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Crufts Dog Show- Extraordinary Dogs, Ordinary People

Loving photographer Martin Usborne’s series on dog shows. Here is more about the project in the artists own words.
“Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show that takes place in Birmingham each year, was under intense scrutiny a few years ago when a secret TV documentary argued that dog inbreeding was essentially unhealthy and cruel. As a dog-lover and a pedigree owner I thought I had better see what it was all about.

Much to my surprise (and slight disappointment) Crufts is decidedly pleasant. I half expected to capture malicious owners that looked fully like their pets. But the impression is of a prosaic middle-England gathering of weekend enthusiasts. The dog owners are friendly and, dare I say it, normal. Although they trim their dogs’ heads into perfect spheres and their tails into cascades of pure silk they couldn’t be more down to earth. They remind me of Sunday gardeners who trim their hedges into the shape of leaping dolphins and then go inside to watch Antiques Roadshow on TV. The vast halls, despite being full of thousands of different breeds are strangely quiet and more surprising than this – almost turd-free. The merchandising stalls, which sit around the perimeter of the space and sell marginally tasteless doggy-tat (buy two bottles of ‘Urine-off’ and receive a free 100% fish-based dog chew) are harmless enough. And amongst this the dogs themselves seem to be willing,  as if they too have read the convention guide and know they must wait their turn to appear on the green carpet.

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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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Eclipse (Watch Tower)


Sharjah Biennial 2009 – Eclipse (Watch Tower) By Amir H. Fallah from amir fallah on Vimeo.

A few weeks ago I made a series of posts from my trip to Sharjah & Dubai. I didn’t post much about why I was there and what I was doing but the above video should shed some light. It documents the construction of a large scale 2 story sculpture titled “Eclipse (Watch Tower) built in the atrium of the Sharjah Art Museum for the Sharjah Biennial.

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Jim’s Skull Gallery


Based in France, skull artist Jim was born in New Caledonia, “gateway for Oceania and many other horizons. He goes to New Zealand, stops over the New Hebrids, discovers Australia, India, and lands in Hong-Kong. Human experiences, cultural, ritual, he is marked by his travels and encounters…” He is informed by “contemporary art, African, Oceanian, Amerindian, popular, religious…multiple passions and a melting-pot of influences”. Now that’s a lot of location-dropping, but it’s evident that a lot of brain-stewing and new-material-hunting goes into his sculptures.

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Graham Caldwell’s Prismatic Hand Blown Glass Sculptures Mirror Myopic Organisms

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Graham Caldwell sculpts intricate organic-like structures from hand blown glass. His artworks mirror natural life forms on a molecular level. He pulls, twists, stretches and blows 2,000 degree glass into all sorts of shapes, arranging them into globular, spiky, prismatic, concave, convex, and densely myopic configurations. Caldwell uses the hard shiny metallic properties of glass in contrast to the forms he is recreating. He references nature – flowers, leaves, tropical fronds, water drops, fly’s eyes and eyebrows, but chooses to present them in a man-made, futuristic, fractured, cubist fashion.

Using mirrors, metals, steel and epoxy he likes us to reflect on the way we see the world around us. His interest lies in the act of perceiving, the function of eyes, the purpose of lenses, and how sight works.

Much of my work focuses on glass as a conduit or modulating agent for light and its parallel in the functionality of the human eye: using a lens to flip an image of the world, upside down and backwards, into the brain where it is reassembled, through illusion and forensics. (Source)

Caldwell is the ultimate advocate for art as science. His process is all about trying to recreate an organic process through a completely manufactured one. He enjoys the tactility of glass and the bizarre shapes they can inhabit.

Imagine the shape that balloons take on when they’re half filled with water; now imagine them flash-frozen and sticking sideways into space. Glass, says Caldwell, “is a slowed-down, meaty version of water.” (Source) (Via Hi Fructose)

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Making The Invisible Visible

This might be one of the most inventive works of advertising and street art that i’ve seen all year! Brothers and Sisters creative duo have teamed up with anonymous German street art collective Mentalgassi, to create art installations for Amnesty International. Called Making the Invisible Visible, the posters highlight the case of Troy Davis, a 42-year-old man who has been on death row for 19 years in the USA, despite serious doubts about his conviction.

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The Art Of Disappearing: Stefanie Klavens Documents Vanishing Drive-Ins

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Stefanie Klavens has a love for 20th century pop culture and Americana. In her articulate photographic series, titled “Vanishing Drive-Ins,” Klavens documents the disintegration of the American drive-in. Once a popular social and entertainment aspect, it has been slowly disappearing from the United States. As Klavens explains, “The drive-in has suffered the same fate as the single screen theater. Before World War II the drive-in was a modest trend, but after the war the craze began in earnest, peaking in popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960’s. Drive-ins were ideal for the modern family, everyone jumped into the car, no babysitter needed. ‘Car culture’ had officially arrived as a dominant force on the American scene.”

Despite the rapid popularity of the drive-in, they simply could not stand the test of time. Klavens attributes their decline to the evolution of technology and altered views of land: “Over time, changing real estate values began to have an effect on the drive-in. Land became too valuable for a summer-only business. Widespread adoption of daylight saving time in the mid 1960’s subtracted an hour from outdoor evening screening time. The decline was further hastened by the advent of VCRs and home video rentals. In the 1950s there were over 4,000 drive-ins nationwide. Today there are fewer than 400.”

These photographs, with their heavily saturated colors and blurry prolonged exposures, showcase some of the few drive-ins that are still functioning with a romantic nostalgia. The structures and signage may be antiquated, but the car types and models are a dead ringer for our era.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Lil Buck And Yo-Yo Ma

Shot by Spike Jonze this video is simply amazing! Watch as famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a young LA based dancer named Lil Buck collaborate on a performance that you don’t see too often.

Here’s the lowdown from Mr.Jonze himself ” The other day, I was lucky enough to be at an event to bring the arts back into schools and got to see an amazing collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and a young dancer in LA, Lil Buck. Someone who knows Yo-Yo Ma had seen Lil Buck on YouTube and put them together. The dancing is Lil Buck’s own creation and unlike anything I’ve seen. “

Watch the full video after the jump.

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