follow us in feedly
‘Beatles Electroniques’: The Beatles warped beyond recognition, 1969
11.20.2014
11:31 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Television

Tags:
Beatles
Jud Yalkut
Nam June Paik


Beatles Electroniques, 1969
 
The relationship and eventual marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, looked at from a slightly unusual perspective, can be seen as an alliance between the high pop mastery of the Beatles and the playful avant-garde methods of the Fluxus group. Ono was obviously one of the major Fluxus artists of the day, and in taking up with her Lennon exposed himself to avant-garde art in a particularly intimate way—and vice versa.

It would be a stretch to say that the Beatles were authentic pioneers of electronic music, but at the same time it couldn’t be clearer that McCartney and Co.’s relentless experimental incursions into the medium of pop music had an enormous effect on what was regarded as “in bounds” for rock music. The introduction of feedback on “I Feel Fine,” the use of reversed tape loops in “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the maelstrom of nonsense in “Revolution 9,” the symphonic collision of melody in “A Day in the Life,” and so on. In 1967 McCartney contributed a 14-minute tape loop composition called “Carnival of Light” to an awesome-sounding event called the The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave that has never reached the public even to this day (Harrison and George Martin loathed the piece; Harrison vetoed releasing it every chance he got). Meanwhile, Harrison himself made a key contribution to the canon of electronic music with the release of his second album, titled simply Electronic Sound, in 1969; the album consisted solely of two loooooooong Moog compositions, as my colleague Ron Kretsch ably explained on DM a few months back. Of course, Lennon himself was burrowing into weirdo musique concrete with Yoko, in various releases like Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions, Two Virgins, and Wedding Album.

Once dubbed “The Artist Who Invented Video Art,” Nam June Paik was an incredibly prolific and amusing conceptual artist from Korea in the postwar era; he is most associated with his works incorporating the cathode ray tube (we usually call it a TV set), including “TV-Buddha,” “TV Chair,” and “Family of Robot,” the last of which is essentially a series of robots made out of TV sets. Earlier in his career Paik was associated with John Cage, particularly his notorious 1960 work “Etude for Piano,” which culminated in Paik cutting off Cage’s necktie and washing Cage’s hair with shampoo.
 

The Beatles, 1969
 
In 1969 Paik teamed up with Fluxus-associated filmmaker Jud Yalkut to create Beatles Electroniques, a three-minute video in which Beatles footage is messed with electronically. I would argue that Beatles Electroniques is an essential proto-Plunderphonics text. I’m tempted to call it the first important Plunderphonics work in everything but name—the term “Plunderphonics” was coined by composer John Oswald in 1985 to describe works stretching back no earlier than the 1970s. Oswald’s key recordings include the Plunderphonics EP (1988) and the Plunderphonics album (1989). Key inheritors of the Plunderphonics style are Negativland and Christian Marclay. The Residents fucked with Beatles source material in The Beatles play The Residents and The Residents play The Beatles, but that was fully eight years after Beatles Electroniques.
 

Nam June Paik
 
As Barbara London’s essay “Looking at Music” described it in the volume Rewind, Play, Fast Forward: The Past, Present and Future of the Music Video,
 

In October 1965, Paik screened his first videotapes as part of a series of “happening nights” at the Greenwich Village nightclub Cafe au Go Go—a venue that included Lenny Bruce and the Grateful Dead among its roster of performers. … Beatles Electroniques, 1966-69, made with the experimental filmmaker Jud Yalkut, is nothing less than an early black-and-white music video. Paik grabbed bits from the mock documentary A Hard Day’s Night (directed by Richard Lester in 1964), refilming and further distorting the footage through his video synthesizer (developed with engineer Shuya Abe). Snippets of the Beatles’ faces are caught in a loop of warped abstraction. To accompany the endlessly folding imagery, Paik created a sound track with Kenneth Lerner, which featured fragmented Beatles songs recited again and again. Whereas the original film is an upbeat paean to Beatlemania, Paik’s strategies of appropriation and repetition are conceptually closer to Andy Warhol’s silk-screened paintings of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, 1962, and Steve Reich’s phasing of spoken words from a publicized racial incident in his sound composition Come Out (1966). Like these works, Beatles Electroniques brought seriality into the realm of sensory overload.

