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Art

Check this work out:

Looks a bit like a Norman Rockwell painting was superimposed on a photograph, right? Makes you think about the miracle of photoshop.

Look again.

And, again.

That’s a real man.

Alexa Meade is a “25-year-old artist whose work lies at the intersection of painting, photography, performance, and installation.” She paints models in the style of 2D paintings and then sets them free, running through our 3D world, re-compressed into the final product we see here. She straddles the split between reality and perception in her art, and makes us question our own knowledge in the process. Her work brings the art of trompe l’oeil into the modern age.

From the Washington Post:

Meade uses a brush. She paints skin on skin, lips on lips and eyebrows on eyebrows, and the insides of nostrils, using her own mixture of nontoxic paints and unspecified ingredients. Her subjects must sit still for multiple hours as she follows the natural contours of their faces, varying brushstroke and color to exhume their inner essence. When she’s done, they appear banished to two-dimensionality, yet they also seem fuller, more dynamic. She then sets her subjects in an installation, or photographs them. There are no touch-ups or special effects beyond acrylic on flesh and the initial complacency of the observer.

Check out her other work here.

The Snow by Tokujin Yushioka is currently installed at the Mori Art Museum in Japan.

The piece is a part of a larger exhibit called “Sensing Nature.”

Inside the 15-meter tank are millions of feathers that float within.

It must be amazing to behold.

Around this time last year, my boyfriend and I were getting on a plane from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires. We were staying at the house of a schoolmate of ours, whose parents world-traveling diplomats–needless to say, I was more than a little nervous.

Making matters worse, my boyfriend ever-so-gently decided that it was finally time to inform me that I had been holding my fork and knife the wrong way my entire life.

Hiding my face in shame.

As a child, I placed the knife between the rungs of my fork, and I suppose that I had just gone years without being corrected. I’ve always tried to be polite, but I’ve never had a “Finishing School” experience.

Anyway, I’ve been slowly making my way through Debrett’s Etiquette for Girls for a while now to cover any remaining social missteps that may rear their ugly head in the near future, and I can think of a few situations where a nuanced reading of the material would have seriously helped.

(For instance: about a month ago I was a guest at the house of a friend-of-a-friend-of-the-family’s house, where the only appetizer was large cuts of slippery smoked salmon on toasted crackers… delicious. Debrett’s: Never attempt to eat smoked salmon if it requires more than one bite. Heed that advice, or you might end up like me, dropping half of your salmon on your chin before being forced to cram it in your already-full mouth with a half a cracker left over. Not awesome.)

Take this self-aware tidbit about canapés, for instance:

Are canapés a conspiracy invented by resentful caterers? What other possible explanation could there be for something so eternally unmanageable? … Imagine the hilarity back in the kitchens as the hotshots and bigwigs are incapacited by gobstopping vol-au-vents or humiliated as their cherry tomato spurts into the eye of an important associate.

What I love about this book is that it casually makes fun of its uppity content at the same time that is seriously embraces it: the authors truly do appreciate etiquette but they also understand the unapproachability of the subject.

The book covers absolutely everything, from underwear to office romance.

Although… nothing says anything about how to avoid dropping not one but two wine glasses in a night at the party that your boyfriend’s family threw so that you could meet the family. Also, everything is happening in your second language.

Shudder. To be explicit, that was me.

This was the spread at the party, about T-2 hours before doomsday hit. Despite that, an awesome example of Chilean canapés.

These sculptures and stenciled graffiti were created by the artist NeSpoon, who describes her work as “jewelry of the public space.”

In her works, she rejects the classic interpretation of lace and doilies as stuffy, grandmotherly items and attempts to redefine their forms by stenciling them in gritty and/or unexpected locations such as urban streets, Baltic beaches, and public parks.

NeSpoon has succeeded in making once-outdated lace designs urban and contemporary, and in the process has brought new life to dilapidated and dull city streets. To some extent, she has also decreased the gendered associations with lace by engaging the general public with her art, opening lace up to future exploration within art and academia.

Click here for more information (NeSpoon’s personal blog).

This is an image from photographer Gerard Castello-Lopes, a “disciple of Henri Cartier-Bresson.” Although you can see the resemblance between Cartier-Bresson’s images and Castello-Lopes’ images, there is obviously a large disconnect in the modernity of their thought and material.

