Mind, Body and Health by Joseph Handler was a multi-volume series of text books on science, anatomy, biology, psychology and health intended for use in the classroom. Reading these text books must have been a blast as page after page is filled with the most beautiful day-glo colored illustrations by an incredibly diverse range of artists and graphic designers.

Published in Monte Carlo between 1967 and 1969, Le Livre de la Sante was also made available in an Iranian edition—which kinda shows how hip Iran was back then. Handler’s educational books are still available to buy—and 50 Watts has uploaded a whole library of pages from these books which can be viewed here.
 
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‘L’homme tableau de Pinoncelli’ by Josue.
 
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‘Le repartition des cancers’ (the distribution of cancers) by Osterwalder.
 
More exquisite illustrations from ‘Le Livre de la Sante,’ after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nostalgic glass bongs for people of a certain age
11.14.2016
10:11 am

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Amusing
Art
Drugs

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It’s not like these are the most beautiful bongs my eyes have ever laid on, but I do however, find them dumbly hilarious in a nostalgic way. When I saw the MTV-themed Beavis and Butt-Head bongs I certainly did laugh out loud. They’re ridiculous. The bongs are by an artist named John de Fazio.

The Ren & Stimpy bongs are good, but I much prefer the craftsmanship of the Beavis and Butt-Head ones.

There are no prices for the bongs. I’m not even sure if they’re for sale.


 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Antique erotic cigarette cases from the early 20th century
11.11.2016
11:24 am

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Art
Sex

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Erotic-themed cigarette case from Sweden, 1910.
 
In order to protect the somewhat delicate hand-rolled cigarettes that were sold during the early part of the 20th century, fashionable cigarette cases crafted in gold, silver or other precious materials started popping up in the hands of elite members of society all around the world.

These cases became a venue for artists to use their handiwork to produce images that would appeal to all kinds of customers, including those who enjoyed gazing at erotic images while enjoying a relaxing smoke. Born out of function cigarette cases became decadent pieces of art. Even the posh egg-man Peter Carl Fabergé designed cigarette cases in the late 19th century that were ornately decorated with precious jewels such as diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. While Fabergé‘s fancy cigarette cases were fit for the gentry or royal crowds, the “erotic” themed cases in this post were probably not flashed around by members of the upper-class or aristocracy while in mixed company.

Due to their age they are quite hard to come by and the exquisite cases have been known to fetch anywhere from $3000 to $9000 when they come up for auction at Christie’s or Sotheby’s. Occasionally these authentic era-specific cases do pop up on sites like Etsy and eBay but even then they can run several hundred dollars a pop. I’ve got a number of beautiful erotic cigarette cases for you to look at below—that said, though they are incredible works of vintage art (some of which are over 100 years old), they are NSFW.
 

Germany, early 1900s.
 

Vienna, 1913.
 

 

Germany, 1910.
 
More after the jump…

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Kinky erotic portraits of Yukio Mishima
11.11.2016
10:00 am

Topics:
Art
Books
History
Literature
Queer
Sex
Unorthodox

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In 1961, a young photographer named Eikoh Hosoe was asked by writer Yukio Mishima to take his portrait picture. It was a humbling yet surprising commission. Mishima was then Japan’s greatest living novelist—the author tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Hosoe was relatively unknown. The commission made Hosoe deeply curious as to why the great Mishima had chosen him.

When they met in the small garden at Mishima’s house, the author anticipated Hosoe’s question:

“I loved your photographs of Tatsumi Hijikata. I want you to photograph me like that, so I asked my editor to call you.”

“Mr. Mishima, do you mean I can photograph you in my own way?” I asked.

“Yes, I am your subject matter. Photograph me however you please, Mr. Hosoe,” he replied.

All my questions and anxiety faded.

The photographs Mishima so greatly admired were the ones Hosoe had taken of the dancer Tatsumi Hijikata. 

Hijikata was an originator of Butoh—an apocalytpic dance form developed in Japan after the Second World War in opposition to western influence. Mishima had similarly broken away from the prevailing western influence that had altered Japan after the war and during the 1950s. Mishima wanted a return of the Emperor and the ancient samurai traditions.

Mishima had been a puny kid. As he matured he changed his body through rigorous exercise and weight-lifting to become toned and highly athletic. His books often deal with the theme of the split between intellectual ambitions and the man of action.

His first novel Confessions of a Mask examined the “reluctant masquerade” between the perceived and actual life. Mishima was bisexual. He was married with two children but had an intense and active gay life. He was a sadomasochist, who believed in the living of a life through force of will. A life that he claimed adhered to the strict codes of the samurai. His books were fixed in this tradition—though his subject matter was preoccupied with sex and death. This led many critics in the west to misunderstand Mishima. One of my collegues here label him as a cross between “Proust and Jeffrey Dahmer.”

