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Suzanne Heintz Photographs the American Dream With Her Mannequin Family

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Photographer Suzanes Heintz is a self-proclaimed spinster. As a single woman, she got fed up with the bombardment of questions about when she was going to get married. Tired of being pittied, she decided to confront this issue head on. She purchased two mannequins – one male and one female child – and the series Life Once Removed was born. Dressing up and posing with her fake family, she stages witty representations of the American Dream. Ski trips, vacations, and stereotypical romantic moments are all acted out by Heintz, and she sets the scene perfectly. These colorful images feel saturated, in both how they look and the emotional exuberance of the her expression and body language.

Heintz rejects the notion that to be a successful woman means that you have to fulfill a laundry list of achievements, not limited to an education, career, home, family, accomplishment, and enlightenment. In an interview with Feature Shoot, she explains why she created Life Once Removed:

I’m simply trying to get people to open up their minds and quit clinging to antiquated notions of what a successful life looks like. I want people to lighten up on each other and themselves, and embrace their lives for who it has made them, with or without the Mrs., PhD. or Esq. attached.

All of these photographs are shot on location. When Heintz lays her head in mannequin’s husband’s lap while in the park, it’s totally real, and an important aspect to Heintz’s series. She goes on to say:

While I need the public to act as character and context for the actual photo or video, I also need their responses to make the effort a success as an instigator for social change. The reaction can vary from a raised eyebrow with a head turn, to a blast of laughter, to taking their own snapshots while posing with the mannequins. It depends a lot on the location. But most importantly, it stops people in their tracks long enough to ask me what the heck I’m doing. Because the project is so audacious and flat-out funny, it helps me reach the public, and actually get them to let their guard down long enough for me to have a conversation with them. (Via Feature Shoot)

 

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Documentary Watch: Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham is arguably the ultimate fashion trend forecaster. For decades he has been photographing not only what the people of NYC are wearing on the street but how. He is loved and celebrated by his coworkers at the New York Times and the entire New York fashion world as being the ultimate source for what’s happening in fashion right now and where the trends are going next. Not caring about class, his subjects range from strangers on the street jumping over rain puddles to high powered Fashion bigwigs such as Vogue‘s Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour. This type of professional clout would surely provide most photographers wealth and access to the powerful but Bill Cunningham will have none of that. Not only does Bill detest money but he refuses to be a slave to it. Having turned opportunities to cash in on his talents he prefers a simpler life of traveling around town on his old crappy bike, wearing a street sweepers jacket, and living in a tiny studio apartment with no bathroom and kitchen. Bill’s level of dedication and high level of ethics is unbelievable and should make all of us press the pause button and question the things we do to get ahead. He is a simple man doing extraordinary work that future generations will look back at for many years to come.

If you’re involved in the fashion world or work in any creative field then this is the movie for you. I rarely see a movie twice but I will be sure to watch Bill Cunningham New York again and again so I can be reminded of why we sometimes have to make great sacrifices for our art. Watch the trailer for the movie after the jump.

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James Esber: You, Me, and Everybody Else

James Esber, a New York based artist, will be featured at the Pierogi Gallery in his new show: You, Me, and Everybody Else. James is known for addressing, through his work, the notions of distortion and perception. Colorful, incredibly wacky, but always engaging. So if you’re in the area, make sure to join James Esber this Friday Nov. 19th for the opening of You, Me, and Everybody Else at the Pierogi Gallery, located at 177 N 9th Street Brooklyn NY 11211.

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Diana Chyrzynska Remixes Beautiful Faces To Surprising Effect

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Diana Chryzynska’s photoshop-ed female faces seem surprising natural upon first sight. With most of the pieces of a normal face present, the viewer’s brain mashes them together to make sense of them, when actually they’re quite reworked. It’s fascinating how well your brain is able to reconcile two noses and two mouths sandwiched between two hands with eyes on top. Somehow, it takes a few seconds to realize what you’re seeing is completely surreal. Of course you realize what you’re looking at isn’t quite right, but it takes a while for your brain to sort out exactly what that is.

Maybe what makes the images more consumable is the appealing features: big eyes, luscious lips, unblemished skin.  I don’t think it’s that, though. It’s like when you read a word like baeufitul, and your brain is able to organize it into beautiful (with some coaxing). The see-through hands over the faces are the most interesting in terms of theme. They feel like veils, hiding the strange faces from view, though not entirely. It feels like the women are hiding their mixed up faces, but some are peaceful while others are confrontational. Most close their eyes, but the confrontational ones stare out from behind their hands, self-consciously aware of their strange arrangement.

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Mike Lythgoe

I absolutely love the stuff illustrator and designer Mike Lythgoe is making; it’s lavish and dreamy and somehow clean and meticulous at the same time.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: I May Be Wrong

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Yup. That’s Charles Barkley. Yes, he’s in a space suit. Yes sir, he’s in outerspace with lens flares behind him. Yes ma’am, I know it’s awesome. What’s even more awesome than Charles Barkley in a spacesuit, in space with lens flares? Maybe a video of him in a animated, auto tuned rapping, and going bonkers. Be amazed by the full video after the jump.

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“Nature” Violently Overtakes Jess Riva Cooper’s Beautiful Ceramic Busts

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Jess Riva Cooper’s ceramic sculptures are as beautiful as they are disgusting. Her works have the viewer going back and forth between pleasure and revulsion, creating a welcome confusion to be examined. This juxtaposition of attractive and off-putting elements is not a new phenomenon in art – think Jessica Harrison’s ceramic women, and whose work we’ve featured on Beautiful/Decay – and although her artwork is also similarly violent, the aggression is expressed quite differently. Cooper’s busts are overtaken by plants, leaves, and sometimes bugs, which are often gagging or otherwise obstructing the female’s sensory capacities. The plants grow from the women’s heads, the leaves with an almost leech-like gesture extend out with determination.

It’s painful to see the women bound by nature in this way, also because, as a bust, they are without arms or hands to defend themselves. She renders the women with a great deal of skill, their expressions soft and subtle. In her artist statement she speaks about nature reclaiming its place and “a loss of control…as the parasitic entity subsumes the host” as well as her interest in sculpting the figure as a way to illustrate “physical and emotional vulnerability of the individual.” She addresses these themes plainly in her work, which is what makes it so successful and enjoyable.

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A Day In Decay: Italian Decay!

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If you noticed that I haven’t been blogging much it’s because I spent the last 2 weeks on vacation in Italy. Wifi was not always available so instead of blogging I spent my days snapping photos of various things of interest in a country that has some of the most amazing art and historical sites on earth. I’m still going through all the photos but  in the meantime here’s a small collection of textures, surfaces, and dilapidated walls, doors and buildings from Rome, Florence, Tuscany, and Venice.

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