Have you heard the news? Beautiful/Decay Book 1 is almost sold out! There are only 75 copies of this limited edition bad boy left. After Book 1 sold out on the online shop, we felt sorry for all you readers who didn’t get a chance to snap up your very own copy! So, out of the goodness of our hearts, we put the last 75 copies of Beautiful/Decay left on this earth(!) for sale again! You get a real bang for your buck- at just $20 a pop, you get an original artwork by Kyle Thomas, a one-of-a-kind sticker, and of course, 165 pages of glossy artist interviews and spreads!
USA. San Francisco, California. 1977. “My life is personal, but I will tell you one thing I’m too fat.”
USA. San Francisco. 1981. Untitled. Goldstines. “My wife is acceptable. Our relationship is satisfactory.” Edgar G “Edgar looks splendid here. His power and strength of character come through. He is a very private person who is not demonstrative of his affection; that has never made me unhappy. I accept him as he is. We are totally devoted to each other. Dear Jim: May you be as lucky in marriage!” Regina Goldstine
USA. San Francisco. 1977. “I love the picture. I am a homosexual. May be if I send one of the pictures you gave me, Jim, to my nephew he will understand how hard his uncle is struggling.”
From 1977 through 1985, Photographer Jim Goldberg took documentary-style pictures of transients in the Mission District and well-off San Franciscans in their homes and had the subjects write on their portraits. The combination of text and image is still incredibly intimate, even in this age of Instagram and Facebook. The dichotomy between the affluent and the destitute is obvious, yet the universality of the emotions the writers share is striking: pain, loneliness, disappointment, joy, security, contentment.
“I think my outrage about the desperation of the poor — and the dissatisfaction of the rich — stemmed in part from my belief that they represented a derogation from that path, a veering off course that had to be rooted out and documented.”
The combination of image and text is what makes this series so arresting and raw, but at the time of its initial publication in 1985 it was a radical decision, derided in a New York Times review as “a sad lack of trust on Mr. Goldberg’s part in both the power of his photographs to speak for themselves and in his viewers to understand them without comment.” Contemporary artists such as Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York, have taken this format and breathed new life into it through its immediate dissemination on the Internet.
Out of print since 1985, Jim Goldberg’s Rich and Poor has been completely re-designed and expanded by the artist for Steidl. Available for the first time in hardcover, Rich and Poor builds upon the classic combination of photographs and handwriting and adds a surplus of vintage material and contemporary photographs that have never been published or exhibited. (Source)
What comes across in these images is the shocking discrepancy of material goods and environments. The writings expose an expanded truth, though. There is obvious inequality in education and writing ability, leading to the impression that the poor suffer more than the rich. And that may be true in some ways — lack of opportunities, healthcare, and hope are all devastating. Pain is pain, though, and suffering is universal, as is love and gratitude. These portraits—touching, tender, hopeless, and sad—speak to our commonalities, as relevant in 2014 as in 1985.
The first quality one may see in the brightly-colored, bent steel pieces by Rana Begum is the potential to shift based on perspective. From one angle, viewers will be confronted by a flat, monochromatic shape jutting from the wall, while another view offers more intricate geometric patterns spreading across several pieces. This is the legacy of Sol Lewitt, Donald Judd or Agnes Martin – to take the simplest shapes and through color, form and collection, imbue them with complexity and depth. As Begum explains, “Its so beautiful the way the simple form and shape can be repeated to create a space like that”
Though Begum lists these more modern artists as influences, theBangladeshi-born, London-based artist also explains that the Aniconism (belief in avoiding/outlawing representations of divine beings, prophets or any human beings in religious imagery) traditions of Islam were equally influential. This tradition was responsible for the exquisite geometric and intensely detailed works seen in classical Islamic architecture, a connection which is apparent in Begum’s deceptively simple works. “For me, architecture evokes memories of reading the Quran as a child in a mosque in Bangladesh,” said Begum in an interview with Surface Magazine’s Marina Cashdan, “which was bare, simple, and had a lot of light coming in through the windows.” This shifting imagery can be seen in her works, where repetition and simplistic elements collectively offer complexity.
Begum’s most recent works often uses paint on Origami-like, bent mild steel and powder-coated aluminum, but she has also begun using brass and copper as a base for her wall sculptures. “[They are] materials I spent a long time researching and I’m excited to use them for this show,” she says. “They bring an extra dimension to the works” (via wallpaper* and surface)
Kilian Rüthemann was born in 1979 in Bütschwil, St. Gallen, Switzerland. Kilian always engages with the given situation of an exhibition space. He investigates the architectural and spatial qualities and in a surprising manner and makes precise, generally minimal interventions into the existing structure. Pretty neat.
What happens when a classic Victorian illustrator lives through poverty, World War I, and the deaths of a sister, mother, and wife; all in the space of a few years? Louis Wain (1860-1939) has become a famous case study in mental illness. Wain, who became famous in the early twentieth-century for his pioneering, whimsical illustrations of anthropomorphic cats, suffered a mental breakdown at the age of 64, and spent the remaining 15 years of his life in various mental institutions. The Chris Beetles Gallery of London recently exhibited a host of works from various points in his career.
Ian Pfaff’s demo reel is a classic. In my mind, the guy nailed it. While partying really, really, hard while on spring break, Ian multitasks by writing, editing, directing, animating, building props, and making music. All around killer.
The porcelain sculptures of Jason Briggs make you want to touch them..in private. Blatantly provocative, Briggs takes all the sexual organs and orafices on the male and female body and fuses them into a protruding grotesque beauty. He touches on things that keep the human race alive. The forbidden fruits of procreation which everyone thinks about but rarely speaks about. Since he uses porcelain the pieces take on an eerie realism which make them appear more flesh like. In some cases they give off bondage signals which is metaphorically correct. You are bonded to the person you are having sex with. The other interesting thing about the work is the intellectual interpretation. This could be met with repulsion to some since mind and body don’t always fuse together, though they should. In his statement, he discusses the obvious but also explains that his interest is in the desire itself more than the fulfillment of it. This might also explain the enlarged forms which make up the work. These pieces according to Briggs usually appear larger than life when living only in the mind. Through his work he tries to make light of this and understand it better.