That fine day in September 1961, Hosoe quickly realized Mishima did not want a banal author portrait:

In offering himself as the “subject matter” of my photographs, I thought he might have wanted to become a dancer himself. I was still in my twenties then, so I was naïve. I did not make the distinction between an international literary figure and a dancer.

Mishima’s father happened to be watering the garden, so I grabbed his hose, and I wrapped Mishima’s entire body in the hose and kept him standing in the center of the zodiac, where he was planning to erect a statue of Apollo.

I asked him to look up and concentrate on my camera, which I was holding from a ladder above. I shouted, “Keep looking at my lens very intensely, Mr. Mishima! Okay, that’s great, keep going . . .” He never blinked while I shot two rolls of 35mm film. “I am proud of my ability to keep my eyes open for minutes,” said Mishima.

“I have never been photographed like this,” he said. “Why did you do it in this way?”

“This is the destruction of a myth,” I replied.

“You should wrap the hose around Haruo Sato,” he laughed. Haruo Sato was considered to be a literary giant at that time. But what I really meant was that I wanted to destroy the preconceived ideas about Mishima’s image in order to create a new Mishima.

After the shoot, Hosoe thought he may have gone too far. Two days later, Mishima phoned him to say he loved the photographs and wanted to collaborate with Hosoe on some more.

Over a period of six months Hosoe worked with Mishima on a series photographs which he hoped would capture the writer’s soul. These were eventually published as a book—with text by Mishima—called Ba-ra-kei or Ordeal by Roses.

In November 1970, Mishima together with four members of his secret army attempted a military coup. They broke into the eastern headquarters of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces taking the commanding officer prisoner. Mishima demanded 800 soldiers gather outside the offices to hear a speech and a list of demands he had written. Mishima hoped this speech would inspire the troops to rebel against the corruption of western influence and join his rebellion. Mishima wanted an end of democracy and a return of the Emperor. His rebellion was a literal union of the artist and man of action changing history.

The troops laughed and jeered as the author spoke. The coup failed. Mishima returned inside where he committed seppuku (self-disembowelment) before one of his soldiers attempted to decapitate him. After several blows failed to remove his head, another of his soldiers eventually managed to decapitate Mishima.

Mishima’s biographer John Nathan suggested this military coup was only a pretext for Mishima’s ritual suicide—something he had long dreamed about. In his short story “Patriotism” Mishima described an idealized seppuku where the central character pulls a blade across his abdomen cutting himself open:

The vomiting made the fierce pain fiercer still, and the stomach, which had thus far remained firm and compact, now abruptly heaved, opening wide its wound, and the entrails burst through, as if the wound too were vomiting. . . . The entrails gave an impression of robust health and almost disagreeable vitality as they slipped smoothly out and spilled over into the crotch. . . . A raw smell filled the room.

Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima taken in 1961 and 1962 capture the author’s terrible beauty, eroticism and conflicted sadomasochistic nature.
 
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More of Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Stunning color photographs of the Women of Tsarist Russia 1909-15
11.10.2016
09:53 am

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Art
History
Politics

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Sergey Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) was a successful chemist and leading pioneer of color photography in Russia at the turn of the last century. He was financially independent enough to take up the fashionable hobby of photography. His knowledge of chemistry enabled him to master new techniques in color processing.

He decided to use these advances in color photography to document life in Russia.  Using different techniques, including those first formulated by Scottish pioneer James Clerk Maxwell, Prokudin-Gorskii started taking color pictures of his homeland in 1909.

Photography was an expensive pastime. As his hyphenated surname suggests,  Prokudin-Gorskii came from a long line of Russian nobility and was closely linked to the Romanov royal family. Tsar Nicholas II gave Prokudin-Gorskii a specially designed railroad carriage with its own specially converted darkroom to help him on his travels documenting Russian life.

Between 1909 and 1915, Prokudin-Gorskii traveled across the country photographing this rich, diverse and multicultural world.

On his travels, Prokudin-Gorskii found Greek women harvesting tea on the shores of the Black Sea, Italian nannies (the woman standing at the open gate below) raising middle class children in St. Petersburg, Muslim families farming on the land, Bashkir (the old woman sitting on the grey wooden steps) or Uzbek women (the woman standing on red rug of full native dress outside a yurt) and peasant girls along the Sheksna River. The wealth and richness of Russian culture surprised and impressed Prokudin-Gorskii. He decided to use his color photographs to teach all children across the land about diversity and tolerance.

