The upcoming exhibition Thingamajigs, curated by Meenakshi Thirukode brings together individuals whose creative practice cannot be categorized under traditional tags. The show features a plethora of artists who push the boundaries of their practice, including prior B/D featured experimental group Lucky Dragons, B/D staff writer Colleen Asper, and B/D’s own Amir H. Fallah! A bevvy of Beautiful/Decay articles of history and memorabilia (including some of the first ever, hand-photocopied ‘zine versions) will be on display, alongside Amir’s painting. If you find yourself on a spiritual or artistic journey to India, be sure to check out this exhibition at Gallery Open Eye Dreams.
In 1951, surrealist artist Salvador Dali teamed up with photographer Philippe Halsman to create In Voluptas Mors or Voluptuous Death. A black and white photograph, this image is simultaneously strange, complex, and alluring. It features a giant “skull,” a living picture that is made up of seven nude female models that took three hours to arrange and photograph. The final product has the artist standing next to the skull, looking like the ring leader of a circus. And, in many ways, he is.
Additional photos have recently surfaced that reveal some behind-the-scenes moments of In Voluptas Mors. Not only do we see the apparatuses needed to hold the models, but we see how the skull was constructed with bodies. From the looks of it, there was a process of getting one section of the skull situated and balanced. This would repeat until the structure was stable enough to be captured on film.
In Voluptas Mors was not the first time that Dali and Halsman collaborated, nor was it the last. They originally met in 1941 and worked together over the course of 30 years. All of their efforts were eventually published in a 1954 compendium titled Dali’s Mustache, an homage to the artist’s facial hair. Check out the upcoming exhibition at The Musée de l’Elysée, which runs from January 29 until May 11, 2014 to see these images in person.
I love these hilarious and grotesque drawings by David White.
From 2010 to the present, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy has been collaborating with bees in the creation of her artwork. Despite a bee allergy, Murphy remains committed to her practice, which she describes as being “research-based.” Seeking to understand the nature of bees, Murphy depends on them to make works such as Listen, symbolizing the need to pay attention to the signals bees use for communication. Or We’re Sorry, Murphy’s apology and simultaneously the bees’ apology for any disruption either collaborator may have caused the other. Similarly, her honeycomb sculptures are co-created with the bees. Murphy chooses to work with bees, or other materials that she feels allow her to appropriately explore issues surrounding ecological and political concerns.
Other than the current threat to the bee population Murphy has recently been concerned about nuclear power, particularly following the tsunami-induced collapse of Fukushima. Murphy produced a series titled, Doilies of Imminent Destruction. That’s an amazing title for some pretty delicate work. The series began as a “meditation on the banality of our dialogue surrounding our fearsome power to irreparably alter an environment, and an investigation into the corporately chosen, idealized representations of these disaster sites prior to the disaster.” Each doily depicts the site of a nuclear disaster: Chernobyl, Deepwater Horizon, Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Why doilies? Murphy recognizes the doily’s function as beautifying, or covering up the ugly or tarnished. They also reference an old-fashioned nostalgia of domesticity and desired perfection.
I am drawn to Murphy’s work not for the beauty of it, although it is quite captivating, but rather for the delicate, yet powerful call to arms it requests of the viewer. Whether it is her work about nuclear disasters subtly imploring us to concern ourselves with the danger of this technology, or her work about bees suggesting we need to be aware of the beauty and vulnerability of the bee’s ecosystem, Murphy’s work merits our contemplation.
Photographer Justin Walker‘s studio photos of guns, food, and thighs (both human and chicken) are cold and slick in the best of ways.
I had only one class with Tom LaDuke, but he became was of my most beneficial and most enjoyed professors. Much like his work, Tom is very perceptive; I always felt he was a few steps ahead of us. He inspired many of us to notice aesthetic details, a more clever title, a deeper level of thought – just something more than where our minds stopped at.
Even outside of class, Tom is still encouraging me to be better through his work. He works with challenging mediums, such as, sculpting with graphite, pencil leads, fingernails, eyelashes, and other fragile or unorthodox materials. He is always up to something. You notice this when you start seeing the different layers he puts into all his work, most notably his recent series of paintings where you become very aware of your process of perceiving images.
In the late 1930s, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) brought his imaginary creatures to life, sculpting them out of wood, mounting them on the wall, and imbuing them with a haunting realism by incorporating real animal parts. The remains of deceased animals came from his father’s workplace, the Forest Park Zoo.
After their construction, the creatures, bearing delightful names like the “Andulovian Grackler” and the “Two Horned Drouberhannis,” were sold as a collection under the title “Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy.” After living in a child’s bedroom, the pieces were retired to an old barn and resold in 2004. The Chase Group later made resin copies of many of the works. Some of these pieces are available for sale on eBay.
Each sculpture stays true to Seuss’s touchingly earnest connection with the imaginative realm of childhood. The animals, though mounted on a wall, maintain a poignant emotive ability; the marriage of raised brows and mellow smiles with the antlers of genuine beasts makes the works magically vital, communicative— and somehow— real.
The profound soulfulness of the work is only enhanced by its hints of morbidity. In what is perhaps a critique of taxidermy practices, the prolific artist chose to present these fantastical creatures within the context of human domination, forcing viewers to reconcile our desire to believe in magic with the knowledge of environmental destruction. In this way, the aging of the works has not detracted from their potency but has serendipitously heightened it; years after the prolific author’s death, we are asked to search these faded faces for indicators of bestial personalities and traces of the beloved artist’s hand. Take a look. (via This is Colossal and the world’s best ever)
Complete with slick, bold colors and lens flares, artist Felipe Pantone livens up walls and urban environments with his murals. The neon-colored creations are text based and often coupled with geometric and monochromatic patterns. Their energy can’t and won’t be ignored, and it conjures up an aesthetic that’s contemporary, yet feels like it’s out of the late 1990’s thanks to a rainbow combination of gradients that fill the letterforms.
Pantone’s graffit straddles the line between traditional graffiti, typography, and design. It’s this mixture of popular cultures that gives a unique voice, and simultaneously looks familiar but is something all its own. For someone who might only be familiar with one aspect of Pantone’s multifaceted inspiration, they can find something interesting and meaningful within it (aside it just being fun to look at). (Via The Fox is Black)