If you think carving a pumpkin is challenging, wait until you see the “prayer nuts” made by Dutch artists in the 16th century. These small, neurotically detailed treasures were carved from a single nut to resemble religious scenes. Each nut holds a spectacularly complex scene that contains a numerous amount of characters to construct religiously important events such as the crucifixion. All of this amazingly crafted imagery is inside a nut that is only a few inches in diameter! Not only are the interiors of the nuts carved into a fine detail, but the outsides are elaborately carved as well. The exterior shell of each nut features a decorative design carved into it, which is revealed once the prayer nut is closed. This way, whether the nut is open or closed, it shows off its stunning design.
Artisans created these delicate masterpieces during the Middle Ages so that individuals could use them privately when they pray. They were small enough to be carried in a person’s pocket and beautiful enough to hang on a rosary. Because the prayer nuts such took incredible skill, not to mention an unbelievably steady hand, only the wealthy and powerful could afford them. Because of this, they also became a social status of wealth. The same thing can be said about many products in contemporary society. Possessing something expensive that creates a convenience to you and can also fit in your pocket – this is not unlike the modern day smart phone. Valuable and beautifully crafted items are still in high demand today. However, these 16th century prayer nuts are much more rare than the latest iphone. They can be found in museum collections all over the world including the British Museum in London and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.(via Juxtapoz)
Israeli artist Ron Arad has a thing for the Fiat 500 car. Ever since his father was almost struck by a garbage truck while driving a Cinquecento, the Italian automobile played an important part in his life. Arad tells the story of how he came to own his first Fiat to W Magazine. While stopped at a red light in a taxi, a Fiat pulled up next to him, and he
….opened the door of the taxi and shouted to the driver, ‘Are you selling?’ The next day, his car was [his]’. (Source)
That car was used to cart his family around for a number of years, and even housed a homeless man for a short period. After looking at it every day, he decided he wanted to immortalize the car like the cultural icon it is. Using a metal press at a shipyard in Groningen, in the Netherlands, he managed to squash and squeeze the cars into a 12cm thick plate. After spending a while trialing with smaller cars and a variety of presses, Arad found the perfect way to flatten the frames while still keeping the integrity of the shape and design. It is quite a bizarre sight seeing something which is normally such a full shape being hung on the wall like it is a colored cardboard version of a car. Arad has indeed preserved the idea of the Fiat 500 for all to gush sentimentality over.
His exhibition “Ron Arad: In Reverse” is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street in New York City, until March 14, 2015.
Distortion, illusion, and psychedelic alterations can all be found in the hand cut collage work of Lola Dupré. My favorites are the well known images that she re-imagines in her trippy explosive cut paper interpretations like the above drawing by M.C. Escher.
Julio Le Parc is the precursor of op art. Originally from Argentina, he moves to Paris, France after his art studies to discover what the city has to offer. Today, he is displayed next to Vasarely’s immersive art pieces. The artist uses fourteen pure colors to create combinations on its paintings. This starting point allows him to work around real movement, multiplication of images, transparency, coloring, space and light. Experimentation is how Julio Le Parc likes to work, that includes making mistakes and taking risks. In another black and white series where he uses spray paint he is looking to experiment with multi surfaces, dynamic visuals and different levels of shades.
Behind the numerous studies of light and movement there is a need for Julio Le Parc to search for a shortcut between the creation of a piece and the experience of the viewers. By rejecting psychology, his aim is to reach the mass with no third party involved. He is taking his political message, his “general analysis of the situation” directly to the eyes of the viewers. He condemns the government method to impose its vision and to leave aside the ideas and opinions of the people. Ideally, he wants a new method to acknowledge ideas wether it’s by a State or an art gallery. For Julio Le Parc, people don’t appreciate art in its time and that’s the fault of galleries and museums imposing their opinions and deciding who will be the next “famous and hot” artist instead of letting the people decide.
Julio Le Parc’s art pieces will be displayed this week at Art Basel and sixty of his work will be printed on silk scarves in collaboration with Hermes.
James McNeill Whistler, Whistler’s Mother (1871) / S&M, Rihanna
Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci (c.1503) / Super Bass, Nicki Minaj
Nighthawks, Edward Hopper (1942) / Girls Love Beyonce, Drake
Hell (1450), Dirk Bouts / Drop It Like It’s Hot, Snoop Dogg feat. Pharell Williams
Fly Art is a Tumblr account created by students and artists Gisella Velasco and Toni Potenciano. Since December 2013, the duo have been collaborating on mashups of hip hop lyrics and classic artworks, blending two seemingly disparate cultural artifacts into a surprising and often humorous cohesion. Velasco and Pontenciano pair Nicki Minaj with Mona Lisa, Rihanna with Whistler’s Mother, and Outkast with Matisse. The large text overlaying the classic art is a bit jarring at first, but creates an interesting effect, recontextualizing both the lyrics and the images, each informing a new reading of the other. The project’s Tumblr states that it is “paying homage to the good things in life: fine art and fresh hip hop.” (via artnet)
Photographer Cyril Crepin creates an extraordinary, poignant collection of photographs featuring portraits of facial reconstruction patients within the confines of the hospital in which they were operated on.
With the help of Professor Bernard Devauchelle, a leading surgeon at the hospital in which these individuals were in, Crepin photographs these subjects in order to celebrate, but most importantly, accentuate these individuals’ self-respect, playfulness and courage regardless their ‘monstrous’ appearance after surgery.
“They want to be recognized as human beings. Contrary to what people might say about this series, it’s not meant to be obscene or voyeuristic. Obscenity is to ignore their humanity and their extraordinary courage.”
Crepin’s work is emotionally intense and it is by no means easy to look at. It is sad to say, but many people will have a tough time looking at these just because of the deformities. This consequence is tough to acknowledge, but it is true. It is hard to admit that many of us will be disturbed and disgusted by the appearance of these people, but it is this sole purpose that, I think, runs Crepin’s artistic fuel throughout the creation of this series. The rawness of his subjects’ gaze and the fearless aura they portray is powerful and inspiring… their brilliance transcend the normative ideas about beauty. Their humble controbution to Crepin’s work teaches us that everyone, no matter what they went through or how they look like, deserves a little self-praise and respect.
Evan Robarts lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His playful sculptures are constructed from found objects and industrial materials. Robarts reinvigorates everyday items like brooms, hockey sticks, and bicycle frames when he transforms them into vibrant compositions. In one piece the combination of cake sprinkles and plaster results in a dazzling abstraction that looks good enough to eat. Another body of work utilizes Popsicle sticks and ink to imitate a plane of freshly melted treats. Robarts’ zestful work triggers multiple senses and reminds us that exuberance can be found in all things.