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Monday, 22 January


Signs of Creative Resistance at the 2018 Womens March Hyperallergic

One of the most impressive displays at the New York Womens March was by We Make America. I asked Deborah Stein about how it all came together: The signs were made by us Julie Peppito was a driving force as was Joyce Kozloff, Rachel Selekman, Nancy Chunn, John Schettino, and I and about 30 other people collaborated and came up with these ideas. We had so many working ideas we just decided to do them all and stage them together: Pussy Gate, big cats, the Big Blue Waves as a call for people to vote in the midterms, women surfers and the bald eagles and naming victims of police brutality  as well as all the progressive women candidates we knew of to write on the signs. We basically just decided to have the waves storm the pussy gate! (photo by Deborah Stein)

US President Donald Trump sure seems popular, but not in the way he wants, as yesterdays Womens Day March around the world attracted huge crowds to protest the current administrations one-year anniversary. Its been a long year for many of us, and the streets were full with the signs of creative resistance, including over 500,000 people in Los Angeles, 300,000 protesters in Chicago (which was more than last year), 200,000 in New York, and 80,000 in San Francisco.

Creativity was on full display, and we gathered some of the best we found from our friends, colleagues, and readers from around the world. Feel free to post your own sign in the comments.

The future definitely looks female.



Freedom and the Migrant Experience Medea Films Blog

Freedom and the Migrant Experience

" The secret to happiness is freedom...And the secret to freedom is courage." Thucydides 460-395 B.C

The online series, Migrant Stories, is about to conclude with anther two interviews to go and then it will be a few months in the edit suite to complete Series 4 & Series 5.  In May last year, I committed to the idea of creating a series of Migrant Stories, inspired mainly by the stories that we were losing and not recording here in Australia due to the ageing population of Migrants, considering so many came to Australia during the Post War years.  I figured I would dedicate 12 months of my filmmaking time to do this- and this I have done.  With the last of the interviews to be aired between April and May of 2018.

In all, there will be 30 stories.  At this stage, I wanted to share that there were a number of common threads between each and every person that was interviewed, and to take a moment to reflect on this.  In doing so, I found that it was apt to think of Thucydides' quote that the "secret to happiness is freedom...and the secret to freedom is courage."

What I found, was that it takes a certain trauma in the original country to install thoughts of moving.  This trauma can be instigated by government, poverty, lack of opportunities due to class structure of that country, and all in all, this points to a lack of freedom.  Every person that was interviewed, whether they came as children or as adults, were able to identify that the main driving force to moving was because the opportunities were just not present in their own country to allow them to flourish in however they saw their lives needing to do so.  That is, they did not have the freedom to do that.

Coupled with this however, was not just a desire to have freedom in their life, but a desire...


Poetry vs Visual Art in Lessings Laocoon A R T LR K

12158On the 22nd of January 1729, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was born in Kamenz, Saxony, Germany. He was a precocious writer, philosopher, publicist, art critic, the first real playwright in theatre history and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment. As a literary theorist, he is well-known for his essay Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry (1766). There is a predominant theme in the culture of  Enlightenment: that semiotics and aesthetics are interrelated disciplines and that the aesthetic of an era is closely linked to the theories about language and signs. Lessing wrote,I argue thus. If...


Required Reading Hyperallergic

The newest work by German artist Katharina Grosse fills an entire warehouse at Sydneys Carriageworks contemporary art center. The work, The Horse Trotted Another Couple of Metres, Then it Stopped, uses nearly 90,000 square feet of painted fabric. More images on Colossal. (via Colossal)

What vision of female liberation and modernity might women dream for themselves? Radical Women showcases a range of politically engaged artworks by female-identified artists, focused on resistance to the military dictatorships between 1965 and 1980, but the show makes clear that sexual assault is a tool of state power. Numerous artistsincluding Ana Mendieta, Anna Maria Maiolino, Mara Evelia Marmolejo, Dalila Puzzovio, and Margot Rmerdraw connections between individual acts of violence against women and the will of an oppressive state bent on squashing dissent. Furthermore, in works by Mendieta, Sara Modiano, and Graciela Gutirrez Marx, the rape of the female body is likened to capitalisms exploitation of the Earths resources; ecological conservation becomes an essential space of liberation. In contrast with Tiqquns eco-Young-Girl, who laments the violence of capitalist exploitation without impeding it, approaching activism as yet another act of consumption, these artists propose that simply living an unfettered, sustainable life on ones own terms is the ultimate radical act.

