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A Day In Decay: 1994-1997

barry mcgee twist 12oz. prophet magazine
1994-1997 were significant years in my life. I was stuck in the suburbs rotting away at a high school where nothing of interest ever happened. I spent my weekends riding the metro into D.C. to paint graffiti, go to hardcore shows, skateboard and generally cause mischief. (Remember that the internet was in its early stages, so finding a cool magazine that covered my interests was a rare feat.) 12 oz. Prophet was one of my main sources of inspiration. Primarily covering graffiti and what would eventually be called “street art,” 12 oz. was ahead of the curve. 12 oz. is still around, so if you need a graffiti fix check out their site. The issue pictured above featured a great interview with Twist (Barry Mcgee). Only a few of you know about this, but the name “Beautiful/Decay” actually comes from the last question in the interview: “Raven – You’re really into shit that’s all rundown and decaying, huh?” And Twist responded: “I love stuff that’s rundown, rusted, beautiful decay, a state of decay.” I didn’t start B/D immediately after reading the interview, but the phrase “Beautiful Decay” stuck in my head for weeks. Finally, after reading several ‘zines at shows and trying to find something meaningful to do with my time I decided to put the phrase to good use and start our humble lil ‘zine.

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Damien Hirst’s New Pill-Shaped Jewelry Line

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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? 

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Angel Olsen’s Voice Shines Bright on her New Album, Half Way Home

Angel Olsen has one of those rare voices that deserves to be heard. You might actually have already heard it and didn’t even know it from her work with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and The Cairo Gang, but when I first heard her debut Strange Cacti a while back, I was instantly mesmerized by her unique voice. She self-describes it as, “Never changing, always changing” which makes perfect sense after listening to her newest album Half Way Home from Bathetic Records. I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions regarding what she’s learned from being on the road, as well as how she came up with the cover art for her new record.

In regards to the cover art for Half Way Home… “The cover work for the album began as a photograph of a girl looking out into the mountains from a high point. It was taken from the top of Knapps Castle, just outside of Santa Ynez. I asked Steve Krakow/Plastic Crimewave  to make a drawing based upon that image. I’ve always been a fan of his magazine, Galactic Zoo Dossier, and his column in The Chicago Reader “The secret history of chicago music”.  He’s been a friend for years and I thought if anyone should work on this, it should be him.” As for why she didn’t use a photo… “I didn’t want to use a photo of myself in the end. I felt that I shouldn’t be framed this time around, something else should be.”

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Ali Smith’s Abstractions

If you’re trying to cut back on caffeine, try replacing it with Ali Smith‘s paintings; they are pure visual energy.  “With their rough edges, fractured compositions and unpredictable scale-shifts, the L.A. artist paints energetic pictures whose wild swipes and slashes are not expressive — in any way, shape or form. Rather than standing in as authentic emblems of inner turmoil or heartfelt emotions, the whiplash gestures in Smith’s paintings take on lives of their own.” – Los Angeles Times

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Superoboturbo

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The boombastic Superoboturbo illustrations remind me of how excited I used to be when I saw monkeys on television. I used to be obsessed with those little fuzzy guys, and I’m beginning to swoon for this man’s work the same way. His controlled pallette and friendly line-weight make for a rambunctious duo that make it hard to pull my eyes away.

Also, he recently broke his leg so maybe send him a nice note or a little work to help cheer him up/pay the medical bills at: info@superoboturbo.com

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Anthony McCall

"Between You and I", 2006

"Between You and I", 2006


British artist Anthony McCall (born 1946) has a cross-disciplinary practice in which film, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance overlap. McCall was a key figure in the avant-garde London Film-makers Co-operative in the 1970s and his earliest films are documents of outdoor performances that were notable for their minimal use of the elements, most notably fire. After moving to New York in 1973, McCall continued his fire performances and developed his ‘solid light’ film series, conceiving the now-legendary Line Describing a Cone (watch a video of a gallery-goer’s interaction with it), in 1973. These works are simple projections that strikingly emphasise the sculptural qualities of a beam of light. If you want to know more about the light magician, you can read an interview with Anthony by the writers at BOMB Magazine.

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Artist Zaps 15,000 Volts Of Electricity Into film To Create Beautiful Abstractions

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Brooklyn electronic media artist Phillip Stearns is exhibiting a new series of some pretty wild photography, and all produced without the use of a camera. Applying different household materials (bleach, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, salt, rubbing alcohol) before and after exposure to electrical currents, Stearns was able to produce some electrifying images. Applying 15,000 volts of alternating current directly to the surface of instant film, the electricity arced, ignited, and sparked, leaving beautiful patterns in the emulsion.

Stearns has been exploring his understanding of what a digital or photographic image is, through many different approaches. He sees images, sound and video not only as signals, or a way or producing something, but as raw materials to use and to exploit. In the Evident Material exhibition, he puts this theory into practice and explores the relationship between the human eye and the camera.

The sentiment that the camera is an extension of the eye is taken to an extreme. When looking through the Fujifilm FP-100c instant color film datasheets, the similarities between the layering of materials in the film and the layering of cells in the retinal is striking. Perhaps it is because the development of such film technologies parallels an evolving understanding of how the eye sees. (Source)

The similarities don’t end there. Stearns commented that the sparks he was experimenting with on the film stock, function in a similar way as the electric impulses in our eyes when processing images.

I find it curious and exhilarating that the impressions left behind after developing these extreme exposures so perfectly resemble networks of blood vessels in the retina. (Source)

Evident Material exhibition opened on November 15 at Transfer Gallery in New York and will continue until December 13. (Via The Creators Project)

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Awesome Video Of The Day: A Bridge Too Far

A few months back one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles was closed down so that a bridge could be taken down. The entire city was in a panic dubbing the weekend of closed freeway access Carmageddon. Luckily the traffic wasn’t too bad but I always wished I could see the process of taking down such a large bridge in just a few days. Filmmaker James Miller recently heard about a similar situation in the UK and jumped on the chance to videotape the process. Shot in gorgeous time lapse you can now witness what it’s like to take down a major bridge in just 24 hours. Watch James’ video after the jump.

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