Now It’s A Coaster.

Thomas Chung in his workplace. Photo by Kyle Clayton.

Thomas Chung in his workplace. Photo by Kyle Clayton.

There’s a terrific article about North Anchorage, Alaska artist Thomas Chung, who will be exhibiting tomorrow at Becky Gallery October 7, reception 5 – 8 p.m.

With a background in cultural anthropology, Chung combines symbols from various myths and stories along with contemporary brands like Coke and Jägermeister
“There’s something kind of funny about Jägermeister,” Chung said as he held a rubber circle mat with the deer and cross logo. “He’s that saint who was a hunter and ran into a deer and this glowing, crazy cross appeared and that’s how he found God. Now it’s a coaster.”

The full article is here. You can see more of Professor Chung’s work here.

The Box.

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Ron Amato has a kickstarter for his project, a book called The Box.

Focused on themes of isolation, desire, conflict and empowerment, Ron Amato’s photographic series and upcoming book, The Box, speaks to human experiences of self-discovery and community building. Using a series of boxes to create visual metaphors, Ron echoes his development from adolescence to adulthood through over 100 color, and black and white photographs. Evoking first his youth in Brooklyn, New York during the 1960s and 1970s, moving through his coming out as a gay man and to his present position as a respected professional photographer and teacher, Ron creates a vivid portrait of struggle and triumph.

Individually the photographs evoke powerful responses. However, they achieve the scope of their power only in relation to each other.

Reflecting the square of the boxes in the photographs, this 96-page book is designed in a 10-inch square format. It has a hard cover and dust jacket. It is available with an embossed, cloth covered slipcase at specific pledge levels. The printing will be of the highest quality from a renowned Italian printing house.

You can read and see more here. Ron Amato’s website: http://www.ronamato.com/

Les Diners de Gala.

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Published only once in 1973, Les Diners de Gala was a dream fulfilled for surrealist artist Salvador Dali who claimed at the age of 6 that he wanted to be a chef. The  cookbook pairs 136 recipes over 12 chapters (the 10th of which is dedicated to aphrodisiacs) with the his exceptionally strange illustrations and collages created especially for the publication. The artworks depict towering mountains of crayfish, an unusual meeting of a swan and a toothbrush in a pastry case, and portraits of Dali himself mingling with chefs against decadent place settings. Recipes include such delicacies as “Thousand Year Old Eggs”, “Veal Cutlets Stuffed With Snails”, “Frog Pasties”, and “Toffee with Pine Cones”.

…Despite the unusual ingredients and preparation methods, many of the old school recipes in Les Diners de Gala originated in some of the top restaurants in Paris at the time including Lasserre, La Tour d’Argent, Maxim’s, and Le Train Bleu. Lest you think anything in the book might be remotely healthy, it offers a cautionary disclaimer at the outset:

We would like to state clearly that, beginning with the very first recipes, Les Diners de Gala, with its precepts and its illustrations, is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of Taste. Don’t look for dietetic formulas here.

We intend to ignore those charts and tables in which chemistry takes the place of gastronomy. If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once; it is too lively, too aggressive, and far too impertinent for you.

…Only around 400 copies of Les Diners de Gala are known to survive, most of which sell for hundreds of dollars. However Taschen has finally made this rare book available for the first time in 43 years as a new reprint currently available for pre-order.

Via Colossal Art.

Dickhead.

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This wonderful piece of artwork was brought to my attention by Daz, and I’m so grateful. This was done in 1536. Makes you want to smile, doesn’t it? Makes me laugh, because I think we’ve all had at least one “OGNI HOMO ME GUARDA COME FOSSE UNA TESTA DE CAZI (Every man looks at me as if I were a dickhead)” moment in our lives.

Artists, no matter when they were active, never cease to delight me. If there’s one thing to be sorry about in having a relatively short life, it’s that I won’t be around to see all the delightful artwork which will abound in the future. The importance of art cannot be underestimated, this is vital to us, to our humanity. It’s often quite good for fostering and embracing rebellion, too, even the tiny ones.

Sunday Facepalm: Piss Christ, Still Pissing Off Priests.

Immersion, Andres Serrano.

Immersion, Andres Serrano.

“Christ immersed in urine”  “To depict Christ in a bucket of urine”

Before we get anywhere at all here, I just need to yell a bit about the above idiocy. That’s manufacturing hysterical drama. No one went back in time, found out whether or not Christ actually existed, then kidnapped him, dunked him in a person sized bucket of urine, took his photo, then sailed back to the current time. It’s a cheap plastic crucifix in a glass of urine. Encouraging cheaper and cheaper versions of religious icons wasn’t Serrano’s idea, that belongs to the church. It’s also on the church that it was some sort of good idea for people to carry and wear a miniature execution device. Dunking a bit of plastic gimcrack into a glass of piss is not at all the same thing as dunking an actual person or god (if you can find one) into a bucket of piss without their consent. Okay, on to the outrage:

Now the American’s most infamous image – P*** Christ [sic] – will be shown at a politically-charged exhibition called Torture at the Void Gallery on October 8.

The exhibition also features images depicting the Hooded Men – a group of 14 men arrested at the height of the Troubles and, according to the European Court of Human Rights, subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. In 1987, Serrano received international attention for P*** Christ, igniting heated debate on the freedom of artistic expression and the public financing of controversial artworks. The image will go on show in Derry along with a second piece from the Immersion series, Black Supper, a dark re-imagining of da Vinci’s Last Supper.

