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Honest And Revealing Portraits Of Gay Couples In The 80′s

Sage Sohier  Gay Couples In The 80's
 Gay Couples In The 80's
Sage Sohier - PhotographSage Sohier - Photograph

Although the clothing and other aesthetic aspects can easily reveal the era the photos were taken, the scenes of Sage Sohier’s series “At Home With Themselves: Same-Sex Couples in 1980’s America” are strikingly honest and ever relevant. Sohier photographed female and male gay couples, sometimes with their family members and sometimes alone, in their homes. It is important to remember the context of these photographs, because of the time they were taken. As Sohier stated in an interview for Slate:

“My ambition was to make pictures that challenged and moved people and that were interesting both visually and psychologically…In the 1980s, many same-sex relationships were still discreet, or a bit hidden. It was a time when many gay men were dying of AIDS, which made a particularly poignant backdrop for the project.”

The general public very harshly rejected the gay community in America. There was a deep stigma attached to the community because of the rampant spread of aids. Sohier’s photographs provide portraits that demonstrate the humanity of the men and women who often felt ostracized or persecuted because of their sexual orientation. In media even today, there is limited representation of gay people. A list of stereotypes might include the overly flamboyant gay man, or the bull dyke. Sohier’s photographs are relevant today because they help to counteract an outsiders limited understanding of the dynamics of a gay household.

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Nendo Reimagines Boring Office Supplies Like Rubber Bands, Paperclips And Rulers Into Inspiring Works Of Design

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In one of those rare meetings of form and function, Nendo’s stationery and office supplies looks great and works well. The cubic rubber bands are one example. According to the company, “The geometrical shapes make the bands easy to find in a drawer and easy to pick up.” The Tokyo and Milan-based design firm created the blue, charcoal, and white three-dimensions bands for their brand ‘by | n’. They’re a part of the eleven item collection, which also includes a flip pen, contrast ruler, circle tags, paper clips, outline tray, cross pen-stand, peel pen-case, hard cover memo-pad, edge note, and dot envelope.

The contrast ruler is another success. Simple, but considered, the design has the ruler markings fade from white to black on either edge, making the ruler easy to read against all color backgrounds. Smart, too, are the paper clips that are made out of recyclable paper.

The minimalist collection sells itself, but the clever illustrations explaining the functionality of the various pieces are a whimsical touch, adding a softer element to the crisp, clean-lined, designs.

Nendo’s philosophy is clearly evident with this collection. The website states:

Giving people a small ” ! ” moment.
There are so many small ” ! ” moments hidden in our everyday.

But we don’t recognize them.
and even when we do recognize them, we tend to unconsciously reset our
minds and forget what we’ve seen.

But we believe these small ” ! ” moments are what make our days so
interesting, so rich.

That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and
reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.

We’d like the people who’ve encountered nendo’s designs to feel these
small ” ! ” moments intuitively.

That’s nendo’s job.

Photos by Akihiro Yoshida. via Spoon & Tamago

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Robin Rhodes Brings 2D Drawings To Life With Street Smarts

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South African born Robin Rhodes has a very special talent of bringing 2-dimensional street art drawings to life. Not only does he animate materials like chalk, charcoal and soap, but he inserts a very strong political and economic agenda into his work. He chooses to show his “performative drawings” in rapidly changing environments (Berlin and Johannesburg), commenting on luxury, privilege and gentrification. These two cities in particular are central to these ideas, and he feeds off the energy and grittiness of both places.

His work features imagery of everyday and consumer objects, such as paper clips, light bulbs, and champagne flutes, found in desolate urban settings as a reference to his upbringing, but also to broader universal ideas including desire, luxury, and the influx of consumerism into South African society. (Source)

In his latest show “having been there” (on now at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Hong Kong), he exhibits photographic documentation of his unique street drawings. Rhodes not only brings to life simple linear sketches, but also includes himself in the process, adding to the whole dreamy feel of the scenarios he animates. His marks and gestures transform into quick, simple ideas surrounding his topics of focus: he pours champagne over a pyramid of glasses, he goes fishing on a blue wall, mounts and attempts to ride a bicycle – all acts linked into ideas of exuberance he could not afford as a child.

Rhode has also created a new animation that examines aspects of established Chinese myths, weaving a tale of struggle, of growth, and ultimately of evolution… highlighting themes frequently referenced in the artists’ work such as reinvention and transformation. (Source)

Rhodes is a quietly out-spoken street artist who stands out from your standard political activists. See more of his effective visual protests here and here.

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Borondo Uses Unorthodox Materials Such As Smoke, Hay And Water To Create His Street Art Portraits

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Borondo is an unconventional street artist, using a broad variety of materials to make his murals that are mostly portraits. Both his technique and choice of situ are excitingly unexpected. In a few of his works, he has used the smoke from candles to create the markings of the images. Though it would be safe to assume that this is a difficult technique to have control over, he is able to mold the forms into recognizable imagery.

