Singer/pianist/lyricist/composer/performance artist Amanda Palmer, a.k.a. Amanda Fucking Palmer or AFP, is the epitome of an American indie artist. She’s bold, unapologetic, bisexual, with awesomely hairy armpits and actual pubic hair. She organized an unbinding flash mob wedding between her and writer Neil Gaiman in 2010, then made it legal in 2011 in a private ceremony hosted by literary power couple Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon. Unafraid of addressing provocative issues, she’s fought against Prop 8 and blogged about her own abortion and date rape.
Article: Banksy vs. the Olympics
For some, the Olympics represent the apex of athletic competition and sportsmanship while uniting the world. For others, it represents the zenith of Draconian corporate sponsorship, and irresponsible financial and nationalist excess. Diving into the middle of this debate is Banksy, arguably the cynosure of street artists, who has popped up with his own particular opinion on the upcoming Olympics. His latest two pieces of work, stencils in his familiar style, serve to remind the world that outside the glossy bubble of the London Olympics this summer there are real impact issues — including the legal, ethical and moral dilemmas of using military drones — that matter a great deal more than whether someone will be able to shave .0001 second off their swim lap or sprint. Ironically, the reaction to this work by the London authorities, who are threatening to scrub away these pieces, only serves to underscore the very critique that Banksy seems to be making.
Our poet friend Mark Bibbins is the author of “The Dance of No Hard Feelings”, a prof in the graduate writing programs at The New School and Columbia, and the poetry editor of The Awl (“Be Less Stupid”), where he features one or two pieces by a poet each week. His latest selection — “Romeo + Juliet Poem” by Krystal Languell, who’s on the board of the Belladonna* Collaborative — really caught our attention: It’s fun, sexy, visceral (see excerpt below). Since our enjoyment of good poetry usually involves quoting THE PRINCESS BRIDE (“No more rhymes now, I mean it.” “Anybody want a peanut?”), we asked Mark to give us some insight into this particular poem.
Article: 25, a new erotic-fashion magazine
Model Anja Rubik’s new editorial endeavor just launched: 25 Magazine is a high-end fashion magazine, out biannually, that’s dedicated to the erotic perspective of women. In an interview with New York magazine, Rubik explained the sex concept:
Christopher Voelker has been a full-time wheelchair user since the age of 16, when he developed quadriplegia after a motocross accident. Always intrigued by photography, he decided to pursue it as a professional career, despite the considerable barriers for people with disabilities in the industry. Largely self-taught, today he’s an internationally recognized fashion, art, and celebrity photographer with an impressive portfolio that includes some very well-known names, including some of our very own PUSH GIRLS.
Sunaura Taylor’s work, like Chicken Truck, seen above, is striking and haunting: rows of battery hens in cages and downed calves speak to her commitment to animal welfare activism, while detailed and intimate oil portraits bring people to life on the canvas, and self-portraits depict her disability and connect it with a larger social context. She has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that causes joint contractures, and uses a wheelchair for mobility. To paint, she uses her mouth to hold the brush, and her work has made quite a mark in the art world; she’s received a number of awards for her painting and her work has been displayed in some distinguished places.
THE AVENGERS became a bonafide hit after making over $200 million over the past weekend and in the process setting a record for the biggest opening before adjusting for inflation. That’s some serious “geek” spending power right there. I’m happy for director Joss Whedon and after the success of this film the (Skrull filled) sky is the limit for him. The pop culture impact this film is having can be seen across multiple sandboxes in the web as a point of reference ranging from The Economist to Botticelli. Or rather with apologies to Botticelli, Julian Totino Tedesco created the above Avengers-themed illustration inspired by the master painter’s “The Birth of Venus.” Tedesco’s painting was one of many by various artists commissioned by Marvel to create Avengers covers in the style of famous paintings and genres. If Seurat were alive today and an Avengers fanboy he might’ve painted something like this.
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
So this week we learned that if you were born horny you should not go to Hong Kong, you should not stop carrying condoms for fear of police confiscation, and you should not assume that by “you” we mean either “he” or “she.”
Article: Whither art thou, Agent Cooper?
Twin Peaks left its audience with many more questions than it answered. That’s probably why, every year, a new generation of college students commit to watching the entire series (I don’t think that happens with Murphy Brown). It has also left one Brooklyn artist, Michelle Levy, Searching for Agent C. So, it is only fitting that we cap off our week of Twin Peaks haikus and David Lynch backyard BBQs checking out the hunt for our favorite FBI Special Agent. Warning, if you’ve never made it to the end of the series you may find some spoilers below!
If you’re part of the one percent that can afford a piece of art by Andy Warhol, please stop reading this. You just don’t need any more tips. But for those of you who, like me, currently only covet a Robert Longo, or Kiki Smith, here’s a piece of advice. Forget about them! Value is in the eye of the beholder, and with the advent of independent e-commerce sites springing up we’re seeing an almost endless supply of new work by young artists that draw from contemporary culture. Giving us insight into how we’re ingesting the present world.
Article: Switcheroo, a photo series
photo “Mish & Colin” from the series Switcheroo by Sincerely Hana
“Sincerely Hana” is a self-taught photographer raised in Whistler and currently living in Vancouver, Canada. On her website, she’s got an ongoing project called Switcheroo: dual portraits of two people each — almost always one man and one woman — standing side by side.
Article: It's you, perfected!
