12/15/2009

In the Flesh - painter Harold Stevenson, Andy Warhol Museum, New York, New York

Art in America, April, 1999 by Michael Duncan

Rarely exhibited since it was painted in 1962, Harold Stevenson's "The New Adam," an extravagantly scaled, nine-panel male nude, was recently on view at the Andy Warhol Museum.

The expression of desire is central to the identity politics that have recently commanded so much attention in the art world. Surprisingly rare, however, are works of art that take as their subjects real-life objects of desire. The art world's addiction to cool, along with its fear of sentimentality, generally preclude love objects as possible subject matter. With the exception of Robert Mapplethorpe, whose sexually explicit photographs unmoored the art world from the American mainstream a decade ago, contemporary artists have generally disguised the specifics of their love lives. For them, as for most of our neopuritanical society, desire is still best expressed through allegory, displacement, metaphor or irony.

So it is with a shock that contemporary viewers confront Harold Stevenson's 8-by-39-foot recumbent male nude The New Adam (1962), a sumptuous painting that unabashedly fills an entire wall with the artist's object of desire. Unseen for years before a 1992 revival exhibition at New York's Mitchell Algus Gallery, the painting was recently on view at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. It was the centerpiece of a select show of works from the 1960s by the 69-year-old artist--his first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum. Extending across nine panels, the sprawling painting was meant as a testament to Stevenson's love relationship with its subject, Lord Timothy Willoughby, the grandson of Nancy Astor (the first female member of Parliament). Using the actor Sal Mineo as a stand-in model for the figure in Willoughby's absence, Stevenson created a work intended, as he puts it, "to be beyond captivity, beyond containment, where flesh is endless." The Pittsburgh exhibition, curated by Mark Francis, also included a gridded 21-panel portrait of Willoughby along with several related paintings, studies and documentary material.

A native of Idabel, Okla., where he still resides part of the year, Stevenson is a wildly unlikely yet somehow apt product of the American heartland. A largely self-taught artist, by the age of 20 he showed in New York with Alexander Iolas and by 30 lived in Pads, where he exhibited at Galerie Iris Clert. His grand-scale projects include a 48-foot-high painting of the bullfighter El Cordobas (1964)--originally installed on a platform in the Eiffel Tower--and The Great Society (1967-68), a cycle of 100 Oklahoma faces presented first in Idabel and then in Paris. He was often included in '60s Pop exhibitions, such as the breakthrough 1962 show "The New Realists" at Sidney Janis. A close friend of Warhol, Stevenson was the subject of the Pop artist's film Harold (now in restoration), which premiered as part of a 1964 exhibition of The New Adam at L.A.'s Feigen-Palmer Gallery.


Ebullient, charismatic, an indefatigable storyteller, Stevenson the personality always threatens to overwhelm his art. Yet beyond the anecdotes about Warhol, Yves Klein and Gloria Swanson lies a lifelong experimentation with the sensual possibilities of figuration. The exaggerated scale in Stevenson's depictions of isolated body parts immerses viewers in a delirious physicality that few artists have dared approach. Photographers like Edward Weston, John Coplans and Jeanne Dunning have used extreme close-ups of the human body for various abstract, psychological or uncanny effects. Stevenson's enterprise, however, melds large scale with the expressionistic qualities of paint to simulate the experience of emotionally charged physical contact.

The New Adam marks a crucial development in the depiction of the male nude. The painting is the culmination of the homoerotics of a previous generation of gay artists that includes Pavel Tchelitchew, Jean Cocteau, Jared French, George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus and Christian Berard, and it also presages the current explosion of interest in the male body. With its swoony romanticism, the work is an embodied landscape crowded to its edges with flesh. The model's chin is braced by his right shoulder, and his head is tucked tightly into the picture's framing edges. His compact torso and thighs stretch out, filling the canvas. The vista of smooth, roseate flesh is punctuated only by nipples and genitals, interspersed with wispy, calligraphic strokes evoking body hair.

The painting's variously sized panels are self-contained units, each with its own compositional coherency. In the third, rather narrow panel, the left nipple floats planetlike above the pinkish sheen of pectoral muscle and ribcage. The panel to the right features only a thin trail of body hair across the wide, moodily shaded midriff. The genitals are structurally downplayed by being divided horizontally into two panels. In the rightmost panel, the broad expanse of light along the upper leg reads as an abstracted, hazy sunrise opening over a dark horizon line formed by the crevice of the thighs.

HAROLD STEVENSON INTERVIEW
by Tawsha Brinkley Davenport


Edie Sedgwick and Harold Stevenson in a clip from film footage
shot by Factoryite Danny Williams during the 1960s

In a modest log cabin in Idabel, complete with a Whippet dog stretched out by the fireplace and surrounded by black and white family photographs from a life-time, lives one of America’s most important figures of the modern pop art world – Harold Stevenson Jr.

He has been described as one of the art world’s living icons with work that spans almost seven decades. And his work, alongside Andy Warhol and other artists of the time, is part of a generation that was once classified by a 1962 art show in New York City as the "New Realists."

Even with all of his fame and successes across Europe and in the United States, Stevenson remains a longtime resident of Idabel. And as he says, he never really left.

Harold Stevenson“Someone came up to me at the post office recently and this lady said to me, ‘Out of curiosity, Mr. Stevenson, just when did you leave Idabel?’ I said, ‘Darling, you must be new in town because I never left Idabel.’”

“I kept coming back through all of the years, whether I was staying in France, England, Italy, wherever; and in other words, I have always had the same legal address at my family’s home, literally,” said Stevenson.

His family can be described as one of the first pioneer families to arrive in the community “besides the Native Americans.” His grand-father came to the town in 1902, years before Oklahoma was a state,

“He was a doctor. Doctor Dove Stevenson. I love that name. I think it was just barely called Idabel then. So I think I am just about as native as I can get.”

Stevenson said his family home, which he still owns, was one of the first brick residences in the town.

“There is a funny story about that house. The Wootens were bricklayers and they wanted to start building brick residences for people, so they chose my grandfather. They said, ‘Now, Dr. Stevenson, you know the hand-cut bricks are still a little bit cheaper than those machine-cut bricks.’ And my grandfather said, ‘Those hand-cut bricks will do just fine.’ I believe now it is the only home with hand-cut bricks that still exists today,” said Stevenson.

For his parents’ wedding gift, his grandfather gave them the gravel pit outside of Idabel. “Most of the streets of Idabel were made from my gravel pit,” said Stevenson.

He was born March 11, 1929, to Harold Stevenson Sr. and Mary Jim Stroud Stevenson.

“Her middle name was Jim because her grandmother’s brother was a doctor during the Civil War. He was present to oversee the birth of my mother,” said Stevenson. “I love history,” he added.

At the age of 10, Stevenson became a serious painter, and he was largely self-taught.

