Francine Spiegl is kind of like the painterly female counterpart to Paul McCarthy’s chocolatey, syrupy, Santa, violent, chopping, dripping, slopping performances. In fact, for her upcoming exhibition “Mud and Milk” at Deitch projects, Spiegel created a massive performance that called for “10 pounds of grits, 5 jugs of pancake syrup, 10 squirt bottles of grape jelly, 5 bottles of Pepto-Bismol, 20 buckets of tempura paint, 20 cans of whipped cream; plus silly string, shaving cream, Fruit Loops, flour, Kool-Aid, glitter, pie, marshmallow Fluff, fake arms, fake blood and chocolate syrup.” These ingredients were researched and taken from Fangoria Magazine’s behind the scene horror movie ingredients.
Fiona Rae has developed a complex, powerful and highly individual body of work. Employing a battery of painterly marks, graphic signs and symbols, her paintings explore the profusion of our visual and material culture and take us on an exhilarating ride through the possibilities of paint. In recent work the mood is ambiguous – flowers, hearts and cartoon characters might imply a sweet, almost cloying world, yet Rae’s dark and brooding palette, combined with virtuoso washes and veils of paint, evoke dissolution and decay. The paintings seem to suggest the seductions, contradictions and disappointments of contemporary life and culture.
In Mongolia, where the weight of tradition and Soviet rule still hang heavy, it is considered dangerously taboo to be a homosexual. Gays, lesbians, and transsexuals must keep their identities secret, often secluding themselves or participating in prostitution, in an attempt to safeguard their lives against violence and discrimination. In 2011, photographer Álvaro Laiz decided to capture the secret lives of these Mongolians in his series “Transmongolian.” Laiz initially traveled to Mongolia because he was interested in how the country’s newly opened borders affected the population, with the tradition of Mongolian culture meeting with Western influences from the outside. His research led him to connections with transgender individuals whose stories he decided to document with his photography.
Laiz captures these ostracized Monogolians conducting their day-today lives alongside images of them in traditional Mongolian queen costumes. Laiz’s Mongolian series is the first of a larger project exploring transgender people in societies across the world. (via huffington post)
The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles has not one, but two very appealing magic-related exhibitions opening April 28. The first, Houdini: Art and Magic, travels to us from New York. Featuring tons of Houdini-ana, the exhibition looks not only at the historical Harry Houdini, but also at his enduring legacy. To that end, the exhibition includes a number of artworks by contemporary artists inspired by the Houdini legend, including such luminaries as Matthew Barney, Petah Coyne, Vik Muniz and Raymond Pettibon. The Skirball has created a second exhibition to give context to Houdini. This is called Masters of Illusion: Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age, and it focuses on Houdini’s predecessors, colleagues and competitors in both Europe and the US, focusing on the years 1875 to 1948. The exhibition examines more than 40 fascinating careers, largely forgotten, and contains many outstanding objects, all displayed in “period” environments meant to evoke vaudeville stages, Victorian magic parlors and the like. Both exhibitions feature vintage photography, gorgeous promotional ephemera, original props and costumes, and rare documents, and Masters of Illusion includes four renowned automata.
Jon Rafman has been featured a few times on Beautiful/Decay, but this time it is for his 9-eyes blog curation project. It’s named 9-eyes for the camera Google Maps uses to create ‘Street View’, and he has managed to find some very captivating images. Each one holds mystery, as you wonder how such a moment might have been captured. Some are more easily explained than others, of course, such as the blue car run into a ditch. Others are not so much mysterious as seemingly improbable or exciting (how did it happen that the monkey looked straight at the camera just as the Google Van rolled by?) The most interesting, though, are the ones for which you cannot find an explanation. Here is where your imagination runs free, and the magic happens. This is because of the uniformity of the format, and our familiarity with Google ‘Street View’.
It is understood that Google ‘Street View’ photographs are taken by a camera atop a van as it journeys across the world. It is firmly stationed in reality. Still, we are provided with these surreal images, captured entirely by chance. It’s exciting, and creates wonder in the viewer to see something that is difficult to imagine could be real, yet seemingly must be, because it’s actually less believable that it isn’t. Having seen Donnie Darko, I can’t help but imagine that the watery trail left behind the vehicle in the second picture is that same kind of time path. Obviously it is not, but what makes these images so exceptional is that they did happen, whether by error or by some means outside our rational understanding, and so we are allowed to let ourselves imagine how they’ve come to be. It’s the closest we come to objective documentation of the world we live in, and it still manages to be surprising without our purposeful interference.
Dissolving Europe is the latest public art intervention series by Berlin-based street artist Vermibus. Using a hacked inter-rail ticket, he has been traveling Europe with an extensive set of billboard-lock keys, using them to illegally access print billboards and advertisement frames. Once opened, he uses various solvents and paints to alter the images, sometimes removing them entirely, and even cutting and pasting others. this process destroys and beautifies, blurring the already transgressive line of advert-hacking public art interventions. The artist states, “By using the advertising space and how the human figures are represented in that space, Vermibus is removing the masks that we wear and is criticizing advertisement which takes away a person’s identity to replace it by the one of the brand.”
Continued from his website, documenting the process, “Vermibus regularly collects advertising posters from the streets, using them in his studio as the base material for his work. There, a process of transformation begins. Using solvent, he brushes away the faces and flesh of the models appearing in the posters as well as brand logos. Once the transformation is complete, he then reintroduces the adverts back into their original context, hijacking the publicity, and its purpose.” (via lizartblog)
We all need a bit of inspiration every once in a while. Whether you’re having a bad day in the studio or looking to add some art into your life the Beautiful/Decay Book series is the ultimate collection of art & design curated by us for you to enjoy. So get creative, get inspired, and join us in our mission to document, promote, and share the best creative minds from around the world. In other words join the cult of decay and subscribe now!
Artist Hoang Tran creates your favorite pop-culture characters, from The Simpson’s to the Ninja Turtles, all out of wax…but not just any wax. Tran carves each character from a jumbo-sized crayon! That’s right, each intricately and meticulously detailed character is carved from your everyday Crayola crayon…the same crayons that you used to make your own “masterpiece” with at age three. Each pop-culture icon is carved from the color in which it dominantly possesses, but also has hints of other colors that make up the finishing touches of the character. To do this, Tran melts different colored waxes, or crayons, and then applies the melted pigment onto the finest details of his creations. The amazing detail speaks wonders about the talent and patience the artist must have in order to master such a painstaking craft.
What is so wonderful about this artist’s crayon creatures is that only half of the wax is carved. The other side of the crayon is left intact, Crayola wrapper and all! Tran creates all sorts of characters such as Batman, Gizmo, Spongebob and Cookie Monster. He even carves out real life people such as Conan O’Brian. This series, appropriately titled Wax Nostalgic, is chalk full of infamous characters. It is a nostalgic dream. If you are a Star Wars fan, Tran has transformed a crayon into every character from this classic film from Hans Solo to Princess Leia. This impressive little treasures can be found on Hoang Tran’s website, or his Etsy site, where you can have get crayon characters for yourself. (via Inkult Magazine)