How does an artist contribute his own personal story in the face of prevailing historical narratives? In this film, Rashid Johnson discusses the fluid nature of black identity in America and its escapist tendencies, from the Afrocentric politics of Marcus Garvey to the cosmic philosophy of Sun Ra. Johnson’s invented secret society—”The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club”—is a framework through which the artist humorously upends, through repetition and juxtaposition, conventional expectations of historical influence and legacy. Inspired by a story by the artist Lawrence Weiner in which one character says to another that “a table is something to put something on,” Johnson creates sculptures of shelf-like structures from materials such as black wax, mirror, tile, and branded wood. Each structure is filled with culturally resonant objects—such as Miles Davis and Ramsey Lewis jazz records, books by comedians Dick Gregory and Bill Cosby, and treatises by scholars such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Debra J. Dickerson—as well as the artist’s own photographs and hand-made objects. Watch the full documentary after the jump.
We have featured Stacey Rozich‘s delightfully macabre paintings (here) in the past. She continues to explore various themes with her pattern clad creatures and masked figures. Her work is mostly fantastical although she occasionally delves into the mundane. Her characters can be seen wrecking cars, shooting rifles, playing records, and consuming alcohol. This is a welcome addition to her scenes of magic and mythical beasts in the midst of various adventures.
Welcome to our third offering of Click To Collect, Beautiful/Decay’s campaign to help art lovers start their collection of original artists works at affordable prices. Our featured artist this week is Justin B. Nelson whose delicately rendered watercolor , charcoal, and ink drawings have graced the pages of Beautiful/Decay as well as our website many times. For the first time ever we are offering Justin’s original drawings for sale as part of our Click To Collect initiative to bring original works of art to the masses at affordable prices. Read more about Justin’s fantastic work and see more pieces that are available for sale after the jump!
For her project Rouleaux, the French multimedia artist Annastassia Elias builds tiny world within single toilet paper rolls. Lit from behind, her delightful cardboard scenes appear like stills from a mysterious work of shadow puppetry. Here, the roll, most commonly a piece of trash associated with the mundane rituals of domestic life, becomes elevated to the realm of high art. Elias’s visual narratives span time and space; as surely as summer swings fade to frigid snowmen, we move from an underwater universe to the barber shop around the corner.
Caught between the circular borders of the toilet paper roll, Elias’s characters seem to emerge from the cardboard of their own volition. Each racehorse and dinosaur is constructed from cut pieces of paper that share their color with the naked roll itself. The artist chooses not to paint either the rolls or the scenes that emerge from within them, allowing the textured, sand-hued paper to maintain a uniform circularity; ultimately, each tiny world appears to be eternally collapsing into itself. Horses run in circles, and a weary man and his donkey, who lowers his head in exhaustion, appear to trudge forward down a path that will only lead to the start.
Fitting in the palm of one’s hand, Elias’s delicate pieces remind us of the preciousness of even the most banal moments. Beneath sheets of toilet tissue, we might discover secret universes, available only to those with a childlike imagination and a thirst for adventure. Rouleaux is now available as a book, and the pieces are currently on view at the National Museum of Singapore until August 3, 2014. (via Demilked)
The world’s strongest man or woman; you may not even be close to it, but these people might be. Brooklyn based photographer Brian Finke captures an inside look into the pageants of incredibly chiseled muscle men and women of bodybuilding competitions. He not only displays the showmanship of this kind of competition, with the small bikinis and bathing suits, but also the competitors getting ready for their big moment in the spotlight. Men and women that seem to be almost bursting out of their skin with muscle parade themselves proudly for the cameras and judges in this captivating series.
Brian Finke’s photography portrays scenes of interesting happenings of everyday life. His documentary style mixed with a little bit of humor makes his work irresistible. This series of his, titled Most Muscular, can be seen on view at the School of Visual Arts Chelsea Gallery in New York City from August 22nd until September 19th. The exhibit not only features unusual characters with almost unbelievable muscle tone, but also another series of Brian Finke’s titled 2-4-6-8. This slightly offbeat series documents cheerleaders doing their routines, with a slight flavor of humor added in as well. Finke’s photography exhibits vivid colors and dramatic compositions, adding a bit of narrative to his work. Check out more of this artist’s alluring documentary style photography on his Instagram @BrianFinke.
Artist Sasha Ira draws stunning portraits of youthful and carefree depictions women. Her collection of work almost acts like an invitation into her sketch book; each drawing exists in a beautifully allusive state, provoking dreamlike moments and open ended thinking. Her work depicts ethereal renderings of young women surrounded by flora and fauna, decorative hints of cloth, and open, fluid strokes of what lies behind. Her style nods to both Art Nouveau, fashion illustration and Japanese anime styles, giving her images a contemporary, fun and youthful feeling. Her work shows a clear influence of Symbolist artists such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele (who took their inspiration from Japanese art). There is a very innocent vibe to this work. As if the viewer is given a look into a fantasy of a teenage girl. These drawings are captivating and charming. They give just enough information and intense draftsmen that leaves the viewer intrigued wanting for more, as if having his or her own gleeful trance into a moments past. They are reminiscent of a very adolescent state of mind, having an aloof aura to each one. Ira has created a beautiful series of drawings which truly get in touch with a feminine and whimsical essence, tugging at a spectrum of the freedom of adolescent bliss.
In the series Paint Job, Spanish art director Nico Ordozgoiti infuses some color onto Renaissance statues. He digitally paints them in a hyperrealistic style and brings them to life. Iconic sculptures like David and Venus de Milo are now fair-skinned with chestnut brown hair instead of their usual off-white exterior. The visual effect is similar to the colorization of black-and-white photographs, and Ordozgoiti’s vibrant colors are offset by a gray base.
Ordozgoti writes, “When Renaissance masters discovered and copied the hyper-realistic sculptures of ancient Greek and Rome, they didn’t know that some of these works had originally been painted to make them even more life-like.” Ultraviolet light reveals how these pieces really look. He goes on to explain, “This made me think about how adding color to classic and neoclassical sculptures could give us an interesting look at what some of those artists might have had in mind.” (Via Ufunk)
Cardon Copy is an awesome project where lame posters and flyers from around the city are pulled down from bulletin boards and telephones poles to only be redesigned and placed back to there original locations. These wild and fun designs are meant to “overpower their message with a new visual language.” Make sure to check them out!