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Mark Menjivar Updates His Photographic Series Of Fridges Several Years Later

Midwife/High School Science Teacher, 2008, left, and right, midwife/business consultant, 2012

Left: Midwife/High School Science Teacher, 2008. Right: midwife/business consultant, 2012

A bartender's fridge in 2008 (left) and 2012 (right).

A bartender’s fridge in 2008 (left) and 2012 (right).

Left: The fridge of a carpenter and photographer in 2008. Right: The fridge, with the photographer now a homemaker, in 2012.

Left: The fridge of a carpenter and photographer in 2008. Right: The fridge, with the photographer now a homemaker, in 2012.

Photographer Mark Menjivar wants to know what’s in your fridge. His series You Are What You Eat began in 2007 (it was previously featured on Beautiful/Decay here), and it captured the insides of 60 different people’s fridges. Menjivar thought of the series as a portrait project, with food defining someone’s identity. Several years later, he revisited some of the fridges. The new photographs depict how lives change over the years, as illustrated by food. For some, their habits have changed drastically, while others, more or less, are the same.

 The ingredients in one’s fridge tell us a lot. Not only what kind of food they eat, but do they cook regularly, do they drink alcohol, do they like barbecue. And what about fresh produce? When the photographer met with a midwife and science teacher in 2008, they had started a commitment to eating only local produce. In 2012, with ready-made fruit packs in sight, we can see that commitment didn’t exactly last. The fridge that was chock-full of takeout containers in 2008 was owned by a bartender. Still a bartender in 2012, he has, according to Menjivar, started eating healthier and lost weight.

You Are What You Eat was originally shot for an exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography. Since the release of the series, the exhibition has travelled to 15 cities. In each city, Menjivar collaborates with communities to create a conversation about food issues in their area. The series will eventually become a book. (via Slate)

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Yoko Ono’s Make-up Tips For Men

YOKO ONO “Make-Up Tips For Men” from Opening Ceremony on Vimeo.

Yoko Ono needs no introduction. She is a well established art superstar and one of my personal favorites. Ono has a new video called “Make-Up Tips for Men” (made as part of her clothing line for Opening Ceremony). Over “uh-huh”s and a club beat, men are given commands like, “When you see a rainbow in the sky. Breathe it in,” or “Let everything in your room shine and sparkle.” Grooming be damned! (via)

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Helen Davies

Toss a bit of folk art, a dash of collage, and a handful of wonky rendering into a blender and smash it all together to get the playful and inventive illustrations of London based Helen Davies.

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Jessica Stockholder Transforms City Streets Into Massive Colorful Installations

Jessica Stockholder - installation Jessica Stockholder - installation

Jessica Stockholder - installation

Jessica Stockholder’s work first caught my eye when I saw images of her Color Jam, a word play on “traffic jam,” installed in a downtown intersection in Chicago in 2012.  The installation included sidewalks, streets, buildings, windows and doors.  It was a three-dimensional painting, of sorts, incorporating color and texture.  Beyond that though, the comings and goings of  Chicago’s inhabitants, yellow taxicabs, blue buses etc. augmented the effects of the work.

Stockholder seeks to undermine the preciousness of art.  By occupying public spaces she forces interaction and engagement with the work.  Visitors, whether they want to or not, become a part of the process and installation.  For another work, Flooded Chambers Maid, 2009-10, Stockholder re-imagined a portion of Madison Square Park.  Enthused park visitors, environment and weather all interacted with the installation, giving life to an otherwise static work.

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Studio Visit: Marci Washington’s Paintings Tell Gothic-Romantic Tales

As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Marci Washington. See the full studio visit and interview with Marci and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.

We visited Marci in her backyard studio in Berkeley. It sits just behind her home, a kind of garage/storage space that got converted into a cottage. It’s comfortable and functional, with an open feel to it. Marci is full of gusto— she talks with her hands, takes on all kinds of facial expressions, and she’s funny as hell. She enthusiastically moved through our conversations, at turns awkward and eloquent, but always unguarded and real. We talked about a lot of things, but her affinity for the landscape of the English moorlands, particularly within the context of Romantic Literature, really struck me. Those rolling, uncultivated hills covered in low-growing grass, shrouded under heavy fog and moody skies have wholly captured Marci’s imagination. And it makes sense that they have— much of what interests Marci is mirrored in that rugged, desolate scenery. In various Romantic and Gothic works of literature, the moorlands often represent mystery, mysticism, liberation, turmoil, and passion; they frequently echo the psychological state of the characters, and reveal their greatest desires and fears. Marci’s current work references not just the physical landscape of the moors, but also speaks to themes found in a lot of this kind of literature, and the universal emotions that are evoked—all those feelings and ideas that run wild with mystery, awe, darkness, terror and beauty. I think Marci is after a particular kind of mood that toes the line between terrifying and thrilling, creating a response that’s simultaneously overwhelming and invigorating. All of this plays into her sensibilities as an artist, but also as a person: her love of Edward Gorey and his eerie illustrated books, her unflinching need to feel everything very deeply, her leanings towards the bizarre and unique, and her fondness for the not-entirely-explained. It’s pretty damn amazing that come November Marci will be showing work in England, not far from the wild and lonely moors that have taken up so much of her imagination.

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Beautiful Photographs Relentlessly Capture A War-Torn Lebanon Without Victimization

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Amidst the violence and chaos ravaging parts of her native Lebanon, the photographer Rania Matar does not aim to make sweeping political statements about the Middle East; with her complimentary bodies of work titled Ordinary Lives and What Remains (now on display at Houston’s Bank of America Center), she hopes to capture the resilience of the human spirit. Fighting the photographic and documentary urge to re-victimize survivors of war, she offers a more nuanced picture of the lives of Lebanese women and children.

Much of Matar’s work explores global representations of femininity—in a recent monograph, she published images of adolescent girls inhabiting a space between freedom and familial responsibility, the childhood bedroom— and in Ordinary Lives, the artist’s powerful sensitivities color the otherwise bleak black and white war-torn landscape. In “Broken Mirror,” a young woman meticulously adjusts her veil before a shattered mirror, her perception of self seen as fractured by her environment but preserved within her emotional core. Similarly, “Dead Mother” captures the veiling process as a ritual connecting female youth to a monolithic photograph of the matriarch, an undercurrent of modern political and social debate serving as a relentless backdrop.

What Remains operates as an arguably less subjective series of architectural photographs, documenting the aftermath of 2006’s war between Israel and Hezbollah. The series separates itself from Ordinary Lives in its deliberate use of color; the bright blues and yellows read like surrogates for the displaced families that once inhabited the violated spaces, offering a powerful tonal continuation of the striking and complexly seen human spirit captured in Ordinary Lives. Where we once viewed children, embracing the walls in rich gray tones, we are offered  a Winnie the Pooh wall hanging, daydreaming beside an empty closet. Take a look.

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Artwork Of The Day: Mad Cow Motorcycle

I’m loving Billie Grace Lynn’s Mad Cow Motorcycle.  A combination of electric motorcycle and cow bones. Could this be commentary on our dependence of fossil fuels?

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