“Up until that time, I wasn’t too serious. I mean, I invented painting for myself. And prior to that I had elocution lessons at age three with the girl who lived across the street from me, Helen Ardent. We were performing at age four. I guess the path of my life was already destined for the arts one way or the other,” said Stevenson.

When he entered the second grade, it was then he first decided to become a painter.

“Mrs. Edna Brown, my second grade teacher, always told a story. She said, ‘Well, I decided to let Harold to go on drawing because I couldn’t distract him from that.’ She was a wonderful person and she came to visit me when I was living in France,” said Stevenson. “So I began at the house in town.”

Stevenson said he learned all about the art world right in Idabel.

“Well, one of the things that was a great challenge to me was before I went to New York; I already knew what was going on in the art world. I learned through magazines and books. The library in Idabel was very small. But it was amazing how much information could be had by the library.”

Stevenson recalls the history of the library in Idabel.

“During World War I the city built a little house that was lodged in the middle of Central and Main Streets at the crossroads. It had just one door. And when the war was over, they moved this little house as it were onto the courthouse lawn and it became the first library.

“And as I lived close by, I found my way to the library very quickly. So you know, by WWII it was still there. There was no other library.”

At the age of 10, Stevenson found a way to reach others with his artwork. He opened a studio downtown.

“I sold paintings out of there. I painted all of the people who came there and that was everybody. People came there like they went to the drugstore, city hall or something,” said Stevenson.

“It was the only art studio, so everyone just came to it like it was a public building – which pleased me. And as they came I painted them. It didn’t take me very long to do a portrait. I am a figurative painter. I paint the human figure and I have always been since that first studio,” said Stevenson.

When it was time for college, he attended the University of Oklahoma in the 1940s, but it was in 1949 that he arrived in New York. It wasn’t long before he found himself as part of the New York art scene.

NEW YORK

"Andy Warhol and I both met when we came to New York in the same year of 1949. I knew Andy very well,” said Stevenson. "He was one of the first people I met. Nobody knew him then.”

Stevenson enjoyed success in 1949 with three one-man shows in San Francisco, Dallas, University of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Art Center. It was during this time he helped Warhol get his first exhibition at the Bodley Gallery in New York. On a trip to France, he decided to stay and in 1959 Stevenson became a resident for 20 years.

“I have lived in France and Italy. But I fell in love with Paris many years ago in the Fifties,” said Stevenson.

“This is fair to say: You know, I never did become a New Yorker in spite of all of the times I have lived there and what-not – unlike so many people who go to New York and in two days are really New Yorkers."

“But I did fall in love with Paris. I became a part of that life. In the late 1950s, all through the Sixties and Seventies, I had my own studio and apartment.

“I think the thing I was most proud of in Paris is I had my own telephone in my own name. I always felt that was the most significant thing. It meant you were really there,” said Stevenson.

“I spent a lot of time in Italy; I loved Venice. I produced a lot of sculpture in Venice, in glass,” said Stevenson.

There he saw success with his one-man show at the Galerie Le Cour d’Ingres in Paris in 1960. It was in 1962 his one-man show "Le Sensuel Fantastique" at the Galerie Iris Clert included the portrait of Lord Willoughby d’Eresby in 25 pieces. Willoughby was the grandson of Lady Astor, who was Nancy Astor, the first woman to serve as a member of the British House of Commons.

“Timothy and I were great friends until he died in 1963. It is curious because he invited me to go on this boat. I had always been afraid of water. I said, ‘Oh, Timothy.’”

Stevenson remained on land. “He wanted to go to Corsica in this boat. He was lost at sea with his crew. But that’s why I’m still alive today,” said Stevenson.

THE NEW REALISTS

"The New Realists" exhibition of pop artists debuted in 1962 at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York. One of Stevenson’s most famous paintings, Eye of Lightning Billy, was included in this exhibition.

“Roy Dale Billy, a McCurtain County resident, better known as ‘Lightning Billy,’ was the model for it. In fact he was a model for several of my paintings. But that painting was very famous,” said Stevenson.

Stevenson’s work has been described as a “lifelong experimentation with the sensual possibilities of figuration.” And as in many of his paintings, he explores the extreme close-up of body parts, like the Billy painting that is a close-up of Billy’s eye presented in six pieces. Together the piece measures 10 feet by 15 feet.

“The show toured all over the world. There were about a dozen of us in the show,” said Stevenson.

Around this time Stevenson appeared in Warhol’s first film.

“I became the subject of his first movie which is a black and white silent film called Harold,” said Stevenson. Stevenson also appeared in several other Warhol films including Heat where he is credited as Harold Childe.

EDIE SEDGWICK

It was during this time when Stevenson became fast friends with socialite-turned-Warhol-protégé Edie Sedgwick.

“I was a great, great friend of Edie Sedgwick. Someone said they are doing a film about her. I don’t know why no one has contacted me about it. I can’t imagine them doing it without me. I don’t see how it could be possible,” said Stevenson.

The film, Factory Girl, is currently in production in Louisiana starring British actress Sienna Miller.

“Edie and I were in several of the early Andy Warhol films,” said Stevenson.

“Edie was beautiful beyond words. She was absolutely breath-taking and a very sweet person. Edie was a precious person. She was heavily into drugs which caused her death. We were very good friends. I took her to an exhibition once of artist Rene Magritte. And we were photographed by everybody and with the artist Salvador Dali. He came up to me and said, ‘I want to be photographed with you and Edie.’ And I said, ‘Well, get in here.”

“Dali is one of the great legends of art. He was an eccentric, but then I am an eccentric, an Idabel eccentric. My grandfather and father were eccentrics. I always thought it was one of the most natural things in the world to be an eccentric,” said Stevenson. "But Edie was very glamorous. And truly beautiful, breathtaking, and I think it was a great loss she died so young.”

Sedgwick died in 1971.

GLORIA SWANSON

During his time in New York Stevenson met silent film star Gloria Swanson, whose career was revived with the 1950 movie Sunset Boulevard.

“I met Gloria Swanson in the 1960s. Well, she was a very good dancer. When I was introduced to her, for once I said the right thing. I said ‘Miss Swanson, would you like to dance?’ And she said, ‘I’d be delighted.’ So we danced.

“We were at a private party where there was an orchestra and it was a very fancy party. Gradually everyone left the floor and Gloria Swanson and I were left alone on the floor. The orchestra went into a tango, so I couldn’t abandon the moment. When I took her back to her table she said, ‘Well, he was just as good as Rudolph Valentino.’ It became a big story,” Stevenson recalled.

“As a matter of fact, after that we had lunches and dinners together many times. Once I was telling her about being in Andy Warhol’s films and she said, ‘I never heard of him. Does he work for Metro Goldwyn-Mayer?’ I answered, ‘Hardly.’”

“You know, there is that moment where people don’t realize what’s going on in the world, especially in the art world, and it takes some time to spread out.”

