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  • Andy Warhol luxury surfboards
    06.03.2015
    08:35 am

    Topics:
    Art
    Pop Culture
    Sports

    Tags:

    Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol portrait surfboards
    Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol portrait surfboards

    By some strange twist of fate in 1968, the paths of eleven-year-old surfer Tim Bessell and pop art phenomenon Andy Warhol, intersected in La Jolla, California where Warhol was filming San Diego Surf.
     
    Brillo surfboard
    Brillo surfboard (based on Andy Warhol’s mid-sixties work, “Brillo Boxes”)
     
    The Last Supper Andy Warhol surfboard, Series One
    The Last Supper surfboard (from “The Last Supper” series by Andy Warhol, 1986)
     
    Although the film would go unseen for 43 years, Bessell had the unique opportunity to observe Warhol and his muses up close during his formative years. According to Bessell, Warhol lived only two blocks away from him during his time filming in La Jolla and that the artist himself even ended up purchasing surfboards from Carl Ekstrom (the inventor of the asymmetric surfboard and snowboard), who was mentoring Bessel at the time.

    Too young to understand the sudden culture explosion surrounding him, Bessell was content to be a curious observer, but the experience would go on to help frame his future as an artist. After graduating with degrees in Art and Architecture from San Diego State University, Bessell and Warhol found themselves rubbing shoulders once again at a mid-80’s party at the Playboy Club in New York. Bessell shared his childhood recollections of when Warhol’s “freak show” invaded his sleepy, hippie surf town during the Summer of Love. He says that this chance meeting “opened his relationship” with Warhol and ultimately led to his collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for a decadent line of surfboards, all bearing Warhol’s unmistakable artwork.
     
    Marilyn Monroe surfboards
    “Marilyn” (Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe done in the weeks after her death in 1962)
     
    Elvis (silver tone) and Gun Metal Elvis surfboards
    “Elvis” (silver tone) and “Gun Metal Elvis” surfboards (based on “Double Elvis” by Andy Warhol, 1963)
     
    Chairman Mao Zegong surfboard
    “Mao Zedong” surfboard (from a series of portraits of Mao done by Andy Warhol in 1973)
     
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Beautiful color Autochrome portraits by Alfred Stieglitz 1910-15
    06.03.2015
    07:58 am

    Topics:
    Art

    Tags:

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    Photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) has been described as “perhaps the most important figure in the history of visual arts in America.” During his fifty year career, Stieglitz produced some 2,500 mounted photographs, of which 1,642 are held by the National Gallery in Washington, DC as significant works of art.

    Stieglitz said photography allowed him to “see straight,” a passion through which he divined “a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”

    Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1864, Stieglitz was the son of German-Jewish emigrants. His father was a highly successful businessman, who eventually sold his company for a vast profit in 1881 and moved his family back to Germany. Alfred enrolled in school before deciding to study engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. During his time at the technical college, Alfred bought his first camera and started taking photographs. When his parents returned to America in 1884, he opted to stay on and continue with his newly found interest in photography.

    Over the next decade, he quickly established a reputation as a photographer. Stieglitz was fortunate that he came from a wealthy family, as photography was not cheap and was mainly the pastime—or occasionally the profession—of the upper classes. On return to New York in 1891, his father realized Alfred had no intention of abandoning his interest in photography and therefore bought his son a small photographic business to encourage him in making his passion a career. However, Alfred was no businessman—he overpaid his staff and spent a small fortune on new photographic techniques—but the experience proved vital in developing his talent and reputation as a photographer.

    Stieglitz also wrote about photography for various photographic magazines and was elected head of the early photographic society the Brotherhood of the Linked Ring—an organization whose main objective was to have photography recognized as an art form. He also joined the Camera Club of New York—a seeding ground for some of America’s greatest photographers. His work with the Camera Club led to a breakdown in his health, however, and by January 1903, Stieglitz had launched his next project—a photographic magazine Camera Work. In its first issue, Stieglitz stated the magazine’s intent that the magazine would only publish photographs that showed:

    ...evidence of individuality and artistic worth, regardless of school, or contains some exceptional feature of technical merit, or such as exemplifies some treatment worthy of consideration, will find recognition in these pages. Nevertheless, the Pictorial will be the dominating feature of the magazine.

