In the late 1930s, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) brought his imaginary creatures to life, sculpting them out of wood, mounting them on the wall, and imbuing them with a haunting realism by incorporating real animal parts. The remains of deceased animals came from his father’s workplace, the Forest Park Zoo.
After their construction, the creatures, bearing delightful names like the “Andulovian Grackler” and the “Two Horned Drouberhannis,” were sold as a collection under the title “Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy.” After living in a child’s bedroom, the pieces were retired to an old barn and resold in 2004. The Chase Group later made resin copies of many of the works. Some of these pieces are available for sale on eBay.
Each sculpture stays true to Seuss’s touchingly earnest connection with the imaginative realm of childhood. The animals, though mounted on a wall, maintain a poignant emotive ability; the marriage of raised brows and mellow smiles with the antlers of genuine beasts makes the works magically vital, communicative— and somehow— real.
The profound soulfulness of the work is only enhanced by its hints of morbidity. In what is perhaps a critique of taxidermy practices, the prolific artist chose to present these fantastical creatures within the context of human domination, forcing viewers to reconcile our desire to believe in magic with the knowledge of environmental destruction. In this way, the aging of the works has not detracted from their potency but has serendipitously heightened it; years after the prolific author’s death, we are asked to search these faded faces for indicators of bestial personalities and traces of the beloved artist’s hand. Take a look. (via This is Colossal and the world’s best ever)
Seinfeld was the award-winning, best-ever show on television that broke the traditionatl situation comedy mold with producer Larry David’s emphasis on it being “the show about nothing”. Of course, it was about something, four friends and their misadventures in New York City. But a recently prominent super-edit of the series takes the program’s motto to its natural conclusion, by piecing together every cut-scene and still-shots which gave the audience scene establishing, and oddly, never showed any people. The results are disorienting, a bit existential, and completely nostalgic for fans of the show.
(A fair warning, the sound of slap bass might be a bit much at first, but if you are a fan of the show, you heard that familiar 90′s-tinge sound enough times to make finishing the video worth it).
The video is a product of LJ Frezza, whose other video edits often investigate unusual or rarely noticed characteristics or subplots of other familiar popular culture touchstones. For example, in Boldy Going, Frezza focuses on the Star Trek’s Captain Kirk bravely reading the American constitution and the Fleet’s policy of non-involvement, followed by endless, violent and direct physical confrontations with alien planets and lifeforms. Frezza points out that the show’s writers were making commentary on the then escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam war. (via vice)
A woman sits alone beneath hundreds of dangling scissors; they teeter above her, metallic mouths open and sharp edges facing downwards. Calmly, she sews. As part of 2011’s The Mending Project, the performance artist Beili Liu put herself in this position, asking audience members to cut away portions of a large piece of fabric and patiently threading it back together.
In juxtaposing the feelings brutality and danger evoked by the scissors with the softness and careful mending of fabric, the performance symbolizes the cyclical process of violence and healing. The scissors are ominous, and yet Liu performs patiently. The work relies upon a symbiotic relationship between destruction and creation; without the audience’s cutting of the sheet-like fabric, the artistic process would not take place. The work is uncomfortable and dangerous, but at the same time, Liu’s re-threaded tapestry, which begins to cover the floor, is strangely comforting. Ultimately, the solace of the artist’s concentrated mending rivals the aggression of the scissors.
The Mending Project also centers around ideas of women in art. Upon until Judy Chicago and still to this very day, women’s craft work has been scoffed at and rejected by museums and galleries. Liu’s work helps to change all that; here, she embraces sewing as “a woman’s work […] a traditional woman’s craft,” and she lends the art form an unexpected hardness and edge. In this picture of femininity, the woman and her work aren’t weak but powerful; through her careful process, she works with the notion of danger and transforms it into something unexpected and, in many ways, not frightful. In her own words, she, the woman, “is the one who […] creates,” finding resilience and fertile power within an unsettling context. (via This is Colossal)
Alejandro Bombín’s paintings are deceptive. At first glance, many of them appear to be old, faded images from vintage publications that were scanned into the computer. Something went awry and now they look glitchy. But, what they actually are is meticulously detailed acrylic works that produce a digital mistake by hand.
By dividing up the image into rows (take a look at the detail above), Bombín is able to draw the the picture and fracture it by shifting the picture right or left from its original center. He uses a pointillist technique and pairs pure colors together, which from far away forms a cohesive image. And, at the same time, these colors and the texture from it are reminiscent of a lo-res, pixelated image.
