Lil Buck dancing through Fondation Louis Vuitton

Lil Buck dancing in Fondation Louis Vuitton

Black people making their own forms of art in art museums is nothing new (just ask Beyoncé) and Lil Buck’s performance shares another common theme: Paris.

In a short film by Andrew Margetson, Lil Buck dances through a tour of the Shchukin collection at Fondation Louis Vuitton and explains his history of dance and performing art.

As performing artists and as dancers, we see everything as art.

Lil Buck

My favourite part—albeit a morally dissonant one—is when Lil Buck performed in front of Picasso’s “Three Women”, less so for the artist but more for the juxtaposition and colour tones.

It’s a beautiful film that demonstrates multiple forms of modern art from different eras.

About Fondation Louis Vuitton

The building of the Louis Vuitton Foundation (known in France as “Fondation Louis Vuitton”) opened in October 2014 and was designed by Frank Gehry. The foundation itself was started in 2006 as an art museum and cultural centre and runs as a nonprofit.

Located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the building overlooks the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne and has featured exhibitions of the following artists:

The foundation’s collection explores four categories (Contemplative, Pop, Expressionist, Music & Sound) and contains 330 pieces by 120 artists at the time of writing including Mark Bradford, Barthélémy Toguo, and Omar Victor Diop.

Credits

  • Starring: Lil Buck
  • Director: Andrew Margetson
  • Director of photography: Martin de Chabaneix
  • Editor: David Webb
  • Music: Evgueni & Sacha Galperine
  • Executive producers: Marieke Tricoire, Christelle Tastet

The adventurous art of Pat Perry

Pat Perry

The itinerant life is coveted by many but it isn’t for everyone. The main obstacle is the insecurity of hopping from place to place without a home to return to every night; it’s there but not always within arm’s reach. But for Pat Perry, that has been a source of inspiration, even if that means being held at gunpoint and getting arrested.

Who in the world is Pat Perry?

Pat Perry was born in Michigan but now lives in Detroit, working itinerantly according to his website. He has worked with the likes of the BBC, Twitter, and Atlantic Records and could have worked for even bigger brands but turned them down telling Communication Arts, “I only want to make work that reflects what I care about.” He expanded, discussing the time he rejected a $40,000 offer to work with Taco Bell:

“I would never judge anyone harshly for taking work like this, and even for me, it was a hard situation I mulled over because I could have used the money, but I just don’t want to be remembered for that. Maybe it would have been a flash in the pan, but maybe I would have become the Taco Bell guy.”

Pat Perry - Detroit, MI, 2016
Detroit, MI, 2016

Some of his influences include Max Horkheimer and Friedrich Nietzsche, and philosophy has a significant influence on Perry’s work, particular in his processes:

“Sometimes I just run away […] It is how I get to be alone and be a silent observer for a while.”

Mixed media

When Perry isn’t sketching, he paints on panels and walls. His acrylic work borders on the hyperreal, depicting the regular lives and scenery of the USA. His outdoor works have taken him to the corners of the earth, with murals in Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, and Iraq. What strikes me about his work is how considered and thoughtful it is. For an American to paint a mural in Iraq and for it to complement the surroundings so well is astonishing and refreshing.

Pat Perry - River Friends, 2018, acrylic on panel, 64” x 49”
River Friends, 2018, acrylic on panel, 64” x 49”

Pat Perry’s work evokes and provokes. You feel safe in his creative world, with the soft, earthy palettes, and representations of humanity in its rawest forms. But his paintings and illustrations demand your attention as you search for unseen artefacts and subtle details. Every piece has a story to tell and you’ll want to cosy up to it to fully enjoy the experience.

Follow him on Instagram.

The breathtaking street art of Odeith

I love any kind of graffiti or street art so these kinds of illusory murals are right up my alley (pun intended).

Odeith is a Portuguese street artist and regarded as a pioneer of anamorphic graffiti, an art technique that uses projection and vantage points to give the illusion of a larger 3D imagery.

He was born in 1976 and started his love affair with street art in the 80s, doodling on the walls of Damaia. But the 90s saw his first forays into graffiti as he spread his work across Damaia and the wider areas of Amadora in Portugal.

