“We Met On the Internet” Captures Portraits of Couples Who Found Love Through Online Dating

Sarah and Steve, met in a Yahoo chat room

Sarah and Steve, met in a Yahoo chat room

Linny and Pat, met on Craigslist ‘Missed Connections’

Linny and Pat, met on Craigslist ‘Missed Connections’

Mariela and Tiago, met on Tattoodatingsite.com

Mariela and Tiago, met on Tattoodatingsite.com

Cora and Will, met on Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’

Cora and Will, met on Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’

With so many ways of finding love online, it’s no surprise that nearly one-third of married couples in the United States were introduced this way.  In the series We Met On The Internet, photographer Jena Cumbo teams up with writer Gina Tron to document couples whose love stories started from an encounter on the web. Cumbo photographs the couples in their homes and occasionally out in public, while Tron records their story. You might think of Match.com, OKCupid, eHarmony as the way most people find their mate, but in reality, they meet in a bunch of different and sometimes strange ways. We get a glimpse inside of the lives of couples who took advantage of the matchmaking that the Internet has to offer.

Perhaps one of the more unconventional introductions was between Cora and Will (photo directly above), who met through Craigslist “Free Stuff”. Here’s their story:

Cora and Will met because of a Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’ listing. Will had free movie tickets and Cora was the taker. This was back before Craigslist anonymized responses. In the signature of Will’s email, Cora noticed his website. She clicked on it and discovered he was a talented graphic designer. She was intrigued by his work and they kept in touch, and their friendship turned romantic. They are now married and had a daughter in 2011 and a son earlier this year.

We Met On The Internet is an ongoing series, so if you or someone you know met their partner online, you can contact Cumbo. (Via FeatureShoot)

Tony Matelli’s Realistic Sleepwalker Sculpture Terrorizes College Campus

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Tony Matelli‘s realistic “Sleepwalker” sculpture has created a bit of controversy among students at Wellesley, where the sculpture was installed outside of the college’s Davis Musuem. For Lisa Fischman, the museum’s director, the sculpture addresses the boundary of what we expect from art inside a museum versus the outside. Junior Zoe Magdid, the student who initiated a petition to have the sculpture removed, disagrees. ”We were really disappointed that she seemed to articulate that she was glad it was starting discussion, but didn’t respond to the fact that it’s making students on campus feel unsafe, which is not appropriate,” Magid said. “We really feel that if a piece of art makes students feel unsafe, that steps over a line.” More than 300 students have signed the petition so far.

While I can see how Wellesley students could find the sculpture threatening or triggering, I am curious how they would have reacted if Matelli’s female sleepwalker sculpture were installed instead. Most students would probably not feel as threatened by its presence, but that sort of perception would only perpetuate the idea that men alone embody a physical threat, though women are also capable of sexual abuse against others.

However you choose to perceive the sculpture, Matelli’s work provokes viewers and asks them to consider not only the absurdity of a “schlumpy” man sleepwalking campus in his underwear, but also how certain bodies and genders are perceived inside and outside the art gallery. Some of Matelli’s other sculpture work can also be perceived as creepy, but they all seem to address notions of boundaries and gravity, and the defiance of particular expectations. (via gawker)

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Kathryn Andrews: High Art Meets The Readymade

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Kathryn Andrews explores issues relating to performance, presentation and material.  Juxtaposing the legacies of pop art and minimalism, Andrews’ works direct a viewer to consider the way subjectivity is constructed in contemporary culture.  In the process, Andrews’ works manage to subvert the very art historical categories they reference.  Using fabricated forms alongside readymade objects sourced from the likes of prop shops, memorabilia stores or party supply outlets Andrews’ pieces become a powerful contrast between high art and pseudo-kitsch—shiny, serious mirrored surfaces reflect colorful, strange yet common objects.  In the reflection the viewer sees himself, thus becoming part of the narrative and generation of information and understanding.

Entertaining similar interests in her two-person exhibition with fellow Los Angeles artist, Alex Israel, at Gagosian in Rome, Andrews and Israel present works that explore a dialogue about specifically the readymade.  The show is up through March 14 and you can see images here.

Kirsten Stingle’s Gleefully Macabre Miniature Sculptures Will Leave You Breathless

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For her series of ceramic sculptures titled Shadow Circus, Kirsten Stingle draws upon her extensive training in the theater to create subtle narrative pieces. Incorporating found objects with her considerable technical ability, the artist summons dreamy stories through her command over gesture and shape; the blend of rusted objects and newly formed faces stands in for any physical movement normally employed to convey the passage of time.

Shadow Circus is evocative of miniature puppetry works like Alexander Calder’s legendary circus, where only the slightest details make the inanimate appear human. The narrative power of the circus lies of course in motion, which Calder once evoked with his pulleys and threads; Stingle impressively avoids the performative, and her painfully still works appear as if frozen, on the verge of animation.

