Wooden framework, first stage for mounting elephant
Assembling bones for Nodosaurus dinosaur skeleton from dinosaur bone collection
Charles Lang and Carl Sorensen working on skull of Palaeoloxodon antiquus italicus
Museum staff with fossil shark jaws under restoration
If you’ve ever been to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, you’ve probably spent some time marveling at the grandiose installations and the larger-than life exhibits of species that are both alive and extinct. The Research Library at the museum kept incredible records of how these things were produced and have the photographs available for view on their website. These behind-the-scenes looks are fascinating, featuring taxidermy, assemblage, and the hoisting up of giant bones.
Employes built a lot of the structures from the ground up, forming armatures for what were birds, elephants, antelopes, and more. There was also fun to be had with large fossils, like a shark’s jaw, where we see one of the employees suspended in air, sitting on it, paying the giant teeth very little mind.
Removed from context, there is a surreal quality to these photographs. They represent a different time, an era when we didn’t have all the technological advances that we do today. Because of this, things in the museum have the tendency to feel dated and look aged, but these records show the amount of knowledge of craft and handiwork that had to go into the giant exhibits that we still visit today. (Via Fish Eyes)
Kristine Five Melvær is a Norwegian designer who brings a really subtle, but affective approach to the table. This Bloom lamp series is great. Inspired by natural forms, the shades call to mind “buds, fruit, or water”. Each of the three lamps are a different height, which promotes a sense of organic incongruity. The shades are made of canvas, which, though a possible fire hazard, goes along nicely with the earthy vibe of each piece. (via)
Spanish artist José Manuel Castro López seems to have the ability to transform the structural properties of rocks. He manipulates the surface of stone to create a new formation. He turns a classic object of solid nature into something strange, malleable and soft. His work, for just a moment, forces the viewer to question reality. For what should be “as hard as a rock” becomes reminiscent of having a materiality as flexible as dough. With loose folds, simple cut outs and pinches, it seems the artist is able to sculpt rocks as if they are as supple as clay. Each piece has a certain sense of humor to it, as it is an optical illusion that kind of asks the viewer to reflect upon his or her own common sense. Yet, simultaneous to its comical, light hearted absurdity, the work also has an almost unusual, uncomfortable resemblance to flesh, giving the work a darker, more complex facet. With these flesh like objects — quite literally for some of them, as they depict faces — the properties of what seems like skin begin to become distorted, perhaps depicting the moments directly after pain has been inflicted. For example, his sculpture of what looks like a ring puncturing skin. Or, the sculpture of what looks like the result of flesh that has been stretched through it’s ability to be elastic. With a large array of pieces, José Manuel Castro López creates clever work that truly plays tricks on your eyes. (via deMilked)
Artist Jeffrey Gibson blends art histories and cultures with seeming effortlessness. His work isn’t the pastiche of past decades, a witty pairing of disparate influences. Rather, Gibson’s work appears more to be rooted in contemporary remix culture. Portions of modern and contemporary art styles inhabit art pieces along traditional Native American artwork with an inclusiveness that’s refreshing. Interestingly, the gallery statement of his latest exhibit at Shoshana Wayne Gallery notes:
“This mash-up of visual and cultural references comes from the artist’s Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, moving frequently during his childhood—to Germany, Korea and the East Coast of the U.S. , and his early exposure to rave and club cultures of the 1980s and 1990s. Gibson cites that the sense of inclusiveness and acceptance, the celebratory melding of subcultures and an idealistic promise of unity all galvanized by the DJ’s power to literally move an audience to dance to his beat, continues to serve as a primary inspiration for his inter-disciplinary practice.”
Still, the way in which the Native American styling especially stands out makes the Native American artists largley left out from the discourse of modern art history conspicuous. The gallery statement continues about this relationship: “The paintings are done on elk rawhide stretched over wood panels. Gibson arrived at this format after years of looking at painting techniques found in various non-Western art histories, of paintings on shields, drums and parfleche containers (animal hides wrapped around varying goods). The paintings also read within a modern and contemporary art context whereas artists from the 1950s and 1960s were looking towards traditions such as Native American and Oceanic art to create ideals of spirituality, animism and purity. One can infer artistic influences from Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, and Donald Judd.”
It’s in this way that Gibson inserts himself and his heritage into art history: by this smart mixing and remixing, and an artist’s eye at the past.
Thanks to everyone that made it out to our screening of Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary screening last night at Space 15twenty. The screening was a great success, with great summer time weather and comfy beach chairs to relax on. All the seats were filled within minutes and a few troopers even stood for the entire length of the movie!
Until recently, an old, deteriorated collection of no less than one million crime scene photographs rested silently in the nearly forgotten archives of the Los Angeles Police department; spanning 150 years of violence and corruption, these images were only recently discovered by the photographer Merrick Morton, who has restored and salvaged many of the images, which will be exhibited at Paramount Pictures Studios from April 25-27 by Fototeka.
The crime scene image occupies a unique place in photographic history; in her seminal text On Photography, the theorist Susan Sontag describes the medium as a means of providing evidence, proof that is often skewed, corrupted by individual biases. Sontag also proposed that the photograph necessitates complicity; when Weegee rushed to crime scenes to capture the bodies of murder victims, for example, he was partaking perhaps in the fetishistic pleasure of violence.
Morton’s collection offers new insight into the discourse between crime fighting and art; unlike someone like Weegee, the modern photographer is also a reserve officer for the LAPD. The photographs he chose to restore and exhibit embody the very human tension between revolution and curiosity, for although these images were initially used to catch and reprimand criminals, they now function to satisfy our more voyeuristic yearnings.
Without context, these bullet holes, these nude, tattooed dead bodies are entirely open to our imagination and judgment, inviting our darkest fantasies and speculation. A pair of shoes, caught (perhaps accidentally) in the corner of a forensic image, shown beside a bloody carpet and a limp hand holding a shining knife, holds deeper psychological connotations when viewed as art, as a relic of an era gone by. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)
Merging sound and landscape, Ukrainian architect and designer Anna Marinenko has created a series of images – called “Nature Sound Form Wave” – that presents juxtapositions of sound waves alongside panoramas of sky, water, mountain, and tree lines. Marinenko’s pairings demonstrate the synchronicity and parallels to be found in different patterns among natural and manufactured designs, the similarity between the forms remarkably uncanny. Because Marinenko meticulously lines up the designs and maintains the same color palette throughout the images, ocean waves, flight paths, and landscapes appear to be transforming into the sound waves, the transition nearly seamless. (via design boom)