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31 Mar 16:00

Chris Mottalini

by Willson Cummer

© Chris Mottalini

Land of Smiles is a quiet, surreal exploration of Thailand’s everyday architecture and landscapes.

I have spent a considerable amount of time in Thailand over the past five or so years (my wife is from Bangkok). Still, I remain an outsider and am fascinated by many aspects of the landscape that most Thais would never think twice about. The images featured here focus on the accidentally sculptural fluorescent bulb streetlights and nightscapes of rural Thailand.  

Land of Smiles takes you on a walking tour in a dream-state. This is Thailand as few people will ever see it (especially in light of the political turmoil and chaos of the past decade).

— Chris Mottalini, Brooklyn, New York, USA

© Chris Mottalini

© Chris Mottalini3

21 Apr 16:00

Charalampos Kydonakis

by Willson Cummer

APR 21 Charalampos Kydonakis

Once Upon a Time on the Island of the Minotaur

Crete’s strategic location exposed the island to siege and piracy continuously during the centuries. This fact pushed local people to the mountainous interior of the island to protect themselves from the pirates’ assaults across the seaside. 

More or less until the 1970’s, when tourism appeared here, the Cretans’ character, life and customs were much more related to the mountains rather than the sea. These photos are a kind of observation at the dyadic nature of the Minotaur’s island, this key-shaped mountain that was planted in the Mediterranean sea.

— Charalampos Kydonakis, Rethymnon, Crete, Greece

© Charalampos Kydonakis

© Charalampos Kydonakis3

10 Feb 19:13

Soulwax’s Studio Deewee

by rane
Studio Deewee - Imgur-1 Studio Deewee - Imgur-2 Studio Deewee - Imgur Studio Deewee - Imgur-3   Studio Deewee - Imgur-5 Studio Deewee - Imgur-6 Studio Deewee - Imgur-7 Studio Deewee - Imgur-8 Studio Deewee - Imgur-9
15 Apr 21:34

Marilyn Minter

12 May 11:51

1.8 Million Free Works of Art from World-Class Museums: A Meta List of Great Art Available Online

by Josh Jones

Rosetta Stone

Since the first stirrings of the internet, artists and curators have puzzled over what the fluidity of online space would do to the experience of viewing works of art. At a conference on the subject in 2001, Susan Hazan of the Israel Museum wondered whether there is “space for enchantment in a technological world?” She referred to Walter Benjamin’s ruminations on the “potentially liberating phenomenon” of technologically reproduced art, yet also noted that “what was forfeited in this process were the ‘aura’ and the authority of the object containing within it the values of cultural heritage and tradition.” Evaluating a number of online galleries of the time, Hazan found that “the speed with which we are able to access remote museums and pull them up side by side on the screen is alarmingly immediate.” Perhaps the “accelerated mobility” of the internet, she worried, “causes objects to become disposable and to decline in significance.”


Fifteen years after her essay, the number of museums that have made their collections available online whole, or in part, has grown exponentially and shows no signs of slowing. We may not need to fear losing museums and libraries—important spaces that Michel Foucault called “heterotopias,” where linear, mundane time is interrupted. These spaces will likely always exist. Yet increasingly we need never visit them in person to view most of their contents. Students and academics can conduct nearly all of their research through the internet, never having to travel to the Bodleian, the Beinecke, or the British Library. And lovers of art must no longer shell out for plane tickets and hotels to see the precious contents of the Getty, the Guggenheim, or the Rijksmuseum. For all that may be lost, online galleries have long been “making works of art widely available, introducing new forms of perception in film and photography and allowing art to move from private to public, from the elite to the masses.”


Even more so than when Hazan wrote those words, the online world offers possibilities for “the emergence of new cultural phenomena, the virtual aura.” Over the years we have featured dozens of databases, archives, and online galleries through which you might virtually experience art the world over, an experience once solely reserved for only the very wealthy. And as artists and curators adapt to a digital environment, they find new ways to make virtual galleries enchanting. The vast collections in the virtual galleries listed below await your visit, with close to 2,000,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, books, and more. See the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum (top), courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute. See Van Gogh’s many self-portraits and vivid, swirling landscapes at The Van Gogh Museum. Visit the Asian art collection at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries. Or see Vassily Kandinsky’s dazzling abstract compositions at the Guggenheim.

And below the list of galleries, find links to online collections of several hundred art books to read online or download. Continue to watch this space: We’ll add to both of these lists as more and more collections come online.

Art Images from Museums & Libraries

Art Books

Related Contents:

Download 448 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use

Free: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Offer 474 Free Art Books Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

1.8 Million Free Works of Art from World-Class Museums: A Meta List of Great Art Available Online is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

05 Feb 15:16

An Eccentric Visual History of Our Most Basic Shapes

by Allison Meier
X Hour (created by Bruno Munari)

Bruno Munari, X Hour (all images from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle,’ courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press, unless otherwise noted)

The square, circle, and triangle are the most basic shapes on Earth, supporting structures both synthetic and natural. In the 1960s, Italian artist Bruno Munari explored the visual history of these shapes in three books, which Princeton Architectural Press recently compiled into Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle.


Cover of ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (click to enlarge)

“A circle drawn by hand showed the skill of Giotto,” Munari writes in the 1964 La Scoperta del Cerchio (The Discovery of the Circle). “The first thing a child draws looks like a circle. People spontaneously arrange themselves in a circle when they need to observe something close up, and this led to the origin of the arena, the circus, and the stock exchange trading posts.”

Munari had published La Scoperta del Quadrato (The Discovery of the Square) a few years earlier in 1960, and then La Scoperta del Triangolo (The Discovery of the Triangle) — specifically the equilateral triangle — in 1976. The books are fascinating to explore together in this new reissue, which guards Munari’s original black-and-white design in a square-shaped book. Munari created over 60 books for various audiences during his lifetime (they were chronicled in last year’s Munari’s Books by art historian Giorgio Maffei), and he mainly intended the shape books for fellow designers. “Knowing everything about this simple, basic shape, in all its aspects and formal and structural possibilities, is a great help to designers,” he writes in Triangle. However, there’s a broad appreciation possible for this eccentric exploration of the three shapes through Munari’s omnivorous approach. He never nails down what any of the shapes are, yet looks at every aspect of what they mean, where they appear, and even their significance in language. In Square, he writes:

As tall and as broad as a man with his arms outstretched, the square has always been used, from the oldest writings and rock engravings made by early man, to signify the idea of an enclosure, a house, a village. Enigmatic in its simplicity, in the monotonous repetition of its four sides, its four identical corners, it can generate a whole series of interesting figures.

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

The subjects are all arranged alphabetically (according to their Italian names), adding a level of objectivity; Square, for instance, begins with the Hellenistic plan of the Agora of Ephesus and a 1951 Josef Albers painting, and concludes with a sculptural model by Mary Vieira and blocky Chinese calligraphy by Wang Hsi-Chih. Much of the information can feel random, with just two pages in Square including the Chinese character for mouth, the Sumerian word for house, the square Tokyo home of architect Makoto Masuzawa, the proportions of a French cathedral, and a photograph of the early computer “electric brain.”

Still there are symbolic patterns that emerge, such as the circle that often “deals with the divine.” Munari includes the sun disk of the Egyptian god Ra, the ouroboros biting its tale symbolizing eternity, a Raphael painting of the Madonna, magic circles, a Gothic rose window, and the crown of thorns. He also can never resist a bit of whimsical wit, and at the end of Circle throws in a monowheel — a circular bicycle.

Even if you’re not a designer, the trilogy on shapes encourages a closer look at the repeating structures around us and their deep human and natural histories, in which the simple square can simultaneously be an ancient symbol with “the power to drive out the plague,” and the boundaries for a game of chess.

