with pop culture
Despite the incredibly vast array of mood and subject matter of films throughout the ages, dancing is a universal dramatic device used to create moments of levity, romance, and drama. Casper Langbak of CLS videos created a delightful super-edit of nearly 300 dance scenes in movies ranging from La La Land to Schindler’s List. You can see a full list of the clips here. Langbak has a large catalogue of cinematic collections and tributes, like Meet the Hero, on YouTube.
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David Bowie, who passed away in 2016, had a very special connection – some may even call it a “love affair” – with Japan. He originally developed his affinity after taking an interest in Kabuki and was heavily influenced by the exaggerated gestures, costumes and make-up. He later went on to work with fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto on many iconic costumes, as well as with musicians like Tomoyasu Hotei and the filmmaker Nagisa Oshima. In a sense, the love affair has come full circle and now a project has been announced to immortalize David Bowie in the form of ukiyo-e woodblock prints that depict Bowie in elements of kabuki.
Two unique prints were announced last month from Ukiyo-e Project, an organization that creates contemporary Ukiyo-e based on elements of pop culture. Each of the prints are inspired by iconic photo shoots of Bowie, which have been translated to woodblock print by ukiyo-e artist Masumi Ishikawa.
One of these is inspired by Brian Duffy’s photograph of a bare-chested Bowie with a red lightning bolt scrawled across his face the cover of “Aladdin Sane” (1973). For the ukiyo-e print, the artist imagines Bowie as Kidomaru, a fictitious snake charmer from the Kamakura period.
The second print was inspired by Terry O’Neill’s “Diamond Dogs” promotional photograph (1974) in which Bowie is posing with a large barking dog. For this ukiyo-e print the artist imagines Bowie as Takezawa Toji, a magician and entertainer who was often depicted by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.
The prints will be on display, and available for sale (priced at 100,000 yen) at the Marc Jacobs-owned BOOKMARC in Omotesando from June 23 – July 1, 2018. The final prints will be displayed alongside photos of David Bowie, as well as other materials that show the process of creating the woodblock prints. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
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Swarovski Crystal Sculptures by Daniel Jacob Immortalize Popsicles, Sneakers, and Other Pop Culture Icons
Artist Daniel Jacob began making art in Chicago in the early 1990s, channeling his ideas into sculptures and works on paper. After spending most of his career in business, he has returned to his love of art. His current practice experiments with crystals and stones to create pop culture-inspired sculptures of dripping popsicles, Air Jordan sneakers, animals, and elements of city infrastructure, like sewer grates.
Each of Jacob’s works begin as three-dimensional scans which are then sculpted into cast resin and finally topped by hand with hundreds of thousands of multi-colored Swarovski crystals. A few of Jacob’s sculptures are currently on view at the recently opened Nonfinito Gallery in New York through May 31, 2018. You can see more of the artist’s work on his website and Instagram.
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UK-based illustrator Richard Wilkinson created a series of fantastical insects based on the most famous Star Wars characters. It’s easy to imagine these incredibly life-like renderings truly existing as creatures crawling on a planet far away, and each is given a cheeky scientific name with Latin roots that relate to its sci-fi counterpart like Roboduobus Deoduobus for R2D2 or Chaetebarbatus Bonamicii for Chewbacca. Wilkinson has previous experience creating scientifically-minded illustrations for publications like New Scientist and Intelligent Life Magazine.
These first 10 illustrations titled Insects From A Far Away Galaxy are just the first set in a much larger body of work for a planned book, Arthropoda Iconicus Volume I, that will make references to other pop culture characters like Pokemon, Marvel Comics, and Disney. The pieces seen here are now available as limited edition prints, and you can follow more of Wilkinson’s work on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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Netherlands-based artist Super A (previously here and here) has a new series of painting and sculpture that explores the truth behind fantasy, slicing through pop culture figures to examine the reality that lays at their core. Trapped features characters such as Tweety, Mickey Mouse, Snow White and even Ronald McDonald as their recognizable features unfurl like ribbons, revealing realistically formed birds, mice, and people caught inside.
