Sculptor Loren Schwerd documents the wreckage hurricane Katrina left behind by building artwork from it in her series Mourning Portrait. While in New Orleans shortly after the storm Schwerd came upon the flooded St. Claude Beauty Supply shop, much of its inventory spilling out on to the sidewalk. She uses the human hair extension she picked up off the curb to build what she calls “commemorative objects”. Each piece is a “portrait” of a building in various stages of deterioration. The images of dilapidated homes give an indication of the massive amounts of damage from the storm while the hair alludes to the human loss. Schwerd explains her use of the human hair extensions in her work this way:
“The portraits draw on the nineteenth-century tradition of hairwork, in which family members or artisans would fashion the hair of the deceased into intricate jewelry and other objects as symbols of death and rebirth and remembrance.”
Dutch photographer Teun Hock’s photographs are clever, eye-catching, and surreal. Consistently using himself to convey a peculiar character, he depicts a middle-aged man who is perpetually trapped in self-depreciating and humorous situations. He is stuck in the middle of an ice floe while his bag, hat, and umbrella are carried away on separate pieces; he hangs from a swinging chandelier; he is blindfolded and wearing a birthday hat while walking on the moon, and using a ladder to measure the night sky.
His process is very labor intensive and his work extends far beyond the traditional boundaries of photography. As explained by the artist:
“…There’s a big backdrop that I paint or build, or whatever’s needed, and I stand in the middle of that. Then I take a picture of myself in black and white and enlarge it. I do it myself in the darkroom with a little bit of help. Then I tone the picture sepia. And later I add oil paint. I color everything, but it’s transparent, so that you can see the picture underneath.”
In addition to his work in photography, he was commissioned to design and paint stained glass windows for the Grote Kerk of Dorecht, a medieval church located in the Netherlands.
John Cale founded The Velvet Underground back in 1965 with Lou Reed and he’s been going strong ever since. The living legend turned 70 earlier this year and yes, he’s been making music for almost 50 years! His fifteenth solo album, Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood came out this past October on Double Six Records to great reviews.
You can still get tickets for tonight’s last stop of his West Coast tour at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles with opener Cass McCombs via Ticketmaster. He also has three special performances in January, 2013 (A tribute to Nico and Paris 1919) at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music. Check out the video for Face to the Sky and do what you can to make it to one of these rare shows.
Holiday, Vissarion sect, City of the Sun, Krasnoyarsk Territory, 2006
Koryak foothills, Kamchatka, 2000
Newlyweds, suburbs of Novosibirsk, November 2010
A new photography exhibition at the American University Museum wants to show you that Siberia is more than just a cold, barren place. Titled Siberia in the Eyes of Russian Photographers, it paints the Russian region in a different light. Photographs boast impressive landscapes and even some warm weather; We see children swimming and people wearing short-sleeved shirts. Anton Fedyashin, the executive director of the Initiative for Russian Culture at American University, spoke with Slate about stereotypes of Siberia. “Notions of Siberia in the United States come from Hollywood,” he said. “They come from films that emphasize the morbid exoticism of Siberia, the endless white plains, the sparse villages. Those are the kinds of images that are most widespread in the West. Of course, Siberia during winter does look like that, but there’s another side of the story.”
Siberia makes up about 75 perfect of Russia’s landmass, but only 25 percent of its population. The people who live there are described as having an independent spirit, much like pioneers who settled in the American West during the 19th century. The exhibition draws comparisons between the two places. “It’s an image that overemphasizes the negative aspects of this enormous part of the Eurasian continent and one that completely underrepresents the enormous geographical variety, which is breathtakingly beautiful. The exhibit shows that it’s equally as beautiful and eerily similar to the American West.” Fedyashin explains. While many Western photographers chose to accentuate the emptiness of Siberia, the Russian photographers in this exhibition depict a multifaceted place, spanning from the 1860’s to 2011. (Via Slate)
“I feel it is not important, can be even detrimental, to conceive of, or predict outcomes in the studio: accidents, chance occurrences and reaction will direct the coarse of the work. What is important is to be present, to be a sensitive, sincere, focused, open and as powerful as possible. The work is thus finished when either it says it’s done or I abandon it and take to working on something new.
In my recent work, I am moving away from image based painting and drawing towards more ambiguous, blatantly abstract and open-ended works that seem to want to define painting as a pure, visual language.”
Drawn to the material for aesthetic or symbolic reasons, many artists have incorporated glass or dinnerware into their work. Julian Schnabel is probably the most prominent artist who has incorporated dinnerware into his practice. He created his famous “plate paintings” in the 1970s/80s and they became some of his best-known work. Judy Chicago’sThe Dinner Party is another famous instance, but with a feminist theme. Chicago depicted place settings for 39 mythical and historical well-known women. Each setting features symbols relating to a specific woman’s accomplishments. Josiah McElheny creates finely crafted, handmade glass objects that he uses to make museological displays depicting one’s attempts to learn about historical peoples from their household possessions and objects. Molly Hatch is an artist and designer who grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont. She studied ceramics alongside painting, drawing and printmaking and incorporates all of them into her work. Jason Kraus uses glasses and flatware to generate reiterations of the same setup. For instance, for his installation at Redling Fine Art Kraus served a nearly identical meal for the first seven nights of his exhibition. After the meal he would clean the dishes and stack them inside a plywood cabinet, creating remnants of an ephemeral performance. Esther Horchner is an illustrator whose clever teacups depict bathing figures. Cheryl Pope incorporates dinnerware and other objects in unexpected ways. Her Balancing Stacks, for instance, was a performance where a woman stacked dishes on a precariously balanced table. Like the feminization of a ritual like clearing or setting the table, Pope uses her stacks as a symbol for something destined to collapse.
Each of these artists finds symbolic or artistic value in the typically utilitarian objects. Using these almost universally recognizable items for art and performance enables a kind of storytelling or metaphor that is unique to each artist.
Lord Of The Rings’ fans have always been a bit eccentric but Utah based balloon artist Jeremy Telford has raised the bar by more than a few notches by constructing Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit house entirely out of balloons. The Tolkien super fan spent over 40 hours with swollen fingers creating the life size structure right in the middle of his living room using only a hand held balloon pump, his imagination, and a spiffy green vest to hold the balloons in. The structure comes complete with a fireplace filled with wood and flames, ornate chandelier, ceiling beams and closet doors that open and close! Watch a time lapse video after the jump of Telford in action as he creates the ultimate nerd shrine to Lord Of The Rings. (via)