Photographing The Weight Of Nakedness In Nudity – NSFW

Julia Fullerton-Batten - Photography

Julia Fullerton-Batten - Photography Julia Fullerton-Batten - Photography

Julia Fullerton-Batten’s models seem naked in their nudity, and this is not just a clever play on words. John Berger, in his book Ways of Seeing, explains the difference: “Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”

Here, in Fullerton-Batten’s Unadorned series, each model is indeed nude, as Berger suggests, posed on display, manipulated by the photographer to convey an idea, however . . . because he or she wears a certain type of nudity in the vein of old world masters from the 15th – 17th centuries . . . and because they are arranged in contemporary settings by female hands . . . and because their bodies are curvy and soft, as opposed to thin and hard . . . what results is also a fascinating feeling of nakedness: a complex historical/sociological revelation of us as a species in relation to gender, weight, and image.

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Family Values: 5 Artists Draw Inspiration From Family

Zhang Xiaogang

Zhang Xiaogang

Song Dong photography

Song Dong

Seonna Hong

Seonna Hong

The saying “home is where the heart is” very rarely relates to contemporary art.  And though the works featured here are not directly about home, they are informed to some degree by immediate family,relationships and experiences that stem from it.  In a global spectrum of east meets west these five artists come from genres ranging from Chinese Avant Garde to lowbrow painting, from surrealism to contemporary portraiture, to name a few.  The paintings, mixed media works and digital media stills of artists: Song Dong, Brooke Grucella, Seonna Hong, Aaron Holz and Zhang Xiaogang exemplify the diversity with which the artists’ loved ones have become not only the subject for the works, but also at times part of the process, as well as a platform to tell a story that becomes increasingly universal.

I recall visiting the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco a couple of years ago to see Song Dong’s massive solo exhibition of works made with his family members as subjects, as well as a massive installation that incorporated decades worth of of family possessions as material.  His work is deeply personal, with a strong narrative thread, and truly draw you into his world with their reverence and profoundly flawless execution.  Zhang Xiaogang’s works from his series Bloodlines uses other family portraits as a vehicle for conveying the experiences of his immediate family that they experienced as he came of age during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.  Each piece in this series has a thin red line that weaves throughout the composition, symbolizing the connection of heritage and family.

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HOTTEA Canopy Covers Williamsburg Bridge With ‘Ritual’

Rituals5

Rituals6

Rituals3

“NYC is a very fast paced city.” said artist HOTTEA in an exclusive talk with Beautiful/Decay. “When I walked across the bridge people are either jogging, running for exercise, walking with friends or alone to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan or vice versa. When observing people walking or running across the bridge, there really wasn’t any reason to look up or slow down.  I like creating pieces that dramatically change the space and encourage people to re-look at a certain area.”

One of the most famous of the now-burgeoning international street arts scene that uses yarn and other non-damaging/permanent materials, the Minneapolis-based artist tried to create a similar project on a visit to New York several years ago, but was stopped by authorities. With careful planning and the help of several friends, HOTTEA was able to complete the public installation, creating a canopy of changing colors over a Williamsburg Bridge. Titled ‘Ritual‘, the artist explained that the very act of taking the bridge instead of the train became a ritual, slowing down his journey to the City and being able to process his day, the skyline and enjoy his surroundings. Realizing this, he wanted to create a signature work that would give others the same chance.

Referring to the installation, HOTTEA explained, “After about 5 hours, people continued to slow down but now more and more people were stopping.  Either to take photos or to interact with us directly.  When the piece was near completion after about 11 hours, everyone that came into contact with the piece either slowed down or stopped completely. I was in awe to see such a fast paced city slow down, stop and look up.” (via Colossal)

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Toy Art: Artists Incorporate The Objects Of Our Youth

Hans Hemmert toy art

Hans Hemmert

Yoram Wolberger toy art

Yoram Wolberger

Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer

I have to confess I am easily drawn to works of art that resemble or depict toys and other childhood objects.  At face value these works are easy, as all of us have some form of relationship or pre-existing association with the referenced nostalgic icons.  In other words, the works naturally engage us and draw us in.  However, these works, specifically those featured here, use the familiar imagery to interject layers of conceptual content, moving far beyond catchy into heavier implications, through expert usage of scale, quantity and context.

Context is key in these pieces.  Maurizio Cattelan is a conceptual master of context, as demonstrated in his piece Daddy Daddy, which features a large drowned figure of Pinocchio floating face down in a pool inside the Guggenheim.  The result is ironic, tragic and flawless.    As well, the practice of significantly altering scale such as Jeff Koons‘ balloon animal sculptures, Urs Fischer‘s Untitled (Lamp/Bear) and Yoram Wolberger‘s life-size sculptures of toy and trophy figurines, allows the objects to become monolithic, dwarf us and alter our sense of reality.

