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From Pop To The Pit: Photo Exhibition Chronicles The LA Music Scene In The 1980’s

Van Halen at the Forum. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Van Halen at the Forum, 1984. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Anthony Kiedis and Flea. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Anthony Kiedis and Flea, 1989. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Dickies show. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Dickies show, 1989. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Southern California, thanks to its diverse landscape, has always enjoyed a wide variety of musical genres. Los Angeles in the 1980’s saw a kaleidoscope of tunes, and different beach communities, the Valley, South Central, the Inland Empire and East LA each had its own form of local music. Plus, since the late 60’s, a growing number of major record labels had/were setting up their headquarters there. Coupled with an abundance of clubs, Los Angeles become the epicenter of the music industry.

So, not surprisingly, major rock groups did very well in Los Angeles – devoted fans packed their venues. While the alternative scene got less coverage, the free press such as L.A. Weekly, the L.A. Reader, BAM, Rock City News, and Music Connection provided the recaps and nightly gigs around the town.

The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) culled from their Herald Examiner photo archive and worked with the Gary Leonard Collection, LAPL and Photo Friends to present From Pop to the Pit: LAPL Photo Collection Celebrates the Los Angeles Music Scene, 1978-1989. The images show the diversity of the decade as well as the different groups who had hit singles, infamous moments, and thrilled countless fans.

If you’re local to Los Angeles, stop by and see the exhibition at the LAPL History & Genealogy Department from January 8  to June 28, 2015. In addition, there’s a companion catalog available for purchase on Amazon.

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New Holiday T-shirts!

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, sleigh-bells ringing, snow falling softly….and a brand new season of Holiday Apparel from Beautiful/Decay! We are proud to unleash a brand new collection of 11 designs just in time for the holidays, including stand-out graphics by artists Rob Shields, Sentimental Soycheese, Kyle Thomas, Pablo Alfieri, Vladimir Sengotskiy, Sylvain Bousseton and Ben Thomas.

Get a head-start on your holiday shopping- buy Beautiful/Decay designs at the online shop and the designs after the jump!

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Till Gerhard

Hamburg Germany based painter Till Gerhard’s images are psychedelic narratives with dark undertones filled with unsettling atmospheres.

“The scenes he chooses to memorialize—dimly felt moments from that tumultuous decade in 20th Century American history when counter-culture briefly flourished—are rendered with a discreet maleficence that belies their offbeat humor and whimsical color-scatterings. Thus, an otherwise banal preoccupation with “hippy bullshit” is transformed into effectual social commentary.”- David Marcus

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Marilyn Minter Update

Marilyn Minter loves lips. Her recent photography shown here on B/D before, is of models eating and licking all kinds of things. This video, Green Pink Caviar, is an eight minute high definition video by her. She filmed the models licking candy and cake decoration, from under a panel of glass. Yum.

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Tomás Saraceno Creates The Worlds Ultimate Moon Bounce

Argentinian artist and architect Tomás Saraceno is internationally known for his visionary and surprising installations accessible to the public and able to modify the perception of architectural spaces. His oeuvre, inspired by the tradition of 20th-century utopian architecture, stems from the desire to create aerial structures that can be inhabited by people, are self-sufficient and have a low environmental impact.

At Hangar Bicocca Saraceno creates On Space Time Foam, an incredible floating structure composed of three levels of clear film that can be accessed by the public, inspired by the cubical configuration of the exhibition space. Functioning as the ultimate moon bounce, Saraceno’s piece floats participants high above the ground creating a surreal (and frightening) experience that gives the feel of weightlessness and flight without the hassle of going off into space. The work, whose development took months of planning and experimentation with a multidisciplinary team of architects and engineers, will then continue as an important project during a residency of the artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT in Cambridge (MA). (via)

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Rachel Perry Welty

Rachel Perry Welty reconstitutes supermarket labels and flyers, receipts, twist ties, fruit stickers, and many other products you’d find in the world of consumer junk to create obsessive photo installations.

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Bethany Krull’s Dominance and Affection

 

Bethany Krull’s ‘Dominance and Affection’ revolves around the exploration of this duality as it can be seen in the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world. In today’s increasingly nature-deprived society, our most intimate connection tends to be with plants and animals that we ourselves have drastically altered through the process of domestication. We have turned wild animals into companions, genetically sculpting them into sweeter, cuter, less dangerous versions of themselves. We shower our pets with love at the same time we cage and contain them and it is this affection contradicting complete control that Krull is interested in illustrating in her work. For no amount of love lavished upon these creatures will erase the fact that the success of the relationship lies in our complete domination over all aspects of their existence.

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Malika Gaudin-Delrieu’s Touching Photographs Of “A Happy Hermaphrodite Prostitute”

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“Hermaphrodite [sex … is] the sex of the angels,” explains Claudette, an intersex sex worker, to the photographer Malika Gaudin-Delrieu. The pair began their collaboration after meeting in Claudette’s native Switzerland, where Gaudin-Delrieu was documenting the country’s legalized prostitution. With her recent series of photographs, the artist elegantly dispels stigma around complex gender identities; as seen through her lens, Claudette is a woman, a husband, and a father.

Ideas on prostitution, a field often associated with the abuse and exploitation of women, is also complicated by the work. Here, sex work is seen as a means of self-actualization and joy; “Claudette is the opposite of a victim. She controls her life, makes her choices clearly and knowingly. She does more than just live her life, she loves it,” says Gaudin-Deirieu of her subject. A courageous activist for sex workers’ rights, our protagonist stands before a dark auditorium, bathed in spotlight, silently inhaling, poised to speak.

Laced throughout the work are subtle moments of love and intimacy. The series, romantically titled La vie en rose (presumably after the love song by Edith Piaf, a prolific French singer who was cared for by sex workers), focuses in part on Claudette’s 52 year marriage to her wife Andrée. Claudette’s quiet warmth and affections, seen in her and Andrée’s sleepy embrace, permeates throughout the entire visual narrative; with the same profound care, she counts her earnings, dresses in lingerie, rubs her neck.

Claudette describes her work as “[assuming the role of] ultimate femininity […] with happiness and a sense of relief,” and her nuanced relationship with her sensual yearning shines through in the images. We follow her as stops in the street, seduced by a lingerie shop window, as she dresses herself, fingering the textured fabrics as they cling to her body. Claudette’s life, as seen through streaming sunlight and soft darkness, is magnetic, alluring, and unexpectedly soothing, and viewers are left to ponder an indescribably complex global sexual and political landscape. What do you think? (via Feature Shoot and HuffPost)

Writer’s note: Gaudin-Deirieu’s work and this post are in no way meant to be taken as a generalization of the lives of sex workers; instead, they are meant to highlight the life an individual. As the artist explains, there are as many views on prostitution as there are people practicing it. For many, it’s a form of abuse; for Claudette, it is not.

The word “hermaphrodite” is usually considered to be offensive, and in no way is this post meant to condone or encourage the use of the word under most circumstances. Here, it is used only because Claudette herself identifies with the word. 

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