In this way, each figure reveals itself like a funerary figure, meant to accompany not Cleopatra but the modern woman into her tomb, bringing with her objects useful in some imagined underworld: a machine-horse hybrid motorbike, a foreboding rowboat with wheels. The work’s religious iconography further realizes this thrust toward an otherworldly eternity; a Catholic-style papal mitre makes an appearance, surrounded by delicate symbols of the cross.

The artist also seems to pull from the work of women artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, combining fatalistic bleach white bone with the seductive prettiness of a pink rose, red lipstick, or a baby doll wearing pale bunny ears. Placed firmly within this feminine aesthetic, Shadow Circus is simultaneously blossoming and fertile and eerily disquieting; Stingle’s nuanced work appeals both to a fear of death and a hope for rebirth. Each piece, with its antique aesthetic and meticulously fashioned visage, is poignantly left eternally waiting for the movement and life that feels so inherent within her. (via Hi-Fructose)

Comedy Central Backdrop Dumb Starbucks Tricks All Of Los Angeles Into Thinking It Is A Conceptual Art Piece

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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.”

Romain Laurent’s Absurd And Laugh-Out-Loud Animated Portraits Will Make Your Day

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If you are hating your Monday morning, do yourself and favor and looks through these gifs- they will make your day! Not only will they make you laugh, but you will also relate to them.  I’m sure you are slapping your face away on your way to work this morning. Wake up, sleepy !

These ironic, hilarious, and surreal animated portraits are part of commercial photographer Romain Laurent‘s photography challenge. Laurent’s desire to break the routine (of working on commercial photography) ended up on a quest to create silly-looking looped animated portrait each week since last September. He says the bizarre and often laugh-out-loud experiments are a low-pressure way to experiment and be creative without expectations.

“As far as the intention of the series, it’s a way for me to explore a hybrid medium, experiment and being spontaneous while still sticking to a short weekly deadline. There isn’t a common concept between each loop, I just ‘go with the flow’ and see what comes to my mind each week.”

You can keep up with Laurent’s weekly animated portraits on his Tumblr. (via Colossal)

Chuck Close’s Celebrity Portraits for Vanity Fair

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Chuck Close is best known as a photorealist painter, but he is also interested in photography.  Close achieved amazing results as a hyperrealist portrait painter working from gridded photographs.  Suffering from a condition known as Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, Close is unable to recognize faces.  Because of this condition Close was drawn to painting and photographing portraits.  A seizure left him partially paralyzed in 1988 and after that he continued to paint, but had to adopt new techniques.

Recently Close created a series of portraits for Vanity Fair.  Close decided to use poloroids so that his subjects could immediately see the image.  After every shot he and his subject viewed the photograph so they could decide what to change for the next one. “No hair, no make-up, no wardrobe, comb your own hair,” were the guidelines Close gave his subjects.  He didn’t want to produce “glamour shots,” and it was important that his subjects played an active role in the process, and moreover, that they trusted him.  Seeking to show the “humanity” in each of his celebrity subjects Close wasn’t concerned about flattery or status, but rather with accuracy.  The results are a series of distinguished and honest portraits. Check out the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair

Miraculously Ruined Polaroids Made With A Broken Vintage Camera

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For Ruined Polaroids, William Miller uses a broken polaroid SX-70 that he stumbled upon at a yard sale; quickly discovering that its decades-old gears mangled the film and transformed the exposure, the artist submitted the the whims of the photographic relic, allowing it to form blurred and unpredictably patterned abstractions from his shots.

Within the “ruined” images, we find a surprising emotionality, with the faulty chemical process producing expressionistic renderings of a less literal kind of photographic memory. Cataloging the accidentally lovely results of mechanical happenstance, each shot enters a richly moody realm evocative of the work of mid-century abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko. As the spastic movements of gears, chemicals, and fingers become the subject of the work, the artistic process overrides a predetermined result. Rather than serving as a record of a particular instant, Ruined Polaroids poignantly archives the accidental deterioration of a camera past its time.

Ultimately, the conceptual work also serves to refute contemporary understanding of the photograph. In her seminal work On Photography, published in 1977 at the height of polaroid popularity, Susan Sontag discusses the illusion of a photographic truth, theorizing that the photographer, unlike all other artists, is capable of disguising subjectivity for objective fact. Miller’s work expertly challenges this assumed power of the photographic medium, acutely presenting each image as evidence of its failures. The immediacy of the polaroid image only accelerates this process; printed instantly and held against some imagined reality, the bleeding lights and darks veer jarringly from what we expect from the camera. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor and This Is Paper)