There’s nothing we love more than virtual voyeuristic visits with fellow fabulous New Yorkers. The original real-life interiors photographer Dominique Nabokov (long before The Selby and Backyard Bill started snapping pics of stylish spaces) started documenting the inside lives of others as understood by their living rooms some 20 years ago. Her visits with celebrated artists, writers, designers, intellectuals, and the occasional celebrity was compiled into a humble, but fascinating, survey titled New York Living Rooms. … Read More
Let’s be honest. It’s hard to take a dignified self-portrait in the mirror — to arrange your face casually, to half-pose without feeling contrived, to push the button without feeling a bit silly… for us, that is. These are professionals. They spend their days behind the camera, so it’s quite exciting to peek into this intimate moment in their private space, to soak in the details — from the dimples in their face to the patterns of their wallpaper to their camera gear. A demure Diane Arbus in the ’40s, a surreal Weegee in the ’50s, a sexy Helmut Newton in the ’70s — we’re fascinated by these pre-Internet, pre-cliché images from the masters. Here are a few known art photographers and noted photojournalists shooting themselves. OK, now your turn. … Read More
When a camera crew lagged behind the ordered lines at Kim Jong-Il’s funeral procession, the Korean Central News Agency had erased them. Perfect order was restored, harking back to the Stalinist era practice of doctoring official photographs. The international photojournalist community groaned and scoffed, but it got us wondering. We thought of a few famous artworks and photographs that could use a touch of “totalitarian esthetics.” So, we gave it to them. Some people will have you think that the so-called imperfections are integral to the historical validity and artistic vision. We took the liberty of ‘shopping them out. Photos altered! Artworks tweaked just so! Everything just shipshape! Enjoy. Oh, and we aren’t Photoshop experts, clearly, so feel free to mock our skills and lack of thereof to your heart’s content, or better yet, submit your own.
What happens when an artist drops his brush or a photographer lowers his camera to pose for a portrait by a colleague? We investigated and found a snap of a young Nan Goldin, pre-fame and sans blouse, Francis Bacon’s face deconstructed by the strokes of Lucian Freud, and Picasso romping around in a big blond wig for Brassaï. Often starkly casual peeks, these portraits are brimming with a friendly intimacy and professional camaraderie. Take a look at some of our favorite cultural figures as models in the slide show. … Read More
HIDE/SEEK, the stand-out exhibit that provoked controversy when it opened at the National Portrait Gallery in October 2010, has found a new home at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The show, the first major museum exhibition to focus on themes of gender and sexuality in modern American portraiture, presents over 100 works by 67 artists, with almost all of the works from the original exhibit on display.
HIDE/SEEK opens with Thomas Eakins’ 1892 photograph of a geriatric Walt Whitman (whose relationship with Peter Doyle is well known) and closes with several versions of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly, the film that ignited the controversy with the Smithsonian Institute due to its depiction of a crucifix covered in ants. Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Nan Goldin, Glenn Ligon, Georgia O’Keefe, and Marsden Hartley are some of the artists in this high-caliber exhibition that asserts the significance of the work of gay artists to contemporary art, and presents a new paradigm for understanding the complex and tense relationship between sexuality and portraiture. Click through for a slide show of some of our favorite work on display. … Read More
Nan Goldin, the photographer best known for her gritty snap shots of heavy drug use, violent couples, candid autobiographical moments, and the New Wave scene of the early ’80s is back with a new show, Scopophilia, at Matthew Marks Gallery. In her first exhibit in New York since 2007, Goldin explores the themes closest to her heart: love, gender, sexuality, and voyeurism. Yet this time around, she pairs her own autobiographical photographs with images taken at the Louvre Museum, where she was given free reign to train her lens on some of the most prized works of art history. While some of these paintings and sculptures will be familiar, these are not the works you think you know. Goldin’s backside view of Antonio Canova’s Cupid and Psyche is startlingly intimate and sexually charged. In her own words, Goldin reveals her inspiration: “Desire awoken by images is the project’s true starting point.” If you can’t make it to the show in person, click through to see some of Goldin’s brash and personal new photos. … Read More
Yesterday we ran a selection of our favorite “cover” art — famous paintings recreated using a variety of materials and techniques, from Cezanne in balloons to Edward Hopper in Lego and Rene Magritte in vegetables. It turns out that we’re not the only ones enamored of such ideas — the good folk at Booooooom have been running a competition called Remake, whereby artists are invited to recreate and reinterpret notable works of art. We’ve found it fascinating to see how people have approached the idea, some producing strikingly accurate recreations of the originals, others using the composition as a departure point for something entirely new. It’s an ongoing project — the deadline for entries is October 21 — but we wanted to share some of the most interesting submissions here. And if you’re artistically inclined, you should totally enter the competition — the prize is a copy of the Adobe CS5 Master Collection. … Read More
Prostitutes have occupied the role of muse for innumerable artists. Writers, painters, musicians, filmmakers, and poets have alternately identified with, idealized and demonized working girls in an obsessive fixation spanning generations. From Paris’ 19th Century avant-garde to the streets of New York City in the 1970s, the disgust and awe that surrounds the working girl (and boy) continues to consume the pages and palettes of creative minds.
The Internet, alongside changing sexual and social mores, may have begun to transform the way we perceive sex workers — making the world’s oldest profession less of a clandestine operation and more of a business transaction (see: Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience). However, there will always be an artistic refuge — and planet Hollywood, of course — for the romanticization of crooked pimps and saucy streetwalkers. For every sordid, seamy expose, there’s a Pretty Woman waiting in the wings to silver-line the mythos. After the jump, check out some of our favorite “love letters” — and less flattering missives — to the women and men of the night. Which ones have always fascinated you? … Read More
The concept of the Mastergram Tumblr is simple: “Remarkable photos made better (or worse) using Instagram.” Yet, just the loaded byline alone sends disgruntled shudders up the spines of photography purists while iPhone enthusiasts get giddy with anticipation. There you have it. Celebrated shots by Cindy Sherman, William Eggleston, Robert Mapplethorpe, and more, fed through smoothing, brightening, tinting Instagram effects — the very same technology that makes your most banal shots all pretty and special.
Photographer Andrew Emond investigates: “If the Instagram effect can make mundane images appear to be works of art, what happens when we apply the same filters to images that have historically been held in high regard? Is the imagery degraded or enhanced as a result? Does the effect add a new layer of meaning to the photo? Perhaps these are questions best left resolved by the viewer.” View the manipulated imagery below and see how Nan Goldin’s faded, blue-less bruise makes you feel. … Read More
Mark Morrisroe was a gifted artist who died poor and in relative obscurity, while suffering from AIDS related illnesses, at the young age of 30 in 1989. Born to an alcoholic mother and absent father, Morrisroe was the ultimate poetic punk of his time. Claiming to be the son of the infamous Boston Strangler, who was actually his mother’s landlord and neighbor, he became a teenage prostitute in order to get his own Boston apartment and pay for his high school graduation. Savvy and talented, he gained acceptance to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he soon met such artists as Nan Goldin, David Armstrong, Jack Pierson, and Mike and Doug Starn. … Read More