LA was an odd choice for an artist who had been a pioneeri...


Name Your Price: Ezra Collective Chapter 7 Bird is the Worm

  Todays featured Name Your Price recording is Chapter 7 by Ezra Collective. Their 2017 release Juan Pablo: The Philosopher illustrated the groups arresting concoction of Afrobeat, modern fusion, cosmic jazz, post bop, hip hop and any number of other influences that seemed interesting to them at the time.  Their 2016 release Chapter 7 doesnt []


Star Citizen - costume weapons ships - the spawning issue Mike Philbin's free planet blog


CIG wakes up groggily, as if from some terrible truth hangover, "What now Mike?"

Costumes, weapons, ships... I mean, I covered this in my COMMERCIALISE HYPERSPACE post from exactly one year ago but nobody at either CIG or Backers or players of the game seem to want to truly address this basic glitch in the matrix.

Where are they coming from?

When you try on a suit in a shop. Cool, you have a 3D rendering of the costume via the Try On functionality. I get that it's only a game. But (after clicking the BUY) button, "Where does it go?"

Same with weapons, stim pens and ammo, before you attach them to your person, "Where do they come from?" when you visit the Weapons Management section of your MobiGlas? And it's like the buying itself, "Why's it taking place on MobiGlas?" when the interface already says TryOn or Buy?

When you buy/earn a new ship, it can be viewed in your Garage. But where is your garage? And do you really wanna race all the way across the galaxy (with multiple jump traversals) to spawn a garage'd ship? What is the real-world acrage occupied if all two million subscribers to Star Citizen have a garage? What if all you ships won't fit in yours? Bigger garage? Or is Commericialising Hyperspace more of an honest and sensible move?

When you 'die' in game, you are re-spawned in some bed somewhere.

And (seriously) don't give me, 'this is spawn everything anywhere game,' because that's (clearly) what game director Chris Roberts has been refuting himself. Star Citizen is a 'take only what you can carry' kind of affair. It's also supposed to be a hands-on manual-use only game, but that's another design-dichotomy issue CIG needs to address. CIG need to admit that they're utilising the power of Hyperspace to store all your kit but they can't do that because then it opens up a Corporate Military Stargate aspect to the gameplay that they simply can't consider for time/financial constraint reasons.

Back to basics then, how can CIG...


6 Important Impressionist Painters Who Shaped the Iconic Movement My Modern Met

List of Impressionist Artists List Impressionist Painters Who Started the Impressionist Movement

In the 1870s, the western art world was turned upside-down with the emergence of Impressionism, an avant-garde art movement. Born in Paris, France, Impressionism was founded by a unique group of artists who each opted to abandon traditional rules of art in favor of a new approach. Characterized by quick, painterly brushstrokes and a unique use of color based on the effects of light, this novel style of painting enabled the artists to capture fleeting impressions of everyday lifean interest that unified them and eventually led to their Impressionist title.

While a myriad of artists influenced the iconic movement, the work of a select few has resonated particularly strongly over the last century. Here, we explore the work of these iconic Impressionist painters in order to understand their respective contributions to the first modern art movement.

In this Impressionist artists list, we take a closer look at the painters who started the iconic movement.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet is the artist most closely associated with Impressionism. This is due in part to Impression, Sunrise, a piece he painted in 1872. A depiction of his hometown's harbor, the painting portrays several characteristics distinctive of the movement, from its thick brushwork to its focus on light. Impression, Sunrise was featured in 1874's Exhibition of the Impressioniststhe first Impressionist showand thereafter inspired the movement's now-household name.



Star Citizen - interview questions - 3D prototype demos Mike Philbin's free planet blog

modular 600i for me, please

I've been thinking (more and more) that I'd like to go to USA (Austin or L.A. office) and work with the CIG (Cloud Imperium Games) on their still-in-pre-alpha game Star Citizen.

And I've thought a lot of how I might approach them, what cunning sort of letter I'd write to entice them, as currently there are no vacancies at the company that might cover the senior level role I'd entertain.