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle' (photo of the book for Hyperallergic)

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

Roof Covering (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Roof Covering (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle' (photo of the book for Hyperallergic)

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle'

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’

Tangents Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Tangents (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Pages from 'Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle' (photo of the book for Hyperallergic)

Pages from ‘Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle’ (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Boschin Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Boschin (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Electronic Brain Image credit: © Eredi Ugo Mulas

Electronic Brain (photo by Eredi Ugo Mulas)

Banana Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Banana (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Folding Chair Image credit: Courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

Folding Chair (courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Bruno Munari: Square Circle Triangle is out now from Princeton Architectural Press.

06 Jan 21:51

Lauren Everett - People Like Us: The Cult of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

by mrs. deane

People Like Us: The Cult of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
by Lauren Everett
Preface by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, introduction by Lauren Everett, with additional essays by the performers
140 pages, 8.5 x 11"
Offset soft-cover
$25 US

"My book is a collection of environmental portraiture, documentary images, and text that explore the vibrant DIY sub-culture surrounding the ultimate cult movie. Though there have been many titles about the film itself, this is the first and only photography series ever to focus on the remarkable story of the folks who have been the driving force behind the film's unprecedented 40 year theatrical run, and the community they have forged."

website / order 
21 Jan 18:10

Elmgreen & Dragset The Well Fair 2016The artists have...

Elmgreen & Dragset The Well Fair 2016

The artists have transformed the main hall of UCCA into a fictional fair by building multiple rows of rectangular booths, mimicking the generic architecture of art fairs worldwide. 

27 Jan 13:40

N.Y.C. to L.A. to N.Y.C. to L.A., Ad Infinitum

Credit Illustration by Walter Green

When I realized that New York was a cesspit filled with the viscera of broken dreams, I decided that the time had come for me to move to beautiful, sunny Los Angeles.

When I arrived in L.A. and realized that it was creatively dead, had a withered husk for a soul, and considered ombré the height of culture, I took the first plane back to New York.

Of course, my plane landed in a sea of overstressed, overworked rat kings fornicating with cockroaches and three of my exes. So I bought a used Prius and drove cross-country straight to L.A., because in L.A. people go on hikes.

On my first hike in L.A., I had to talk to someone who’d never read Joan Didion and who’d had—get this—plastic surgery. Before he could say “juice cleanse,” I had ridden a fixed-gear bicycle right back to the Big Apple.

My bike wouldn’t fit in my two-inch-wide urine-soaked apartment in Sunset Park, so I found someone to take over my lease and I rode a Segway all the way to Hollywood, eating local fruits and reciting positive affirmations as I rolled merrily along.

At my first party in Los Angeles, I heard the word “agent” more than fifteen thousand times. (I tried to keep a tally, but my fingers started bleeding, so I stopped.) People went on “generals” and never returned. I knew I needed to get back to where the real people were, the people of substance and letters, who understood the Struggle.

So I took the secret subway train that goes from L.A. to New York. It was O.K. until 3:30 P.M., when a gang of youths attacked me, emotionally. Somehow I arrived in one piece, but it was the middle of winter, so I sat alone in my apartment until spring. During that time, my hair fell out and my skin fell off.

I hitchhiked to L.A. at the first opportunity. When I arrived, the people were sun-kissed and the rampant depression was barely noticeable compared with New York. You can hide all manner of mental illness with a solid tan and veneers. I hopped in my car, got on the 405, and headed to the beach. I was stuck in traffic for six years.

By the time I got back to New York, I was very old. I was twenty-seven. I was too old for the constant partying I assumed people did. I was too old to keep pretending I’d read all the articles and listened to all the bands. Pretending to like things was a young person’s game. I just needed a change.

And L.A., city of vapid angels, provided that change. No one cared if I’d read anything or listened to anything, or whether I even had eyes or ears, as long as I didn’t get the part of Surprised Waitress No. 2 over them. Everything was fine until all the yoga made my bones dissolve.

Skinless and boneless, I jiggled back to New York, but everyone kept making me feel so ashamed of being a blob. I threw on my comfiest sweatpants, poured what was left of me into a Vitamix, and shipped myself to L.A.

Halfway between New York and L.A., I imploded. I am so much happier now. ♦

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24 Jan 02:43

norafleischer: Little Explorer. Cantwell, Alaska


Little Explorer.

Cantwell, Alaska

21 Jan 09:03

Writing new episodes of Friends is easy if you use a neural network

by James Vincent

When humanity is immortal because of gene-repairing nanobots in all our fast food, we'll need something to do to pass the time. Watching infinite episodes of Friends written by a computer and acted out in virtual reality seems like a good start, and, thanks to cartoonist and software developer Andy Herd, we're pretty much halfway there.

Herd create a neural network using Google's open source machine learning software TensorFlow and fed it a bunch of Friends scripts. From this data, the network learned how to write its own scripts, Herd told The Daily Beast, coming out with gems like this:

[Scene: Monica and Rachel's, Monica and Phoebe are dancing.]

Van Damme: I'll go in a crap.

Monica: Keep talking!

Phoebe: Wow lady! You're just gonna come over to him jumpy. (They start to cry.)

Chandler: So, Phoebe likes my pants.

Monica: Chicken Bob!

Chandler: (in a muffin) (Runs to the girls to cry) Can I get some presents.

Isn't it flawless? Isn't it everything you'd expect? You've got the late-'90s guest star, the sexual tension, Monica's famous wacky catchphrases, and random outbursts of crying. Here are some more of Herd's scripts, which he posted on Twitter on Monday night:

i fed a recurrent neural network with the scripts for every episode of friends and it learned to generate new scenes

— Andy Pandy (@_Pandy) January 18, 2016

Herd, who makes the web comic Pandyland, says that a lot of what his neural network creates is still gibberish, but that he hopes to improve its output in the future. He told The Daily Beast he'll "maybe make it public one day" if it gets good enough, or start experimenting with other TV shows. "Maybe Frasier or Seinfeld," says Herd. "Or maybe mash them all together and create The Perfect Sitcom."

22 Oct 02:53

The Architectural Legacy of Pizza Hut Restaurants

by Claire Voon
Ho Hai Tran, "The Great Wall, Glendale Heights, IL, USA " (all photos courtesy Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill)

Ho Hai Tran, “The Great Wall, Glendale Heights, IL, USA ” (all photos courtesy Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill)

While our love for pizza will never die, the dine-in locations of the red-roofed Pizza Hut have been gradually shuttering across the world. Still, even if they no longer house cheesy, greasy goodness, their iconic hut-shaped forms endure, dotting the landscape as buildings for new businesses. For the past two years, freelance photographer Ho Hai Tran has been traveling the world, hunting down these shells of former Pizza Huts and photographing nearly 100 of them. The series of images in his forthcoming, Kickstarter-funded book, Pizza Hunt, is an homage to a particular period of the fast food chain’s history, one that introduced an unexpected architectural design that spread globally.

The former flatbread eateries now exist as Chinese restaurants, liquor stores, pawn shops, gospel churches, and funeral homes, but certain lasting or repurposed architectural elements remain that hint to days when patrons gathered around sticky tables to double-fist doughy slices and hunks of cheesy bread.

Cover of 'Pizza Hunt' by Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill (click to enlarge)

Cover of ‘Pizza Hunt’ by Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill (click to enlarge)

“The huts vary from the slightly altered to the drastically transformed but were all originally built in the same image,” Tran told Hyperallergic. “Some of the tell-tale features of the hut are the trapezoidal windows and the two-tiered shingled roof.”