THE NEW ADAM

One of Stevenson’s best known works is The New Adam which The Guggenheim Museum in New York acquired last year.

“They are preparing for a show, but I’m not sure about the date yet,” said Stevenson.

Sal Mineo, who is best known for his role of Plato from the James Dean movie Rebel Without A Cause, posed for the painting in Paris. According to an interview from In Touch magazine in the 1960s, Mineo said he noticed a small painting of Stevenson’s in Paris and he inquired about the painter. Mineo contacted Stevenson. He said it was later after they became friends that Stevenson asked him to pose for him.

The portrait of a nude Mineo is 7 1/2 feet by 39 feet on nine panels in linen. When the painting was exhibited in 1963 at The Richard Feigen Gallery at Los Angeles, the movie Harold was shown as well.

“It was the first time a movie was shown as a work of art. That was very adventurous for 1963. There was a direct flight from Paris over the North Pole to Los Angeles that I took for the show. Sal Mineo met my plane in Los Angeles. He also came to Idabel. He was very gentle, a rather shy person. And he was small. He had a tragic end; he was murdered by a stranger,” said Stevenson.

Also in 1963 in Paris his four-stories-tall painting El Cordobes was exhibited on the Eiffel Tower.

“The face and hand of the matador El Cordobes is the subject of the painting,” said Stevenson.

In 1964 Stevenson had three one-man exhibitions at the Richard Feigen Galleries in New York. During his years in France he traveled to Italy, England, New York and back to his home in Idabel, often bringing known celebrities to Idabel.

He would have incredibly famous people from all over the world come visit him at his Idabel studio – people like Lord Snowden of the British Royal Family, a long-time friend, famous movie stars from Hollywood, celebrated authors and writers from the highest levels of literature, and renowned stage performers from Europe,” said Ron Clark, former Idabel resident and fellow artist.

“In my life I spent time in Italy and London, Spain, and Idabel, not only France,” said Stevenson.

“I always came back to Idabel. I was one of the first jet-setters. I always moved around. I didn’t think anything about it. If I felt I needed to be in Italy, I went to Italy,” said Stevenson.

Other influences Stevenson said he really wasn’t influenced by other artists.

“Well, it is hard to say because you must remember that I invented this thing of painting when I was a child. So there wasn’t much chance for influence, because I started so young. I have my favorites like Leonard Da Vinci, which goes back pretty far,” said Stevenson. “I have always loved other artists and all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I wanted to paint like them.

JACKSON POLLOCK

“For example, I knew Jackson Pollock very, very well. But I didn’t want to paint like him. We were very good friends. What is interesting about Jackson Pollock’s life is that he is, I suppose, the most famous Jewish painter who wasn’t Jewish. What happened is a curious story. Right after WWII, the eyes of the world were focused on America. So America needed a new face on the art scene. And it just so happened that fell into place with Jackson Pollock. So he became a household word overnight, so to speak, you know, through Life magazine and all. All of us wanted to be famous like Jackson Pollock; you know that was natural. But then many people tried to paint like him and I always thought that was a mistake,” said Stevenson.

“There is no answer to what a painter likes of his work over another. It’s not a matter of enjoying one thing over another; it’s a matter of the moment. Whatever the moment calls for. Doing what is the moment. That is how I paint – whatever I am involved with at the time.” Stevenson likes to paint just ordinary people.

“The celebrities were my least favorite models. I always have favorite models in various periods of my life. There was Lightning Billy, all through the 1950s, then Lord Willoughby. And currently at my studio in the Hamptons in Long Island is Christopher John. He is the subject of many of my current paintings.

“I did an enormous landscape of Idabel years ago. It is a view looking south from one of my previous studios here. That painting is owned by Ross Dugan Jr. in California. So if anyone says where can I see a painting of yours that’s not a person, I tell them you have to go to California.”

Stevenson is an artist who doesn’t collect art or keep many of his own.

“Someone said to me, ‘Don’t you hate to give up your paintings?’ I have a lot of them. I wish I could get rid of them. What I am trying to say is, it is a way you also make your living. I never had any job. Never. I have always painted and lived selling my paintings even as a child. I have been self-employed an entire lifetime,” said Stevenson.

Since the library is one of the resources Stevenson used to get his start as an artist, he hopes Idabel will be able to build a new one soon.

“It is one of my greatest hopes. One of the reasons why is I have a big collection of books and I want to give them to the Idabel library. I also want a library to exist. We really should have a proper library, after all of these years. It is about time. It takes a lifetime to collect as much junk as I have,” said Stevenson. “Some of my books are by authors I have known personally. I knew Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote very well and many others."

Stevenson said he has seen the new film Capote, which is based during Capote’s research of his book In Cold Blood.

“It’s quite good. And I thought Phillip Seymour Hoffman portrayed Truman quite accurately. He didn’t look like him, but it didn’t make any difference because he was a good enough actor you were convinced,” said Stevenson.

1970 - 1990

In 1970 his show, "Sculptures in Crystal," was exhibited in Murano, Italy, at the Knoedler and Company. Each year after that, Stevenson’s paintings were exhibited in various galleries throughout Europe and New York.

“It was during the ‘80s when I established a studio in Key West, Florida, where I stayed for over 10 years,” he said.

Stevenson designed the Tennessee Williams gold medallion for the National Committee for the Literary Arts in 1981.

“Beginning in the 1980s I had a new gallery representing me in SoHo, New York, which is now in Chelsea; it is the Mitchell Algus Gallery. Today they continue to represent me,” he said.

Throughout these three decades Stevenson continued to have exhibitions.

IDABEL TALENT

Stevenson said there have always been a lot of very talented people from McCurtain County.

“I have several protégés from Idabel. Idabel has plenty of artists now, but when I was a child there weren’t any. Poteet Victory, better known to Idabel residents as Robert Poteet, is definitely a protégé and friend of mine. And also Ron Clark, his grandfather, was the barber here for many years, Mr. Waters, and his father was Carl Clark. And it’s amazing to me how some of the families here have been friends for generations."

Stevenson also mentioned Charles Grinch, another McCurtain County resident, and Thela Leonard as being influenced by him.

“Everyone in Idabel who paints has touched my life in some way,” said Stevenson.

The loss of Willoughby and the loss of his brother, Don, who died in his early forties, and his wife touched him deeply.

“With my brother’s death I inherited their four children. You never know what life is going to give you and it gave me four children. My elderly parents were more of a problem than the four children,” he said with a laugh.

“I must say that those four people are all grown on their own and have their own families and what-not. They have been a great, great pleasure to my life. They tend to look after me. They don’t stop to think I have roamed all over the world,” said Stevenson. "What is curious when my nephew Kurt moved to the house in town, he remembered me saying that I always wanted to live in a log cabin. Well, he built this log cabin for me. I am having a big room built on for a studio. I had to have a place to put my things from New York.”

