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Let’s play Revolution: Gorgeous but violent Soviet board games, 1920-1938
11.11.2014
11:50 am

Topics:
Art
Design
Games
History

Tags:
Soviet
board games


“Chemical War,” 1925
 
The phrase “war toys” usually evokes images of little plastic guns, gritty action figures with kung-fu grips and more recently the first-person shooter video game. In Soviet Russia however, bloodthirsty board games were incredibly popular. I’d imagine this was partially due to a national penchant for games of strategy (like chess), but also probably owing (at least somewhat, if not to a great extent) to manufacturing considerations. Russia was still attempting a massive industrialization project throughout the 1930s, and board games were pretty quick and easy to produce without much in the way of materials or tools.

Obviously not every Russian board game had the hawkish tenor of most of the games below (“Electrification”), but there’s certainly enough of them to see palpable themes of nationalism and war. You’ll notice the game “Battle” looks pretty wholesome at first glance… until you realize that the players are engaging in a leisurely game on a battlefield, seemingly unaware of the carnage taking place directly behind them. Despite the intriguing cover art, I can’t find much on the rules or premises of these games, except they they were educational tools and often contained a military trivia component. Still, as far as insidiously nationalist, war-mongering propaganda goes, don’t they look kind of… fun?
 

“Revolution,” 1925
 

“Air War,” 1925
 

“Battle,” 1938
 
More Soviet games after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Furry furniture that looks like taxidermied Dr. Seuss creatures
11.06.2014
07:19 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
Dr. Seuss
furniture
taxidemy
fur


Golden Corral and Beast Guests, 2014
 
Texas twins Nikolai and Simon Haas desperately wanted to see the Ralph Bakshi flop, Cool World as kids, but their parents wouldn’t let them. Mom and dad were right. Not only was the the film a little seedy for 8-year-olds, it was a half animated, half live-action mess, high on concept and low on plot. The movie came out in 1992, four years after Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but it lacked that film’s imagination (and writing) and the animation felt cheap and gimmicky. The Hass Brothers haven’t seen the movie to this day, but their fantasy idea of it serves as the inspiration for their new show, “The Haas Brothers: Cool World,” at R & Company in New York.

The furniture and furnishings they created in the name of Bakshi’s box office bomb are actually far less louche than their inexplicable source material. I’d argue the work is downright Seussian—comic and surreal, but with the added element of a playful sexuality (including an actual “Sex Room Entrance”). The ceramics could be the work of Whoville artisans, and the furniture resembles the animals from If I Ran the Zoo. The use of leather and fur (real), alongside horns and feet (metal), leave the viewer with the distinct impression that a few Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dills were harmed in the making of that chaise lounge.
 

Mini Beasts, 2014
 

Beast Bench, 2013
 

Accretion Vases and Zoidberg Lamp Series, 2014
 

Beast Club Chairs, 2014
 

Beast Setee, 2013
 

California Raisin, 2014

Candelabras, Accretion Vases, Hematite Vases, 2014
 

Anna Nicole, 2014
 
“Hairy Belafonte” and more after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Ghost Rider: The perfect motorcycle for All Hallows’ Eve
10.31.2014
07:09 am

Topics:
Amusing
Design

Tags:
motorcycles
John Holt
skeleton bike

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Now this is the kind of motorcycle you want to be seen riding when you turn up late to that Halloween party. This customized skeleton bike is a definite head turner—the bike Ghost Rider really should have had.

Take a look at the craftsmanship going on here: a hammer forged bike frame made from a skeleton rib cage and spine, with arm bones as front forks, bony hands as wheel hubs, and a skull with 32 teeth and a headlight in each eye socket. This beauty was almost entirely handmade by self-taught metal worker John Holt in his basement workshop in Boone County, Illinois, in 2004 and 2005. The bike has a 2.3-liter Ford engine with a variable flow hydraulic drive. The bike weighs 850 pounds; if made to stand up straight, the skeleton would be over nine feet tall.

This was the first bike Holt ever built—though he previously made a suit of armor in 1995—and he “fashioned the design” from a plastic model of a skeleton. Holt calls his bike “Iron Death.” Yep, that sounds right.
 
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Thanks to Duke Sandefur, via Vince Lewis
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Frank Gehry gives 98% of architecture the finger
10.26.2014
08:49 am

Topics:
Design

Tags:
architecture
Frank Gehry


 
Frank Gehry has been the number-one superstar of architecture for a generation now, going roughly as far back to the unveiling of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 1997. His shimmering buildings often resemble curved paper, and as top dog in the architecture world, his buildings have come in for some criticism for being not entirely practical in every respect. 

