satire

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Art

Anthropomorphic Oil Paintings by Richard Ahnert Envision Satirical and Nostalgic Narratives for Bears

April 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Guider” (2022), oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. All images © Richard Ahnert, courtesy of Modern Eden Gallery, shared with permission

Infused with wit and metaphor, the oil paintings of Toronto-based artist Richard Ahnert imagine the glum, peaceful, and rambunctious lives of animals. His new collection, on view through May 6 as part of Bear With Me at San Francisco’s Modern Eden Gallery, centers on the eponymous mammals, which are shown in the midst of relatable, deeply human activities. Rendered with soft, hazy edges in subtle colors, the anthropomorphized characters are caught in the rain, slouched over a bar, and enjoying a mid-day reprieve on the water. The narratives also tend to be veiled in nostalgia, shown through garments, the ubiquity of tobacco, and in the case of “Swear Bears,” a satirical twist on a 1980’s animation.

Ahnert’s body of work spans the animal kingdom, and he has a few limited-edition prints available. Explore more of his contemplative pieces on his site and Instagram. (via Supersonic Art)

 

“Shore Leave,” (2022), oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

“Swear Bears” (2022), oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

“Waiting Game” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

“Patchwork” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

 

 

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Art

Oil Paintings by Paco Pomet Brighten Vintage Scenes with Satirical Elements in Color

February 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“A Prequel” (2021), oil on canvas, 100 x 150 centimeters. All images © Paco Pomet

Succeeding his series of paintings titled Beginnings, Paco Pomet’s Endings applies a similarly satirical veil to his provocative and outlandish scenarios: a cleaved camper reveals red steak marbled with fat, businessmen shake hands through an elongated finger trap, and a woman walks a hand-standing friend on a leash. The Spanish artist (previously) is known for his keen sense of wit and humor and distinct visual commentary on contemporary issues like capitalism, the degradation of the environment, and moments in American history that have global impacts. He shares in an interview:

I am very interested in current affairs, but in order to fully understand today’s world, it is necessary to look back and examine historical events. The past is full of hints that can unveil the present, so in some ways, we could paraphrase that statement which says that there’s nothing new under the sun. I have always thought that subjects and themes remain the same over centuries, and that human pursuits, aspirations, and chimeras are cyclical. Nowadays, we might have different tools and ways of approaching those issues, but the important questions remain the same, even though the way they show up changes throughout the years.

Often working with anachronistic scenes and symbols, Pomet depicts children of a past era sparring with glowing lightsabers in “A Prequel” and a vintage car blurring into a trail of greens and yellows in “Trip.” Each oil painting is rendered largely in neutral tones with bright, colorful elements supplying the artist’s signature dose of irony.

You can explore an archive of Pomet’s surreal works and follow his latest compositions on Instagram.

 

“Prime” (2021), oil on canvas, 38 x 46 centimeters

“Rearguard” (2021), oil on canvas, 38 x 46 centimeters

“The Restrainers” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 73 centimeters

“The Last Executive Committee Meeting” (2021), oil on canvas, 130 x 150 centimeters

“Amblers” (2021), oil on canvas, 73 x 60 centimeters

“Apart” (2021), oil on canvas, 130 x 170 centimeters

“Trip” (2021), oil on canvas, 100 x 150 centimeters

“Dissident” (2021), oil on canvas, 130 x 170 centimeters

 

 



Illustration

‘A Library of Misremembered Books’ Is a Witty, Illustrated Compendium of Mistaken Titles

November 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Chronicle Books, shared with permission

Marina Luz’s A Library of Misremembered Books is an ode to all of our favorite titles that we can’t quite recall: there’s the ’80’s high-school classic “Popular Girls Who Shoplift,” the one with the “Cat Possibly Named Henry,” and the strangely philosophical sci-fi fantasy “Lady Becomes Immortal Because of Aliens.”

Published by Chronicle, the illustrated book compiles Luz’s witty, satirical takes on the task of entering a shop, finding a lucky salesperson, and describing that novel you read a few years ago about a time-traveling family that had a purple cover… or was it pink? Categorized by genre—which includes the strange mishmash “Umm…” category with titles like “Colonial Presidents Recipes”—Luz’s compendium spans subject matter and a range of cover design trends from ethereal, pulp fiction with bold fonts to streamlined compositions with clean type and solid backdrops.

A Library of Misremembered Books is available from Bookshop, and you also might enjoy the Fukui Prefectural Library’s habit of chronicling mistaken titles. (via Kottke)

 

 

 

 



Art Food

‘Fake Food, Real Garbage’: A Satirical Store is Fully Stocked with Groceries Made Entirely of Plastic

July 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Photo by Tony Lewis. All images courtesy of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, shared with permission

Wander into a new pop-up grocery store in Downtown Los Angeles, and you’ll find all of the typical options with an unusual twist: freezers stocked with tubs of “Bag & Jerry’s,” a robust produce section with bananas and tomatoes printed with advertisements, and mysteriously gray “polluted sausage” stuck to styrofoam trays.

