Andy Freeberg takes photographs of the women who watch over the artwork at Russian Art Museums. Often the women seem to emulate the artwork themselves. Whether this is controlled by Freeberg for his portraits or a natural phenomenon is unclear, but it adds an extra layer of poetry to the photographs. In one, a woman sits beside a case of heads, and her own expression mimics that of the 2nd century mummies beside her. In another, the blue of the woman’s shirt is identical to the patter in the painting above her. The women speak about their attachments to the paintings they guard, and whether it is conscious or not, it would appear the artwork has a deep impact on them.
Freeberg explains his interest in the women:
In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russia’s great art. A woman in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each day to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, “as old women do.” She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.
The stick figures of Laylah Ali are like no other. In her latest show The Acephalous Series which means “headless” she continues on her path of creating a new population of figures with strange expressions and round heads. Her newest resemble vegetables of the cucumber and celery kind. Whereas her former works have studied race relations, torture and hierarchy her newest seem to comment on the state of farming and the food industry. In a number of pieces there seem to be deformities of sorts which could be alerting to chemicals which are rampant in food that isn’t organic. A hybrid baby figure lurking in some might also symbolize sickness affecting unborn and young things. Its sometimes hard to tell with work of this nature what it all means but that’s what makes it both fun and enjoyable. It’s a challenge the artist gives the viewer by making something entirely original.
Ali has been on the international art radar for sometime. She participated in the Venice Bienniale in 2003 and Whitney Biennial in 2004. Her work as a whole is attributed to various types of art stemming from ancient hieroglyphics to comic book serials. She speaks about social issues affecting men, women and minorities using everyday objects such as gym balls, sneakers and sticks.
It’s not everyday that you come across a giant submarine surfacing through the historic city streets of Milan. No this isn’t some bizarre new piece of technology gone wrong but in fact an incredibly elaborate installation that’s part of an elaborate marketing campaign imagined by advertising agency M&C Saatchi Milano for insurance group Europ Assistance IT as part of a new campaign called “Protect Your Life” which promotes the importance of safeguarding your possessions through insurance. This may seem a bit over the top to promote something as dull as insurance but this imaginative stunt surely stopped everyone in their tracks as they rushed through the city to work.
The installation also included a large scale performance complete with fireman and police officers rescuing the crew of the submarine. Watch footage from the performance in the short video above. (via designboom)
Shauna Richardson lives and works in the UK. She has coined the term Crochetdermy to describe her process of hand crocheting large animal sculptures. A 19th century art form is employed and specimens are created from scratch rather than being stuffed and mounted. The work puts a handcrafted spin on the art of taxidermy and comments on our relationship with the natural world. Recently she participated in the Lionheart Project in which: “…three giant lions, crocheted by hand by the artist…travelled the UK in a custom-built, mobile, glass case. These powerful sculptures reflect the region in both symbol and materials.”
Deep Fried Gadgets is a recent series from Brooklyn photographer Henry Hargreaves. For the shoot, Hargreaves fried foam reproductions of popular tech gadgets like Ipads and Gameboys. Aside from drawing on the perverse joy of destroying expensive things, the series provides a nice commentary on sustenance, technology, and our current value system. Tasty. Click past the jump to see more Deep Fried Gadgets. (via)
Gerald Collings‘ paintings are a perfect mix between Francis Bacon and your local butcher shop. These layered paintings look like they have been to hell and back. With images of skinned faces, torn apart rib cages, and bodies in various states of decay, they have become the ultimate test for how grotesque an image can be while still remaining a rich and seductive work of art.
“While producing these new works I was trying to bring together many of the themes, materials, and issues which have been running through my work for the last years. Primarily the works ‘en masse’ deal with our place as individuals within society, with the sometimes disempowering aspect of our contemporary overload, and the romantic fading memory of a simplified world view in which one’s sense of place was denoted by boundaries of personal vision and physicality, a memory which is now transformed into an endless web of connections and information, most of which, though highly omnipresent and totally accessible, leaves us as spectators rather than participators in what we are able to know.