Daddy Bunny (7 ½) Height 14” -Belongs to: Zoe Bracken
Flopsie (6) Height 14″ Belongs to: Lua Spencer
Photographer Mark Nixon creates portraits of worn-out vintage teddy bears in the series Much Loved Bears. These nostalgic portraits immortalize the innocence of youth; better yet, the goodness and appreciation of a child, as they hold on to the old with no remorse. The photographs are paired with text provided by the owner and they are part of a book called Much Loved.
The funny looking portraits project a sense of irony, as seeing the teddy bear, a signifier of early age, and their ‘wear’ and ‘tear’, a signifier of old age, together generate an interesting tension between the two. The battered teddy bears are a symbol of love, respect and friendship- moreover an undenying preservation of a friend that was important, and therefore hard to replace.
“When you see these teddy bears and bunnies with missing noses and undone stuffing, you can’t help but think back to childhood and its earliest companions who asked for nothing and gave a lot back.”
It feels as if these photographs also expound on a critical string of thoughts regarding the journey of becoming older, and what it means to be an owner of something today. The fact that we so easily get rid of ‘damaged’ material things with the eagerness of wanting more and ‘better’ is something that contrasts Nixon’s attention to the teddy bear’s ‘battlescars’; for a kid,however, the damaged but useful and loved, is not something to easily get rid of. (Via My Modern Met)
Hawaiian artist Jared Yamanuha takes his own photographs of iconic Hawaiian brands and images and expertly cuts finely detailed shapes into them. For these pieces, Yamanuha treats the photographs as raw material, applying the most amount of detail and intensity as possible.
“The whole collection is centered under the idea of ‘omiyage’ or the Japanese act of bringing small gifts back to friends from abroad. All of the pieces in my collection make reference to that tradition,” said Yamanuha. “I feel that I was able to authentically showcase a slice of Hawaii.”
Yamanuha most recently had his work featured at In4mation in Honolulu. In February and March of next year, Yamanuha will also be showcasing his work in San Francisco at the Museum of Craft and Design. (via booooooom and in4mation)
The work of architect and designer Sophia Chang, Suspense is a site-specific installation that blends the inner and outer environments of a gallery space. A recent graduate with distinction at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Chang created Suspense at Invivia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
By pulling large sheets of Lycra between rectangular frames, her work creates an interactive, suspended environment which both blurs yet highlights the building’s pre-existing architectural features. Some rooms are completely explorable, while others remain visible yet restricted by the installation. Says Chang, ”The whole piece holds itself in shape under the tensile forces of being stretched without any extra pneumatic input – except perhaps the breeze flowing in and out of the two doors!” (via designboom)
There is a long-standing tradition of artists blurring the boundary between art and design. With institutions such as MOMA featuring an entire department devoted to architecture and design, it is considered an important part of art history and culture.
I recently heard New York Times art critic Roberta Smith lecture and she mentioned that it’s a shame our society doesn’t place more emphasis on visual literacy education. If we did she believes that everything in our world, from buildings to city layouts, to objects, would be more aesthetically pleasing. Here are some instances of artists who emphasized the concept or appearance of an object rather than simply its function, bridging the gap between art and design:
Donald Judd, one of the leaders of Minimalism, has an amazing legacy in design. Another well-known architect who creates highly designed furniture is Frank Gehry. Roy McMakin is a Seattle-based artist who usually incorporates an element of verbal pun. McMakin’s designs feature an overarching investigation of how perception influences meaning. Hannes Van Severen and Michael Beitz both create captivating, surreal furniture. Artists like David Shrigley and Adam McEwen work humor into their design-work. Even artist Yves Klein has a table, created under the direction of his widow, that features his famous blue. Damien Hirst designed a chair replete with his signature butterflies and Yoshitomo Nara designed “doggy radio,” a fully functional radio in the form of a dog.
It’s not uncommon for artists to create functional objects, but those objects do often stand out for their elevated level of design and conceptual consideration. If indeed everyone put as much thought into form as they did function the world would probably be a much better looking, or at least a more visually interesting, place.
when captured from the side, you can see how the individual layers of paint appear out of the white surface.
Swiss photographer Fabian Oefner’s latest “Orchid” series of paint actions depicts the ephemeral nature of gravity and fluid paint, frozen in time. In each image Oefner captures a fleeting moment with his camera which appear to look like sculptural floral blooms when in fact they are explosions of paint set into motion by gravity.
In his unique process Oefner filled a tank with several layers of different colors of liquid paint with the top layer being either black or white. Then, a sphere was thrown into the paint. As the falling object splashed into the tank, the paint was forced upwards, shaping the individual layers of paint into a blossom-like structure.
