The paintings of Whitney Van Nes are narrative portraits that recall the flatness and oddly elongated static figures of Byzantine art. Yet Van Nes’s unique aesthetic and iconography do not emulate any historical style — her approach is at once naïve and sophisticated. Van Nes paints from her imagination and her intimate personal knowledge of things, never drawing from found images, models or other visual references.
Her works are simultaneously autobiographical and universally relevant. While the images and narratives suggested in the work are drawn from the artist’s personal experiences, they serve merely as the impetus for the exploration of archetypal themes. One such issue prevalent in many of Van Nes’s paintings is the power struggle between authority and the subjugated. This adversity takes many forms, and Van Nes’s depictions of discontented figures leave the role of subjugator intentionally vague.
Heeseop Yoon‘s large-scale installations explore storage and debris — items that occupy space in our lives. Yoon’s method varies between collage and pen, and plays on notions of memory and perception of clutter over time. The finished work doesn’t feel finished as it swells over the space it inhabits, sketched and redrawn, different from every angle and space.
Eyes, we all have them. And they’re attached to the body that we have to take to the gym, so why not go to a gym that’s good looking? Take EQUINOX fitness clubs for example. The décor is zen-spa inspired. The yoga room has relaxing lighting, it’s oval shaped with bamboo floors and every mat is neatly tucked away in its place.
Everywhere you turn it’s another tasteful sign, piece of furniture or gleaming surface- a far cry from the usual garish colors and cluttered ambiance of other gyms. The treadmills even have a place to plug in your iPod and charge it, if that isn’t attention to detail, I don’t know what is.
Beautiful/Decay readers, we know you’re a discerning bunch, and you appreciate thoughtful design and great aesthetics, so get yourself over to Equinox for a 3 day trial and soak up the good-looking atmosphere for yourself.
Spanish artist Alica Martin’s dynamic installations of books flowing out of buildings is the perfect example of how a pile of mundane objects can be transformed into a powerful installation. Creating a wire and aluminum structure with thousands of books attached to the outside frame, Martin’s creates a waterfall of literature that spill into the streets as if a crazed librarian turned on the mother of all book faucets. Pages and book jackets flap in the wind mimicking the spontaneous and erupting movement of water materialized in solid form. (via mymodernmet)
In Make Believe, director J. Clay Tweel follows six adolescent outsiders who all share an extraordinary passion: the art of magic. Armed with great skill and a dazzling array of illusions, these teenagers embark from the varied hometowns of Malibu, California; Chicago, Illinois; Capetown, South Africa; Littleton, Colorado; and Kitayama, Japan to attend the annual World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas, where they each hope to be named Teen World Champion by master magician Lance Burton. The film’s six subjects are remarkably assured and dedicated entertainers. Offstage, however, they face the diverse obstacles of adolescence: loneliness, high parental expectations, the pressures of impending stardom, abject poverty, and the deep desire to fit in. With great humor, honesty, and heart, Make Believe reveals an enduring world that audiences know little about while it also explores a time of life no one ever forgets. Watch the trailer after the jump.
London-based artist Oddly Headdepicts classic films in his series titled Hollywoodland, but it’s all with a dark(er) twist. Using iconic scenes and images from the likes of Poltergeist, Jaws, and The Wizard of Oz, he interjects different narratives. The drowned Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes is still but in Oddly Head’s telling it overlooks happy beach-goers. Likewise, celebrity Simon Cowell’s face appears on the Poltergeist TV rather than its original eerie glow.
By stripping the shocking/memorable parts of the original scenes, Oddly Head takes some luster away from Hollywood. Instead, he’s made them seem trivial, silly, and completely changes the tone. Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music suffers a distressingly-painful fate and is hitched to crosses. This much more sinister than its mostly-cheerful tone. Singing in the Rain also has the same treatment. As Gene Kelly belts out his the lyrics, a homeless man sleeps next to a graffitied door. Hollywoodland is part absurd and part amusing, and will definitely make you look at these films in a different light.
If you enjoy Oddly Head’s work, check out his intricate prints made from thousands of tiny vintage images.
Always Fascinated by pop-up books, Thomas Allen displays an infallible talent for the creation of the illusion of three dimensions, using old pulp fiction books as the subjects for his sets.These books tattered covers and yellowed pages are not mere objects to display on a shelf, for the artist but a prodigious inventory of actors and scenes, just waiting to be directed.
Allen patiently cuts out the figures, freeing them from their two-dimensional state: the actors are then raised from the covers and come alive thanks to skillful use of lighting and the camera’s lens. Bent and positioned, the scripted drama is staged, bringing to life the stories written and not written in the books that act now as the stories stage.
Marina Abramović is one of the most compelling artists of our time. Seductive, fearless and outrageous, she has been redefining what art is for nearly forty years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits, and at times risking her life in the process, Marina creates performances that challenge, shock and move us. Through her and with her, boundaries are crossed, consciousness expanded — and art as we know it is reborn.
The feature-length documentary film Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present follows the artist as she prepares for what may be the most challenging performance of her life — a new piece that will be the highlight of a major retrospective of her work, taking place this spring at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
To be given a retrospective at one of the world’s premiere museums is, for any living artist, the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more — it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: “But why is this art?” At 63, she has lost patience with being branded “alternative.” That designation, she says, just gives people license to rip her off. What she wants now is for performance art to be legitimated. She is thinking of her legacy — and the MOMA show, as she well knows, can secure it once and for all. “It is,” she says simply, “the most important [show] of my life.””
View some of our favorite videos and interviews with Marina Abramovic after the jump.