Another strategy he employs is using reflections in water to be a part of his images, and sometimes even as the main event. In one, he creates the image of half a face on bails of hay – something he had done at an even larger scale beforehand – and planted grass in a pool of water to complete the second half of the face. It’s a nice contrast between the dried hay that looks as if it was burnt, and the living grass in the pool of water. Although in this one, the reflection completes the image, in the upside down mural portrait, the artwork is meant to be viewed right side up in the water, at least considered at an equal importance to the painted image. (Via I Need a Guide)

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Hauntingly Gorgeous Paintings By Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen

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Artist Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen combines something that we’ve seen many, many times throughout the history of art – figure painting. But, he does it with a contemporary approach. His moody paintings feature partially obscured people as they rest beneath the water. They are just below the surface of the dark, deep pool, and the light from their bodies is all that’s visible.

According to Uldalen’s artist statement, his work, “…explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. The atmosphere in his subject matter is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism.” Although these figures are rendered realistically, they rest in a void with little additional visual information. We can’t be sure of where they are or what brought them there. And, for some, if they are dead or alive. It’s this open-ended narrative that gives drama to Uldalen’s paintings, and the hauntingly gorgeous images are the kind that will stay with you – even if you don’t want them to. (Via I Need a Guide)

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Felix Schramm Tears Down Walls And Rebuilds Them As Striking Sculptures

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Felix Schramm - Dry Wall Sculpture

Felix Schramm - Dry Wall Sculpture

German artist Felix Schramm likes to make sculptures that confuse you. He uses pieces of drywood, paint, steel frames and paint to recreate parts of architecture matching the space that they inhabit, but are very different than what you would expect. His highly formalized sculptures are a bit like architecture that has stopped pretending to hold itself up. They can be huge chunks of material that have been dumped in the room from a construction site by accident, or shoved through the wall like an art install that has gone bad. Resembling crumpled paper, or layers of torn posters on a lamp post, Schramm makes subtle comments about space, form, structure and the nature of materials with his work.

These group of photos are from a series called ‘Intersection’, and act exactly as that – they intersect, interrupt and divide the space like we wouldn’t expect. The sculptural fragments are reminders of the temporal spaces we inhabit – that architecture is only a fabrication and is easily destructible. These splinters of construction serve to disorientate the viewer. Schramm is able to warp our understanding of these mundane spaces purely by placing chunks of industrial material where they shouldn’t be.

The destroyed fragments of drywall wrapping themselves around existing columns and leaning butted up against pristine gallery walls are beautifully disturbing. Schramm’s work also features formalized ceramics, pieces made from plaster and paint, and smaller versions of ruined architecture. His installations act as a visual reminder of the grey area between chaos and order. These large scale replicas are both gently delicate and immensely strong. To see more contradictions and opposites at play against each other in Schramm’s work, go here

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The Timeless Lines Of Mid-Century Modern Design

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DXV by American Standard is a landmark product line that represents the company’s storied history spanning 150 years. The collection spans four broad movements: Classic (1880 – 1920), Golden Era (1920 – 1950), Modern (1950 – 1990), and Contemporary (1990 – today).  Each piece in the carefully curated collection harkens back to the era it was inspired by and combines it with modern sensibilities, technology and performance. Although each fixture is inspired by a distinct era, the entire collection has a dialogue and the ability to cross over and create a remix of eras in one space.

DXV’s Modern Collection spans some of the most inspiring eras in American architecture and industrial design. Mid Century Modern architecture and design of the 1950’s and 60’s is as celebrated today, as it was the first time around. You can see the the echoes of Mid-Century design in the pieces from DXV’s modern collection like the sleek lines of the Roycroft collection’s faucets and shower fixture. The Rem collection features Dutch-inspired, artistic curves merged with thoughtful utility- a marriage of form and function. Each piece in the Modern Collection is a study in form, function, and beauty.

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Travis Somerville Explores Past And Present Racism In America

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In his paintings and installations, Georgia-born artist Travis Somerville references the inherent history of racism toward black individuals in Southern politics and culture. With motifs spanning Jim Crow to the Ku Klux Klan and Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King Jr., Somerville tackles a wide range of race relations in American history. While most of the themes and narratives of the sculptures—which are often made of wood and typically feature drawn or painted portraits—are rooted heavily in the past, Somerville, a white male, uses historical relics and bygone references to challenge his audiences and invite them to question America’s current state.

In light of recent instances of race-related controversy in the news—namely, the murder of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri—the commentary presented through Somerville’s sculptures has become increasingly prevalent. Brown, a black teenager, was shot and killed by the white officer while unarmed, and his death has sparked civilian outrage and unrest both locally and throughout the country. While the depravity of racial profiling and its potentially fatal consequences has dominated the news since Brown’s death in August, Somerville addressed its historical reality three years prior, with Ballad of George Stinney 2011.  

Comprised of two classroom chairs featuring a graphite portrait, tied together with rope, and hanging suggestively from the ceiling, the piece references the tragic tale of George Stinney, a fourteen-year old African American boy executed in 1944. Killed for a crime against a white individual for which, after his death, he was eventually deemed innocent, he remains an example of the systemic racism present in America.

Ultimately, while killed exactly seventy years prior to Brown and still unknown to many, Stinney, through Somerville’s art, is presented to the public as a reminder of America’s prejudice past—and, unfortunately, as a reflection of its present, too.

Be sure to check out his work at Senator Corey Booker‘s office in Newark, New Jersey for a group exhibition featuring Kara Walker and Mickalene Thomas (January 2015), at ARCOmadrid (February 2015), and at a solo booth at VOLTA NY (March 2015).

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