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Kara Walker’s Gigantic Sugar-Coated Female Sphinx Makes A Powerful Statement

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Kara Walker’s new sculpture “A Subtlety” is pure white, coated in 160,000 pounds of bleached sugar; with this modern take on the ancient sphinx, the legendary artist crafts a towering black face in honor of the slave laborers who worked in sugar cane fields. The powerful work is meant to address racial and sexual exploitation; like the sugar that coats her polystyrene core, this black female figure has been pressured, against nature, into succumbing to whiteness.

The work is now on display at the old Williamsburg, Brooklyn Domino sugar factory shed, where it reaches to the ceiling and extends for a magnificent 75 feet. The mythical creature is a powerful assertion of the black female self; the face quite resembles the artists’ own, and a carefully wrought bandana subtly references the stereotypical (and often offensive) symbol of the mammy, a slave woman who nurtured and brought up white children. Walker has been the subject of debate in the past for her use of contested imagery, and despite the controversy surrounding the “mammy” figure, she is presented here as powerful and divine.

Like the ancient sphinxes of Egypt and Greece, Walker’s monolithic creation is godly, simultaneously fearsome and comforting. The sphinx, known for protecting the tombs of royalty, becomes the guardian of history, interrupting a white-washed historical narrative to make visible the labor of the men and women who were kept enslaved. Her face is serene, assured, and unyielding. The sphinx character, in addition to being a protector, is also dangerous, renowned for devouring those who cannot answer her riddle; Walker’s sphinx is similarly confrontational in her overwhelming size, forcing viewers to confront the complex and painful history of American industry. (via The New York Times)

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Cait Oppermann

Photographs by Cait Opperman.

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Ellen Roger’s Ghostly Glamor

Ellen Roger‘s Ghostly photographs are glamourous, sexy, and creepy all at once.

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Collage By Beth Hoeckel’s

There is a romantic sense of longing, dreaming, and pondering the world in all of the works of Beth Hoeckel. Her handmade collages feature retro figures staring into the sky, sometimes gazing into the face of the moon and sometimes looking towards the big blue planet that we all call home.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Outside The Box

Some people are so creative, original, and unique that they have to constantly tell you how creative, original, and unique they are all the time. This entertaining video is about them.
Watch the full video after the jump.

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Wyatt Grant’s elusive narratives

 

I have been a close friend of Chicago-based artist Wyatt Grant since we studied together at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he blew me away with his 20+ layer screen prints on fabric. He graduated this past May with me, having worked fluidly between sculpture, print media, and painting. His works fuse a personal alphabet with a warm, dedicated aesthetic that is consistent throughout all of his work, both abstract and representational. The works have a rose-tinted magical realism to them, a narrative that is both specific and achingly mysterious. Wyatt is also a musician, producing shoegaze-y acoustic tunes studded with electronic loops under the name Pool Holograph.  More after the jump.

 

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Artists As Designers

Designers Frank Gehry Chair

Frank Gehry Chair

Michael Beitz Dining Table

Michael Beitz Dining Table

Yoshitomo Nara Speakers Designers

Yoshitomo Nara Doggy Radio

There is a long-standing tradition of artists blurring the boundary between art and design.  With institutions such as MOMA featuring an entire department devoted to architecture and design, it is considered an important part of art history and culture.

I recently heard New York Times art critic Roberta Smith lecture and she mentioned that it’s a shame our society doesn’t place more emphasis on visual literacy education.  If we did she believes that everything in our world, from buildings to city layouts, to objects, would be more aesthetically pleasing.  Here are some instances of artists who emphasized the concept or appearance of an object rather than simply its function, bridging the gap between art and design:

Donald Judd, one of the leaders of Minimalism, has an amazing legacy in design.  Another well-known architect who creates highly designed furniture is Frank Gehry.  Roy McMakin is a Seattle-based artist who usually incorporates an element of verbal pun.  McMakin’s designs feature an overarching investigation of how perception influences meaning.  Hannes Van Severen and Michael Beitz both create captivating, surreal furniture.  Artists like David Shrigley and Adam McEwen work humor into their design-work.  Even artist Yves Klein has a table, created under the direction of his widow, that features his famous blue.  Damien Hirst designed a chair replete with his signature butterflies and Yoshitomo Nara designed “doggy radio,” a fully functional radio in the form of a dog.

It’s not uncommon for artists to create functional objects, but those objects do often stand out for their elevated level of design and conceptual consideration.  If indeed everyone put as much thought into form as they did function the world would probably be a much better looking, or at least a more visually interesting, place.

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Beautiful/Decay Book: 8 Strange Daze- Available Now!


Something is different lately. The Earth has shifted its axis and now everything seems to have moved to the right by a couple of inches. A dark wind blows. The birds aren’t flying south like nature normally commands them to, and you can tell the animals know something we don’t. These are Strange Daze, Beautiful/Decay’s revelation of the phenomenal and paranormal minds of artists. In a world-surreal, where every night holds a full moon, strange has become an adjective that plagues and ponders our daily existence.


Seek creative passage through the barren void in the company of this book’s featured artists, as we first find Olaf Hajek, a painter whose work holds séance to colorful spectre. Encounter Shamus Clisset, who plays host to a glimpse into his work and its otherworldly humor-macabre. Become self-aware of a hole in your head as splashes of psychedelic work by Fredrik Åkum drip onto your synthetic brain. Witness the chemical rainbow that glows around the work of Timo Vaittinen, pulsating its life and character. Uncover Hew Locke’s sculpture and its ability to pierce through joint and marrow, straight into one’s fifth eye. Examine Jeremy Dower’s visceral work, which will haunt you like a howling spirit through the realms of both the flesh and digital until finally Neil Krug, whose photography will leave you coma-bound in a visual fever.


In line with apocalyptic forebodings, celestial encounters, and unexplained experiences, Strange Daze presents an astonishing collection of artwork that is documented proof of many famous speculated phenomena. Never one to disappoint Beautiful/Decay Strange Daze is filled to the brim with works that will shake the foundations of human culture forever if released to the masses.


Also Featuring: Christine Gray, Michael Willis, Raymond Lemstra, LNY, Kira Leigh, Todd Ryan White, Jeanti, Justin Williams, Robby Day, Andrea Wan, Henry Gunderson, Berto Legendary H, Nicholas Kennedy Sitton, Ben Beshaw, and Brendan Flanagan.

Get your hands on one of the 1,500 hand numbered limited edition copies of Beautiful/Decay Strange Daze Books by clicking the links below!


Only 99 copies  Book:8 will be available on the B/D Shop. Get your copy before we sell out!

 

 

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