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Lusty erotic playing cards from 1955
03.06.2017
10:56 am

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Art
Sex

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An erotic Queen of Clubs playing card featuring the artwork of French painter Paul-Émile Bécat.
 
Here’s a lovely NSFW treat for your eyes today—gorgeous images from a deck of playing cards featuring the erotic art of French painter and printer Paul-Émile Bécat.

This Le Florentin deck of playing cards was put out in 1955 and are in the style of the Old Masters such as his fellow Frenchmen François Boucher and Jean-Antoine Watteau. Bécat’s artistic style so closely emulates an era far earlier than his lifetime it would be quite easy to believe that they were done long before the 1950s. Bécat’s dedication his craft resulted in his work appearing in nearly 100 books, most of which published his erotic paintings and illustrations, some of which have accompanied books by the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Voltaire. What’s especially interesting about Bécat is the fact that he didn’t actually start working in the erotic arena until much later in his life, his mid-40s. Also of interest is that his playing cards come off as tame when compared with his erotic paintings which feature graphic oral sex and other hedonistic scenes—including one taking place in a prison cell complete with handcuffs and chains.

Though there were likely 12,000 of Bécat’s gorgeous decks that once existed they are hard to come by today. I’ve seen fairly pristine examples listed for nearly $600. If you’re a fan of erotic art and are unfamiliar with Bécat, I’m sure you will dig what you’re about to see. Though his work has sadly not yet been compiled in a comprehensive book, there is an incredible paperback, La Vie des Dames Galantes (The Lives of the Gallant Ladies) published in 1948 that I did find here for the tidy sum of $250 (others in various condition can be found here). The book contains 26 hand-colored illustrations by Bécat including lesbian erotica. And as I’ve just mentioned sapphic erotica, oral sex, handcuffs and chains, it’s probably safe to assume the images that follow are NSFW.
 

The Queen of Clubs from the top of the post rotated to show the opposing illustration.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Say Goodbye to Love’: Sig Waller’s seriously dark & twisted art
03.03.2017
11:50 am

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Amusing
Art

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When it comes to describing the work of artist Sig Waller, I think the writer Seb Doubinsky sums it up best:

If you don’t know Sig Waller’s art, you don’t know shit. It’s amazing.

Writers are good like that. Good with words.

Over the past twenty years, Sig Waller has produced a staggering array of exceedingly beautiful, powerful, subversive, often disturbing yet darkly comic paintings, drawings and prints. Her work explores the darker borders of our culture of excess—with particular attention to our potential for destruction.

Her most recent work Goodbye to Love was a hit exhibition at 35blumen, Krefeld, Germany in 2016. Taking its title from that well-known bittersweet song by the Carpenters, Goodbye to Love focused on the reality between being a woman and a mother when compared to the idealized fantasy as promoted in the pages of women’s magazines, TV and billboard advertising and old 1950s housewives’ guides. Sig’s “housewives” are drooling Pavlovian figures, expected to perform absurd tasks and domestic rituals. The work is a stylistic follow-on from her 2013 show Happy Homes. But the black humor very apparent in Happy Homes has now been replaced in Goodbye to Love by a far more subversive and unsettling vision of supposed domestic bliss.

Born in Wales, the daughter of an American historian father (“who dressed like a tramp”) and a German psychologist mother, Sig studied Fine Art and Art History at Goldsmiths College, London, before going on to work in animation, music videos and design. In 1995, Sig moved to Berlin where she started exhibiting under the name S.I.G.

Since then Sig has successfully exhibited across the world in America, England, Germany, Austria, Italy (where she had a residency) and in her home country of Wales. 

I’ve banged my drum about Sig before and will continue to be her cheerleader as I believe Sig Waller belongs to that small body of contemporary artists who have something important to say. Sig’s next exhibition Running with the Wolves will open on May 26th at 35Blumen, Krefeld. Below is a selection of Sig’s paintings (oil on digiprint) from Goodbye to Love from 2016.
 