Pizza Hut’s first location — which opened on June 15, 1958 and now exists on the Wichita State University campus — was actually just a small brick building, where a shortage of space on its entryway sign in addition to its architecture dictated the brand name. As the chain expanded and competing businesses emerged, however, its founders decided to set Pizza Hut apart with a new and unique design. As e-zine Dairy River explains in a heavily researched essay on Pizza Hut’s famous roof, a local architect Richard D. Burke takes responsibility for coming up with the red, pavilion-style roof. His design dates to around 1964, and it popped up just about everywhere, from Anchorage, Alaska, to Alimos, Greece.

Ho Hai Tran, "Olsens Funerals , Revesby, NSW, Australia"

Ho Hai Tran, “Olsens Funerals , Revesby, NSW, Australia”

Many of those red roofs are now repainted and many buildings disguised, but Tran, along with creative director and editor Chloe Cahill, combed Google Maps, mined existing online research, and spoke with locals to confirm a business’ original pizzeria status. Some are still easily recognizable, like the Pizza Hut-turned pagoda-style Chinese restaurant in Illinois that tweaked its roof with a teal paint job and upturned edges; or “Copycat,” a copy store in Pennsylvania that stays true to its name and pretty much adheres to the structure of the pizza parlor. Others, like Olsens Funerals in Australia, bear faint resemblance to Burke’s design, requiring much more digging into history.


Ho Hai Tran, "Copycat , California, PA, USA"

Ho Hai Tran, “Copycat , California, PA, USA”

“Pizza Hunt” isn’t the first compendium devoted to the enduring legacy of the hut-like diner, although it will be the first printed publication on the topic that is self-compiled. Since 2008, the blog Used to Be a Pizza Hut has been crowdsourcing photographs to document the current nature of the franchise’s old establishments. Like Pizza Hunt, its archives reveal the significance of Pizza Hut’s architecture not only in building the pie giant’s brand but also in creating a now-distant experience that predates the arrival of delivery services.

“The Pizza Hunt is a celebration of the golden era of dine-in fast food,” Tran said. “For anyone who’s ever made a mountain of mini marshmallows on their self-serve sundae, maxed out on free refills at the drink fountain or driven past a hut and felt its strange allure – this book’s for you.”

Ho Hai Tran, "Vacant, West Palm Beach, FL, USA" (click to enlarge)

Ho Hai Tran, “Vacant, West Palm Beach, FL, USA”

Ho Hai Tran, "Church of Our Savior, Boynton Beach, FL, USA"

Ho Hai Tran, “Church of Our Savior, Boynton Beach, FL, USA”

Ho Hai Tran, "Los Burritos Mexicanos, St. Charles, IL, USA"

Ho Hai Tran, “Los Burritos Mexicanos, St. Charles, IL, USA”

Limited edition Clams

Limited edition book with custom pizza box clamshell

Pizza Hunt is only available through Kickstarter.

02 Jan 03:14

robertge: overfedvenison: thebuttkingpost: friendshipismax: W...





Why is Dark Vader fighting a Playboy bunny model?

That’s clearly Luke skywalker.

Tag your spoilers

The Force Awakens looks amazing.

01 Dec 14:20

The Daily Edit – Mitch Feinberg: Marie Claire

by Heidi Volpe






Marie Claire

Market and Accessories Director: Kyle Anderson
Fashion Director: Nina Garcia
Editor and Chief: Anne Fulenwider
Photo Director: James Morris
Photographer: Mitch Feinberg

Heidi: How did this project evolve?
I have a wonderful relationship with Marie Claire. It is one of the few American fashion magazines that treat fashion still life pages as an opportunity to advance passionate editorial views on accessories and not simply as a vehicle to please advertisers. Their Market and Accessories Director Kyle Anderson, Fashion Director Nina Garcia and Editor and Chief Anne Fulenwider all take a direct interest in demanding that the pages are strong and fresh. For a still life photographer, this is a thrilling context in which to make new work.

Months before a final art due date, Kyle sends me jpegs of the next accessories story.  The story subject might be based on a color, a design direction, materials or a cultural reference. It’s usually my responsibility to come up with a visual solution, although occasionally he or someone else will have a few suggestions. I pitch just one idea, including swipes from industrial sites or stores that refer to the environments I want to create. I do not like to make drawings or send “finished” images — it is better to keep things loose so that I have room for spontaneity. Once I send the pitch everyone weighs in and we go from there.

For the Haute Tech story, Kyle mentioned that he had a fine jewelry December story in search of an idea. Fine jewelry can be a tedious editorial subject because designs generally do not evolve much from year to year and diamonds are unforgiving in poor lighting conditions — a tough subject to make fresh.

I have been involved with a couple of technology projects and developed an appreciation for a well-designed circuit board. Apple’s boards, in particular, are very fine, all black, with an absolute, maniacal fidelity to minimalism. I immediately thought of making boards that in some way reflected or enhanced the design direction of the jewelry. Kyle worked hard to find pieces that would mesh well with the concept — no animals or organic designs, for example.

How long did the project take and tell us about your process with the engineer?
The editors loved the idea and I got to work in July.  We all figured no one had done this, at least not at this scale. My original intention was to design and order the prototype boards myself. I spent a day or so learning the nomenclature and general design principles. I already knew that board design can be devilishly difficult in the details, but straightforward designs are fairly easily to execute. There is a very large community of amateur board designers associated with platforms like Arduino, as well as many foundries that specialize in prototyping. I downloaded one of the popular free software packages and set to work. I started with a good drawing I had already made in Photoshop for the first design – the black Chopard board. Then I hit an unexpected wall. Circuit board software is designed to make circuit boards, not pretty patterns. Duh. A user first builds a schematic with all the components and only then moves on to “routing”, finding the shortest, most efficient paths to lay the “wires” between all the components. Clearly, I was not going to easily figure out how to build a schematic that would allow me to “route” the wires in a predetermined pattern.

Help was needed. I spent a considerable amount of time on tech blogs and the Web looking for an engineer that had both an aesthetic view on the world and the technical skills required. I came across one man, a fellow in England named Saar Drimer, who had a circuit board design company called Boldport. He had gone so far as to write a program that allowed him to import illustrator files into a circuit board-friendly design environment. I emailed him almost immediately. He quickly understood my project. I had found my guy.

I’d imagine the sketches were fairly in-depth in order to create the final “working boards,” tell us about that exchange.
We encountered many technical difficulties. I had to visit the jewelers and carefully measure the dimensions so that the jewelry would fit perfectly into the designs. This was very difficult to figure out, as cutouts also had to be drawn up for the rings and earrings. The magazine was extraordinarily helpful in opening doors, and we were lucky none of the pieces were sold before the shoot. Saar started with my drawings but soon added his own special sauce, making the boards more credible. By the end, we were going back and forth with very rough drawings and he took it from there. It was a lot of work for him, as he also had to design and solder functioning boards with the LEDs. I was also lucky he had a very good foundry in the UK that was willing to work hard on the quality and color of the shadow masks (the non-metallic surface of the boards). We spent about six weeks start to finish. The shoot took just two days, up in my Connecticut studio. There is almost no retouching, just a little cleaning up. I’m old school, I like my images real. We both feel that we executed something new, perhaps opening the door to new designs with circuit boards as a functional, aesthetic material.

How do your ideas manifest?
I wish I knew. they just pop in unexpectedly. On a long walk, in the shower, at an exhibition, anywhere, really. I read a lot, I look at design blogs,  magazines, many non-photographic sources. Unless there is a specific request I stay away from my colleagues’ Websites; too many voices in a photographer’s head can be deafening.

