Tessa Farmer’s miniscule sculptures reinvigorate a belief in fairies: not the sweet Tinkerbell image in popular conscience, but a biological, entomological, macabre species translating pastoral fable into nightmarish lore. Constructed from bits of organic material, such as roots, leaves, and dead insects, each of Tessa’s figures stand barely 1 cm tall, their painstakingly intricate detail visible only through a magnifying glass.
Hovering with rarefied, jewel-like beauty, Tessa’s tiny spectacles resound with a theurgist exotica: their specimen forms borrow from Victorian occultism to evolve as something alien and futuristic. Playing out apocalyptic narratives of a microscopic underworld, Tessa’s manikin wonders rule with baneful fervour: harnessing mayflies, battling honey bees, attacking spindly spiders. Presented as wee preternatural discoveries, Tessa’s sculptures conjure a superstitious premise, dismantling the mythos of fantasia with evidence of something much more gothic, sinister, and bewitching.”
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was an American photographer known for his stylized black and white photographs. Mapplethorpe’s body of work is varied, he captured subject matter ranging from fellow artists to nudes. At times his works are simply beautiful, such as his photographs of lilies, and at others controversial, such as his homoerotic and S & M images, but always his work is provocative. In his own words he was “looking for the unexpected…looking for things I’ve never seen before.”
Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in the suburbs of Queens. Though he never graduated, he attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the late 1960s he met Patti Smith, who would become a life-long friend. Together they moved into the Chelsea Hotel and made art. Smith’s book, Just Kids, wonderfully documents their time together.
Photographer Michael Galinsky’s series Malls Across America captures what we simultaneously love and hate about the mall. Stale air, artificial light, and swarms of teenagers are all captured in photographs from 1989. It was in the 1980’s and 1990’s that these places were at the height of popularity and a bastion of consumerism; Galinsky’s photos now is like digging up a time capsule.
Malls Across America began in the winter of 1989 at the Smith Haven Mall in Garden City Long Island. Galinsky travelled from North Carolina to South Dakota, Washington State and beyond photographing malls. We can look at this series as a source of amusement and anthropological study. There are ostentatious 80’s fashions (a lot of big hair) and the beginnings of 90’s grunge.
In many of these photographs, we are the voyeur. I get the feeling that Galinsky took these photographs on the sly, trying to be inconspicuous about it. He captures images through plants, behind people on escalators, and standing outside stores as women are conferring about clothing choices. Because Galinsky makes us both the voyeur and the viewer, I can’t help but feel a little bad for spying. But, considering all the 80’s movies that included mall hijinks, it feels oddly fitting.
These malls still exist, they are just dead. My hometown mall still looks eerily familiar to what’s in these photographs. If this series makes you feel nostalgic for your own mall, you can buy a book of Galinsky’s work. Aptly titled, Malls Across America, it was released this past summer. (Via It’s Nice That and Gizmodo)
When you first look at the paintings by the Miaz brothers, it doesn’t seem like there is much to see. A blurry collection of colors forming an incoherent image. Everything seems far away and out of focus. But something draws you to look closer, perhaps the fact that you can’t immediately comprehend the paintings when you see them. Their lack of detail demands additional attention, and you find yourself scanning them again and again as you put together the larger picture. Colors and patterns begin to stand out, and details slowly emerge. That demand for closer inspection draws you in, and makes you closely examine a painting, that at first glance, seems almost empty.
Django Django‘s crazy new video for “WOR” features India’s Wall of Death Riders in Allahabad. Our friends at Noisey shot the video in a documentary style standing right in the middle of all the action.
I was able to catch the Django’s last show of their US tour at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood last month. “Hello citizens of Los Angeles”, yelled out singer Vincent Neff before they jammed into “Hail Bop”. The band was a lot of fun to watch since they barely came up for air during their hour long set except when they went acoustic for their song, “Hand of Man”.
Dan Colen has been dubbed in the past one of Warhol’s Children, a famous or notorious – depending on which critic you’re asking – New York post-pop prince. His earlier work was made of gum and simulation bird droppings, and although his artwork received heavy criticism for imitating or ridiculing artists and the high-art community, he continued to be successful and his career flourished. It seems there’s always a place for the unaffected artist-rock-star character type.
Recently, Colen has taken a more subdued approach to his practice. In light of the death of his good friend and artist contemporary Dash Snow, who died of an overdose in 2009, Colen has tried to curb his own lifestyle choices. This slow down is reflected in his artwork, namely his current exhibition at Gagosian: Miracle Paintings. Perhaps in the context of another artist, paintings of star streams and neon explosions would be a bold subject, but in comparison to his whoopee cushion installation Blowin in the wind, the medium is much more conventional and less provoking.
The feeling in the paintings is of excitement and solemnity. They’re easier to digest but still pack a visual punch. There’s life, death, and tranquility. It’s probably a pivotal moment in Colen’s career. Will he be able to remain successful without the contrarian stunts he is known for? It should also be considered that these paintings are much more pleasant to consume: Is he riding the comfort of his position in the New York art community, or pushing new personal boundaries? Personally I enjoy this series, but could also see how some of his fans might be disappointed in the relatively understated nature of the works.
Miracle Paintings is on at Gagosian until October 18th.
With over 12 years of experience, designer and art director Diddo Velema has worked with a diverse range of clients, such as LABORATORIVM and Modernista!. Having taught at the School of Arts in Utrecht, Netherlands, and having contributed to various international projects like Frank Gehry’s Sentosa and UNESCO’s ICAT project in Costa Rica, Diddo just recently started up his own studio in Amsterdam. He aspires to blur the boundaries among art, design, architecture, fashion, photography, product design, etc. as often as possible. And he does it so phenomenally!