Los Angeles–based photographer John Divola is perhaps best known for this series of photographs documenting the gradual destruction of an abandoned and oft-vandalized beachfront property at Zuma Beach in Malibu. Without a studio of his own in the 1970s, the artist roamed Los Angeles in search of vacant properties that he could photograph. Using them as his canvas, he sometimes spray-painted his own designs onto their interiors, photographing them before the buildings were destroyed. Reflecting his painterly manipulation of the physical site, Divola’s Zuma photographs skillfully frame spectacular sunset views within these dilapidated structures, making his visually compelling, color-saturated photographs more than just pure documentation. See Divola’s work in Under The Big Black Sun currently on view at MOCA until February 13th, 2012.
Radical Friend is a directorial duo comprised of Kirby McClure and Julia Grigorian, which makes colorful music videos, commercials, and films that literally rock your socks off. By combining their obvious love for the wildest aesthetics of the late 70’s and early 80’s with the modern technology of interactivity, Radical Friend have been the only ones to really push the boundaries of how to even conceive of, let alone execute promotional standards like the music video. Their uniqueness is seriously unmatched and while a majority of people may not understand what they’re doing now, they will soon be immersed in the kind of things that Radical Friend probably dreamt of years ago. To get a small taste of Radical Friend’s world, I suggest you watch the pieces in this article and then play around with THIS interactive Black Moth Super Rainbow extravaganza.
Stockholm-based photographer David Magnusson captures bizarre father-dauther portraits in the U.S. These portraits are inspired by a very disturbing ritual called Purity Balls, a relatively new Christian religious, wedding-like ceremony that inspires American virgin girls (as young as four years of age ) to promise purity to their fathers.
The formal events tends to include ballroom dancing, a keynote speaker, and a lot young girls in white dresses. During the ceremony, the fathers, the so-called “High Priest of the home and family,” make a pledge to protect their daughters’ “purity” during the affair; often times they exchange purity rings.
“You are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.” – A father says to his daughter during a Purity ball.
Intrigued and fascinated by an article about the topic, Magnusson took the iniciative to investigate these balls, and its participants, further.To create this photographic series, the artist spent five months traveling to and attending purity balls in Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona. On each occasion, he spent about an hour interviewing and photographing the father-daughter pair. The interactions between father and daughter on camera were up to the subjects themselves and not at all directed by Magnusson.
Many of us would think that the photographs look and feel odd; and not that there is anything weird about hugging and holding your father’s hands, but the way in which these pairs interact…most of us can agree that it is a bit creepy. The artist, however, keeps his judgement out of the picture and he tells his audience that for the most part the fathers are caring and respectful, and the daughter possess their own character and are often very independent. How true this is to each of us personally differs, of course. This very point, the idea of relative truths and opinion, is what Magnusson is most interested in:
“The purpose hasn’t been either to belittle or glorify the ceremonies–the interpretation [of the photographs] is all up to the eye of the viewer.”
The series of photographs are now part of Purity, a book of text and images put together by the artist himself. Purity comes out in August, and you can order it here. If you are interested in learning more about this ceremony you can check out The Virgin Daughters, a documentary that further examines the nature of Purity Balls. (via FastCo Design)
New York-based artist and product developer Pamela Council creates sculptures using hundreds of fake acrylic nails. Putting together these tiny, mundane objects, she builds extraordinary busts, lanterns, and sculptures about Olympic athletes. Her socially-conscious work focuses on the deeper meaning of these objects. What kind of associations do we have with them? Council writes about her thought process, stating:
I take everyday objects and re-figure them as I consider their associations and power. The process begins with research and includes a dissection of the cultural implications of the product, from why it was created, to how and where it is made, sold, and used. This enables me to extricate the object from its commercial value and present it in sculpture. Through this process, the object becomes re-possessed.
Mass-produced objects that are used on the body interest me the most; recently, my focus has been almost exclusively on beauty products. As I continue to investigate these cultural artifacts, my goal is to create a new dialogue and awareness about the things that we collect, consume, and discard. Hopefully, it will encourage an analysis that eulogizes the significance of these objects even as it allows for a more critical view of their value. If it works, my art will serve as a proxy for the objects and psyches we decide we can live without.