Unfortunately, the commencement of the First World War led Tsar Nicholas to believe God had told him to lead his men into battle. The Tsar conscripted the bulk of Russian men off the land. These men were no longer serfs—serfdom having ended in 1861—but they were indebted to their landowners, who had taken the best of the land. This meant when Tsar Nicholas conscripted his troops he denuded farms of their laborers. The land was no longer worked, the rent no longer paid, the families no longer fed. Famine spread across country. This led Russian mothers to march for bread on International Women’s Day March 1917. Their march merged with a workers strike which turned into the first major revolt (or February Revolution) that led to the eventual demise of Nicholas.

Prokudin-Gorskii moved to France after the Revolution. His stunning color photographs beautifully capture a rich diversity of life in pre-revolutionary Russia.
 
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More photos of Russian women from the early 1900s, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Tattoo Tights: Decorate your legs without permanently inking your skin
11.07.2016
09:45 am

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Amusing
Art
Fashion

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If you’ve ever considered getting a tattoo on your legs but were a tad concerned that maybe one day you’d tire of its design and would be forever marked with a dubious nautical illustration or a fast-fading love heart, or the name of a long gone ex. Well, fret no more as there is a range of fashion accessories called Tattoo Tights that allows you to change your tattoos as easily as changing your pantyhose.

Tattoo Tights is the idea of Silvana Ilieva—an artist who is passionate about creating “unique, hand-painted items with a soul.” Silvana produces individual pantyhose with tattoo motifs in her studio in Sofia, Bulgaria. Each pair of pantyhose are hand-painted using Silvana’s secret technique which incorporates ancient Asian inking methods.

So far, Silvana has produced around 100 individual tattoo designs for her range of Tattoo Tights—which she sells online. These are more than just beautiful hosiery but delightful works of art to be exhibited on sorry, on top of your skin. More details here.
 
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More beautiful ‘tattooed tights,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Surreal world of Coco Fronsac
11.03.2016
10:46 am

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Art
History

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Famille heureuse.
 
In one single day we upload more images onto the Internet than the total number of pictures produced during the whole of 19th century.

In one day—more pictures than a century’s worth of imagery. That’s one heck of a lotta selfies.

Our need for visual stimulus is relentless. We no longer view or experience imagery as previous generations did. The reverence with which some paintings or even photographs were once held is no longer relevant—we view indiscriminately, we consume continuously.

The French artist Coco Fronsac buys old discarded photographs from flea markets and turns them into Surreal works of art. Coco comes from a family of artists. Her grandparents Lucien Neuquelman and Camille Lesné were respected painters. Her parents met at art school. Coco attended art college in Paris before beginning her career as a painter, sculptor and creator of Surreal artworks from found photographs.

Coco takes each photograph—draws on it, paints over it and gives it a new life. If we cannot reclaim our past then we cannot understand our present. These photographs of people long dead, long forgotten have been abandoned, orphaned, thrown to the wind, sent for landfill. We no longer have any interest in them, their subject matter or the lives they lived. By turning these images into art, Coco reconnects the viewer’s relationship with the photo’s subjects. These reinvented images encourage the viewer to take a second look—to enquire about the subject matter and its history. Her intention is to bring people of different backgrounds together and rediscover the connections between us are far greater than the differences.

See more of Coco Fronsac’s work here.
 
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Evidences spectrales.
 
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Ectoplasmes.
 
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Holidays on Mars.
 
More of Coco Fronsac’s work, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bob Dylan’s little-known songs about Vincent Van Gogh
11.03.2016
09:50 am

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Art
Music

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“Side Tracks - 17 October 1964 - Detroit, Michigan” by Bob Dylan (via Halcyon Gallery)
 
Seeing both Bob Dylan and Vincent Van Gogh in the news this week reminded me of the last place I saw these guys together: in the wonderful world of song.

First there’s Robert Friemark’s “Vincent Van Gogh,” a ragged ballad about the painter’s life that Dylan and Bob Neuwirth sang in close harmony at some Rolling Thunder Revue dates. The song has a punchline that calls the seriousness of everything preceding it into question; I believe this is what you call a “shaggy-dog story.” Don McLean’s “Vincent” is scared of meeting Friemark’s number in a dark alley. I’ve cued up the Bobs singing “Vincent Van Gogh” midway through a three-and-a-half-hour recording of the May ‘76 stop in New Orleans here.

