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Ai Wei Wei’s Politically Powerful New Installations For The 2013 Venice Biennale

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Iconic Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei has never shied away from political ideas in his art.  His contributions to this year’s Venice Biennale are no exception.  Bang utilizes 886 stools to create this sprawling installation.  Such three legged stools were traditionally handcrafted and a common item in many Chinese households.   They had numerous uses and were often passed down through generations.  With the onset of the Cultural Revolution and modernization such stools soon disappeared.  The enormous structure seems to have grown uncontrollably but organically – much like the explosion of growth in population urban centers, and consumer products.

Straight addresses the tragic 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and specifically the thousands of children’s lives claimed by the disaster.  Ai Wei Wei straightened 150 tons of mangled steel rebar and neatly stacked in the project space.  While bringing to mind the suspicion of shoddy school construction the installation also serves as a vehicle to mourn, remember, and address.  Straight reflects Ai Wei Wei’s desire to straighten out the complexities and problems surrounding the massive casualties.  [via]

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Faig Ahmed’s Glitchy, Distorted Rugs Destroy The Stereotypes Of Eastern Tradition

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Faig Ahmed, a visual artist from Baku, Azerbaijan, reworks the aesthetic of carpets, an “indestructible symbol of the Eastern tradition”, by weaving digital patterns onto the already conventional recurring patterns of the traditional Azerbaijani rug.

“Tradition is the main factor creating the society as a self regulated system. Changes in the non-written rule happen under influence of global modern culture.”

Ahmed’s interest in extending this traditional practice to one that alludes to today’s relevant digital imagery is his way of creating new boundaries. By mixing and matching two different aesthetics, Ahmed creates a rekindling of tradition and progress.

In order to create the illusions of glitchy carpet bits, Ahmed superimposes digital patterns onto traditional weaving compositions, these combinations either create rugs with bold optical illusions and/or generate transformations that leave carpets looking like unconventional sculptures.

“To be honest, things I do are not always right and beautiful. I do things without thinking- it’s my instantaneous expression. Changes in the world are instantaneous as well, and that is what I am channeling-ideas that have been formed for ages are being changed in moments- that is what I hope to do with me work. I just make bold experiments, putting them into the art scene, trusting myself and the viewers of my art.”

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Legendary Sci-FI Master, H.R. Giger Dies At 74

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Legendary Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger, has died this past Monday, May 12th,2014 after sustaining injuries from a fall. He was 74. Born on February 5, 1940 in the rural town of Chur, Switzerland, the artist showed an interest in dark art forms from an early age but trained to be an industrial designer at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich.

Geiger was best known for designing the iconic “xenomorph” creature in the Alien movie franchise, and for his work in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious film, “Dune”.

Giger’s nightmarish imagery-a blend of mechanical and biological androids-was in fact fueled by his own bad dreams and by an early interest in artists like Salvador Dali and Ernst Fuchs. The artist kept a journal by his bed so he could record the imagery. Wired reported that Giger had “an idyllic childhood in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But it harbored forbidding structures and estranged elements that left an impression on a child subjected to night terrors and panic attacks.”

An early series of controversial art, most likely influenced by his perturbed childhood nightmares and anxieties, landed Giger a gig to create the album cover of the 1973 Emerson, Lake & Palmer album, “Brain Salad Surgery.” After his success with the English progressive rock trio, Giger became highly solicited in the movie business.

After winning an Academy Award for visual effects on “Alien,” the artist continued to experiment in show business by designing sets for “Poltergeist II” (1986) and “Alien III” (1992).

Giger, however, found himself disliking Hollywood. Later after the last Alien movie, he retreated back to Zurich in hopes that he could get back to being a visual artist for his own sake.

