New York has been the center of the art world since Paris stopped being the headquarters of cool in the early 1900s. With all this innovation comes a healthy (OK, sometimes not-so-healthy) dose of the weird — some good, some bad, and more than one involving sexual organs with their own creative juices. Only in New York would hundreds or thousands come out to witness such normal life events as making lunch or giving birth — in the name of art. Below, we round up ten of the strangest art happenings in the city’s (exceedingly strange) history. … Read More
It may sometimes frustrate us, but in general, Netflix is a wonderful thing. While it was once difficult to see small, avant-garde, or foreign films if you didn’t have access to an art house theater or a local video rental place with a wide selection, it’s greatly democratized distribution for movies that fall far outside the mainstream. But with greater viewership comes a wider range of opinions — including those of people who probably didn’t realize what they were in for when they clicked a button to stream Andy Warhol’s Flesh. After the jump, we’ve rounded up some of the funniest negative reviews of experimental films we could find, from the disappointed to the pithy to the just-plain-didn’t-get-it. … Read More
This summer I went to the Tohoku region on a grant from the Japan Foundation; a few American journalists also came along in order to report on the destruction that remains in the northern areas after the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11th.
The first thing you notice is the smell of rotten tatami mats. Upended, lying supine, in stacks on the fetid ground, these mats are in various places along our walk, along with shards of wood that break up the landscape — creating tawny waves of rubble. It reminds me of Katrina. In “Goodbye to All That“ John Jeremiah Sullivan writes this about New Orleans: “It looked contrary to the laws of physics, to the point where you saw it in miniature, a toy box overturned by an angry child.” Northern Japan looks the same, with ships cast ashore and left there, and houses that exist in name only. … Read More
With the arrival the “Yoü and I” video last week, we have hit a historic moment in Lady Gaga’s bewildering career. The tense gap between the video’s visuals and its music has hit all time chasmic proportions — an avant-garde bondage mermaid surgery drag medley psychotically edited to a Taylor Swift-like rocky country tune. This chasm is, perhaps, only second to the one between Gaga’s “Born This Way” dance anthem and the clusterfuck of video art rip-offs that supported it.
Wait. Let’s not be too harsh here. There is a certain ruthless curatorial skill involved in the diva’s pillaging of existing cultural artifacts, stripping them of their original meaning, slicing and stuffing them into her glossy oeuvre. The result? A worshiped pop icon with documented interest in contemporary art playing Dr. Frankenstein on herself in front of the world. It’s kind of hard to look away, no matter how harshly some of us want to rant. The more we look, the more of these “artist rip-offs” we notice. Here are a few of her best hits, but we’re sure there are more. Care to join in on the fun? … Read More
How you react to this pair of videos inspired by Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle is going to depend a great deal on whether you actually liked those experimental films in the first place. If you did, you’ll probably find the Little Big Planet-level versions gimmicky and twee. If, like us, you find Barney nearly insufferable, you may discover they are a great improvement: less Oedipus, more power-ups, fewer hours wasted. NB: These do get a little NSFW, in the way of art films that have been transformed into video games. … Read More
This one is for all those brave gals and lads who don head-turning hair and are searching for some artistic inspiration. We’ve rounded up some tall, fun and twisted ones. Not to be confused with the competitive hair-chitecture at the Detroit’s Hair Wars. Not that constructions like this automobile-like beauty with spinning wheels aren’t impressive. Oh, they are. Let us look instead not at the specialized craftsmanship of awesomely crazy hair, but its momentary manifestations in art history and contemporary art. Here are some of the most snappy hairstyles that we could rustle up. Let us know if we missed your favorite. … Read More
Earlier this week the NYPD shut down a block of Little Italy because a massive swarm of bees decided to relocate from their overcrowded hive into a city mailbox, effectively swallowing it up in a matter of minutes in a visually stunning spectacle of nature. A local beekeeper was called to isolate the queen and scoop 15,000 of bees safely away. No one got hurt, but the story generated enough fascinated buzz for us to wonder… Are bees inspiring? Why, yes! Here are our ten favorite artworks made with real bees, beeswax and honey. … Read More
The words “art whore” get thrown a lot these days… Surely, there are reasons why artists tread the line between visual art and pornography and between performance art and prostitution other than to titillate, provoke and anger the public. Chinese artist Cheng Li was recently sentenced to a labor camp for performing such risque acts — and under a repressive political regime to boot! In light of this risktaker and in tribute of all those controversy-makers that create out of our most carnal acts — or try to — let’s survey some specimens of this art trend. Make your own conclusions. Oh, and this one is most definitely not for sensitive types. … Read More
Mike Leavitt has a giant Art Army. Hand-crafted from scratch out of 20 to 30 custom-made parts, each lil famous artist busts out with physical likeness and personal aesthetic sensibility. His grinning Jeff Koons is karmically turning into a big balloon animal. Matthew Barney is in full-on Cremaster Cycle mode, Takashi Murakami is mid-metamorphosis into a psychotic Kawaii toon, and Julian Schnabel comes with a removable ceramic plate halo. And those are just his freshest four!
The Seattle-based proud Pratt drop-out is having a solo show at the Jonathan Levine Gallery later this year. Meanwhile, enjoy Ron English a-clowning, Banksy a-pranking, and Damien Hirst getting sliced. … Read More
“An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist, an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist, an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist…” reads Marina Abramović‘s artist manifesto. Cynical? Live with another performance artist in a van for a decade, and then decide.
Ah, artist couples. Their love is fraught with temperamental tension and lubricated by each others’ creative juices. How does it work? Let’s look at some famed artist romances that are still smearing their mark all over art history. … Read More