“Orchid” is about preserving ephemeral beauty. Photographed with high speed devices, these images capture structures of sublime elegance, which appear only for a fraction of a second before disappearing beneath the surface again. (via designboom)
Since living in Baltimore, I’ve had the chance to attend several burlesque shows and enjoyed them all. I’ve seen performers of all ages, including a few older women, which is often my favorite part of the show; I love seeing these women confident about their bodies, especially in a society that values youth. A photography series by Stephanie Diani captures this same idea. She photographed The Legends of Burlesque, an older group of women burlesque dancers. Diani found these women when she visited the Miss Exotic World pageant many years ago. They made an impression on the photographer, and years later she sought these woman for her project.
All the women photographed are septuagenarians, and performed in burlesque shows well after turning 50, 60, or 70. Even at this age, they still exude a mature sexuality and eroticism. In each portrait, Diani had the women pose for pictures in their favorite Burlesque ensembles or meaningful garment. The resulting images portray glitzy, over-the-top outfits, complete with feathers, fur, beading, and jewels. This is an amusing juxtaposition with their homes, which, not surprisingly, are reminiscent of your grandmother’s home. Each woman looks self-assured and strong, and it isn’t an act. Diani remarks about the women on the Slate photo blog, Behold:
I loved spending time with the women: they were wry and smart and playful. In June 2009, I photographed Hall of Fame legend Big Fannie Annie, by her own account 450 pounds of sizzling sex, in a hotel room in Vegas where she and Satan’s Angel were getting ready to perform during over Hall of Fame weekend. Angel asked Fannie: ‘Do you have any of that cum-in-a-can I can use?’ — a reference to the industrial strength hairspray that is an essential tool of their trade. Another, Toni Elling, took her name from Duke Ellington, whom she used to know. (via Huffington Post)
On Tuesday, September 19th, 1989, UTA Flight 772, a French airline Union des Transports Aériens plane had a scheduled flight plan from Brazzaville in the People’s Republic of Congo, to N’Djamena in Chad, with a final destination of Paris CDG airport in France. The flight would end in tragedy, as a terrorist bomb went off near the front of the plane, causing a massive crash over the Sahara Desert near the town of Ténéré in Niger. All 155 passengers and 15 crew members on-board died.
The details of the memorial dedicated to terror victims of the crash has been filing around the internet recently, and was fantastically covered by a (uncredited?) writer at Viral Nova. “Eighteen years later, families of the victims gathered at the crash site to build a memorial. Due to the remoteness of the location, pieces of the wreckage could still be found at the site. The memorial was created by Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA, an association of the victims’ families along with the help of local inhabitants. The memorial was built mostly by hand and uses dark stones to create a 200-foot diameter circle. The Ténéré region is one of the most inaccessible places on the planet. The stones were trucked to the site from over 70 kilometers away. The memorial was built over the course of two months in May and June of 2007.”
“170 broken mirrors, representing each victim, were placed around the circumference of the memorial. The memorial is anchored by the starboard wing of the aircraft which was trucked to the site from 10 miles away. Workers had to dig up the wing and empty it of sand. The memorial was partly funded by the $170 million compensation package provided by the Libyan government [ed. the six terror suspects convicted were Libyan nationals, opposed to French involvement].“ Although an absolutely tragic story, the tale of this monument not only represents the resilience of the human spirit, but perhaps more importantly (and less clichéd) is the powerful human tendency to honor our loved ones. These kind of stories show people setting aside cultural/religious/ideological differences, and creating monuments or art together which will remain as a symbol of healing. (via viralnova)
Dutch fashion photographer Rohn Meijer applies a chemical cocktail to old negatives in order to produce stunning effects of surreal color and distortion. This idea occurred to Meijer when he discovered some old negatives that were damaged by moisture. He then decided to concoct his own chemical-water treatment (the specifics of which he’d like kept secret) that would interact with the silver nitrate on the back of the negatives and enhance the effect of crystallization. Though he does like to treat entire negatives with the caustic bath, he will sometimes deliberately apply the cocktail to certain parts of the photograph in order to draw out or deepen the effect.
“What I’m looking for is the way that colors play out, sometimes a bleeding effect, other times more harsh effects,” he says. “It’s a different kind of developing I’m doing, it’s not done in a laboratory.”
Meijer claims that 90 percent of each batch he creates is trashed, but apparently, he has a large arsenal of film that he doesn’t mind tossing as they were most likely going to end up in the garbage anyway. (via wired)