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Robert Mapplethorpe’s Early Polaroids, 1970-1975

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Robert Mapplethorpe, the timelesss American photographer most active in the 1980’s, was mainly known for his highly stylized black and white flower series. However, his most iconic and prolific works, various series of photographs dealing with homoeroticism and sadomasochistic BSDM acts between men of diverse cultural backgrounds, fuelled national debate in the NSA over the public funding of controversial artworks.

Some of these photographs, made visible by The Mapplethorpe Foundation, were part of his first solo gallery exhibition, ‘Polaroids’, at the Light Gallery in 1973.

Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. Two years after his Polaroids exhibition, he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.

Polaroids © The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation (Via Vice and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation)

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Matthias van Arkel

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One of my favorite artists, Matthias van Arkel, (who will be appearing in Book 3, btw) recently designed some amazing fabrics and a site-specific painting for the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Matthias usually creates these spaghetti-esque, rubbery abstract-expressionist sculptural-paintings. This aesthetic translates nicely to these flat works…has a very contemporary-Swedish clean feel, beautiful!

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Sabine Pigalle’s Crusified Beauties

Sabine Pigalle’s Ecce Homo series.

” As Christ’s representation is deeply rooted in the collective unconscious, “accessories” are not needed anymore to evoke it. However, the body is “trans-substantiated” into a feminine one. Emaciated subjects illustrate a concept which is more philosophical than liturgical. These abstract crucifixions reflect the powerless situation one faces when confronted with death.” (via i heart my art)

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Bruce Munro’s Creates Massive Outdoor Installations With Millions Of Compact Discs

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CDSea, installed at Long Knoll, Wiltshire, UK

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British artist Bruce Munro is perhaps best known for his creation of large-scale installations that offer a great amount of experiential weight to viewers. Choosing materials which reflect, and shine light, a metaphor for the artist’s interests in literature, music and science. Often made of humble materials, Munro has often come back to the use of compact discs, a decision that the artist explains, “Initially I used discarded materials to save on costs. Soon material choices also became the subject matter of the installations,” he says of Light. “For me, there has to be a reason—however idiosyncratic—for everything I do and these days I am drawn more and more to the idea of creating an experience that is gentle on the landscape.”

Various projects of Munro’s use repurposed and recycled compact discs in massive quantities, covering hills, estate lawns and fields. In works such as CDSea, enormous fields of the collected discs have a natural element, in this case a meandering path carved through them. The path, which echoes landscape architecture and fung shui design, allows viewers to experience not only vistas of the shimmering surfaces, but also the now-highlighted beauty of the existing grass itself. Speaking of the installation and its process, Munro says “You never know how something will work out, but now I could not be happier. I’m so grateful to everyone who turned out to help. We had a magical weekend and CDSea looks amazing, like a giant painting on the grass” (via hi-fructose, designboom, inhabitant)

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Sonia Rentsch’s Still Life Portraits Of Organic Weaponry

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Sonia Rentsch is an art director and still life artist from Melbourne. From intricately arranged appetizers to a hanging lamp fashioned out of a head of lettuce, Rentsch’s work is both dynamic and elegant, often incorporating food as a subject. This trend is put to most effective use in her series Harm Less, an installation in which Rentsch fashioned weaponry out of completely organic objects. Each piece is visually arresting, the imagery of handguns and bullets hauntingly familiar and yet transformed into something beautiful when created out of green produce and plants. The series, in which handguns are made out of everything from bamboo shoots to roses, presents a powerful statement about gun violence and its impact as well as Rentsch’s impeccable eye for detail.

Rentsch has worked with photographer Scott Newett, assisted with design duo Tin and Ed, and worked as the production designer for Australian popstar Kimbra’s music video for “Good Intent”. Her work is consistently bright and colorful, but always proffers a lens through which viewers can fully immerse themselves in the elaborate scenery. One of her most recent projects, a public installation with artist Ben Davis, included a garden of colored pinwheels displayed in Melbourne’s La Trobe Place. Although the meticulous design behind Rentsch’s still life images is evident in each minute detail, Rentsch is assured in working with no set process. As she said in an interview, “An idea comes as quickly as it has to.”

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Du- So Hot

DU – so hot from Karl Erik Brøndbo

Am I crazy or is this video by Du an electronic equivalent of The Unforgiven? Gives me the same creepy uneasy feeling but now you can dance to it instead of bang your head.

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Somewhere In The Fold At The Popular Workshop

Somewhere In The Fold is an exhibition that recently closed at the San Francisco Gallery The Popular Workshop. The show was curated by Luca Nino Antonucci who is an artist and co-founder of Colpa Press as well as the San Francisco Newsstand turned zine shop Edicola. The exhibition examines the intersection of fine art, design, book making and publishing. From the press release: “There is a broad dialogue between publication and art object, far more complex than the straightforward union of the two into the ‘art book.’ Somewhere in the Fold is a survey of the relationship between the current state of publishing and the art practices of contemporary artists. These disciplines have converged into processes of editing and editioning, making once disparate fields singular. The participating artists and publishers of Somewhere in the Fold approach this conversation by showing work that deliberately confuses the terms ‘publication’ and ‘art object’, while attempting to discover a place where they can exist together both in form and concept.”   

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“Art Works Every Time” Event Recap & Party Pics!

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Did we ever have a grand ole time at the “Art Works Every Time” opening this past Saturday! We had record attendance, with party-goers spilling out into the back patio and onto the streets!

The Colt 45 ice cream was a smash hit- more than the carbonated beverage you might expect straight from the can, the tasty treat was was more like a delicious chocolate gelato with subtle hints of malt. (That’s my best “foodie” review of it, anyway.) I didn’t personally partake, but a few Colt 45 ice cream beer floats were rumored to be…”floating” around.

Our t-shirts, with featured artist Colin Strandberg’s winning design, “sold” like hotcakes. (And by sold, I mean given rampantly given away.) Charlyne Yi’s humorous & raw lo-fi performance called to mind the anti-folk avante-garde musical stylings of the Moldy Peaches and packed the house. Colt 45 was imbibed by all (with specially-made brown paper back beer cozies). Good times abounded. Check out some snaps after the jump, and view the full set on our Flickr!

Thank you to everyone who came out, the artists Colt 45 and Synchronicity Gallery for making this event a huge success!

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