Political Icons Transformed Into Comic Book Superhero Currency

Alessandro Rabatti - Collage

Alessandro Rabatti - Collage

Alessandro Rabatti - Collage

Alessandro Rabatti - Collage

The work of Italian artist Alessandro Rabatti humorously comments on the current economic state that the world is in. Using different currencies from around the world, Rabatti rearranges and alters the faces of each political icon and transforms them into a comic book hero. By rearranging and breaking down household faces such as Abraham Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth II, the artist deconstructs their economic status. Each important leader’s status has been elevated from historical legend to fictional superhero, as if their alter egos are really Spiderman, Ironman, and Catwoman. The interesting part about this transformation is that some of these heroes and villains are more recognizable to people than the historical figures themselves.

This series, titled Facebank, comically comments on our economic state and the actual worth of money today. We trust in these icons just as children trust Captain America and the other courageous characters. In creating this series, Rabatti aims to spark a dialogue concerning the current, unstable state of world economics. Another interesting element in the artist’s work is that each face is now wearing a mask. The mask is often associated with hiding one’s identity or giving a false appearance; pretending to be something you are not. This is no doubt another layer in Rabatti’s series, commenting on political figures and their place in society. The artist’s funny and clever artwork combines comic book superheroes, economics, and political satire to create this multifaceted series. (via Design Boom)

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The Perfectly Grotesque Paintings Of Peter Saul: Shaking Down Politics Since The 1960’s

Peter Saul - Acrylic on Canvas1

Peter Saul - Acrylic on Canvas2

Peter Saul - Acrylic on Canvas

Peter Saul’s perfectly grotesque; strangely cartoonish paintings are filled with political and anti-political content. Having been born in the 1930’s, he has lived through an immeasurable amount of political turmoil. His highly illustrative paintings come bursting with endless social commentary, with more than just a bit of humor. Associated with the Chicago Imagists and the west coast Funk Artists, Saul’s style contains heavy influences from pop culture and surrealism. His distinctive style is harshly cartoonish due to the brilliant colors and flattened space. The characters in his paintings have bizarre, exaggerated features such as big, bulging eyes that pop out of the person’s skull, and tentacle-like appendages that bend and stretch clear across the composition. Although this may remind you at first of the cartoons you watched as a kid, examine the paintings longer and you will see enormous nude body parts and plenty of oozing bodily fluids. These hilarious and misshapen characteristics further express his thoughts on these characters; some real, some fiction.

Although Saul’s style is derived from sources many may see as lowbrow, his skills as a painter and an artist cannot be denied after seeing his complex, multifaceted compositions. Saul is a master at taking silly, iconic imagery from pop culture and mixing it with the grim, violence of reality. Experiencing his paintings is a journey through time, as they include imagery of the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan. However, the messages and situations depicted in these scenes still ring true today. Peter Saul’s long art career is memorable to say the least. You can see his powerful work in person at Venus Over Manhattan gallery in NYC where his exhibition From Pop to Punk will be on display until April 18th.

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Government, Conspiracy and Art Converge at SMoCA In COVERT OPERATIONS

Ahmed Basiony, 30 Days of Running in the Place (still), 2010/2011. Two-channel color digital video installation with two-channel soundtrack; run time and dimensions variable. Footage from the 2010 performance of 30 Days of Running in the Place and the 2011 Tahrir Square protests, edited by Shady El Noshokaty. Courtesy of the Basiony Estate. © Basiony Estate

Ahmed Basiony, 30 Days of Running in the Place (still), 2010/2011. Two-channel color digital video installation with two-channel soundtrack; run time and dimensions variable. Footage from the 2010 performance of 30 Days of Running in the Place and the 2011 Tahrir Square protests, edited by Shady El Noshokaty. Courtesy of the Basiony Estate. © Basiony Estate

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Trevor Paglen, Untitled (Reaper Drone), 2010. Chromogenic print, 48 x 60 inches. Courtesy the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco; Metro Pictures, New York; and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne. © Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen, Untitled (Reaper Drone), 2010. Chromogenic print, 48 x 60 inches. Courtesy the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco; Metro Pictures, New York; and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne. © Trevor Paglen

Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns, curated by Claire C. Carter, recently opened at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), occupying the museum’s four exhibition spaces with intense focus.  Encompassing digital media works, large scale photography and interactive installations, the exhibition questions what we know and what we think we know.

