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KEITH HARING AT THE DE YOUNG

A quick look at the de Young’s massive new Keith Haring retrospective, The Political Line. Focusing on Haring’s more deliberately political works, the pieces take on consumer culture, technology, sexuality, and racism head on, and span the length of Keith’s short but prolific career.

Category Archives: Art

CAPTAIN MURPHY – DUALITY

A cartoon rap god introduces himself via psychedelic art film

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Captain Murphy

So whoever’s behind this project is having a hell of a lot of fun with it. Having rolled out a handful of top-notch, dusty ass jams over the last few months, Captain Murphy, the mysterious artist represented only by a cartoon character bearing heavy resemblance to Ricky Rozay, has captured the imagination of just about every indie or hip-hop blog out there. So let’s do a quick review of what we know so far. For one, they’ve got some famous friends, at least one of which might actually be “him”: Tyler, Earl, FlyLo, Just Blaze, Madlib, the list goes on. Secondly, they really dig cartoons. Third, the pitch-fucked vocals, as warped as they are, seem pretty damn consistent with Tyler and Earl’s respective flows. At this point, you can probably piece together your own theory, based on all the evidence.

In any case, unraveling the mystery doesn’t quite seem like the point here. All speculation aside, the Captain Murphy campaign just seems like a cool way to present an artist, or maybe more accurately, an idea, or an aesthetic. As far as I can tell, Murphy actually is a cartoon character, voiced by a few familiar faces with big imaginations. Plus, the music’s actually fucking great. Duality accompanies all those excellent songs in epic fashion, a half hour saga-mixtape-episode (viewable below), complete with grainy cult footage, acid trip animations, classic ’80s movie clips, and all different types of other strangely juxtaposed shit–kung fu, graphic sex, even clips from that trippy ass Simpsons episode where Homer gets stuck in 3-D. Whatever it is you want to call it, this is some of the coolest shit I’ve seen all year.

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE MCCALLUM

The latest from the Bristol-based illustrator

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George McCallum

I know I wasn’t the only one blown away when Danny so graciously put us up on his good friend George. Now, just shy of a year after our interview with the Bristol-based illustrator, he’s busier than ever, putting in work on everything from comics to collaborative zines to plush toys. Back when we first featured his work, George told us about the colorful set of influences that have sparked his creativity, from Tank Girl to 2000 A.D.. It should be no surprise then that George has kept his signature aesthetic in tact, not to mention his penchant for subversive humor and playful, cartoony imagery, creating the kind of vibrant stylistic universe that might feel at home on say, Adult Swim. The collection here is just a snapshot of George’s latest work, borrowed from his Tumblr, from freelance work on zines to full-fledged comic strips and beyond. Expect to see more from him soon.

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THE OTHER DREAM TEAM

The story of Lithuania's improbable journey to Olympic glory, with a little help from the Grateful Dead

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Lithuania

Barcelona, 1992. In the version of this story we’re all too familiar with, the storyline follows a who’s who of NBA mega-legends, decked out in the good old red, white and blue, absolutely oblerating the competition, and cruising their way to Olympic gold in the process. On the podium just to the right though, stood a team outfitted head to toe in tie-dye, a cartoon skeleton, mid-bashout, emblazoned across their chests. As you might expect, that same team had a back story at least as compelling as that of the team most consider to be the greatest ever assembled.

Appropriately entitled The Other Dream Team, director Markius Marevicius’ new documentary tells in rich, vivid detail, the story of the 1992 Lithuanian team’s unlikely journey in the broader context of Lithuania’s struggle for independence from the Soviet Union. Most centrally, it’s a fascinating example of the potential of sports to act as a symbol, or even a catalyst for political and social change. But even aside from the big picture, tragedy-to-triumph stuff, The Other Dream Team is equally lovable for its attention to small details–to the individual peculiarities and unlikely twists of fate that brought a fledgling nation onto the international stage. Among the strangest of all those details, probably, is the involvement of the Grateful Dead, who, upon hearing about the plight of Lithuania’s talented, but underfunded team, decided to lend a hand.

