Sam McKinniss

Sam Mckinnis

Sam Mckinnis

Sam Mckinnis

Sam Mckinnis

Modernity can be a bitch. You have so much knowledge of the past, so much going on in the present, and so much hope for the future: it’s hard to really balance your thoughts and project something that is “you.” It’s a double consciousness that plagues us all in 2011, irony ruining (or bettering?) us.

For LGBT men and women, it is a constant battle to reconcile masculinity, femininity, culture, aesthetics, camp, kitsch, and intellect–while balancing modernity. In that, a conversation is being had in the art world through music, visual arts, writing, and even blogs to explore the intersect of modernity, homosexuality, and camp. We’ve seen musical acts like Xiu Xiu, YACHT, MEN, Beth Ditto, and Hercules & Love Affair talk about this, Blake Wright‘s drawings are talking about this, the Gayletter guys are highlighting art happenings for this, Raja on Ru Paul’s Drag Race is talking about it, and even young Tumblrs like “XXX1990” and “MoppingIsStealing,” which–of course–are both not safe for work, are in the talk as well. This conversation is a direct result of the 2000 era hipster and the uprising of what Robert Lanham called “Maxwells” and “Carpets” in his 2003 tongue-in-cheek observational novella, The Hipster Handbook. This talk is ongoing and, with gaiety being en vogue, it is not going anywhere.

Enter, Sam McKinnis, a Connecticut based artist whose paintings and other artwork are speaking loudly in this conversation. McKinnis’ work infuses the lifestyle of modern twentysomethings with a knowledge of pop culture and the gay male gaze, all portrayed through his oil paintings, graphite drawings, and mixed-media pieces. A lot of his pieces represent a lust for the subject (for example, the last image: “True love (Josh)”), while others are a fantasy created in a disco wonderland (for example, the first image: “ABBA picnic”). These paintings enter the aforementioned conversation with tall, gaunt figures in fashionable clothes. They all are being watched, beloved and exaggerated. They all have a sense of play to them, be it an ear bouquet on a self-portrait (second image) or a desire for Jil Sander (third image). McKinnis is a rising star in the art world, but also is a voice to listen to in the unique dialogue being had in the LGBT community.

If you too are falling for this work, you can also check out McKinniss’ fun blog, where he talks about art, what he’s into, and even the parties he has been attending lately. You can also check out an interview with McKinnis conducted by East Village Boys.

KYLE FITZPATRICK

February 23, 2011 / By

The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Nate Utesch

Nate Utesch

I’m really excited for today’s desktop wallpaper by the multi-talented Nate Utesch, an illustrator and designer living in Indiana. I mentioned multi-talented because he’s not only an awesome artist, but he’s also the publisher of Ferocious Quarterly, a small book of illustrators and short fiction which is beautifully designed. He’s also starting a new project called Made Handsome, an illustration and short fiction journal—jam packed with artists and writers from all over the world and curated by Ferocious Quarterly. But he needs your help funding this new endeavor so he’s started a Kickstarter project to get it off the ground. I’ve already contributed and you should too.

As for his wallpaper it’s kind of an insane explosion of bike wheels and street sparks (I don’t know what that means but it sounds cool). I love the colors and energy of this piece, though if you put this as your background at work it may make your co-workers have seizures, which Nate and I are not responsible for. A big thanks to Nate for the awesome art and be sure to help him out!

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 23, 2011 / By

How Cab Drivers and Senior Day Care Centers helped Interboro win the 2011 YAP

A cartoon rendering of the project

Interboro Partnership is the 12th winner of the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. What this means is that Interboro has won the competition to add some shade, water and seating to the PS1 courtyard this summer with their project Holding Pattern. As winners, Interboro joins folks who have previously won the title, including MOS, Ball-Nogues Studio, and SO-IL. Oddly enough, a 93-year-old Philip Johnson was selected for the title in 1999, which was almost 70 years after Philip Johnson founded MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design in 1932, but that’s beside the point.

Initially, it’s hard to tell what’s going on with Holding Pattern. I’m a big fan of the “Schoolhouse Rock!” rendering, but along with the other representations of the project, there’s not immediate clarity about how visitors will interact with whatever it is that will be installed in the courtyard this summer. So what else will be installed there besides some big, swoopy shade structure? Answer: a whole host of things; for instance “benches, mirrors, ping-pong tables, and flood lights ” chosen by Interboro after interviewing PS1′s neighbors. According to Interboro’s website: “In addition to cab drivers, we met with senior and day care centers, high schools, settlement houses, and the local YMCA, library, and greenmarket (to name just a few). We simply asked each one: is there something you need that we could design, use in the courtyard during the [summer], then donate in the fall?” Connecting with and giving back to the local community is a great idea, who could argue with that?

It turns out that some folks feel left out; namely, persnickety architects. In the comments on architecture blogs announcing the winning design, there’s a range of responses from “Way to go, Interboro” to “Where’s the architecture?” or “How about vegetables donated to the community, or games, or innovative spaces?” In fact, vegetables and games have generated innovative spaces in designs by recent winners of YAP, and I suspect that nay-sayers are underestimating the ability of Interboro to do the same with community-centric odds and ends. You may want this space to look different, or may want the project to represent concerns larger and more abstract, but everyone’s wants don’t necessarily all fit into a small courtyard. And under Interboro’s canopy there is just enough room for what a community needs.