    Now with a family (wife Emmy, daughter Katherine “Kitty”) and a magazine to manage, Stieglitz was living well beyond his means. Still, photography remained his all-consuming passion. As part of experiment to prove that photography could be as valid and as artistic as painting, Stieglitz embarked on a series of images that was to define his career—most notably the photo “The Steerage”, which depicted lower deck passengers on a steamer voyaging from New York to Germany. While in Europe during this time, Stieglitz heard of a new color process marketed by the Lumière brothers in France beginning in 1907. The Autochrome Lumière allowed photographers to take color pictures through use of a glass plate coated with microscopic grains of potato starch dyed red-orange, green, and blue-violet that serve as color filters.

    Returning to New York, Stieglitz began to take his own Autochrome portraits, starting with his family (daughter Kitty pictured above) and friends.
     
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    More of Stieglitz’s Autochromes after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    ‘It’s the exact same duck! I am furious!’: Massive ‘counterfeit’ rubber duckie enrages artist
    06.03.2015
    07:22 am

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Art

    Tags:


     
    If you’ve been on the Internet at all over the last, say, year, you may remember seeing pictures of a giant inflatable duck, bobbing in the ocean in various ports around the world. The whimsical piece is the work of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, who intended it as an environmental statement about the earth’s waters (sort of a “Planet Bathtub” kind of thing). However, one thing Hofman feels we do not share is the right to giant floating ducks! Now Hofman doesn’t build his ducks, he just sends drawings of the duck to whoever wants to build one themselves, so when the Tall Ships festival in Los Angeles ordered his “plans” last year (plans they maintain were just untechnical sketches), they probably assumed they could reuse it in the Philadelphia Tall Ships festival the following year.

    Not so, says Hofman, who fumed:

    “I was shocked. They don’t have permission to show my duck again. And they are charging money for tickets. I want this rubber duck for the whole world to see. It is sad. They make it into this joke, but the rubber duck is not a joke. It is serious artwork which connects all people in the world.”

    On top of all of that—they’re not even using the same duck, but have constructed a second in Philadelphia. This only made Hofman angrier (“It’s the exact same duck! I am furious.”), but to be fair, some of his anger appears to be related to a late payment from the Los Angeles Tall Ships festival.

    It’s all a bit absurd to me, probably because I just don’t think “big duck” is so conceptually unique as to merit such a sense of artistic ownership, even by the strictest definitions of intellectual property. And really, if anyone is being ripped off here, isn’t it the original rubber duckie toy innovator, Peter Ganine, who patented his “upcapsizeable duck” in 1949?!? (Yeah, that’s right. I looked up the history of rubber duckies.)

    Regardless, I invite you to gaze upon the original and the impostor, side by side. Place your bets!
     

     
    So which mock duck is the real deal? If you guessed the left duck, congratulations; you are an aesthete with a trained eye and refined tastes. However, if you guessed the right duck, you’re a vulgar philistine and a rube, doomed to be fooled by charlatans, art forgers and snake oil salesmen all your life!

    This duck controversy is getting press just after artist Richard Prince made tens of thousands of dollars a pop selling prints of other peoples’ Instagram shots—since they were altered just slightly, the work is considered “transformative,” and therefor legal (if not terribly ethical or artistically creative). So if you have an Instagram account and you think your work can be monetized, watermark that shit!

    But if you make giant ducks… maybe lighten the hell up?

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
    ‘The Filth & the Fury’: Sex Pistols comic from 1984
    06.03.2015
    07:12 am

    Topics:
    Art
    Music

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    Milestones on the road from terrifying societal scourge to mass-market-friendly cultural icons…. In 1984 Smash Hits put out a “yearbook” that contained this wonderful 4-page comic about the entire career of the Sex Pistols, from their origins in 1975 Chelsea to their final show in San Francisco in 1979. [Update: This was in 1978, of course; the comic had it wrong as well.] Flickr user Jon Hicks posted these a few years back—as he points out, the strip has no profanity at all.

    The comic is signed by Arthur Ranson, whose art graced countless publications from the early 1970s up through as recently as 2013. The writer is Angus Allan, whose image (according to the above link) appears bottom left of third page, but I haven’t been able to figure out what that’s supposed to mean. (Maybe they mean the fellow who pops up in the “EMI” panel of the second page?)

