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Dan Kopp

Juicy fluid paintings by Dan Kopp currently on view at Bryan Miller Gallery in Houston Texas.

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Jelly That Makes Electronic Sounds

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NOISY JELLY from Raphaël Pluvinage on Vimeo.

Designer Raphaël Pluvinage has designed an innovative way for you to play two things you were taught not to: food and electricity.  His prototype “game” is appropriately named Noisy Jelly.  “Players” first mold jelly using various provided molds and colors.  The jelly is then placed on a board that is connected to a computer.  Touching the jelly produces a fun array of sounds.  Different tones are produced depending on the size and shape of the jelly, the salt content of each mold (determined by the color), as well as where and how the jelly is touched.  Check out the video to hear the noisy jelly.

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The Goth-Tinged Sounds Of Los Angeles Band Cold Showers

Photo by Virgina Van Zandt

Check out the smoky, goth-tinged new video by Los Angeles’ own Cold Showers that premiered earlier this week on Noisey. “BC” directed by Brian Davila is “an homage to films such as The Hunger, Society, and Night Of The Comet”. Their debut LP Love and Regret is out now on Dais Records and they’ll be heading out on the road with Veronica Falls starting in March of next year. You can also catch them in Los Angeles with Black Marble at the Echo for Part Time Punks on Feb. 24th, 2013.

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Larissa Haily Aguado’s Hand-Crafted Collages In the Digital Age

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Given the prevalence of new technologies and the endless possibilities associated with digital programs, it is no surprise that most contemporary artists working in collage seldom create works entirely by hand. To Argentinian artist Larissa Haily Aguado, however, fabricating collages manually has become an integral aspect of her practice, as “the possibilities of fixed manual collage in the digital age provide exciting opportunities to engage with craft, materials, analysis and outcomes.”

With mesmerizing compositions, dream-like subject matter, and a “sharper, more immediate, and more human dynamic than is possible with computer software,” Aguado’s collages combine photographs, illustration, found materials, and elements of graphic design to form surreal yet seamlessly cohesive scenes. By attaching inanimate objects to human bodies or placing retro furniture in scenes of nature, Aguado creates works that are both tongue-in-cheek and aesthetically appealing.

Representative of her wide range of artistic experiences and clearly influenced by her multi-faceted career (including major music industry projects, fashion campaigns, movie poster designs, and TV commercials), the diverse nature of her collages undoubtedly conveys her inventive imagination and eye for design.

Check out Aguado’s work in Collage: Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mash Up and Transform, a new book by Danielle Krysa (aka The Jealous Curator), on shelves now!

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Dongwook Lee’s New Human Species

The human figure is at the forefront of the research and production of the young Korean artist Dongwook Lee. His remodelling of the body is an obsession that had led him over the last few years to breathe life into a new human species, an army of figures characterised by two leitmotifs: Dongwook’s man is always to be found naked and in miniature. On one hand, working on a microscopic level links him up to a long tradition of interest in the skilful rendering of minute details in a small-scale reality; on the other, it reflects a desire to cover up, camouflage or conceal these “figurines” in the backwaters of the most banal normality to which they might instinctively belong. One pokes his head out from the shell of a snail; another cries out desperately from behind a dry twig like a malignant wood spirit; yet another is to be found squashed inside a syringe, as if ready to be injected to another body along with all his dramatic charge. Their nudity seems to reflect the will to do away with the mystification of the human body, to show it without frills, without any indication of social status. It is here that Dongwook would appear to denote a break with the cultural traditions of his origins.

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Rokkaku Ayako

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This piece is an exact representation of: discovering (despite a frantic search for at least one orange popsicle) the remaining popsicles in the freezer are all grape. I hate grape. Well, maybe that’s not exactly what artist Rokkaku Ayako had in mind when she created this piece, but she definitely has a knack for capturing the essence of childhood in frenzied acrylics and scraps of cardboard. Ayako’s work bleeds with the immediacy of youth. Like when our mothers would say they’d be back in an hour, and we had absolutely no concept of how much time that really was.

