Striking Celebrity Portraits By Frank Bauer

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German photographer Frank Bauer takes celebrity portraits. It’s an interesting conundrum, capturing a famous face on film. The picture is taken because the audience wants to see that well-known (if not loved) face, but the resulting image is of a sight we’re used to seeing. How, then, to make the ubiquitous new again?

In Bauer’s skilled hands, the celebrities seem to relax. The inner sanctum opens a bit, and the person behind the celebrity peeks out. Actress Tilda Swinton, known for her androgynous fierceness, softens. Cool, coture-wearer Cate Blanchette smolders. Clearly not camera ready, director Steve McQueen stifles a yawn. Musician Iggy Pop looks stripped of artifice in his rear-view mirror shot.

For all the personal exposures in his work, Bauer is remarkably hard to find. His website is neatly organized, with a news section that documents his recent work, but there’s no “I” there, no personal commentary or gossip. Same with his Facebook page: friendly-seeming and public and absolutely impersonal. Perhaps it’s his way of creating a void, one that these performers will want to fill. Maybe he’s seen what it means to reveal oneself. It could be a business decision, an unconscious choice, a cautious reticence. Whatever the reason, Frank Bauer, unlike his famous subjects, is a bit of a cipher, one who lets his intimate and beautiful work speak for him. (Via It’s Nice That)

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Teenage Boy Comically Remakes Female Celebrity Fashion Looks

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New Zealand high school student Liam Martin has created quite the buzz with his Instagram account (@waverider_), where he has currently amassed over 1.5 million followers due to his humorous recreation of memes, and more popularly and recently, fashion photographs of female celebrities (and the occasional cartoon). He’s creatively recreated images of Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Tyra Banks, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, and Taylor Swift – it seems he grabs whatever is available around him that resembles celebrity clothing and accessories and constructs his own comically similar versions of high fashion. Much of Martin’s comedy emerges from the facial expressions he gives the camera and the energy he exudes in each photo. Martin says, “I’m very weird and open. I think that’s why I get so many followers, because I’m myself.”

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Jaimie Warren’s Playful Pop Culture Selfies Subvert The Form’s Perceived Vanity

Self-portrait as Pretzel Rod Stewart

Self-portrait as Pretzel Rod Stewart

Self-portrait as Lasagna Del Rey

Self-portrait as Lasagna Del Rey

Self-portrait as woman in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Self-portrait as woman in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Self-portrait as Yoda in L'admiration by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Self-portrait as Yoda in L’admiration by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Selfies are a ubiquitous mode of self-expression. Photographer and performance artist Jaimie Warren integrates pop culture. humor, and a bright color palette to create visually striking self-portraits that are absurd, humorous, and campy. In one photo series, Warren becomes celebrity-food characters, fusing their names into an offbeat expression. In another, she re-creates images from art history, embellishing them with her signature pop culture camp style. Warren’s selfies subvert the form of traditional portraiture by using absurdity and grotesqueness to supplant the selfie’s identification with vanity. In addition to her individual projects, Warren also co-directs an internationally touring “faux-cable access show” called Whoop Dee Doo, a nonprofit that partners with youth organizations to introduce kids to wonderfully strange art that is meaningful, fun, and compelling. (via la monda and vice)

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James Franco’s Name Brand Celebrity Status Continues To Result In Gallery Shows

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A couple of weeks ago, we posted James Franco’s self-portraiture imitating Cindy Sherman’s 1970s student project photographs in which she impersonates the roles of iconic women in film; these photographs are on view at PACE Gallery until May 3. A testament to the receptiveness of audiences to Franco’s work, this post performed quite well. Franco has now imitated another artist for work to be displayed at PACE, following the Cindy Sherman imitations, but this time, without (yet) giving proper credit.

In 2011, Christopher Schulz self-published a 32-page book of Seth Rogen fan art; Franco’s upcoming gallery show features nude paintings of Rogen, some that appear to be directly based on (read: copied from) Schulz’s portraits. ArtNet notes that this new work has not been very warmly received by the internet; Huffington Post condemns Franco for “continuing to engage in what some view as blatant homophobia, because comedy,” Dlisted calls Franco a “douchier Shia LaDouche,” and A.V. Club claims the paintings are plagiarism.

