HUH. ONE is a black and white zine released by HUH Magazine of an edition of one hundred. I have to say the photography featured in this zine is really awesome. Photographers include Chad Moore, Dana Goldstein, Gavin Watson, Jerry Hsu, Jonnie Craig, Kathy Lo, Lele Saveri, Patrick Griffin, Pawel Jaszczuk, Peter Sutherland, Sean Vegezzi, Bea Fremderman, Paul Herbst, Seth Fluker, Patrick Tsai and Young Kyu Yoo. Head over to their website to get a limited copy.
The legendary photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, previously featured here and now on view at LA’s Jack Ruthberg Gallery, weaves strange erotic narratives through his staged images, some of which take weeks to complete. His body of work reads like a love poem to the grotesque, transforming what society deems taboo into miraculously beautiful scenes.
Witkin’s images avoid judging the body, opting instead to reveal mankind’s universal but most private erotic yearnings and fears. In his reinterpretation of Canova’s famously sensual yet demurely reclining Venus, for example, naked male genitalia slip from cover as if by accident, the organ poignantly vulnerable, delicate, and human, seemingly caught between erection and flaccidity.
Sexual hunger again becomes the subject of another image that seems to deconstruct Romantic paintings like Theodore Gericault’s The Raft of The Medusa, famed for its haunting depiction of dead, drowning flesh. Here, a suspenseful, tragic rescue effort is transformed into a sort of desperate orgie on the verge of climax; a pair of heaving breasts is grabbed like melons.
The erotic, though filled with the dangers of physical and spiritual nakedness, is often elevated to the divine. A shirtless woman, her breasts bared, inserts her finger into a book much like the Virgin Mary in Renaissance paintings of the Annunciation. In these photographs, nuns pose alongside nudes, and horns (symbolic of lust) are merged with crowns of thorns (symbolic of Christ)
The gorgeous set of images challenge societal ideas of social acceptability, implying that the most exquisite beauty is often found in our most frightfully private moments of lust and longing. Within all of us, lies erotic impulses that can manifest in magical and dangerous ways. Be sure to check out Witkin’s work at Jack Ruthberg Gallery, where he will exhibit alongside his long-estranged brother, the legendary painter Jerome Witkin. (via Lenscratch and Etherton Gallery)
Images of John Malkovich dressed as Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol have been circulating the Internet the past few days. Although we’ve all been marveling at the actor’s ability to recreate these iconic images, I decided to dig a little deeper.
The Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich series (to be exhibited at Catherine Edelman Gallery November 7th) is as impressive as it is enjoyable; not only does Malkovich do a spectacular job of impersonating the (almost) inimitable celebrities, Sandro Miller should also be given credit for imitating each distinct style of photography. Anneliese Cooper points out in her article for Art Info that Malkovich possesses some amorphous quality with the ability to personify almost anyone, even though his facial features are rather unmistakable. She identifies – as the Millers series implies in name as well – that the film Being John Malkovich (written by Charlie Kauffman) somehow predicted or identified this inherent chameleon character of Malkovich.
What you probably have not seen, are Millers original portraits of Malkovich. They demonstrate the actor’s unbelievable ability to transform, and also Miller’s skillful curation of props and scenes to offer Malkovich the opportunity to express such a broad range of emotion. Malkovich’s emotional vocabulary spans disparity, rage, nonchalance, and a slew of other expressions that honestly, cannot be summed in a single word.
William Irving Singer, based in Detroit, draws his biggest creative influences from the historical architecture around him. His work approaches classical painting and portraiture with vibrant color choices and vigorous brushwork.
New York sculptor Thomas Doyle works in miniature, creating detailed scenes capturing specific moments in his tiny people’s lives. Some of these moments are rather mundane, while others are epically dramatic. What all these sculptures share however, is best put in Doyle’s words:
The pieces’ radically reduced scales evoke feelings of omnipotence—as well as the visceral sensation of unbidden memory recall. Hovering above the glass, the viewer approaches these worlds as an all-seeing eye, looking down upon landscapes that dwarf and threaten the figures within.
Conversely, the private intensity of moments rendered in such a small scale draws the viewer in, allowing for the intimacy one might feel peering into a museum display case or dollhouse. Though surrounded by chaos, hazard, and longing, the figures’ faces betray little emotion, inviting viewers to lose themselves in these crucibles—and in the jumble of feelings and memories they elicit.
Usually I don’t get too excited about shows on PBS but I have to say that Art:21 is by far the best thing i’ve ever watched on public television. If you’re not familiar with the show, Art: 21 is the only prime time show dedicated exclusively to contemporary artists. Each season follows 14 of the biggest names in the art world as they walk you through their conceptual process, studio practice and share rare behind the scenes footage of work in progress. Some of my favorite episodes from previous seasons include the legendary interview with Barry Mcgee and his wife Margaret Kilgallen and LA painter Lari Pittman. This is a must see show for anyone interested in the international contemporary art world.
Stephanie Davidson’s works are, for lack of a better word, super bratty. Like she totally knows it, too. It’s loaded with post-modern irony lost in the throes of youthful know-it-allness. (My Swedish friend calls them: Besser-Vissers. Better knowers? I always liked this invented word.) It’s kinda like wearing a scrunchie and reading the Babysitter’s Club while blasting Boyz II Men just for the kicks of a patronizingly late 90’s obtuse reference, regardless of how little I actually like it. Or, like staring into a gradient-laden orb slowly rotating a white wizzard in the middle of space. (PS thanks to Jason Redwood for the link.)
Interested in landscapes, San Francisco artist Jenny Odell spends quite a bit of time looking at places viewed from above on Google Maps. Searching for industrial forms and shapes that, when combined create an unusual and striking kind of landscape. Odell then creates digital prints, the likes of which have even been exhibited in the Google Maps headquarters. Of her work Odell says:
“Much of the strangest architecture associated with humanity is infrastructural. We have vast arrays of rusting cylinders, oil rigs dotting wastelands like lonely insects, and jewel-toned, rhomboid ponds of chemical waste. We have gray and terraced landfills, 5-story tall wastewater digester eggs, and striped areas of the desert that look as though they rendered incorrectly until we realize that the lines are made of thousands of solar panels. Massive cooling towers of power plants slope away from dense, unidentifiable networks on the ground and are obscured in their own ominous fog. If there is something unsettling about these structures, it might be that they are deeply, fully human at the same time that they are unrecognizably technological. These mammoth devices unblinkingly process our waste, accept our trash, distribute our electricity. They are our prostheses. They keep us alive and able, for a minute, to forget the precariousness of our existence here and of our total biological dependence on a series of machines, wires, and tubes, humming loudly in some far off place.”
Drawing attention to our dependent, but odd relationship with this infrastructure Odell is also exploring what it has to reveal about our habits, patterns and the elements of our everyday life. She is also interested in viewing this infrastructure in a way where it takes on the quality of being the remains from a time and civilization gone by. In other words, her images take on “tragic air: they look already like dinosaurs, like relics of a failed time from the perspective of a time when we will know better—or when we are no longer here.”