Ideally, the interview questions wouldn't focus on my fourteen years of games industry experience on innovative titles (Medievil_PS1, GhostMaster_PC, StarWarsBattleFrontPSP, GunShodown_PSP and Simpsons_PSP) that we crammed onto consoles that were far too small for them in an efficient, intelligent and interesting manner, they'd focus on the plans I have for a total rehaul of how one interfaces with the Persistent Universe.

How dare one?

I know, it's a tough call, going into Chris Roberts' Lair and telling him and his design team that his game is clunky, conflicted and needs a Functional Redesign... but it needs saying.

My best course of action might be to get hold of a legal copy of Max or Maya and throw together some illustrative HUD and ladder/door vids of where (I feel) the PU-side of the game might go. I might even consider a month-long placement at CIG to use their machines to do the same thing. I just really don't know, it's a wild and spurious dream and I should just let Them do their productiony thaaang and get on with mine. Whatever it is I do.  :)


A Modern Poets Timeless Word Bank Hyperallergic

Im partly made by romantic poets and writers (as a person whos long read in and taught and written about that period), says poet and scholar Maureen McLane in reference to her latest book of poetry Some Say. One cant help but channel what has moved through you and touched you I think of modernity as a long vexed period from about 1750 till now, so Shelley and Wordsworth et al. are, from that angle, contemporaries. Such is the zeitgeist McLanes work inhabits. Known primarily for her jarring use of language and syntax to hint at the lyrical tradition of poetry, McLane is a skilled wordsmith whose poems bask in a timeless word bank, jump from one landscape to another, and fold into their self-reflexive and cosmological selves.

Particularly in Some Say, McLanes poems are imbued with the shifting of the seasons and the omnipresent sky, though she starts off her collection with a gaze that projects itself from the ground to the depths of the galaxy. In the books opening poem, As I was saying, the sun, McLane writes: its there the sun / / Watch it bear down on us / brute beautiful fact // and what stuns / is a sun stuck in the sky / by no one. The sun, the celestial body oozing of passion and poesy, is stuck, arbitrarily, in the sky, with only the strength of our words keeping it as high as we see it. In this way, the words we employ to designate the elements that constitute our environment are the pillars we must depend on to formulate our ideas of reality. These high stakes are essential to McLane, whose poems feel urgent in their linguistic content. Naturally, poems depend on words to exist, but here, McLanes words take on a new kind of urgency: Everything in the world / has a name / if you know it. If its not through denomination that the seasons and the natural environment came to be understood, then there must be many secrets lurking in the wild, or a word waiting to be discovered.

Its McLanes distinct ability to both paint complete pictures of scenes and extract individual elements within them that make her poems so thrilling. I saw the world / dissolve in waves / the trees as one / with the sun / and their shows. // The trees on the shore / The trees in the pond / branch in the mind. With the image of a nautical wasteland at the forefront of our minds, readers cant help but feel the delicate reprieve of suddenly...


Concrete Water Pipes Reimagined as Micro-Apartments for Innovative Housing Solution My Modern Met

micro housing solutions opod tube housing

Housing shortages are a reality in many parts of the world, but nowhere more so than Hong Kong, where the average one-bedroom apartment downtown rents for $2,100 and many people are forced into cheap black market apartments called coffin cubicles. But James Law Cybertecture, a Hong Kong-based studio, is looking to change that through the development of affordable micro-housing.

The firm recently built a prototype of the OPod Tube House, a concrete water pipe transformed into modular housing. Measuring a little over 8 feet wide, each 1,000-square-foot space is designed to house one or two people. The Opod Tube Houses come with the standard features of any apartment, including a foldable bench that doubles as a bed, space for a microwave and mini-fridge, and a bathroom area at the rear. The large circular doorwhich can be opened and closed with a smartphonealso doubles as a window to let in natural light and the whitewashed interior gives a surprisingly spacious feel to the small space.

Studio founder James Law tells Dezeen that the micro-apartment would appeal to young people who can't afford private housing and who are looking for a temporary living situation for a year or two. One of the most interesting features of the OPod Tube House is that due to its size, it can fit almost anywhere, something critical in a high-density city like Hong Kong. The compact structure can slot into the spaces between buildings or be stacked in vacant lots. Their ease of portability also means that they can be transported to different areas, as needed. And, because they weigh 22 tons, installation costs are kept low due to the absence of brackets or bolts needed to secure them.

