Famed Los Angeles artist Paul McCarthy was attacked in Paris on Thursday while finishing the installation of his nearly 80-foot tall sculpture, called Tree, outside the Place Vendôme. Paul McCarthy, who contributed this piece to the FIAC’s “Hors Les Murs” program, was punched in the face multiple times by an unknown assailant who was enraged by the nature of the sculpture. Tree, although ambiguously shaped and rather indistinct, happens to distinctly look like either a Brancusi sculpture or, less poetically, like a butt plug.
The angry assailant, or shall we say “pain in the ass,” was also enraged that McCarthy is indeed NOT French, and yet is showing work at this prestigious venue. Luckily, McCarthy was not seriously injured, despite being shaken and disturbed by the incident. McCarthy explained that the sculpture “started as a joke.” He primarily noted that butt plugs and Brancusi sculptures shared a similar silhouette, which eventually led to the realization that a green object of this shape also resembles a Christmas tree. Thus, Tree was erected.
“But it is an abstract work. People may be offended if they want to refer to [it as a] plug, but, for me, it is more of an abstraction.”
FIAC director Jennifer Flay noted that despite the understood controversial aspect of the sculpture, the inherent ambiguity in it precludes it from being offensive or unsuitable for public view. It was fully approved before installation by all local bodies. (Excerpt from Source)
To see more naughty work by Paul McCarthy go here.
Luka Fineisen creates installations that invade gallery spaces using (seemingly) natural elements like bubbles, sand, and ice. Her materials are varied. In the case of her most recent installation, the bubbles are not made of soap solution, but plastic. They imitate the real thing perfectly, creating an ethereal experience for the viewer. Although they’re as tempting to touch as real bubbles, unfortunately, you’d still be in an art gallery, so no such luck! The bubbles are tantalizingly playful and light. It’s a beautifully effortless piece.
Most of Fineisen’s artwork functions in the realm of mild fantasy relating to the natural world. Sometimes, as with her hay installation, the materials are real. The hay makes an amusing statement. In the photo, it seems to sit and stare out at you from inside some sort of freight elevator. In another, Fineisen creates a sandstorm around the perimeter of a building. In yet another, she has ice an iceberg (made presumably of plastic) encroaching on a staircase. Each explores our delicate relationship with the elements of our world, and she demonstrates how even the most seemingly harmless elements, like bubbles, might form a kind of subtle and humorous counter attack on our space, as we have overtaken the natural world.
Her most overtly political sculpture is of a girl standing beneath a stream of liquid gold pouring from a skylight. She extends her skirt to catch it, and it plops on her face with as much disregard as a stream can have. To me it reads like a rude awakening to the lack of sustenance the gold can actually provide. (Via The Fox is Black)
In the newly-published book titled Hollywood Frame by Frame, author Karina Longworth examines the contact sheet, a necessity in film making before the advent of digital technology. The prints were used by photographer as a way to review and edit their work, and the sheets contain small thumbnails of multiple shots. They were marked, scribbled on, carefully examined to find the perfect shot later used in advertising.
These sheets are alluring; not for how interesting and different each individual frame is, but it’s a tiny glimpse into what went on behind the scenes in famous films. You’re able to see what was and wasn’t chosen, as well as the outtakes. A description for Hollywood Frame by Frame describes it as, “…it’s often the photos not chosen that best capture the true spirit of their subjects and the life they lead after the director yells cut. This was never truer than in the classic Hollywood era, where behind-the-scenes photos were carefully vetted for marketing purposes and unapproved shots were never expected to be seen again.”
Some of the films included in the book are: Some Like It Hot, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Taxi Driver, and Silence of the Lambs. It was published by Princeton Architectural Press.
In 1995, artist Bryan Lewis Saunders decided to create a unique self-portrait every day for the rest of his life. In 2001 he committed to taking a different drug or intoxicant every day before making his daily portrait, calling this sub-series “Under the Influence.” From absinthe and cocaine to cough syrup and computer duster he sniffed, swallowed and smoked his way through interesting art and into mild, but reversible, brain damage.
Though these are only a small fraction of the collection of over 8,600 self-portraits, they have received the most attention, resurfacing in the media over and over throughout the years. Saunders has mixed feelings about this, telling Fast Company:
“To be honest I’m not proud to be on any drugs in any pictures. I think drugs make me look really ugly. And I’m really a six trick pony, but the world only likes one of my tricks. Each year 500,000 kids around the world discover drugs and so the virus never dies.”
The portraits themselves are fascinating. Is it possible that one day of a psychotropic medicine would have such a clear effect? Are some of these images influenced by Saunders perception of the drug, and not the actual effect of the drug itself? Does it even matter?
“For hundreds of years, artists have been putting themselves into representations of the world around them. I am doing the exact opposite. I put the world around me into representations of myself as I find this more true to my Central Nervous System.”
This is art, not a science experiment. If the idea of the drugs has more of an effect on the art than the drugs themselves, that’s Saunders’ artistic prerogative. The work is provocative and often more than a little bit haunting. The brain spilling Saunders on Abilify and the dark, isolated, limbless Saunders on Nitrous Oxide/Valium represent disturbing and disturbed states of mind. Though he no longer takes drugs in the pursuit of art, the self-portrait series continues, and continues to fascinate.