THE GREAT SOCIETY - 100 FACES

Stevenson remains busy. He just returned from Norman where he is preparing for a new exhibit at the Fred Jones Jr. Art Museum at The University of Oklahoma. The exhibit is called "The Great Society: 100 Faces."

“It is 100 faces which I have painted from McCurtain County. The first person I painted for this series is Laverne Deramus Cuzick, a resident of Broken Bow. I painted her in 1965,” said Stevenson.

Even though it is 100 portraits, Stevenson considers it one piece.

“It is the length of a football grid,” said Stevenson. “I want to invite all of the 100 faces to the showing as my guests,” he added.

Stevenson said he would provide further details about the show at a later date.

Another project Stevenson is working on is a joint venture with former Idabel resident Ron Clark.

“We are preparing for a show set to open soon at a new gallery, The Betty Anne Smith Gallery in Dallas,” said Stevenson. "What is curious about this is. Ron, as just a boy, watched me paint the Eye of Lightning Billy here in Idabel.”

STEVENSON'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Also in production is Stevenson’s autobiography. The current title of the manuscript is called The Bridegroom Cometh.

“That title is from Matthew the 25th chapter. It is about the wise and foolish virgins. I was always fascinated by that parable. It can be interpreted in many ways. For one thing, you don’t necessarily know when opportunity will come to you.

“I was born and reared a Presbyterian. All of that really has a lot of influence without you being terribly aware of it. As a matter of fact a lot of my paintings are based on religious themes,” said Stevenson.

“I have been writing a long time. I don’t know when I will be published or if I will be published in my lifetime. I don’t really care. I only wanted to leave my version of it. Whatever my life is, whatever is written about me. I’d like necessarily not to have the last word. But I would like to have my word.

“I don’t know if there will be that many that agree with me. We’ll see,” Stevenson added.

TEARS

Stevenson is already making plans for a show early in 2007 at Bartlesville.

“My painting Tears is what I am going to exhibit there. It is a painting that shows the geographical areas of the Five Civilized Tribes and what became of the state of Oklahoma,” said Stevenson.

The show will be at the Price Tower, a Frank Lloyd Wright building.

“It is an exhibition of Oklahoma artists who are known internationally,” he said. Stevenson employs several agents in New York and Europe.

“The only sad thing about being old is most of the people you’ve known are no longer with us. Most of those I used to talk to are in the Denison Cemetery,” said Stevenson. “I am a very good friend in that I stay in touch with all of my friends. There is a constant contact."

Stevenson continues to paint daily.

“I am sure I will be painting until the end,” he said.

When asked about what he thought the reason was why he didn’t receive more recognition in his hometown of Idabel, his reply was; “That is something that usually happens once the artist is out of the way. It is very important. For example, Andy Warhol became very famous as soon as he was dead. As long as he was alive, he was kind of always in the way.”

“Life is very funny,” he added. “I enjoy being at home.”


ΝΙΚΗ ΜΑΡΓΚΟΥ

Αλέξης Ακριθάκης: Bohemian Rhapsody

Το κομψό βιβλιαράκι με τις φωτογραφίες που τράβηξε η Νίκη Μαραγκού στο Βερολίνο το ’68, προσεγγίζει τον διάσημο έλληνα ζωγράφο πέρα από το μύθο τού μποέμ πρίγκιπα με τον καταστροφικό βίο, τους θυελλώδεις έρωτες, τους εθισμούς...

ΑΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΓΙΩΡΓΟ ΚΑΡΟΥΖΑΚΗ

Image

Παρατηρώ τον Αλέξη Ακριθάκη στις ασπρόμαυρες φωτογραφίες που τράβηξε η Νίκη Μαραγκού με μια Pentax στο σπίτι του καλλιτέχνη στο Βερολίνο, τη δεκαετία του '60. Είναι τυπωμένες στο μικρό βιβλιαράκι που κυκλοφόρησε απρόσμενα από το Ροδακιό, ως μικρή ενθύμηση και αφιέρωση σ' αυτόν.

Περιγράφει μια νύχτα από τη ζωή του και περισώζει 23 στιγμιότυπα από την καθημερινότητά του στο Βερολίνο του '68. Μια κούπα καφές, τα πινέλα στο τραπέζι, ένα άφιλτρο τσιγάρο στο χέρι, μικρά σύννεφα καπνού, μια ξύλινη πεταλούδα, η αγαπημένη του Φώφη με την κόρη τους Χλόη μωρό. Το λιγοστό φως πέφτει πάντοτε στο πρόσωπό του, ανακαλεί με ήχους καβαφικούς τη βερολινέζικη ζωή του, που έρχεται να μας συναντήσει σα μουσική, την νύχτα, μακρυνή, που σβύνει.

Πάντοτε ήθελα να πλησιάσω τον Ακριθάκη πέρα από το μύθο του μποέμ πρίγκιπα με τον καταστροφικό βίο, τον εθισμό στα ναρκωτικά και το αλκοόλ, τους θυελλώδεις έρωτες, την εικόνα του ζωγράφου που είχε μέσα του την «κακιά αρρώστια του καλλιτέχνη». Κανείς βεβαίως δεν μπορεί να διαχωρίσει το βίο ενός δημιουργού από το έργο του. Έρχονται στιγμές όμως που η φιλολογία για τον πιο μυθικό ή ακραίο καλλιτεχνικό βίο θολώνει τη σημασία της τέχνης. Το βιβλιαράκι της Μαραγκού έχει ενδιαφέρον γιατί στρέφει λίγο το βλέμμα μας σε μια υποφωτισμένη περιοχή της ζωής του Ακριθάκη. Προσεγγίζει φευγαλέα μεν (μερικά σχέδια, φωτογραφίες, μια θραυσματική ανάμνηση) αλλά με καθαρή ματιά την καθημερινότητα, την οικογενειακή ζωή του Ακριθάκη. Αυτές οι γήινες στιγμές ανάπαυλας του ζωγράφου στα ασπρόμαυρα καρέ της Μαραγκού μάς αφήνουν τουλάχιστον περιθώριο να αναλογιστούμε και πόσο σπουδαίος καλλιτέχνης υπήρξε.