 
Nobody seems to know what these “fragmented Beatles songs” actually are, so transformed are they in Paik and Yalkut’s work. Without further ado, here’s Beatles Electroniques:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
New Yorkers & Angelenos absolutely losing their sh*t over a bicoastal video hook-up in 1980


 
It’s obscene how we take technology for granted. The Internet is the greatest communication tool since the written word, and what do I do with it? I (expertly) evaluate dick jokes for wage labor, and look at videos of cats soothing babies to alleviate my Seasonal Affective Disorder. We’ve not always been so cynical though.

Artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz created an installation called “Hole in Space” in 1980. Utilizing cutting edge satellite technology, life-sized audio-visual transmissions were displayed in real-time between New York’s Lincoln Center and an open air shopping mall in Century City, Los Angeles. Not only was the installation setup utilizing technology few had ever seen (much less used), no explanation was given for what was transpiring and no sponsors or artists were credited—it was sort of a huge, impromptu guerrilla video-chat.

Unlike say, a Google Hangout or Skype chat, participants in the piece (who were completely random passers-by), had no “video reflection” of themselves—they couldn’t see their own transmission as the other line did, because there was no extra window mirroring them. This made for a completely organic, unselfconscious moment of communication. The piece ran in two hour increments, for three days (November 11, 13 and 14) and as news of the public-space, bicoastal party line spread, the crowds grew.
 

 
The video below is taken from those impromptu interactions between New York and LA, and it’s absolutely amazing. Viewers/communicators are so shocked and delighted by such a seamless connectivity across the country—it’s an incredibly moving thing to witness. I can’t actually think of a time in my entire adult life where I’ve been as surprised or affected by technology as these people were—much less in public.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Concept Barbie doesn’t just have realistic proportions—she has scars, acne, freckles & cellulite
11.19.2014
02:55 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Feminism

Tags:
Barbie


Acne
 
Graphic designer/amateur toymaker Nickolay Lamm plays with Barbies a lot. First he came up with the make-up-free Barbie—worrying that she was “a little bit too hypersexualized,” which is strange, since I see women walking around my neighborhood with a face fulla slap, and the kids don’t seem to be scarred from it. Then he came up with a “proportional” Barbie, whose body matched that of an average 19-year-old woman (according to the Center for Disease Control)—a noble aim, but I find it misguided, and a little patronizing.

I tend to think projects like this misjudge children’s intellect—not everything in a child’s play or fantasy world is somehow internalized like some kind of insidious timebomb of self-loathing, and while Barbie’s uncanny proportions certainly indicate something rotten about our perspective on women’s bodies, I honestly think their effect on little girls is negligible. I’d argue Barbie’s freaky shape and perpetual Tammy Faye Bakker-ish makeup is a symptom—but not the cause—of self-esteem problems with women and girls—but what do I know? I’m just a woman who grew up healthy and happy playing with Barbies! As I have said before:

On some level, hyper-realistic dolls are a bit silly anyways, since anyone who’s ever been around kids will admit you can draw a smiley face on a jar of pickles and they’ll play with it like a doll. In many parts of the world, dolls don’t attempt the detail of Barbie, and people don’t have to think about dolls’ “bodies.”

That being said, what children do like about dolls—far more than any adult-invented concept of body idealization—is interaction, and Lamm may have actually come up with something a little girl (or at least John Waters), might be really interested in playing with. The Lammily doll now comes with decals for acne, freckles, moles, blushing cheeks, scrapes, bruises, scars, stretch marks and even cellulite. I do believe children are better at distinguishing fantasy and reality than Lamm thinks, and I do not think little girls give two shits about the literalism of their dolls (I also played with pink unicorn dolls—they did not leave me disappointed with regular old brown horses, I assure you), but it is a scientifically proven fact that stickers and accessories are basically crack for kids!