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POLISH FILM POSTERS

A vibrant retrospective of Poland's iconic poster art from the '60s and '70s

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On the surface, the communist era in Poland proved unkind to the arts. As the international theater and film emerged between the 1960s and ’70s in Poland, accompanying visuals were created in the form of movie posters and promotional material to market the works. Yet while many of these posters served to promote the films to a wider audience, the state-controlled film and theater institutions saw most of those promotional materials as subversive and incendiary. As a result, the government commissioned Polish artists to re-do the works in hopes of creating more “tasteful” advertisements for upcoming plays and films.

Fortunately, the results were actually astounding. Vibrant posters were created by famed Polish artists from the likes of Wiktor Gorka to Waldemar Swierzy. Oftentimes hardly resembling the films they were advertising, the recreated posters embodied a more carefree, abstract nature, which over time helped to establish Polish poster design internationally. Collected by vintage film aficionados Eye Sea Posters, these images provide a window into the past through the work of some of Poland’s most revered artists.

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THE STUDENT

Adrien Sauvage reintroduces us to the art of "DE"

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In many ways Adrien Sauvage is an enigma. A keen sense of style, coupled with modernist sensibilities spawned his most celebrated work to date in the form of his 2011 cinematic short, This Is Not A Suit. With time spent as a personal stylist following his stint as an English international basketball player, at 29, it seems as though the Ghanaian born Sauvage continues to evolve with the times. Following up his creative efforts with his most recent piece aptly titled The Student, the film again finds Suavage in the director’s chair, expertly detailing the intricacies of his “Dress Easy” mantra. Simple yet effective, The Student offers another glimpse into the ever evolving mind of Sauvage, while also offering a subtle reminder for us all to step our sartorial game up.

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REACH OUT, I’M RIGHT HERE

Ryan McGinley's travelling photographic utopia makes its way to Tokyo

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Ryan McGinley

By now, I feel like we’ve all got to be pretty familiar with the work of Ryan McGinley. Now more than a decade removed from his early days documenting the young and the hip on the Lower East Side, McGinley’s built up an illustrious set of achievements and accolades, and more specifically over the last few years, honed in on his own unique vision and stylistic and thematic hallmarks. Youth, nudity, freedom, wildness–McGinley’s work tends to pair almost unnaturally vivid color with a certain level of spontaneity, so even as shots are carefully designed to some degree, they still teem with the kind of energy that’s impossible to stage.

Most of the work McGinley’s shown recently, including these shots from his recent Tokyo show Reach Out, I’m Right Here, revolves around summer months spent road tripping, setting the stage for two distinct collections of images. Both, naturally enough, feature nude models, though the setting and the relationship of those models to nature differ. Some images, which formed the bulk of Animals, find their subjects mingling with a strange selection of creatures, culled from a handful of zoos or wildlife sanctuaries across the country. Others, in typical McGinley fashion, feature naked bodies in motion, turning wide open, natural space into a liberated playground. I know I’m not the only one waiting to see what he does next, but for now, we’ve got these to meditate on.

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VISIONS OF ITALY

Iconic shots of Italy's most storied destinations from photographer Kevin Sandlow

The Venice canals, the Coliseum, the Vatican–Italy is full of sights that you might pass off as cliche if they weren’t so damn beautiful, and so full of history. They’re the kind of places we’re all familiar with in a sense, but that you have to see for yourself to really know. For photographers, these landmarks offer the opportunity to capture that timeless beauty through their own lens, finding a tone and telling a story that relates their own unique experience. Fortunately, Kevin Sandlow, also known as Kayven found himself in a position to do just that. Choosing to document his time in Italy with a Canon 7D and an Olympus OM-1, Kevin’s classic black and white shots help further relate just how dope Italy really is. With stints in Milan, Florence, Venice and Rome, among others, Kevin was able to capture his surroundings gorgeously, and even learned a few things along the way. We asked Kevin to fill us in on the insight he picked up in his time abroad, for our most recent Q&A.

