Archive for June, 2009

Lance Bangs Photo of the Week

Published June 26, 2009 by Dallas

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Spike flying over Max Records.

Ryan Trecartin

Published June 26, 2009 by Graham

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Video artist and sculptor Ryan Trecartin’s D.I.Y. digital opuses are overwhelming in their labyrinthine visual complexity, reaching new aesthetic depths through a deluge of multi-layered raw footage spliced together faster than we can process what we’re seeing. As a device, dazzling viewers with an over-stimulated cyberdelic assualt is nothing new– but the key to Trecartin’s success is his indelibly strong grasp on the fragmented cacophony he creates. His execution is so meticulous that, combined with the excellent performances (especially the artist’s own), lovingly hand-crafted production deisgn, and hilariously lyrical dialogue, Trecartin’s videos become viscerally resonating trascendental experiences.

The impulsive, manic logic ruling the otherworldly language of Trecartin’s videos is an unsettlingly distorted one, to be sure, but not to the point of becoming indecipherable. Watching a Ryan Trecartin video flexes the same mental muscles that help you decode a 13-year-old’s instant message, or unravel the mysteries of an autistic outsider artist’s cryptic canvas. The generation currently coming of age possesses mutant superpowers of critical thinking– a propoensity for shifting semiotic fundamentals without flinching– thanks to the unassuming interference of the Internet. Ryan Trecartin is making art that allows us to put those fledgling powers to work.

Trecartin’s latest epic, Sibling Topics: (Section A and Section B), is the centerpiece of The New Museum’s triennial celebrating artists below the age of 33, Younger Than Jesus. The exhibit, which closes July 5th, also showcases work from Cory Arcangel, Cao Fei, Brendan Fowler and dozens of other trippendicular pretty young things. Check out Trecartin’s feature length 2007 video below, I-Be AREA.

Spike’s Shoebox

Published June 26, 2009 by Dallas

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s 2004 single “Y Control.”

The Last Word

Published June 26, 2009 by Molly

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The last five words of the story (”and it was still hot”) appear on a page without any illustrations at all, as though light had suddenly flooded the rooms of both Max and the reader. The dark, fevered dream is over.

––John Cech, Angels and Wild Things: The Archetypal Poetics of Maurice Sendak

John Paul Thurlow’s Covers

Published June 25, 2009 by Graham

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Illustrator John Paul Thurlow’s blissful blog, Covers, is a repository for radical reinventions of beloved magazine covers– an ode to the art of the printed publication’s visage. With magazines dropping left and right in the past few years, Thurlow’s work feels like a eulogy to a struggling medium, reminding us how dazzlingly impactful the front page alone can be. In Thurlow’s words:

This is an homage, an attempt to create cover art for every great magazine I own (+ a few I wish I owned). It’s never a straight crib and it’s not about perfection, the source magazines are simply a playground for my imagination…

Covering covers lets me combine some of my favourite things; portraiture, pencil sketching, typography, graphic design, and ideas – there’s usually one in there somewhere.

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Yayoi Kusama

Published June 25, 2009 by Molly

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The Yayoi Kusama show currently exhibiting at New York’s Gagosian Gallery a is either a splendidly appropriate birthday present to the 80-year-old artist or a free public service for the masses. Either way, it’s worth a pilgrimage to pay tribute or just ponder the void.

A staple of New York’s avant-garde scene in the 1960s, Kusama is known for her psychedelic repetitions and floating dot patterns, both of which originated in hallucinations from a neurotic disorder that Kusama first experienced at age ten.

The exhibit’s crown jewel, the above “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity”, is a dazzling installation of white lights draped from the ceiling and reflected on four walls. A shallow pool of water on the ground completes the illusion, and taken in total the installation is an apt expression of infinity (a concept dear to Kusama).

If you can’t get to the exhibition, sate your curiosity with a peek at Kusama’s MySpace.

Kindness is Mysterious

Published June 25, 2009 by Graham

I honestly don’t know anything about this band, other than their name (Kindness), the song title (”Gee Up”), and that the video was directed by Jack Latham. The songs on their MySpace page sound like Arthur Russell and New Order scoring a long lost Manhunter-era Michael Mann film. Nice.

Terry Timely

Published June 25, 2009 by Dallas

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Terry Timely is the working name of directing duo Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey. They’ve laid down videos for a small but impressive list of musical magicians including St. Vincent , Joanna Newsom , Midlake and Bobby Birdman. We’ll leave it up to you to check those pieces out based on your individual listening tastes. Meanwhile, here is a short film from the boys entitled “Synesthesia.” Bon Appetit!

Randolph Caldecott’s Truth

Published June 24, 2009 by Graham

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Any American child can tell you that the gold, embossed Caldecott Medal slapped on the face of a picture book implies merit and critical reverence. But these days, the man for whom the award was named is much more elusive than his medal. Randolph Caldecott was a prolific British artist in the late 19th century, broadcasting his work across the cultural spectrum through everything from travel guides and cartoons to architectural sketches and sculpture. He was famous in his day for his more formal work, exhibited at the esteemed Royal Academy of the Arts– but it was his picture books that would prove to be most influential in the long run. Mr. Sendak, take it away:

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Newspaper to New Paper

Published June 24, 2009 by Molly

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No one will deny that there’s pleasure in buying stuff. Along with life and liberty, the delight of consuming unnecessary goods is one of the guiding principles of our dear country.

But there’s an equal pleasure, albeit subtler, in finding clever ways to repurpose old goods. And whether it happens by choice or necessity (or a confluence of both), we’re going to see a lot more of this in the coming decade.

A recent stellar example comes courtesy of Tokyo design firm Dentsu, who designed a wrapping paper for vegetable vendors by printing old newspapers with colorful dots and stripes. The resulting paper is an attractive, low-cost option for vendors who desire both the practical qualities of newspaper (its moisture retention keeps vegetables fresh) and the visual flair of a decorated material.

Did Dentsu’s project work? Vegetable vendors who used the printed paper saw their sales grow by 20%, and the firm won an Art Director Club award for their work. Not bad.