Στην αναδρομική έκθεση του έργου του που οργανώθηκε το 2003 στην Nazional Galerie του Βερολίνου, παράλληλα με την έκθεση Πικάσο, ο διευθυντής του Μουσείου Πέτερ Κλάους Σούστερ το είχε επισημάνει χωρίς κανένα δισταγμό: «Μέσα από τη χάρη και την προσωπικότητα του έργου του, ο Ακριθάκης έρχεται να πάρει στην τέχνη του δεύτερου μισού του 20ού αιώνα τη θέση του Μοντιλιάνι». Μας το θυμίζει ο Ντένης Ζαχαρόπουλος στη θαυμάσια μονογραφία του για τον ζωγράφο, που κυκλοφορεί από τις εκδόσεις «Αδάμ». Ο Αλέξης Ακριθάκης, γόνος γνωστής και ευκατάστατης αθηναϊκής οικογένειας, γεννήθηκε στις 11 Μαΐου 1939. Γιος πρόσφυγα από τη Σμύρνη και μαχητικού κομμουνιστή και μιας γυναίκας γνωστής από την επιχείρησή της στο χώρο της υψηλής ραπτικής. Αποφάσισε να γίνει ζωγράφος το 1965, τη χρονιά που το μικρό βέλος, ένα από τα εμβληματικά σύμβολα που θα επαναλάβει μετέπειτα στους πίνακές του, θα κάνει την εμφάνισή του σ' ένα σχέδιο. Ακολούθησε η μαθητεία του στην Ακαδημία Grande Chaumière στο Παρίσι και η υποτροφία της DAAD που τον οδήγησε για τα καλά στο Βερολίνο, την πόλη που έζησε μέχρι και την οριστική επιστροφή του στην Αθήνα το 1984.

Ο μαγικός εικαστικός κόσμος του θα κατοικηθεί μέσα στα χρόνια από ένα πρωτότυπο λεξιλόγιο χρωμάτων και συμβόλων: το Αεροπλάνο, η Ταξιδιάρικη Βαλίτσα, οι Γεωγραφίες και οι Γραφές, το Μαγικό Δέντρο, οι Ήλιοι, τα Θεατράκια, οι Φλόγες και οι Καρδιές. Και από τη σχεδόν μουσική ανάπτυξη του «τσίκι-τσίκι», της πυκνής, επαναληπτικής και μορφικά λαβυρινθώδους γραφής του, που εξαπλώνεται σε όλη την επιφάνεια του πίνακα και αποτελεί εμβληματικό χαρακτηριστικό του.

Η Νίκη Μαραγκού στο κομψό βιβλιαράκι της απομακρύνεται από την εποχή του Ακριθάκη στο Quartier Latin, από το κλίμα του υπαρξισμού και της ελευθεριότητας, την παρέα του με τον Τζιακομέτι, τον Τσίγκο, τον Μπέκετ και την Τζιν Σίμπεργκ, καθώς και από το θρυλικό βερολινέζικο μπάρ Fofi's της συντρόφου του. Στρέφει το φακό της στο σπίτι τους με τις τεράστιες τζαμόπορτες, τα αγάλματα στη στέγη και την εκπληκτική θέα στη λίμνη. Και ζωηρεύει άγνωστες εικόνες, σαν αυτή: «Ο Αλέξης καθόταν στο μεγάλο τραπέζι, τραπέζι ξυλουργείου, κάπνιζε, κοίταγε τη λίμνη και ζωγράφιζε, λες και αυτό γινόταν χωρίς δική του ανάμειξη, τσίκι-τσίκι γέμιζε τις επιφάνειες, φίλοι έμπαιναν κι έβγαιναν στο σπίτι, αυτός εκεί, στο τσίκι-τσίκι, κεριά της Ανάστασης, μέρες της δικτατορίας, το καλοκαίρι οι λεύκες πρασίνιζαν, η Φώφη έγκυος, γεννήθηκε η Χλόη».

12/14/2009

How To Paint A Wall In A Gay Sex Club

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Blank black corridors get tiresome, so liven up your sex club’s walls with super-graphic super-graphics. Here I’ve chosen a nice bj image to set the mood. To add texture I’ve designed a subtle background diamond-plating inspired pattern using the logo of the club.

Paint the wall black – a flat finish is nice and velvety but a bitch to keep clean. I’ve chosen a Dunn Edwards interior black in eggshell finish – a nice amount of gloss. (Don’t get high gloss or u won’t be able to draw on it with chalk in a later step.)

Draw a grid on the wall in pencil based on the repeat size of your pattern. 18″ in this case.

Cut an 18″ square of Gatorboard, then Spray 77 a 1/4″ piece of foam to the board, overlay your logo (remember to reverse it), then cut it out of the foam. Using the grid on the wall, start stamping. It’s ok if some drip or don’t fully stamp – it’s a sex club, things should get a little messy. I’ve chosen DE6356 “Sheet Metal” although the lighter gray, DE6348 “Draw Your Sword,” seems more appropriate given the venue.

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Now, in Photoshop make a scaled 18″ grid over your artwork, then divide each of those squares in half and print it out. This is our guide as we draw the line work on the wall in chalk. It’s easy because you’ve already drawn a grid on the wall for the pattern, now divide those squares again. It helps if you number the squares along the side so u don’t get confused as you begin drawing on the wall.

Time to run a paint test. Because i want the blue linework to fluoresce under UV light I’ll be painting it with Wildfire brand blue UV reactive paint. I find it’s best to paint a flat white undercoat, then the UV paint on top. UV paint is very transparent so it will take a couple coats. Because i want this to really pop, i’ve mixed 7 parts UV blue to 1 part UV white.

Now wipe off all remaining chalk marks with a damp rag, and light with UV fixtures. To avoid blasting the hall with UV light (which would cause anyone wearing a white shirt to light up the whole area when they walked by) I’m not using blacklight flourescent tubes, instead, 6 mini-UV-LED-spotlights and 3 blue UV mini-spots from MiniSpotlight.com. Now you’ve got a hot sexy wall that looks great under under bright lights for a photo or porno shoot (and promotes your venue by stamping your club name all over the image!), as well as regular, dark, club cruising conditions.

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Posted in Art/Art-like, Crafty, Designery, Illustrated, Los Angeles,

Steven Clayton Corry: Gay Impressionist Painter

Steven Clayton Corry is a 59 years old erotic artist from Valencia, California.

"I am not old, I am just vintage.

Full-time gay impressionist painter, pacifist, pot head, atheist, gardener, lover of dogs, trees, flowers, water, Trader Joes, cats that live at other homes, Pro-choice, feminist, ex-postal clerk that went postal, Democrat, anti-war, anti-hate, anti-trash, anti-christian hate, pro - animals, clean air, mountains, beaches, warmth, Spring, nice people..."


Lust Out by the Dumper


The Phone Call


Filling the Bath


Blue House Kiss


Young Warriors


Love Might Keep Us Together


Waxing Down the Board


Love Dance


I Can't Remember Lust

Gay Art: It’s More Than Just Men Having Sex!

Posted by leskanturek in Art History, Political and Social Art, Student Post.
Tags: , , , , ,
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Post by Evan Turk

In my research for my semester final project of creating posters about the gay rights movement, I searched for inspiration from other artists who had created political and social art related to the gay community. What I found, is that there is not as much to be found as one might expect. Most “gay art” falls into the realm of the erotic and very little else falls outside of that. There is no shortage of famous gay artists (Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jean Cocteau, Paul Cadmus, David Hockney, Francis Bacon), though most of them were closeted. For the most part, any gay-themed art they created was focused on eroticism.