Russian artist Dmitry Morozov has found a way to make sound from tattoo ink. Working to unite robotics with his passion for art and sound, he created a machine that makes music based on the reading of a tattoo on ones’ body. This is Morozov’s way of bringing objects and ideas he cares about closer to one another, as opposed to the distance that the natural world places between such distant and distinct genres.
“In essence, Morozov, also known as ::vtol::, has created a tattoo capable of producing music when scanned with a special instrument. He has one on his own body — an eight-inch long design that appears like a mysterious barcode on his forearm, featured in the video above. With the slide of an eerie, cyborg-like machine, the design produces avant-garde noise appealing to the most highbrow of listeners.
So how does it work? According to The Creator’s Project, the scanning instrument consists of “arduino nano, a metal railing, hand controllers, and a black line sensor (on the tattoo).” A motor guides the mechanism along the inked design, with the lengths of each bar equaling the duration of various sounds. The addition of a Nintendo Wii controller equipped with Open Sound Control enhances the sound possibilities; if he moves his appendage, an accelerometer transforms the movement into distortion.” (Excerpt from Source)
Boston-based artist Jenine Shereos who we’ve featured in the past for her amazing series of leaves made from human hair. her amazing series of leaf forms made from human hair. Her more recent work revisits the idea of human-manipulated nature with “De/constructed Lace,” a site-specific installation series of knit-lace that mimics spiderwebs.
In Marnay-Sur-Seine, France she draped the knit threads in windows and doorways, looking like massive, delicate spiderwebs, echoing the white lace curtains in many local homes. The works are not perfect, Charlotte’s Web creations, but looser, more organic forms. Shereos says on her website:
“This installation of knit-lace is suspended in a state of unraveling. The process of its making and unmaking are one and the same.”
In Boston, she worked with black thread and crystals, allowing her web-like art to cast filigreed shadows on the wall amid flickering rainbows from the hanging crystal. The webs are more ominous in black, connecting to walls and windows and floor with fine strands.
“Some of these site-specific works are installed for a period of weeks for viewers to interact with, and others function as a sort of ephemeral, private performance existing afterwards in documentation. Oftentimes, collaborations intended or unintended arise within the environment; a spider spins its delicate webs from the white strands of thread suspended in an unraveling knit curtain, fibrous fragments of seaweed become embedded within a structure of knit fibers, or an array of rainbows flicker amidst white walls and black curtains.”
By co-opting the aesthetics of the natural world, Shereos creates a conscious interaction with the structure of the landscape or the architecture surrounding her art, uniting real and surreal, natural and constructed, fluidity and stillness.
The Singh Project is a wonderful, celebratory look at a modern, multicultural Britain and features members of the Sikh community. British photographers Amit and Naroop are exhibiting 35 very different portraits as a visual exploration of faith, style and identity. These intimate images highlight two very important symbols of the Sikh lifestyle – the beard and the turban (Dahar). The turban in particular is a representation of honor, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. Sikh men (and women) wear the turban to cover their long, uncut hair (kesh), and are also seen in this series brandishing a traditional Sikh sword (kirpan).
Originating in South Asia – primarily in India, Singh was a popular middle name or surname for lords and warriors. Meaning Lion (from the Sanskrit word Simha/Sinha), it was later adopted by the Sikh religion, and today is compulsory for all baptized Sikh males. The sense of pride connected with the history of the name Singh is evident on the faces of these men. They obviously are very proud of being Sikh and enjoy their religion outwardly.
“Many religions determine the way their followers look, but none have such a dramatic and definite ‘look’ as Sikhism. And yet, with 30 million Sikhs in the world, there are almost as many ways to wear the turban and beard as there are Sikhs…The men who feature in this project are businessmen, boxers, IT professionals, doctors, fashion stylists, temple volunteers, magicians and a host of other occupations all adapting and interpreting the Sikh traditions in their own way.” (Source)
The appeal of the beard is still proving popular – after successfully raising 10,000 pounds through Kickstarter (see video here), Amit and Naroop are hosting a free exhibition of the prints opening at The Framers Gallery in Central London from 3rd-15th November.
From far away, you might not realize what’s on these porcelain pieces by Evelyn Bracklow for LA philia. But, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that there are tiny painted ants that look like they’re travelling across plates, cups, saucers, and more. The German artist has permanently implanted this pest onto the very places that we don’t want them to be.
Despite someone’s potential aversion to the ants, these pieces are clever, unique, and beautifully crafted. The playful works are handmade in her studio, signed, numbered, and fired between 160 and 180 degrees. Glossy, gold rimmed, and vintage, the addition of these critters marrs the glossy white porcelain. But, that seems to be the point. Bracklow wants them to be unusual and catch the eyes of passer by, and she certainly does it. While some designs only feature the ants, other pieces have food on the plate and the ants hovering around it. Sounds appetizing, huh?
The pieces featuring food are part of a partnership between Bracklow, Rijks Museum in the Netherlands, and Etsy.