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  • Painted Ladies and Broken Figurines: The dark feminist art of Jessica Harrison
    08:54 am



    There must have been thousands of these figurines perched on shelves, mantelpieces and end tables in suburban households across the land. I know my grandmother had about half-a-dozen of these porcelain figurines of fair-skinned women lifting the hem of their dresses that mysteriously billowed like a sail from some absent breeze. Some held poesies or baskets crammed with yellow daffodils and roses. They were difficult to keep clean. Dust clung limpet-like in tufts. My grandmother accidentally broke them all at various times—usually when trying to remove resistant clumps of dust. Hands cracked at the wrist, arms amputated at the elbow, noses chipped off. She always stuck them back together again which made these scarred, now imperfect figures seem oddly more real.

    I suppose this in part explains why I like Jessica Harrison’s beautiful and dark creations made from such popular mass-produced figurines. Jessica is an Edinburgh-based artist who refashions these found objects into quirky and visceral works of art. She works with a scalpel and electric saw, and then paints.

    My original attraction to these objects was precisely because of this image they portray of the female body – my desire was to counter it and present its opposite within itself. This was quite simple to do, by breaking apart the hollow cast pieces and ‘revealing’ the interior, a standard formula in Western knowledge for making discoveries about the body. The female interior is a space still laced with taboo in a way that the male interior is not, and for me this gender bias of what is most often an invisible space in our everyday lives was a fascinating and important one to address.

    Harrison has produced several exhbitions using these startling figurines—her solo shows Broken (2011), Pink, Green, Blue and Black (2016) and most recently in the group show Between Poles and Tides (2017). More of Jessica Harrison’s work can be seen here.
    More of Jessica Harrision’s beautiful art, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Laibach’s opening act: a man chopping wood with an axe
    08:40 am



    “The earliest Laibach texts suggested a degree of deindividualization and subordination so total and absolute as to make even the North Korean system seem lax and individualistic,” Alexei Monroe wrote in his 2005 study of Laibach and NSK, Interrogation Machine. They can’t be accused of watering it down. A decade after Monroe published his book, when Laibach became the first Western group ever to perform in North Korea, state censors made them cut their set by half.

    I used to think the most inspired use of the opening-act slot had been Wire booking the Ex-Lion Tamers to play all of their debut, Pink Flag, so they wouldn’t have to. But I now believe Laibach did it best. Warming up the crowd at some of Laibach’s mid-eighties shows was a man chopping wood with an axe.

    (Not “competitive woodchopping.” One person chopping wood is not a sport, just necessary labor.)

    via Laibach WTC
    The bio confirms that on their first UK tour, the group “bemus[ed] audiences by using antlers, flags, and a man chopping wood on their stage.” Monroe places the woodchopper in the context of the other alienating “effects” Laibach creates before their shows, and of their pseudo-totalitarian iconography:

    Before Laibach take the stage, some form of introductory effect is used to build an atmosphere—for instance, the playing of some German Schlager songs or Strauss waltzes. In earlier times, however, far more elaborate and conceptual effects were used to prepare the audience for Laibach. One particularly alarming method was to play tapes of barking dogs or loud noise. The turning of powerful lights on the audience (a technique pioneered by Throbbing Gristle) and the sounds created a threatening, interrogatory atmosphere intended to destabilize and excite the audience, instilling anticipation and a sense of approaching menace. At other shows Laibach were preceded by a uniformed figure chopping wood on stage. This had archaic-völkisch associations, and perpetuated the NSK axe motif (from Heartfield and the NSK logo).

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    ‘F*ck You All’: 1998 interview with the great Glen E. Friedman
    03:10 pm



    The achievements of Glen E. Friedman are, in a word, staggering. Between the mid-1970s and the late 1980s he emerged as the defining photographer of three distinct, related, and very important subcultures—the skateboarding scene of Dogtown in southern California, the hardcore scenes of L.A., D.C., and elsewhere, and the rap scene of NYC.

    The hardcore and rap scenes of the early 1980s had some overlaps, as evidenced by the careers of Beastie Boys and Rick Rubin, for instance, but it wasn’t common for photographers to be so at home in both worlds during that time. It’s tempting to find refuge in the insecure hidey hole of saying how “easy” it would be to take these pictures if only you had been on the scene, but it was the overpowering passion of Friedman that caused him to seek out and find a place there. The truth is that it wasn’t “easy” at all, as evidenced by the fact that he was the only person to accumulate a portfolio of this range and quality.