What was your break, meaning how did you get started?  Everyone has a breakthrough project though we all see you as superstar out of the womb.
Thank you. I do not know if I was a superstar out of the womb; I’ve been told that I produced a lot of spit up in my early years. Unless you are Guy Bourdin, many years of work will be required before you find a strong voice. That might be daunting to hear, but I think the best photographers love the process of making photographs. Your voice will come, sometime soon, hopefully. In the meantime, I suggest you make images simply for the joy of it. I have always felt that way, even during the years when my career was uncertain. As in all creative endeavors, this is a tough business. Do it because you love it. Still life photography has always felt like the best way to express myself, I have enjoyed a lifetime exploring how that happens.

What is another creative outlet for you?
Three years ago my wife and I moved to a small farm in Connecticut. I have learned a lot about fencing (not the epee kind), black bears (don’t run), and wild turkeys (not happy when challenged). More than enough new outlets for a guy who spent 28 years in Paris.


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18 Dec 17:00

Galaxies Not So Far Away

by Rebecca Robertson
© Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg © Neil Folberg

The stars look close at hand in Neil Folberg’s cosmic nighttime photos, made in the deserts of Israel and the Sinai Peninsula and on view in “Celestial Nights,” an exhibition at The Dryansky Gallery in San Francisco up until January 17. Set among ruins and natural landscapes, the images suggest the radiant glow of a world lit by starlight. Like the work of the great 19th century landscape photographers such as Gustave Le Gray, the photos, originally made in the late 1990s and early 2000s, are composites of sky and earth. Folberg used the technology available at the time to create “a “digital negative” which enabled [him] to produce the images as silver gelatin prints,” reads a statement from the gallery. “As a result of new technology, Folberg has been able to revisit and digitally remaster the images bringing them closer to his original vision.”

Folberg was born in San Francisco and studied with Ansel Adams before moving to Israel in the 1970s, and the dramatic landscape of the Middle East has been a recurring theme in his work. The inspiration for the series came from spending time on the Sinai Peninsula while working on an earlier project. “I felt it was the greatest and most wonderful adventure I could imagine, wandering through the wadis, listening to the wind, feeling the stones or sand underfoot, sleeping outdoors below a sky of blazing stars,” Folberg said in a 2009 interview. “It began to feed on my imagination and reveal my inner character. The harsh daylight can often hide things as well as reveal them. During the day we feel all powerful, at night we begin to realize the vastness of the universe and one becomes aware of its scale and one’s limitations and our place in it. Between the finite and the infinite, the known and the unknown…to capture it on film is what drove me to create ‘Celestial Nights.'”

Related Stories:

Richard Misrach: Graecism

From Emerging Photographer: How Did They Do That: Meteor Showers

Night Lights: 6 Approaches to Shooting in the Dark

25 Dec 12:53

Soviet Inventor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Early Electronic Instrument That Could Be Played Without Being Touched (1954)

by Josh Jones

You know the sound of the theremin, that weird, warbly whine that gets a solo in the Beach Boy’s “Good Vibrations” and signals mystery, danger, and otherworldly portent in many classic sci-fi films and the original intro theme to Doctor Who. It has the distinction of being not only the very first electronic instrument but also the only instrument in history one plays without ever touching any part of it. Instead, the theremin player makes hand motions, like the conductor of an invisible choir, and the device sings. You can see this yourself above, as the instrument’s inventor, Léon Theremin, demonstrates his thereminvox, as he called it at the time, in 1954. Speaking in Russian, with English subtitles, Theremin describes how the “instrument of a singing-voice kind” works “by means of influencing an electromagnetic field.”

Theremin originally invented the instrument in 1919 and called it the Aetherphone. He demonstrated it for Vladimir Lenin in 1922, and its futuristic sound and design made quite an impression on the ailing communist leader. Theremin then brought the device to Europe (see a silent newsreel demonstration here) and to the U.S. in 1927, where he debuted it at the Plaza Hotel and where classical violinist Clara Rockmore, soon to become the most devoted proponent and player of the theremin, first heard it. Although many people thought of Theremin’s invention as a novelty, Rockmore determined that it would be taken seriously. She apprenticed herself to Theremin, mastered the instrument, and adapted and recorded many a classical composition, like Tchaikovsky’s “Berceuse,” above. More than anyone else, Rockmore made the theremin sing as its inventor intended.

The origin story of the theremin, like so many invention stories, involves a happy accident in the laboratory. Just above, Albert Glinsky, author of the history Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, describes how Theremin inadvertently created his new instrument while devising an audible technique for measuring the density of gases in a chemistry lab. The first iteration of the instrument had a foot pedal, but Theremin wisely decided, Glinsky says, that “it would be so much more intriguing to have the hands purely in the air,” manipulating the sound from seemingly nowhere. Although there are no frets or strings or keys, no bow, slide, or other physical means of changing the theremin’s pitch, its operation nonetheless requires training and precision just like any other musical instrument. If you’re interested in learning the basics, check out the tutorial below with thereminist Lydia Kavina, playing a ‘thereamini’ designed by synthesizer pioneer Moog.

In his day, Theremin lived on the cutting edge of scientific and musical innovation, and he hoped to see his instrument integrated into the world of dance. While working with the American Negro Ballet Company in the 1930s, the inventor fell in love with and married a young African-American dancer named Lavinia Williams. He was subsequently ostracized from his social circle, then he either abruptly picked up and left the U.S. for the Soviet Union in 1938 or, more likely, as Lavinia alleged, he was kidnapped from his studio and whisked away. Whatever the case, Theremin ended up in a Gulag laboratory called a sharaska, designing listening devices for the Soviet Union. Thereafter, he worked for the KGB, then became a professor of physics at Moscow State University.

Theremin never gave up on his electronic instruments, inventing an electronic cello and variations on his theremin during a 10-year stint at the Moscow Conservatory of Music. He gave his final theramin demonstration in the year of his death, 1993, at age 97. (See him playing above in 1987 with his third wife Natalia.) To learn much more about the inventor’s fascinating life story, be sure to see Steven M. Martin’s 1993 documentary Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.

And if you’re intrigued enough, you can buy your very own Theremin made by Moog.

Related Content:

Meet Delia Derbyshire, the Dr. Who Composer Who Almost Turned The Beatles’ “Yesterday” Into Early Electronica

Rick Wakeman Tells the Story of the Mellotron, the Oddball Proto-Synthesizer Pioneered by the Beatles

Thomas Dolby Explains How a Synthesizer Works on a Jim Henson Kids Show (1989)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Soviet Inventor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Early Electronic Instrument That Could Be Played Without Being Touched (1954) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

21 Dec 16:44

Sending Out an SOS to Save Our Concrete Brutalist Monsters

by Allison Meier
Olena Bulygina

Б — Брутализм или посмотрим за Barbican

Visvesvaraya Center.jpg Charles Correa: Visvesvaraya Center, Bangalore, Indien, 1974–1980 Foto: © Addison Goedel 2010

Visvesvaraya Center, Bangalore, India; Architect: Charles Correa (1974–80) (© Addison Goedel, 2010, all images courtesy SOSBrutalism)

The monolithic concrete that forms some of our most creative 20th-century architectural heritage is in danger of disappearing. Brutalism, that heftily named form of modernism that favors right-angles and a palette with the colors of a storm, is facing demolition and decay around the world, whether the Birmingham Central Library in England demolished this month, or Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital torn down last year.