    Click on the images for a larger view:
     

     

     

     

     

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Billie Holiday: Drug bust with chihuahua, 1956
    06.03.2015
    06:13 am

    Topics:
    Drugs
    Music

    Tags:


     
    Transcendent jazz vocalist Billie Holiday, whose centenary birthday was celebrated earlier this year, has turned up on a rather strange bit of memorabilia, simultaneously lurid and cute. A friend of DM passed along an original Philadelphia Daily News photo that just sold on eBay, showing Holiday after a 1956 drug bust (hardly her first rodeo—the gifted singer’s life was a tragedy of addiction culminating in her premature death in 1959, not even 45 years of age). It’s not really an unknown photo, but I’ve only seen it with this cropping:
     

     
    Which leaves out an incongruously adorable detail:

    PH…4…INP SOUNDPHOTO PHILA,.PA…“DOPE RAID.” Nightclub singer Billie Holiday was picked up by Phila., Police in an early morning dope raid at her hotel today. She was held under bail on charges of using dope. She is currently filling a singing engagement at a night club here. Held with her on the same charge was her husband and road manager, Louis McKay, 46. The 41-year-old singer insisted on bringing her pet Chihuahua dog to City Hall. Photo shows Billie leaving the Central cell with her pet dog. Detective Capt. Clarence Ferguson who lead the raid is behind her. DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY SAM PSORAS….2/23/56….

     

     
    Continues after the jump…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    We can’t stop listening to this adorable 7-year-old Filipino kid singing Bee Gees songs
    06.03.2015
    06:07 am

    Topics:
    Music

    Tags:


     
    Seven-year-old Angelico “Echo” Claridad became an unlikely star in late March after astounding Asia’s Got Talent judges with his remarkable performance of the Bee Gees’ “Too Much Heaven.”

    Echo had a minor degree of Internet fame prior to his TV appearance, on his dad’s YouTube channel

    Echo appears in several videos, usually singing Bee Gees tunes with his dad—and it’s pretty much the sweetest, cutest thing ever.

    If the kid sounds this great at age seven (he’s even younger in many of the videos on the You Tube channel), then he’s seriously going places. This kid rules!
     
    Here’s Echo doing “More Than a Woman” with his dad:

     
    More of Echo’s Bee Gees covers after the jump…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Civil Rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer speaks about her childhood as a sharecropper
    06.03.2015
    05:46 am

    Topics:
    Activism
    Feminism
    History
    Politics
    Race

    Tags:


     
    I was at the Library of Congress last week, and while it was utterly grand to be there, I rolled my eyes so hard I nearly snapped a couple of cables when I spotted that pernicious Thomas Carlyle quotation high up on the wall: “THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IS THE BIOGRAPHY OF GREAT MEN.” Look, I understand that it was put there over a century ago, and I wouldn’t expect simple values dissonance alone to be a sufficient reason to alter something so historical, but it was still a drag to see that in 2015 (the exhibit lionizing Columbus and Cortez’s New World explorations without mentioning the word “genocide” anywhere was also a disappointment—the USA still has a loooooong-ass way to go).

    One of the deep faults of the “Great Man” theory of history is that it excludes the contributions of thousands, if not millions, of unheralded activists who, though they didn’t happen to be the marquee names who got to make speeches that were recorded for posterity, still committed much of their resources and lives to the causes and movements that shaped the world we live in. A more obvious flaw is the continually maddening omission of great women. For example, I hold it as a significant demerit (among many) of the public education system that I never knew the name of the amazing Shirley Chisholm, the first black congresswoman and the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States, until my late college years, when I was channel-surfing and I randomly caught a doc about her on PBS.

    Another such figure I’m salty about never learning about in school, also from the US Civil Rights Movement, as it happens, is voting rights organizer Fannie Lou Hamer, a crucial activist and orator whose contributions to freedom in America are not, by my reckoning, sufficiently heralded—she not only endured being beaten and shot at, she underwent a non-consensual hysterectomy as part of a eugenics program. Justifiably furious at such shocking abuse at the hands of her doctor, she dove headlong into activism, helping found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and giving a powerful and pivotal speech to the 1964 Democratic National Convention Credentials Committee, challenging the legitimacy of Mississippi’s all-white delegation, and describing the horrors she endured for merely trying to register to vote. Presumptive nominee Lyndon Johnson, in a total asshole move, tried to keep the speech out of the news by calling a specious press conference. Hamer got crazy amounts of news coverage anyway.

    Continues after the jump…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    Japanese plans for toilets in elevators not as weird as it sounds
    06.03.2015
    05:38 am

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Science/Tech

    Tags:

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    The damage caused by earthquakes has led the Japanese government to consider installing toilets and providing drinking water in elevators. The suggestion comes after dozens of people were trapped in elevators across Tokyo after a 7.8 magnitude quake hit the city on Saturday.