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BROKE

ESPN's 30 For 30 takes a look into a shockingly common phenomenon among former pro athletes

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I remember one day on the blue courts pretty vividly, when my fourth grade dreams of NBA superstardom were effectively squashed. It was a much wiser and more seasoned fifth grader, undoubtedly one with an older sibling, who dropped the bomb on me that the odds were pretty stacked against me in that particular pursuit. The staggering odds against most young athletes making a career out of it are something most of us come to terms with pretty early on in life. But I feel like until more recently, the assumption was that once you’d made it to the pros and raked in a few million, you’d be pretty well set up for the rest of your life, financially speaking.

The reality is, as plenty of sports fans now know, quite the opposite. According to a much-cited report from Sports Illustrated in ’09, 60% of NBA players end up dead broke within five years of retirement. In the NFL, where injuries are plentiful and careers are cut shorter, 80% are down and out by year three. The phenomenon is of course, pretty prime fodder for ESPN’s storied 30 For 30 documentary series, and for tonight’s installment, Broke ESPN asked director Billy Corben (of Cocaine Cowboys fame) to dig a bit deeper into the stories of the athletes who got breaded fast and lost it all. Among the better known interviewees are Andre Rison and Antoine Walker, and without having seen a minute of it, I’d say it’s safe to assume it touches a few things–the hazards of ballin, the pitfalls of bringing too many homies along for the ride, the challenges of money management. I can’t help but wonder what a Top 40 rappers version might look like.

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LIFE IN THE REAL WORLD

San Francisco based artist Christina Empedocles navigates the balance between creativity and practicality

Making it as an artist isn’t easy. Patience, dedication, talent, and perseverance are just a few of the qualities necessary for those looking to live off their creativity, and not go broke or starve in the process. Fortunately, Christina Empedocles has managed to navigate those challenges, finding her own niche in the ever-evolving San Francisco art scene, thanks to a talent for striking photographic realism. The body of work she’s amassed shows her evolution as an artist over time, channeling childhood memories and fleeting moments, turning the temporary and the transient into something more permanent. Now, having added a daughter to her growing list of creations, Christina’s evolution as an artist is ongoing. We had a chance to chat with Christina recently, where she shared some valuable insight on her creative influences, balancing art and family, and what it’s like to make ends meet doing what you love.

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THINGS WE SAW

We had an art show on Saturday. It was pretty fun.

I have to admit, we’ve come a long way since the Family Affair. Yet while our environments have changed considerably, many of the faces have not. In my eyes Saturday marked a small albeit significant shift in the evolution of Wine & Bowties. Because more than anytime before, Saturday truly was a Family Affair. To the wonderful artists who collaborated with us to share their work, to Louis and Hemisphere holding down the boards, it felt like there were good folks at every turn. Special thanks to Kellee and Co. for keeping the drinks flowing, and to everyone else that stepped through the doors. This was our second art show, not our last.

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FRANK OCEAN – “PYRAMIDS”

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The first Frank Ocean song I ever listened to was “Novacane”. Aside from just being a great song though, there was something about the storytelling that really stuck with me. There was this crazy sense of detachment about the whole thing, as if even as he was narrating in the first person, he was able to remove himself from the narrative, to see things from a bird’s eye view, or a director’s chair (“feelin’ like Stanley…Kubrick”). It’s a talent that kept resurfacing on the first album, and sure enough, when Nabil stepped into his own director’s chair for the “Novocane” visuals, he kept the song’s removed, hazy feel fully intact, with Frank sitting and reminiscing in the midst of a trippy, melty, out-of-body experience..

“Pyramids” once again finds that unique balance, and in a lot of ways, it almost feels like a sequel to that piece. The story all seems to come to us as a version of what’s flashing in front of Frank’s eyes, a Fear & Loathing-style blur of gunshots, menacing strippers and pretty lights, complete with a vision quest, desert mirage John Mayer guitar solo. And yet, through all that drugged-out, woozy haze and confusion, Frank somehow seems above it all, enough removed that it somehow feels like he’s both a character in the story, and the author weaving it all together. It’s something along the lines of Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation. Of course, there’s nowhere that balance delivers more powerfully than on Channel Orange, and I suppose it’s only natural. At a certain point, all great writers write themselves into the script.

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