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More of Sig Waller’s domestic horror, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Perfectly-illustrated gay Craigslist hook-up ads (VERY NSFW)
03.03.2017
11:07 am

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Amusing
Art
Queer

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Who knew puffy jackets were a turn-on? Illustration by artist Dominic Myatt from the 2016 book ‘(no kissing).’ Text reads: “I’ve got a real fetish for masc lads wearing puffs/padded jackets. If this is something your interested in too, hit me up and we can chat and hopefully meet. Send pic in first email along with stats for response.”
 
There are so many things to love about London-based artist Dominic Myatt‘s illustrated “m4m” (men for men) Craigslist personal ads. Such as the fact that he kept all the various typos from the original ads (genius), and his wildly inappropriate interpretations of the people who placed the ads themselves caught in the act of their requested liaisons. Thanks to Japanese publisher MNK Press, (no kissing) a book featuring 30 of Myatt’s m4m illustrated ads can be yours for about 34 bucks. According to other Internet sources, (no kissing) will soon be available from a UK publisher as well. I’ve included a few of Myatt’s incredibly specific illustrations from (no kissing) below. And, much like some of the characters you might, er, cum across on Craigslist, they are pretty NSFW. But funny.

And since I’ve grown fond of all of you DM deviants, I transcribed the text associated with Myatt’s illustrations so you can read them in all their horny, typo-riddled glory.
 

Text reads: older white man, generous, looking for a man to TORTURE. BIG nipples, can take a lot of pain. hope to find a man into it, slap me around too, need a ROUGH man.
 

Text reads: Looking for muscular alpha guys. I have beefy titties and like for a guy to squeeze bit/nibble, and tongue them. you can also titty fuck them. I am masc and discreet.
 
More, more, more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Groovy 1968 Frank Zappa advertisement from Marvel Comics’ Daredevil #38
03.02.2017
03:12 pm

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Advertising
Art
Music

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One of the primary reasons that the quite mind-blowing, entertaining, and enjoyable Monkees movie Head did so poorly at the box office in 1968 was that it represented such a sharp break from the family-friendly sitcom on which the group had built its following. The movie featured lots of utterly confusing footage, at times on an antiwar theme, that was mostly the kind of thing college-aged pot smokers like to see, but it amazingly garnered a G rating, at least initially. As Joseph Brannigan Lynch wrote on the occasion of the Blu-Ray release of Head:
 

Partly to blame was the marketing campaign that was almost as avant-garde as the film itself, but even worse was the fact that many theaters (successfully) demanded the film’s G-rating be turned into a Mature rating, simply because the film structure allegedly resembled an acid trip.


 
One of the many fascinating people involved with Head was, of course, Frank Zappa, who wanders through the movie with a Hereford Bull in tow and chides Davy about how “white” his music is not to forget the youth of America. One wonders if Columbia Pictures’ famously miscalculated ad campaign was in any way influenced by a similarly odd campaign for one of Zappa’s albums a few months earlier.

In March 1968, the Mothers of Invention unleashed their third mind-bending cultural intervention, known to all and sundry as We’re Only in It for the Money. In a curious move, Verve Records, no doubt directed by Zappa himself, apparently selected the pre-teen comic book audience to be one of the target demographics to promote the album to. Specifically, Daredevil #38, which came out the same month as the album, and featured a remarkable full-page ad promoting the record.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Of Tripping Corpses and New Wavy Gravy: Raymond Pettibon’s 80s zines were the best thing ever
03.02.2017
01:05 pm

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Art

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Currently the subject of an impressive retrospective at the New Museum, Raymond Pettibon has long had the status of an art master who was hiding in plain sight. When I was learning about punk rock in the late 1980s, there wasn’t a thing on earth as dark, funny, or cool as any one of his Black Flag album covers, which had an obscure, unsettling power at that time that the Internet and other forces have done much to blunt in the intervening years. His single-panel pieces of that era addressed tough subjects like rape, domination, and pedophilia, virtually always with a bitter, knowing caption that had the effect of setting the viewer’s mind ablaze.