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Iain Baxter Re-imagines His 1966 Bagged Place Installation In The Key Of Rebecca

Iain baxter - Installation

Iain baxter - Installation

Iain baxter - Installation

Rebecca Levy died. Her apartment, situated above Raven Row gallery in London, did not; instead, it became a work of art by Iain Baxter, Canada’s most prominent conceptual artist.

Here, Baxter re-imagines his classic 1966 piece Bagged Place in each nook and cranny of Rebecca’s abandoned flat, wrapping clear plastic around the contents of which previously had been donated “intact” to the gallery from her family. Unsurprisingly, Rebecca’s Bagged Place, this 2013 rendition (collected here), seems to have more of a personal feeling, which immediately brings a new spark to not just Baxter’s work, but also, the underlying narrative or intention. This is not about sterilization nor consumerism, instead, it’s about Rebecca: her past, present, and future.

Before Rebecca’s things were bagged, they were alive because she was alive holding them, sitting in them, staring at them, and touching, loving, or losing them. Now that she has passed, her habitat is still and quiet, at least momentarily until the room slowly disassembles from one new pair of hands to the next. The thought of an interior space collapsing and dividing seems like a final goodbye, and the preservation of that farewell, heartbreakingly seems like an inability to confront death and an almost tragic prolonging of life. A room on life-support. How as viewers do we fall into the room? What do we take from it and where do we stay? When will we let go?

In this piece, amidst all the plastic isolation, the subject shifts with our own anxieties, daydreams, or curiosities in reaction to such careful preservation. We start to imagine Rebecca as we imagine ourselves: our own deaths, our own rooms, our own limbo before the dismantling. In this sense, Rebecca’s Bagged Place mirrors our own, and strangely we are Rebecca looking in from the outside.

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God Bless You, Llyn Foulkes: Painter & Musician Extraordinare

Llyn Foulkes - Mixed MediaLlyn Foulkes - Mixed Media

Llyn Foulkes - Mixed Media

I’m not going to pretend like I know half of whatever or whoever Llyn Foulkes is about, I’m just going to take a minute to honor his incredible presence in the art world for over 50 years.

What makes Foulkes so special is that he creates art at his own pace, and he creates it how he wants to, whether it’s music or painting. This “early master of Pop” is revered not necessarily because he’s a household name like Andy Warhol– but because of his journey in the art world and his ability to stay strong in his own truth and sense of character, despite social or monetary pressures.

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Paul McCarthy And Friends- Inflatable Art That Rocked The Last Decade

Paul McCarthy's installation in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images

Paul McCarthy’s installation in Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images

TamWaiPing Inflatable

Tam Wai Ping

Chad Person

Chad Person

This last decade in art has turned out a ton of larger than life sculptural work, specifically in the realm of inflatable sculpture.  As adults, we never seem to get over the pure bliss of bouncy houses from our childhood, and as art lovers we are drawn to these works, made from thin plastic that are able to tower over us once filled with air.  Artists have used this medium to make shocking and conceptually multilayered statements, such as Paul McCarthy’s “Complex System,” a building-sized pile of poo that made international headlines when it deflated in Hong Kong this past spring, leaving behind quite the brown mess.  Other artists have merged inflatable sculpture with architecture and infused it with an interactive element that takes the classic “bouncy house” into a sophisticated architectural wonderland, such as Alan Parkinson (also known as “Architects of Air”) has done with his Luminaria.  Other artists included below are: David Byrne, Eder Castillo, FriendsWithYou, Florentijn Hoffman, Chad Person, Tam Wai Ping and Geraldo Zamproni.

This Labor Day Weekend, enjoy the following parade of images that reviews some of the most exciting and celebrated inflatable sculptures that have emerged within the past ten years.

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Rudy Shepherd’s Paintings Make Us Think By Feeling

Rudy Shepherd - Paintings

Rudy Shepherd - PaintingsRudy Shepherd - Painting

On the surface, Rudy Shepherd’s work appears simple, some might even argue amateurish. However, spend a little more time with these pieces and the lines starts to deepen with a raw energized intention, especially when paired next to one another in a specific series such as this one titled “Psychic Death.”

What is a psychic death? It sounds devastating. I look this up on the Internet and discover it’s a term relative to fearing one’s own physical death, a collection of energy manifesting negatively as anxiety in the body. To experience psychic death is to endure a dualistic sense of panic and release– or to embrace a deep personal concept of power and loss. This is what Charlie Sheen, Osama Bin Laden, and Columbine have in common, and these painted images are not just about them, but us as a society. How do we as a nation move beyond headlines and examine our own psychic death? Rudy Shepherd doesn’t just want us to think about it, he wants us to think by feeling, and this is what great art does.

According to his website, Rudy Shepherd’s work “involves investigations into the lives of criminals and victims of crime. He explores the complexity of these stories and the grey areas between innocence and guilt in a series of paintings and drawings of both the criminals and the victims, making no visual distinctions between the two. By presenting the people first and the stories second a space is created for humanity to be reinstilled into the lives of people who have been reduced to mere headlines by the popular press.”

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