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Sigmar Polke’s Work To Be Shown In Tate Modern In October

Sigmar Polke- Multimedia Artist Sigmar Polke- Multimedia Artist Sigmar Polke- Multimedia Artist Sigmar Polke- Multimedia Artist

Although he has been dead a few years, the enigmatic and masterfully talented Sigmar Polke (1941- 2010) is not soon to be forgotten. Largely evasive of being pin-pointed into any one area of craft, Polke was an exceptional postwar generation artist who crossed all genres and utilized his excessive wit and intelligence to comment on the world he lived in. The largest showing of his work to date is being presented at various museums in the world. Having just closed at the MoMA in New York, it will open up for exhibition at the Tate Modern in October 2014 before going to the Museum Ludwig in Germany in 2015.

The exhibition write-up from the MoMA show summarizes his legacy:

“Sigmar Polke (German, 1941–2010) was one of the most voraciously experimental artists of the twentieth century. This retrospective is the first to encompass the unusually broad range of mediums he worked with during his five-decade career, including painting, photography, film, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, television, performance, and stained glass, as well as his constant, highly innovative blurring of the boundaries between these mediums. Masquerading as many different artists—making cunning figurative paintings at one moment and abstract photographs the next—he always eluded easy categorization.

Beneath Polke’s irreverent wit, promiscuous intelligence, and chance operations lay a deep skepticism of all authority—artistic, familial, religious, and governmental. It would be impossible to understand this attitude, and the creativity that grew out of it, without considering Polke’s biography and its setting in twentieth-century European history: in 1945, near the end of World War II, his family fled Silesia (in present-day Poland) for what would soon be Soviet-occupied East Germany, and then escaped again, this time to West Germany, in 1953. Polke grew up at a time when many Germans deflected blame for the atrocities of the Nazi period with the alibi “I didn’t see anything.”

Polke scrutinized the malleability of vision. Highly attuned to the differences between appearance and reality, he was wary of the notion that there might be one universal truth. His relentlessly inventive works, ranging in size from the intimacy of a notebook to monumental paintings, collapse conventional distinctions—between high culture and low, figuration and abstraction, the heroic and the banal—allowing flux, rather than stability, to prevail.”

Don’t forget to go to London and see it in person! It’s only a plane away!

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Emily-Jane Robinson

Emily-Jane Robinson’s photography portfolio is filled with interesting and well taken images documenting Emily’s life and friends. Some of the photos walk the thin line of looking like the standard “look what me and all my sexy drunk friends did last weekend” but there are a handful of very strong photographs that capture all the youthful energy of Emily’s life without the usual cliche trappings. I’ve selected 10 of my favorite photos from her  work below.

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Lisa Swerllng’s Tiny People With Pubic Hair Make Bold Emotional Statements






Trapped behind glass cases, the miniature human subjects of Lisa Swerllng’s Glass Cathedrals unabashedly perform daily rituals normally veiled from the outside world. The stunning pieces afford viewers with a whimsical type of voyeuristic indulgence. Like children before a set of dolls, we are invited to examine the many mundane moments that compose adult life, breathing life and meaning into each dollhouse-like setup with our own imaginations.

With its feet firmly planted in childlike curiosity, the series is unafraid to veer into tragic emotional spaces; caught staring into endless amounts of white space, many of the figures appear lonesome and fully aware of their smallness. A woman scrubs at a dizzyingly vast array of tired floors and walls, incapable of completing her work for her own tininess and permanently fixed position. Similarly, a man stares at his cow, a sole companion who does not return his gaze.

Though humorously seen, Swerling’s models are at times bitterly unaware. A group of people stand before a glass case containing the figure of a generic ghost labeled “god” with a sign stating, “In case of emergency break glass,” not noticing that they themselves are encased in glass, searching for meaning in the touchingly absurd. The viewer, in turn, is forced to face his or her burning existential yearnings within this magically adult dollhouse.

The idea of domesticity as it relates to femininity shines through in Swerling’s work in unexpected ways. A piece titled “A woman’s work is never done” features a woman sweeping pink glitter, erasing the suggestion of the usual portrayal of the home as unfulfilling; here and in a piece that features a woman serving dinner at the head of the table, glitter serves as a surprising and ecstatic symbol of female self-actualization. From the woman who examines herself before a mirror to an unwaxed redhead standing nude before circle of nuns, Swarling’s women embrace their activities unabashedly.

Hitting poignant notes that remind us of the power that lies beneath human smallness, isolation, connection, and actively defined identities, Glass Cathedrals serves as an alter at which we may worship our own condition. (via Foodie Bugle, Catto Gallery, and Lost At E Minor)

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Arturo Oliva Pedroza


Los Angeles artist Arturo Oliva Pedroza produces the kind of photography I love. That grainy, seemingly accidental snap shot that you can’t stop staring at. Pedroza’s genius lies in capturing these quiet, easily overlooked moments of beauty that smack you in the face with their simplicity and honesty. Picking up a pizza on that cold walk home from the bar can be magic–if you let it be.

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B/D’s Best of 2010- Cut Paper, Part 1

Peter Callesen, "Fall", 2008

Peter Callesen, "Fall", 2008

You might have already read our series on food artists. B/D has decided to feature another 3-part series on cut paper artists! The art of paper-cutting evolved from the traditional Chinese craft, stretching back to the 6th century. Today, contemporary paper artists have pushed this art-form into focus once again. Armed with their X-Acto knives, (and nail scissors?), these artists have redefined the meaning of intricate. (Some actually believing they’ve only completed a day’s work once their hands shake with fatigue, waking up sore the next morning!) Though it can be frail, finicky, and prone to tearing, their choice of medium is deliberate; they’ve claimed paper as a way of using an ordinary material to express themselves in unconventional ways. Check out the three cut paper artists of the day!

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Rui Pedro Esteves


Rui Pedro Esteves has a way with illustrating people. His loose, sketchy quality gives these 2-dimensional portraits a lively sense of personality. I find them quite charming….yet I’m a little frightened by the stares. He lives in Lisbon, Portugal surfing, illustrating and making short films for us to enjoy.

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Neil Krug’s Vintage Sex

I just recently discovered Neil Krug‘s website but I’ve been seeing his work all over the place for years. Neil’s photos and videos combine a perfect mix of vintage, psychedelic, and sex.  If I ever start a band this guys getting a phone call.

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Kathy Klein’s Intricate, Multi-Textured Floral Mandalas





Kathy Klein is a devout lover of plants, and she translates this admiration into a series of natural mandalas. They are called danmalas, which means “the giver of flowers” in vedic sanskrit. The colorful arrangements are comprised of different blooms, leaves, and even some vegetables such as peppers. She layers a variety of textures and shapes into circular patterns that converge in the center.

Klein describes how she crafts these pieces, and it’s about around being in the right state of mind. First, she situates herself in a meditative devotional space. Next, she gathers flowers and other natural objects while her mind continues to be still. She finds inspiration from the golden sound that resides in silence. “These offerings are reflections of the inexpressible, a gesture which points towards life’s abundance, an unspoken verse of Love,” Klein writes. “The danmalas remind us all to listen to the unheard voice of nature, creation, and the eternal mystery.”

If you too are a plant lover (or mandala lover), Klein has many, many more danmalas on her website. (Via Faith is Torment)

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