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  • Fake human remains become horrifyingly realistic high-art
    12:47 pm


    Sarah Sitkin

    A sculpture by Sarah Sitkin.
    LA-based artist Sarah Sitkin says that when she was a kid she used to play with the “dental alginate” mold that dentists use in order to made reproductions of a patient’s teeth. The then budding sculptor and artist would spend “hours” creating plaster reproductions of her own face and hands. Now that you know at least that much about the highly-skilled Sitkin, it should be a bit easier trying to process her surreal sculptures, masks and disembodied heads and hands.

    Another fateful aspect of Sitkin’s childhood is that her family owned a hobby shop called Kit Kraft which meant that she quite literally had any kind of artistic tool or material at her disposal. Deadstock inventory ended up in Sitkin’s hands and when she was finally able to work in the store herself she found herself rubbing shoulders with Hollywood special effects artists (including one of my favorites, the great Jordu Schell whose work can be seen in films from the Predator and Alien  franchises.) Sitkin has gone on to develop a large following (including Genesis P-Orridge) and is also the creator of a bizarre and wildly popular skin for the iPhone that not only looks like it was made of real flesh but also included an all-too-realistic ear on the back.

    I’ve included a number of images below from Sitkin’s large portfolio that will really get under your own skin in all the best ways possible. That said some should be considered NSFW.

    The artist wearing her own creations.

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Artist sketches haunting illustrations of mental illness & emotional disorders every day of October
    12:02 pm


    Shawn Coss

    October is the month when Mental Health Awareness events take place. Artist and illustrator Shawn Coss decided to illustrate his own interpretations of mental health disorders for The Inktober Initiative, where artists from all over the world ink one drawing per day in October.

    Every year thousands of artists get involved with Inktober, where for 31 days of October, you ink a drawing for each day.

    I decided to go off the usual prompt and focus on mental illnesses and disorders.

    As dark and as haunting as these illustrations are, they’re beautifully done.


    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    The expensive new David Hockney coffee table book is so big that you can use it as a coffee table
    11:28 am


    David Hockney

    At the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, David Hockney, who is currently 79 years old, unveiled a new collection of his work published by Taschen called A Bigger Book that definitely lives up to its name. The book is more than two feet tall and weighs a whopping 77 pounds. If you placed it on a little stool, it would definitely be able to support the weight of a tea service, say.

    Hockney is one of the most renowned British painters of the 20th century, and A Bigger Book is a limited-edition volume costing $2,500 that covers his career of more than 60 years.

    Fans of Hockney’s work will recognize in the book’s title an echo of some of the artist’s earlier works and book releases. One of Hockney’s most famous paintings is of a swimming pool, the title of which is “A Bigger Splash.”
    David Hockney, “A Bigger Splash” (1967)
    Similarly, the major retrospective of Hockney’s work that landed at the Tate Modern in 2013 bore the title “A Bigger Exhibition,” and there is a volume with his work called A Bigger Picture (the title has also been used for a documentary about Hockney) as well as a book containing interviews with Hockney called A Bigger Message. You can even purchase a lithograph of one of America’s most famous landmarks that is called “A Bigger Grand Canyon.”

    Taschen has a tradition of bestowing upon artists of a certain caliber mega-sized volumes in a line called SUMO. Taschen’s first SUMO edition was for Helmut Newton in 1999. In 2003 Taschen released a SUMO volume dedicated to Muhammad Ali under the title GOAT, which presumably stands for “Greatest of All Time,” and the company has also released “SUMO-sized” volumes for H.R. Giger, Sebastião Salgado, and Annie Leibovitz. In 2014 Taschen published a SUMO volume about the Rolling Stones.
    More after the jump…....

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Aliens Among Us: Almost psychedelic microscopic photography of beetles, mites, spiders and moths

    Jumping spider (Phidippus otiosus).
    Igor Siwanowicz’s interest in the natural world came from poring over brightly colored photographs and illustrations in biology and zoology textbooks as a child. Born in Krakow, Poland in 1976, Siwanowicz is the son of two biologists who he claims reinforced and rewarded his early interest in biology.

    Certain amount of the fascination in natural sciences might be encoded in the genes, and that was definitely passed on me from my parents, along with some artistic skills that just pop up in my family generation after generation.

    Siwanowicz studied for a Masters in biotechnology at Krakow and then Aarhus, Denmark, before going on to complete a PhD in structural biochemistry in Germany.