Castello-Lopes took photographs in a war-torn era accompanied by an overall break with uncontested national pride. The result is a beautiful meditation in modern life, heavily influenced by new forms of media (like film).

Tokyo Compression is a photoset by German-born, China-based photographer Michael Wolf.

These pictures are tender portraits of hectic souls. Their emotions are carefully stowed away in favor their public persona, but glimpses of their feelings break through, especially in the photo above.

The rain droplets don’t touch her but leave snaking shadows across the planes of her face. Her mouth open and her eyes downcast, she seems occupied and introspective, so much so that she has almost forgotten to guard her own expression. That preoccupation that she embodies is a human condition–I see myself and my own conflicts reflected in the unknowable depth of her eyes.

Full set here.

The Ring was recently installed in Place Vendôme in Paris–it was formed as a way to interact and distort the area around it, and as a result causes passerby to restructure their thinking about their surroundings.

I only wish that I had known about this when I was in Paris a month ago–from the pictures, it seems like something out of a dream sequence.

What I like about this statue is that the structural beauty of its surrounding architecture is what makes the statue come alive; it draws upon and interacts with history, reflecting the high art of Haussmanian buildings (literally) in a new era. The sculpture reminds me of the hall of mirrors at Versailles in both the way that it elongates the space around it as well as the sheer luxury that the flawless mirror seems to embody. The Ring is a manifested “illusion” of grandeur, its material pulling in the blue from the sky as if laying claim to everything that it reflects.

Background from Bert’s Kickstarter page:

About. Coded Stories, a documentary film, weaves together contemporary art with indigenous rights to convey the struggle of the Mapuche of Chile to preserve their culture and way of life. After a year of original filming, we are reaching out to supporters to help us raise $25,000 to complete filming in Chile and Los Angeles through October 2012. The goal of Coded Stories is to spread awareness about the plight of the Mapuche, a people whose traditions are under serious threat and to share their beautiful art and culture with a larger audience.

The Story. The film follows artist Guillermo Bert, a Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based artist whose recent work was inspired by the similarities between Mapuche textile patterns and contemporary bar codes (QR codes). Bert’s art raises questions about identity, globalization, modernization, and challenges facing indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Click here to read more on kickstarter.

One of the pieces about which the documentary was made: Poem in Blue, based on a poem by Graciela Huinao, art by Guillermo Bert.

Mapuche Art is what I hope to study as I progress in my Art History career, and this man is doing an incredible job in increasing visibility of the indigenous Mapuche community as well as highlighting their integration with the Modern Chilean nation as well as the international, digitally-enriched world.

I sincerely hope that this project gets fully funded, because I would absolutely love to hear more Bert’s inspiration and art.

Thomas Jackson’s series Emergent Behavior is about expecting the unexpected, photographing “airborne swarms of common objects” in new and unforeseen circumstances.

His work is otherworldly, but hopeful. He employs incredible and sophisticated usage of light and shadow in every work that he creates. The result is magical.

I see a mutant, strange universe in his photographs, a sort of alternate reality that hinges on our own existence for inspiration but easily departs from it.

Thomas writes:

The images attempt to tap fear and fascination that those phenomena tend to evoke, while creating an uneasy interplay between the natural and the manufactured and the real and the imaginary. At the same time, each image is an experiment in juxtaposition. By constructing the pieces from unexpected materials and placing them in environments where they seem least to belong, I aim to tweak the margins of our visual vocabulary, and to invite fresh interpretations of everyday things.

Korean artist Ran Hwang uses buttons, pins, and beads to create enormous murals of birds and cherry blossom trees.

In her words:

My immense wall installations are extremely time consuming and repetitive manual work. This is a form of meditative practice that helps me find my inner peace. Pins are used to hold buttons onto the surface to form a silhouetted image, or to disintegrate such image. No adhesive is used so the buttons are free to stay and move, which implies the genetic human tendency to be irresolute. I use buttons because they are common and ordinary, like the existence of human beings.

I create large icons such as a Buddha or a traditional vase, using materials from the fashion industry. The process of building large installations are time consuming and repetitive and it requires manual effort which provides a form of self-meditation. I hammer thousands of pins into a wall like a monk who, facing the wall, practices Zen.

I think that the choice to use these materials to create figures such as birds is stunning–the way that she creates them make them look as if they are about to take flight, an amazing conclusion to make when you see the buttons up close (see here). Perhaps her zen-like creative state is how she truly achieves this.