Tag Archives: culture

Diddo’s Cocaine Skull

ImageCheck out this new piece by Diddo, who I previously featured because of his beautifully extravagant piece ‘The Cure For Greed’. This latest commission was for a private client, who I’m willing to bet is some kind of professional gangster, or at least likes to think they are. The skull is made of cocaine, held together by just a small amount of gelatin! Diddo Cocaine SkullChances are that you can’t afford to have an artist create a conversation piece for you out of something like cocaine, which is both illegal and expensive, but how about having your skull with a different kind of Colombian export?Skull Coffee You can easily get hold of some sugar skulls on Etsy, but these ones by Snowviolent are the best I’ve seen.Sugar CrossbonesSugar skullActually, I think I kind of prefer these because of the scale. I’m always impressed by tiny, intricately-crafted things.

“Touch Both Sides For Added Enjoyment”

ImageUrgh. Horrible advert for the PS Vita by TBWA France.

I’m not normally that fazed by the petty sexism that permeates the media and advertising. ‘Sex sells’, I get it…whatever. And while obviously women’s rights are still a more contentious issue today than men’s rights, I do appreciate that in the Western world men come under a fair amount of sneering, scrutiny and gawking from women, too.

Still, this advert by TBWA France really got under my skin. It’s not just the sentiment, it’s that it’s a pretty shitty piece of creative work anyway. “Touch both sides for added enjoyment”, it enthuses, underneath a picture of a woman with four huge tits, a tiny waist and no face. NICE! Great way of saying that women and their breasts are just there just to be touched for the enjoyment of others. Maybe Sony’s console is, but was there really any need to draw a parallel between a mutant woman’s body and an inanimate, electronic play thing?
“Ahh,” you might say, “but the thing is, they are trying to appeal to a core demographic here!” And what demographic is that, then? Predominantly teenage boys and young men – exactly the kind of ‘demographic’ who might benefit from being taught that women aren’t just there to be leered at and groped.
More astonishing still, is that the art director on this ad was actually a woman. This feels like a really cynical and patronising attempt to appeal to men. If women are going to perpetuate these types of images in the media and pander to what they – perhaps misguidedly – believe that men want, then how will these sinister messages come to an end? For men to treat women with respect, then surely we need to give them credit for being intelligent as well.

Shame on you, TBWA France. I thought that French men were progressive types who loved romance, and French women were feisty and cool? You Frenchies should know better! You’ve totally ruined Amélie for me, and Simone de Beauvoir must be turning in her grave…

The Bruce Lacey Experience

The weather turned out to be beautiful on Saturday, so I headed up to Hampstead for a wander, and to see the Bruce Lacey Experience at Camden Arts Centre.

“No artist should live in an Ivory Tower of aesthetics. The Artist should be at grips with his life, with the essence of life, not it’s superficial visual manifestations. He shouldn’t just be stimulating man intellectually, or emotionally, like a love potion or a panacea, for purely aesthetic motives. It should instead be awakening his conscience and his awareness of life as it is and what it is going to be, as we move forward to a very frightening future, where man’s very individuality and personality may be lost. It is the artist who must have his finger on the pulse to safeguard us all. For if he doesn’t, no one else will.” - Bruce Lacey, 1964.

The comprehensive retrospective documents Lacey’s career – which spans five decades – and features many of his characteristic robots, such as ‘Boy, oh boy, am I living!’ (above), and Rosa Bosom, Lacey’s flirtatious femme bot who won Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World competition in 1985.Fragments of Bruce Lacey’s life are also on display, from photographs and clothes, to anecdotes and notes. A hand-written notice invites passersby into the Lacey family home to join them for tea and watch Tarzan, and when Lacey recalls his childhood, it sounds so quintessentially British and fun, with trips to the seaside and fancy dress parties being a regular occurrence. I loved the post box dress! It’s such a frivolous piece of clothing, and looks like it could come straight out of a collection by The Rodnik Band or Jeremy Scott. Anyone who knows me personally, or regularly reads this blog, probably realises how much I’m into psychedelia and gig posters from the sixties. Naturally, I loved this collection of archival posters advertising Bruce Lacey’s past shows and exhibitions.

The current exhibition finishes on September 16th, but that means you still have just under a week left to catch it, and Camden Arts Centre is open until 9pm on Wednesdays. Go, go, go!