The series intends to address our skewed perception of reality through easily digestible cartoons, demonstrating that there can be no objectivity when it comes to our daily view of the world. A certain lens is always employed, a myth disguises the harsh truths.
“Nowadays the most dominant myths we have embraced as an warm blanket of truth are liberty, property and individualism,” said Super A. “We tend to see these as absolute objective truths which suit the best interests of all humanity. But aren’t we just trapped within our cozy reality? And if it’s cozy… Should we even dare to break free?”
Super A has shown works from the series in a variety of exhibitions. The Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck paintings were recently shown at Vertical Gallery's group exhibition Portrait, Tweety is on view at Pow! Wow! Exploring the New Contemporary Art Movement curated by Thinkspace Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art, and Snow White and Pierrot will be shown at an upcoming exhibition with Galerie Droste.
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South Korean ceramicist Jae Yong Kim creates deliciously glazed donuts out of clay, glitter, and swarovski crystals. The faux desserts present a glossy perfection in their paint application, yet contain an irregularity in shape to trick the eye into believing they might be an edible treat.
Kim chooses patterns and images that evoke a sense of pop culture both past and present, with several pieces imitating the style of famous painters such as the splattered marks of Jackson Pollack or concentric dots of Yayoi Kusama. These references, alongside their presentation as food, ask the audience to consider what they are really consuming when viewing his small, spherical works.
“Without my intention, references to Pop Art have been a consistent occurrence throughout the entirety of the donut artworks,” said Kim in a statement. “Questioning myself regarding the donuts falling in line with a specific genre has brought questions and need for understanding. Each individual donut has invariably read to me as a small painting; color, pattern and physicality have been the ultimate procedure for my personal expression.”
Kim is a graduate of the Hartford Art School and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Kim splits his time between Korea and New York, and works form a studio in Jersey City, NJ. You can see more of his donut-based paintings on his Instagram, and take a look at previous ceramic works on his website. (via Design Milk)
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Angered by the gendered division perpetually seen in classic Western films, painter Felice House decided to create her painted series Re-Western. The collection of works are a re-imagining of her favorite Western films cast with female leads instead of the traditional male cowboys, painting females in place of actors such as James Dean, John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood. The women in her paintings are strapped with shotguns riding horses, fiercely looking out onto a deserted plain, and strongly staring into the eyes of the audience clad in plain button-downs and bright red cowboy boots.
“The western movie tradition is so established; so accepted, so mythologized that it spans the globe,” said House to Colossal. “I love the genre, and at the same time when I sit down to watch a Western movie, I start to feel angry. For the most part, the roles in Westerns are totally inaccessible to me.”
Deciding to start a conversation with this frustration, House choose to paint these reimagined Westerns to ask straightforward questions to a society that continuously handed over these roles to males. House seeks to ask what society would be like with this imagined reversal—how would education be changed? What would our reestablished priorities look like with females as the lead role?
“I would argue that in today’s culture portraying women without objectifying them is an intentional and political act,” said House. “The art historical and current cultural norm is to portray women to extol their sexual beauty and to encourage possessiveness. For centuries men have painted images of women for men. Now that women have access to education and training, women are painting women as we see ourselves.”
House uses her female gaze and voice to create strong, female heroes in environments we all know, reestablishing our connection to the well-known historical settings. Working with the idea of a hero, House paints her portraits larger than life. She encourages the viewer to look up and become dwarfed by the women and their power, hoping this change in physical perspective might encourage a change in mental perspective as well.
Several of House’s female portraits are currently in the group exhibition Sight Unseen at Abend Gallery in Denver through March 25. Pieces from her Re-Western series will be included the upcoming exhibition Woman as Warrior at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago in August. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram. (via The Creators Project)
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Editor's Picks: Painting
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.