Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
Creative murals by designer and street artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo are turning Tehran, Iran’s streets into an outstanding open-air gallery. Executed on two-dimensional blocks of concrete, Ghadyanloo’s artworks deceive the viewer’s eye by skillfully using methods from op art and 3D painting.
Mehdi has established a mural-painting company Blue Sky Painters, which helps him to work with the large-scale street art projects. What is not very frequent in the field, is that Ghadyanloo is fully backed up by the city’s municipality. According to the artist himself, it is one of the government’s goals to promote mural art in Tehran.
“The city is an architectural mishmash with buildings often having only one facade and the other three just left blank and grey. This doesn’t make for a beautiful city but it is a great environment for mural work. I think the municipality really felt the need to bring some cohesion or at least colour to the often confused and smog-smeared architectural face of the city.”
Ghadyanloo graduated from MA in Animation, which brought him closer to storytelling and surrealism. The latter has really influenced his style in urban murals. His scenes often depict unrealistic sights and actions such as cars flying in the air, man bicycling down the wall, people defying gravity and so on. Many of Ghadyanloo’s creations also cleverly interact with their surroundings bringing even more life to the streets of Tehran. (via: My Modern Met)
Beth Scher‘s “Female Soldiers” series depicts women in the military adorned with embroidery and other decorative elements. Scher’s mixed media paintings explore ideas concerning femininity and strength. Her images feature women in a variety of military contexts – Scher’s embellishments of her female figures recalls the idea of a “decorated” soldier while also referring to the art of craft and embroidery, concepts normally found within in a domestic setting. In images that include a bulls eye or target image, Scher conceals the women’s faces with black thread, evoking a sense of expendability that must inhabit a conflict-heavy environment. Scher explains, “In my paintings, I portray them as young women who intentionally seek to display their sexuality and vulnerability, yet are trained killers, in a position of power and placed in serious conflicts. I wonder what the consequences are in a society that must deal with this dichotomy.” (via lustik)
In two of Aurel Schmidt’s more recent series, the artist’s highly rendered drawings depict leafy vagina lettuce and ginger toes, among other inventive combinations of body parts and edibles. Her older drawings focused more on hedonism and a kind of consumptive chaos. She created party beasts constructed from accumulations of coke baggies, cigarette butts, pabst cans etc. They mischievously smiled out at the viewer like a visualization of a hangover. Even with discarded condoms and burn holes, she’s always had a tendency for beauty, though.
In contrast, the ideas in FRUITS are refined to a few poignant elements. There is a strong focus on associative forms, and Schmidt’s choice to pair white grapes with a plump penis emphasizes the gravity in the image. The nippled melon is equally sumptuous, and it’s great to finally see melon and breast united in one. Her style is laborious, but it doesn’t show in her drawings. She’s funny, with an I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that’s present throughout her work. It’s not indignant or aggressive; it’s joyful and celebrates absurdity and decay.
Black Drawings returns to a more standard subject matter for Schmidt, and the drawings become more severe without colour, maybe even cult-ish. The bellybuttons are the most seductive, because of their subtlety and curiosity. It takes a while to identify them for what they are. This series definitely demonstrates Schmidt’s breadth of ability, where the spurting penis cross is much more in your face than the bright sunflower nipples.
In a candid conversation with Art Market Monitor and Artnet News, Famed London gallerist Steve Lazarides discusses his long term involvement in the street art scene. Initially selling works by Banksy out of his car, he officially opened his gallery space in 2006 just as the street art market gained popularity. In this podcast Lazarides discusses a wide range of topics from the street art bubble of 2007 to recently curating “BANKSY: The Unauthorised Retrospective” at Sotheby’s London S|2 gallery space.
Artist Damien Hirst is a polarizing figure in the art world. Hugely prolific, Hirst has been called both an inspiring innovator and a wealth-obsessed marketer. His new collection of jewelry, Cathedral Collection, from Hoorsenbuhs and Other Criteria supports both of these roles: with prices up to £43,200 ($68,000) for a single piece, buyers are paying for the materials and the concept.
The Cathedral Collection consists of “Pill Ring,” a cocktail ring of piled precious metal pills, some visibly filled with rubies and black and white diamonds, and “Pill Rosary,” a variation of the traditional Catholic string of beads. Where the cross would typically sit is instead a Hirst pill, opened and spilling out its literally precious contents. The collection is a limited edition of 25 pieces per design.
Hirst’s focus over the years has continually returned to pharmaceuticals and their role, literally and symbolically, in our lives. His first Pill Cabinet in 2007, “Standing Alone on the Precipice and Overlooking the Arctic Wastelands of Pure Terror,” includes thousands of resin pill replicas displayed on its shelves. He pursed this topic through at least 17 more Pill Cabinet installations, removing the pills from their therapeutic context in order to make new connections with content.
The aesthetic allure of the pills is rendered useless in the face of their unknown medical purpose; Hirst’s suggestion being that their power relies on an unquestioning belief that somehow our ills will be cured.
In 2007 Hirst re-imagined the pills from the cabinets as a limited edition Pill Charm Bracelet, which he sold through his website. 2011 saw Pill Cufflinks.
In this newest collection, the Pill Ring could be a cocktail party conversation starter. The Pill Rosary, though, with its co-opted religious overtones, begs the question: What are we revering? Is it science, bringing medication to placate the world? Or is it Damien Hirst? Read More
Justin Hager’s art is all about curation of pop culture references, and it’s really damn punny! He uses mostly celebrity, television, and film material: Kanye and Beavis and Butthead become Yeezus and Butthead. Hager does a great job with quick witt and wordplay while keeping the right balance of contemporary pop-culture icons, and some well deserved recalls from the past. He’s in league with producers like Girl Talk – who managed to mix Missy Elliott with the Ramones – except Hager trades in visual material, instead of mashing up pop songs. Each one of his pieces is entertaining, and it takes firm willpower not to go ‘share’ crazy on his tumblr. Curation is key now that we have access to everything at a finger-swipe. Think of Hager’s artwork as creative recycling: instead of making more to add to the seemingly limitless pile of cultural products, he instead picks some pre-existing ones and creates something new and fun with them. It’s easy to love because it allows us to be nostalgic while also getting something fresh out of the material.
There’s not much to say that the artwork doesn’t say for itself, so take a look after the jump.
Was your high school experience as glitzy as the one in photographer Akasha Rabut’s series Edna Karr? (The title comes from the school in New Orleans where the documentary-style photographs were taken.) We see cheerleaders, the dance team, and marching band getting ready to perform in these quiet behind-the-scene shots . Girls are applying their makeup, fixing hair, and sitting idly before they hit the city streets of a parade and come alive.
The series is a balance of high and low energy. As people kill time on their phones the scene is still. But when the kids are moving, Rabut captures the spirit of the performance, with sequins gleaming. The faded, low-saturation image are reminiscent of vintage photographs, and if it weren’t for the cell phones, we might just believe it. This plays to a sense of odd nostalgia for high school, a time when many of us wanted to feel grown up but just weren’t quite there. It was activities like the band or dancing that helped define the experience, and is a symbol of a relatively simpler time. (Via It’s Nice That)