With his work, Odeith creates incredible works of art depicting giant spiders, frogs, and even cockerels. But how does he do it? Freehand. Well, mostly. The Lisboeta says before he works on a big piece, he uses a computer to preview his designs.

But words don’t do his work justice so check out Odeith’s website, his Instagram and his Facebook page.

Rashayla Marie Brown's scathing review of Virgil Abloh’s "Figures of Speech"

I’ve always been sceptical of Virgil Abloh. I “get” his work but it’s not for me and it’s not a coincidence that his artistic ascension coincided with Kanye’s, arguably his biggest collaborator.

So when I read Rashayla Marie Brown’s review of Abloh’s “Figures of Speech” exhibition, I felt vindicated. And Brown was more eloquent than I would have been.

She started by questioning the lack of critiques of his work to begin with (I’m aware this is a critique of a critique that questions the lack of critiques but stay with me down this rabbit hole).

Besides the press in the New York Times about Abloh’s meteoric fashion career and a cursory review of the exhibit in Architect’s Newspaper, we have not had any meaningful criticism that contextualizes Abloh’s contributions, how exactly his collaborations developed, and what the actual impact of his design is on issues of racial representation in the art and design fields.

The rest of the review analyses the exhibition and how the forms of black art are nothing more than tropes.

Where Instagram celebrity status has produced a new cultural producer hell-bent on monetizing time and false relationships, Abloh’s in-person engagements are more important than the artwork itself, a conundrum touched upon by the numerous events and sites that occasion the show.

While looking through the photos taken of the exhibit, I felt the same sentiment as Jay Post, a member of Young Chicago Authors when he said: “man, he claimed to be representing us, but instead he just gave us a big ass billboard.” The work fell flat in regard to black presentation. It’s just another ironic work of Abloh art. I’m surprised he didn’t reduce the exhibition to a banner with “BLACK” written on it in Helvetica.

But the final paragraph really cuts deep, like a hot knife through butter.

Abloh’s work complains about White supremacy in fashion and then sell products designed to uphold the financial and material oppression of one group over another through collaborating with companies such as Nike and Louis Vuitton. This is the fashion equivalent of saying you don’t eat Harold’s, while we can see the grease dripping down your chin.

(Photo credit: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.)

The POSCA Pen wizardry of Oskunk

oskunk

One of my favourite artists is Keith Haring. His ability to create art anywhere made his work accessible to anyone. It courted controversy within the art world when he was alive and that only enhanced his appeal to me.

Oskunk offers a similar approach to his art. Based in Paris, the French artist combines video games, Japanese manga, graffiti, and comics to create incredible typographical pieces.

He started out in 2007 after viewing a custom art exhibition and started out by customizing a NES. He uploaded the result online and requests came flooding in. Now, Oskunk prefers paintings using a “tag cloud” aesthetic with comic book style typographic mixed with art from his pool of pop culture inspiration. And he’s mean with a Posca pen too.

But talk is cheap in art. Let’s take a look at a few of Oskunk’s best works.

Customised Wario Gameboy

Customised Wario Gameboy

I’m a sucker for customised Gameboys (I’ve even made some myself). This was the first Oskunk custom design I saw and it’s glorious. He brightened up a beaten-up yellow Gameboy DMG with a cool Wario Posca pen design.

Undead Magneto Pop Figure

Undead Magneto

Oskunk transformed a plain pop figure into a bright but frightening undead zombie Magneto with the help of his black Posca marker and some brilliant paints. It certainly looks better than the newer X-Men movies.

Calavera Iron Man

Calavera Iron Man

This stunning render strips Iron Man down to a monochrome palette with a Mexican calavera design. Can you imagine Antonio Rígido (Tony Stark translated to Spanish) as a luchador?

Lindt Bunny Skeleton

Lindt Bunny Skeleton

Following on from the macabre theme is this quick custom job on a Lindt bunny. Ever wondered what a Lindt bunny skeleton would look like? Well, now you can. (No bunnies were harmed in the making of this piece and the chocolate bunny does not contain any bones.)

Thanos

This spectacular work uses just six Posca markers on black paper. Thanos’s rendered face is amazing in its use of negative space but the star of the show is the typographical gauntlet, made up of the Marvel heroes’ names.

