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UK restricts dissident artist Ai Weiwei's stay over his “criminal record” in China

An image of Ai Weiwei's passport, posted  to his Instagram account on July 29, 2015.


An image of Ai Weiwei's passport, posted to his Instagram account on July 29, 2015.

Chinese art-dissident Ai Weiwei can't seem to catch a break lately. On July 22, the Chinese government reinstated the prominent artist's passport, and his freedom to leave China, which he'd been denied for four years. Seven days later, Ai just now wrote on Instagram that the UK is restricting his visa over some trumped-up BS about his China “criminal records.”

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Intricate 3D paper typography by Sabeena Karnik

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Mumbia-based illustrator Sabeena Karnik specializes in forming strips of paper into intricate typography. Below is a sequence showing creation of her piece for a radio station.

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Help kickstart L.A.'s Big Art Church

L.A.'s Big Art Church, a studio, gallery, school and performance venue, is just getting going! Naturally, it needs our help!

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Photos of 1970s cheap motels

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In the 1973, subversive street artist Mike Mandel would take snapshots of the cheap motels where he stayed while traveling the country. He's posted the series on Flickr.

Working on the Baseball Photographer Trading Cards, traveling throughout the country, my girlfriend at the time, Alison Woolpert, and I would stay at some, shall we say, "economy" motels. We pulled into one in Texas on a wintry night and upon waking in the morning we realized that the sheets had not been changed after the visit of the previous motel guest. When we indignantly complained to the owner he shot us back a dirty look, "What do you expect for five dollars?" What we did expect was that no matter how shabby, beaten down or forgotten a motel might have become, there was always a motel postcard to be had: a memento of a one night stop, a promotional calling card, a free mailable note card to report back on the progress of a vacation to those back home. We would often take the back roads, sometimes follow old Route 66, and we would find those sad, forsaken motels that had been sucked almost out of existence by the newer corporate chains situated just off an exit ramp on the newer highways. We bypassed Motel 6, Travelodge and Howard Johnson's. After all, their postcards were usually just the same design with a different address. But we'd go out of our way to stop at every independent motel we could find in hopes of finding a postcard that would be even more banal than the one we had just found down the road.

This led, inevitably, to my photographing the motels themselves: interiors, pool sides and architecture. The project was always there whenever there was an opportunity to travel.

"70's Motels" (Flickr, via Dangerous Minds) screenshot

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Japanese artist goes on trial over "vagina selfies"

In December, we wrote about the unbelievably stupid arrest of Rokudenashiko (nee Megumi Igarashi), a Japanese manga artist who makes art with castings of her genitals. She's actually been arrested twice – once for distributing 3-D printable data of her vagina (really, her vulva or pudendum, for the pudants reading this), and another time for for an art display of whimsical sculptures (described by prosecutors as "obscene objects") at a store in Tokyo. Examples of the obscene objects are shown above and below:

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Rokudenashiko's been in jail awaiting trial, after a judge refused her lawyer's request to release her. Judge Noriki Ando said Rokudenashiko must remain in prison out of a "fear she may destroy evidence or flee."

Rokudenashiko's trial is now underway. Her lawyers will defend the artist by claiming that her "work is not a precise reproduction of the vulva and does not cause sexual arousal."

The Guardian points out the hypocrisy of the case against Rokudenashiko:

Her case has attracted worldwide attention and criticism of the apparent double standards in the Japanese law’s treatment of sexual imagery. While the country has a thriving pornography industry, its obscenity laws ban the depiction of genitalia, which usually appear pixelated in images and videos.

Commentators pointed out the hypocrisy of her initial arrest, which came soon after Japanese authorities resisted pressure to ban pornographic images of children in manga comics and animated films.

If found guilty Rokudenashiko could spend two years in prison for distributing obscene objects.

Here's a profile of Rokudenashiko, showing how she makes her "vagina sculptures."

And here she describes her (successful) crowdfunded plan to make a "pussy kayak":

850 photos: Making of Yogi Bear and The Flintstones in 1960

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LIFE photographer Allan Grant took 850 photos documenting Hanna-Barbera studios in 1960.

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WATCH: Artist redraws a photo portrait from scratch in this timelapse

DeviantArt member viktoriyarova made a time-lapse video as she recreated a photo from scratch in Photoshop.

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Artist paints amazing 3D illusions on his hands

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Italian makeup artist Luca Luce paints incredible 3D illusions on his hands.

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Old Masters Buzzfeed

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A tumblog of greatness.

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Mural on riverside building only looks right as reflection in river

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Brooklyn-based artist Ray Bartkus painted an upside down mural on a building on the Šešupė River in Marijampole, Lithuania. The painting makes sense when seen reflected in the river's water.

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Excellent Japanese pencil case

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My older daughter and I both like to sketch. We sometimes go the the Art Directors Guild's figure drawing sessions here in Los Angeles on Tuesday nights (only $10!) or we sit on the floor of her room and sketch whatever we want. (I like to use old black-and-white photos I find online for reference.)

To store my pencils, charcoals, lead holder, erasers, snap-blade knife, and reading glasses I bought a Lihit Lab Teffa "book style" pencil case ($13 on Amazon). It's not large, but it's designed with "pages" to hold your stuff efficiently. Pens and pencils fit behind straps, and smaller stuff can be stashed in the mesh pouches.

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Below, a couple of my recent sketches.

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Public Enemy's Chuck D on the best logo in hip hop

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Chuck D talks to Juxtapoz Magazine editor Evan Pricco:

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China gives outlaw artist Ai Weiwei his passport back. Finally. For now.

Ai Weiwei posted this picture on Instagram on Wednesday after the Chinese authorities returned his passport.


Ai Weiwei posted this picture on Instagram on Wednesday after the Chinese authorities returned his passport.

Ai Weiwei, the Chinese art-provocateur whose work so very consistently pisses off the Chinese government, says he was given back his passport this week after being barred from traveling abroad since he was detained in 2011 in Beijing.

“Today, I received a passport,” he told the world via Twitter and Instagram, attaching a selfie with the document.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Ai, who was a design consultant on the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing and exhibited his sculptural installation “Sunflower Seeds” at the Tate Modern in London, was detained in 2011 while trying to fly to Hong Kong from Beijing. He was held and interrogated for 81 days and later prosecuted on a charge of tax evasion. A court ruled against him and said his studio owed $2.4 million in penalties and back taxes.

He has said the case against him was retaliation for his political activism, including his memorializing the thousands of children who died in schools that collapsed during a 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province.

Ai Weiwei, Chinese Artist and Provocateur, Is Given Back His Passport [nytimes]

今天,我拿到了护照。

A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

The art of Patrick Morgan

His mind sees the world in a very special way.Read the rest

Tom Moore, famed Archie comic artist, RIP

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Influential cartoonist Tom Moore, one of the artists who drew Archie from 1953 to the late 1980s, has died. He was 86.

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Glenn Barr does Wilma Flintstone and Judy Jetson!

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In Glenn Barr's new show at Cotton Candy Machine gallery in Brooklyn, you'll see his excellent seedy noir interpretations of Wilma Flintstone (above) and Judy Jetson (below), among other gorgeous new paintings.

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WATCH: Sylvia Pavone hula hoop dances to synchronized graphics

Dancer Silvia Pavone combined hula hoops and abstract projected animation to create a mesmerizing performance on The John Bishop Show.

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