Sometimes there's some land left over between buildings which are rather narrow so it's not easy to build a new building, Law tells Curbed. We could put some OPods in there and utilize that land.

The firm c...


An Artists Devotion to Exactness Hyperallergic

Susan York: New and Recent Work at Del Deo & Barzune (January 18 March 30, 2018: installation view (photo courtesy Del Deo & Barzune, New York)

I first learned about Susan York from the poet Arthur Sze in the winter of 2012. He had called me to say that they were collaborating on a project involving her drawings and his poems, and asked if I would be interested in interviewing them about their project. The subsequent publication, The Unfolding Center (Radius Books, 2014), encompasses their project and my interview of them, which was conducted over the phone. Yorks contribution consists of 11 diptych drawings in graphite on sheets of 88 Arches paper.

It was while I was preparing for this interview that I learned that York is a sculptor whose primary material is graphite, although she also uses porcelain. Besides her drawings, the one exception to these two materials that I know of is a series of four double-sided, two-color lithographs, Achromatopsia II (2015), based on the medical condition of seeing only in black and white. This series of prints is included in the exhibition, Susan York: New and Recent Work, at Del Deo & Barzune (January 18 March 30, 2018), which also features sculptures and a large graphite drawing.

Susan York: Fou...

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Sunday, 21 January


Catherine Murphy Sets the Bar Higher and Higher Hyperallergic

Catherine Murphy, Clasped (2013), oil on canvas, 46 x 50 inches (all images courtesy Peter Freeman Gallery)

My monograph on Catherine Murphy was published in 2016, with a foreword by Svetlana Alpers. Her current exhibition, Catherine Murphy: Recent Work at Peter Freeman (January 11 February 24, 2018), consisting of nine paintings and five drawings, is her first show since the the book was released. Four of the paintings and two of the drawings were reproduced in the monograph, and I wrote about one of the paintings, Clasped (2013), at length.

In other words, more than half of the exhibition consists of new work that has not been exhibited before. This is not surprising. Murphy has never been a fast painter, but she has long been an original artist who shows viewers things they know a cherry pie, or a pile of broken dishes, or a string of floats stretched across a pond in ways that are arresting, straightforward, and extremely unsettling. In Murphys paintings and drawings, the commonplace things of everyday life become analogical: the mind is set loose upon a circumscribed view.

Catherine Murphy: Recent Work at Peter Freeman (January 11 February 24, 2018): installation view

An observational paint...


How Three Songs about Lenin Finished Dziga Vertov A R T LR K

Today we celebrate the 90th anniversary of Vladimir Ilyich Lenins death. The famous communist leader, politician and political theorist died on the 21st of January 1924, aged 53, at his estate at the Gorki settlement (later renamed Gorki Leninskiye). He was one of the leading political figures and revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century. His input into Marxist theory, collectively known as Leninism, resulted in the idea of a socialist republic constructed through the leadership of a revolutionary vanguard derived from the working class. After the October Revolution of 1917, once the Bolsheviks officially came to power, Lenin became the first head of the Soviet Union.

51srxwteFVLIn 1934, Dziga Vertov, a Russian director, screenwriter, and theoretician of documentary films, produced Three Songs about Lenin a propaganda film commemorating the 10th anniversary of Lenins death. Like all Vertovs films, ...


Star Citizen - unifying the control system - screen relative push pulling Mike Philbin's free planet blog

supposedly, Star Citizen is 'doing things that other games don't do' but...

seriously? and this is just for one mode of movement

They have a clunky interface written by a database designer.
They have a problem with doors.
They have multiple control mappings per vehicle you're in, personal or space.

One of the things I felt was very important (when I was in the games industry) was UNIFY THE CONTROL SYSTEM.

Screen Relative:
in first person or in third person, it's possible to use a screen-relative mouse move method for movement left-right and up-down. Roll and strafe could be combined into a up-down and left-right one-key override. How does this help us with 'doors' i.e. ladders etc? Everything should be screen-relative such that the Coordinate Transition i.e. from local to global across time t, can be hidden more cleverly. Smoother event-merging transitions can then be achieved i.e. linking into the hierarchy of a ladder/chair/ship/planet/star...