Create your own art with these tools

Want to try your hand at making great art? These are some of the resources you might need (please note, these are Amazon affiliate links. For more information, please read our Disclaimer page):

Oskunk on the web

Instagram | Shop | Twitter | Website

The surreal animations of Wong Ping

Jungle of desire by Wong Ping

Chinese culture site Goldthread made a video about Wong Ping, an animator from Hong Kong. He’s a 34.4-year-old and started out in broadcasting before founding Wong Ping Animation Lab in 2014.

According to Wong, he stumbled into animation “by chance” while retouching images in his old job. He began creating stories and animations in spurts of boredom and during his free time. He says works within the limitations of his skill and attributes his “lack of ambition” as the reason for short films.

But even if the images are ugly, I want to make sure it’s a beautiful kind of ugly.

Wong Ping

But that hasn’t stopped his work from featuring in places such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, and the Arts Centre Melbourne. His work depicts the nature and behaviour of humanity in their “repressed obsessions and unfulfilled desires”. Wong’s animations are surreal in style and in the openness of the subject matter – it’s shock and flaw.

Wong says people think his cartoons are ugly because of their perception of animation. But hey, people think brutalism is ugly. He likens himself and his artistic expressionism to that of a comedian. His works are sketches in the comedic sense and finally asks “in the end, is it all just about being funny?”

You can stream the whole interview below and check out Wong Ping’s work on Vimeo.

His ‘Ugly’ Cartoons Made It to the Guggenheim

The gorgeous art of Japanese illustrator Hiroshi Nagai

Hiroshi Nagai

Whenever I listen to Broken Wings by Mr Mister, I have this vision of a warm sunny Saturday afternoon in 1994, drenched in vivid colours. Little did I know that aesthetic had already existed a decade before thanks to Hiroshi Nagai.

The Japanese painter grew up in Tokushima Prefecture and started his career in King Terry’s studio and made a name for himself in the early 80s. His depictions of West Coast America during the 50s worked wonders during Japan’s economic boom from the 80s. There was also a new genre to tie it all together: City Pop.

The easiest way to explain City Pop is to imagine soft rock meeting soft pop with sunshine and swimming pools. And sprinkle a bit of the 80s as a garnish. Metaphors aside, the genre was very popular in Japan and Nagai’s poolside paintings were the perfect visual aid.

Hiroshi Nagai - 6/9(sun)雨…まだふってない?最高気温21℃最低17℃、3ねんまえにアメリカにおくった絵 (from Instagram)
6/9(sun)雨…まだふってない?最高気温21℃最低17℃、3ねんまえにアメリカにおくった絵 (from Instagram)

Some of his influences include Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali, but pop art also had a significant effect on his art.

“Without American pop art I would not have to start painting the way I did. This experience made me paint my summer skies as deep blues from that point on. That said, surrealism was also a big influence, and of course hyper-realism.”

Hiroshi Nagai

Nowadays, we have genres like vaporwave that take cues from that era but more akin to the 90s and with more digital effects than paint and brushes. Hiroshi Nagai’s artistry is still coveted by many including myself.

Hiroshi Nagai - Pacific Breeze
Hiroshi Nagai – Pacific Breeze

Where to get Hiroshi Nagai prints

You can get “unofficial” prints from Amazon, Redbubble, and Society6. There was the MAGIC STICK collab from their Spring/Summer 2018 collection (if you can find an item from it). In that, the Japanese street label tapped up Nagai to design their limited capsule collection, including tees, jackets and vinyl bags.

(via The Vinyl Factory)

The wonderful art of Upendo

upendo

Who is Upendo?

Upendo Taylor was born in Watts, California but moved to New York to make the city “his canvas” according to his website. He draws inspiration from everything in his life and puts them back into his art in the best possible way.

His aesthetic has covered topics such as pop culture, cartoons, and his love of hamburgers with different media like hand drawings, painting, and computer designs.

Leroy Jenkins!

In 2005, Upendo teamed up with Ron Upperman to create their Leroy Jenkins clothing brand (named after the infamous Leroy Jenkins meme). The biggest endorsement of the brand came from Jay-Z who wore a Leroy Jenkins cap in 2012.

