London’s “Books About Town” Turns Iconic Literary Works Into Public Art

As of yesterday, the citizens of London can take a breather on one of 50 “Books About Town,” a collaboration between the National Literacy Trust and public art organization Wild in Art. Each book-shaped bench is decorated with an artist’s rendition of works such as Alex Rider and War Horse, running the gamut from contemporary subway reads to longtime favorites. Click through for a sampling of our favorites, including tributes to Charles Darwin and Bridget Jones. … Read More

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Beautiful Photographs of America’s Diverse Public Libraries

Bibliophiles and philistines alike must agree on this: libraries are beautiful shrines of knowledge, and no two are quite alike. Photographer Robert Dawson explores this tenet in his new book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay, which features gorgeous photos of America’s libraries, big and small, alongside essays by Ann Patchett, Bill Moyers, Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, and Barbara Kingsolver, among others. From the community movement of the “Little Free Library” in Hudson, Wisconsin, where books are left for the taking in a glorified mailbox, to the Willard Library of Evansville, Indiana, which is reportedly haunted by a ghost called the Grey Lady, the libraries shown here will elicit sighs of awe from even the most casual reader. … Read More

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The Female Gaze: Stunning Photos From Prestel’s ‘Women Photographers’ Anthology

In Prestel‘s new book, Women Photographers: From Julia Margaret Cameron to Cindy Sherman by Boris Friedewald, the female gaze gets its due with a century-plus of seminal work by some of the greatest photographers of all time. Whether it’s the stunning cyanotypes of Anna Atkins (circa 1845) or Carrie Mae Weems’ MacArthur Grant-winning stunners documenting her family life in 1990, women have been turning to the camera in order to show how they see the world. Here are some of our favorite shots from the gorgeous book. … Read More

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Neil Gaiman in a Badger Costume and Other Quirky Photos of Authors Dressed Like Childhood Characters

Neil Gaiman is dressed like an anthropomorphic badger: face paint, hair, the works. It’s not often that adults get to play dress-up (outside of, say, Comic-Con or fantasy movie premieres), but photographer Cambridge Jones gave 26 authors, Gaiman included, the opportunity to do just that. For an exhibit called 26 Characters at The Story Museum in Oxford, England, Jones asked the writers to dress up like their favorite childhood characters, to ensure the photos would be vibrant and captivating enough that people would actually stop and take a long look at them. … Read More

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Some Odalisques Are Only About That Thing: Amazing Tumblr Juxtaposes Hip Hop Lyrics and Classic Artworks

In the grand Tumblr tradition of mashing up seemingly unrelated art forms (see also: the eternally relevant Slaughterhouse 90210) — and perhaps in tribute to the increasing overlap between the worlds of hip hop and high art — comes a delightful project called Fly Art. Billed as “an homage to the finer things in life: art and hip hop,” Gisella Velasco and Toni Potenciano’s Tumblr superimposes lyrics from the likes of Kanye West and Lauryn Hill on complementary artworks by Renaissance and Modernist masters alike. Click through to see some of our favorite juxtapositions from Fly Art, which we spotted via Beautiful/Decay. … Read More

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The Famous Artworks That Inspired 15 Films

There is a fascinating interplay between the visual cultures of film and art. Directors have frequently used imagery from painting and other art forms to shape the look and meaning of their works. Last week, website Philebrity appealed to our inner art history nerd and reminded us of a strong visual influence behind Terrence Malick’s 1978 film Days of Heaven. Click through to see the movie’s art-world doppelgänger, along with other artworks that informed frames and entire visual themes in other… Read More

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Amazing Unseen Photos of Woodstock Concertgoers

If it isn’t conveniently close or online, most people can’t be bothered — but music remains one of the only experiences people will endure overpriced water, sweltering heat, and elbow-jabbing crowds for. We’ve pondered the rise of national music festivals and appreciated the communal experiences they offer, but today we go back to the template for all fests: Woodstock (celebrating its 45th anniversary this year). … Read More

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Photos of Pinup Pioneer Bunny Yeager and Her Bombshells

Influential pinup photographer Bunny Yeager, who helped transform the previously hush-hush enterprise into an art form, passed away last month. Previously a model herself, Yeager’s images broke through her subjects’ obvious physical beauty and shone a spotlight on their personalities and inner world. Most famous for shooting over 1,000 images of pinup queen Bettie Page in the 1950s, and the iconic photo of bikini-clad Bond Girl Ursula Andress emerging from the water in 1962’s Dr. No, Yeager is currently the subject of a Las Vegas exhibition on view until July 20. Bunny’s Bombshells at Sin City Gallery chronicles Yeager’s rise to fine art photographer in a male-dominated world. “Almost all of the girls I asked easily agreed to pose for me, because they knew I wasn’t going to flirt with them like the men photographers did,” she once recalled. Browse a preview of the exhibition in our gallery. Visit Sin City’s website for more information. … Read More

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Sculptures of Gem-Encrusted Pharmaceuticals Imagine Healthcare as a Luxury Item

It’s strange — and striking — to see prescription bottles and blister packs encrusted in Swarovski crystals, and pills instead of gemstones set in rings. But, as the artist Judith G. Klausner writes, “In a country where (despite a long and protracted political battle) many of our citizens still don’t have access to affordable medical care, our medications are often a major expense. Individual pills can cost as much as precious gems.” As well as a visual representation of the healthcare crisis, her series Coming Out of the Medicine Cabinet (spotted via Junk Culture) is a plea to end the secrecy and shame surrounding medical issues. … Read More

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Everything Is for Sale: Andy Warhol’s Colorful Commissioned Work

There are all these different ways we know Andy Warhol: pop art icon, filmmaker, Velvet Underground “producer,” Brooks Brothers aficionado… but maybe most importantly, Warhol was a hustler who would create something for anybody as long as the money was right. And as you can see in Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Posters (Prestel), he did plenty of that. Housed in between covers adorned with Warhol’s hot-pink ad for Perrier from 1983, the book goes beyond typical coffee-table art book status, diving deep into Warhol’s creative process with sketches and stories behind the posters. … Read More

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