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The Luminaria’s Colorful and Inflatable Architecture

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Luminaria by Architects of Air is a touring inflatable structure.  The ‘building’ has made stops internationally since 1992.  Visitors to the Luminaria remove their shoes and enter an air lock.  Once through the airlock visitors are free to roam the structure.  The Luminaria is built of inflated PVC.  Sunlight from outside shines through the various colors of PVC creating an otherworldly glow.  The highly saturated colors coupled with the gently curving walls and floor give the Luminaria a subtle biological nature.  Interestingly one visitor describes the structure as ” Somewhere between a womb and a cathedral.”

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Teri Haven’s Intimate Photographs Expose The Lives Of The Squatter Community In Slab City

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Texas born artist, Teri Haven, documents a collective of outsiders in her series, The Last Free Place. Her photographs seem to capture moments from another era, or perhaps, where time in of itself has ceased to exist. Haven spent three years, 2006 – 2008, living part-time in a squatters community in southern California known as Slab City. Beautifully cinematic, her images draw parallels to Harmony Korine’s Gummo, acting as the aesthetic truth behind his fiction. The carnival-reminiscent, dream land of Slab City is a barren landscape located in between the Salton Sea (a man-made lake accidentally created in 1905) and an active bombing site. Beginning shortly after World War II, Slab City became a safe haven for “drifters, dropouts, artists, outlaws and other cultural dissidents who settle alongside the addicted and the elderly.” During her time spent amongst the Slab City dwellers, Haven set out to document the struggle that exists between the boundaries of freedom and isolation. Each portrait reflects its own unique identity, as the inhabitants of Slab City seem to have created personal selfhood through means alien to societal norms. She states:

“Slab City is a collection of fiercely independent, utterly original individuals. Cast out of, or just drifting away from, the “American Dream,” they come here seeking freedom from rules, rent, and the assaults of a society often unsympathetic to the underclass. Some are victims of poverty, of bad choices and bad luck. Others have renounced the “material world,” refusing to trade their time for money; many simply yearn for the sense of freedom that comes from vast open spaces. And though desert life can be extremely harsh, and in truth there is little freedom in poverty, here they find love and strength within a community that accepts and nurtures the individuality of its members.”

 

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Cinta Vidal Agullo’s Surreal Paintings Of Maze-Like Everyday Scenes

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Cinta Vidal Agulló‘s paintings depict a topsy turvy yet mundane world. There’s a dream-like quality to her work, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and remarking on the various jars of marmalade. With a background in painting backdrops for the theater, Agullo excels and creating immersive worlds that, though they have an M.C. Escher-esque sense of physics, seem like they are a part of real life.
In an interview with Hi-Fructose, Agullo says:
With these un-gravity constructions, I want to show that we live in one world, but we live in it in very different ways – playing with everyday objects and spaces, placed in impossible ways to express that many times, the inner dimension of each one of us does not match the mental structures of those around us. The architectural spaces and day-to-day objects are part of a metaphor of how difficult it is to fit everything that shapes our daily space: our relationships, work, ambitions, and dreams.”
Agullo’s paintings are lushly illustrated like one of Graeme Base’s children’s books, almost playful in the way they explore the spatial and emotional connections between the tiny figures that inhabit them. Though they are definitely surreal, we’re invited to imagine how the different parts of each painting might fit together, like the puzzle pieces of our everyday lives.
What are the relationships between the people in her paintings? We can’t tell for certain, but it’s clear that the orbit around each other or, at the very least, they are neighbors in the same world — if not the same reality. (via Hi-Fructose)

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Liza Lou’s Incredible Sculptures And Room Sized Installations Created Out Of Beads

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Liza Lou - installation

Photo Credit: Tom Powell

Photo Credit: Tom Powell

Liza Lou’s art making process seems a bit obsessive, to say the least.  She first came on the art radar when she exhibited Kitchen (1991-96), at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.  A 168 sq. ft. beaded “kitchen” that took five years to create and incorporated 30 million beads, Lou created the ultimate homage to the domestic.  The space contained beaded walls, tables, cereal boxes, etc. –everything created from glass beads.