Mouse scroll:
the game aleady uses mouse scroll for the forward/reverse thrust of a Player character through the walking aspect of the game world. It works very well. So, why is this not applied to the ship/vehicles you drive/use? The same PushPull mouse-scrolling can be used for the range of your HUD-based scan-interface when looking for useful things to Quantum Travel to. One-click button override to put you in SHOW THE VERSE mode, with scroll-range.

YOUR HEADSET or PROJECTED VIEW OF THE 'VERSE should be how you interact with it i.e. embed all the necessary data into the objects of the screen, make choices from the screen i.e. not from some fucking clunky screen or starmap or overlay. Sure it means 'stripping out a load of extraneous shit' but that's what game-dev's all about i.e. getting to the CORE OF AN IDEA and making that the best thing one can.

AND GIVE YOUR SHIP some conversation-resolving A.I. so it can feel PART OF YOUR FUCKING TEAM and become your gaming-buddy Mr Ed-horse or MrT (depending on its firepower), fool.



Artist Creates Visual Diary with Daily Miniature Paintings on Used Tea Bags My Modern Met

Miniature Paintings on Tea Bags by Ruby Silvious

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

At the beginning of 2015, New York-based artist Ruby Silvious embarked on a new project called 363 Days of Tea, a visual diary of miniature paintings and collages on used, emptied-out tea bags. While many discard their used tea bags, Silvious celebrates the popular, daily tea-drinking ritual by recycling them for use as mini canvases. Three years later, the artist continues to create her daily paintings, illustrating her day-to-day life.

In addition to her routine tea drinking and painting, Silvious has created various tea bag art collections while traveling. One series titled 26 Days of Tea in Japan (2016) was made from ink, watercolor, gouache, and cut-out origami paper, illustrating her time spent during an artist residency in the Land of the Rising Sun. Her most recent series, 26 Days of Tea in France (2017) features paintings of French gardens and cuisine, and was recently exhibited at LM Studio in Hyres, in southern Frances renowned Cte dAzur region.

The productive artist has also compiled her collections into a coffee table book, 363 Days of Tea: A Visual Journal on Used Teabags, thats currently available to buy on Amazon.

If youre in Philadelphia, you can see Silvious work included in the group exhibition Deemed a Canvas at Paradigm Gallery. If you cant make it to Philly, you can still browse through Silvious daily tea bag art on Instagram while sipping your very own cup o...


8 Print Artists That Will Inspire You to Try Silk Screen Printing at Home My Modern Met

What is Silk Screen Printing Artists

Photo: emarts emarts 
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, My Modern Met may earn an affiliate commission. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Today, we have many perks to life thanks to technology. What was once a far more arduous process, is simplified with the right mechanisms. One of these labor-inducing tasks of the past is the act of creating copies or prints of art. The hardest part of creating copies of a print today is pushing a button or waiting for the printer to warm up. In the past, people didn't have this distinct advantage, so they found manual ways to make printssilk screen printingwhich actually turned out to be a truly viable form of art.

What is silk screen printing?

The earliest recognizable form of screen printing appeared more than 1,000 years ago in China during the Song Dynasty. Originally based on a hand-stenciling method, the process soon evolved into using fine mesh stretched over a frame. The mesh was sometimes made from silk, which led to the techniques alternative name, silk screen printing. Since its invention, the technique has hardly changed: once exposed with the desired image, artists transfer their artworks by pushing ink through the mesh using a squeegee onto various surfaces, including paper, fabric, and even wood. Similar to Japanese woodblock prints, one color is printed at a time, so several screens must be used to produce a multicolored image.

Screen printing

During the 1960s, American artists, such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, popularized the technique by using it to mass-produce graphic style prints in bright colors. Their art marked the beginning of the Pop Art movement, and essentially the end of Abstract Expressionism. Since the days of...