Alex

Alex Dent

February 23, 2011 / By

Yoshimasa Tsuchiya’s Private Myths

tsuchiya 1 tsuchiya 2

tsuchiya 4

Unicorns, bakus, kirin, fawns and ninyo are just some of the mythical creatures that Japanese sculptor Yoshimasa Tsuchiya fashions out of wood. Largely inspired by traditional Japanese folklore, his chimeric sculptures come from the same imaginary universe as the strange characters in the films of Hayao Miyazaki. Elegant in their majesty, yet seemingly melancholy, Tsuchiya’s sculptures reach intimidatingly life-size proportions. I can only imagine what it would be like to view one of these in a gallery; although they appear quite delicate and fragile, they’re also slightly menacing. Perhaps this is because I only recently discovered  – via a crash course in Japanese myths – that a baku feeds on dreams and nightmares and that ningyo bring storms and misfortune.

Anthropomorphism, dream-devouring spirits and bad omens: it all makes for a beautifully mysterious and unnerving art experience.

FOUND VIA SUPER YOUTH.

Danica

February 23, 2011 / By

‘Gills’ by Spacemonster

Gills by Spacemonster I thought a good way to start out Wednesday would be some wonderful music by a guy you’ve probably never heard about, Spacemonster, who might also go by the name Kenny Hamilton. He recently released a new 5 song EP called Gills on Bandcamp and I’ve really been enjoying it lately. It’s a really lo-fi album filled with some slow, kinda’ melancholy songs that remind me of Elliot Smith, Sparklehorse and the vocals of Animal Collective. It’s a really nice mix, actually, which works out well either early in the morning as you’re getting ready or maybe as you’re trying to go to sleep. If you like what you hear please visit Kenny’s Bandcamp and by his album, it’s only $1.

On a side note, I asked Kenny for some facts about himself, so he made me a nice list which I wanted to share:

1. I should be majoring in international studies in by next year but i might have to end up doing a victory lap.
2. really jazzed about my new living space. since moving into my new apt ive gotten rid of my bed and made a nest in the corner with quilts, fart sacks(sleeping bags), head pillows and some bullshit yoga mat thing. it’s something that i recommend for everyone.
3. ive been recording my bedroom since high school but now i’m starting to make an legitamate effort. (ie going into a studio, contacting pressing and distribution companies, etc.)
4. the last thing i recorded can be downloaded for free at http://www.mediafire.com/?gyxjonyjzzt
5. the last thing i recorded was complete fucking nonsense. (i believed i was the reincarnation of jesus christ. lulzzz)
6. Spacemonster comes from an old middle school cover band with two friends (originally “American Spacemonster Gill”) We all forgot about the name and moved to our individual music projects. Recently I started using my contribution to the name, spacemonster.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 23, 2011 / By

The Intricate Lives of Snowflakes

A snowflake under a microscope

A snowflake under a microscope

A snowflake under a microscope

I’ve found as I get older that the details in life have become more important and more interesting. Little things that I may have wondered about as a child that I can fully grasp now as an adult. Such as, what does a snowflake really look like? Sure, I bet most people can imagine what the idea of a snowflake looks like. A tiny, perfect crystal with a shape so intricate it looks like it was shaped by hand. Funny enough, that’s exactly what they look like. I don’t think many people stop to think about how banks of snow are made up fo these tiny, amazing little structures. To see more of these great microscopic images click here.

Found through Akira The Don

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 22, 2011 / By

Infographics In Context by Peter Orntoft

Infographics In Context by Peter Orntoft

Infographics In Context by Peter Orntoft

Infographics In Context by Peter Orntoft

It seems like the cool thing these days is to shit on infographics, despite how useful they are to really convey information easily to a broad audience. I don’t see what the problem is, especially when they’re done as well as these by Peter Orntoft. He calls them Infographics In Context and they’re exactly that. The top image for example, shows gang related crime and whether the Danes have changed behaviour because of it. So he literally wrapped people in caution tape to get the point across. In the second image he visualizes whether or not the Danes thinks its ethical to wear religious symbols in public professions. Context is important when it comes to graphics like these and I love that these get the point across at a glance. Not to mention how well done these are, the photography looks great and the punch of colors help illustrate the point even more clearly. We need more infographics like these everywhere.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

February 22, 2011 / By

Yardmasters Building

exterior of the yardmasters building

interior of yardmasters house

Thanks to the contrast between the Yardmasters Building  (designed by architects McBride Charles Ryan) and its surroundings, the Yardmasters Building reads a bit more tedious and fragile than it might otherwise. It’s not lacy, but describing the exterior as “jewel-like” agrees with the faceted geometries and the subtle sheen of the brighter bits, but disagrees with the darker palette of the exterior. The color is dirty and gives some grit the jewelbox sitting alongside the tracks in Melbourne. 

When a building’s skin has a pattern this intricate, it is hard to understand the scale without some kind of reference. Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting Jean Nouvell’s L’Institut Du Monde Arabe may have been as shocked as I was at the scale of the mechanical aperatures that cover the south face of the building. They’re huge. Back in Melbourne, you can see from the interior photo that the windows are larger than they appear from the exterior. The rich geometries that wrap the building are somewhere between optical illusion and disguise: a mechanism for creating mystery. The designers liken the project to a “jewel in a junk-heap” which seems like fitting place to begin a mystery.

Alex

Alex Dent

February 22, 2011 / By

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