There are many reasons not to read women’s magazines. One of the biggies? All the retouched photos. The genetic mutants we call models and celebrities can beat the shit out your average Jane’s self image, but Photoshop can chop it up with chainsaw. This before and after cover of Red Book from a few years ago thanks to Jezebel.com says it all. In fact, Jezebel has made one of their crusades exposing the evils of Photoshop (here’s their most recent “unveiling”). One of the funniest commentaries on how fucked up Photoshop is when it comes to setting impossible beauty standards is this recent parody of a beauty product commercial by Jesse Rosten on Vimeo: “Just one application of Fotoshop can give you results so dramatic, they’re almost unreal…istic.”
Both Anish Kapoor and his Rolex Arts Initiative protégé Nicholas Hlobo had big years in the art world. Both mounted large-scale, interactive sculptures at the Venice Biennale in addition to solo exhibitions around the world. But the two artists still found time to meet at Kapoor’s London studio to develop the trajectory of Hlobo’s work.
Article: Kaleidoscopic Manhattan
I’m really digging the new video kaleidoscopic works from artist Anne Morgan Spalter. She captures video footage of urban landscapes such as Rockefeller Center or Fifth Avenue in New York City and then digitally transforms them using a decidedly 19th century concept. The resulting view is a constantly shifting but rigidly geometric patterned series of images as you can observe in the video above (my fave!), which I think is an interesting juxtaposition with the inherent symmetry of Manhattan’s streets. If you are around the Big Apple you should check out her debut NYC show at the Stephan Stoyanov Gallery.
The Syphilis of Sisyphus: Now on view at Fredericks & Freiser gallery, Mary Reid Kelly’s newest video installation, “The Syphilis of Sisyphus,” portrays the artist (with ping pong ball eyes) as a pregnant French bohemian reciting twisted rhyming couplets. Her keenest words of wisdom: “My blistering wit and its deep lacerations are signs of advanced forms of Syphillization.”
A couple decades after the initial 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, my favorite mustachioed, anteater-walking surrealist, Salvador Dalí, took a crack at illustrating the 1969 Random House edition with an image for each of the twelve chapters. Dali is always so predictable and yet paradoxically so unpredictable. Children be damned, you know he’s going to create something that can only be the product of hallucinogenic drugs (or so I’ve heard)…
Article: Fucking James Franco
For those who don’t follow our Monday Kickstarter best-of’s, Kickstarter.com is a funding platform for music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative projects. If a project doesn’t reach its stated funding goal before time runs out, no money changes hands. One art project that just met its $2,000 goal before its closing date this coming Saturday, thanks to over 100 backers, is “Fucking James Franco,” a collection of erotic fantasies about the art world’s golden boy (read: annoying dude) “that the world desperately needs,” produced by Portland-based Social Malpractice Publishing and Container Corps Art Press.
Geert Goiris: For his latest photo series, “Resonance,” Belgium-born photographer Geert Goiris offers up seemingly benign snapshots which, upon closer inspection, reveal uncanny, or off-putting elements. Most peculiar of all is an image of plastic office chairs arranged AA-style around an unremarkable wood table (which, you soon realize, has no legs)…
I felt lucky to attend the opening night party for the Diego Rivera exhibition “Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art” last Tuesday. The (always welcomed) open bar aside, I was excited to get a preview of some of the works of an icon like Rivera, an artist for whom I also have a sort of nostalgic attachment; his relationship with Frida Kahlo was the focus of one of my earliest group projects as a freshman at Brown. In tribute to their mercurial relationship, I tried to convince my friend to show up with a unibrow. Alas, she refused…
Pacific Standard Time: “Pacific Standard Time,” the Getty-funded series of exhibitions throughout LA county, draws together tons of museums, private galleries, homes and commercial spaces in a crazy, semi-random celebration of creativity. There’s literally no way you’ll get to all of the featured exhibits, but Angelenos should try and swing through a handful this week…
Article: The art of the baseball bat
Vincent Kohler interprets the art of baseball literally with his series of 30 unique and intricately carved baseball bats…
If you’re in the NYC area and want to check out the Carsten Höller exhibit at the New Museum this weekend, here’s a word of advice: You should walk outside, hail a cab and get in line, because otherwise you won’t be in the building before Monday morning. I’m only slightly exaggerating, but after two attempts at “beating the crowd,” I found myself shivering in the cold on both occasions, defeated by 2 hour + wait times. So no, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of riding Höller’s 2-story slide (which required serious renovations to the SANAA-designed structure to install), but as soon as I do, I’ll amend this post with a description of exactly how afraid I was. In the meantime, here are a few of the “sensory experiences” we can get excited about together:
Julia Schauenburg’s photo series “52 bunches of flowers I bought myself” is one of the saddest art projects I’ve ever seen. This German-born, Australian-based photographer bought flowers for herself each week for an entire year and photographed them as they wilted and died. This project reminds me of something Liz Lemon might do if she was an artist instead of a lead writer for a fictional TV show. You can purchase these photos as a limited edition postcard set if you feel like sending your depressing thoughts around or, as an antidote, I recommend this photograph of a flower that might be the most joyous ever.
It’s been a tumultuous year for one of our favorite artists, Ai Weiwei who, after his 81 day long detention, was slammed with a punitive $2.4 million tax bill from the Chinese government. In a testament to his wide appeal and support, The New York Times reported that “thousands of people have responded by contributing money in a gesture that is at once benevolent and subversive” and “more than 20,000 people have together contributed at least $840,000.” This is unsurprising to any student of history or political movements…
Heartbeat Island: French artist, Christian Boltankski, has recorded the heartbeats of over 35,000 people and stored them on a tiny Japanese island for his project, “Les Archives du Coeur.” His touring booth is slated to come through Finland in 2012, so you romantic types should probably start booking tickets for Valentine’s Day…