Artist builds delightful, impractical Rube Goldberg machines for popping balloons

Jan Hakon Erichsen is a Norwegian artist whose Destruction Diaries series chronicles his creation of a series of bizarre, whimsical and delightful machines for popping balloons and undertaking other acts of minor mayhem. Read the rest

Defaced banknotes depict the four horsemen of the British political apocalypse

Wefail offers this charming collection of four banknotes, each featuring one of the four "horsemen of the apocalypse", at least when it comes to the demise and presumed annihilation of Britain's political stability. $50 a set.

Four Wefail banknotes depicting the four horsemen: May, Rees-Mogg, Bojo and Thatcher.

Early in 2019 I was asked to take part in a collection of defaced banknotes for the Cash is King 2 book and accompanying exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, August 2019. This involved some rework on my banknotes, changing colour saturation and fine tuning different scales, these 2nd edition prints are the result of those changes.

A3 giclée print measuring 297mm × 420mm printed with Claria dye based ink on textured 210gsm Hahnemühle Albrecht Durer paper, this print will not fade or oxidise. A limited run of 250 prints signed and numbered (photos show various #s but the numbers will be incremental as they sell). Will be signed on the back too.

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Listen: Laurie Anderson explores the Tibetan Book of the Dead

The forthcoming album "Songs from the Bardo" is an exploration of the Tibetan Book of the Dead by beloved composer Laurie Anderson, Tibetan multi-instrumentalist Tenzin Choegyal, and composer/climate activist Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Patti and Fred "Sonic" Smith. "Songs from the Bardo" will be released September 27 on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings:

Like a guided meditation, this album suspends time, allowing listeners to fully lose themselves in the piece, as well as bringing to a new light the ideas expressed in the text, connecting the past and the present by illuminating death, the one constant in the impermanent human experience.

The origins of the project lie in shared activist work. Smith and Choegyal met in 2008 at a benefit concert that raised money to preserve Tibetan culture and traditions. They began conceptualizing this album back in 2014, first performing a shortened version of it as a duo in 2015.

...Songs from the Bardo perfectly combines Anderson’s storytelling genius with Choegyal’s expression of traditional Tibetan music and Smith’s background in composition to create a piece that transcends genre and form, emblematic of the text, which speaks of the experience of beings as they transform from one life into the next.

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Artist Mitch O’Connell (not Moscow Mitch McConnell) wants to erect his famous Trump/They Live billboard in Times Square

In 2015 my friend, the fabulous artist Mitch O'Connell, created this excellent illustration of Donald Trump as one of the evil aliens from John Carpenter's 1988 science fiction film, They Live. Once Trump became president, Mitch tried to install a billboard with the illustration, but no one in the US would let him. He ended up displaying it in Mexico City, though.

Well, Mitch recently found out that a Times Square billboard company will allow him to display his illustration on a billboard and he's started a gofundme campaign to make this dream a reality. Go, Mitch!

It seems since 2017 New York billboard companies might have loosened up a bit, and as long as I sign one of those fancy lawyer letters that says everything is my fault, they’ll take our money and slap the art up on vinyl for the world to see!

We have three billboard options starting at $7,892, then $14,112, and the huge supersized one at $45,000 (I'll be posting pics of the locations)!

If we don’t reach the minimum, all money gets returned. I’m only raising the exact amount that we’re being charged, no extra cash goes in my pocket.

The more we take in, the bigger and better the billboard, but the only way this is going to happen is if everyone chips in a bit, shares, promotes, and pesters their friends and family. Especially rich friends and family. Sadly, I mostly know artists, and they’re always broke.

This time, instead of the “Make America Great Again” tagline on the illustration, I wanted to get a little more proactive, and switched it up to “VOTE!”.