Lamm says he “wanted to show that reality is cool,” and asks, “a lot of toys make kids go into fantasy, but why don’t they show real life is cool?” Maybe it’s because doll-play is literally a fantasy, in that children are animating an inanimate object! Kids will have plenty of time to contend with reality; they still play with dolls that “wet themselves,” for example, so the doldrums of domesticity have not lost their appeal to young eyes, even in the wake of Barbie and her Dreamhouse. I think Lamm should have a bit more faith in little girls—their intellectual independence and their critical reasoning skills—but playing with scars and bruises? That’s something I think they could get into, even if it’s not for the reasons he thinks.
 

Mole
 

Scrape
 

Scar
 

Cellulite
 

Stretch marks
 
Via TIME

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Freeze, you dirty dopers’: The ‘Heroin Haikus’ of William Wantling
11.19.2014
12:46 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Drugs

Tags:
poetry
heroin
William Wantling


 
If the American poet William Wantling (1933-1974) had not existed, it would have been up to Charles Bukowski  to invent him—in fact, the two men did know each other. Wantling spent most of his life in Illinois but served in Korea and also did time in San Quentin for unspecified crimes, although it may have been forging prescriptions, which would make him the original drugstore cowboy. (His inmate number in the California Dept. of Corrections system was A45522.)

After prison, Wantling studied and eventually taught at Illinois State University. Samuel Zaffiri said of Wantling that his post-prison life was “a constant search for things which would get him drunk or high.” Zaffiri also wrote of Wantling, “He was a manipulator and all with whom he came in contact, whether best friend or casual acquaintance, were game for his wiles. He wheedled, begged, lied.” According to Kevin E. Jones, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the poet, “Wantling lied, cheated, ripped off his friends, shat in their bathtubs.” Sounds like quite a guy.

And, as it happens, exactly the guy to think up the idea of writing haikus about the heroin life. Spero was a literary magazine published in Flint, Michigan, in 1965 and 1966. The first issue featured William Burroughs and LeRoi Jones; the second issue had a tiny little booklet tucked into a tiny little pocket—the booklet was Wantling’s Heroin Haikus.
 

William Wantling
 
It should be noted that Wantling’s understanding of the haiku form was looser than yours or mine, most likely. Wantling ignores the line lengths and focuses on the syllable count, the poem has to have 17 syllables. I guess that’s why, in a beautiful bit of purposeful modesty, they’re called “some seventeen-syllable comments.”

Here are three of them:
 

THE FIX

Give me the moment
that will join me to myself
in a mad embrace

LOS ANGELES—2

I bring a can of weed.
Grady brings pills and peyote.
Party time!

THE BUST

A knock, the door
flumps down.
Shotguns, the heat screams—
Freeze, you dirty dopers!

 
At the Division Leap bookstore and gallery in Portland, Oregon, you can buy a copy of Spero #1 and #2—complete with Heroin Haikus tucked in a little pocket—for just $350.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
More heroin haikus after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Meet The Fleshlettes, a loving family of hyper-realistic body horror mutants
11.18.2014
03:05 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Fleshlettes


“This is Tonya, she’s the matriarch of the Fleshlette family.”
 
Los Angeles sculptor Jonathan Payne produced these lovely little Cronenbergian trinkets—The Fleshlettes—with polymer clay, acrylics and human hair, but man if they don’t look like actual flesh. The Fleshlettes are distinctly sentient in concept; not only did Payne name each one, he attributed to them their own unique personality traits—I captioned what descriptions I could find, but some remain anonymous. What about the warty fingerball with some sort of intestinal sphincter? She kind of looks like a “Hortense” to me. Perhaps a “Louise?”

These “tumorous little balls of flesh,” as Payne calls them, lack a dominant form, instead melding body parts into masses so seamless, you almost miss some of the distinct anatomy. I almost put a NSFW up for Richanda, but really, her phallic/areolar nature is hardly the most disturbing thing about her. Besides, have you heard her sing?!? The voice of an angel, that one.
 

“This is Toni. She smells. None of the other girls pick her to be on their team. She can type 90 wpm.”
 

“She is named Eileen (for obvious reasons).”
 

 

“Here is Richanda, the 6th fleshlette. She is similar to the others except for one key difference: her singing voice.”
 

