Safwat Saleem’sBunch of Crock project is a response to the current public discourse and the political landscape in the US. Being a Pakistani immigrant living in Arizona, Safwat has been inspired by both by his location and his experiences as an immigrant. His body of work includes beautifully designed prints, video installations, audio installations, and a game (aptly titled Fling Some Shit Game) . For more info visit his site and help him raise awarness about the absurdities of the political system and the unfortunate role of minorities.
I heard about a new public art installation called Event Horizon set to debut in the area around Madison Square Park in New York, so I decided to go check it out for myself, not simply because Event Horizon is one of my all time favorite horror flicks, but because it also sounded like an amazing way to spend a beautiful friday afternoon. English sculptor Antony Gormley cast 31 different molds of himself, and has placed them on a series of rooftop perches along the city skyline. There are supposed to be more of these naked men standing on the grounds of Madison Square Park and on the sidewalks in the surrounding area, but I could not find them when I was out and about. It was pretty cool to spot one of these guys from far away, but I’m not sure I would’ve noticed them if I wasn’t already looking. Nevertheless, very very cool. I dug a little deeper, and it turns out Gormley is an extremely accomplished artist, with museum shows all over the world, and several prominent public sculptures, including The Angel of the North located in Gateshead, England. He also won the Turner Prize in 1994, which if you didn’t know, is kind of a big deal. I strongly suggest going to check it out!
Toronto based artist Patrick Kyle is a fine artist and illustrator. He is also the co-founder and editor of Wowee Zonk (a comic book anthology featuring contemporary comic strips by up and coming artists).
Chuck Close is best known as a photorealist painter, but he is also interested in photography. Close achieved amazing results as a hyperrealist portrait painter working from gridded photographs. Suffering from a condition known as Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, Close is unable to recognize faces. Because of this condition Close was drawn to painting and photographing portraits. A seizure left him partially paralyzed in 1988 and after that he continued to paint, but had to adopt new techniques.
Recently Close created a series of portraits for Vanity Fair. Close decided to use poloroids so that his subjects could immediately see the image. After every shot he and his subject viewed the photograph so they could decide what to change for the next one. “No hair, no make-up, no wardrobe, comb your own hair,” were the guidelines Close gave his subjects. He didn’t want to produce “glamour shots,” and it was important that his subjects played an active role in the process, and moreover, that they trusted him. Seeking to show the “humanity” in each of his celebrity subjects Close wasn’t concerned about flattery or status, but rather with accuracy. The results are a series of distinguished and honest portraits. Check out the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair.
Flickr is a great home for internet rascals of the creative type. Cody Brant’s wonky but eye-catching collage art definitely fit the bill. The magic randomness of cutting and pasting then committing the arrangement to permanence with a glue stick!
“I’m just as fucked up as they say, I can’t fake the daytime, found an entrance to escape into the dark”, sang Emily Haines as Metric opened up with the first track, Artificial Nocturne from their newest record Synthetica. I doubt many of her fans would agree with her since the outpouring of love and excitement came as soon as the lights went down and didn’t let up for the whole show. I for one have been a huge fan of Metric’s music since I first saw them open up for fellow Canadians, Stars back in 2003 at the now closed Knitting Factory in Hollywood.
The laser light show over drummer Joules Scott-Key started when they played the title track Synthetica and as soon as the first notes for Dead Disco came on, the crowd jumped into a dance frenzy, not that it wasn’t before. While Emily is an amazing performer (I challenge anyone to do her trademark 80’s aerobic dancing for an hour and half), she has very few words for the crowd, that is until the encore. “I know it’s a cliche… moving out to CA to fulfill your dreams, but I’m so glad we did it… carrying gear when it’s not freezing cold… contrast to Canada… music trumps all the talking in the world.” With just James Shaw on acoustic, the pair ended with Gimme Sympathy which turned into a sing/clap-along as the rest of the band joined them onstage for the last half of the “lullaby”. Check out their new video for Breathing Underwater for a behind the scenes glimpse at what their Synthetica tour was like.
In thinking about time and the passage of it for the upcoming new year, I stumbled upon a really cool blog, Wachismo, that’s dedicated entirely to timekeeping pieces (clocks and the like.) He has a full section for memento moris clocks, a personal fascination of mine. The title translates literally to “Remember you must die,” and remind us of the iminence and swiftness of impending death. Yay! Some beautiful/strange/haunting clocks below.