I recently came across these great collage paintings of Devin Troy Strothe (thanks for the link Mr.Redwood) and was blown away by the recent Art Center grads color explosion and the humorous content. The work is playful but dabbles with social/political issues which is always a nice mix as too often political work = boring and predictable. Visit his site and make sure to read the titles as they are fantastic.
Artist Eugenio Merino produces overtly political sculptures. His witty work explores issues such as class, violence, war, religion. For example, the piece Redecorate Your Life is an ultra-realistic silicone model of a homeless man who seemingly fell asleep (or died?) while flipping through an Ikea catalog. His home, however, is simply the packaging of the items he was glancing at. Merino’s work cleverly comments on materialism, poverty, and homogeneity. His sculptures make a statement with a sense of humor while retaining a sense of gravity.
Displayed ominously on the covers of TIME and Newsweek, these faces elicit fear: Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, and Mobutu Sesé Seko. But in his new series “Celebrity,” the Chinese retoucher and artist Chunlong Sun explores the more tender side of these infamous men, presenting them cradling plushy stuffed animals. Sun achieved the desired effect by shooting Chinese look-alike models styled and costumed in attire similar to that worn by the world leaders in famous images; later, he went back and retouched the photographs to resemble the now-dreaded faces.
The photographs are profoundly evocative of the work of Platon, The New Yorker staff photographer whose shots of Gaddafi littered news stands in anticipation of his overthrowing and ultimate death. In this way, Sun’s subjects remain a truly frightful vision, despite their furry friends; instead of revealing the humanity behind the historical figures, the tenderly worn stuffed toys often appear like hostages, held tightly and uncomfortably in the arms of those men known for their long, oppressive regimes. Chávez’s hands and fingers curl unsettlingly about the face and torso of a beloved teddy bear; Gaddafi grips a pale pink, oinking pig.
Perhaps also the soft toys are to be read as symbolic clues into the nature of the infamous world leaders. Each man was seductive and charismatic, at one time thought to be righteous and good; here, holding this cute animals, they might be mistaken for saviors once again, and yet danger lurks behind their wrinkled eyes. Take a look. (via Demilked)
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere artist portfolio building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. If that’s not enough all Made With Color sites are optimized for mobile and tablet viewing so you’re site looks perfect no matter how it’s being viewed. This week we are happy bring you the work of Portland based artist and Made With Color user Wendy Red Star.
Over the course of her practice, Wendy Red Star has worked within and between the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, performance and design. Red Star’s multilayered work influences are drawn from her tribal background (Crow Nation), daily surroundings, aesthetic experiences, collected snapshots of moments of the past and present, and stories that are both real and imagined. Through her photographs and sculpture a new cosmos is built, simultaneously urban-rural and high-low, conveying ideas through representations created from suggested associations of seemingly diverse sites, objects and ideas. HUD houses, rez cars, three legged dogs, powwow culture, indigenous commoditization, and Red Star’s personal collection of memories growing up as a half-breed on the Crow Indian reservation are used to excite a response in a form that can be experienced by others.
The work represents an insider/outsider view that is rich with complexity and contradiction. Red Star’s unruly approach examines the consumptive exposure of a cross section of American cultures while also being a meditation on her own identity. Her works explore the intersection between life on the reservation and the world outside of that environment. Red Star thinks of herself as a cultural archivist speaking sincerely about the experience of being a Crow Indian in contemporary society.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Greta Rybus’ interview with Photographer Anton Kusters.
Anton Kusters is a Belgium-based photographer specializing in long-term projects. In 2011, he published his first photobook on the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime families, that he photographed for two years.
Tell us about your Yakuza project.
‘YAKUZA is a personal visual account of the life inside an inaccessible subculture: A traditional Japanese crime family that controls the streets of Kabukicho, in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. Through 10 months of negotiations with the Shinseikai, my brother Malik and I became one of the only Westerners ever to be granted this kind of access to the closed world of Japanese organized crime.
‘With a mix of photography, film, writing and graphic design, I try to share not only their complex relationship to Japanese society, but also the personal struggle of being forced to live in two different worlds at the same time; worlds that often have conflicting morals and values. It turns out not to be a simple black versus white relationship, but most definitely one with many, many, many shades of grey.’