Get a listen of the London scene and preview We Out Here on Brownswood Recordings Bird is the Worm

  Hitting the shelves next month is the We Out Here compilation, featuring some of the musicians that are making London one of the more exciting scenes in jazz, improvised music, and all the cool stuff that doesnt fit neatly into a single category.  Its getting released by the Brownswood Recordings label, which was founded []


Feeding King Narcissus Hyperallergic

Branden Koch, Narcissus and Shithole (2018), ink on paper, 8.5 x 5.5 inches (courtesy of the artist)

Sucking at the shithole, an unquenchable leach. Caravaggios pond rendered black hole: no love to reflect, only shitdrug epidemic nourishment for King Narcissisus. Sucking up the shit flushed away by culture, sucking out the clean air.  Welcome to Shitsville, USA! Feed! Feed! The raging grand shitwizard! Sucking up your bottom feeder crony shitnibblets! Suck! Suck! Your true reflection is our collective dump now boiling over.

The post Feeding King Narcissus appeared first on Hyperallergic.


Taking the Painter Out of Painting Hyperallergic

Christian Bonnefoi, PL-1 (1988), acrylic on tarlatan, 23 5/8 x 23 5/8 inches (courtesy CHB, photo Camille Bonnefoi)

Writing about an exhibition one did not see but wished he had is unusual, to say the least. Such is the case with this short piece on Christian Bonnefoi (b. 1948), a French painter whose work I have known since I was an art student in France in the late 70s, when it first emerged on the Paris art scene.

Entitled De lieu, il ny en pas (Theres No Such Thing as a Locus), the show in question, a comprehensive survey of recent works from 2008 to 2014, took place from April to June 2015 at the Matmut Center for Contemporary Art in Saint-Pierre-de-Varengeville, Normandy, France, and was accompanied by a catalogue with informative essays by the artist on his thought process.

A vital presence in contemporary French painting, Bonnefoi has been circling the New York art scene for years. He never gained a proper gallery foothold here, contrary to Bernard Frize, for example, another French abstract painter of roughly the same generation, who has had more regular exposure.

In the spring of 2016, Bonnefois work was shown in Soho at the Westreich-Wagner Art Advisory Space, whose collection was exhibited at the Whitney Museum in the fall of 2015. More recently, in the spring of 2017, he had a major one-person exhibition at the Campoli Presti Gallery in London, followed later that June by a symposium on his work organized by Mick Finch at the Central Saint Martins Art School.

One of the first aspects of Bonnefois work to strike the viewer is his use of scrim-like material, such as tarlatan gauze an open-mesh fabric often used by house painters to repair cracks in walls or the more recent German-made Trevira fabric, instead of the usual opaque cotton canvas or linen.

The result is a painting conceived as a see-through screen where the stretcher bars and the wall behind them peek through the surface and are present in the viewers mind as part of the overall image. Blank, unpainted areas, reminiscent of the patches of bare canvas that Czanne left in his late work, es...


Designers Use Aerial Scans to Turn Any Street in Chicago into Detailed 3D Models My Modern Met

Microscape - Architectural Scale Model Chicago

A master of transforming architecture into sculpture, Microscape, is back with another highly detailed site model of a beloved American city. After the enormous success of their New York City scale model, they are back with another 1:5000 scale replica of Chicago.

Microscape's 3D printed cities are fully customizable, coming in square sections that allow you to select the areas of the city you love the most or fit together several areas like pieces of a puzzle. For the Windy City, the firm has created the replica from 9 square miles of the downtown area, broken into 36, 6-inch by 6-inch squares. So whether you want a model of Willis Tower on your desk as an architectural sculpture or the full downtown map as a piece of wall art, Microscape can make it happen.

And since you can have as littleor as muchof the Chicago replica as you'd like, you can enjoy the beauty of an architectural scale model without having to sacrifice space in your home or office. A searchable map on their website allows you to see the different areas of the site model that are available, even letting you type in a monument or street address to quickly access the quadrant that suits your needs. Microscape guarantees the accuracy of its 3D printing, as it manually processes aerial scan data, meaning that it can also evolve over time as new buildings pop up.

Looking for your own piece of Chicago? At the time of writing, Microscape was making the first pieces available to Kickstarter supporters and with over 200 backers, it's sure to be as successful as their previous model.

Microscape creates highly detailed 3D scale replicas of different American cities.



