Degenerate Art Ensemble is a musically hyper-experimental performance group comprised of a dance company, punk/jazz band, a 45 piece orchestra. I found out about them first through their album Cuckoo Crow. Listening to it makes me feel really alive and dead and kind of confused and disgusted with myself as a fleshly vessel. It also made me want to turn off the lights in my room and just start writhing for no reason (which I have to admit that I did). Check out a sample of their song Checkersplitter on Youtube. They’re awesome!
Ryan Bradley’s large, intricately composed pastel paintings of attractive female faces are seductive. The delicate paintings are “unfixed,” which means the pastel is left loose. This creates a surface similar to butterfly wings. If you touched the paintings, some would rub off onto your hands. I can’t help but think there is some relationship between the fragility of the surface and the portraits’ beauty. Like the really ripe moment when someone is at the tops of their looks, you know it can’t last, but you can look away either.
Hollie Chastain is a collage artist from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her eye for puzzling together found paper scraps with cut images, shapes, or silhouettes, matched with a rainbow pop of arresting color, gives her collection a vintage yet contemporary appeal. So, it’s no surprise to see her work grace the covers of not only the literary Oxford American but also musical albums from The Figgs and Lightyear.
Most recently, Chastain had brunch with The Jealous Curator to discuss her love of antiquing for found imagery and her pretty heavenly book cover series (above), noting her process: “I never plan them ahead of time. When I find one I like, I sit down with my scraps and move things around until something feels perfect. Most of the time, I will first decide what I can’t bear to cover up on the original cover and that is the beginning of the shape of the composition.”
2000 hand painted watercolor frames and sexxed up funky disco jams? Baby I’m yours!
The story of Meghan Howland‘s oil paintings are quiet like a secret. Her work captures understated dreamy scenes. A confusion of birds, hidden faces, a scarf that may or may not be choking its wearer – her work at once is lighthearted and hints at a darker undercurrent.
Her gallery relates, “Her paintings are often dreamlike, and yet carry a weight of something that is slightly more dissonant. The question of whether something is safe or dangerous, loving or hateful, is often unexplained in her work.”
A snapshot quality to the image, fill flash like lighting, lends the paintings the characteristic of a caught instant. However, her painterly hand stretches the moment. While definitely working a contemporary aesthetic, Howland’s paintings are at times reminiscent of Degas’ style and palette.
Like how a lot of things “aren’t they way they used to be” these days, rave culture and visual cues that go along with it, aren’t the way they used to be (there’s a flyer from a more recent event after the jump). A one sentence summary of rave history: In the late 1980s, the word ‘rave’ was adopted to describe the subculture that grew out of the acid house movement. Activities were related to the party atmosphere of Ibiza, a Mediterranean island frequented by British and German youth on vacation.
What I think is awesome is that there are so many varieties of design approaches in these flyers- heavily illustrated, minimal typography, photographical. You can’t even tell that all these served the same purpose, whereas rave flyers today basically all look the same and probably use the same 10 steps in a Photoshop actions bundle (any readers have one?).Because they are minimal, they would have translated well to posters, banners, or even tees. I think the watering down of this scene could be comparable to the punk scene- degraded and chessified in both sound and visual design. I don’t know, this topic is definitely open to discussion- feel free to comment!
Chloe Ostmo‘s photography installation “Falling” is art as an active verb. Ostmo re-inserts the three-dimension quality of falling into what could have been merely a flat series of photos of a woman tumbling down a flight of stairs. The effect is similar to that of glitch art, except wrought in realistic rendering.
“Working predominantly with photography and video, I am interested in the spatial possibilities and generative potential of the photographic print as a complex ‘material’ that has the ability to confront the viewer as an object in the present as much as an image of some past event.”
In less than 3 weeks since its release Beautiful/Decay Book: 5- Psychonauts has officially sold out! This is the fastest any B/D book has ever sold out. You may be able to find a few copies here or there at local shops or boutiques but the chances of finding one will now be slim. We still have four copies of Book 2 left, thirty five copies of Book 3, and fifty copies of Book 4 in our shop. Make sure to grab these before they sell out as well. As always once B/D books are sold out we will never reprint them and the only way to get them will be via ebay. Make sure to subscribe to Beautiful/Decay to ensure that you get all future copies of B/D. All subscribers receive 33% off each book as well get books before they land in stores.