    In the mid-1990s he published his first book of pictures, called Fuck You Heroes, an overview of the first 15 years of his career, and also put together a traveling exhibition. In 1998 that show went to Rome, under the title Fuck You All, and while he was there an Italian film crew put together a stimulating documentary structured around a lengthy interview, under the obvious title of Fanculo a Tutti, which is Italian for “Fuck You All.”

    In the film he explains why this phrase “Fuck You” is so important to him. The act of saying “Fuck you, I don’t care, fuck you” is actually integral to creating art that is compelling and dangerous in a cultural and oftentimes political sense. As he says, his subjects are “heroes because they say ‘Fuck You’. ... They’re people who say ‘Fuck You’ and they’re heroes because of it.”


    My favorite bit is when he brings in a nearby tradesperson to punctuate a point he is making about the importance of hard work in getting things just right.

    Friedman’s been a friend of the website for many years now—we love his work as well as his outspoken blog What the Fuck Have You Done? (which often features posts from DM as well). His other books include My Rules, Fuck You Too, and The Idealist: In My Eyes 25 Years.


    Jello Biafra
    More GEF images, and the ‘Fanculo a Tutti’ documentary after the jump….....

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Badass ‘Twin Peaks’ skateboard decks
    01:32 pm



    I like this. A lot. David Lynch has teamed up with Habitat Skateboards and created these wonderful skateboard decks as an ode to the Twin Peaks series. The skate decks feature the Log Lady, Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer, and Audrey Horne.

    The decks sell for $54.99 here.

    As you are all probably aware of at this point, the premiere of Twin Peaks on Showtime is set for May 21. I can’t wait!


    Photo by Jason Ritter.


    Photo by Jason Ritter.
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Keith Haring’s surprisingly G-rated, very rare, very expensive coloring book
    01:09 pm



    There’s always been a tension between the childlike DayGlo images of Keith Haring and the artist’s transgressive, libido-friendly, street-art-scrawling queer politics. Is Haring’s art meant for children or adults? Well, both, really—depending. As the politically charged 1980s recede from memory, the specific political stakes of his art likewise fade; in our post-Internet age it might be the case that your tween niece or nephew isn’t all that discomfited by the cartoonish image of a spurting penis anyway. It’s emblematic of Haring’s art (and marketing savvy) that the most famous image of the era’s most famous gay artist depicts an adorable crawling infant (actual title: “Radiant Baby”).

    In any case, in most of his catalogue the two sides, the innocent and the profane, operate together. As a world-famous artist, Haring had an acute understanding of context, and he knew perfectly well when to retract his scarier tendencies and when to let them frolic, as in the decidedly NSFW images he used in his public work at the LGBT Center on 13th Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, as an example. And in some venues, Haring also knew how to keep it clean and even—egad—kid-friendly.

    Haring’s coloring books are a case in point. Any one of us can go to Amazon and purchase The Keith Haring Coloring Book and we’d still have enough left over from a $10 bill left over for a slice and a soda (if you happen to live in Haring’s hometown, that is). I haven’t seen the inside of that product, but based on the cover it’s very likely that that book started out as a private project, self-published in small batches in 1986.

    Today, exemplars from the original run are rather difficult to come by. When they do pop up at auction houses under its more formal name 20 Lithographs (Coloring Book), you’d end up paying $800-$1200 for one of them.

    Most of us would be happier with the slice of pizza and the one you can feel safe actually defacing with crayons, amirite?

    Here are a few images from 20 Lithographs, including the cover, which is slightly different from the retail product available on Amazon. Interestingly, the book is also a counting book—every image features one of the numbers from 1 to 19, with some element (legs, eyes, stars, etc.) featured in the stated amount. You can see the entire set of images here.


    More after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Follies on Ice: Showgirls, men in drag, an ice-skating chimpanzee, a robot, and Elvis
    12:51 pm

    Pop Culture


    A vintage photo of skater Hans Leiter in drag performing in the Ice Capades in 1960.
    Over the last few weeks for reasons I can’t quite attribute to any one event or reason whatsoever, I’ve been obsessively seeking out photos from vintage ice skating shows such as Holiday on Ice, the Ice Follies, and the Ice Capades. And like pretty much all of the Internet rabbit holes I dig for myself, it produced some pretty great results when it came to the old-school images I found of ice show stars in all kinds of crazy situations over the last sixty or so years.