In 1998, the artist founded the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland. Since then, Giger was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and worked on several other projects- including a guitar line with Ibanez. (via NPR and Daily News)

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Erin Murray’s Sinister, Surreal Paintings And Drawings Of Suburbia

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At times strangely numb, and at other points echoing a modernist affection for the coldest of structures and surfaces, the most recent work by Philadelphia painter Erin Murray certainly doesn’t lack in focus. Murray’s fixation on the bland, eerily coded architecture of American cities reveals an underlying criticism (or slightly tongue-in-cheek reference) to the simultaneous banality and sinister intentionality that exists in the spaces around us. Rather than allowing these ever-present backdrops of contemporary life to fade quietly into the background, she brings them forward in the hopes that the viewer will find the same suspicious significance in each graphic, expertly rendered façade.

Where her graphite works are dark and slightly ominous, the lush, surrealistic landscapes Murray has sketched out are deliciously disorienting. As a group, they reflect a curious interest in space, place and structure—something that might eventually push Murray’s works off the page and into the 3D realm.

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Eudes De Santana

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Barcelona based fashion/advertising photographer and director, Eudes De Santana, originally went to school for graphic design. While finishing his degree, he worked on photographic commissions for fashion editorials, catalogs, and advertising campaigns. His work, exuding hip energy and sex, has us fantasize for this sort of lifestyle.

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Nadia Lee Cohen Photographs Nudes And Cultural Motifs In Campy Visualizations Of The 1950s-70s

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The work of photographer Nadia Lee Cohen is a stimulating, modern take on vintage American and British style. Her diorama-esque compositions — with their nude, cigarette-smoking femme fatales and garish 1950s/60s/70s iconography — explode with color, attitude, and fetishized, retro-suburban life. Scattered throughout are bold insertions of cultural, consumer artifacts, from packs of Marlboro cigarettes, to Coca-Cola bottles, to lip-shaped telephones, which further emphasize the images’ glossy and style-saturated appeal. David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock fans will certainly be able to identify a few crafty allusions; whether it is red curtains, or birds hovering menacingly in the background, Cohen has seamlessly meshed her own cinematic style with that of influential film directors, thereby creating a clever and campy pastiche of Western arts and culture.

When I asked Cohen what drives her work, she expressed that she primarily hopes that people enjoy the aesthetics of her photography, which is a “humorous, tongue-in-cheek” response to the way she views the world. And, aside from creating fascinating portraits of what she identifies as “strong, quirky, dark characters,” Cohen’s exploration of retro aesthetics through a modern lens provides a visible commentary on the way styles and cultural tastes have shifted over the decades — all from an alternative and progressive point of view; her work represents a range of personal styles, as well as a variety of body shapes and sizes. “I hope to convey a wider message of changing our perception of taste in terms of modern beauty ideals in fashion,” she explains, “which is why I tend to look to the interesting people around me rather than casting from agencies.”

Cohen has recently finished her MA in Fashion Photography at the London College of Fashion, and judging by her success and the in-depth nature of her style, she will be creating a lot of exciting work in 2015. Be sure to check out her website and Instagram. More adventurous (and amusingly retrospective) images after the jump. (Via Huffington Post)

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Alain Delorme

totems03 Looking at French photographer Alain Delorme’s Totems is almost surreal.  It is so hard to believe that a single person can manage to carry all of these formations in such large quantities by themselves and only a bike.  It is almost unbelievable.  Photoshop or not, the atmosphere in which this is happening in  comparison to  the rest of the world is art in itself.

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Artist Ben Tegel Visits B/D

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Have you met Ben? Ben stopped by the Beautiful/Decay headquarters yesterday to drop off work for the upcoming Art Works Every Time exhibit. You may recognize Ben’s style from two of his recent Beautiful/Decay Apparel T-shirt designs: Greetings From New York & Greetings From Los Angeles. Ben’s been busting out some new paparazzi-inspired paintings for the exhibit. I had the pleasure of listening to him chat about his recent explorations and process, and the importance of a high-quality brush. You’ll be able to see all of Ben’s submissions next Saturday, June 12 at the Art Works Every Time opening reception at LA’s Synchronicity Gallery. Check out some more behind-the-scenes shots after the jump. Thanks Ben!

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