A prominent gay artist who was extremely influential in gay history in America is Keith Haring. Haring was a prominent artist in the 80’s and 90’s in New York City who created simple and largely symbolic work in the vein of pop art and graffiti art. As a victim of AIDS himself, Haring created many of the images that are still used today for AIDS prevention groups as well as gay organizations. An interview with Keith Haring by David Sheff for Rolling Stone (Aug. 1989) can be found at Haring.com as well as an art database.

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haringuntitled1(Top) “Silence = Death” “Ignorance = Fear” (Bottom)“Untitled” (All images copyright the Keith Haring Foundation)

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Another artist that gives an interesting illustration of gay life is J. C. Leyendecker. Leyendecker was an American illustrator in the 20th century known for his fashion advertisements and illustrated covers of the Saturday Evening Post, preceding Norman Rockwell’s reign at the magazine. His work, which is all commercial work, has a rather subtle (or other times not so subtle) gay undertone. In a few paintings, at first glance it seems to be a few sailors looking flirtatiously at a young woman, but upon closer inspection, the men actually appear to be looking at each other with her just kind of standing in the way.

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(Above) Arrow Collars and Shirts advertisement (1907)

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(Above) The House of Kuppenheimer Advertisement (1918)

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(Above) “Kuppenheimer Advertisement – Good Team Work”

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Perez is an artist born in 1965 and raised in Jerusalem. He now lives in Tel-Aviv and creates work that often deals with homosexual themes and relationships. As stated on his website “His paintings put to test the boundaries between eroticism and art, while characterizing gay relationships and love as they are expressed in everyday life.” Although his work contains mostly male nudes, the subject matter is often non-erotic. He depicts family scenes and everyday life for gay couples, instead of just the sexual aspects of a gay relationship.

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(Above) Untitled

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(Above) Gay Wedding

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(Above) Gay Daily Life courtesy of www.gaypaintings.com


As homosexuality becomes more accepted in modern culture, there will be less sexual repression and most likely, less of an emphasis on only erotic art. This leaves the door open for a different step in the gay art movement.

'Gay Art: From Ancient to Modern' opens June 23 at World Erotic Art Museum in South Beach

News release from the esteemed Charles Cinnamon:

For more interesting samples from the exhibit, scroll down.

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GAY ART: FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN, TO HIGHLIGHT WORK OF PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHER WILHELM VON GLOEDEN IN SUMMER EXHIBIT OPENING JUNE 23 THROUGH JULY 27 AT THE WORLD EROTIC ART MUSEUM

MIAMI BEACH---In an interesting move to add provocative artistic heat to an already sweltering summer, owner/collector Naomi Wilzig has searched through her vast collection to introduce a fresh look at GAY ART: FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN at an extended exhibit, Monday, June 23 through Sunday, July 27, at the World Erotic Art Museum, 1205 Washington Avenue. An opening reception will be held Monday, June 23, from 7 P.M. to 10 P.M.

Tracking gay and lesbian art from the earliest days of Greece to the modern world of Mapplethorpe and Haring, anticipated to be among the major highlights of the exhibit will be selected works of photographer Wilhelm Von Gloeden who, from 1890-1914, became the pioneering force in bringing nude homoerotic photography to the eyes of an accepting public.

Born in 1856 at Volkshagen Castle in Wismar to a socially prominent family, Von Gloeden’s early interest as a student of art history changed dramatically when a developing lung condition took him to recuperate at the Sicilian town of Taorina, which at the time was at its height of international popularity as the center of sophisticated society.

An exhibit of his work at the Royal Photographic Society and “Linked Rings,” the London Society of Art Photography was to bring Von Gloeden to the attention of the Archduke Frederick lll of Meckenburg-Schwerin who presented him with a large formal plate camera. His earlier shared interest in nude photography with the Naples photographer Wilhelm von Pluschow was to result in his most productive body of work in which he sought to convey his vision of a golden age before the dawn of civilization. Through the eye of his camera, Von Gloeden captured the essence of innocence through “tableaux vivants,” specially designed set pieces featuring nude portraits of young men.

Von Gloeden stopped taking photos in 1930, the year he died at age 74. In 1933, a thousand glass plates were confiscated and destroyed by Fascist police. The remaining collection of 800 plates and 200 albumin prints, which were in the care of Von Gloeden’s assistant Pancracio Bucini, remain in the archives of Lucio Amelio in Naples.

In addition to the work of Von Gloeden and the photography of such contemporary icons as Robert Mapplethorpe and Keith Haring, on display will be paintings, statues, and objects d’art drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, including the art of the phallus as seen through the eyes of such distinguished artists as Aubrey Beardsley.

The World Erotic Art Museum is located at 1205 Washington Avenue. Open seven days from 11 A.M. to Midnight, admission is $15 per person. Further information is available by calling (305) 532-9336 or online at www.weam.com.

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'Gay Art: From Ancient to Modern' at World Erotic Art Museum in South Beach

News release:

HarbourPhotogayart04

For more samples from the exhibit, click here.

GAY ART: FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN, TO HIGHLIGHT WORK OF PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHER WILHELM VON GLOEDEN IN SUMMER EXHIBIT OPENING JUNE 23 THROUGH JULY 27 AT THE WORLD EROTIC ART MUSEUM

MIAMI BEACH---In an interesting move to add provocative artistic heat to an already sweltering summer, owner/collector Naomi Wilzig has searched through her vast collection to introduce a fresh look at GAY ART: FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN at an extended exhibit, Monday, June 23 through Sunday, July 27, at the World Erotic Art Museum, 1205 Washington Avenue. An opening reception will be held Monday, June 23, from 7 P.M. to 10 P.M.

Tracking gay and lesbian art from the earliest days of Greece to the modern world of Mapplethorpe and Haring, anticipated to be among the major highlights of the exhibit will be selected works of photographer Wilhelm Von Gloeden who, from 1890-1914, became the pioneering force in bringing nude homoerotic photography to the eyes of an accepting public.

Born in 1856 at Volkshagen Castle in Wismar to a socially prominent family, Von Gloeden’s early interest as a student of art history changed dramatically when a developing lung condition took him to recuperate at the Sicilian town of Taorina, which at the time was at its height of international popularity as the center of sophisticated society.

An exhibit of his work at the Royal Photographic Society and “Linked Rings,” the London Society of Art Photography was to bring Von Gloeden to the attention of the Archduke Frederick lll of Meckenburg-Schwerin who presented him with a large formal plate camera. His earlier shared interest in nude photography with the Naples photographer Wilhelm von Pluschow was to result in his most productive body of work in which he sought to convey his vision of a golden age before the dawn of civilization. Through the eye of his camera, Von Gloeden captured the essence of innocence through “tableaux vivants,” specially designed set pieces featuring nude portraits of young men.