Kulturzentrum Mattersburg.jpg Herwig Udo Graf: Kulturzentrum Mattersburg, Mattersburg, Österreich, 1972–1976 Foto: © Johann Gallis 2015

Kulturzentrum Mattersburg, Mattersburg, Austria; Architect: Herwig Udo Graf (1972–76) (© Johann Gallis, 2015) (click to enlarge)

SOSBrutalism is a new initiative for raising awareness of the preservation of “our beloved concrete monsters.” A collaboration between Wüstenrot Foundation, Deutsche Architekturmuseum (DAM), and Uncube, it’s aimed at growing a database of the world’s Brutalist architecture, with over 700 entries so far. In April of 2017, the project will culminate with an exhibition at DAM in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

“By showing the phenomenal diversity of forms and shapes, and presenting remarkable, imaginative, or outrageous examples of this wonderful style, we try to create a sense of wonder and admiration for those buildings and sway people from preconceived notions of a kind of oppressive, dull, gloomy, unattractive architecture that is not worthy of preservation,” Oliver Elser, a curator at DAM, told Hyperallergic.

The online database encourages crowd interaction for photographs, history, and preservation status (with color categories from red to blue depending on threat of demolition), with endangered buildings and their preservation campaigns being a major focus.

SOSBrutalism database (screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)

SOSBrutalism database (screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)

There are entries for the 1973 terraced La Pyramide by Rinaldo Olivieri on the Ivory Coast, which is mostly abandoned and deteriorating; the USSR-era Buzludzha Memorial in Bulgaria, a sort of UFO-shaped behemoth in the Balkan mountains, vacant since 1991; and the surreal (and infamous) 1960 El Helicoide by Jorge Romero Gutiérrez in Caracas, Venezuela, which has endured stretches of abandonment, squatting, shadowy government surveillance operations, and political prisoner housing. While a recurring theme is a lack of maintenance, practical use, and the impact of decay, there are other risks like a chapel in Lebanon damaged by a missile.

Felix Torkar, curatorial assistant at DAM, noted that Brutalism “still suffers from a particularly bad reputation,” with its heavy name derived from Le Corbusier’s “béton brut” meaning exposed or raw concrete. He added that some of SOSBrutalism’s entries were discovered through “‘the 10 ugliest buildings of xyz’ listicles.”

“In theory, exposed concrete is a great, long-lasting material, but it requires a certain amount of maintenance,” Torkar explained. “Most architects had optimistic projections — this was largely before the 1973 oil crisis — for maintenance budgets and future upkeep, which, in a lot of cases, never materialized. This is especially true with large-scale public housing projects, some of which pretty much started immediately decaying in record time after being completed — one more reason for Brutalism’s bad image.”

Istituto Marchiondi.jpg Vittoriano Viganò: Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi, Mailand, Italien, 1966 Foto: © Caterina Maria Carla Bona 2014

Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi, Mailand, Italy; Architect: Vittoriano Viganò (1966) (© Caterina Maria Carla Bona, 2014)

Their database is riddled with recent losses like the modular 1971 Orange County Government Center by Paul Rudolph in Goshen, New York, and the 1970 Stage Center by John MacLane Johansen in Oklahoma City that mixed colorful farm catalogue elements with its concrete. Yet there are examples of successful contemporary use, such as Gordon Bunshaft’s circular 1974 Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum, and Marcel Breuer’s 1961 St. John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville, Minnesota, with its sculptural bell tower.

Brunel Library.jpg Sheppard, Robson and Employees / John Heywood: Brunel University Lecture Center, London, Großbritannien, 1965–1967 Foto: © Ian Rawlinson 2014

Brunel University Lecture Center, London, UK; Architects: Sheppard, Robson and Employees / John Heywood (1965–67) (© Ian Rawlinson, 2014)

SOSBrutalism is only one of a number of recent actions of Brutalism appreciation, including the Brutalist London Map from Blue Crow Media and the Twentieth Century Society, which includes a walking tour of 50 of the city’s buildings, or more playful projects like Zupagrafika’s paper cut-out models of London’s brutalist architecture. Like these projects, SOSBrutalism is encouraging a recognition of the modernist concrete architecture in our everyday lives, and how it represents design history, and gives the cityscapes a distinct character.

“Since we’ve started this project, we’ve noticed in ourselves that once you start looking in your own city you start noticing all those wonderful concrete monsters you’ve been walking by for years,” Elser said. “In the long run, we think that if you know and remember certain styles and buildings, you’re more likely to appreciate them and get attached to them, rather than tearing them down.”

AT&T Building.jpg John Carl Warnecke: AT&T Longlines Building (33 Thomas Street), New York, USA, 1971–1974 Foto: © Addison Goedel 2013

AT&T Longlines Building (33 Thomas Street), New York, USA; Architect: John Carl Warnecke (1971-74) (© Addison Goedel, 2013)

Birmingham Central Library.jpg John Madin: Birmingham Central Library, Birmingham, Großbritannien, 1969–1973 Foto: Erebus555 2007 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Birmingham Central Library, Birmingham, UK; Architect: John Madin (1969–73) (photo by Erebus555/Wikimedia, 2007)

Preston Bus Station.jpg Building Design Partnership (Keith Ingham / Charles Wilson) / Ove Arup: Preston Bus Station, Lancashire, Großbritannien, 1959–1969 Foto: Dr Greg 2007 (CC BY 3.0)

Preston Bus Station, Lancashire, UK; Architects: Building Design Partnership (Keith Ingham / Charles Wilson) (1959–69) (photo by Dr Greg/Wikimedia, 2007)

Scarborough College.jpg John Andrews: Andrews Building, Scarborough College (heute University of Toronto), Toronto, Kanada, 1963–1964 Foto: © Iqbal Aalam

Andrews Building, Scarborough College, University of Toronto, Canada; Architect: John Andrews (1963–64) (© Iqbal Aalam)

University of Zambia.jpg Julian Elliott / Anthony Chitty: University of Zambia, Lusaka, Sambia, 1965–1968 Foto: © Dr. Ruth Craggs 2011

University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia; Architects: Julian Elliott / Anthony Chitty (1965–68) (© Dr. Ruth Craggs, 2011)

Robin Hood Gardens.jpg Alison und Peter Smithson: Robin Hood Gardens, London, Großbritannien, 1966–1972 Foto: Steve Cadman 2008 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Robin Hood Gardens, London, UK; Architects: Alison and Peter Smithson (1966–72) (photo by Steve Cadman/Wikimedia, 2008)

Kyoto International Conference Center.jpg Sachio Otani: Kyoto International Conference Center (KICC), Kyoto, Japan 1959–1966 Foto: Blondinrikard Fröberg 1990 (CC BY 2.0)

Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto, Japan; Architect: Sachio Otani (1959–66) (photo by Blondinrikard Fröberg/Flickr, 1990)

Wallfahrtskirche Neviges.jpg Gottfried Böhm: Wallfahrtskirche, Neviges, Deutschland, 1963–1973 Foto: seiter + seier 2008 (CC BY 2.0)

Wallfahrtskirche, Neviges, Germany; Architect: Gottfried Böhm (1963–73) (photo by seiter + seier, 2008)

Zentrale Tierlaboratorien FU Berlin (Mäusebunker).jpg Gerd Hänska: Zentrale Tierlaboratorien der FU Berlin („Mäusebunker“), Berlin, Deutschland, 1971–1980 © Matthias 2012

Zentrale Tierlaboratorien FU Berlin (Mäusebunker, Berlin, Germany; Architect: Gerd Hänska (1971–80) (© Matthias, 2012)

Explore over 700 examples of Brutalist architecture at SOSBrutalism.

04 Dec 19:55

Custom jet by snarkitecture. I’m super into this one, but still...

Custom jet by snarkitecture. I’m super into this one, but still kind of love Ruscha’s more.