At this point, James Franco has delved into many different worlds: academia (once a graduate student in 4 programs at the same time), soap opera, television, and film acting, film-making, fiction and pseudo-academic writing, and performance art. I try not to be annoyed by people, especially artists of all stripes, but James Franco is one person I can barely tolerate at this point. Aside from playing the role of Alien in “Spring Breakers,” I can’t really get on board with anything he is pursuing (especially the “critical” essays he writes for Vice wherein he makes obvious arguments that lack depth). I don’t know what to think about him, and I’m beginning to feel jaded with his pursuits. No one seems to know if Franco takes himself seriously, or if anyone should. Some have even speculated that his recent, creepy propositioning of a minor was performance art, or a marketing ploy for his latest film.

In 2010, Sam Anderson, writing for New York Magazine, conducts a critical investigation into Franco’s life, exploring his Hollywood career as performance art and asking a few questions that are central and just as pertinent to our current experience of Franco in 2014:

(1) Can James Franco possibly be for real?

(2) If he is, then—just logistically—how is all this possible?

(3) And perhaps the biggest mystery of all: Why is Franco doing it? Are his motives honest or dishonest? Neurotic or healthy? Arrogant or humble? Ironic or sincere? Naïve or sophisticated? Should we reward him with our attention or punish him with our contempt? Is he genuinely trying to improve himself or is he just messing with us—using celebrity itself as the raw material for some kind of public prank?

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Modern Celebrity PhotosTransformed Into Vintage 1920′s Mugshots

 

New project from Michael Jason Enriquez, who brought you Cholafied a couple months back. Enriquez, still a student in advertising, is quickly developing a strong track record within the visual realm. It seems that he is able to communicate his pop culture impressions with enormous clarity and ease. Pretty unique quality of execution from someone in such an early stage of his career. Big ups.

The new series is entitled Mugshot Doppelgangers. Enriquez has taken some fairly ubiquitous celebrity mugshots and inserted them into an early 20th-century context:

…Our current mugshots of the rich and famous are plastered with every article, and blog these days, but look uninspired and cheap.  That’s why I wanted to bring our celebrity mugshots back to a time when love and care was taken to compose a more artful mugshot – back to the 1920′s…

…We’re so used to seeing celebrity faces on our tv, on blogs, and we even know what their mugshots look like. The tacky looking mugshots we have today are in stark contrast to the mugshots taken in the 1920’s. Vintage mugshots have an eerie beauty to them that’s lost in current mugshot photography…

Definitely someone to keep tabs on in the future. See more Celebrity Mugshot Doppelgangers after the jump.

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Brad Elterman epic photographs of rock n’ roll History

Not only was Brad Elterman always present at the right time and the right place, but he also has a story to tell about every moment he captured with his camera. From nearly getting beaten up by Robert Plant’s roadies for getting a shot of the singer in his briefs playing soccer, to the moment Joan Jett flicked him off and thus allowed him to get one of the most quintessential late 1970’s images of rock n’ roll. He’s still shooting like crazy and if you follow him on Tumblr, where he’s quite the sensation, you can check out all of his great photos of yesterday as well as today. Brad Elterman’s photographs will also be on display at Kana Manglapus Gallery in Venice Beach from June 28th – September 10th.

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Allison Krumwiede IS A MASTER OF EVERY MEDIUM

I first saw Allison Krumwiede’s art at the LA Zine Fest and still can’t believe she isn’t like the biggest most important artist ever. Her pop culture work is incredible and her talent literally spans across every medium – from digital rendering to needlepoint. Whereas most artists spend their entire lives trying to perfect one thing like pen and ink drawings, she can easily switch between a brush and a needle like a civilian trades forks for knives at a dinner table. So, it’s rare that someone like Allison comes around, extremely freaking rare! She is definitely a talent to watch out for, especially considering she’s already done commercial work for some of the country’s media bigwigs like The New York Times and The Village Voice within a year of graduating from Art Center.

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Rich Pellegrino’s Perfectly Messy Portraits of Obscure Pop Culture Icons

Rich Pellegrino has a fantastic way of splattering paint and pigment all over the place in order to create vivid portraits of famous people and myths. He’s a fan favorite at galleries who have pop culture themed group shows, like Spoke Art in SF and Gallery1988 in LA. In fact, it just wouldn’t feel right to go to an exhibit based on any kind of film, comedian, or obscurely famous what-have-you without one of Pellegrino’s pieces in the space. His style is recognizable from across the room and he’s one of the few illustrators I’ve seen who employs a use of texture in his work that makes it pop up a little bit from the page even when it’s in the usual purchasing form of a print.

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