follow us in feedly
The acid-inspired interactive art of 1960s psychedelic collective ‘The Company of Us’
06:34 am



Artist Richard Aldcroft, in his “Infinity Projector,” featured on a 1966 cover of LIFE. The goggles prevented binocular vision and showed kaleidoscopic images.
“The Company of Us,” or USCO, was an ambitious, groundbreaking collective of artists and engineers heavily associated with LSD, although they formed in 1962, a few years prior to the explosion in public awareness of the drug. They counted among their ranks now notable artists like Gerd Stern, Stan VanDerBeek and Jud Yalkut, but at the time their ethos was rooted in collaboration and anonymity, so they only took credit for their productions as a group. Ironically, their work was actually helped by their druggy reputation, as they were featured in a 1966 LIFE magazine cover story—LIFE had published an editorial against the prohibition of LSD six months prior to USCO’s article.

The photos you see here are from their 1966 show at New York’s Riverside Museum which featured USCO’s psychedelic work in six enormous, completely tripped-out rooms. The collective created surreal environments—like “light gardens” and painted shelters—complete with electronic sounds, projections, flashing and pulsating lights, even an area with sensory goggles that blocked out any external vision. Everything moved and nothing was silent. The work was half druggy multi-media show, half interactive architecture, and it was quite the endeavor for a small bunch of outsider artists.

Stern says of the labor involved:

Part of the real problem that we had at USCO was that everything we did was very heavy. We would travel with a Volkswagen bus and trailers and thousands of pounds of equipment. Schlepping. In fact, I once wrote a piece for one of the art magazines called “The Artist as Schlepper.”

As I’m sure you would guess from an art show comprised of psychedelic rooms, many viewers of USCO’s “Down By the Riverside” exhibit were probably chemically altered, transforming the experience into a sort of amusement park of the senses where you could sit and fiddle with AV equipment or just lay there and watch the walls move. Of course, lingering and prolonged “observation” was encouraged—the show was actually where the term “be-in” was coined.

Painting of Hindu deity, which was flashed with color lights.

Artists Rudi Stern and Jackie Cassen work on an abstract slide show

Plastic eye illuminated with shifting light
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Is it just me, or is Tony Bennett’s art kind of cool?
04:06 pm


Tony Bennett

“New York Rainy Night”
Full disclosure: I’m not a seasoned art person, at all. I get the bulk of my education by wandering around museums with my smart phone and Googling everything that looks cool to me. (I Google a lot of large installations and almost anything contemporary with nudity.) Despite my lack of expertise, I have a prejudicial skepticism of musicians’ visual art. I never got Joni Mitchell’s paintings, and I’m sure I’m just not cosmopolitan enough to wrap my brain around Kim Gordon’s. However, I kind of dig… Tony Bennett’s?

Honestly, when I heard Tony Bennett painted, I was anticipating something a lot more… hotel? Huge fan of his singing; the man is a Sinatra-level chanteur, but that doesn’t mean his art is going to be anything interesting. It turns out Anthony Benedetto (his given name, and the one he signs his canvasses with) studied music and painting at New York’s High School of Industrial Art, before dropping out at 16 to support his working class Italian immigrant family in Queens.

Benedetto’s work covers a lot of subjects, but I think New York City is his strongest suit. There’s a lot of Ashcan School in the brushwork and colors, and some of it has a bit of a Ben Shahn feel, with the compression of the foreground and elastic geometry. Or… something.
“New York Waterfront”
“New York Cityscape 2”
“New York Yellow Cab Study”
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Another piece of bloody street art…
12:52 pm


street art

tampon street art
I actually had to do a double-take on this one, but this lil’ lady—as seen in Richmond, Virginia—is downright endearing! Banksy’s all well and good, but who doesn’t love a winsome piece on “the curse.”

The blood flowing into the grate is a nice touch, too!
Via Bust

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
American Apparel’s ‘Period Power’ tee is menstruallific!
01:46 pm


American Apparel

American Apparel shirt
American Apparel, everyone’s favorite (union-busting, sexual harassing, but still technically sweatshop-free) producer of $20 plain t-shirts has created their most scandalous garment since those ugly-ass pleated mom-pants. At $32, the shirt depicts a close up of some “self-pleasing” artwork by artist, Petra Collins, who has quite the gynocentric resume:

The Ardorous is an all-female online art platform curated by Petra Collins, a Toronto-born artist. Petra began her infatuation with photography at age 15 and became an American Apparel retail employee around the same time. She creates portraits exploring female sexuality and teen girl culture. Now 20, Petra has worked with Vice, Vogue Italia, Purple, Rookie, and is a contributing photographer for American Apparel.

