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Richard Prince, The Postnational Monitor, Do-Ho Suh And The Art Of Facial Composite Photos

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Some time ago, The Postnational Monitor, a personal blog focused on “a wide variety of topics to include, but not limited to history, population genetics, and sociology” posted dozens of composite photos of varying geological and ethnic populations, creating an average face for each category. While most categories are a simple comparison, some are surprising social findings, such as the average Indian Female and Indian Male, compared to the average Bollywood Stars, pictured above.

While obviously interesting from a ‘population genetics’ (no sarcasm meant – simply clarifying the author’s, and not this writer’s, term) and anthropology standpoints, the pictures are certainly more novelty than profound statement. However, the composites do resemble more serious artworks by other artists, which begs the question: At what point does machine or computer-created photographic manipulation become art?

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World Leaders And Dictators As Drag Queens

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Georgia Buchette (1946)

Madame O' Sane (1937-2006)

Madame O’ Sane (1937-2006)

Ossie B' (1957-2011)

Ossie B’ (1957-2011)

Kimmy Jungle (1983)

Kimmy Jungle (1983)

Artist Saint Hoax’s series War Drags You Out imagines prominent world leaders dressed as drag queens. The digital illustrations depict the likes of Obama, George W. Bush, Vladamir Putin, and even Osama Bin Laden getting dolled up. Animated GIFs show the primping process,  which includes drawing on eyebrows, contouring the face, and adding fabulous accessories. And of course, like any good drag queen, they have stage names, too, like Putin’s “Vladdy Pushin,” and Bin Laden’s sassy moniker, “Ossie B.” The idea for this work came from Saint Hoax’s first visit to a drag show. They explain:

…I was struck by the richness of this glamour oriented culture.

I took a minute to actually look at the faux queens and deconstruct their main components.

 

The recipe for an iconic queen:

1- Flamboyant name

2- Fierce persona

3- Defining outfits

4- Personalized hairdo

5- A trademark feature

6- One hell of a PR team

 

I then realized that it takes that same exact effort to make a leader.

A rush of images containing Hitler’s mustache, Bin laden’s headgear, Obama’s campaigns, Saddam’s narcism crossed through my mind. It got me thinking that behind every “great” man, there’s a queen.

While Saint Hoax’s unique project is over the top, it’s had some serious consequences for the anonymous artist. Before the Osama Bin Laden painting (first in the series), was to be shown, they released a Youtube video announcing where the work would be displayed. Because of the video, Saint Hoax received over 70 death threats, and the painting was destroyed at the airport while in transit to its location. (Via Huffington Post)

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Pigasus Polish Poster Art

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I recently stumbled upon Pigasus Gallery, a Berlin based shop that specializes in Polish Poster design. I hadn’t really been aware of the specific design genre of Polish poster design, but after poking around I found a few articles stating that beginning with the period right after World War II, the Polish Union of Artists along with support from all the major art universities set rigorous standards as far as poster design, creating a rich environment that bred a plethora of creative posters that exhibited unqiue imagery as well as technical proficiency….an amazing phenomenon creating some great posters! More after the jump…Check out Liza Manelli’s stockinged legs fashioned into a swastika in the “Cabaret” poster– not sure what to make of that, anyone?

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Lori Nix’s Photographs Of Danger And Disaster Are Actually Miniature Worlds Painstakingly Made By Hand

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In her ongoing series “The City,” photographer Lori Nix creates incredibly detailed scenes by hand in miniature, then photographs them. The result is an amazing collection forecasting scenes of danger and disaster. The pictures share some commonalities with Matthew Christopher’s “Abandoned America,” recently covered on b/d, but instead of finding places that have been left behind, Nix constructs them.

“In my newest body of work ‘The City’ I have imagined a city of our future, where something either natural or as the result of mankind, has emptied the city of it’s human inhabitants. Art museums, Broadway theaters, laundromats and bars no longer function. The walls are deteriorating, the ceilings are falling in, the structures barely stand, yet Mother Nature is slowly taking them over. These spaces are filled with flora, fauna and insects, reclaiming what was theirs before man’s encroachment. I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but at the same time I am fascinated by what a changing world can bring.”

The images are classically composed, with a balance of color and space. Even once the viewer is told that these are dioramas, it’s difficult to believe. The intricate details, realistic lighting, and cohesive scale make them absolutely lifelike.

“My scenes can be as small as 50×60 centimeters and as large as 182 centimeters in diameter. It takes approximately seven months to build and photograph a scene. I build it for one angle of view and never move my camera from that spot. I will change the lighting, the placement of the objects and re-shoot until I’m fully satisfied with the results.”

Nix’s apocalyptic visions are both familiar and fantastic. She presents a world on a tabletop that is beautiful and alarming.

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Jennifer Maestre’s Prickly Pencil Creatures

We’ve all used hundreds of pencils in our lives since we were kids. Jennifer Maestre uses pencils too, but not the way most of us do, or even the ways most artists do. These imaginative creatures use pencils to showcase the contrast between lifelike forms and industrially produced materials. They were inspired by the texture of the sea urchin, which she has been exploring in many materials for several years.

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Stay Creative With Beautiful/Decay!

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Steeped In History: The Costume And Prop Designs Of Petra Storrs

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Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.

But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.

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Ester Stocker

Esther Stocker

I was first put off by Esther Stocker’s wall works, immediately categorizing it as an evolution of those tired string installation made by anonymous hipsters. But after looking at a few more images, and exploring her site, the 3-D graphs started to grow on me. Stocker’s simple use of black gaffer tape and foam core pulls from scientific imagery and successfully transforms space into a fantastic alternate reality where perceptions are shifted. Stocker’s work demonstrates a fascination with human perception and cognition, and judging by the title, “What I don’t Know About Space”, she doesn’t claim to understand how it all works, which is a refreshing to hear from an artist.

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