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Kostis Fokas’ Sexually-Charged And Inventive Photographs (NSFW)

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Kostis Fokas is a rare photographer who possesses the innate ability to both create and capture personifications of the provocative in our human form. Challenging and sexually-charged, the work is visually reminiscent of fashion photography, but pulls inspiration equally from painterly compositions by using the body as a metaphor for sexuality, potency, and humanity. In a conversation with Beautiful/Decay, the London-based, Greek photographer explains, “Through my photos I wish to present a new take on the human body and explore its infinite capabilities. The use of quirky, and sometimes hidden faces communicates exactly that. Unlike photography that seeks to reveal the feelings of the objects portrayed through the use of faces and expressions, I shift my focus on the complete freedom pertained to the image of a human body. Stripped from its clothes, I leave it fully exposed and completely surrendered.”

With faces hidden and bodies often stripped bare, the human form becomes a landscape of tension, fully exploring the paradox of submission. A balding man running a brush over his head becomes a metaphor for self-conscious impotence and existential awareness, while a naked woman hovering over a cactus represents a more immediate (and less philosophical) danger. In Fokas’ work we realize that submission is often related to acceptance, mirrored by the artist stating, “Submissiveness often conveys surrender to something greater and more powerful than us.”  This duality becomes both a metaphor for the nature of photographic direction, as well as for life, as the human experience is compressed into simultaneously simple and complicated gestures arranged by the photographer with willing participants, and captured on film.

When asked if the work’s sometimes daring exploration of sexual themes and sexuality is ever misinterpreted, or even offensive, Kostas diplomatically responds, “My images aspire to touch on some of these issues, among others, and definitely raise many questions but it is ultimately left up to each individual viewer to decide and reach his own conclusions.”

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Damien Hirst Made Artwork That’s Actually Good

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Damien Hirst’s exhibition at White Cube Sao Paolo, called Black Scalpel Cityscapes, is surprisingly compelling conceptually and technically intriguing. Hirst, though I’m sure I don’t really need to tell you this, reader, is a very divisive artist. His practice is a slippery one. It’s difficult to dismiss him, because he’s carved out a big space for himself in commercial galleries, but to some work, in example his spot paintings, feel a bit like an emperor wears no clothes scenario. It’s easy to argue that Hirst’s legacy is the success of his practice itself as a sort of art piece, and it would be true that he’s figured out some notable strategy for success, but whether it’s particularly honest or admirable is a question often dismissed by the powers that profit from Hirst or uphold his ideology.

In contrast to all this, Hirst’s most recent series is unexpectedly insightful. He recreates bird’s-eye view images of international cities using paint, surgical tools, and other industrial instruments. The materials for the Rio painting consist of Scalpel blades, skin graft blades, zips, stitching needles, aluminum filings, pins, stainless steel studs, fish hooks, steel wire cutting spool and gloss paint on canvas. On the White Cube website, Hirst’s statement reads:

Hirst investigates subjects pertaining to the sometimes-disquieting realities of modern life – surveillance, urbanisation, globalisation and the virtual nature of conflict – as well as elements relating to the universal human condition, such as our inability to arrest physical decay.

In the paintings, manmade features and natural elements such as buildings, rivers and roads are depicted in scalpels as well as razor blades, hooks, iron filings and safety-pins, all set against black backgrounds. For this exhibition, Hirst selected 17 cities, which are either sites of recent conflict, cities relating to the artist’s own life, or centres of economic, political or religious significance

What’s exciting about this series is that the themes Hirst claims to be examining are clear and his execution is effective. The paintings are visually impressive and also hold up conceptually, and most importantly, they tackle relevant political issues. Basically, it’s not bullshit. Congratulations, Damien Hirst. (Via The Fox is Black)

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