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Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery turns 21

The groundbreaking Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle is celebrating its 21st anniversary by having a show with a bunch of artists who've shown their work there over the years. The show is called "Ace of Spades, Queen of Diamonds" and runs through September 8, 2019. Read the rest

"Emoji house" paint job annoys neighbors

Kathryn Kidd's neighbors in LA think her bright pink and yellow emoji-daubed house is an eyesore. Kidd disagrees. Read the rest

Beautiful, spirographian images created with metal and wood drawing machines

James Nolan Gandy is a maker/artist who has created beautiful drawing machines that create incredible, multi-spirographic abstract images. Though the machines automate much of the process, Gandy decides when to pause their operation and swap out stylii and change the settings. (via Kottke) Read the rest

How the Apollo 11 rocket was projected onto the Washington Monument

Earlier this month, I was in Washington DC during the Smithsonian's festivities around the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first human moon landing. As you likely saw, UK-based creative studio 59 Productions and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum collaborated on an astonishing audiovisual experience centered around a lifesize Saturn V rocket projected onto the Washington Monument. Read the rest

"Superflat" artist Takashi Murakami writes about himself

Over at CNN, fantastically creative and influential Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is CNN Style's latest "guest editor." Along with commissioning a series of articles "exploring the theme of identity," he wrote his own insightful and inspiring essay about his life as an artist. From CNN:

As a child, looking at paintings was absolutely boring. One standout memory was when, around the age of 8, I had to wait in line for three hours with my family, just to see the Spanish artist Francisco Goya's painting at a museum in Tokyo. The work depicted Titan Cronus (or Saturn) eating his own children. The image was haunting and kept me up for many nights after. I think this profound experience, or trauma, formed the basis for my act of painting to this day. It taught me that if my work doesn't move people and induce a "wow!" then it's all for nothing.

Once I started grade school however, reading manga and watching TV anime became more important to me. No longer forced by my parents to go look at paintings, I became obsessed with "Ultraman," robot anime and sport-themed manga about boxing and baseball. I believe these experiences have a lot to do with how I now make films and animations, alongside paintings and sculptures....

In seventh grade, I fell into a hole in the ground and broke my skull and some bones in my right hand. I couldn't go to school for a month and subsequently failed to catch up academically.

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Children from Mexico and the US play together on seesaws that cross the border wall

Two artists installed seesaws that cross the border wall between the United States and Mexico, enabling children from both countries to play together. The brilliant creative intervention was created by Ronald Rael, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, a design professor at San Jose State University. From CNN:

In 2009, the two designed a concept for a binational seesaw at the border for a book, "Borderwall as Architecture," which uses "humor and inventiveness to address the futility of building barriers," UC-Berkeley said.

Ten years later, their conceptual drawings became reality. Rael and his crew transported the seesaws to Sunland Park, New Mexico, separated by a steel fence from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico...

In an Instagram post, Rael said the event was "filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall."

"The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S -Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side," he wrote.

More: "Borderwall as Architecture Becomes Reality" (UC Press)

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One of the most incredible experiences of my and @vasfsf’s career bringing to life the conceptual drawings of the Teetertotter Wall from 2009 in an event filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall. The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S. - Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side.

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Incredible science fiction art auction

I have a Berni Wrightson zine (The Berni Wrightson Treasury) that I bought as a kid when I worked at Mile High Comics in Boulder, Colorado in the 1970s. The cover of the zine had this 1969 painting on it, but it was reproduced small and kind of blurry. What a treat to see it full size on the auction listing page! It's just one of the hundreds of incredible pieces of art offered at Heritage Auctions'  "Glynn and Suzanne Crain Science Fiction Collection Auction."

“This sale includes classic examples from the genre, many of which are very rare or even unique, with just single paintings typically brought to market, or even traded privately without being made available to the public,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Todd Hignite said. “To offer a collection with the breadth and quality found in this one is simply unprecedented—and we expect many bidders from diverse collecting areas to compete for these iconic images created for some of the most popular and historically important stories by the greatest writers in the genre.”

Other pieces that I like:

James Allen St. John (American, 1872-1957). At the Earth's Core book dust jacket, 1922.

 

James Allen St. John (American, 1872-1957). Thuvia, Maid of Mars interior book illustration, 1920

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Jeremy Mayer and his mindblowing monsters and marvels made from old typewriter parts

Jeremy Mayer is a San Francisco sculptor who creates incredibly intricate creatures from torn-apart typewriters. One of Jeremy's preying mantises has lived in my home for many years and I still marvel at its construction. Wired visited Jeremy's studio for the short documentary above. For more, here are a slew of Boing Boing posts about his astounding work.

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Thrift store shopper scores original drawing by Egon Schiele

A shopper at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift shop in Queens, New York bought a pencil drawing that turned out to be a previously unknown piece by Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918). Jane Kallir, director of New York's Galerie St. Etienne and author of Schiele: The Complete Works, authenticated the work. From The Art Newspaper:

Kallir described the (owner) as a part-time art handler who often visits second-hand shops. “He’s got some art background—an eye,” she says. He prefers to remain anonymous, Galerie St Etienne says, and so was unavailable for an interview...

