Archive for January, 2008

IN THE FLESH///KAWS’ “SPIRIT OF DETROIT”…

January 16, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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When we saw this unnamed reader's submission of his "KAWS-meets-Motown" tattoo today we couldn't resist sharing it with the world. That body attached to the U of M colored skull belongs to none other than the pride of Murder City itself, the "Spirit of Detroit" statue situated in the heart of the city's downtown area...

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Luckily for the "Spirit" his bronze build renders him bulletproof...

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SWEDEN///ARCHITECTURE///THE SUBZERO ICE HOTEL…

January 16, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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Interior view of Ben Rousseau’s "Operation Blade" suite...

Adventure junkies who thought Superman's Fortress of Solitude looked more like home away from home than a remote ice castle need only head 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden to check into the ICE HOTEL for a taste of real life on the rocks. Constructed annually from scratch in the near-unpronounceable hamlet of Jukkasjärvi when the area's meter-thick ice layer forms in late Fall, the hotel is built by a team of artists who are responsible for the temporary building's architecture and overall design which includes 10 suites, the Absolut Vodka-sponsored IceBar, an onsite restaurant, and even an ice church. With no heat in the giant igloo, guests sleep in thermal sleeping bags on beds built of snow and ice, covered in native reindeer skins. Lounging about is done on chairs made of ice blocks and by nite the IceBar serves vodka at subzero temperatures in carved ice shot glasses. Recreational activities around the hotel include dogsled rides, Reindeer rustling, northern lights watching, and frozen waterfall climbing. The highlight of this year's construction by far is guest artist Ben Rousseau’s suite, "Operation Blade" that features a barrel-vaulted space with a bed surrounded by fins of ice. The curious have until the 15th of April to bed down, in the meantime, HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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NYC///SOUNDS///MARS VOLTA IN THE STRATOSPHERE…

January 16, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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The greatest living rock band destroyed Manhattan last nite when prog-samba futurists the MARS VOLTA tore up Terminal 5 in an all-out display of raw power, previewing incredible new material from their upcoming "The Bedlam in Goliath" LP (set to drop Jan. 29) and offering towering renditions of material from their previous three records. Stretching over 2 1/2 hours, the show saw the virtuosic live octet (including a saxophonist and TWO keyboardists), led by vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, performing at the full height of their musical prowess as they channeled the spirit of Yes, King Crimson, John McLaughlin, and Rush for an absolutely awestruck capacity crowd at the Hell's Kitchen rock spot. Rodriguez-Lopez was so into it he didn't even stop playing between songs, turning the entire show into one long, nonstop guitar solo. Luckily, our boy ALEX was on the scene to snap the action. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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DESIGN///LIFE IN THE CLOUDS…

January 15, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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Though only in the earliest stages of conception, French designer JEAN-MARIE MASSAUD's concept for a floating hotel, the glorious whale-shaped "Manned Cloud" promises to be a transcendent thing of beauty should it ever reach the clouds. Developed in conjunction with French national aerospace research body ONERA, the massive designer dirigible combines the early 20th century trend of Zeppelin flight with the futurism of modern design to create a new form of luxury touring the likes the world has never before seen. Set to accommodate up to 40 passengers and 15 staff members in the utmost of luxury, the white whale would act as a sort of heavenly cruise ship, ferrying tourists across countries for a bird's eye view of the planet. We're guessing hydrogen won't be the first choice of filler material...

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Just add whale...

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LONDON///ART & COMMERCE///BANKSY SELLS OUT—ON eBAY!…

January 14, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Banksy, Graffiti, London, News, Street Art  |  Comments Off

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It was bound to happen and now it has. The owner of a building in London's Notting Hill neighborhood where SIR BANKSY put up one of his recent bombs late last year has sold the mural on eBay for a record $407,000 USD. The catch? The painting is STILL on the wall and the lucky winner must now pay to have it removed and relocated. We can only imagine that this is the wave of the future as incredibly lucky "recipients" of Banksy pieces realize that auctioning the walls of their offices and homes can raise enough cash to pay off the buildings they adorn. No word at press time as to whether an armed guard stands watch over the piece pending its removal...