Upendo has worked with the likes of Adidas, Burton, Gatorade, Stones Throw Records, and Black Milk over the years and he’s one of my favourite modern artists and artistic inspirations.

Some of Upendo’s work

UPENDO ART

Modern Art - It's More Than Just White Paintings

Why these all-white paintings are in museums and mine aren't

The fact they’re white is more than a little poignant. Vox asked the question “Why do all-white paintings sell for millions of dollars and end up in museums?” The answer isn’t “because high art is pretentious and has a serious problem with diversity and inclusivity” as I’d have hoped.

Instead, Elisabeth Sherman of the Whitney Museum of American Art said “there is much more to these paintings than meets the eye, and while you could have painted one of these priceless pieces of art, you didn’t” (quoted from the Vox video description).

While I agree with the latter, the former feeds into the general pretension of modern art. A lot is inferred but the reason behind some works of art could just be “I liked how it looked” without a need for a deeper, hidden meaning. But that would devalue otherwise mediocre white art, wouldn’t it?

40,000 Movie Posters Under The Sea with Posteritati

Anatomy of a Murder 1959 Poster

The store/gallery is based in New York where you can purchase everything from a 1960s Swiss Scene Card of Casablanca for $150 to a 1933 Argentinian King Kong poster for $75,000.

Batman Returns poster
Batman Returns poster

As well as posters, Posteritati also sell books. The ones that caught my eye were Art of the Modern Movie Poster (2008) and The Independent Movie Poster Book (2005). If I was a rich man, I’d buy so many posters (and maybe a Fiddler on the Roof poster.)

Find more on the Posteritati website.

(via Kottke.org)

FilmGrab: an archive of movie stills and potential memes

FilmGrab

What is FilmGrab?

FilmGrab started out as a personal archive for its creator, Donnacha, and soon turned into a treasure trove filled with nearly 80,000 images from over 1000 movies. The images are free to use for personal use (and we love a site with free to use images) and one of those uses could be for memes, for example. With so many films to choose from and a wide range of genres, there’s bound to be something “memeifiable” in there.

Of course, these kinds of sites cost money to maintain and Donnacha has created a Patreon if you wanted to pledge to the cause. We strongly recommend you do.

No matter what you use FilmGrab for – providing it’s not for commercial purposes – you should appreciate the time and care taken by both Donnacha and the filmmakers themselves in creating cultural showpieces.

FilmGrab | Twitter | Facebook

A Gold Experience

tutankhamun

For my 10th birthday, I got a Gameboy Color. I cried when I unwrapped it because a few months prior, my original Gameboy DMG was stolen along with 10 games. I also got a gold cover for it but I’ve yet to find another since.

Gold is the colour of extravagance, wealth, riches, and excess. It’s also a colour of prosperity and grandeur and that’s why it’s one of my favourite colours behind red and green.

Here’s a series of images showcasing the gold experience in all its splendour. And if you like all things golden, you should check out how it can make your broken pottery look even better.

The Wonderful Art of Jonny Wan

Based in Sheffield, Jonny Wan’s work covers everything from “advertising to product packaging and beyond”. As you’ll see, he likes bold patterns and shapes with plenty of nods to Art Deco.

He also graduated from the Manchester School of Art in 2008 and has gone on to work with the likes of Apple, Nike, and The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Being an illustrator can be a very up and down career, where one month can bring a flurry of jobs in and the next one can be dead. It’s important to remain committed and to not forget why you chose illustration in the first place.

Interview with Jonny Wan on Crazy Animal Face

(all image rights reserved by Jonny Wan)

Nottingham Contemporary: A Review

Nottingham Contemporary

I’ve been in and around Nottingham for about 17 years. My sister moved in 1995 to attend Nottingham Trent University and I’d visited plenty of times. I lived in Luton at the time so it was the only city I’d regularly visited that wasn’t Bradford – my old hometown – or London. It was my choice of destination for university in 2008. Alas, that didn’t end so well and I left but I returned in 2014 and I’ve been here ever since. My voyage to Nottingham Contemporary was only the second Nottingham landmark I’d visited in my life. I was eager to go.

Where is Nottingham Contemporary?

