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Performance Artist Imitates Gustav Courbet’s Painting”The Origin of the World” By Exposing Herself

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On May 29 at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Luxembourgian performance artist Deborah de Robertis, wearing a gold sequined dress, plopped down in front of Gustav Courbet’s painting “The Origin of the World,” and spread her legs and vaginal lips, publicly exposing herself. The artist’s intent was to re-enact the famous painting, but with an open, exposed vagina in contrast to the vagina presented in Courbet’s piece. Eventually, de Robertis was escorted from the premises by police officers, and two museum guards filed sexual exhibitionist complaints against her after the incident.

“This is a typical case of disrespecting the museum’s rules, whether for a performance or not,” the Musée d’Orsay’s administration said in a statement. “No request for authorization was filed with us. And even if it had been, it’s not certain we would have accepted it as that may have upset our visitors.”

de Robertis, of course, disagrees with these accusations (as does Banksy). “If you ignore the context, you could construe this performance as an act of exhibitionism, but what I did was not an impulsive act,” she explained to Luxemburger Wort. “There is a gap in art history, the absent point of view of the object of the gaze. In his realist painting, the painter shows the open legs, but the vagina remains closed. He does not reveal the hole, that is to say, the eye. I am not showing my vagina, but I am revealing what we do not see in the painting, the eye of the vagina, the black hole, this concealed eye, this chasm, which, beyond the flesh, refers to infinity, to the origin of the origin.”

de Robertis says she’s performed this piece, “Mirror of Origin,” more than once in the same museum without causing a hysteric scene, and unsurprisingly, this is not the first time a performance artist has imitated a famous work of art by exposing their body: last year, performance artist Arthur G stripped down and appeared in front of Musée d’Orsay’s parade of male nudes, “Masculin/Masculin.” It is also not unusual for female performance artists to use their bodies as a medium for messages about our culture and the way it conceptualizes female anatomy and sexuality: I’m thinking of recent Beautiful/Decay features, like Milo Moire’s vaginal egg-dropping and Casey Jenkins’ vaginal knitting. The reactions garnered from such performances reflect our culture’s current conception of female anatomy and sexuality and prove that our stripped-bare biology continues to be seen as obscene, threatening, and attention-seeking, even within performance-based contexts. (via art fido)

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Emile Morel’s Digitally Surreal Universes

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Emile Morel creates surreal digital illustrations reminiscent of whimsical childhood fantasies such as The Neverending Story and Where the Wild Things Are. His illustrations depict dream worlds, often with children, and heavily feature anthropomorphic characters rife with bestial and primal imagery. His work is evocative of fairy tales, complete with a dark and foreboding element encapsulated in the “grotesque” nature of some of his figures and human animal hybrids. Intimate and highly allegorical, Morel’s attention to detail, especially in this medium, is impressive.

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Joan Ross Forges New Paintings Out Of Century-Old Works

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Australian artist Joan Ross manipulates paintings created by someone else, adding her own touches of highlighter yellow and fluoro orange. Sometimes, she animates these paintings. As Ross does this she simultaneously references a bevy of themes. They include the following: our attempt to civilize nature, imperialism, consumerism, our throwaway culture, global warming, tagging, naming, and claiming. It’s a tall order to engage these all of these things, so Ross uses historical paintings as a starting place.

Specifically, she uses the paintings of Joseph Lycett. He was an Australian painter producing work during the time that the British government colonized Australia (to use it to banish criminals, among other things), between 1788 and 1850. Taking his landscapes, lush and calming views of the ocean, Ross inserts loud, disruptive colors, graffiti, and symbols of invasion. A couple wearing hi vis yellow vests interrupts a group native residents. Other times, a similar couple vandalizes the natural environment. In many of Ross’ paintings and animations, subjects are destructive.

Lycett was a well-known painter, but ultimately found to be an impostor who forged his work. From a young age, this fact interested Ross, who mentions it in her artist statement. She writes:

As a child I was fascinated by the fact that the important colonial painter Joseph Lycett was a forger. In a sense I am continuing his tradition of taking something and forging something new out of it.

