Artist Damien Hirst is a polarizing figure in the art world. Hugely prolific, Hirst has been called both an inspiring innovator and a wealth-obsessed marketer. His new collection of jewelry, Cathedral Collection, from Hoorsenbuhs and Other Criteria supports both of these roles: with prices up to £43,200 ($68,000) for a single piece, buyers are paying for the materials and the concept.
The Cathedral Collection consists of “Pill Ring,” a cocktail ring of piled precious metal pills, some visibly filled with rubies and black and white diamonds, and “Pill Rosary,” a variation of the traditional Catholic string of beads. Where the cross would typically sit is instead a Hirst pill, opened and spilling out its literally precious contents. The collection is a limited edition of 25 pieces per design.
Hirst’s focus over the years has continually returned to pharmaceuticals and their role, literally and symbolically, in our lives. His first Pill Cabinet in 2007, “Standing Alone on the Precipice and Overlooking the Arctic Wastelands of Pure Terror,” includes thousands of resin pill replicas displayed on its shelves. He pursed this topic through at least 17 more Pill Cabinet installations, removing the pills from their therapeutic context in order to make new connections with content.
The aesthetic allure of the pills is rendered useless in the face of their unknown medical purpose; Hirst’s suggestion being that their power relies on an unquestioning belief that somehow our ills will be cured.
In 2007 Hirst re-imagined the pills from the cabinets as a limited edition Pill Charm Bracelet, which he sold through his website. 2011 saw Pill Cufflinks.
In this newest collection, the Pill Ring could be a cocktail party conversation starter. The Pill Rosary, though, with its co-opted religious overtones, begs the question: What are we revering? Is it science, bringing medication to placate the world? Or is it Damien Hirst?
Justin Hager’s art is all about curation of pop culture references, and it’s really damn punny! He uses mostly celebrity, television, and film material: Kanye and Beavis and Butthead become Yeezus and Butthead. Hager does a great job with quick witt and wordplay while keeping the right balance of contemporary pop-culture icons, and some well deserved recalls from the past. He’s in league with producers like Girl Talk – who managed to mix Missy Elliott with the Ramones – except Hager trades in visual material, instead of mashing up pop songs. Each one of his pieces is entertaining, and it takes firm willpower not to go ‘share’ crazy on his tumblr. Curation is key now that we have access to everything at a finger-swipe. Think of Hager’s artwork as creative recycling: instead of making more to add to the seemingly limitless pile of cultural products, he instead picks some pre-existing ones and creates something new and fun with them. It’s easy to love because it allows us to be nostalgic while also getting something fresh out of the material.
There’s not much to say that the artwork doesn’t say for itself, so take a look after the jump.
Was your high school experience as glitzy as the one in photographer Akasha Rabut’s series Edna Karr? (The title comes from the school in New Orleans where the documentary-style photographs were taken.) We see cheerleaders, the dance team, and marching band getting ready to perform in these quiet behind-the-scene shots . Girls are applying their makeup, fixing hair, and sitting idly before they hit the city streets of a parade and come alive.
The series is a balance of high and low energy. As people kill time on their phones the scene is still. But when the kids are moving, Rabut captures the spirit of the performance, with sequins gleaming. The faded, low-saturation image are reminiscent of vintage photographs, and if it weren’t for the cell phones, we might just believe it. This plays to a sense of odd nostalgia for high school, a time when many of us wanted to feel grown up but just weren’t quite there. It was activities like the band or dancing that helped define the experience, and is a symbol of a relatively simpler time. (Via It’s Nice That)
On Saturday, Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi was arrested for the crime of distributing indecent material. And what did she distribute, exactly? Digital data that represents 3D modeling information of her vagina. After raising around $10,000 via her crowd-sourcing campaign, Igarashi was able to complete the construction of her planned vaginal-shaped kayak. As part of the campaign, donors were promised the digital file from which Igarashi was able to complete her design – it is for sending these files that Igarashi was arrested, and faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If you thought sexist double standards were beyond apparent here in the States, then let me direct you to Japan’s incredible double standards, most strongly evidenced by the celebration of penises in an annual penis festival and their stance on most international pornography standards. Known by the pseudonym rokudenashi-ko ( “good-for-nothing kid”), 42-year-old Igarashi began working with 3D models of her vagina as a response to the shame and ignorance she felt about her own genitalia.