Shimmer and Melancholy in SZAs Ctrl Hyperallergic


SZAs debut album provides a lesson in quietudes declarative force. Not musically  the astutely titled Ctrl, a shiny, crunchy, whirring R&B concoction, abounds with ear candy. Its in the caution of her beats, the restrained restlessness of her melodies, the felt hesitancy of her vocals. These songs shimmer, awash in a sort of melancholy that faintly pervades the album without becoming overt. I hesitate to praise a performer for reticence, but the subtlety of SZAs gestures demands notice.

Ctrl is a genuine sleeper hit. It was released last June to modest acclaim and impressive chart success without scoring a hit single. (Although Love Galore sounds great when played on certain hip-hop/R&B stations, and her guest vocal on Maroon 5s What Lovers Do spruced up a passable pop-funk extravagance.) Yet the album went gold in October before suddenly appearing on the year-end lists of every music critic alive. Im not surprised, for Ctrl is what seekers of aesthetic difficulty call a grower, the kind of album whose stunning details blossom after prolonged microscopic contemplation.

As a snapshot of R&B in its modern incarnation, the albums blend of erotic and confessional modes fascinates. SZAs preferred songwriting device is to simulate the outpouring of emotion, the freeform venting of moods and wishes and anxieties crisscrossing and backtracking through her psyche, all molded into unified expressionistic bursts. Yet she also writes within the familiar R&B tradition, in which formalized pop songs are representational vehicles for desire, and shes not above licking her lips over invoked and addressed lovers or recoiling, as the case may be. Thus do the songs on Ctrl occupy a space where insecurities over sex, romance, and gender are credibly illuminated, coexisting as they do with music committed to functionalism and the pleasure principle.

Since excess subtlety has a way of shriveling R&B until its attenuated shell, stripped of any residual genre marks, dissipates into the wind, its worth stressing that Ctrl is a sneakily hooky album in the best way. Chewy tunes and underlying ostinato harmonies sna...

Saturday, 20 January


The Visible Language of Outsider Art Hyperallergic

Jean Fick, AMBASADEUR MONDIEU N.23. A+L (circa 1941-46), journal, 90 pages, ink, pencil, and watercolor on paper, 4 3/4 x 2 3/8 inches, collection abcd/Bruno Decharme (photo courtesy of Collection abcd)

Has there ever been a time when artists from writing cultures have not been intrigued by the expressive character of what linguists sometimes refer to as visible language? Of course, in some traditions, such as that of ancient China (as well as that of Japan, whose language uses Chinese characters that are often pictographic), calligraphy an art of brush and ink gives form to both the literary and the artistic. In such cultures, to a remarkable degree, the acts of composing words and of drawing or painting images can become indelibly fused.

Such points of reference along with Egyptian hieroglyphs; illuminated medieval manuscripts; decorative Islamic calligraphy; hand-written diaries and letters; hand-painted signs; advertising posters; and comic books may come to mind while visiting Vestiges & Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic, an exhibition that opens tomorrow at the American Folk Art Museum (and will remain on view through May 27).

Organized by Valrie Rousseau, AFAMs curator of self-taught art and art brut, this survey calls attention to the integration of text and image in works made by a diverse group of artistic autodidacts. In them, these two elements are inseparable and, expressively speaking, equally potent.

Many of the illustrated texts or are they annotated pictures? on view feel so intimate in character that to see them gathered here, exposed, is to enter into a zone of heightened aesthetic awareness of their makers deeply personal motivations and of the creative process itself.



DZIA and Bartkore collaborate in Bocholt, Belgium StreetArtNews

Just a few days ago DZIA and Bartkore wrapped up their collaborative mural next to a canal near the town called Bocholt in Belgium. Knowing each other from festivals and other jams over the years, this was the first time these two artists collaborated. Located under a bridge, a very impulse collaboration between the artists happened and the piece was completed in just 3 hours!

Our styles arent that compatible at first sight, but there is always a way to collide and I think we nailed it with this one. Also its always a pleasure to work with someone who paints fast and has his own style and world of characters/puppets to choose out.

It was stormy weather in Belgium so we had to find a wall protected against the hard wind. The spot is below a bridge next to the canal near the town Bocholt. I always try to find an animal that relates to his surroundings so it was an ideal place to create this giant colourful duck, and Bartkore added his humanistic puppet on top like it was riding it and he added some rubber ducks on the sides to suit the composition of the wall.

Check out more detailed pictures below and keep checking back with us for more updates from Belgium!


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