Von Gloeden stopped taking photos in 1930, the year he died at age 74. In 1933, a thousand glass plates were confiscated and destroyed by Fascist police. The remaining collection of 800 plates and 200 albumin prints, which were in the care of Von Gloeden’s assistant Pancracio Bucini, remain in the archives of Lucio Amelio in Naples.

In addition to the work of Von Gloeden and the photography of such contemporary icons as Robert Mapplethorpe and Keith Haring, on display will be paintings, statues, and objects d’art drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, including the art of the phallus as seen through the eyes of such distinguished artists as Aubrey Beardsley.

The World Erotic Art Museum is located at 1205 Washington Avenue. Open seven days from 11 A.M. to Midnight, admission is $15 per person. Further information is available by calling (305) 532-9336 or online at www.weam.com.

British Soap Opera to feature a MUSLIM character in a GAY love affair. Let the riots and lawsuits begin.

EastEnders is to tackle one of the last taboos left in soap, with a storyline featuring a Muslim character embarking on a gay love affair.

EastEnders: Syed Masood, played by Marc Elliott.

EastEnders: Syed Masood, played by Marc Elliott.

MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal that the plot, which will hit screens in mid-June, will see Syed Masood, a Muslim property developer with a girlfriend who arrived in Albert Square six weeks ago, fall for openly gay Christian Clarke. The pair will share an on-screen kiss.

Hanging Gay Teens

Hanging Gay Teens

The BBC has billed the storyline as a “traditional love affair, albeit with a modern multicultural twist”. (And we know how out of touch with reality the BBC is)

The BBC1 soap’s production team researched the plot, which is bound to prove controversial with some viewers, contacting academics, gay Muslim support groups and members of the Muslim Council of Great Britain. In the storyline, the 24-year-old Masood, played by Marc Elliott, finds his “religion and sexual feelings in conflict”.

The character is currently dating Amira Shah as well as trying to work his way back into his family’s good books following his flight after losing money from the family business.

Gays lynched in Iran

Gays lynched in Iran

Diederick Santer, the EastEnders executive producer, said: “We’ve always tried to make EastEnders reflect modern life in multicultural Britain and we’ve always told social issue stories relevant to our diverse audience. (Then of course you will show how Muslims deal with gays too?)

“This is not a story about Syed and Christian’s physical relationship – we don’t see anything beyond one kiss. It’s more about the inner turmoil and conflict Syed endures trying to remain true to his faith while questioning his sexuality. The intention was to develop the Masoods as “rounded human beings tackling the issues of day-to-day life in Albert Square”, Santer said.

“The dynamics of Muslim relationships and families are not radically different from any others but the importance that Muslim culture places on family and married life can make the same issues more charged.” (HAH! What kind of drugs are you guys on?) UK GUARDIAN

Amazing Trash Art by physiologist Pras (21 pics)

http://acidcow.com/pics/5107-amazing-trash-art-by-bernard-pras-21-pics.html

Reblog: WebUrbanist on Trash Art

By Leila Darabi

One of the fun things about going out of town and slacking off on the trash research for a bit is that when you finally get around to rooting around for what you missed, there’s quite a bit out there. Treat yourself to this excellent WebUrbanist post highlighting 7 trash artists. You’ll see some old favorites, like the miraculous silhouettes made from trash shadows to the world renowned trash people to street art made from trash. But there are some new (to me at least) discoveries in there as well: turkeys made from scrap metal and this lovely bear head made of woven plastic bags. If you ask me, there’s nothing sweeter than a plastic bag bear.

Photo of an Eden Project sculpture via Flikr via WebUrbanist

The Trash Art of Tom Deninger


Included in a post about 20 trash artists over on WebUrbanist, I discovered and was subsequently blown away by the work of Tom Deninger. Make sure you do pay a visit to his site and cruise around a bit. What this guy does with garbage is nothing short of astounding. link

Think SMART and Your Art Could Win $2,000

trash art sculpture photo

Interested in turning trash into art and winning $2,000? If you're in to sculpture, functional art, film, photography or music, you might want to consider entering into an upcoming competition.

The competition has been formed to show off how solutions to our global problems are all around us - we just have to think SMART, take what we think is junk and transform it.

Anyone from any location can participate, but if you're chosen as a finalist, you'll have to cart your art to San Francisco where the Plastiki Art Exhibit will be held. Details and submission guidelines can be found at SMART Art's website.

Submit your work by May 1!

Need a little inspiration? Check out some awesome artists who turn trash into treasure:
Secrets of the San Francisco Dump (Slideshow)
7 Examples of Amazing Art Created from Trash (Slideshow)
1000 Statues from Trash in Rome
Tim Gaudreau's Self Portrait as Revealed by Trash
Recyclart - Inspired By The "Art of Recycling"

1.5% Decline in Endangered Iberian Lynx Population Seen in One Day

iberian lynx photo
photo: Programa de Conservacíon Ex-situ del Lince Ibérico

When dealing with the world's most endangered feline species, the Iberian Lynx (estimated population, 200) every death matters. So when a pregnant Iberian Lynx was found dead in Doñana National Park it's worth passing on the news:

The cat in question was pregnant with two cubs and had been run over by a vehicle and then shot with a shotgun. According to an official speaking on condition of anonymity, it was getting hit by the vehicle that was the cause of death.

According to Arkive:

The Iberian Lynx is the world's most threatened species of cat and may become the first wild cat species to go extinct for over 2,000 years. Although smaller in size, it resembles the Eurasian Lynx, possessing the same characteristically bobbed tail, tufts on the ears and jaw, a spotted coat, muscular body and long legs.

Historically the Iberian Lynx's territory was throughout the Iberian peninsula and south of France. Today it is found only in small areas of central and southwest Spain, and in the Algarve mountains of Portugal.

via: AP

Endangered Species
10 Endangered Animas Which Aren't in the Spotlight, But Should Be
One in Six European Mammals Face Extinction
Ubercool "Mexican Walking Fish" Nearing Extinction

Synthetic Estrogen Contaminating Popular Plastic Packaging: Study

chris jordan bottlesImage: Plastic Bottles (2007) by photographic artist Chris Jordan

Not only is plastic the ubiquitous bane of modern consumerist lifestyles, it’s also increasingly seen as a potential health hazard. Fact: we now know that hard plastic polycarbonate water bottles, canned food and soda pop linings contain the “genderbender” chemical bisphenol A, which hormonally mimics estrogen. Now German researchers have found another unknown estrogenic chemical leaching from a widely-used plastic packaging material.

The study, published online in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, is the first to discover that certain types of packaging are consistently leaching a hormonally active chemical into bottled water. Read on to find out which packaging to steer clear of.

Scientists at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt detected “estrogenic activity” in 78 percent of the water samples bottled by polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic – identifiable by the number “1” encased by the triangular arrows of the recycling symbol.