Gisele
 
Via Disinformation

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Pop art made from hundreds of discarded cigarette packages
11.18.2014
08:37 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs

Tags:
cigarettes
pop art


Silver Camels, 2013
Discarded Camel cigarette packages on linen

 
Probably the strangest thing about the artist Robert Larson is that none of the writeups of his work that I’ve seen bother to say whether he smokes or not. Not knowing anything else about it, I’d surmise that he does, but so much emphasis is placed on the role of “scavenging” in his work that I have to assume he does not smoke. Which is a little weird! So Larson spends hours and hours walking around his hometown of Santa Cruz, California, where he collects discarded cigarette packs and other ephemera in order to create his striking geometrical collages. It seems an intriguing variant of pop art in which the actual mass-produced product is incorporated in the art. After all, Andy Warhol didn’t use actual Brillo boxes, he made them. Larson’s cut out the middle man here.

Larson’s work is interesting because it’s almost too aesthetic and/or beautiful to land any particular point about the dangers of lung cancer, if such is even his aim. And to be honest, that’s the right approach because the links between smoking and disease are, after all, very well known. But to take such depressing subject matter and turn them into a pleasing piece of art, that’s more impressive.
 

Red Flower with Gold, 2010
Discarded cigarette packages, encaustic on linen

 

Unchained, 2013
Discarded Marlboro cigarette packages on paper

 

Green Triangles, 2012
Discarded Newport cigarette packages, encaustic on linen

 

Gold Flower with Red, 2010
Discarded cigarette packages, encaustic on linen
 

Red Honey, 2008
Discarded Marlboro cigarette packages, encaustic on linen

 

Bloom, 2012-2013
Discarded cigarette packaging on canvas

 

Meditations On Top, 1997-2007
Discarded Top rolling paper packaging on linen

 

Passage, 2011
Discarded white-generic matchbooks on linen

 

Blue Honey, 2010
Discarded Marlboro packaging on linen

 

Slow Burn, 2007
Discarded Zig Zag rolling papers on linen

 
More pretty cigaratte artworks after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Superheroes and supervillains reimagined as 16th century aristocrats
11.17.2014
02:08 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Sacha Goldberger


 

As science fiction meets history of art, time meets an inexhaustible desire for mythology which is within each of us.
—Sacha Goldberger

Viewing these photos by artist Sacha Goldberger on a smart phone simply won’t do them justice. You really need to zoom in on the images to admire the painstaking detail that Goldberger has put in to them.

The series is called “Super Flemish” and an exhibition for it was recently held at the School Gallery Paris

Sacha’s discovery of these characters, which goes back to childhood, gave birth to a desire to re-appropriate them, to take them back to a time forming the cornerstone of modern western art. Sacha wants to confront these icons of American culture with contemporary painters of the Flemish school. The collection demonstrates the use of 17 century techniques counterpointing light and shadow to illustrate nobility and fragility of the super powerful of all times. It also invites you to celebrate the heroes of your childhood. These characters have become icons to reveal their humanity: tired of having to save the world without respite, promised to a destiny of endless immortality, forever trapped in their character.

The superheroes often live their lives cloaked in anonymity. These portraits give them a chance to « fix » their narcissism denied. By the temporal disturbance they produce, these images allow us to discover, under the patina of time, an unexpected melancholy of those who are to be invincible.

I didn’t post all the images, as I want to encourage you to visit Goldberger’s website so you can view them all in hi-res.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Not quite coming soon: Movie posters for imaginary film sequels
11.17.2014
08:34 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
film posters


‘Death: Diabolik’ by Robert Sammelin
 
It’s a game for long distance car journeys where you and a buddy sit and discuss those films you think would make good sequels. You know the kind of thing: American Psycho 2: The Race for the White House in which Patrick Bateman has the good fortune to become Republican Senator with ambitions to be the next President; or South by Southeast the follow up to Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, which begins on the same train with the top bunk honeymoon embrace between Mr. and Mrs. Thornhill, Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.  Of course, some sequels are already out there as books, while others have characters or situations that suggest prequels waiting in the wings. All of which brings us to these rather cool posters for various imaginary sequels and prequels, all of which are available to buy.
 