    Despite the fact that I’m from Boston, a true hockey town and lived only a couple of blocks from an ice skating rink, Cherrybomb can’t skate. And I’ve always been envious of people who can. Ice shows were very popular when I was growing up and I attended my fair share as a youth, but they were always of the kiddie variety and while there were ice skating clowns, I do not recall seeing full-on showgirls with feather headdresses or ice-skating jugglers tossing lit torches around on the rink. Perhaps if I had I would have run away with the cool kids in the Ice Capades because both of the previous scenarios still seem way more appealing than an office job.

    Ice skating shows date all the way back to the 1930s and the Ice Follies’ performances began in 1936. The Ice Capades made its debut in 1940, and Holiday on Ice got its start a few years later in 1943. The Holiday on Ice show would travel around the world and after getting its start in Ohio, they took the show to Mexico City, South America, Asia, Africa and even Moscow while the Cold War was still in play making the show the very first U.S. entertainment/attraction to perform in the Soviet Union while Nikita Khrushchev looked on.

    There was almost nothing these ice shows didn’t do including showcasing male comedians dressed in drag performing skits, and the inclusion of ice skating chimpanzees that performed with the Ice Capades—specifically a little chimp named “Jonny” who was a particular crowd favorite known for not only his ability to skate but for his ice skating stunts like doing cartwheels and jumping over obstacles like Evel Knievel. And if that’s not weird enough for you, at one time the Ice Follies featured a seven-foot, four-inch aluminum and plexiglass ice skating robot named “Commander Robot” in the 1969 version of the show.

    Below you’ll find some shots of all three shows, as well as a short video of “Jonny” the chimp and Las Vegas-worthy footage of Holiday on Ice from 1977. Who needs drugs when you have these wild, contact-high inducing photos to look at?

    Holiday on Ice 1974.

    Paul Castle the “Mighty Mite” performing in the Ice Capades in 1959.

    “Jonny” the ice skating monkey and a Holiday on Ice performer taken on the show’s 25th anniversary, 1968.
    More mirth and mayhem on the ice after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    The gorgeous lesbian erotica of Gerda Wegener
    11:18 am



    Gerda and Einer Wegener posing in front of one of Gerda’s paintings, 1925.
    After moving to Paris from Copenhagen in the early 1900s, the work of then 26-year-old Gerda Wegener garnered the attention of the liberal and experimental art scene thriving in the adventurous city. Though she was already a successful artist in her former hometown well known for her lush illustrations for fashion magazines, a nearly unprecedented event involving her husband Einer would send the pair off to Paris with the hope that their unconventional partnership would be better accepted in the more permissive city.

    If Wegener’s name is familiar to you, it is most likely because the extraordinary lives of the groundbreaking artist and her husband were the subjects of the 2015 film, The Danish Girl which was based on a fictional novel from 2000 of the same name by David Ebershoff. If you’ve not read the book or seen the film, the Wegeners’ story is an incredibly compelling tale of love, acceptance, bravery and of course sex. As I don’t want to provide every detail of their extraordinary tale as not to spoil it for anyone, I’ll share a few points of interest as they pertain to Gerda’s spellbinding erotica.

    According to historians, Einer’s interest in exploring his true sexuality began after a model failed to show for a sitting with his wife. After she jovially mused that Einer should put on a pair of thigh-highs and heels so she could still paint, he agreed. Unbeknownst to fans of her work, the image of a mysterious dark-haired beauty who would be a reccurring subject in her paintings was actually Einer who had become the primary focus and muse for his wife.

    In 1930 after living much of his life as “Lili,” at the age of 47 Einer would travel to Germany to forever transition to a woman and would be one of the first men to go through gender-reassignment surgery. Wegener’s erotic, lesbian-themed paintings caused quite a stir—including the occasional public riot due to their graphic nature. Her less controversial works would grace the pages of Vogue for years as well as other fashion publications.

    I’ve included an array of images from Wegener’s vast catalog of erotic works below which, as you might have guessed, are beguilingly NSFW.