18 Dec 20:13

The Queens of Botswana’s Metal Scene

by Carey Dunne
The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Vicky” (2014) (all photos courtesy Paul Shiakallis and used with permission)

Beavis and Butt-head, in their AC/DC and Metallica t-shirts, might best sum up the stereotypical metalhead in the popular Western imagination: a young white dude who likes headbanging and hates authority, found mostly in American cities or in Nordic countries with long, dark winters and plenty of old churches to burn. But South African photographer Paul Shiakallis’s series Leather Skins, Unchained Hearts provides a visual alternative to this image. He documents the leather-clad women of Botswana’s metal subculture, called “Marok,” which translates to “rocker” in Setswana.

Last year, Shiakallis met a couple of Queens, as female Marok fans like to call themselves, at a gig in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. As their Queen alter-egos, these women go by names like Onalenna Angelovdarkness, Amokian Lordess, and Phoenix Tonahs Slaughter. “They had this confidence and freedom about them — they could just let go without feeling they were going to be reprimanded,” Shiakallis tells Hyperallergic.

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Bontle Sodah Ramotsietsane,” 2014

This type of self-expression is rare for women in Botwana’s conservative patriarchal society. Since mainstream culture often perceives metal as “satanic,” many women of the Marok movement wear more traditional clothing by day and only reveal their brutal alter-egos in their Facebook photos, posing in full metal regalia, often in front of trees outside at night. “I believe facebook allows u to be who u are. only girls who believe in themselvs and aint afraid to express themselves can be rockers, [sic]” one Queen, Phoenix Tonahs Slaughter, told Shiakallis. “They don’t tend to pose aggressively like the men do, so I liked that they showed a softer side to the Marok movement,” Shiakallis says.

Shiakallis began photographing these Queens in their homes, a project that proved more difficult than he’d expected. “Every portrait I took almost never happened,” Shiakallis says. “Sometimes, the Queens’ boyfriends or husbands would thwart the shoots,” since they didn’t want their partners to be photographed by, or even in the presence of, another male. “Some Queens were reluctant to pose for photographs, wary about where the images would end up, as they’re still ‘coming out’ as rockers.”

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Debbie Baone Superpower” (2014)

In bullet belts, spiked cuffs, leather jackets, bandanas, and Iron Maiden t-shirts, the women in Shiakallis’ photographs resemble characters from post-apocalyptic cinema, like the road warriors from Mad Max. Marok fashion fuses the styles of 1970s and ’80s heavy metal (specifically, from the cover of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades); the tasseled leather jackets and black boots of Botswana’s sizeable biker community; and the cowboy hats, spurs, and vests worn by many of the country’s rural farmers. Posing against backdrops of rural villages, pastel-painted bedrooms, and cozy living rooms, these Queens highlight how the Marok subculture is a kind of fantasy world, an escape from the confines of tradition and domesticity.  

Skinflint, Metal Orizon, Wrust, Crackdust, Overthrust, and Amok are some of Botswana’s biggest metal bands, but since the Marok scene is very small, they only play shows every few months. “When they do have a show, rockers from all around Botswana make the effort to show up, even if they have to travel 700km from another town,” Shiakallis says. At festivals or shows with big lineups, the Morok tend to unite beforehand to “march for a cause.” They first donate to an elected charity, then march together, led by Marok men dragging chains on the ground as the parade of metalheads mount each others’ shoulders and play fight in “ritualistic dances.” “It’s a very surreal sight,” Shiakallis says.

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Bonolo” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Katie Dekesu” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Distant Hill” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Millie Hans” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “From Mokatse Boulder” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Phoenix Tonahs Slaughter” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Samie Santiago Newsted” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Sierra” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Snyder” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Green Field” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Lonely House” (2014)

The Queens of Marok

Paul Shiakallis, “Backyards” (2014)

17 Dec 23:00

The BBC Creates Step-by-Step Instructions for Knitting the Iconic Dr. Who Scarf: A Document from the Early 1980s

by Ted Mills


When Jon Pertwee reincarnated into Tom Baker in 1974, the Fourth Doctor of popular sci-fi show Doctor Who ditched the foppish look of velvet jackets and frilly shirts, and went for the “Romantic adventurer” style, with floppy felt hat, long overcoats and, most iconically, his multicolored scarf.

Fan legend has it that costume designer James Acheson picked up a load of multi-color wool and asked knitter Begonia Pope to create a scarf, and Pope, perhaps mishearing, used *all* the wool, resulting in a scarf that ran 12 feet long. The mistake was perfect, and suddenly many UK grandmothers were being asked by their grandchildren to recreate their hero’s look.

The above memo isn’t dated, but comes from sometime in the early ‘80s when the BBC sent detailed instructions to a fan’s mother on making the scarf. (Click here, then click again, to view the document in a larger format.) The colors include camel, rust, bronze, mustard, grey, green and purple and should be knitted with size four needles (that’s #9 US size). The requests must have come regularly, because a similar memo is reprinted from many years later to another fan’s family.

The original scarf only lasted a few episodes, then was altered, replaced, and subtly changed as the show went on. There were stunt scarves for stand-ins.

Come Season 18, costume designer June Hudson rethought the entire costume and streamlined the colors to three: rust, wine, and purple, to match the Doctor’s more swashbuckling look. It also became the longest scarf of the series, some 20 feet.

The following year, the Doctor reincarnated again into a cricket-jumper and striped trouser-wearing young blonde man. The Scarf Years were over.

For a very in-depth look at the scarves, including Pantone color references and wool brands, there is nothing better than So, get knitting, Who-vians!

via Laughing Squid

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at and/or watch his films here.

The BBC Creates Step-by-Step Instructions for Knitting the Iconic Dr. Who Scarf: A Document from the Early 1980s is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

20 Nov 21:38

Ai WeiWei hand carved marble blades of grass, titled Cao at the...

Ai WeiWei hand carved marble blades of grass, titled Cao at the Royal Academy (at Royal Academy of Arts)

18 Dec 08:30

Hunter S. Thompson Sets His Christmas Tree on Fire, Nearly Burns His House Down (1990)

by Dan Colman

It was something of a Christmas ritual at Hunter S. Thompson’s Colorado cabin, Owl Farm. Every year, his secretary Deborah Fuller would take down the Christmas tree and leave it on the front porch rather than dispose of it entirely. That’s because Hunter, more often than not, wanted to set it on fire. In 1990, Sam Allis, a writer for then formidable TIME magazine, visited Thompson’s home and watched the fiery tradition unfold. He wrote:

I gave up on the interview and started worrying about my life when Hunter Thompson squirted two cans of fire starter on the Christmas tree he was going to burn in his living-room fireplace, a few feet away from an unopened wooden crate of 9-mm bullets. That the tree was far too large to fit into the fireplace mattered not a whit to Hunter, who was sporting a dime-store wig at the time and resembled Tony Perkins in Psycho. Minutes earlier, he had smashed a Polaroid camera on the floor.

Hunter had decided to videotape the Christmas tree burning, and we later heard on the replay the terrified voices of Deborah Fuller, his longtime secretary-baby sitter, and me off-camera pleading with him, “NO, HUNTER, NO! PLEASE, HUNTER, DON’T DO IT!” The original manuscript of Hell’s Angels was on the table, and there were the bullets. Nothing doing. Thompson was a man possessed by now, full of the Chivas Regal he had been slurping straight from the bottle and the gin he had been mixing with pink lemonade for hours.