Odessa_Sawyer-Pan_s_Labyrinth_Fall_of_the_Underworld.jpg
One day I do hope this will happen, and that it will be as promising as Odessa Sawyer’s poster makes it look: ‘Pan’s Labyrinth: Fall of the Underworld.’
 

‘Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League’ by Robert Sammelin
 
Alex_Griendling-The_Rocketeer_2.jpg
Simply, classy design: ‘The Rocketeer 2’ by Alex Griendling.
 
Ashley_Wood-Barbarella_2.jpg
Looking slightly darker and more Frank Frazetta-like, Ashley Wood’s ‘Barbarella 2.’
 
More posters for imaginary sequels, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
follow us in feedly
The entire town of Twin Peaks sculpted in clay
11.14.2014
08:04 am

Topics:
Art
Television

Tags:
Twin Peaks
Bruce Bickford


Laura Palmer (RIP), Leland Palmer/BOB and Ronette Pulaski.
 
Frank Zappa fans among you will likely recognize the name of Bruce Bickford, the animator whose painstaking claymation accompanied Zappa’s music in Baby Snakes and The Amazing Mr. Bickford. Well, it comes as news to me that Bickford is a fellow Twin Peaks obsessive. He has sculpted the entire town in clay, along with some key scenes from the series and movie. In the Twin Peaks-themed gallery at Bickford’s website, a clay Leland carries Laura Palmer’s plastic-wrapped corpse out of the railroad car, and a clay Cooper steps into a miniature Glastonberry Grove.
 

Agent Cooper enters Glastonberry Grove en route to the Black Lodge.
 

Norma serves pie and coffee at the Double R.
 

 

“She’s dead, wrapped in plastic…”
 

The whole fucking town!

In the short clip below, Bickford says that his interest in the Twin Peaks story began with the Green River serial murders:

In my story file, I’ve got way over 150 stories in various stages of development, and up in the front corner here there’s a number of Green River stories. I started working on those stories back in the ‘80s, when the Green River murders were still unsolved. Gradually, it became three different stories, kind of a trilogy, and as it went along, when the Twin Peaks show came on TV, I started to realize there were some of the same characters in that, like the detective, Cooper. I have a character in the Green River stories called Copland. I changed the name a little bit, but it’s the same guy, basically.

 

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Black Panther: The revolutionary art of Emory Douglas
11.13.2014
02:38 pm

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
Black Panthers
Emory Douglas


1969
 
One of the unique aspects of the Black Panthers as a political project was their emphasis on the cultural component of revolutionary work. In addition to community-based education and social programs for both children and adults, the Panthers had a house band (The Lumpen—check them out), and a Minister of Culture, the groundbreaking Emory Douglas, whose art for The Black Panther newspaper created a visual context for black liberation. Douglas’ political art came honest. His own impoverished childhood in the Bay Area was interrupted by a spell in a juvenile detention center, where he found a niche in the prison print shop. He later studied commercial art at San Francisco City College, which is where he joined the Black Students Union before being appointed Minister of Culture.

Douglas’ work is incredibly distinctive, often produced with very little budget or time. He favored bold, organic lines, thoughtful collage-work and saturated colors, creating imagery of both dignified black people and cartoonish political antagonists (often soldiers, cops or politicians depicted as rats or pigs). You’ll notice a lot of weapons—remember, the original name was “The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense,” and much of the original intent was protecting black communities from police harassment—but Douglas was also invested in producing joyful or righteous images of hope. Douglas struck a perfect balance between optimism and realism, a negotiation that produced an enormous and varied body of work that still bore his unmistakable style.

Though Douglas continued producing art well after the Panther’s dissolution (most notably for the black-oriented newspaper, The San Francisco Sun Reporter) the work below is all from his tenure as Minister of Culture (between 1967 and the 1980s, though the dates for individual works are often unavailable or contested.). It’s only been since the 2000’s that Emory Douglas’ work has been curated into larger retrospective exhibits, and only since 2014 that his work has been collected into a (fantastic) book, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas
 

1969
 

Date unknown
 

 

The text says, “We are from 25 to 30 million strong, and we are armed. And we are conscious of our situation. And we are determined to change it. And we are unafraid.”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Page 4 of 227 ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 >  Last ›