    His artistic talents came to the fore during a hiatus from post-doctoral studies when Siwanowicz traveled the world as a freelance nature photographer. He “conned some people into organizing” exhibitions of his work which led to the publication of two books of his photographs.

    He then returned to his career in science as a “lowly technical assistant in behavioural genetics at the Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich.” Today, Siwanowicz works as a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Virginia.

    Siwanowicz believes his photographic work keeps him “(relatively) sane.”’s a sort of occupational therapy, a way to cope with the blues. I think I am slightly bipolar (as in manic-depressive), far from raving mad but still having those seasonal swings of mood and warped self-perception. Taking photos, among other things, gives me satisfaction and keeps my mind off of obsessing too much. I use my accomplishments to re-build my self-esteem and move a small step towards self-actualisation.

    Siwanowicz’s photographic work includes beautiful macro “mug shots” of insects:

    They are foreign, otherworldly looking creatures – the closer you get to them, the stronger the effect. See, insects have those totally alien, Gigeresque forms that I find somehow fascinating.

    His incredibly trippy psychedelic extreme close-up photographs of insects—beetles, spiders, moths, mites—are made with a confocal laser-scanning microscope, which captures these beautiful creatures in greater clarity and detail than other lens-based imaging.

    See more of Igor Siwanowicz’s glorious microscopy.
    Jumping spider.
    Jumping spider eyes.
    More of these stunning photographs, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Peter Murphy stars as ‘The Dead’ in the experimental Super 8 film ‘The Grid,’ 1980
    09:53 am


    Peter Murphy

    The VHS release of The Grid (via Tumblr)
    In 1980, the animator Joanna Woodward (a/k/a JoWOnder) cast her boyfriend Peter Murphy in a short film called The Grid. Now I know it’s hot on planet Earth, but goddammit! If In The Flat Field-era Peter Murphy playing a character called “The Dead” doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, then maybe somebody’s forgotten the true meaning of Halloween.

    Here are JoWOnder’s own notes about her movie, which she says was projected at Bauhaus shows in the 80s. I wish she explained what T.S. Eliot is doing on the soundtrack. Typos are hers.

    A story about a time traveler and the search for the first cell of one’s existence. ‘The Dead’, played by Peter Murphy searches for and finds a ‘Grid’ which enables him to watch the beginning of his life -from the moment of conception.

    Tip: For a better picture view: watch using the ‘Full Screen’ Option.

    Filmed when, when Peter was the boyfriend of Joanna Woodward in the 1980’s, on Super 8 Film Format. This copy has been taken by Jo from the VHS which Peter sold copies of on his, 2000, international Just for Love tour. (The original a clear picture Super 8 copy having been mislaid).

    The Grid, movie toured with Bauhaus and was projected on stage in the 1980s. Jo says;’ that she was much more interested in fine art and not so much commercial art or popular music. Punk was predominant at that time and it was quite common for things to get ‘gobbed at’ as a sign of appreciation.’

    The closing music here is Subhanallah by Peter Murphy however, the original concluding music track, for The Grid was Kate Bush, Lion Heart. Jo finds both concluding music tracks satisfying however, the Kate Bush track was intended to echo the opera music earlier in the film and the female ‘creator of life’ bursting through. The film’s main soundtrack Jo devised herself on a synthesizer with live playing of a recorder. The tiny sound of ‘clicks’ that can be heard are, literally the sound of switching on and off equipment as she recorded live to the film picture with an open microphone.

    Watch ‘The Grid’ after the jump…

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    ‘The Witch’ movie playset for kids!
    09:48 am


    The Witch

    Somehow I missed this delightful The Witch playset for kids created by Playnnobil and featured on Millionaire Playboy. It was “released” to the Internet back in March and is based on Robert Eggers’ 2015 historical period horror flick The Witch (or The VVitch if you prefer). Dig his Black Phillip figure!

    I had mixed emotions about The Witch. While I thought that it was very beautifully shot, and well-acted, it just didn’t scare the pants off me the way movie critics (and seemingly everyone on Facebook) promised it would. More “arthouse flick” as opposed to something truly terrifying, like say The Descent.

    I don’t know, but I thought that it could’ve been a lot scarier. That’s just me. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen, but by the time it finally did it just felt too late. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give anything away. Again, what do I know, it could make for a good, spooky October film for you and yours. You might love it. Many people did. There were several haunting elements of the film that stayed with me, but I can’t honestly recommend The Witch but tepidly.

