Brandon Bird lives and works in Los Angeles. Utilizing an array of pop culture references he creates disarming paintings. The work is whimsical, dark, and subversive in equal measure. One piece depicts a child on Halloween dressed as Philip Seymore Hoffman’s nurse character from the film Magnolia. Despite being downright bizarre it is a hilarious reminder of the cheap Character Costumes of old that consisted of nothing more than a plastic mask and an image of the character on a sticky vinyl wardrobe. Another painting shows the eccentric actor Christopher Walken in the middle of creating a robot in his garage. A visual such as this embodies the joy that permeates through Bird’s hysterical pop culture laced paintings.
Have you ever longed to confirm that we are, in fact, not alone in the universe? Well then you should probably subscribe to Beautiful/Decay today. As artist C.W. Moss has illustrated in vibrant watercolor, aliens are literally waiting on the other end of the telephone line to speak with you about 2012, the crystal skulls, the pyramids, and how the moon is really just a metal death star. Seriously. Pick up the phone, and subscribe to Beautiful/Decay today. Aliens….and contemporary art are waiting right now.
Aaron K is a comic book artist/musician/taxi driver living in San Francisco who keeps shunga alive. I’ve been longtime LiveJournal buds with him but never really got to see his work fully. Last week though, I received a zine he’d sent (preview of a 60 page book he hopes to complete in the future) and it’s awesome! With the way he writes and weaves the awkwardness of the scenarios in each story into the page and ink, you allllmost don’t get the catch line until you’ve already turned the page and then turn back to make sure it was there. After the jump are some pages from various zines as well as from “I Forgot What I Wanted.”
How does an artist contribute his own personal story in the face of prevailing historical narratives? In this film, Rashid Johnson discusses the fluid nature of black identity in America and its escapist tendencies, from the Afrocentric politics of Marcus Garvey to the cosmic philosophy of Sun Ra. Johnson’s invented secret society—”The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club”—is a framework through which the artist humorously upends, through repetition and juxtaposition, conventional expectations of historical influence and legacy. Inspired by a story by the artist Lawrence Weiner in which one character says to another that “a table is something to put something on,” Johnson creates sculptures of shelf-like structures from materials such as black wax, mirror, tile, and branded wood. Each structure is filled with culturally resonant objects—such as Miles Davis and Ramsey Lewis jazz records, books by comedians Dick Gregory and Bill Cosby, and treatises by scholars such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Debra J. Dickerson—as well as the artist’s own photographs and hand-made objects. Watch the full documentary after the jump.
We asked for your favorite artists, and we got them! Thanks to everyone who participated in our recent contest. In case you didn’t hear, we asked our readers to submit their favorite artist for a chance to win a Beautiful/Decay Apparel t-shirt and see their artist of choice on the blog!
We’re excited to announce the winner: Corey Thompson, who submitted the Portland based artist Mark Warren Jacques! We absolutely loved his poetically metaphysical triangulations. More of his images after the jump.
However, there were so many amazing entries, we decided to dole out some honorable mention blog spotlights- check back every day this week for some runners up!
The exhibition “CAGE” by Chinese artist Li Hui will be shown at the Ernst Schering Foundation’s Project Space on Unter den Linden. In his works, Li Hui creates unreal situations that have a dreamlike quality. In the exhibition room, the visitor is temporarily and randomly surrounded by a cage made of laser beams. Hui uses the cage, which encloses but does not harm the visitor, to explore individual boundaries and demonstrate how people are influenced by purely optical though physically irrelevant barriers. Visitors are confronted with both a liminal and a powerful visual aesthetic experience. The installation not only makes the visitor “inside the cage” examine his or her feelings, the “outside” observers, too, can watch the experiment and behavior of “those trapped inside.”
London based company Dot One takes product customization to the next level. The company, named after the 0.1 percent of a genetic sequence that makes each human unique, uses your DNA samples to create one of a kind products (such as scarves and prints) from the very part of your genome that makes you distinct. The company requires a simple cheek swab DNA test (the type made popular by direct-to-consumer personal genome tests such as 23andMe). Dot One then outsources the lab testing to AlphaBioLabs, where they extract, identify, and use DNA profiling to distinguish the desired portion of the code. AlphaBioLabs does this by creating a genetic finger print through scanning for Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), which are tiny bits of genetic code that are different for every person (except identical twins, of course). Once Dot One has the genetic finger print, they use an algorithm to translate these codes into a color, resulting in a pattern that is personalized to your specific DNA. These patterns are designed to imitate what a DNA sample would look like in a genetic gel test in a lab. While these products are made through a high technological process, they are reminiscent to traditional weavings and folk art patterns. They possess a true quality of something warm and special. You can even get a Tartan, which is created from the DNA of two people, or get a poster of your family tree. Cute. (Via HYPERALLERGIC)
This Wednesday, The Journal Gallery in Brooklyn opens a solo exhibition from German photographer Juergen Teller. The series on display, Irene im Wald (Irene in the Forest), focuses on the forest near Teller’s childhood home in Nuremberg and includes meditative exterior and interior shots that often feature his mother (Irene). Quiet and peaceful, the photos are a perfect introduction to autumn.
A monograph of the series is being released concurrently with the exhibition as a supplement to the journal 32, which is definitely worth picking up.
All images courtesy of the artist, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, and The Journal Gallery.