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Patrick Tsai’s Modern Times In China

Ever see something bizarre during your daily routine? It may make you laugh, cry, or make you scratch your head. Later in the day you try to tell friends about what you saw but somehow something gets lost in the translation.  Patrick Tsai’s Modern Times series manages to capture those very moments for all of us to enjoy.

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Brian Kokoska’s Ghost Faces

I’m loving the clunky and awkward ghost faced figures in Brian Kokoska’s paintings.

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Chad Kouri: Renaissance Man

Chad Kouri always dreamed of being a designer, and he took the first major step towards making that dream a reality with a freelance gig at the age of sixteen.  Ten years later, he has become what some refer to as a cultural engineer.  A founding member of the Chicago-based art and design incubator, The Post Family, previous Art Director of Proximity Magazine and recognition as one of Chicago’s Newcity Breakout Artists of 2010 are only a few of his numerous accomplishments.  Kouri has been involved with more than thirty different projects over the last two years, and shows no signs of slowing down.  For many, there is still a huge chasm between the worlds of design and fine arts, but this distinction is of no interest to Chad Kouri.  Un-phased, he continues to breakdown the walls attempting to separate the two industries.  A recent collaboration with artists Stephen Eichhorn and Cody Hudson at the Patty and Rusty Rueff Gallery marks his first foray into exhibiting at an institutional level, but with an upcoming solo show at the Rochester Museum of Fine Art slated for the winter of 2012 it will obviously not be his last.  Kouri describes his practice as having, “equal interests in conceptual art, consumer culture, typography, design, jazz and the gray areas between these fields, my body of work is more a collection of various ongoing projects, thoughts and experiments tied together by a strong sense of composition, concise documentation and an overall vibe of optimism than a seamless display of a style or genre.”  I am excited to watch this process evolve, and I wish him good luck for the future – but somehow I don’t think he’ll need it.

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Rebecca Drolen’s Photographs Of Hair Explore Death And Femininity In Striking New Ways

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In Hair Pieces, the photographer Rebecca Drolen examines the relationship between human beings and our hair, highlighting the impulse to deem body hair beautiful or strange. Inspired by what she calls the “archival” power of hair to outlive the rest of the human body, Drolen engages with hair pieces in comical and yet starkly emotional narratives. In the striking series, human hair transforms from ornamentation to elixir to parasite, creating a poignant work that elevates the mundane to the transcendent.

With clever titles like Hair Tie and Ear Hair, Drolen’s images read in part as a modern take on 1960s feminist photography; her carefully staged self-portraits are shot in black and white, revealing the rich grays of her vintage garments, retro decor, and and outdated shears. The home serves as the backdrop to the artist’s exploration of a more domestic femininity. In turn, the luxurious tresses and the house engage in both harmonious and conflicting dialogues: expertly styled hair dresses the windows in one image, yet in another, it uncontrollably discharges from the bathtub drain.

In her apparent nod to both women’s and photographic history, Drolen addresses the association between hair and death, or the ability of hair to document and catalog human existence. Hair fills the medicine cabinet as if promising to cure disease; it covers a foggy, indefinitely seen window to a mysterious space beyond. Like relics of years gone by, hair hangs on a wall, labeled and numbered by tally marks. Without a hint of sentimentality, a pair of shears and a head of hair lay side by side on a cleared out bed, evocative of an individual’s absence and passing. Take a look. (via Lenscratch)

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Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work takes viewers on a year long ride with Joan Rivers, the comic legend who broke barrier after barrier for female comedians and paved the way for the likes of Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman, and Tina Fey. As the story unravels, Mrs. Rivers talks frankly about how she got into show biz, the ups and downs of the industry, being banned by NBC late night for life, and how she will even do adult diaper & penis enlargement commercials for cold, hard cash. At the young age of 75 it seems that Joan Rivers has the energy and drive of a 25 year old, rarely stopping to catch her breath in between interviews, writing and acting in a play about her life, doing midwest comedy tours, and starring in (and winning) Celebrity Apprentice.

Next time you feel too old, uninspired, or just plain lazy, go watch this documentary for a swift kick in the ass. Joan River’s drive to keep doing what she loves until she drops dead is nothing but awe inspiring. I work harder than the average joe but walking out of the theater I felt like I had to run straight to my studio and go on a painting rampage for the next 6 months. In short Joan Rivers is a rude, crude, ass-kicking comic genius and my new personal hero.

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Jonah Freeman And Justin Lowe’s Meth Lab And Space Retreat Installations

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Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s Black Acid Co-op is a large scale installation of contrasting rooms and objects. The space is accessed through a large hole in the wall in the gallery space, requiring viewers of the work to physically climb through the entrance in order to experience it. While some space is sparse and empty, with evidence of abandonment and decay, others resemble a meth lab, a foreign shop, and a space of retreat. All spaces recontextualize the idea of installation space as a place of continual decay and renewal, calling upon viewers to directly engage with the various spaces. Deitch Projects commissioned this particular piece that was available for viewing in 2009.

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Christo Dagorov’s Drawings Transform Lips Into Surreal Landscapes

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Swiss artist and illustrator Christo Dagorov’s series Lips features surreal drawings of – you guessed it – human lips. Although they mimic the shape, Dagorov transforms them with textures that you wouldn’t see on someone’s face. The artist uses pencil to create a forest, prison, and even a group of naked bodies.

If the series wasn’t titled Lips, there’s a chance you might not realize that they are the subject of Dagorov’s drawings. He covers their supple surface with his own imagination and effectively turns them into tiny landscapes with short, narrative tales. But, because know they are intended as lips, it adds another layer of intrigue. These images represent a story that’s being told and a visual way to signify words coming off lips. (Via Colossal)

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Colorful Pizzas Aren’t The Kind You’d Ever Want To Eat

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The iconic pizza pie gets a fun twist in this series titled Pizza Is the New Black by the Paris design studio called Black Pizza. It features 10 different iterations of the dish, all set in a different color and that use some food as well as inanimate objects. Designers had the help of Chef Julie Bassett with support from Erwan Fichou, and together the team came up with “pizzas” that included pacifiers, ping pong balls, iPhone cases, and more on them. The dough was even dyed to match the color scheme. It all results in these visually appetizing images that are beautiful if not slightly repulsive.

Black Pizza describes the project, saying, “In a riotous culinary color scheme, Black Pizza pays tribute to the pizza, the symbol of sharing and pop culture.” The entire project only took a couple of days. (Via Miss Asphixia and UFunk)

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