The merest glance at 4 or 5 of his album covers was plenty to convince any interested party that Pettibon had produced tons of other work at a comparable level, and thank god, that turned out to be the case. In addition to his album covers, Pettibon made his name in the early 1980s with a series of self-produced zines that were likewise put out by his brother’s label SST and used the same killer comix technique of charged imagery coupled with deliciously nasty text.

According to Brian Cassidy’s online bookshop, who was selling “one of an unnumbered edition of approximately 5000, ‘of which only about 100 found their way into commercial distribution,’” the story of Pettibon’s zines starts with disappointment and failure:
 

They unfortunately didn’t sell well and—according to the artist—he destroyed most of the remaining copies, leaving only a hundred or so copies of each issue extant.


 
That estimation of “a hundred or so” is rather interesting—Booktryst’s writeup of some of his zines include a phrase I don’t recall ever seeing in any other context, that being “Limited edition of 500 (i.e. 100).”

Pettibon was wildly prolific, and there are plenty of titles to ponder, but with so few copies of each in circulation, prices have predictably skyrocketed in the intervening decades—each title fetches hundreds of dollars, and you can buy larger lots for as much as $20,135.

Pettibon, whose characteristic register on Twitter is one of irascible exasperation, spoke out recently against the well-known “fence” known as “eBay” where you can obtain fake Pettibons (or something, he’s not the clearest):
 

 
Pettibon has tended to pooh-pooh his links to punk rock as an influence, citing “Edward Hopper, Goya, John Dos Passos, the Studs Lonigan novels, Saul Bellow, and the Ashcan School of art” as well midcentury pulp comics. Myself, I notice the sly nod to Mad Magazine in the tidy disclaimer “$1.25 INSANE” tucked in the middle of the cover of Freud’s Universe. I also wouldn’t exclude George Grosz from the mix, esp. A Can at the Crossroads.

 

Captive Chains, 1978
 

Pig Cupid, 1985

 
Much more after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Artist creates Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing’ head sculpture
03.02.2017
07:58 am

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Art
Movies

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Well, to be more precise, it’s Johnny Depp’s head as he looked when he portrayed Dr. Hunter S. Thompson in Terry Gilliam’s 1998 film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It’s still pretty neat, though.

The tripped-out sculpture was made by special effects makeup artist Kevin Kirkpatrick of Epoch Creations. It’s made of silicone, the teeth are dental acrylic and actual human hair was used to create its “hyper-realistic” look. It’s a total mind-melting masterpiece, in my opinion.

Kevin has a pretty damned impressive resume to boot! He’s worked on Bad Grandpa as a prosthetic makeup artist, American Horror Story: Freakshow responsible for doing Pepper’s pinhead makeup, the prosthetic makeup for True Blood and many, many more. Honestly, his movie and television resume is endless. You can check it out here.

He also has a fun Instagram to follow if you’re so inclined.


 

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Life in McHell: The profoundly evil McDonaldland ‘hellscapes’ of Jake and Dinos Chapman
03.01.2017
10:06 am

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Amusing
Art
Unorthodox

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A tiny version of Ronald McDonald dancing on top of a cross. Part of a ‘hellscape’ by Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Jake and Dinos Chapman have been creating miniature “hellscapes” for nearly twenty years, with their first one being unveiled to the public in 1999. The diabolical work was unambiguously entitled “Hell” and took two years to make. In a not-so-strange twist of satanic fate, the warehouse that “Hell” was residing in caught fire and the pair’s debut hellscape was destroyed within in a matter of minutes. According to the Chapmans they received a phone call from a journalist about the demise of “Hell” asking them if it was true that “Hell” was “on fire”? Now that’s some cosmic irony.

Taking the loss in stride the brothers continued their work and followed up “Hell” with “Fucking Hell” which included over 30,000 figures, and the “Sum of All Evil” which focused on bringing together McDonald’s and Nazi symbolism, tormenting the fictional inhabitants of McDonaldland (you know, the place where French fries grow in gardens, hamburgers grow on trees and friendly fishies frolic around in Filet-O-Fish Lake) with visions of cannibalism, mutilation and death. The multi-faceted hellscape took more than six months to complete with the help of fifteen additional workers. While their hellscapes are about as grim as anything I’ve ever seen (and these eyes have seen a lot of grim), the Chapmans insist that their subversive work is meant to be more humorous than shocking. Here’s more from Jake Chapman on that:

It’s as pessimistic as we can make it, really. But it’s pessimistic in a joyful sense.

