Art

The Uncanny Personal Universe of 10 Artists

On the East Coast, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is hosting David Lynch’s first major museum exhibition in the United States. David Lynch: The Unified Field explores the director’s personal iconography from his beginnings as a painter in the ‘60s to the present. … Read More

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Intimate Photos of Thailand’s Transgender Sex Workers

Soopakorn Srisakul’s photo series Mistress reveals the everyday lives of Thailand’s transgender sex workers, particularly those employed in the red-light district of Nana in Bangkok. “Because of their unusual appearance and lifestyle, so far removed from the norm of most everyday happening, even if one were to start off with a neutral perspective regarding their life, one really cannot help having some kind of presumption,” the artist writes on his Bēhance portfolio page. “That is, unless one becomes an integrated part of their life, intimately and investedly.”

Srisakul’s camera observes the daily routines of several cabaret dancers and sex workers, including his girlfriend who is a transgender call girl.

Thailand’s definition of gender is more fluid than in the West, and sex workers are “tolerated” more so, too. But the community still faces discrimination and legal issues. A female-identified person is not allowed to change their sex on birth certificates or passports, and would be sent to a male prison if incarcerated.

See more from the Mistress series, below. Please note that some of the images are NSFW. … Read More

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The Pop Culture-Inspired Branding Behind Heroin Addiction

We’ve been following Graham MacIndoe’s work since we shared his poignant Missing Persons series. The Scotland-born artist’s latest work All In, recently featured on Wired, caught our attention. Fascinated with the typography and design of glassine heroin baggies he collected during a period of addiction, MacIndoe’s photos reveal the branding and marketing side of dope.

“The addict becomes the ultimate consumer of the ultimate product—following a trail of quirky street names carefully chosen to be instantly recognizable to those in the know,” he writes on his website. “But there is nothing hidden about the references to good times (So Amazing, True Romance, First Class), juxtaposed with reminders of the gamble (9 Lives, Black Jack) and the reality of addiction (Flat Liner, Undertaker).”

Naturally, the pop culture references struck a cord with us. Names like New Jack City, Twilight, True Romance, and Sin City instantly transport us to the visual landscape of the films they refer to. The appeal of a brand named after cat food still eludes us (it even looks like the 9Lives logo), but sadly we can imagine why someone might feel fancy buying “First Class,” featuring a jet hovering above it.

See more of MacIndoe’s photos in our gallery. … Read More

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Gorgeously Geometric Aerial Photos of Colorful Umbrellas on an Italian Beach

In the second week of September, we’re all waving goodbye to the beach — so we might as well do it from thousands of feet in the air. Bernhard Lang, a Munich-based photographer who specializes in stunning aerial work, does just that in a series of lovely shots taken high above Italy’s Adriatic coastline. Aside from the natural beauty of these beaches, there’s great aesthetic pleasure to be taken in the colorful rows of umbrellas, arranged on the sand with a sort of idiosyncratic, geometric precision. Click through to enjoy some highlights from the series, which we spotted via Faith is Torment, and visit Lang’s Behance page for more of his work. … Read More

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“Everyone Is a Woman in Their Own Way”: Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton on ‘Women in Clothes’

Just as this year’s September issues are being lugged to the recycling bin, along comes the brand-new book Women in Clothes — edited by the all-star team of writers and artists Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton — as a true fashion bible, using the essays and insights of 639 women of all stripes to create a comprehensive and enjoyable look at women’s relationships with fashion. In fact, Women in Clothes is basically the September issue of your dreams, leeched of all the aspirational fashion bullshit, and leaving us with nothing but the smartest, most interesting voices discussing fashion through such lenses as gender, class, ethics, and race. … Read More

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Nostalgic Photos of America’s Rapidly Vanishing Drive-In Theater Culture

A symbol of more innocent times, the drive-in theater hit peak popularity in the ‘50s and ‘60s. They accounted for about 25 percent of movie screens in the United States. As of 2013, that number has dwindled to a pitiful 1.5 percent (under 400 drive-ins) due to the rise of home video and digital media. Photographer Stefanie Klavens, whose work we first admired on Beautiful/Decay, has a great affection for the drive-in theater and documents the few that remain across the country. “From the ornate city palace to the intimate small-town movie house my photographic journey has taken me all over the country,” she writes on her website. “I strive to record this rapidly vanishing era in American popular culture. Through this series I explore the history of architecture and design, the evolution of our social history and habits, and the importance of preserving a record of the past.” Step into the past with Klavens’ Vanishing Drive-Ins series, below. … Read More

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Dramatic Photos of New York City’s East Village Locations in 1984 and Today

New York City has undergone some dramatic changes over the past several decades. Landmarks like Kim’s Video & Music are shuttering their doors, and rents are skyrocketing more each year. One neighborhood that has seen a major shift is the East Village. In 1984, photographer Daniel Root, who we learned of on Kottke, documented the area—the way most people think of it, as it appears in the movies. Today, he has made it his mission to revisit the locations in his images to document their current state. The EV NY project reveals some fascinating and dramatic transformations. Gentrification has scrubbed the East Village’s former graffiti-covered walls. See what you make of New York City’s East Village 30 years ago versus today in our gallery. … Read More

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Trippy GIFs Make Math Fun

Dave Whyte is a PhD student based in Dublin who has a very cool side project — posting hypnotizing and beautiful mathematical GIFs on his Tumblr, Bees & Bombs. The results are trippy and magical, like a Magic Eye that’s going on in a continuous loop forever, as noticed by Colossal. Chill out with some of his best art below. … Read More

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Gorgeous Portraits of Nocturnal Animals

There are times when, as a writer, you really want to delve into the realm of Serious Criticism, taking a critical view of works of art in their sociopolitical context and examining their role in both their own fields of artistic endeavor and against a wider backdrop of cultural trends and movements. There are also times when you just want to go, OMG SUCH CUTE ANIMALS ARGGHHHH~~~~~. These gorgeous photos of nocturnal animals, from Rhode Island photographer Traer Scott’s book Creatures of the Night, fall firmly into the latter category. That’s not in any way to understate their artistic worth — they’re beautifully composed and well shot — but dear god, how cute is that little baby fox thing on the book cover?! Hat tip to Featureshoot, where we first spotted these — and also, do check out Traer’s website, where there’s a wealth of beautiful animal photography. … Read More

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10 Essential African-American Photographers

Thomas Allen Harris’ documentary Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People will be playing at New York’s Film Forum through September 9. “The film is a cornucopia of Americana that reveals deeply disturbing truths about the history of race relations while expressing joyous, life-affirming sentiments about the ability of [African-American] artists and amateurs alike to assert their identity through the photographic lens,” Film Forum writes. “What the film strives to say is, when everything around me is telling me I am not worth anything, I can present myself and have a likeness of myself and my talents that shows I have values,” Harris told the New York Times. Inspired by the film’s New York City premiere, we’ve highlighted the works of ten essential African-American photographers who have documented the African-American experience in profound and inspiring ways. … Read More

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