    Normally elevators will automatically stop at the nearest floor when earthquakes strike—the doors will open allowing passengers to escape. But after Saturday’s quake, fourteen elevators became stuck between floors trapping some passengers for over an hour.

    A meeting between officials from the infrastructure ministry and elevator industry members agreed to consider providing toilets for such emergencies. Suggestions include collapsible cardboard toilets with a waterproof bag or absorbent material inside.

    As many of Japan’s latest elevators include seating areas for the elderly, intstalling such emergency facilities underneath seats is a possibility. Japan has about 620,000 elevators in its buildings, of which 20% are in Tokyo.

    Nicholas White knows exactly what it’s like to be caught short in such an extreme situation. On 15th October 1999, Mr. White popped out of his office at the McGraw-Hill Building, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, for a cigarette break. On his return, he became trapped in an elevator after a power dip caused the elevator to stop between the 13th and 14th floors. Despite signaling his distress to the onboard surveillance camera, security staff did not notice Mr. White’s predicament until the afternoon of the 17th, almost 41 hours later. (And these eagle-eyed guys were in charge of security?) During his accidental incarceration, Mr. White relieved himself by urinating through the elevator doors—he hoped someone might notice the stream of fluid running down the elevator shaft—apparently no one did.
     

     
    So, Japan’s neat idea for bringing relief to a nightmare situation is not as strange as it sounds, though one hopes it won’t be misused as the following comic video suggests…
     

     
    H/T Guardian and Metro

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Nakamura Hiroshi’s absolutely brutal protest art against U.S. military in Japan
    06.02.2015
    12:58 pm

    Topics:
    Art
    Politics

    Tags:


    “Gunned Down,” 1957
     
    The paintings of Nakamura Hiroshi follow a tragic narrative.Trained as in political realism to do reportage painting, his work became highly stylized and surreal as he covered Japanese anti-military activism. There was a mass mobilization in the 1950s, particularly among Japanese students and unions, against the expansion of U.S. military presence, including massive bases. The painting you see above depicts the death of a woman who was fatally shot by an American soldier as she collected used bullet casings. The one below shows a protest against the extension of an airstrip over land confiscated from poor farmers. 

    Hiroshi covered the protest movement diligently and loyally, even as a commercial failure who couldn’t afford canvases. His painting, “The Base,” now considered a masterpiece, was actually done on cheap wood, the grain of which gives the piece an ominous depth. However, as the conservative government took power and made major concessions to the Americans, Hiroshi began to despair. His paintings took on apocalyptic themes, with explosive imagery and lots of red, a reference to the firebombings that destroyed his hometown when he was twelve. Though the political inspiration for his work never won out, he lived to see it lauded by the critics, and went on to produce surreal work on a developed Japan.
     

    “Sunagawa #5,” 1955
     

    “Sunagawa #5” (detail)
     

    “The Base,” 1957
     
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
    The day the music died: Vintage ads of pop stars selling shit
    06.02.2015
    11:12 am

    Topics:
    Advertising
    Amusing
    Pop Culture

    Tags:

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    ‘When You’ve Heard Lou, You’ve Heard It All’ Lou Rawls advertising career covered insurance and booze.
     
    Musicians have long depended on patronage from the rich and powerful to sponsor their careers as artists. As far back as composers such as Haydn or Mozart, who earned his keep with a string of patrons starting with Prince-Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg. It’s the same today with pop stars taking the cash offered by brands like Coke and Pepsi to pay for their tours or alimony or undisclosed bad habits.

    While some stars promote things they believe in—guitars, charities—there is always a longer list of those who would sell out for some unbelievably low rent shit—Rod Stewart pimping shoes, Elton John peddling pinball, the Yardbirds shilling toiletries. Occasionally, there are those who are smart enough to use the brand to sponsor their ambitions, like Lou Rawls who sold Budweiser but used the brand to sponsor his telethons. Neat, but not all of the following are in that category.
     
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    When Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck sold perfume in sexist sixties ads: ‘She’s among the Yardbirds. She goes for groups. They go for her. She has her own group too. Named after her. Miss Disc. A very ‘in’ group indeed…’
     
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    Late 1960s, Dave Brubeck attempts to convince the gullible to buy Sears-Kenmore products in ads for magazines like Better Homes and Gardens.
     
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    Rod the Mod was once famous for his sartorial elegance, but here he is dressed as if Walt Disney puked on him.
     
    More mighty musos shilling for money, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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