Gehry was in Oviedo, Spain, last week at a press conference related to the country’s Prince of Asturias Awards program for the arts. A journalist asked Gehry, according to De Zeen magazine, “what his response was to people who accused him of creating architecture for show.” Here was his answer, as tweeted by Inés Martín Rodrigo on Thursday:
 

 
Translation (thank you Google): “Answer by Frank Gehry to the first question of journalists in Oviedo.”

Gehry then said, “Let me tell you one thing. In the world we live in, 98 percent of what gets built and designed today is pure shit. ... There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.”
 

 
Gehry continued, “Every now and then, however, a small number of people do something special. They’re very few. But—my God!—leave us in peace! We dedicate ourselves to our work. I don’t beg for work. I don’t have publicists. I’m not waiting for people to call me. I work with clients who have respect for the art of architecture. At the very least, don’t ask stupid questions like this.” Observers on the scene report that this answer was met with an uncomfortable silence. Gehry then apologized, pointing to fatigue from his travels from France that day to attend the press conference. “Please, you have to understand that I’m tired and a little dazed by the trip. ... I’ll mumble an apology.” It’s worth keeping in mind that Gehry is currently 85 years old.

Just for fun I Googled the terms “gehry badass” and, wouldn’t you know it, came up with this hit: “Frank Gehry, Architectural Badass.” Which confirms what we already knew, Frank Gehry is a badass.
 

 
via Hyperallergic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Scorpion Chair, anyone?
10.09.2014
01:08 pm

Topics:
Design

Tags:
home decorating


 
This Scorpion Chair by designer Vyacheslav Pakhomov immediately caught my eye when I was browsing the Internets this morning. I don’t normally gravitate towards ostentatious stuff like this, it has to be done right. The chair has an H. R. Giger/Maria Montez kinda thing going on that I dig. If your home or office is lacking the perfect accent piece, hey, you could do worse than a Scorpion Chair. Might be just the thing to tie your room together perfectly, no?

This puppy doesn’t cheap, though. Its price is 230,000 rubles or $5,749 USD.

BUT IT’S A SCORPION CHAIR, DAMMIT!!!


 
Via Neatorama

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Get your Halloween on with this treasure trove of wild 1970s cosplay
10.06.2014
11:28 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Design
Fashion

Tags:
Halloween
Cosplay


 
I posted these photos a few years ago from io9 writer Ron Miller‘s insane 1970s cosplay-esque photo collection. They need to be revisited again. If not just for the disco dust-era eye candy, then to draw inspiration from these batshit galactic costumes for this upcoming Halloween.

Some have a slightly Kenneth Anger-ish feel to them. Well, Ken Anger meets Sonny & Cher meets Sun Ra meets a contingent of OTO members snorting coke at a Star Trek convention taking place at Studio 54 maybe…

You have your work cut out for you, folks! A good soundtrack for these would be Chic’s “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsa, Yowsa, Yowsa)” don’ you think?


 

 

 

 
More photos after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Surrealists’ tarot deck
09.29.2014
08:22 am

Topics:
Art
Design
Games
Occult

Tags:
Andre Breton
surrealism
tarot


 
In 1940 and 1941 André Breton, widely considered the founder of Surrealism, and a group of like-minded individuals (René Char, Oscar Dominguez, Victor Brauner, Max Ernst, Jacques Hérold, Wilfredo Lam, André Masson, Benjamin Péret) decided to design their own deck of tarot cards. The deck they finally came up with was executed in a remarkably pleasing, almost ligne claire style. In accordance with the mindfuckery inherent to Surrealism, the group rejected the courtly/medieval theme of the traditional deck and nominated their own heroes to represent the face cards, including Hegel, Freud, the Marquis de Sade, Baudelaire, and so on.

(A quick clarification: It seems evident that this is a deck of playing cards or possibly a hybrid of tarot and playing cards. Sources seem unequivocal in describing the deck as a tarot deck, and so that’s what we’re going with too.)

The Surrealist deck of cards suggests a kind of post-Enlightenment, left-wing, revolutionary, intellect-based cosmology. So the royal hierarchy of King, Queen, and Jack was replaced with “Genius,” “Siren,” and “Magus,” this last word accentuating the occult roots of the project. Rejecting the traditional clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds as well as the traditional tarot suits (wands, cups, swords, and discs), the group invented its own symbolism, with flames and wheels constituting the red suits and locks and stars being the black ones. Flames represented love and desire; wheels represented revolution; stars represented dreams; and locks represented knowledge.