The distorted images point to our desire to hold onto the past and the failings that we experience with technology. Digitizing something ensures that we’ll have it forever. Photographs and newspaper clippings? Not so much. But what happens when technology fails us too? Bombín’s paintings remind us that both can be fickle and that there are no guarantees.
Human bones, any bones, are signifiers of death, decay- in more poetic terms- the ephemerality of life.
Photographer Francois Robert uses the powerful symbolism that accompanies human bones to create ‘Stop the Violence’ – an eerie but important series of photographs that juxtaposes bones and iconic words/symbols that in some way or another have generated deaths and violence (i.e wars, rifles, handguns, 9/11, knives, the KKK,etc)
In my photographs, I use the human skeleton as the formal visual element, the subject of the image. In this manner, the skeleton is both the protagonist and antagonist (the Buddhist notion about, “the duality of man” seems apt).
For each photograph, the artists dissembles and rearranges the bones in order to reconfigure the elements to form what you see here.
I intend the images to plant the notion of restraint and charity in an effort to promote peace and tolerance.
For his ongoing project titled “Brand New Paint Job,” artist Jon Rafman transforms domestic and familiar settings by imagining them as classic paintings. Using recognizable patterns and paintings from artists such as Basquiat, Lichtenstein, Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe, Haring, Duchamp, de Kooning, and Matisse, Rafman wraps nurseries, living rooms, bedrooms, and familiar television sets like Star Trek, Jeopardy!, and Seinfeld, turning these works into 3D living spaces. In order to create these imagined spaces, Rafman finds 3D models from Google 3D Warehouse, an online gallery where Google Sketchup users upload their work.
Of his project, Rafman says, “The BNPJ interiors started off as a play on interior design chic. Historically, the greatest fear of the painter was that his work would become design objects. Now it’s common for contemporary artists to take inspiration from commercial visual culture. The design of a Nike cross trainer or a Samsung monitor is as important to contemporary art practice as intense light and dark shadows are to baroque painting. I’m exploring the line between art and design, in which a great work of art can be reduced to a shrinkwrap or add-on surface and functional objects and spaces elevated to the purposelessness of artwork. I’m interested in those forced marriages.” (via my modern met)
The photographer Sarolta Bán’s new series of images of abandoned and sheltered animals stays true to its touchingly simple title: Help Dogs with Images. For homeless animals, visibility is often a dream; far too many go unseen and unrecognized, and through her vivid imaginings in Photoshop—brought to life by the dignified warmth and wisdom of furry faces—Bán, previously featured here, hopes to change all that. With a support network of over 105,000 followers, she invites people around the world to submit photographs, transforming them into complex and poignant works of art and activism.
What stands out in Help Dogs with Images is the artist’s honest and humane representations of animal yearning. A photograph of a white dog becomes a symbol of hope and light; his playful and expectant glance upwards illuminates a single white butterfly amidst a dark nighttime landscape. As a child might wish upon a shooting star, a dappled dog implores a bright moon, a celestial beacon of recognition that movingly shares his own black and white spots.
Bán’s work is so successful because its soulfulness never veers into saccharine or cutesy territory; each image is hopeful yet serious, its emotionality heightened by stark contrasts and high resolutions. In one desperately heartrending photograph, a dog and cat watch an hourglass begin to count down; each knows the gravity of his situation, and they are left within a darkly tinted frame, anticipating uncertain futures. Shining canine coats and piercing feline eyes entreat the viewer to consider the dignity, humanity, and thoughtfulness that each creature possesses. To get involved, be sure to visit the project’s Facebook page. (via My Modern Metropolis)
German photographer Robert Schlaug creates Limited Area, a series in which we get to know landscapes, not as the usual sublime, endless terrains, but simply as a place that is contained and eventually terminated. In essence, Limited Areas reflects the “limits of human experiences via everyday landscape photographs.”
“Sometimes we feel we’ve run into a wall or stand in front of a precipice, not knowing how to proceed further. Or suddenly there opens up before us an insurmountable wall, and we know no way out. Even our thoughts and our imagination constantly finds their limits.”
By digitally manipulating the images, Schlaug re-creates something that we are used to seeing in our computer screens- a corrupted file, a glitchy image. Precisely, he drags down streaks of color across each section of his photographs; the result, a visual experience that he hopes will “raise awareness in times of total sensory overload.” His images, turn into colorful abstractions that will perhaps remind the viewer of the grand Abstract Expressionist works from the 1950′s. (via Phaidon)