But more mysteriously, there’s the spectral Blonde on Blonde-era song known variously as “Spuriously Seventeen Windows,” “The Painting by Van Gogh,” “Definitely Van Gogh” and “Positively Van Gogh.” Under the latter title, it finally came out on last year’s massive 18-CD version of The Cutting Edge 1965-1966. According to Clinton Heylin’s sessionography, Dylan’s biographer Robert Shelton taped the only known rendition of this song in a hotel room in Denver just three days after Dylan finished recording Blonde on Blonde. Heylin sets the scene:

The only evidence we have of a possible direction, post-Blonde on Blonde, pre-accident, derives from two hotel room sessions with Robbie Robertson. That Dylan and Robertson were at this point blowtorching the candle at both ends—staying up late into the night, smoking a little (okay, a lot of) hash, and working on songs with a couple of acoustic guitars—is well-documented. Melbourne’s answer to Allen Ginsberg, Adrian Rawlins, wrote at the time of Dylan playing him “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” at six-thirty in the morning after a night of smoking hash, while actress Rosemary Garrett witnessed an even more extensive all-nighter just five days later:

I was able to listen to a composing session. Countless cups of tea . . . Things happened, and six new songs were born. The poetry seemed already to have been written. Dylan says “Picture one of these cats with a horn, coming over the hill at daybreak. Very Elizabethan, you dig? Wearing garters.” And out of the imagery, he and [Robbie] work on a tune and Dylan’s leg beats time with the rhythm, continuously, even when the rhythm is in his own mind.

Robert Shelton had already taped such a session in a Denver hotel room, three days after Dylan completed Blonde on Blonde (though he lacked the foresight to have enough blank tape, and ended up having to record all but one song of the thirty-five-minute session at 1⅞ ips—hence the poor quality). Though Dylan was anxious to play Shelton a couple of the songs he had just recorded—“Just Like a Woman” and “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” the latter of which he seemed particularly proud of—Shelton also witnessed Dylan and Robertson working on some newer ideas.

The opening song, the lyrics of which revolve around a painting by Van Gogh, is the most listenable track because Shelton has not as yet knocked the speed of his reel-to-reel down to 1⅞ ips (from 3¾).

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The wonderful, endless world of ‘Goo’ album remixes
11.02.2016
12:45 pm

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Art
Music

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Chronic Youth
 
Raymond Pettibon’s provocative imagery for Black Flag in the early 1980s remains some of the finest specimens of album art ever created. I can still remember seeing those CDs in the store all clustered together, hardly believing my eyes. Slip It In, My War.... I think my favorite cover was Family Man.

After Sonic Youth jumped to DGC after Daydream Nation, they saw an opportunity to give Pettibon a more mainstream platform. For Goo, SY’s first album for DGC which came out in 1990, Pettibon repurposed a 1966 news photograph of Maureen Hindley and her first husband, David Smith, who were witnesses in the Moors murderers trial in the U.K., to create an instant classic, indeed one of the most iconic album covers in rock history. Surely many among the DM readership can recite Pettibon’s ineluctably lurid caption by heart: “I stole my sister’s boyfriend. It was all whirlwind, heat, and flash. Within a week we killed my parents and hit the road.”

Something about Pettibon’s deadpan use of comic strip tropes and the curiously cocked head angles of the two principals has made the Goo cover a nearly irresistible object of appropriation and parody. The Tumblr Goo Mashups provides a handy collection of Goo-related images. There have been reworkings that reference Star Wars, Breaking Bad, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Adventure Time, Bob Dylan, The Simpsons, Twin Peaks, Tom Waits, and on and on.

Goo mashups are so plentiful that not even the Internet can contain them all. About two months ago I was in Stockholm and a guy passed me on the street wearing a Goo shirt addressing North Korea with its odious dictator Kim Jong Un on it. The banner text was something like “Double Pleasure,” as I recall. Never did find anything about it online. (I don’t think it’s this one.)

Here are a few choice examples:
 

Batman & Robin
 

Daft Punk
 
Many more examples after the jump…....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Indie Rock Coloring Book
11.02.2016
12:23 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Music

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As anyone who’s visited a Barnes & Noble lately knows, one of the major publishing trends is adult coloring books. As the Washington Post reported earlier this year, sales of colored pencils rose 26.3% in 2015, and that’s not the only indicator of the trend. Late last year Walmart Walmart added a four-foot section for adult coloring books in several hundred of its branches, and Target added the books to its offerings around the same time.

Anticipating the trend, in 2009 the Yellow Bird Project, a Canadian charity project specializing in band T-shirts, unveiled The Indie Rock Coloring Book geared for fans of the Shins, the National, MGMT, and many other indie rock acts. The purpose of the Yellow Bird Project is to support Trekstock, a charity in Great Britain that seeks to raise funds for young adults with cancer.

Pierre de Reeder of Rilo Kiley penned the foreword. Matt Berninger of the National provided the following blurb: “This is the greatest coloring book since coloring was invented. I’ve decided to have kids just so I’ll have somebody to give this book to.”

Here are a few examples from the book, which is still available at Yellow Bird and also at Amazon.
 

MGMT
 

Bon Iver
 
Lots more after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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