When I walked into KAI’s solo show at Guetta Gallery I was taken back by the magnificent frames surrounding his pieces. Not to distract away from his paintings, but it’s just rare to see frames like the ones in his show on contemporary works. However, it was also fitting that they were around them at the same time, since the aesthetic of his exhibit “Now Royalty” is a mash-up of rappers and classical portraiture.
KAI has demonstrated a mastery of technique throughout all of his paintings. Whether it was Will Smith and his wife or of Biggie Smalls in the most elaborate of fashions, they all retained the subject’s signatures. It’s especially incredible to see, considering that KAI is better known as a street artist in the Los Angeles area – whose MORONS parodies of Marlborough ads and stop sign stickers literally cover all of Hollywood.
Artist Joanne Arnett‘s artwork reproduces mugshots in a uniquely meticulous way. She painstakingly recreates these images as woven textiles. Mixing thread a wire, the result is similar to a shimmering newspaper photograph. Mug shots are generally thought of as utilitarian, empty of aesthetic, and quickly forgotten. Arnett wittily juxtaposes this against the form of a tapestry – valuable textiles often passed on as heirlooms. Interestingly, the title of each piece is the accused’s sentence. For example, the title of the first image is “Two Years and a Fine of $2,000”.
Carsten Höller’s work intends “to trigger the organic responses that underpin the structure of learned behavior, to unbalance the rational mind…Using his training as a scientist in his work as an artist, Höller’s primary concerns relate to the nature of human perception and self-exploration. He has undertaken many projects that invite viewer participation and interaction while questioning human behavior, perception, and logic. His “laboratory of doubt,” embodied in objects ranging from carousels and slippery slides to upside-down goggles, often contains playful, hallucinatory or darkly humorous overtones in order to provoke experience and reflection.” – from Gagosian Gallery. Read more about Höller’s work and his 2011 exhibition at the New Museum here.
The woodlands, backyards and mountain fields David Hornung paints can feel like elegies for lost friends. Conversely, much of the work is contagiously, imaginatively playful. These paintings can be read in contradictory ways; simultaneously flat and deep, both graphic and luminous. Hornung does this purposefully, because “picture making can be as paradoxical as life itself.” The invented settings evoke “memory, the flow of time, and, for lack of a better phrase, the sheer enigma of existence.” The light breaking on the horizon in “To S.P.” (above) is both beautiful and heartrendingly sad. What does it say about us when a sunset begs to be personified? You can see David’s work at Flowers Gallery in Chelsea from June 30 to July 31.
Dumb Starbucks, a parody store located in a Los Angeles strip mall, opened its doors on February 7th, 2014. From the sign up front, to the cd’s next to the cash register, everything had original Starbucks branding except for the fact that the word dumb was printed in front of each and every SB logo.
The author of DS was unknown until earlier this week, when comedian Nathan Fielder held a press conference at the parody store revealing that he was responsible. Until then, Conceptual artist Marc Horowitz was taking credit for it on Twitter:
“Would love to do interviews about #dumbstarbucks — just waiting for @TODAYshow or @jimmykimmel” as well as “my project is causing quite a stir – lol.”
After the mystery was solved, Nathan Fielder released a video in the Dumb Starbucks youtube channel that assured his newfound ‘customers’ that DS was “no joke, this is a real business,” a business, he says,”from which I plan to get rich from.” The serious sounding Fielder, assures that he can keep it going, however, yesterday (February 10th, 2014) the city of Los Angeles closed the place down due to a lack of health permits. It is hard to believe that that was the only reason for the shutdown , as the real Starbucks was not happy with the parody coffee shop calling itself Dumb Starbucks.
“We appreciate the humor but they can’t use our name,” Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson told CNNMoney. “It’s a protected trademark. It’s our trademark.”
I love this new video of Lykke Li trapped on an island, decked out in 5 inch heels, and stabbing at the sand with various knives. I have no idea what this is about but going along for the ride. It’s sexy, weird, dramatic, epic, and has a dash of goofiness (check out the knife play towards the end. Full video after the jump.
Exceptionally bizarre and fantastical sculptures by Japanese artist Odani Motohiko.