The wooden mantle above the fireplace apparently still has burn marks on it today. It’s one of the many things you can check out when Owl Creek starts running museum tours in the near future.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. And if you want to make sure that our posts definitely appear in your Facebook newsfeed, just follow these simple steps.

via Gothamist

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Hunter S. Thompson Sets His Christmas Tree on Fire, Nearly Burns His House Down (1990) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

17 Dec 17:00

“The Exorcist” By Way of Vermeer

by Rebecca Robertson
© Hellen van Meene/Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York © Hellen van Meene/Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York © Hellen van Meene/Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York © Hellen van Meene/Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York © Hellen van Meene/Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York © Hellen van Meene/Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York © Hellen van Meene/Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

Hellen van Meene’s quiet pictures of women and girls posed in mostly empty rooms or among exotic plants suggest undercurrents of fairytale and allegory, drawing from myth, art history, and horror movies to make seductively simple pictures that are by turns unsettling and playful. Her work is on view in “Five,” her fittingly-named fifth show at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York until January 23. The images call to mind classical painting, especially that of fellow Dutchman Vermeer, whose delicate window light van Meene often evokes, along with references to Ingres and Velasquez. Hans Christian Andersen is a source for an image of a woman asleep atop a pile of mattresses. Other references are more modern – in another, a girl levitates above a couch, her dress falling elegantly beneath her in a nod to The Exorcist.

While the subjects of van Meene’s photos seem to reveal something about themselves, her aim is not represent each individual. “People keep asking me if portraiture is what I really do,” van Meene has said in an interview. There are people in her photos, “but they’re not really ‘portraits’,” she says. “It’s not that I am aiming to make a precise document of the person in front of me. It’s rather more like a translation of someone I see in front of me, and whom I translate into something different.”

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02 Nov 18:20

Designing the Hippie Modernism Exhibition Catalogue

by Emmet Byrne
Olena Bulygina

need one


The catalogue for Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia is edited by curator Andrew Blauvelt and contains new scholarship that examines the art, architecture, and design of the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. The catalogue surveys the radical experiments that challenged societal norms while proposing new kinds of technological, ecological and political utopia. It includes the counter-design proposals of Victor Papanek and the anti-design polemics of Global Tools; the radical architectural visions of Archigram, Superstudio, Haus-Rucker-Co, and ONYX; the installations of Ken Isaacs, Joan Hills, Mark Boyle, Hélio Oiticica, and Neville D’Almeida; the experimental films of Jordan Belson, Bruce Conner, and John Whitney; posters and prints by Emory Douglas, Corita Kent, and Victor Moscoso; documentation of performances by the Diggers and the Cockettes; publications such as Oz and The Whole Earth Catalog; books by Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller; and much more.


While the turbulent social history of the 1960s is well known, its cultural production remains comparatively under-examined. In this substantial volume, scholars explore a range of practices such as radical architectural and anti-design movements emerging in Europe and North America; the print revolution in the graphic design of books, posters and magazines; and new forms of cultural practice that merged street theater and radical politics. Through a profusion of illustrations, interviews with figures including: Gerd Stern of USCO; Ken Isaacs; Gunther Zamp Kelp of Haus-Rucker-Co; Ron Williams and Woody Rainey of ONYX; Franco Raggi of Global Tools; Tony Martin; Drop City; as well as new scholarly writings, this book explores the conjunction of the countercultural ethos and the modernist desire to fuse art and life.


While designing the publication, one of the tensions we were interested in exploring was the relationship of the hippie as popularized by the media and its authentic counterpart, if such a thing existed. As Andrew describes in his preface to the catalogue, “The hippie was and remains a highly mediated figure, one used rhetorically within this project as the same kind of empty signifier to which accreted many different agendas. Or, as the Diggers once said, the hippie was just another convenient “bag” for the “identity-hungry to climb in.” If the publication could illustrate both the hippie as utopic countercultural agent and the hippie as “devoted son of Mass Media,” we might begin to emulate a Hippie Modernism.


117Typographically, we responded to lo-fi publications such as the Whole Earth Catalog, How to Build Your Own Living Structures, Be Here Now, and the Foundation Journal on one hand, and the iconic, corporate advertising language of the ’60s and ’70s on the other. Bridging these two registers came quite naturally to many of the artists and designers of this era, who understood that envisioning a utopia meant performing it, broadcasting it, projecting it, publishing it, and advertising it. Creating the future meant co-opting the strategies of mass communication.





One obvious example of this was “Advertisements for the Counter Culture,” an insert in the July 1970 issue of Progressive Architecture magazine, in which representatives of the counterculture were invited to create advertisements for their various projects and efforts. In the preface, editor Forest Wilson wrote, “The following pages reflect deep discontent with things as they are. We should be concerned when such options cease to be advertised, for it is when those who seek change despair of its realization that violence becomes inevitable. The public notices that follow are put forth to offer alternatives to our way of life, not to destroy it.”



In addition to reprinting the insert in our catalogue, we created a 16-page reimagining of it through the lens of Hippie Modernism, interspersed throughout the essay section. Some of these pages feature real ads, publication covers, and layouts from the period, while others are fictional recreations (the McLuhan ad, for example, required restaging a photoshoot in order to translate an ad that was originally black-and-white into full color). The pages are printed on Constellation Jade Riccio, a dreamy, pearlescent paper embossed with a wavy pattern that brings to mind the organic psychedelia of certain hippie projects such as Elias Romero’s oil and ink light show experiments, while also reinforcing notions of mass production and surface, by way of it’s highly artificial nature. (I first saw this paper used beautifully by Laurent Fétis and Sarah Martinon in the design of the catalogue for the 23rd International Poster and Graphic Design Festival of Chaumont 2012.)




The book also includes an extensive plate section, featuring images and descriptions of the projects featured in the exhibition.


Finally, the image on the cover of the book depicts the US Pavilion for Expo 67 (Montreal), designed by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao, as it caught fire on May 20, 1976. As a signifer, the photo by Doug Lehman seems to perfectly encapsulate the friction implied by the term “hippie modernism” and, more explicitly, the counterculture’s utopian agenda being subsumed—and deemed a failure—by the conservative era that was to follow. With each passing year, though, this reactionary characterization of the counterculture moment rings more and more hollow, as contemporary practitioners revisit the revolutionary strategies these artists, designers, and activists deployed.


03 Nov 16:30

Hand-Colored 1860s Photographs Reveal the Last Days of Samurai Japan

by Colin Marshall

Samurai Japan 1

Any fan of samurai movies knows the elaborate lengths some productions can go to in order to recreate the look and feel of old Japan, but globetrotting Italian-British photographer Felice Beato (1832 – 1909) actually managed to capture those days on celluloid first-hand. He arrived in Japan in 1863, at the very twilight of the era of the samurai, a time he documented evocatively with a series of hand-colored photographs of subjects like “kimonos, parasols, baby’s toys, basket sellers, courtesans at rest and a samurai gang ready for action,” as the Guardian lists them in their gallery of Beato’s Japanese work.

Samurai Japan 2

“After spending over two hundred years in seclusion, Japan was being forced by the Americans — under a mission led by Commodore Matthew C. Perry — to expand its trade with the west,” writes Dangerous Minds’ Paul Gallagher, describing the unprecedented moment of Japanese history in which Beato found himself, one that provided the opportunity to photograph not just the last of the samurais but also the courtesans they loved. But all this had its risks: “Travel was dangerous in Japan,” Gallagher adds, “with many of the Shogunate samurai warriors killing westerners,” a fate Beato narrowly avoided at least once.

samurai in color

Having photographed in Constantinople, India, and China before Japan, Beato moved on after it to other parts of Asia, including Korea and Burma, before returning to his native Italy at the very end of his life. But his pictures of Japan remain among the most striking of his entire career, perhaps because of their artistic use of color, perhaps because of a historical time and place that we think we’ve come to know through so many sword-and-suicide epics. Their characters, from the honor-bound samurai to the sly courtesan to the simple merchant, can seem to us a bit theatrical as a result, but Beato’s photographs remind us that they all began as very real people. Who might they inspire to make a film about their real lives?