Brilliantly, for the joker, the group selected Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (bottom).

Genius of flames: Baudelaire
Siren of flames: Marianna Alcofardo (author of Letters of a Portuguese Nun)
Magus of flames: Novalis

Genius of locks: Hegel
Siren of locks: Hélène Smith (nineteenth-century psychic)
Magus of locks: Paracelsus (Renaissance physician and occultist)

Genius of wheels: De Sade
Siren of wheels: Lamiel (from Stendhal)
Magus of wheels: Pancho Villa

Genius of stars: Lautréamont
Siren of stars: Alice (from Lewis Carroll)
Magus of stars: Freud
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via Tombolare
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Firearms are a girl’s best friend: Handguns beautifully embellished by Tiffany’s
09.22.2014
05:02 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
guns
Tiffany's


Smith and Wesson .44 New Model No. 3 Single-Action Revolver, serial no. 25120, sent to Tiffany’s in November of 1888
 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany that would make your head spin—lighting, jewelry, furniture, stained glass landscapes—all manner of lux design with those trademark Tiffany saturated colors and organic shapes. It was a family business. It was only after the death of his father Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1902 that Louis Comfort Tiffany start really focusing on jewelry design and more romantic pieces.

Prior to Louis’ redirection of the brand, the Tiffany name was associated with luxury glass and silver goods of a much more robust variety, like the collection of handguns you see here from the Met. There is art nouveau, distinct middle eastern and Japanese influences, and ornate engraving reminiscent of scrimshaw. Some of the pieces were displayed at exhibitions to demonstrate Tiffany’s gorgeous work, the others were commissioned for wealthy patrons. One would imagine such finery would be kept somewhere in a glass case as a conversation piece, but you’ll notice some wear and tear on some of the pieces that may be evidence of use.
 

Detail from the 25120
 

Detail from the 25120
 

Detail from the 25120
 

Smith and Wesson New Model No. 3, .44 Caliber Double-Action Navy Revolver, serial no. 23060, shown at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago,1893
 

Detail from the 23060
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Looking for a TON of burlesque matchbook covers? Well, you can stop looking.
09.17.2014
07:56 am

Topics:
Design
Sex

Tags:
burlesque
matchbooks
collectibles


 
Judging by their web site, The Match Group seems a fairly run-of-the-mill custom matches concern. Need your logo on a matchbook? They’ve got you covered. You want match boxes instead, you say? Relax, Mr. Connoisseur, it’s all good. Here’s a great excerpt from their About page:

With over 25 years in the industry, company founder, Joe Danon began his career as the North East Regional Sales Manager at the prestigious Universal Match Corporation. He then went on to become the National Sales Manager at Maryland Match Corp. for 13 years. His passion and devotion to the historic importance, whimsy and efficacy of match advertising is unrivaled. His devoted and loyal clientele have long benefited from his “Love of Light,” graphic design expertise and unparalleled product knowledge.

Notice the bit about “historic importance?” The Match Group not only offers over 25 years of hard-won experience in the world of matches, they keep an informative blog full of historical information and trivia about matches and matchbook design, and they’ve maintained an exhaustive Pinboard to assemble an impressively massive trove of design samples from all across the web. It’s broken down into 65 categories. That’s not a typo. But what I’ve elected to share here is a selection from their Burlesque/Pinup collection, because this is the internet, and since they don’t have a set of cat matchbooks, boobies win. (I’d suggest also perusing their “Matches as Art” board, though.) Obviously, little of this is going to be safe for work, but I’ve made an effort to keep the more graphically risqué stuff (read: nipples and buttcracks) for later in the post.
 

 

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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DRUGS: Trippy photos from a ‘unique’ volume of the ‘LIFE Science Library,’ 1969
09.12.2014
11:13 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Design
Drugs

Tags:
Drugs
LIFE


The cover of Life Science Library: Drugs

Back in the 60s LIFE had a series of hardcover books—26 volumes total—called the LIFE Science Library that tackled many subjects like Mathematics, The Mind, Health and Disease, Time, Food and Nutrition and so on. One of the volumes printed in 1967 was simply titled Drugs and it gave the history of medicines and how drugs affect the human body. Now if you were to judge a book by its cover, the LIFE hardback cover on drugs looks pretty boring, right? I woulda walked right past it without a second thought! The thing is, if you’d open it up, it’s chock full of trippy eye-candy delights.

Why such a boring cover with such delicious psychedelic imagery on the inside?


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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