From her web site: “I make art pieces with my vagina, which I would rather call Manko(MK). I thought it was just funny to decorate my vagina and make into a diorama, but I was very surprised to see how upset people get when they see my works or even hear me say the word Manko. Even when a TV station asked me to be on their show, they wouldn’t dare let me say DECO-MAN because “MAN” is from the taboo word “Manko”. Why did I start making these kind of art pieces? It’s because I had never seen the vagina of others and I was too self-conscious of mine. I did not know what a vagina should look like at the same time, so I thought mine was abnormal. Manko and vagina, have been such a taboo in Japanese society. Penis, on the other hand, has been used in illustrations and has become a part of pop culture. But vagina has never been so cute. Vagina has been thought to be obscene because its been overly hidden; although it is just a part of a woman’s body.”
There is a petition circulating advocating for Igarashi’s release that has already collected almost 19,000 signatures. You can watch her crowd-sourcing campaign video here. (via guardian and spoon & tamago)
David Skazaly is a Hungarian/German graphic designer who has been creating hypnotic, mind-warping GIFs since 2008. Working under the name Davidope, Skazaly’s psychedelic GIFs and warped images have set the standard for animated GIFs across the internet. Even if you haven’t heard his name before (or his online pseudonym, Davidope), you probably recognize some of Skazaly’s technicolor, organic forms, pulsing in infinite loops, whether on art blogs or the annals of Tumblr. Skazaly’s animations are strangely hypnotic and entrancing, pushing a format that is now primarily used for cat memes and celebrity reactions into successful, technically adept artistic territory.
Skazaly got his start experimenting with animation program Macromedia Flash in the 90s before focusing on his own motion graphics. Looking at his Tumblr now, it’s clear Skazaly has mastered the art form of creating technically perfect GIFs, from trippy, twisting shapes to black and white worms perpetually moving forward. Skazaly’s mind-bending GIFs are dizzying, satisfying works of art, elevating a now common internet trend to a mesmerizing new level.
Photographer SD Holman uses her talent as a portrait photographer to capture women who fall outside of the traditional gender binary. In her series “BUTCH: Not Like the Other Girls,” masculine women are not oddity or other. These are photos of women who identify as butch captured by a butch woman—they are women defining themselves. In this way, Butch has much in common with the current social campaigns stripping women of makeup, enhancements, and retouching and declaring them more beautiful without the artifice. This is part of Holman’s intent with the show—to use the Butch identity as an example of one of the classifications through which women are objectified. The difference though is the hate and fear that Butch women have faced as transgressors of societal constructs of femininity. Holman says:
“Butches and all gender variant folk walk in a world that is really hostile to them, so we tend to look inward. I was inspired to show their beauty by my wife Catherine, a femme who loved butches, and encouraged me to do this when I started talking about it.”
The rich diversity of butch women is evidenced here. Just as there isn’t one way to be a woman, Butch includes women of all shapes and colors and styles. The fluidity of gender is apparent in each photo.
Holman is an artist. Her portraits are classically beautiful, with their artful lighting and dramatic contrasts. The subjects mostly gaze through the lens to the viewer, unapologetic and authentic. There is no contrivance in these images, no sense of willful provocation nor is there any sense of apology. Author Amy Bloom writes, “Intimacy is being seen and known as the person you truly are.” These photos are intimate and groundbreaking, brave and matter-of-fact, beautiful and handsome.
Kim Burke’s miniature food sculptures are so realistic you’ll want to eat them in one bite. Inspired by the photorealist movement, Burke creates flawless dollhouse-scale meals from actual photographs, positioned at various angles for maximum accuracy. Each plate of food, so small as to be balanced on a human fingertip, is carefully rendered from clay using needles, razor blades, and a rock for texture. Chalk pastels add color. For cake frosting, Burke uses Translucent Liquid Sculpey mixed with solid clay. The artist’s company, Fairchild Art, offers a range of plates, from sweet to savory dishes, each at a 1:12 scale.
Burke’s passion for dollhouse accessories began as a hobby in 2008, but soon blossomed into what she calls an “obsession.” The work is painstaking and each piece typically requires one to three hours of full concentration, but the result is well worth it. She says of her process, “every time I make something new I always try to add something extra to make it even look more real.”
Decadent and indulgent, Burke’s tiny masterpieces combine the sensuousness of a Caravaggio painting with the whimsy of childhood play. Like Caravaggio’s Still Life with Fruit, each piece is entirely inedible yet invites a mouthwatering appetite. Burke’s delicate fruit baskets emerge like Eden’s forbidden fruit in miniature, igniting the imagination and uninhibited delight. Poignantly small, they remind us of the preciousness of our humanity. When seen on a plate the size of a penny, the most familiar food stuffs become miraculous and spellbinding. Made with tender love and care, the diminutive plates suggest our own fragilities and vulnerabilities. Take a look. (via Demilked)