Jake’s sentiment made me pause for a moment during which time I recalled my reaction to the final scene in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film, Inglourious Basterds wherein the cast gets to rewrite history by obliterating Hitler and his Nazi ilk in a theater. Which was both incredibly gratifying and at times humorous thanks to Tarantino’s uncanny ability to make you laugh while people’s brains are being spattered all over the floor. So, is there joy in seeing a tiny plastic version of Ronald McDonald preparing his signature hamburgers made from the cannibalized remains of dead Nazis? Yes, yes there is some joy there. That said, absolutely everything you are about to see in this post is NSFW. And I’m lovin’ it.
 

A shot of the original “Hell” hellscape by Jake and Dinos Chapman that was ironically destroyed in a fire.
 

A shot of “Fucking Hell” featuring Hitler serenely painting on a hilltop.
 

Another grim angle on “Fucking Hell.”
 
More McHell after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The beautiful lost sculptures of Augusta Savage
02.28.2017
03:30 pm

Topics:
Art
Feminism
Heroes

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The African-American artist Augusta Savage was born in Florida during a leap year on February 29, 1892. Her earliest memories were of the heavy rains and making ducks and chickens from the wet red clay out in the yard. She decided early to become an artist but her father, a strict Methodist minister, tried to whip this dream out of her. He sometimes beat her four or five times a week. It didn’t work. Augusta was determined to go her own way.

The options for most poor girls at the turn of the last century was go to work, get married and have kids. Augusta married at the age of fifteen in 1907 and gave birth to her only child, Irene, a year later. Not long after this, her husband died. Augusta then got hitched to a carpenter by the name of James Savage. The marriage lasted until the early 1920s when the couple divorced. Augusta liked the surname so decided to keep it.

With marriage and a baby to look after, Savage didn’t manage take up sculpting again until 1919 when a local sculptor gave her some clay. She knew she had talent but how much she wasn’t sure. Her talent was decidedly confirmed when she entered a couple of her latest sculptures into a local fair. She won top prize. This was just enough encouragement for Augusta. She gave her daughter over to the temporary care of her parents and headed off to New York to enrol as a student at the Cooper Union School of Art.

To her tutors it became quickly apparent that Savage was an exceptional talent. She passed her four year arts course with flying colors in a speedy three. But not everyone was impressed with this bright and talented young woman. 

In 1923,  Savage won a place among one hundred other American students to travel to Fontainbleau, France for a summer arts program. Arriving at the venue just outside Paris, Augusta was barred from entry and ejected off the course by the French organizers on grounds of her color. But other people’s racism and stupidity was never going to stop Augusta.

She returned to New York where she soon set-up a studio in Harlem. Augusta established herself as a portrait sculptor seeking commission from well-to-do African-American families to produce busts. It was during this time that Augusta produced one of her most famous and celebrated works Gamin.

In 1929, Augusta Savage won another fellowship to study in Paris. This time there was no institutionalized racism standing in her way and all went well. It led to a second fellowship the following year. But upon her return to America in the early thirties, she found the country devastated by the Wall St. Crash and the ensuing Great Depression. No one wanted portrait busts or civic sculptures. Undeterred, Augusta opened the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in Harlem 1932, where she taught art to young kids in the neighborhood.

Success followed in 1934, when Augusta became the first African-American to be elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. Three years later, she became the first director of the Harlem Community Art Center—which played a crucial role in the lives of many black artists.

Yet, Augusta Savage’s life always seemed shadowed by obstacle and opposition. The height of her greatest sculptural achievement came when she was asked to create a large sculpture for New York’s World Fair in 1939. Augusta produced a work called The Harp. It took her two years to develop and create. This massive piece of sculpture was inspired by the poem Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson. The poem was written in response to “a group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, [who] arranged to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in 1900.”