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STREET LIFE///GRAFFITI’S LOST ARK UPDATE…

January 14, 2008  |  LA, Street Life  |  Comments Off

From the blog of Supertouch ally and PAPER MAGAZINE publisher DAVID HERSHKOVITZ comes this insightful update care of one SETH TILLETT on the recently uncovered and much buzzed-about mural purportedly painted by Futura 200, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fab 5 Freddy and other late-'80s legends in a newly-renovated NYC building. Much speculation (read: hype) has been swirling about the exact origin of the piece, which was originally painted on a wall in the former apartment of art critic EDIT DEAK and uncovered late last year as the building was being converted to a condo development. READ ON:

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THE EMPEROR HAS NO GRAFFITI
or perhaps
"WRITERS OF THE LOST ARK"

Is anyone really interested in the 'mystery' behind this ugly and hilarious artifact? Because there's no mystery at all. Everyone who scrawled on it is alive and well and willing to talk - but few of us are (or ever were) graffiti artists. The 80's were an era of 'fake it till you make it', so we might give 1 or 2 poseurs a pass here, but the only legitimate exception on the '151 Wooster Street Mural' is Lenny (futura 2000), who got up (note the clean background) well before any of us came over to Edit Deak's and pretended to be 'writers' for an evening or two.

If a legend exists concerning this mess it is one that's been actively hyped by a number of respectable people, no doubt with the best of intentions. Since hype is the dope of today, we might forgive a group halucination, at first. But I know that an email naming each artist and spilling the beans on Jean-Michel's perfect absence was forwarded to Lisa Denisson at the Gugenheim well in time to head off the howlers that are now everywhere in print. What hapened to those beans? And what do we actually have here? Fragment's of a lost Basquiat? Francesco Clemente's only graffiti? The birth of Graffiti itself? Why not the lost Amber Room of Catherine the Great? Certainly the truth will devalue this treasure.

For one thing, Basquiat never touched it. Though he was partially present when it 'happened' over one or two smashed soirées, he wouldn't have laid a finger on any wall in that period. By then he was making 'art' exclusively, and he drew furiously with colored pens on paper, on the floor, ignoring us all. Anything that looks like his letters (and nothing does) was written by Chris Parker, including Bug Out!, Wild Style!, Nesto! (after my pen-name 'S.Neto'), Oh Fab!, and plenty more. In fact 'Little Crispy' created 60 percent of this relic at least. Nobody in their right mind will take credit for the huge and hideous FRED, not even Fab 5. The DJ Johnny Dynel sprayed a giant chicken pox version of his name weeks later, and he's been unfairly blamed for the hideous table and lamp, the only 'piece' whose authorship is in doubt. Even the tiny RAM was not writen by the great RamelZee but by myself, 'representing' a master whose hand was sorely missed that night. Yes, Fred Braithwaite dropped a bomb and a plane, literally and figuratively, on the whole thing because that's what he does, boost himself big time, and we loved him for it, then as now. The rest of us were just immitating our aquaintances and getting wrecked. The black spray attempt at true 'wild style' was an awful group 'toy', duly bombed over by Chris, who went on to counterfeit 'Fabulous 5' over Edit's birthday hat. The pencil scrawling of hearts with bullet holes is again mine and I would never admit to it, but I feel I have to defend Fred from the vile accusation that it is his. Francesco Clemente never breathed on this plaster as was reported in New York Magazine. In short, little history is here beyond a record of Edit's genius for attracting anyone who showed exuberance, and maybe the quality of the drugs we had that week (so, so, judging by the crappy art).

