Pop culture and classic, fine art mashups aren’t anything new, but they nevertheless provided an interesting juxtaposition between the visual culture of then and now. Philippines-based multimedia producer Eisen Bernardo has created a series that places the covers of contemporary magazines like Vogue, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. It’s appropriately titled Mag+Art.
Bernardo told Buzzfeed that he began the project because he felt that magazine covers were inspired by classical paintings. This is his way of comparing the aesthetics of the long ago as well as the present. What kind of clothing, hairstyles, poses, etc. are popular now? How has beauty changed or stayed the same. He poses the question, “Do we still see a naked woman as an object of art/beauty? Can the celebrities and models on magazine cover be considered as muses of the contemporary masters?” And, he hopes that these covers can be considered classic art. (Via The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed)
If you’ve spent any time looking at Google Earth, you’ll notice that the photography isn’t always perfect; sometimes things appear a little weird. Brooklyn-based artist Clement Valla looks for these oddities, scouring the site and viewing places from different vantage points. At certain angles, highways appear as if they’re melting, dipping into ravines and rivers. It’s trippy. He collects these images and calls them Postcards From Google Earth.
These scenes aren’t the result of glitches or of errors in the algorithm, but are the logical result of the system. Valla explains, “They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software.” 3D images like we see here are generated through texture mapping, where the flat satellite image of earth is applied over 3D terrain. Most of the time this is seamless, but sometimes, when the spaces are so different, things look wrong. Valla goes on to remark:
Google Earth is a database disguised as a photographic representation. These uncanny images focus our attention on that process itself, and the network of algorithms, computers, storage systems, automated cameras, maps, pilots, engineers, photographers, surveyors and map-makers that generate them. (Via Amusing Planet)
Photographer David Waldorf seeks to capture the truth in people’s eyes, and his series Trailer Park documents the people that live in these types of places. The slice-of-life images are in Sonoma, California and are partially what you’d expect from a place like this: double-wide trailers, faux wood panelling, and fake astroturf are visible. There are some peculiar elements to them as well. We see a picture of a woman in a wedding dress with a fire blazing in the foreground. She’s holding a shirtless man’s hand, and the scene is bizarrely reminiscent of the iconic painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.
If you aren’t familiar with a trailer park or have never been to one, Waldorf’s series offers a fascinating look into the goings-on. The plots where people live are technically mobile, but are decorated with performance. Some of the images detail the struggle of the working class – like the family of four that lives in these small spaces – while other photos are just plain odd, and seem like a throwback to the 1980’s except in present day. Time moves slower there. (Via Boingboing)
Exquisite Corpse refers to the collaborative game whose origins are rooted among the Dadist writers as a poetic exercise and the Surrealist later turned into a drawing game. You might’ve played it before; when each person does their part well, it creates an alluring, sometimes grotesque body that was completely unexpected.
This exhibition brings together artists working in both Los Angeles and NYC. As MASS Gallery poetically describes:
A central problem of 21st century life is that the old, psychologically fortifying myths are fading. Philosophers and scientists have described us as wet robots and biological algorithms, which is perhaps an intentionally shocking way to describe humanity, but these descriptions also seems to get close to a dangerous truth that contains a kernel of abject horror. It is the artist’s job to create psychologically coherent images which look forward. It is now a matter of viewpoint whether, when it is all said and done, you are a dead body or an Exquisite Corpse.
In addition to the show, the gallery also produced a full-color catalog that showcases all of the work and an essay by Bill Donovan. The limited-edition, 102 page publication features a beautiful spot UV with fluorescent cover. If you can’t make it to Austin for the show (it’s up until October 25), then the inexpensive-yet-high-quality catalog is totally worth it.
More work by the featured artists as well as sample spreads from the publication after the jump.
At first glance, these creations might only look like small sculptures. But, they’re more than that. UK-based Conjurer’s Kitchen crafted these impressive pieces that are actually cakes. The yummy sponge cakes are shaped like surgeries, skulls, and cross-sectioned bodies. They’re bloody, decrepited, and deliciously disgusting. Conjurer’s Kitchen has expertly colored and painted the tiny details like veins on a skull
Annabel de Vetten is the woman behind these fantastic creations. Not surprisingly, she was trained as a sculptor and previously made a living as a painter. Her foyer into food art started when she made her own wedding cake. Now, she draws inspiration from horror films, alternative art, and more; she has a variety of clients. “It’s great! One day I’ll be working on a full-sized replica of the actor from the TV show Dexter for FOX, then I’ll be doing a wedding cake for a couple who runs an S&M business, and the next I’ll be doing a dragon for a wedding at Warwick Castle,” she says.
Opening tomorrow, September 27, is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition @Large in the former San Francisco Bay prison, Alcatraz Island. The sculpture, sound, and mixed media installations are staged in four locations throughout the space: the New Industries Building; a group of cells in A Block; the Hospital; and the Dining Hall. Ai’s work inside creates a dialogue about how we define liberty, justice, and individual rights.
In 2011, Ai was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for 81 days, and is still not permitted to travel outside of the country. He was unable to visit Alcatraz during the planning of the show and was developed in his studio with the help of the FOR-SITE Foundation.
There are a variety of pieces in @Large, including Trace, which is 176 portraits of political prisoners and exiles made from LEGO blocks. The impressive works began at Ai’s studio in Beijing and were completed in San Francisco by a team of 90 volunteers. Cheryl Haines, the exhibition’s curator told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’m overwhelmed by how remarkable it looks. This is the face of the individual in the fight for freedom, but it’s also a collective statement and to see the density and quantity of people that are incorporated in this work, I find deeply moving.”
In addition to Trace, there are six other themes: With Wind, a giant traditional Chinese dragon kite; Refraction, stunning metal wings; Stay Tuned, sound installation that occupies 12 cells; Illumination, the sounds of Tibetan Buddhist and Native American chants; Blossom, fragile floral bouquets; and Yours Truly, where visitors can write postcards to prisoners. (Via FOR-SITE and Artnet)
Long before the magic of Photoshop and its ability to manipulate came the work of Herbert List, a surrealist photographer working from the mid-1930’s through the 1960’s. His black and white images feature fake scientific models with their skin cut away and their guts partially exposed. This isn’t a particularly unusual sight- they are things you’d see in a classroom or museum – and show historical ways of practicing medicine. But, it’s how he frames the images that gives them an unnerving feel. Compositions are tightly cropped and provide us little context for what’s around them; it creates an air of mystery.
List was influenced by the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, which is evident as we see these statues that seem to exist in a void. They’re moody and strange, and List’s documentary-style photographs show how strange things are when presented a deliberate way. (Via Boing Boing and My Amp Goes to 11)
A screenshot, or screen capture, is a tool that’s existed on computers for a very long time, and it’s an easily accessible modern-day archival method. In just a split second, we can take a snapshot of our desktop or movie screen and save it later use. For Japanese artist Toru Izumida, this simple process is used to create collage-esque artwork.
“I use selections of online media to create unexpected combinations that are finalized into a single screenshot,” says Izumida. “The exact date and signature of the creation is recorded on every work.” We see multiple screens open and contain pictures of textures, people, landscapes, and more. Izumida arranges them, varying the window size before capturing the final product on his Mac. The fractured layouts are then turned into prints, and elevates the ubiquitous tool into the realm of fine art. (Via Spoon and Tamago)