Lift every voice and sing  
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us. 
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Augusta’s statue featured twelve black singers rising up from the palm of God forming the shape of a harp. It was one of the main attractions at the fair. But when the show closed, no one was interested in helping Augusta keep the work or having it cast in bronze. The sculpture was smashed to pieces. It was a symbolic finale to Augusta’s career. On returning to Harlem, she found her position at the Community Arts Center had been taken by someone else. Things began to fall apart—more so after America entered the Second World War in 1941. Thereafter, nearly everything Augusta attempted failed. She moved to Saugerties, in the Catskill Mountains and started producing smaller works. But something had been lost. Something that had once been so powerful and resilient had been destroyed.

Augusta Savage produced less and less work. Most of her original work had been lost or destroyed. By the time of her death in 1962, Augusta Savage was tragically relatively forgotten

I have created nothing really beautiful, really lasting, but if I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent I know they possess, then my monument will be in their work.

I don’t know if Augusta celebrated her birthday every four years or shifted around between the 28th Feb. and first of March, but as this is the last day in February maybe we should celebrate Augusta Savage who was truly one of the most significant American sculptors of the twentieth century.
 
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Augusta in her studio.
 
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‘The Harp’ (1939).
 
Read more about Augusta Savage, and see more of her work, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Circus’ by Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan. Illustrated by Joe Coleman. Narrated by Ken Nordine
02.28.2017
03:16 pm

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Books
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Cover illustration by Daniel Nayari

Stories for Ways and Means is a new book that features original “grown up” children’s story collaborations by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the worlds of music and contemporary art. It’s being published by the long-running indie record label Waxploitation run by entrepreneur and photojournalist Jeff Antebi. The Stories for Ways and Means project lends support to several non-governmental organizations and nonprofit groups aiding children’s literacy causes around the world including Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National and many more.

Some of the featured musicians contributing to the project include Frank Black, Laura Marling, Del the Funky Homosapien, Gibby Haynes, Alec Empire, Kathleen Hanna, Devendra Banhart, Nick Cave, Alison Mosshart, Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof, Will Oldham, Gary Numan and ska great guitarist Ernest Ranglin.

You can order the Stories for Ways and Means book at SFWAM.org

The animated video below, “Circus” is based on a short story by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan. It was illustrated by painter Joe Coleman and narrated by the voiceover legend Ken Nordine. It’s really neat.
 

 
Thank you kindly (and happy belated birthday) Sean Fernald of Hollywood, California!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘New face in Hell’: Cross-stitch chart featuring 40-plus members of the Fall
02.28.2017
11:37 am

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Art
Music

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The lineup changes of the Fall are the stuff of rock and roll legend. It’s been more than ten years since Dave Simpson, working for the Guardian, tracked down and interviewed as many ex-members of the Fall as he could. One of them, a keyboardist named Ruth Daniels, lasted only a single day. Simpson put the number of ex-bandmates at north of 40 and that was over a decade ago, who knows what it might be today?

According to Simpson, Smith’s rapid bandmate churn is more design than accident: “It’s a bit like a football team. Every so often you have to get rid of the centre-forward,” Smith says. 

An Etsy user with the name 8bitnorthxstitch who describes herself as a “Mancunian crosstitute” has created a remarkable cross-stitch tableau depicting 41 past members of the Fall, starting with Mark E. Smith, of course. It includes Tony Friel, Marc Riley, Craig Scanlon, Paul Hanley, Brix Smith, and many more.
 

 
As any good chart should, it comes with a key—this one outlines the different colors that stand for bass, bongos, guitar, keyboards, drums, and vocals.

The pattern is available as an A4 print ($12.80) and as a greeting card ($3.84). However, 8bitnorthxstitch will only ship to the U.K. In addition to these paper products, 8bitnorthxstitch has also executed it as a cross-stitch, as you can see below. It’s not for sale in her Etsy shop, however.

If 8bitnorthxstitch is taking suggestions, I’d like to see a chart like this for Pulp, too.
 

 
Thanks Annie Zaleski!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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