She estimates that the drawing, which is now for sale through the gallery, is worth roughly $100,000 to $200,000. It is currently on view there in an exhibition titled The Art Dealer as Scholar...

If and when the drawing is sold, the gallery says that its owner plans to donate some of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organisation that builds and repairs homes for people in need.

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Robert Doisneau's famous street photo "The Kiss" was actually staged

In 1950, French street photographer Robert Doisneau captured his iconic image Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (The Kiss). It wasn't until the 1980s that Doisneau was forced to reveal that the photo was staged. Over at PetaPixel, Martin from All About Street Photography writes:

To be fair, Doisneau was actually commissioned to take photos of kissing couples by Life magazine, and he later justified his actions by explaining that he would not dare to photograph kissing people on the streets.

The fact is that the secret was actually hidden to the public until the 1980s, when a retired couple named Jean and Denise Lavergne (Lavern) thought they recognized themselves. When they confronted Doisneau, he did not initially refute their claim. Then, seizing the opportunity, the couple sued Doisneau for money for violating their privacy. That lawsuit led Doisneau to finally reveal that the subjects of the photo were actually hired models paid to pose for the photo.

To make matters worse for the photographer, the hired model sued him too and demanded a percentage of future sales, but she lost. This was a very unpleasant and shocking experience that, as his daughter later said, “ruined the last years of his life.”

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Real street art: potholes turned into mosaics

Since 2013, Chicago artist Jim Bachor has turned potholes on the city streets into mosaics. At WGN9, he writes:

What got me going with mosaics originally was the durability. I visited Pompeii for the first time in the late 1990s, and a tour guide pointed out an ancient mosaic and said, glass and marble don't fade. So that mosaic that we're looking at looks just like the artist intended 2000 years ago....

I still don't know if it's legal or not, but I have had discussions with police through the years, about a half dozen, and once they know what I'm doing they don't have an issue with it.

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More work in progress shots from the 6th Detroit install. “Bouquet” is located at Riopelle and Adelaide in Eastern Market. •••••• #bachor #jimbachor #potholeart #potholeartinstallations #muralsinthemarket #easternmarket

A post shared by bachor (@jimbachor) on Oct 5, 2018 at 7:20am PDT

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NOT FAKE NEWS! Sadly "This is not a pothole. Anymore." is on it's last legs. Check it out before it's gone! Northeast corner of Michigan and Ohio smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago. Sad! (Photo credit: Pat Owens)

A post shared by bachor (@jimbachor) on Jan 17, 2017 at 9:06am PST

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The snail cosmology of medieval manuscripts

We're no strangers to the delights of the rude drawings that monks doodled in the margins of medieval manuscripts around here (1, 2, 3), but University of Bonn medievialist Erik Wade's epic Twitter thread on the astonishing variety of snail-doodles is genuinely next-level. Read the rest

'Station Eleven' is a haunting tale of the apocalypse

I was attracted to Station Eleven by the short description,it smacked of Commedia dell'arte: a post-apocalyptic tale of new-troubadours desperate to keep music and performance alive in a time of death. I was captivated, however, by the author's format in story telling.

Emily St. John Mandel starts this book off like almost any other book about the apocalypse. People are doing things so high-up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs to demonstrate how far or bad they are about to fall. The book opens in a theater, where stuff happens. Shortly thereafter humanity loses its shit.

Years after the collapse, we meet the Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and a troupe of Shakespearian actors who merged and travel the north-central former United States and Canada, entertaining folks. Star Trek gave a member of the Symphony the quotation “Because survival is insufficient.” and it has become their guiding light. Life on the road is very hard, but it is their life.

The book temporally jumps all over the place, telling the life story of a famous Hollywood actor who died the night before the world fell apart, and following some key players in his life through their experience of the new world order. The jumps are connected, but disjointed. The story is touching, occasionally heart-rending, and utterly meaningless to the destiny of the folks who survive the actor. The interactions with him helped make them who they are, they may inform some decision-making, and perhaps even scarred one or two for life, but they mostly serve to show how everyone's concerns about everything beyond survival are either immaterial or amazingly important. Read the rest

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