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Mark Benson

Sculptor and all around funny guy Mark Benson uses the readymade  to make us think about success, failure, and what it means to encounter both.

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The Amazingly Expressive Origami Of Nguyen Hung Cuong

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Vietnamese paper artist Nguyễn Hùng Cường creates origami pieces in a style that is distinctively his own.  His pieces often begin with dó paper – a unique paper, made from the bark of the rhamnoneuron balansae, that is traditionally made throughout many of Vietnam’s villages.  Typically striving to create his work from only one sheet of paper, he has been known to often fold work from a single bill of Vietnamese money.  Nguyễn has been working in origami since he was just a small child creating his first original piece at ten years old.  [via]

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Mark McCloud, The World’s Leading Collector Of LSD ‘Blotter’

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At 13 Mark Cloud tried acid in Santa Barbara, an experience that merited the epic summation: “I was blind, but then I could see.”

It wasn’t until then, around 1968, that acid imagery became popular and McCloud started collecting and cataloguing the many acid stamps he encountered.

“At first I was keeping them in the freezer, which was a problem because I kept eating them,” McCloud explained to VICE, “but then the Albert Hofmann acid came out, and then I thought, Fuck, I’m framing this. That’s when I realized, Hey, if I try to swallow this I’ll choke on the frame.”

Today, Mark McCloud is the world’s leading collector of “Blotter Art” (the fancy way of saying that he collects the small, stamp-like papers that used to transport acid, or LSD). McCloud’s collection, one that is bigger and more varied that those owned by the FBI and DEA, is now hanging in his Victorian home in San Francisco- a home turned museum that you should definitely visit!

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Bruce Catalano’s Figurative Sculptures That Vanish In Space

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For his “Travelers” series, French artist Bruno Catalano sculpts human figures that contain missing pieces. Many of his bronze sculptures are missing a good portion of their torsos, asking the viewer to visually complete the sculptures using the space that surrounds them. The effect of his work varies with the location – a viewer could fill in the figures’ gaps with a variety of images the depend on the sculptures’ surrounding space, from the gallery to the park. Catalano creates an optical illusion, confronting the viewer with an image of impossibility that turns into intrigue. As a former sailor, Catalano has always been interested in the figure of the traveler. He says,

“I have travelled a lot and I left Morocco when I was 12 years old. I felt that a part of me was gone and will never come back. From years of being a sailor, I was always leaving different countries and places each time and it’s a process that we all go through. I feel like this occurs several times during life and of course everyone has missing pieces in his or her life that he wont find again. So the meaning can be different for everyone, but to me the sculptures represent a world citizen.”

Ten of Catalano’s sculptures can be found at the Port of Marseilles. (via the daily mail)

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Happy Thanksgiving From Beautiful/Decay!

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2009 has been a challenging year for all of us at Beautiful/Decay. We’ve switched formats, weathered the global financial meltdown, and moved to a new office (we’re almost unpacked!). Even with all these changes and challenges we have a lot to be thankful for. I wanted to take a second a our loyal and dedicated readers (that’s you!) for the constant feedback, participation, and support over the last year.

We have lots of exciting projects and ideas up our sleeves for the coming years and can’t wait to share them with all of you. Have a great thanksgiving everyone!

-Amir

ps. My mom cooks the meanest Tofurky ever. Thanks Mom!

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Worlds Largest Kaleidoscope Made Of Swarovski Crystals

Built in 1995 in the Austrian village of Wattens, Swarovski World is perhaps the worlds most unusual Flagship store/theme park. Designed by multimedia artist André Heller, the site features 14 underground chambers of wonder dedicated to the versatile artistic interpretation of the material crystal. The result is a universe of discoveries and a simply unique experience that is a must see for your next Austrian vacation.

Some of our favorite Attractions at Swarovski World include:

Crystal Dome: With 590 mirrors covering its walls, the Crystal Dome offers a kaleidoscope rich with colours: light is reflected in all facets. This breathtaking spectacle is stylishly accentuated with music by Brian Eno.

Mechanical Theater: The desire for transformation, passion and erotic fantasies excites people – and also the mechanical world of Jim Whiting. An Adonis and the graceful Walking Woman represent the male-female relationship and form the central motif of the British artist’s stomping, leaping installation. However, the mechanical theatre could also be described as a surreal fashion show in which rigid things suddenly spring to life and clothes fly and dance through the air as if by magic.

Crystaloscope: The crystaloscope is the biggest kaleidoscope in the world. Upon taking a look inside, the harmonizing power of crystal becomes perceivable to body and soul. The installation, designed by André Heller and therapist Peter Mandl, casts endless variations of images that appear from the ever emerging crystal formations.

Watch a video of Swarovski World and see more pictures after the jump! (via)

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Chris Haas Sculpts And Embellishes Animal Skulls Into Mystical, Dark Fantasy Creatures

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Chris Haas is a Colorado-based artist who creates otherworldly skulls embellished with bright paints and flowing sculptural details. Among his ever-growing collection are various mystical creations, from ghostly green bears to devilish, silver-violet rams. Haas has even fashioned his own hybrids, such as a deer skull with mask-like detailing, a fierce beak, and keen incisors. Eyes like fiery orbs or dark obsidian pools peer from cavernous sockets, engaging the viewer with an eerie, beyond-the-grave vitality. In a final gothic-esque touch, each creature is displayed on ornate wall mounts.

Haas’ work is not your typical taxidermy; his is a project of passion and immense imagination. His studio—pictures of which can be seen on his Facebook—looks like it was transported out of a dark fantasy novel. His style is distinct, blending childlike dream imagery with the aura of the mythical undead. Instilling each skull with its own character, he renews them with life while also attending to the faces of death with respect, curiosity, and creativity. Visit Haas’ website, Facebook page, and Instagram to see more of his remarkable creations.

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LA Artist Adi Putra’s Euphoric Images Of Youthful Bliss Save Us From Cold Season Melancholia

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Los Angeles based artist Adi Putra takes you to an ethereal dreamland embedded in enigma, euphoria and that quintessential Southern California aura of bliss. It is no mystery why he frequently works with musicians such as Moby, L.A. Witch, Kimbra and The Vivian Girls — his style is fluid, loud, reverberating and ultimately undeniably cool. His work acts as the embodiment of warmth and mischievous freedom. It is images like these that save our souls from wilting during these bleak and bone chilling winter months. In moments of cold season melancholia, Putra reminds us, through an alluring controlled chaos, what true creativity and passion feels like. With titles such as Spring Fever, Valley of the Wind, and Dreamcatcher, his work pictorially creates that undeniable feeling of youthful excitement. That one you get sitting on a porch, drinking a beer as the sun starts to rise, filled with a quiet thrill for what’s to come.  Almost like a vintage, punk rock Ryan McGinley, Putra is able to create striking images that demand attention through glorifying the beauty in youth and purity of nature. His work, romanticized with quiet tones of sepia matched with hints of ultraviolet hues of hippie energetic galore, hits every note aesthetically thrived for. Each piece is truly blissful, sinister and perfectly raw.

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