    Anyway, I can appreciate the artistry, of both the film and this cool PLAYMOBIL-themed playset! If you want to know more about Playnnobil’s thoughts about his creations—and the source of his inpiration—go here. There aren’t too many spoilers.


    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    The entire print run (1979-82) of NYC punk magazine ‘Dry’ is now online!
    09:33 am


    Ryan Richardson
    dry magazine

    Wendy O Williams of the Plasmatics in ‘Dry’ magazine
    Ryan Richardson is one of the United States’ foremost collectors, archivists, and dealers of punk rock records and ephemera, as well as being the Internet saint who created free online archives of StarRock Scene, and Slash magazines. He also runs, a repository of various early punk zines as well as the exhaustive punk info blog Break My Face.

    We’ve written about Richardson’s punk altruism before here at Dangerous Minds. The last time was back in June when he uploaded the entire print run of excellent early San Francisco punk magazine Damage over at his site

    Richardson has done his Good Samaritan work once again, this time with the upload of the complete print run of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s NYC punk magazine Dry to Circulation Zero.

    According to Richardson, Dry was conceived by art school students and titled as a reaction against Wet, “The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.”

    Dry is manic in its cut-n-paste layout and panicked in its reviews and reports. Eclectic coverage of punk, No Wave and eventually hardcore in the later installments.

    Fourteen issues were published, all of which are available as a single pdf download HERE

    The layouts in Dry are a bit over-the-top with the cut-and-paste collage aesthetic. Though the technique is certainly part of the design tradition of punk rock, it doesn’t always make for easy reading—but that’s a fitting standard for a counter-culture fanzine… it should be challenging. 

    I wouldn’t call Dry a definitive chronicle of NYC punk between 1979 and 1982 by any stretch, but these issues are still a priceless addition to the historical record and certainly worth a gander by anyone with an interest in this specific era of alternative music, particularly things that happened in New York.

    The download of the complete set is free, but Richardson asks that those taking advantage make a charitable donation to Electronic Frontier Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, or Austin Pets Alive. Donations to these charities make the project worthwhile for Richardson, so it would be, you know, the cool thing to do to toss a few bucks that way, considering the amazing gift being provided here. Richardson has placed donation links on—go there now to download Dry, and while you’re waiting on that file transfer, scroll through this gallery of pages from Dry‘s history:

    A pre-fame Cyndi Lauper, singing with Blue Angel, in the pages of ‘Dry’

    More from the pages of ‘Dry’ after the jump…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    ‘Bulba’: The terrible CIA sitcom pilot that starred a young Bill Hicks
    03:30 pm


    Bill Hicks

    The 1980s were a miserable decade for standup comedy—based on the incredible success of men like Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, and Robin Williams, all of whom had an originating identity as standups, comedy saw a “boom” which really translated into bars across America labeling just about anything a “COMEDY SHOWCASE,” attracting MOR hacks everywhere to divert audiences with their “hilarious” Jack Nicholson impressions or their hackneyed thoughts about the packaging of airline peanuts. It was a decade defined by people such as Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, talented men but none of them ever likely to, say, question the Reagan administration’s Central America policy.

    Which brings us to Bill Hicks, one of the few comedic heroes that the 1980s produced. Hicks was a bumptious standup comedian out of Texas, one of few comedians of that era who could truly be said to owe Lenny Bruce a debt. He talked about the benefits of LSD, marijuana, and psychedelic mushrooms onstage, railed against the implacable conformity of Americans, and once put down a heckler by saying, “Hitler had the right idea; he was just an underachiever!” In a decade in which development execs constantly lusted after some debased version of the “edgy,” Hicks was the real deal. He sadly died of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the age of 32, a tragic fate that has cemented his status as a countercultural icon ever since.

    One of the events that caused Hicks to adopt a rather jaundiced view of Hollywood was his involvement in an idiotic spoof of the CIA called Bulba. A pilot episode of the show was filmed for ABC in 1981, but it was never picked up—for very good reasons. The show centered on the goofy goings-on at the U.S. embassy in Bulba, a fictional island near India, and the show absolutely reeks of the anti-establishment ethos typified by Stripes and M*A*S*H, but sadly it isn’t funny. At all. Hicks plays “Phil,” a bumbling Marine whose identifying trait is that he isn’t wearing pants.