SMoCA writes: “Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns is the first major survey of a generation of artists working in the violent and uncertain decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to collect and reveal previously unreported or under-reported information. This group of international artists includes Ahmed Basiony, Thomas Demand, Hasan Elahi, Harun Farocki, Jenny Holzer, Trevor Paglen and Taryn Simon. They use legal procedures as well as traditional research methods and resources such as the Freedom of Information Act, government archives, field research and insider connections. The thirty-seven artworks included in Covert Operations employ the tools of democracy to bear witness to attacks on liberty and to embrace democratic ideals, open government and civil rights.

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Walter Robinson Criticisms Of Consumer Culture

Walter Robinson consumer culture Walter Robinson  consumer cultureWalter Robinson  consumer cultureWalter Robinson creates amusing sculptures that work as witty social criticisms about consumerism and popular culture.

I’m fascinated by the human drive to possess material objects and by our intransigent attachment to the things we own. In my work I investigate the ways that consumer products have been crafted to perpetuate hunger for more. Brand and corporate logos, mascots, cartoon characters, advertising text and signage are the semiotic sources I draw from.

Robinson subverts meanings of familiar brands and Western cultural symbols by tweaking their scale, context and color.

With marketing and adverting psychology in mind, Robinson uses seductive surfaces, saturated color, bling and glitter to draw his audience to examine their own relationship to consumer culture and it’s effect on the environment and world events.

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Steve Lambert’s Political Signage At Charlie James Gallery

Just in time for the election season Steve Lambert brings his iconic signage based sculptures to Los Angeles for It’s Time To Fight, And It’s Time To Stop Fighting, opening at Charlie James Gallery on September 15th.

The centerpiece of Lambert’s upcoming show is Capitalism Works For Me! True/False (pictured above), which is on a nationwide tour of museums, non-profits and public spaces in 2011 and 2012. The sign has been exhibited in Cleveland, Boston, San Diego, and Santa Fe, NM so far this year, and its travels will continue after the gallery show concludes in October. The Capitalism project is among Lambert’s most ambitious to date, in both its scale and its level of provocation. The sign itself blares a question seldom posed so clearly, while also serving to divine public opinion and understanding about capitalism. At every stop on the sign’s aforementioned tour, Lambert interviews viewers about their experience of the piece, posing whether capitalism does in fact ‘work for them’. These video-captured testimonials illustrate how people define and understand capitalism, and their relationship to it.

Lambert will also present five new sign sculptures that amplify the question(s) posed in Capitalism. If the Capitalism project asks its question to the ‘man on the street’, this group of five new sign sculptures speaks directly to the demographic of people equipped to acquire them. Reflecting a fresh awareness that a broad swath of corporate and individual 1%-ers have collected his work over three years of gallery and art fair exhibitions, Lambert has decided to create visual reminders, admonitions, and encouragements to those in positions to collect the work.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Running on Seeds Ai Weiwei Protest at Tate Modern

 

On May 1st  three american art students decided to jump the barriers surrounding Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds piece at the Tate modern’s Turbine hall. This action was in protest against the barrier, against the original intentions of the work being inhibited by health and safety (originally museum visitors were to walk on the seeds), to support the release of Ai Weiwei by the Chinese government, and promote freedom of speech and art. The biggest surprise in the video comes when dozens of other museum members joined the three students in a spontaneous group protest. Now that’s power to the people! Watch the full video after the jump!

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Artwork Of The Day: 212 Slaves

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, has been the source of much controversy over the years due to the frequent use of the  “N word”and other racial slurs. In this piece, An artist called Someguy has blacked out the entire text of the book, except for the 212 instances of the word.

This piece brings to light many interesting points in the debate of censorship and hate speech. It was announced in the begining of 2011 that one book publisher with rights to ‘Huckleberry Finn’ will re-release the book with all instances of the word replaced by the “slave” instead. What do you think about this situation? Should this hateful word be stricken from the pages of all books or should we not censor the works of authors and writers?

 

 

 

 

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Hong Kong Graffiti Challenges Ai WeiWei’s Arrest

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about the arrest of  prominent Chinese artists and activist Ai WeiWei by the Chinese Government. Ai Wei Wei and dozens of bloggers and artists were arrested earlier in April  for “inciting subversion of state power,” a catch-all term used to jail anyone critical of Communist Party rule. Apparently The government is concerned that activists want to launch a “jasmine revolution” similar to the protests taking place in the Middle East.

Yesterday NPR released a great story about graffiti popping up all over China supporting the artist and demanding for his release. Street art is at its best when used to expose corruption. Taking your cause to the streets is one of the only ways to let your voice be heard In a country where the government won’t give a legitimate platform to its citizens. Lets hope that more people stand up to the government and demand that not just Ai Wei Wei but all political prisoners are released and that an open discussion can begin between the Chinese government and the countries 1.4 Billion residents.

Listen and read the full story on NPR.

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