Samurai Japan 4

Samurai Japan 5

Samurai Japan 6

via The Guardian/Dangerous Minds

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Glorious Early 20th-Century Japanese Ads for Beer, Smokes & Sake (1902-1954)

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A Photographic Tour of Haruki Murakami’s Tokyo, Where Dream, Memory, and Reality Meet

Colin Marshall writes elsewhere on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinemaand the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Hand-Colored 1860s Photographs Reveal the Last Days of Samurai Japan is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

04 Nov 14:44

ASX.TV: A Conversation with Alec Soth (2015)

by The ASX Team
On 'Gathered Leaves' at the Media Space, Science Museum The post ASX.TV: A Conversation with Alec Soth (2015) appeared first on AMERICAN SUBURB X.

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27 Oct 16:00

Picturing the Marathon

by Rebecca Robertson
© Andrew Hinderaker / Courtesy Museum of the City of New York © Adrian Kinloch / Courtesy Museum of the City of New York © Dina Litovsky / Courtesy Museum of the City of New York © Dina Litovsky / Courtesy Museum of the City of New York © Jeffrey Aaronson / Courtesy Museum of the City of New York © Ramin Talaie / Courtesy Museum of the City of New York © Richard Chung / Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

On the first Sunday of November, 50,000 runners dressed in their best sweatpants and Spandex are expected to take part in the 45th New York City Marathon; the number of photos generated by their 26.2-mile trip through all five boroughs will be almost certainly upwards of that. Since the first race in 1970, when 127 participants ran laps around Central Park, the race has grown into a massive event that attracts more than a million spectators along its route, cheering family and friends and photographing the colorful blur that sweeps past them. On view in time for the race is “The New York City Marathon: The Great Race,” the first exhibition focusing on photography to explore the history and experience of running the city’s race, on view until March 2016 at The Museum of the City of New York.

The exhibition includes images made by both amateur and professional photographers who responded to the museum’s call for images. From several thousand entries, 120 were selected, taken on devices ranging from cell phones to state-of-the-art digital cameras. Among them are Dina Litovsky’s study of a drift of green water cups left in the runners’ wake in Queens, and Adrian Kinloch’s composition framing participants against the face of an empty brick- and plywood-fronted building in Brooklyn. Spanning locations along the marathon route from the starting line, through diverse neighborhoods, across five bridges and ending at the Central Park finish line, the photos record the struggle and pride the race inspires.

Curated by Sean Corcoran, curator of prints and photographs at MCNY, the show mirrors the inclusive spirit of the race by combining photos from professionals with those from fans and participants. “With this exhibition, we hope to celebrate the Marathon as an event that brings all five boroughs and anyone who visits them together in truly inspiring fashion,” explains Corcoran in a statement. Meanwhile, photos for this year’s race are already accumulating on social media – five days before the big day, hashtag #nycmarathon has close to 90,000 posts on Instagram, and growing.


Running Down a Dream

New York Bike Style

PDN’s 30 2014: Dina Litovsky

05 Oct 13:35

Doom Running On The Apple Watch

This is a video of doom running on the Apple Watch, this was created by Libor Tubi who work’s for Facebook in Tel-Aviv."So we had a 10-hour hackathon in our Facebook Tel-Aviv office, and the idea was to hack around iOS stuff. Apple has released beta versions for watchOS 2 that lets you run native apps on the watch and we thought it could be fun to port Doom over to it! (not to mention the fact that JOHN CARMACK is a colleague OMG!!)" The next video shows Doom running on the Apple TV, this was put together by developer Mehdi Mulani who also works for Facebook...(Read...)

22 Sep 14:24

New Service Will Preserve and Frame Your Tattoos After You Die

by Claire Voon
(all images courtesy NAPSA)

A framed piece of preserved skin art (all images courtesy NAPSA)

You may now bequeath your tattoos to your loved ones to frame and display, just like any other work of art that you value or that may be a family heirloom. Save My Ink, a new professional service offered by the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art (NAPSA), treats body art as a work of fine art and is the first to offer such preservation on a mass and professional scale.

“You would never burn a Picasso or any piece of art you invested in and had a passion for,” said NAPSA’s executive director Charles Hamm, who also co-owns a tattoo studio outside Cleveland. “Your tattoo is also art with a unique story, just on a different canvas.”

The process is open to only members — 18 years old and up — of the nonprofit association, who pay an initial fee in addition to yearly dues. Those ready to pass along their dermis for posterity identify the piece they wish to preserve (which cannot be inked on the face or genitalia) and designate a beneficiary; within 18 hours of one’s passing, the beneficiary then alerts NAPSA who will overnight send a removal kit and paperwork to the funeral home. The embalmer has to then remove the tattoo — or tattoos — within 60 hours, place it in a “nontoxic temporary preservation compound,” and send it back to NAPSA, who will preserve the tattooed skin and return it to the beneficiary within three to six months. According to NAPSA, most funeral homes and embalmers are willing to follow through with the fairly easy removal process, although the organization also has a master embalmer who is building a network of funeral home providers for the service.


A framed piece of preserved skin art (click to enlarge)

The idea of framing a slice of your loved one’s skin is a little creepy and stomach-churning — and Save My Ink will undoubtedly face its share of critics — but beneficiaries won’t end up with a framed maggot-magnet. The process, which took a year to perfect, according to NAPSA, is “essentially a chemical and enzymatic process that permanently alters the chemical structure thus permanently fixing it against decomposition (while preserving the integrity of the art).” The process also touches up and enhances the work, returning it to its original look — making the procedure quite similar to the conservation of a priceless painting.

“These pieces should be treated as what they are, fine art,” Hamm told Hyperallergic in an email. “If one frames the piece according to NAPSA guidelines and keeps it out of direct sunlight, the piece should last forever.”

In terms of legality, NAPSA says that challenges arise depending on how regulators classify tattoos at various steps of the process – although, since it firmly believes that “recovered” body ink is, in fact, simply art, Save My Ink is merely “fulfill[ing] the wishes of many art collectors in the country.” The service will, however, work on behalf of its members around the world to overcome any possible regulatory hurdles.

The launch of Save My Ink emphasizes the increased perception of tattoos as fine art  — likewise indicated by the language tattoo enthusiasts increasingly adopt that was once reserved for non-body art (such as “collector”). Many tattoo artists also work on mediums beyond skin and participate in gallery shows (this November, some will even have original work auctioned off). This past weekend, NAPSA even exhibited its own gallery of preserved skin art at the Las Vegas Tattoo Convention, and Hamm tells Hyperallergic that the association plans to have the art in a museum one day.

The display of tattoos in museums is an ancient tradition, and many institutions have centuries-old specimens: London’s Wellcome Collection, for example, is home to the world’s largest collection of preserved body art; the French National Museum of Natural History also has over 50 pieces; and the Musée du Quai Branly’s soon-to-end exhibition, Tatouers, Tatoués, features an entire marked arm. Such historic works, however, are artifacts, originally saved to be studied, and are now often placed in glass cabinets for public viewing. Save My Ink instead preserves body art for its artistic worth, and its eventual display in private homes is a much more intimate (if not unusual) gesture.


A framed piece of preserved skin art


A framed piece of preserved skin art


A framed piece of preserved skin art


A framed piece of preserved skin art


A framed piece of preserved skin art

Member certificate

Members also receive a highly embellished member certificate, which is itself a work of art.


22 Feb 06:31

The Dreslyn – “Lost In Translation” Winter Lookbook @ The LINE Hotel (Los Angeles)

by wheeler
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