I’m no prude, and I love me some uncomfortable vagina art, but I’m left with many questions. I mean, since Annie Sprinkle’s Public Cervix Announcement and The C*nt Coloring Book, are explicit portrayals of vulva really that transgressive anymore? I suppose the menstruation doesn’t play to the ole’ patriarchal norms, and it’s nice to see pubes, I suppose. But aside from being graphic and trendy, is this really much of a departure from the perpetual vulva parade of pop culture?

When is a vagina interesting, and when is it just shock value? And when the mere image ceases to be shocking, does it have much cultural significance?

Most importantly, how can you masturbate with that manicure?

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Exclusive: Frank Quitely celebrates Moebius

Last Saturday saw the passing of the legendary French comic book artist Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. A simply stunning artist, apart from being huge in the world of comics, Moebius’ influence extended to the spheres of science fiction, record sleeves, animation and films. He drew storyboards for both Alien and Tron, created character and set designs for Jodorowsky’s aborted Dune project (among numerous collaborations with the director), and unsuccessfully sued Luc Besson for what he claimed was The Fifth Element‘s infringement of his own work with Jodorowsky on The Incal.

If there is any illustrator working in comics today worthy of inheriting Moebius’ mantle, it’s Scottish artist Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, Batman and Robin, We3, The Authoirty.) Quitely cites Moebius as one of his favourite artists, and his influence in clear in both the crisp line work and the command of form. I asked Frank to share a few words celebrating the work of this great artist and to choose some of his favourite Moebius illustrations:

“Moebius was an inspired artist, whose life’s works have inspired others, artist and non-artists alike. He was uncommonly good at drawing, and he used this skill to share his internal world with others.”

“Everything that makes his designs, comic covers, illustrations and individual drawings and paintings beautiful, striking, well composed and effectively realized, is also employed in his strip-work. The ability to make not just a collection of wonderful images, but to make those images work together in sequence, is a whole other art-form in itself, and Moebius excelled as much in the fluidity of his storytelling as he did in the brilliance of his linework.

There’s real beauty in his work. It’s quite a rare thing for an artist to be able to translate so much of the scale and grandeur and detail of their own imaginings into simple, elegant lines that can be so easily shared with others. There’s an underlying essence that’s apparent to varying degrees in everything that he drew, supporting the assertion that what he drew was coming from his very core.”

“His sheer mastery of his art (and the craft of that art) has really enriched the lives of countless people around the world and across the years, and that same body of work that he’s left behind will continue enriching lives forever.”
You can see some of Frank Quitely’s own art here, and Moebius’ official site (in French) is here. The book The Art Of Moebius also come highly recommended.

Many thanks to Vincent Deighan!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Andrew WK on the power of dreams

From a recent interview entitled ‘Sex Advice from Andrew WK’ published by Nerve Magazine:

I’m dating a guy who refuses to give up on his dreams of rock stardom. While it’s admirable in a way, I need a little bit more stability if we’re going to make this work. How can I gently break this to him?

Don’t you dare say anything to him about giving up his dream. You’re not the right person for him. Never ask someone to give up on their dream just so you can feel more stable. It’s his choice and his choice alone, no matter how ridiculous his dream may seem to you, or to society, or even to himself. Dreams make humans into self-realized individuals. Your only responsibility is to love everything about him, including his dreams. The idea of “making this work” sounds more like a way to make his life more boring and predictable. At worst, it’s a genuine sadistic desire to control someone else because your own life feels out of control — or a cruel need to dominate and break someone’s spirit for the sake of your own peace of mind. Look for stability and peace of mind inside yourself, and not in your relationships or the dreams of others.

I’ll leave it at that (with thanks to Nickie McGowan.)

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The wit and wisdom of Andrew WK

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
More excellent cassette tape art from Sami Havia

Alice Cooper
Here is some more of that excellent “cassette art” (as used on the Aphex Twin post just below) by the Finnish artist Sami Havia. Sami’s website is here, but these are the only other examples I could find of this style, and they’re taken from the Today And Tomorrow blog. Maybe if we ask nicely he will start making more?

DJ Shadow

2 Unlimited

Public Enemy


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The surreal, intricate collage of Lola Dupré
06:44 pm


Lola Dupre

Like many traditional collage artist, the Glasgow-based Lola Dupré makes all her work out of just paper, scissors and glue. But unlike most artists Lola goes further than relying on a simple juxtaposition of imagery to make a point. Instead she uses multiple copies of source material, employing thousands of cuts and manipulating tiny shards of paper to create a strange, amorphous, almost fractal vision. Her work is like looking at a dissolving reality reflected in a spoon.




In a recent interview on the Empty Kingdom blog, Lola says this of her modus operandi:

t came about through experiments with paper as a sculptural medium, through a chance arrangement in 3D forms I began to think about applying it in 2D.  I guess the work could say a few different things about me; I think I am meticulous and multi-dimensional as a person, perhaps that comes across in my work, I’m not sure.  In my opinion, I create, and it is up to the viewer to decipher things and find meaning.