Potential health risks?
The exact health risks of PET are unknown, but we know that increased exposure to synthetic estrogens (like the case of BPA) are being linked to reduced sperm counts, increased rates of obesity, cancere and diabetes. In live animal sampling, the study also found that mud snails raised in the plastic mineral water bottles had increased embryo production.

Though the scientists have yet to identify the substance(s) causing the estrogenic activity, they’ve ruled out bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates for the moment, but they do know that PET does contain small amounts of antimony, another estrogenic compound.

Not all PET equal
However, not all the samples tested positive for estrogenic activity, suggesting that the chemical composition of PET differs from manufacturer to manufacturer.

A bigger problem
For consumers however, the findings may have serious implications of “a bigger problem… [because] if you go to the supermarket, everything is packed in plastic," says Martin Wagner, a PhD student in aquatic toxicology at the university.

So now not only are polycarbonates implicated in a chemical genderbending phenomenon on a scale of which we can only guess at - apparently, we might have to ditch PET plastic packaging too (which is probably a good thing).

Globe and Mail

More on Synthetic Genderbenders
BisPhenol-A...Again: It Stays Longer In Your Body Than Experts Once Thought
Don't Buy A Nalgene Water Bottle Until You Read This
Are Boys Disappearing Because of Gender Bender Chemicals?
Hot Water + Polycarbonate Bottles = More Gender-Benders
Time to Pack In the Polycarbonates

The Best Of British Trash/Art

The Best Of British Trash/Art

Used tea bags, plastic milk bottles and empty sardine tins hardly seem inspirational materials for artists, but for one group of designers and craftspeople in Britain today these abandoned materials are the starting point for a whole new creative expression. The fascinating results can be seen at Te Manawa in Reclaimed: Recycling in contemporary British Craft and Design

trash art

to go along with Garbage (A. R. Ammons’ book-length poem we’ve been in contemporary poets), Karla had us check out some different artists’ work that’s made entirely from trash. Tim Noble & Sue Webster are two thirty-something London-based artists who work together to make some really brilliant stuff:

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about this one, Sue said, “Tim’s mum bought some kittens three years ago. The cats started bringing in their prey almost every day. We collected their remains in a box marked with a skull and crossbones, which we called ‘Dead Things.’ Soon we had a few hundred rotting creatures — mice, rats, voles, even a squirrel and a toad. Walking through the British Museum, we were struck by the Egyptians’ use of mummification, their obsession with animals and animal parts, and how good at sculpture they were. And suddenly we knew what to do with our mummified animals!”

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Karla neglected to share the last one with our class… maybe because it’s not made out of trash… (?) unless someone just so happened to throw away dozens of pink rubber fingers and penises…

12/13/2009

Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason

Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason

It’s been a while since Oscar & Ewan have emailed us and I was pleased to see they hadn’t forgotten us when they sent through Roots Manuva’s latest album “Slime and Reason”. Probably the only thing I dislike about the album is the title :)

I’m not sure if this is O&E’s thing but they really like to make stuff and photograph it. It’s this manual labor that really makes their work stand out. O&E were also responsible for one of our most popular covers from last year Slime and Reason is no exception. This also makes their work look like fun to work on. I can just imagine their work spaces being filled with half finished bits and pieces and left overs from photo shoots.

While it initially looks like a 3D rendering, you can see (on closer inspection) that it’s actually a plaster sculpture. If Roots had of been American you’d just need to throw a few big booty, bikini babes in his slime pool and you’d be ready to go.

Also I can’t help but feel it’s like the monkey brains scene from Indiana Jones.

“Wiley’s Play Time is Over”.

Here’s some insight from the guys on the process of creating the album cover. This was originally sent to Merge Magazine as part of a Q&A. Not that I can find it on their site to link up so I’m using it here.

“The title was the idea, we took a very literal translation. There were other considerations too that helped, Roots Manuva’s past two covers have had him facing forward, and centrally framed. so although this is aesthetically a departure from those covers, it has kept a link. also the plaster bust shows a defined and prestigious character, where as the slime takes the edge off it, making it contemporary and quite jovial, which we feel suits this album. Lyrically often the listener is wondering just what is inside his head. Our past covers have been quite visually busy, but we aimed to make this one very stark and striking, recognizable from a distance and quite iconic.”

“The building of the head was a long process, and one that we weren’t quite sure how to approach. We thought originally that we would commission a sculptor to make the bust, but that was extremely expensive and the result may not have looked exactly like Roots, then we thought about a live cast of the head in plaster, but they can often look quite ‘dead’, the face can sag in the plaster and there isn’t much flexibility with the expression.

So after some looking around we found out about 3D scanning and rapid prototyping. This was the best option, the scanning process is very quick and accurate, and having the 3D model in the computer meant we could edit the bowl into the head at that stage, before the rapid prototyping. So we got the rapid prototyped model, then commissioned a sculptor to cast it in plaster. this was quite a nervous stage as we had to make a mother cast with the rapid prototyped model, which we had to smash to get out of the cast, so we had no original left. the sculptor then had to go on holiday, so we had to removed the plaster head from the mother cast with no previous experience of sculpting, then sand down the head and sculpt the eyes. The green slime was 3x bottles of green Aloe Vera hand soap.”

Here’s some work in progress and behind the scenes photos from this long process.

Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Behind the Scenes 1
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Behind the Scenes 2
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Behind the Scenes 3

The photos above look like a dodgy backyard porno? Not that I’ve really watched much dodgy backyard porn.

Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Behind the Scenes 4
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Behind the Scenes 5
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Behind the Scenes 6
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Behind the Scenes 7

And lastly here’s what Roots would like like if Roots Manuva and the Pillsbury Doughboy had a bukkake session.

Roots Manuva: Buff Nuff

The single artwork for “Buff Nuff” (above) and “Again and Again” (below) all share the same sculpture shot at different angles.

Roots Manuva: Again and Again

I would have liked to have just seen different things inside his head like the behind the scenes photo with the bananas below.

Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Banana
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Banana 2

The fact you get a very quick 3D scan would have made it easy to start working on the layout quickly. So it’s kind of rapid prototyping design aswell. Here’s a few test 3D renders showing what a Roots Manuva easter egg would look like and what Roots would look like if he was cast in the Smurfs movie. Reggae Smurf? A lesser design agency would have just used this as their cover. (And it still would have been better than many others out there)

Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Test Render
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Test Render 2
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Test Render 3
Roots Manuva: Slime and Reason Test Render 4

Note:O&E both only graduated in 2007. So they are not only talented mofos but young too. Definetly ones to keep an eye on.

You can buy the album from Ninjatune via Root’s official website.

You can also buy a green plastic wallet but I think that’s one of the worst pieces of merch I’ve seen in a while.

Slime and Reason Wallet

P.S: I’ll spell check this post tomorrow. I did a little midnight blogging and there’s always mistakles