    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    McDonald’s Twitter account attacks Donald Trump in one hilarious tweet
    10:32 am



    I’m almost 99.9% certain someone at McDonald’s is getting fired today. At exactly 9:15 a.m. this morning, an unnamed hero at McDonald’s headquarters tweeted via their official Twitter account to Donald Trump, “You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.”

    The glorious tweet was pinned to the top of their Twitter page for over 20 minutes until it was deleted.

    Was their account hacked? Who knows?


    via Gizmodo

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Killer clowns: Kooky pulp novels & magazines featuring gun-toting, knife-wielding circus clowns
    10:26 am



    The cover of ‘Uncensored Detective’ 1946.
    Oddball vintage publications are one of my favorite things to write about here on Dangerous Minds—and like many of you just when I think I’ve seen it ALL (whether I wanted to or not), some “new” vintage weirdness comes across my radar. People often ask me how we find all the high octane, low brow goodness that we feature here on the blog every day. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is also the same as the answer to the first and second rules of Fight Club. Besides, you should consider yourself lucky as these eyes have seen some really, really weird things. (Things no one should see!) Which is a perfect introduction to the subject of this post—bizarre vintage pulp novels and magazines that feature circus clowns gone bad on their covers. And when I say bizarre I mean gorilla-shooting, sneaky, knife-throwing, clowns.

    Though most of the fictional clowns on the covers of the various pulp novels and magazines posted below are up to no good, there is at least one that preferred to behave like a Robin Hood of sorts known as “The Crimson Clown.” Created by playwright, novelist and screenwriter Johnston McCulley—the man behind masked swashbuckler Zorro—the Crimson Clown stories were really popular with the detective lit-lovers set since his first appearance in Detective Story Magazine back in 1926. The Crimson Clown would steal from people he deemed “too rich” giving half of his booty to charity and keeping the rest for himself. He was also known to carry a syringe full of some sort of drug that would render his victims unconscious. But just because he was vigilante who liked to help out the needy doesn’t necessarily make the idea of a clown with a syringe full of cuckoo-juice running amok any less terrifying. Nope. Nothing creepy about that at all. I’ve posted the covers of all the clown-oriented vintage pulp I could dig up and man, there was a lot. Of course, if you are at all coulrophobic, you might want to look at the images below in your “safe place.” See you under the bed!

    ‘Detective Magazine’ 1948.

    ‘Detective Novels Magazine’ February 1944.
    More killer clowns after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    ‘Eat the Rich’: Cult rock and roll comedy with Lemmy, Shane MacGowan, Paul McCartney, Angela Bowie
    09:45 am

    Class War


    Imagine, if you can, a country starkly divided by wealth inequality, where a small number of rich people lead lives of extravagant luxury and everyone else fights over the crumbs.

    Now imagine that the most vulgar of celebrities, having ascended to high office by appealing to racist and sexist tendencies in the electorate, has announced a plan to slash health care in order to build up the military. Far from bringing him down, sex scandals only make him appear more powerful and exciting to his base. And what, exactly, is the nature of his relationship with the Russians?

    Of course, I could only be talking about Nosher Powell, the real-life English boxer and actor who portrays “Cockney fascist” Home Secretary Nosher Powell in the dystopian 1987 comedy Eat the Rich. The dialogue is as quotable as that of Tapeheads or Repo Man. Early on, a diner at the posh eatery Bastards addresses a label head played by Miles Copeland:

    Look, Derek, forget funk rap. It’s dead. The kids are getting hooked on socialism.

    “OK, we’ll sack the blacks and sign the reds,” Copeland replies. It’s a cruel, cynical, racist—did I mention racist?—society.

    The great Lanah Pillay stars as Alex, a hero for our time. Alex becomes a revolutionary after she’s fired from her waitressing job at Bastards, where she served koala and panda meat to one too many horrible jerks. And joining Lanah and Nosher from the world of UK showbiz in this movie right here is everyone and her fucking uncle: Lemmy, Shane MacGowan, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French, Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers, Sandie Shaw, Beatle Paul, Bill Wyman of the Stones, Koo Stark, Angela Bowie, and The Young Ones’ Rik Mayall all make appearances. Most of the soundtrack (and the soundtrack album) is by Motörhead, and at one point in the movie, Lemmy climbs onstage to play “Dr. Rock.”

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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