You can read the rest of that interview here, and see all of Lola’s work at her website - in the meantime, click read on (below) to see more of her exceptional work. 


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Miles Davis talks about his art on Nile Rodgers’ ‘New Visions’

The great Nile Rodgers has started uploading clips from his old TV show New Visions to his new YouTube account. This short clip gives a fascinating insight into the artwork made by Miles Davis, of which there is an example above, called “The Kiss”.

Here Miles talks candidly about the shapes and colours in his work and what they mean to him, in his wonderfully gravelly voice. It all seems very sexual. The only downside is that this video is agonisingly short - Nile, if you have the full length version of this episode then you HAVE to put it online for the whole world to see!

Another clip from New Visions, this time featuring guitarists John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana, Robert Fripp and more:

Previously on DM:
Nile Rodgers: Walking On Planet C
Nile Rodgers dishes the dirt on Atlantic Records
Miles Davis Quintet skateboards
Miles Davis: Louis Malle’s ‘Elevator To The Gallows’ recording session

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Death, jazz, art: Dr. Jack Kevorkian, artist, musician when not assisting suicides
09:45 am


Dr. Jack Kevorkian

By now you’ve probably heard that assisted suicide advocate, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, AKA “Dr. Death,” died this morning at the age of 83.

But what you might not know is that Kevorkian was an accomplished painter and jazz musician.

Yep, it’s true. One day I was crate-digging in some record store in New York City and I came across his jazz CD, Kevorkian Suite: Very Still Life for a buck, so I bought it. The CD booklet has several full-color reproductions of his paintings, and as you can see in the video below, the subject matter of his paintings often pertained to rather macabre things, as I am sure will come as no surprise.  And yes, that’s his music, he’s playing flute and organ. Not bad, but it wouldn’t be the last thing I’d want to hear…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Kim Gordon

Today is Kim Gordon’s birthday - founder member of Sonic Youth and Free Kitten, producer, actress, designer, director, all round one of the coolest people in rock’n'roll. Here’s a few clips in celebration -  any excuse to post about Kim or Sonic Youth on DM is worth it.

Kim Gordon reads the Riot Grrrl Manifesto

Kim Gordon talks to about her label X-Girl, shopping in New York and working with Chloe Sevigny.

More Kim Gordon after the jump…

Previously on DM:
Unedited interview with Kim Gordon from 1988
More late 80s Sonic youth interviews
‘1991: The Year Punk Broke” Classic alt-rock documentary

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Another Michael Jackson sculpture unveiled

This one is controversial for very different reasons to Mohammed Al-Fayed;s Michael Jackson statue. Fans of the King of Pop have been bombarding Premises studios in East London with hate mail after it unveiled the new work by Swedish artist Maria von Köhler, a recreation of Jackson’s infamous “baby dangling” moment. This makes me wonder if these same fans were angry with Jackson for the incident itself, or just upset at being reminded of it. Ironically von Köhler said she intended the work to be a commentary on fandom. Personally, I think it’s better than the other one, even if it makes MJ look more like Naboo from the Mighty Boosh.
Via the Daily Mail, of all places.

Previously on DM:
Soccer fans can go to Hell, as Michael Jackson statue unveiled

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Last Address’: an elegy for New York City artists who died of AIDS


Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Norman René, Peter Hujar, Ethyl Eichelberger, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Cookie Mueller, Klaus Nomi….the list of New York artists who died of AIDS over the last 30 years is countless, and the loss immeasurable.

A heartwrenching tribute to New York City painters, writers and performers who died of aids, Last Address is composed of images of the exteriors of the buildings where the artists last lived. The video was shot by Ira Sachs and if you visit the film’s website you can read about the artists featured in this bittersweet poem of a film.

Last Address from Ira Sachs on Vimeo.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Rest in Perversity: Sebastian Horsley

Eight days after the West End premiere of the play based on his autobiography, Dandy in the Underworld, top-hatted London-based extreme artist and lifestylist Sebastian Horsley was found dead this morning at age 47 of an apparent heroin overdose.

Born to wealthy alcoholics, Horsley is best known for traveling to the Philippines to be crucified as part of his research for a set of paintings dealing with the topic. But besides his arcane fashion sense, penchant for whoring, and ability to make the scene—running with the likes of Nick Cave, Current 93, Coil and others—Horsley was an accomplished painter and writer, and a guy with a drawling accent who could hold court in a red velvet chair with the best of them.

The Soho Theatre cancelled tonight’s performance of Dandy…, but will continue on tomorrow. Our own Richard Metzger put it best when told the news: “How sad that the world has one less total pervert.”

Get: Dandy in the Underworld: An Unauthorized Autobiography (P.S.) [Book]


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment