‘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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Ghostly Paintings of Horror Cinema’s Spookiest Houses

They symbolize our repressed fears and the other hidden complexities of our subconscious. The “haunted” house is a well-worn trope in horror cinema—but with good reason. If you need proof of our enduring fascination with these ominous, labyrinthine spaces, look no further than our current obsession with modern haunted houses like Blackout and immersive theater experiences that lead audiences into a darkened interior (Then She Fell, Sleep No More, Speakeasy Dollhouse). Artist Candice Tripp evokes the “haunted” houses of cinema in her series of paintings (in ghostly black and white) featuring film’s spookiest abodes. From modern favorites like The House of the Devil and The Conjuring to classics such as Halloween and The Omen, the smaller scale of Tripp’s artworks—which feature swirling, phantasmagorical brushwork—lure us closer to explore the curious and dangerous entities within. … Read More

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Watch Trailer for Jean-Luc Godard’s New Film, ‘Goodbye to Language’

Jean-Luc Godard may be turning 84 this year but he’s not done making movies. His latest, Adieu au Language (Goodbye to… Read More

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Kara Walker Knew People Would Take Dumb Selfies With ‘A Subtlety,’ and That Shouldn’t Surprise Us

The sphinx is long gone and the Domino Sugar Factory is well on its way to becoming a luxury housing complex, but the conversation surrounding Kara Walker’s A Subtlety, the art installation/social media phenomenon of the summer, isn’t quite over yet. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times’ Carolina Miranda, Walker spoke at length about A Subtlety for the first time since its July 6th close date, and especially the part of the piece many onlookers assumed Walker hadn’t planned out: the audience’s reactions. … Read More

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Exclusive Photo Gallery: The People of New York Comic Con 2014

Comic Con: a place for all your dreams to come true… that is, if you’ve ever dreamed of being a superhero, a Wookie, a Lego figure, or, um, a penguin. As ever, this weekend’s New York event attracted dedicated cosplayers from around the country (and around the world), and the results of their labor were some truly extravagant and remarkable costumes. Our ace photographer Andrew Boyle was there all weekend with his camera, and the result is a bumper photo gallery of some of the best portraits we’ve ever had the honor of publishing. Click through and check them out! … Read More

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Mega Minimalist Movie Posters: Can You Guess the Films?

Great design stands the test of time. In the case of these iconic film posters, abstracted by London-based designer and art director John Taylor, the images are resilient enough to remain recognizable even when given the minimalist treatment. Taylor’s Film the Blanks series, which we first learned about on Co.Design, remixes cinema’s most famous one-sheets down to their core elements. He posts the images on his website and encourages readers to participate in a guessing game. “ evolved from a personal project into a daily global quiz and jumped from computer screen to silkscreen as a series of limited edition prints,” Taylor writes. So for contemporary film poster fans who prefer Taylor’s stripped down versions instead of the originals, he has various ephemera available for sale on his website. In the spirit of Taylor’s quiz, we’ve featured ten of his designs past the break—with the titles blacked out (highlight or double-click to view). … Read More

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Stunning Photos of the World’s Oldest Living Organisms

If you’ve done any kind of traveling outside the United States, it will quickly dawn on you just how young America really is. Brooklyn-based artist, 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and TED speaker Rachel Sussman has photographic evidence. Her The Oldest Living Things in the World series, which we first spotted on Photojojo, documents the artist’s research and travels across continents in search of the world’s oldest inhabitants—continuously living things that have weathered 2,000 years or more. … Read More

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