Book Porn

Remember the gorgeous library out of Disney’s Beauty & The Beast? Well, the good news is that places like this really do exist.If you’ve got a bit of a thing for libraries and books, then you should probably have a look at this amazing series by Christoph Seelbach. He’s shot some of Europe’s most enchanting libraries, and Austria appears to have the most. These libraries are mostly monastic libraries, so (fortunately) it’s unlikely that you’d be able to find any trashy books like Fifty Shades Of Grey. However, it’s also unlikely that I’d find any of the novels I’ve enjoyed over the years, such as The Death of Bunny Munro, Kill Your Friends, or A Single Man. Still, these are beautiful institutions and their vast shelves must contain some valuable and fascinating texts.

Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria
Admont Monastery Library, Admont, Austria
Kremsmünster Abbey Library, Kremsmünster, Austria
Melk Abbey Library, Melk, Austria

Serendipity

A few weeks ago when I went to see a private view at Eb&Flow, I ended up on a bit of an art crawl (in truth, it might have been more of a search for free alcohol) and happened upon a great new gallery on Great Eastern Street. Housed in a former brothel, The Great Eastern Bear gallery is a tiny little space that almost feels as though you’re in someone’s (very cool) living room. It’s only been open for about three months, and looks as though it’s definitely a place to keep an eye on. They’re currently showing the work of photographer Rich Hendry – who coincidentally owns the space – but when I was there, I was charmed by these delicate illustrations by Kareena Zerofos.

Last Thursday I went to the Luv Luv Luv records showcase at Birthdays in Dalston, specifically to see Splashh. Splashh were amazing and I had the most fun I’ve had at a gig for years, but an honourable mention definitely goes to Tashaki Miyaki, who were second on the bill. Although their live show couldn’t really be described as “fun”, their lazy, fuzz-drenched sound definitely rubbed me up the right way.

Do Not Disturb

As I’ve mentioned before, I bloody love Ellen Von Unwerth’s photography. Back in 2009, when she showcased her work for ‘Fräulein’ at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, I intended to go along and see it for myself. But as is the case for those of us who find ourselves pushed for time and money, and who are so often trying to align their schedules with friends who are similarly pushed for time and money, I ended up missing the show altogether. Much to my delight though, the legendary model-turned-photographer is now back at the Michael Hoppen Gallery. The new exhibition is called ‘Do Not Disturb’, and was shot at the curious Madonna Inn, Los Angeles. The rooms at The Madonna Inn are kind of hilarious, like a back catalogue of regrettable interior design trends over the years! Yet somehow, Von Unwerth has worked her magic, and through her lense the flamboyant themed rooms suddenly look boudoir-esque, retro and chic – beautifully complementing Von Unwerth’s distinctive style. Whether coquettish and gamine, or curvaceous and bold, Von Unwerth’s women always exude a blatant and irresistible sensuality. While her previous soft B&W shots evoked old Hollywood glamour, the saturated colours in Do Not Disturb look like what I’d imagine David LaChappelle might produce if he tried to create something subtle and tasteful…for a change.

‘Do Not Disturb’ runs until August 31st at The Michael Hoppen Gallery in Chelsea.

Primary Coloured Selfridges

Summer 2012 is supposed to be Britain’s moment. We’ve got the Jubilee and the Olympics, and in true British fashion we’ve got a fuck load of rain to go with it. Everyone’s trying to get in on the act, but at least Selfridges have done a decent job of it, truly evoking the glory years of cool Britannia with their Big British Shop concept store.

But why stop at blue and red, and leave out the Selfridges signature sunny yellow hue? In tandem with the launch of their Big British Shop, Selfridges have also reprised 2009’s The Big Yellow Shop. Everything Pantone 109 can be found there, so for those with sallow complexions – perhaps you’d better steer clear of any clothes that are stocked? Pantone 109 is definitely not my colour.

CCTV x OMA

OMA, the architects who designed London’s Commonwealth Institute, have finished the building for China’s main television station. In a country that is known for censorship and draconian policy, it’s spine-chillingly apt that the channel is called “CCTV”.

But China isn’t all surveillance, censorship and brutalist architecture!

To promote and increase tourism to a newly developed area in Huainan, the local government commissioned a building in the shape of musical instruments. The structure resembles a classical piano, and a giant transparent violin serves as the main entrance and staircase to the building. The purpose built tourist attraction, which is illuminated at night, also serves as a music facility for music students in a nearby college.

Yayoi Kusama x Lewis Carroll

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has collaborated with Penguin Books on a new version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Kusama has provided vibrant illustrations in her signature polka dot style. The video below shows how the classic story has been re-imagined…

Helter Skelter Launch Night!

Our launch night back in April was a great success. The photos from the night are below…