In 2002, at age 32, Lou was awarded the MacArthur “genius” award.  In 2005 she founded a collective with Zulu artisans in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  Although she doesn’t incorporate specifically African beadwork tradition, she finds within it a commonality in the process of working with beads.  Creating her works becomes a kind of meditation—the final products representing the impossibility of perfection—something Lou refers to as “the culpability of craft.”

Much less showy and, if not for the same medium, actually completely different, I am actually more drawn to Lou’s recent works.  Minimalist and hauntingly beautiful, they appear to be Agnes Martin’s, or Ellsworth Kelly’s re-imagined as beaded canvases.  And because of the beads there is a delicate, feminine sensibility to them.  They walk the line between fine art and craft without needing to be one or the other.  With them, Lou has fully embraced her method as meditation, placing process over content (although the final products are still pretty wonderful).

 

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The Big Whales!

Shay Church’s massive sculptures are made using wooden armatur and wet clay and sand. Absolutely amazing!

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The Beautiful/Decay 50% Off Sale Starts Today!

BD-SALE2This Thanksgiving we wanted to thank all of our loyal followers for supporting us over the last 20 years! To give thanks we’ve made it easy for you to save big without having to leave the comfort of your home so you can spend more time with friends and family. Between Thursday November 26th until Midnight Monday the 30th everything on the Beautiful/Decay shop is 50% off! Use discount code holiday50 to get all our books, magazines, artist posters, shirts and accessories at half the price. We have limited quantities of everything and will not be restocking any sold out products so act fast to take advantage of this rare holiday sale!

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11-Year-Old Prodigy Draws Astounding Natural Scenes

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In his first eleven years of life, the Serbian artist Dušan Krtolica has already exhibited his drawings at two nation-wide solo shows. He began his drawing career at two-years-old, displaying an astounding visual ability; since then, the prodigy has focussed his efforts on depicting wildlife and natural worlds, both existing and extinct. As with the notebooks of Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, Krtolica’s pages are filled to their edges with rich anatomical and zoological studies. Though passionate about drawing, the fifth-grader hopes someday to pursue his passion for animals by becoming a zoologist.

Krtolica’s drawings magically marry a childlike sense of wonder with a more seasoned visual precision; though startlingly detailed and studiously seen, his work maintains a frenetic and unabashed curiosity. His ocean floors and vast jungles are seemingly blessed with creatures of different periods, as if more mature and evolved animals could intermingle with primordial beasts. The bodies of animals overlap in the midst of a wonderful chaos, and an armed knight is envisioned with the same degree of specificity as a tiny beetle.

Though powerfully scientific and unfalteringly observant, Krtolica’s images contain within their borders an ineffable quality of life and vitality, as seen through the rubbing of hybrid wings, the weaving of a spider web. The artist possesses both the awe-filled eye of a child and the technical ability to render his imaginings on paper, and that is a truly magical combination indeed. Take a look. (via Demilked)

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Steve Lambert’s Political Signage At Charlie James Gallery

Just in time for the election season Steve Lambert brings his iconic signage based sculptures to Los Angeles for It’s Time To Fight, And It’s Time To Stop Fighting, opening at Charlie James Gallery on September 15th.

The centerpiece of Lambert’s upcoming show is Capitalism Works For Me! True/False (pictured above), which is on a nationwide tour of museums, non-profits and public spaces in 2011 and 2012. The sign has been exhibited in Cleveland, Boston, San Diego, and Santa Fe, NM so far this year, and its travels will continue after the gallery show concludes in October. The Capitalism project is among Lambert’s most ambitious to date, in both its scale and its level of provocation. The sign itself blares a question seldom posed so clearly, while also serving to divine public opinion and understanding about capitalism. At every stop on the sign’s aforementioned tour, Lambert interviews viewers about their experience of the piece, posing whether capitalism does in fact ‘work for them’. These video-captured testimonials illustrate how people define and understand capitalism, and their relationship to it.

Lambert will also present five new sign sculptures that amplify the question(s) posed in Capitalism. If the Capitalism project asks its question to the ‘man on the street’, this group of five new sign sculptures speaks directly to the demographic of people equipped to acquire them. Reflecting a fresh awareness that a broad swath of corporate and individual 1%-ers have collected his work over three years of gallery and art fair exhibitions, Lambert has decided to create visual reminders, admonitions, and encouragements to those in positions to collect the work.

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