Miniature Pop Culture Portraits on Coins

Brazilian designer Andre Levy’s Tales You Lose series transforms currency into miniature pop culture paintings. New York City playwright J. Julian Christopher brought the fun collection of colorful coins to our attention. “The paint brings to the faces of kings and presidents borrowed narratives from other famous characters and unleash individual alternative stories,” writes the artist on his Tumblr. The famous profiles of historical figures are given a makeover — and the results are surprisingly spot-on. The tiny artworks also make us ponder a future in which John Waters’ muse Divine is featured on our dollars and cents. That’s a world we’d like to live in. … Read More

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10 Female Dadaists You Should Know

Today would have been the 125th birthday of feminist Dada artist Hannah Höch — dubbed “art’s original punk” by The Guardian earlier this year. As the article points out, Höch was an unlikely addition to the early 20th-century group — which favored the irrational, nihilistic, collaborative, and spontaneous — namely, because Höch was a woman. One of the group’s pioneering photomontage artists, Höch critiqued the role of women, beauty standards, marriage, the politics of her home country, Germany, and the oft-misogynist Dada group itself. Take Höch’s 1919 work Cut With the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, for instance. The title says it all. In celebration of Höch’s essential contributions to Dada and the art world at large, we’re visiting the works of other female Dadaists who you should know. … Read More

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This is the Ridiculous Face You Make After Knocking Back a Shot

The boozers in UK-based photographer Tim Charles’ Shot Faces series, which we first discovered on Photojojo, make us wonder why anyone would want to imbibe in the first place. Charles captured the portraits of people after a hearty shot — and these drinkers are definitely feeling the burn. With faces twisted in some seriously hilarious expressions (and a few disgusted ones, too), Charles’ series provides a realistic glance at what we look like after braving that liquid fire. Shot Faces also allows us to imagine what the movies might be like if stars showed their real A-face — i.e. absolutely ridiculous. … Read More

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Flavorwire Exclusive: Preview Miranda July’s Riot Grrrl-Inspired Artworks From ‘Alien She’

Riot grrrl was responsible for many good things: some awesome music, some similarly excellent writing, and a huge influence on the course of third-wave feminism. One aspect that doesn’t get quite the attention it warrants, however, is the movement’s aesthetic, which manifested in everything from zines and album art to video work and beyond, and made a lasting impression on artists who have been inspired and informed by riot grrrl’s ideas. Happily, an exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco is focusing on this very topic — the show is called Alien She (after the Bikini Kill song of the same name) and encompasses artwork from Miranda July, Allyson Mitchell, LJ Roberts, Stephanie Syjuco, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, and Tammy Rae Carland. We’re delighted to premiere a selection of July’s artwork from the show. … Read More

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Lovely, Disorienting Photos of Spiral Staircases

Common as they may be, great spiral staircases are always breathtaking. Perhaps it’s something about the way they juxtapose dramatic architectural beauty with a sense of danger — look down from the top of a really high one, and it’s impossible not to imagine falling right through the center of it (why yes, there are some Freudian implications to that fear). Munich-based photographer Michael Koller captures both the lovely and the disorienting aspects of spiral staircases in a series of images collected on his Instagram. As Koller told the Instagram blog, it’s the “different shapes and hypnotic depth” of each staircase that makes the photos so striking. … Read More

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Shake It Off With These Adorable Photos of Puppies in Motion

Carli Davidson’s Shake Puppies is a shot of pure joy in book form, an adorable work of art where puppies are captured in motion in front of bright, colorful backgrounds. Is there really much more to say? It’s really, really cute, and I’m into this trend of happy, bright dog photos. Our exclusive gallery of shots from the book, available now, might just make your day. … Read More

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‘Mark Twain’s America’ Shows Off a Rarely Seen Side of the Great Writer

In the handsome new book Mark Twain’s America: A Celebration in Words and Images, written by Harry K. Katz and with beautiful rarities, history, and arcana from the Library of Congress, we get to know the real stories behind one of America’s most celebrated and essential writers. It’s a gorgeous look at period Americana from 1850 to 1910, the odds and ends that, put together, serve as a biography of Twain, in the many roles that he played throughout his life. To celebrate this book, we’re sharing an exclusive sample of the book’s best in Mark Twain ephemera. … Read More

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Creepy Historical Drawings of Skeletons Contemplating Mortality

This fascinating collection of historical skeleton drawings from the Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine reveals attitudes about death and the preoccupations of artists during the time period. Curator Anne Garner introduced us to the series of morbid drawings and engravings:

The tradition of portraying skeletons as living, emotive beings has been long-established. The first full-scale attempts to accurately represent the human body beginning in the sixteenth century featured skeletons and partially dissected figures, sometimes called “muscle men.” These images, first produced in Italy and later, in the Dutch centers of Leiden and Amsterdam, were the result of close collaboration between anatomist and a hired artist, who worked together to accurately render the human form. Many of these depictions, innovative in their presentation of bones and muscle groups, were concerned not only with perfecting the body’s representation, but also with the moral condition of being dead and dissected. … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: Kim Gottlieb-Walker on Capturing John Carpenter’s Landmark Horror Classics

Her work has taken her from the Free Speech Movement in California and the underground press to the golden age of reggae (capturing Bob Marley) and a Jimi Hendrix interview in 1967 (her candid portraits of the singer are featured in the Hendrix “bible,” Classic Hendrix). But photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s encounters with celebrity weren’t limited to music. She became the set photographer for filmmaker John Carpenter, capturing stills of his iconic genre films — including Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, Halloween II, and Christine. Her behind-the-scenes images offer insight into one of cinema’s masters of horror — a maverick artist who has thrilled and chilled us since 1974. The Carpenter photographs are the subject of a newly released book from Titan Books, On Set with John Carpenter. We recently spoke with Gottlieb-Walker about the making of Halloween, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and the greatest Carpenter film faces. … Read More

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Awkward, Strangely Romantic Photos of a Photographer Throwing Herself at Men

Los Angeles artist Lilly McElroy throws herself at men. It’s not as scandalous as it sounds. “I make work about the desire to form connections with others and how difficult it can sometimes be to actually do that. For the I Throw Myself at Men series I was thinking about romantic connections and how awkward, painful, and wonderful it can be to try and form an attachment to another person,” she explained to Huffington Post (via Juxtapoz). “I am, at the moment, part projectile and part foolish romantic,” she told Beautiful/Decay. “These images are documents of a hopeful and violent gesture, a demand that the possibility of a connection exist. The men often look terrified or at least slightly surprised. My role as aggressor is clear and I think my leaps acknowledge the basic human desire for contact.” When she sets up the shot in a public space, only three people know what is about to happen: the bartender, the photographer, and the man she is throwing herself at. “The camera is never hidden, though.” The project started life on Craigslist, where McElroy placed an ad looking to meet with blind dates to engage in the throwing/catching act. “There is obviously a strong feminist component to this project and that read is very important to me. Mostly though, I’m interested in talking about how human that desire for connection is,” she concludes. Embrace the awkward and intense connections McElroy makes with strangers in bars, below. … Read More

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