Dubbed “The Plastic Bag Store,” the witty and satirical installation is the project of Robin Frohardt, who repurposed scores of bottle caps, packaging, and other single-use materials into a full-fledged grocery. Each of the non-edible items—many of which have undergone clever rebrands, meaning you’ll find family-sized boxes of Yucky Shards cereal, cases of Bagorade bottles, and clamshells of Earthbag Farms non-organic spring mix in the aisles—is made entirely with discarded waste that the Brooklyn-based artist, puppet-maker, and designer collected from garbage bins and trash sites.

 

Photo by Bailey Holiver

Paired with a performative component that envisions how future generations will interpret the inordinate amount of waste produced in today’s world, the installation literally displays the longevity of the items many of us use on a daily basis. According to recent estimations, the amount of plastic in the ocean is predicted to exceed the volume of fish by 2050, an ongoing crisis Frohardt wants to make more apparent. “’The Plastic Bag Store’ is a visually rich and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable and that there is no ‘away’ when we throw something out,” she says.

The grocery, which debuted in Times Square last fall with the tagline “Fake Food, Real Garbage,” is open at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance through July 11. You can find more of Frohardt’s projects, many of which critique mass consumerism and capitalism through a humorous lens, on her site and Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

 

Photo by Bailey Holiver

Photo by Bailey Holiver

Photo by Maria Baranova

Photo by Tony Lewis

Photos by Maria Baranova

Photo by Maria Baranova

Photo courtesy of Rundle Mall

 

 



Art

Coronavirus Satirically Tops Kitsch Figurines Sculpted with Porcelain

May 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Holland” (2021). All images © Chrystl Rijkeboer, shared with permission

Artist Chrystl Rijkeboer contemporizes sentimental porcelain figurines with a present-day twist: spiky COVID-19 molecules obscure the characters’ facial features, rendering the largely wealthy and ornately dressed figures both anonymous and commonplace in modern contexts.

Whether posing for a portrait or mid-curtesy, Rijkeboer’s pieces satirize the long-crafted Meissen figurines, which have been in production since the 18th Century and often romanticize an antiquated world “where women do not represent any relevance but being nice and glamourous,” she tells Colossal. “For me, it is mostly about the position as a woman and an artist. The pandemic made it quite clear that artists are the first to be labeled as unnecessary.”

Living and working in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Rijkeboer has crafted an extensive COVID-themed collection, which includes ubiquities like Zoom calls and masks, all of which you can see on her site. (via Lustik)

 

“Alice” (2021)

“Will we ever play and dance again together?” (2020)

Left: “Covid Duet #2 Brown” (2021). Right: “Dangerous Liaisons” (2020)

“Girl with Carrots & Rabbit” (2021)

Left: “Covid Couple” (2020). Right: “Covid Duet Blue” (2021)

“La Famiglia” (2021)

Left: “Covid Symphony #3” (2021). Right: Left: “Covid Symphony #4” (2021)

“Music Friends, boy with guitar & girl with flute” (2021)

 

 



Animation

A Satirical New Animation by Greenpeace Swamps Boris Johnson in a Gushing Sea of Plastic

May 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

Greenpeace’s new campaign opens with a single bottle bouncing off Boris Johnson’s head mid-press conference before a waterfall of plastic overwhelms the prime minister and carries him out to the street. The satirical and pressing animation pours the equivalent of the 1.8 million kilograms of waste the U.K. sends to other countries each day into Downing Street, which topples Johnson and Michael Gove as it literally engulfs the British political landscape.

Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster” is the organization’s latest effort to put pressure on the government to enact new policies around recycling and the environment. “Much of (the plastic waste) ends up illegally dumped or burnt, poisoning local people and polluting oceans and rivers,” says Greenpeace U.K. political campaigner Sam Chetan-Welsh. “The government could put a stop to this but so far Boris Johnson is only offering half measures. We need a complete ban on all plastic waste exports and legislation to make U.K. companies reduce the amount of plastic they produce in the first place.”

Conceptualized and produced by Studio Birthplace alongside Park Village, the short film lifts actual quotes from interviews and speeches made by Johnson and the U.K. government, many of which boast about the nation’s success in combatting pollution. While the 3D figures resemble Johnson and Gove, directors Jorik Dozy and Sil van der Woerd say they’re not identical in order to “introduce some distance to these real politicians. After all, they are only dummies. Our intention was not to ridicule politicians, but to place their dummy-personas in a direct conflict with the invisible consequences of their own actions.”

Read more about Greenpeace’s initiative and the film’s production process, which involved lengthy research and the help of CG producers Method & Madness, on Studio Birthplace’s site.