One of the reasons for Lycett’s fame lay in the fact he was one of the first to depicted the Aboriginal population engaged in traditional activities, and much of my work has on some level an element of the continuing dance of the races.

The mentality behind colonialism can manifest itself in many ways and the ongoing creep, nay, invasion of high vis yellow and fluoro orange are a modern-day example. I didn’t vote for these colours, yet they are everywhere!

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new work by Sawdust

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London based design duo, Sawdust, has recently updated their site with new works including their latest project – a poster for independent music artist, Angel–A.

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Uldus Bakhtiozina’s Beautiful Photographs Of Russian Fairytale Narratives

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Beautifully designed costumes sets the stage for artist/photographer Uldus Bakhtiozina’s pictorial essay “Russ Land”. Shot in a rural setting, Baktiozina, recreates a narrative based on Russian folklore. Through magic and her own designs she sets forth in capturing a time when the earth was occupied by knights, fair maidens and the forest. She features characters called Baba Yaga (the old woman with knowledge) and Mikulishna (the beautiful), who are familiar figures in fairytales known throughout the world.

The photographer’s hand made costumes are elaborate variations on a theme, most notably in the head dress which the artist emphasizes with great detail in this series. The intricate construction embraces the forest itself, ranging from crowns made of nest like sticks to black and white spider webbed veils.  She works with a generation of young Russian artists, who she claims is the inspiration for her pictures and continues to challenge stereotypes in “Russ Land” by showing women as knights and a fair maiden as lothario(a).

Bakhtiozina was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia from a mixed religious background. She received her education from the University of the Arts London and is credited as the first Russian speaker at TED. She frequently features herself in her work first gaining recognition for a project called “Desperate Romantics”, a series of ironic self portraits. Instead of a digital camera, Bakhtiozina prefers using analog stating ‘it’s better suited at capturing the nature of an object’.  She currently runs a studio dedicated to the visual arts in her native Russia.  (via demilked)

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Ripo Visuals

When people observe art, the try to find a purpose, a message behind the whole thing. In many art pieces, the message may not be obvious or clear. Within the work by Ripo Visuals, their clear, easy-to-read, simplistic messages are powerful. Catchy, funny, truthful, clever phrases have been left on buildings all over Europe and South America. Courtesy of Ripo Visuals.

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Form + Function: Awesome Architecture

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The following are B/D’s picks for today’s awesome architecture. Sometimes it seems architects don’t get enough recognition for their work as artists, but they are truly masters of sculpture and design (and not only that… they know calculus). Read on to drool over the art works that you (wish you could) live in.

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Cathy van Hoang Designs Air Plant Holders That Resemble Floating Jellyfish

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Cathy van Hoang, owner of PetitBeast, is a California-based artist who has cleverly designed a new and eye-catching way to display your air plants: by placing them in sea urchin shells — which Cathy has painted in gradients of beautiful pastel hues — and suspending them. Her creations are aptly named “Jellyfish Air Plants,” because there is no denying that their domed heads and trailing “legs” are redolent of those elegant sea-dwelling invertebrates. Their gravity-defying appearance will also likely appeal to any Metroid fans out there, as Cathy’s designs do slightly invoke your favorite parasitic alien species — although these particular specimens are less likely to seek galactic domination, and instead hang gracefully in your room as beautiful conversation pieces.

These “little beasts” are affordable and unique additions to your space. Each set comes with hanging and care instructions. And if you’re not plant-savvy, the good news is that air plants are easy to maintain. As Cathy writes on her Etsy, “all they require is watering twice a week and a nice, bright room with indirect sunlight (or your desk lamp in the office) to thrive in” (Source). Custom colors are also an option.

Etsy is an exciting venue for independent designers who want to share their creativity with the world, and it is always exciting to come across artists like Cathy who are hand-making such imaginative pieces. Check out her website and Etsy page to learn more about her Jellyfish Air Plants. The product photography featured here is also by Cathy. (Via Colossal)

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