Since my last post about Street Art Utopia’s “Best List” took off and caused a decent amount of response, I think it is important to involve the Cult’s own selection. Here you will find a carefully curated and crafted list of every imaginable kind of public form of expression and their respected historical contexts. More after the jump.
Glamorous and unique leather bibs and chest plates by fashion designer Kat Marks. Layers of color, angles, and curves give these accessories an Art Deco slant – set in some sleek distant sexy future. This series of photographs is called The Karass: For Anais (2011) by photographer Paul Hine.
For American Asylum, photographer Jeremy Harris captures the abandoned interiors of American mental institutions that operated during the 19th century. With the increased presence of psychiatric hospitals, the mid-1800s were characterized in part by a growing fear of the mentally ill. State-funded hospitals were often overcrowded, and there existed a widespread panic that sane people were being wrongfully institutionalized. Nearly two centuries later, Harris hauntingly presents these hospitals, these strange sites of psychological trauma, in decay.
Harris’s soft natural lighting is startling reminiscent of Francisco de Goya’s early 19th century painting The Madhouse. Emptied of its residents, the space seems darkly oppressive, colored in sickly greens and putrid browns. Shot with a profound depth of field, endless hallways house tiny rooms like some perverse dollhouse. The curved ceilings, now in ruin, frame the photographs in currents of claustrophobia.
Even in the shots in which we are offered some escape—the relief of an open door or wide-set window—viewers are compelled to stay within the confining space. Amidst chipped paint and rotting walls are signifiers of some ancient humanity, long forgotten by time: a rusted organ, a tilted chair, a message on the wall. The traces of life and bodies persist in old sinks and forgotten parcels. Somehow, these haunted spaces are beautiful, bathed in light. The people who lived here, once removed from and silenced by society, speak out in the ruins of the building that once contained them, as if to say, “This happened. We were here.” (via Lost at E Minor)
Dylan Shields, an artist based in London, creates sculptures that investigate the relationship between classical sculpture and contemporary materials.
The sculptures further explore and build upon the existent relationship between canonical works of art (in this case and its contexts within modern society by creating them out of cardboard, a relatively new (ish) material in the realm of art-making. He uses re-cycled cardboard and parcel tape to produce work that is at both familiar yet fresh by its original use of form and perspective.
“It has been a process of trial and error to perfect my style. One of the challenges of working with cardboard is the limitation of its flexibility. Also, sourcing the right colors has been difficult as I don’t paint the sculptures, so the colors have to come from the cardboard.”
Published in 1973, Arthur Tress‘ photo book, The Dream Collector, features visions of childhood dreams and nightmares. Tress began shooting these dream scenarios in the 1960s, first speaking with children about their dreams and nightmares, then staging an interpretation of the children’s visions via photography. During the 60s, staged photography was a rather new development within the photography medium; most photographers were taking shots on the streets. Over the next 20 years, Tress developed his trademark black and white, mythological, surreal photography. The Dream Collector collection represents Tress’ particular style while expressing “how the child’s creative imagination is constantly transforming his existence into magical symbols for unexpressed states of feeling or being.”
“The children would be asked means of acting out their visions or to suggest ways of making them into visual actualities,” Tress explains. “Often the location itself, such as an automobile graveyard or abandoned merry-go-round, would provide the possibility of dreamlike themes and spontaneous improvisation to the photographer and his subjects. In recreating these fantasies there is often a combination of actual dream, mythical archetypes, fairytale, horror movie, comic hook, and imaginative play. These inventions often reflect the child’s inner life, his hopes and fears…”
The atmosphere of Michael Alvarez’s artwork ranges from casual to epic in an insane sorta way. This guy for example looks like its about 10 feet tall. (Theres a photo on his website of someone standing next to it and he looks tiny!) But the intimacy of this work makes me feel like I might know him. Maybe its the subtle truths his work touches on. The glamour shot, The awesome kiss that turned out different on film. Are these culture specific? Alvarez’s work is very culturally charged, but I kinda feel like I share these ideas as well, and Im a frail, westside jew! So whats next for Michael Alvarez? Well, hes participating in a Street Fighter tribute show starting April 25th. Crazy world.
Flemish artist Filip Dujardin often uses digital manipulation to create not-so-unbelievable architectural fictions. Juxtaposing his Orwell-ian structures of corrugated metal against antiquated fireplaces he shines a rather dismal light on our architectural future. But, if there’s one thing HGTV has taught me it’s that with some new drapes and a fresh coat of paint nothing is impossible!