The good folks over at Flavorwire put up a post today about Fulton Ryder’s tumblr collection of unusual and intriguing photographs consisting mostly of book covers, with additional images of cultural ephemera. This Robert Frank volume, whose genesis was an ad campaign in 1959 for the New York Times, brought back memories of art school photography class. Back then, The Americans, Frank’s most famous body of work, made a big impression on me.
A few days ago I got word that Simon Monk, whose work I featured here not that long ago, has put out a limited edition of archival prints of his “Secret Identity” paintings. The secret identity references the real-life names of familiar and beloved superheroes from our collective past. I’m not ashamed to admit that my highest personal admiration goes out to Peter Parker, aka Spiderman, even though for anyone who read the first post about Simon’s work, you’ll know that Speed Racer was the manboy who stole my six year old heart away. Anyhoo, I really love this series, along with Simon’s other work. It is subversive and funny, technically compelling and even a titch sad. So, even if you aren’t in a position to buy a print, please do check out his site.
Thomas Demand is one of my favorite living artists. He makes full-scale, three-dimensional paper and cardboard replicas of seemingly mundane interiors and environments culled from various press and personal photographs. He reconstructs the images, but always as a close facsimile to the original, never one that is exact. He photographs those installations and then destroys the paper sculptures. The first time I saw his work I was absolutely spellbound by both his craft and his vision. The line between invention and reality is intentional. Perfection is never his goal, and therein lies the brilliance of Thomas Demand’s work. For more information go here, here and here.
At a loss for words? Want to be fluent in Italian? Just pick up this gem of a book, practice the gestures, and before you know it you’ll be freely communicating the entire length of the boot. Speak Italian was first published in 1958 by artist, photographer, sculptor and all around genius, Bruno Munari. The photographs capture something from a time long since past. But the gestures themselves are still as current as can be. The book (a bilingual edition) was reissued a number of years ago by Chronicle Books, something for which I am very grateful.
Flavorpill posted a nice bit today about Simon Monk’s paintings of superheroes in bags. And, while I love a comic book character (my first true crush was on Speed Racer), I am much more drawn to his series of slightly generic plastic toys in bags. The objects themselves are less caricature and more iconic childhood, which is far more interesting to me personally. Suggest reading his about page in order to better understand the reasoning behind his work.
If you’ve been to Dumbo you may already be familiar with the LAND storefront studio and gallery. LAND is a program of the League Education & Treatment Center, which features the work of artists living with disabilities. It is an amazingly fertile environment, run by the fantastic Matthew Murphy. If you’ve passed by, you’ve also likely stopped in front of the large windows and smiled to yourself after seeing Dean Millien’s menagerie. He calls the series “tin things” because they are all (expertly!) made from aluminum foil. I first saw these a few years ago, and promised that one day I would assemble a post, because my affection for them has never wavered. Dean has been making these creatures since he was a child, and you can tell! With amazing accuracy and humor, he manages to capture both the essence of the animals’ gestures as well as their underlying anatomy. The pieces pictured here are quite small, but he works in a full range of sizes. Pay a visit to the gallery and check out the larger than life-size gorilla! And, while you’re there, definitely make sure to peruse the work of all the other exceptional artists.
I don’t know of anyone who has seen Jenny Odell’s work and not been completely engrossed and amazed. I can barely get enough of her art. The top image is of landfills, the middle one is of waste and salt ponds, and the last one is of nuclear power plant cooling towers. Check out more here.