Art

Taking Wigstock: Michael James O’Brien’s ’90s Drag Portraits Capture an Explosive Moment in Queer Visibility

In the 1990s, drag shimmied into the American mainstream in films like The Birdcage and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. If you grew up in this era, it was likely through these imaginary portraits of the drag world that you came to have a vague understanding of drag’s traditions and manifold sensibilities. Meanwhile, documentaries like Paris Is Burning and Wigstock: the Movie gave those who were interested in drag beyond its potential for moving straight audiences with introductory comedy narratives a closer, anthropological look at the celebratory scene — one that provided room for ecstatic transgression and self-exploration towards the end of a devastating era for the queer community. … Read More

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Genocide, the NSA, and Venice’s Short-Lived First Mosque: Scenes From a Biennale

The Venice Biennale opened earlier this month, and among the throngs of artistic types descending on the famous city for the weekend was Flavorwire alumnus Geoff Mak.  … Read More

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Artist Patches Chicago Potholes With Delicious-Looking Ice Cream Mosaics

There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day in the city than a delicious frozen treat, ideally dispensed by a smiling young person in a pastel-painted truck. But ice cream hits the urban streets in an entirely different way in the mosaics of Jim Bachor, an artist whose work in the medium was inspired by a trip to Pompeii, where he volunteered on an archeological dig. “In the ancient world, mosaics were used to capture images of everyday life. These colorful pieces of stone or glass set in mortar were the photographs of empires long past,” Bachor writes in his artist statement. His Treats in the Streets series, which we spotted via Beautiful/Decay, is a perfect contemporary adaptation of this idea — that also happens to look good enough to eat. Best of all, the artworks serve a practical purpose: they’re patching potholes in Chicago. Click through to see a selection of highlights from the series. … Read More

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Charming Photos of a Bookworm Reading in Unexpected Public Places

Prague-based photographer Jakub Pavlovsky has one motto: take the time to read — anywhere, anytime. His self-portrait series Book’s Calling, which we spotted on Lost at E Minor, features the artist sitting cross-legged and buried in a book in some rather unusual and beautiful spots. Pavlovsky pays no mind to the crowds that bustle around him while sitting in the middle of the street. He reads atop public sculptures, on bridges, in the middle of a subway car, in a field, and other unusual spots. The photographer’s Instagram account is full of inspiring images that make us want to grab our favorite book and head outside to take a seat wherever we damn well please. Pavlovsky has also donated several hundred books to local retirement communities to further promote the love and importance of reading, hoping to encourage others to do the same. … Read More

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Stunning Photos of a Haitian Art Collective’s Ingenious Interpretation of the Tarot

Since 2007, award-winning photographer Alice Smeets, who we discovered on Supersonic, has been traveling to and living in Haiti, documenting the country and its people. Moved by Haitian spirituality and a group of artists in the slums of downtown Port-au-Prince known as Atis Rezistans, Smeets collaborated with the group to create a stunning photographic version of the tarot deck. Replicating scenes from the popular Rider-Waite deck with found objects and original works of art, featuring the Atis Rezistans as models, the artists titled the series The Ghetto Tarot. … Read More

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‘Star Wars’ Meets Kids’ Imaginations in Craig Davison’s Evocative Paintings

If your childhood entailed a healthy mix of both getting lost in Nintendo and playing outside with your tangible friends, then British artist Craig Davison‘s Star Wars paintings will warm your heart and simultaneously make you wish that paper-towel rolls could still transform into lightsabers. In Davison’s series, pre-tweens use their imaginations to travel to a galaxy far, far away and craftily become beloved characters from George Lucas’ epic Star Wars universe. Clicking through the slideshow, you’ll encounter a makeshift Luke Skywalker (using Grandpa’s cane as a lightsaber), Yoda (with ears made from clothespins), R2-D2 (whose rotund head is crafted with a bowl), Princess Leia (toting a hair-dryer gun), Darth Vaders in hoodies, and spacecrafts made from the lids of trashcans. Prints of Davison’s work are available to purchase online from the ArtMarket and The Hawthorn Gallery websites. Feel the force! … Read More

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UPDATED: Jay Z Responds to Marina Abramović’s Claim That He Never Donated to Her Institute — With a Receipt

As we reported earlier, venerated-ish performance artist Marina Abramović has once again broken into mainstream news — for condemning… Read More

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Yoko Ono Is For Everyone

In October 2000, right around what would have been John Lennon’s 60th birthday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened one of its most extensive exhibits ever, in honor of Lennon’s life and (mostly non-Beatles) work. Amidst the expected artifacts — handwritten lyrics, grammar-school report cards, the white baby grand from the “Imagine” video — sat one that was horrifying: a bag from New York’s St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital containing the clothes Lennon was wearing on the night Mark David Chapman shot him outside the Dakota. Coupled with Lennon’s glasses, caked in 20-year-old blood, this corner of the exhibit was intended as an emotional climax. Even at 13 years old, the weight of these artifacts impressed upon me a jaded anger: How could someone have violently ripped Lennon from this world when all he wanted was to make it a peaceful place? … Read More

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Gorgeous Photo Mash-ups Bring Classic Paintings to Life in 21st-Century Kiev

Great art is constantly reminding us that the past was not so different from the present — that even as human circumstances change, human emotions and interactions remain largely the same. The Ukrainian designer Alexey Kondakov provides visual proof of that observation in his lovely series 2 Reality, which seamlessly places the subjects of classic paintings in present-day Kiev. Angels serenade Mary and baby Jesus on the subway. A group of dancers in various states of Classical undress become a pack of party-goers about to catch the last train home. And the work of such artists as Caravaggio and Holbein is given a stunning new life. Click through for some highlights from 2 Reality, which we spotted via Faith is Torment, and visit Kondakov’s Facebook page to see more. … Read More

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