But will this storied 'artifiction' now stand in for actual grafitti history? Could this afterbirth in fact pass as a 'seminal oeuvre' and show up in a museum? Not if we intervene. Why bother? Why spoil such a happy jam for everyone? Because it is lame to say this wall was the birthplace of anything, much less 'all that remains of a great period'. Only an interested party would make such a claim, and only someone blinded by enthusiasm would endorse it. Certainly it will bring ridicule to any institution that shows it as such. The great 'writers' like SEEN, Dash, TAKI, Phase 2, Julio, Stay High, Zeph... had nothing to do with this and had in fact been writing for a decade by then, on trains, where grafitti happens, and not on art critic's walls. They'll have the artifacts worth showing. I realize that those 'sites' are not framed by a loft development so who would spend six figures on their rescue? Perhaps a museum with a reputation for historical integrity and impecable provenance? It would be alot cheaper than buying the 151 Wooster Street Mural. Meanwhile the exact value of this masterpiece will rely, as ever, on the authentication of experts, experts whose pronouncements take wing when they are unencumbered by facts. On the rare occasion when we can balast these flights of fancy, we should. It is a salutory excrcise, beside being a pure goof, to see our respected historians revealed as occasional clowns. On the other hand it's no joke to read Hal Meltzer baldly state that Basquiat's tags 'Wild Style!' Dead or Alive' and Bug Out!' were done in his classic hot pink...etc ". Jean never wrote anything like those words, not anywhere, ever, and I don't recall him using that color either. So who cares? And who benefits? Are the interested parties so hard to find? Once again. No mystery at all.

—Seth Tillett

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LA///TIM BISKUP x ERIC NAKAMURA x GARY BASEMAN x SIMONE LEGNO x TAKASHI MURAKAMI AT MoCA…

January 14, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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In an effort to expand upon the populist methods of reigning king of Tokyo Pop, TAKASHI MURAKAMI's psychedelic oeuvre, underground art stars TIM BISKUP, GARY BASEMAN, and SIMONE LEGNO (of Tokidoki) convened at Murakami's "© Murakami" exhibition at LA's MoCA on Saturday nite to extrapolate on the master's influence on their own careers. With the help of moderator and Giant Robot editor ERIC NAKAMURA the boys droned on to a capacity crowd of over 500 diehard fans who packed the conference room to get a closer listen to their art heroes. Afterwards, nearly all took part in a massive painting "jam session" on the institution's walls while being serenaded by the sounds of DJ Tim Biskup (aka: Alphabeast) and the sights of his traditional Japanese Bhuto dancers. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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WTF??? FILES///THE “LIQUID EXPERIENCE”…

January 14, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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Wow, has it REALLY come to this??? (Yes, that sound you hear outside is in fact the seven riders of the Apocalypse galloping down your street)...

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HEAR THIS///SAUL WILLIAMS x TRENT REZNOR = “NIGGY TARDUST”…

January 14, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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and the pirate kittens from Mars?... 

The best record you'll probably never be able to buy in record stores is the internet-only collab between NIN frontman TRENT REZNOR and urban poet/philosopher/actor/Hip-Hop rocker SAUL WILLIAMS, the genre-bending LP, "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!" Available as a high-quality, DRM-free download at Williams' website for a paltry $5 bucks (the first 100,000 downloads were free as a bird), the stellar record features heavy contributions from Trent whose signature style defines the album's sound, especially on his must-hear cover of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday." The recording is a sign of things to come for the industry-shy Reznor who has publicly announced his disdain for record companies and his intention to personally distribute his own music in the future, sans-label. If this is the future of the record industry, we like it...

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Read more about the collaboration HERE...

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NYC///INSIDE JOYCE PENSATO’S CARTOON EXPRESSIONISM…

January 10, 2008  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off

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Undisputedly the dominant visual theme of our time, the cartoon image is usually exalted and treated with a special reverence in the vast realm of modern Pop art, but artist JOYCE PENSATO's urgent cartoon attacks in the show of force that is her "The Eraser" exhibition currently on display at Chelsea's FRIEDRICH PETZEL GALLERY paint a much darker picture. Treating her characters—from Felix to Cartman—with a brush driven by a frenzied energy, the artist seeks to distill these American icons to their most basic elements, stripping them of their glossy countenances until they reach a state of decidedly uncharacteristic anxiety using a visceral technique recalling the fervent movement of Abstract Expressionism. All artspeak aside, it's a phenomenal exhibit by an often-overlooked artist that should not be missed. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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