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Smegma: Strange rumblings from legendarily freaky art-damaged noise rock improvisers
    02:52 pm


    Richard Meltzer

    When Smegma first formed—I’m referring here to the avant garde improvisational free music noise group, not that other stuff—in Pasadena, California in 1973, the collective’s membership came together in the back room of the Poo-Bah record store. The Poo-Bah was located in a basement next door to a sleazy porno theatre and the owner encouraged some of the shop’s patrons (who coalesced around a shared love of Zappa, Beefheart and the Residents) to utilize his space. The Poo-Bah later merged with the Los Angeles Free Music Society or L.A.F.M.S., a parallel group of local freaks into the same things, to release records, cassettes, newsletters and a fanzine, and to promote live events and art happenings, including those of Smegma.

    Smegma’s cast of characters took on goofy pre-punk pseudonyms such as “Ju Suk Reet Meate,” “Dennis Duck,” “Cheez-It Ritz,” “Amazon Bambi,” “Chucko Fats,” “Pizza Rioux,” “Iso,” “Dr. Id,” “Dr.Odd,” “Foon,” “Ace Farren Ford,” “Electric Bill,” “Borneo Jimmy,” “Burned Mind,” “Oblivia,” “Victor Sparks,” and “Harry Cess Poole” and members overlapped with L.A.F.M.S. which might be considered the loose umbrella organization representing a scene of freaky people who were into making freaky head music. Their sound incorporated tapes, free jazz, power electronics, the Ventures, drones, proto-Plunderphonics tape loops and encouraged inspired amateurism rather than musical prowess. “NO HIPPIE MUSIC” was their guiding motto. Their disgusting name is a pisstake on le nom de French prog-rockers Magma. It should come as no surprise that Smegma were included on the infamous “Nurse with Wound list.”

    In 1975, Smegma’s loose center of operations moved to Portland, Oregon where they became an important part of that city’s musical history even if most of that burg’s residents were and are still blissfully unaware of this fact. Over the decades they’ve recorded with noted oddballs like Frank Zappa discovery Wild Man Fischer, Boyd Rice, and Japanese noise prankster Merzbow (on the dual release Smegma Plays Merzbow/Merzbow Plays Smegma.) During the late 1990s, the noted pioneer rock scribe and literary cult figure Richard Meltzer served as the group’s lyricist and frontman.

    More Smegma after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Frank Zappa wants you to ‘vote like a beast’
    01:50 pm


    Frank Zappa

    Vote suppression is in the news again. In August, Donald Trump, likely recognizing that he was going to lose the election, started talking about the need to prevent voter shenanigans in “certain sections” of Pennsylvania—“you know the ones,” he told them—clear code to his supporters that black people in Pennsylvania’s urban areas were plotting to steal the vote on behalf of “Crooked” Hillary Clinton.

    The truth is something like the opposite. Acutely aware that it has a purchase on a dwindling minority of voters, the Republican Party has for some years used the specter of vote fraud to enact legislative measures that would require increased documentation at polling places, measures that are likely to have the effect of limiting the turnout of low-income and/or minority voters, both of which are reliable Democratic constituencies. The “voter fraud” scare is now widely seen as itself to be a voter suppression gambit, as some high-level Republicans are sometimes unwise enough to actuallly admit to in public.

    The crucial importance of the vote can be seen in the centuries-long struggles over who gets to vote and who does not. In a sense, artificial or scarcely justified limits on the franchise are as American as apple pie, as Your Vote, a 1991 program for The Learning Channel hosted by none other than Frank Zappa, explains.

    Frank Zappa was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1990, after the disease had progressed unnoticed for roughly a decade. Obviously, as he neared his untimely death, which eventually occurred in December 1993, Zappa’s illness restricted his ability to travel or undertake arduous projects. Zappa is hardly the vigorous figure here that he had once been, but his commitment to the cause of participatory democracy was such that he did the project anyway.

    The show begins with footage of George Herbert Walker Bush and Michael Dukakis, the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees for the most recent national election in 1988. It would be easy to frame the story of franchisement in the United States as an optimistic one, with the vote being granted to ever more groups, but that is not the tone adopted here. In this program, the emphasis is squarely on the unjustifiable shenanigans that prevent people from exercising one of the most basic human rights.

    Keep reading after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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