Council created a sculpture titled, Flo Jo World Record Nails, which used 200 sets of the manicured nails that Florence Griffith-Joyner wore during the 1988 Olympics, when she set the 200 meter world record. Council painted each set and had them for sale. You too could harness the same power as Flo Jo – being young, extremely talented, all while remaining stylish.
You can visit Council’s Tumblr, Blaxidermy, for her photos, work in progress, and things she comes across in her day-to-day life.
Tommy Angel is Jonathan Allen’s bible-thumping alter ego, whose cheezy 70’s kitsch performances blend “miracles” culled from Christendom, Joke-shop magic and art’s own hall of mirrors alike. Drawing parallels between faith and illusion, conceit and deception, religion and slight of hand, Allen raises complex issues surrounding the nature of spectacle and its myriad applications across history.
Sculptor Monica Piloni creates surreal, multifaceted versions of the human body from resin, hair and different plastics. Whether it is a triptych of herself, melded at the hips, with multiple breasts, three legs and conjoined heads, or a double tailed horse, she has the ability to make something gruesome seem commonplace. In her work Ballet Series, she assembles body parts to look quietly surreal and unassuming, yet elegant. Figures lie on beds, as if exhausted from a recital, literally collapsing on themselves. Piloni places her models in a graceful manner, toes pointed and muscles tensed as they would be mid-dance. The poses and gestures of the bodies conjure up the drama of French Romantic oil paintings, where humans were depicted expressing a whole range of emotions with their bodies.
In her work Concave & Convex, she piles dismembered body parts up on themselves to form a human landscape. Similar to Louise Bourgeois’s ambiguous sculptural forms, Piloni fragments the human shape into abstraction, and in the process dismantles her, and our, understanding of identity.
Her sculptures are captivating because of their simplicity and fluency of movement. Even her more challenging pieces (modified women with exposed genitalia) have a gentle symmetry that reassures, rather than revolts. See more of her beautifully gruesome work after the jump. (Via Sweet Station)
Australian artist CJ Hendry takes the items consumers long for: fashion accessories, high-end labels, designer purses, shoes and luxuriously-packaged perfumes, and spends days recreating them with absolute precision. Although there is precious little information to be found about the artist online (she maintains an active Instagram account, but does not seem to have a website or bio), it is quite obvious that she has an interest in seduction. By using the items which seduce consumers and inspire fashion choices, Hendry in turn makes them more seductive through her large-scale, pen and ink renderings of them, stating “It is all about the object. I am a product person and that is obvious through my obsession with the particular placement of each piece. It starts with the acquisition of the product I am intrigued by or have been obsessing over.” Hatching, shading and intricate line-work are used to entice the eye, an extension of the principles used by the fashion industry, designers, and advertisers to tempt the desires of consumer culture.
When asked to describe her detailed but simplistic rendering style in an interview with Youthedesigner, Hendry stated “There are so many ways to describe my style and I am sure people will have different things to say. I look at finished pieces and feel a strong feeling of simplicity. That might sound strange because most pieces are so detailed in their own right but the intentional use of negative space encourages an uncomplicated reaction with all focus on the object.” (via booooooom and youthedesigner)
Athens, Greece-based artist HOPE is well-known for his use of large-format collaged pieces, both in the streets and in the gallery. Taking the ruins of the classical sculptures of his homeland, HOPE returns these images to decaying buildings, using large stickers applied outdoors. Though he found his fame in the streets of Athens, the mixed-media artist has been transitioning towards exhibiting his works more indoors, both in decrepit public spaces and in white-walled galleries. Describing his style of using and remixing classical and recognizable sculpture, HOPE says, “My works are marked by mythology. They are sculptural images inspired from the past with a new aesthetic rule.”
HOPE continues, “What interests me about street art and public art, in general, is that it can exist as a forum/platform for dialogue. We live and think within the public space. When you place an artwork in the public domain, you’re interacting with the public. This makes you think about the public order. You’re given the opportunity to express your opinion politically and sociologically through a work, the longevity of which is determined according to the public opinion… But the main reason I got involved in street art was the feeling that I was creating an anti-monument, a new kind of creative model which escapes private places. Sometimes, when public art is effective, it can even change the world.” (via artnau and yatzer)