The building is nestled within the city’s Lace Market, a protected heritage area, formerly the epicentre of the world’s lace industry during the British Empire. The modern cladding is significant in design contrasted with the surrounding architecture but in celebration of the area’s history, the building has been embossed with a lace design. At night, it shines like a beacon; a brutalist monolith bursting with cultural light.

The exhibitions

You’re graced with the gift shop upon entering (more on that later) but for my visit yesterday, there were two exhibitions. The first, FOXP2, was from French artist Marguerite Humeau. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011 and shows at the Palais de Tokyo, MoMA and the V&A, this was quite an acquisition. FOXP2 was inspired by conversations with zoologists and other biological experts and comprises of two installations. Grunts and primitive murmurs fill the dark corridor leading to Gallery 1. They form the components of a sound installation; “a ‘choir’ of 108 billion voices, re-enacting the moment when the gene – FOXP2 – mutated, allowing our ancestors to develop language”. The longer you stay, the more elaborate and developed the noises become.

Marguerite Humeau - FOXP2
Taken from nottinghamcontemporary.org

Then from the darkness, you become enveloped in a pinkish hue of light. The second installation is what Humeau describes as a  “biological showroom” of elephants. A series of elephant sculptures tell differing takes of life and bio-engineering. I strongly recommended using the guide to gain a better understanding of both installations. Poignant and brooding, FOXP2 leads to questions of existentialism, not only for the planet but for ourselves as human beings.

Gallery 2 features the second exhibition by Nigerian artist, Otobong Nkanga. The gallery also holds two separate installations as part of the exhibit. Taste of a Stone is a microcosm of boulders, pebbles and flora, intended to be used by local artists and visitors to share their experiences. The interactivity of the exhibition diverges from the modern interpretation of the word, retreating to the basic natural world as opposed to the technological.

The second room contains The Encounter That Took a Part of Me, an examination of the Earth around us through its environment and the fruits of its labour. The wall is emblazoned with a mural, starting with a steel framework, gradually decaying with rust before meeting depictions of neural passages and finally cracks in the earth and accompanying bronze canvas. There are also sculptural displays showing the varying examples of environmental change – rust, condensation.

Otobong Nkanga - Taste Of A Stone
Taken by myself

And then there was the gift shop. Usually a superficial part of a museum with its overpriced knick-knacks but this was different. Much different. The selection of books was diverse, from art and architecture to philosophy, music and a wide range of children’s books. There are also postcards and other stationery on offer at affordable prices. I picked up a double pizza cutter in the shape of a 1950s race car (there’s method behind this apparent madness but if you want to know more, ask me on Twitter) and a book of essays on the work of Michael Jackson. The exhibitions had enriched my cultural mind but the gift shop served as a fin parfaite to the experience.

The privilege of a museum visit

When I was about 13, after much nagging, I finally got the chance to visit Legoland in Windsor. I had wanted to go for ages and the visit came as a surprise. We reached the gates and the anticipation was palpable. But I never crossed the threshold. Why? Too expensive. I’m much wiser now when it comes financial reasoning so I completely understand but of course this upset me no end and I sulked for the remainder of the trip. My mother grew impatient with my attitude. Eventually, she snapped and uttered the now-immortal sentence:

“Do you know how privileged you are?”

The short answer to that was “no” but I now understand what she meant. I hadn’t appreciated all the holidays abroad and museum visits in my childhood. Some of my school friends had never been on a plane. Nottingham Contemporary encapsulates the wonder of cultural exploration and growth I took for granted in my younger years. I took my 10 month-old son who seemed less enthused by the exhibitions but he has to start somewhere and he seemed to enjoy the lights at least. I won’t be turning my back on this place.

Recommended reading, links and footnotes

The Super Realistic Art of Charles Bierk

His work includes large-scale portraits of his friends that you’d swear were actual photographs. They aren’t. Charles Bierk has been painting since childhood and is the son of late painter David Bierk. Photorealism is one of my favourite branches of art. I’m engrossed by the detail and dedication to every stroke. The longer you look, the more photographic they appear.

My eyes refuse to believe they’re not photographs and that’s the beauty of Bierk’s work. It’s fair to say Canada knows a thing or two about great art.

(via Booooooom, full work can be found at charlesbierk.com)