A photo from the exhibition entitled 'Torture' by Andres Serrano.

A photo from the exhibition entitled ‘Torture’ by Andres Serrano.

Rev Roger Higginson of Coleraine Free Presbyterian Church said the artist’s desire to shock could be his way of hiding a lack of talent.

Oh lord. Here we go.

He added: “Men like these artists are actually quite cowardly because they make a mockery of Christ in a way that they wouldn’t if it was Mohammed or the Muslim faith because that would put them in danger.

Oh for fuck’s sake, not this bullshit again. Is this idiocy never going to die? As for Immersion (Piss Christ) being a mockery, it wasn’t intended that way by the artist, it actually had to do with the cheapening of religious icons. A great many people didn’t perceive of it as mockery, either. If the Muslim faith encouraged followers to festoon themselves with a cheap plastic instrument of execution, with someone hanging on it, I’d be happy to dunk it in some piss and photograph it. We’re once again faced with the particular idiocy of pretending that we’re talking about a different religious belief, too. Same basic story, same basic beliefs, same god, so please, shut up.

“It is easy for people like him to take a cheap shot and mock Christ, mock Christian people and mock the Bible.

Really? Like you’re making it easy? People who actually take the time to mock Christianity often find themselves in danger, subjected to death threats and massive harassment from the so-called faithful flock. You don’t even need to indulge in actual mockery. Just saying something Christians don’t like is often sufficient. It’s ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

“His depiction of the Lord is offensive, not just to me as a man but it offends me greatly because this is how he portrays the Lord who gave up his life for all of us and this artist has thrown that sacrifice back.

Sigh. The sacrifice was thrown back. I’ve heard that before. How? Exactly how does it do that? It sounds suitably dramatic, but I suspect it doesn’t actually mean one damn thing. It’s true enough that El Shaddai is a nasty, mean, petty minded asshole of a god, but y’know, his kid is supposed to be a tad better on that stuff. So maybe Jesus wouldn’t be all that concerned. Also, this sort of isht coming from a religion which openly states someone who did truly horrible things would get the standard “get out of hell free” card makes this outrage as sturdy as wet paper.

“If you consider artists like Leonardo da Vinci or Rembrandt, they didn’t set out to shock people or be controversial because they had real talent and their work spoke for itself. Perhaps if, as an artist you need to shock and cause offence and outrage to get your work noticed, it may be because of a lack of real talent.”

Hahahahahaha. Oh my. Someone doesn’t know a gosh darn thing about art or artists. If we must talk about a lack of talent, the priesthood seems to be a profession for people remarkably lacking in any meaningful talent. How about we have that chat? There’s a good deal more outrage and asterisked spelling here, I’ve had my fill. The exhibition launches on October 8 at 7.30pm and runs until December 17, at Void Gallery in Derry.

Indigenous News Round-up.

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The Immortal Mr. Plastic.

Excerpts only, click links for full articles.

barack_obama On My Final White House Tribal Nations Conference, by President Barack Obama:

This week, I hosted my eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as President, a tradition we started in 2009 to create a platform for people across many tribes to be heard. It was a remarkable testament to how far we’ve come.

It was just eight years ago when I visited the Crow Nation in Montana and made a promise to Indian country to be a partner in a true nation-to-nation relationship, so that we could give all of our children the future they deserve.

winonaladuke-e1336873224811  Slow, Clean, Good Food, by Winona LaDuke:

In an impressive fossil fuels travel day, I left the Standing Rock reservation and flew to Italy for the International Slow Food gathering known as Terra Madre. A world congress of harvesters, farmers, chefs and political leaders, this is basically the World Food Olympics. This is my fifth trip to Italy for Slow Food. I first went with Margaret Smith, when the White Earth Land Recovery Project won the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity in 2003, for our work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering. This year, I went as a part of the Turtle Island Slow Food Association- the first Indigenous Slow Food members in the world, a delegation over 30 representing Indigenous people from North American and the Pacific. We have some remarkable leaders, they are young and committed.

It is a moment in history for food, as we watch the largest corporate merger in history- Bayer Chemical’s purchase of Monsanto for $66 billion; with “crop protection chemicals” that kill weeds, bugs and fungus, seeds, and (likely to be banned in Europe) glyphosate, aka Roundup. Sometimes I just have to ask: ‘Just how big do you all need to be, to be happy?’

tribal_chairman_jeff_l-_grubbe_agua_caliente_band_of_cahuilla_indians_main_0  Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Donates $250,000 to Standing Rock Legal Fund:

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is donating $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s legal fund, citing the need to keep pushing for proper consultation even after the Dakota Access oil pipeline issue is decided.

“We support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s effort to ensure the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or any other agency or department of the United States, strictly adheres to federal environmental review and tribal consultation requirements prior to authorizing any projects that may damage the environment or any sites that are of historic, religious, and cultural significance to any Indian tribe,” said Agua Caliente Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe in a statement on September 27, calling on President Barack Obama to make sure consultation is thorough.

3-fiesta-protest-woman-with-sign_dsc0508_widea  Natives Speak Out Against the Santa Fe Fiesta – The Bloodless Reconquest:

A loud group of about 50 mostly Native protesters disrupted the Entrada kickoff event of the Fiestas de Santa Fe. This is the annual reenactment of Don Diego de Vargas’s “peaceful reconquest” of Santa Fe in 1692 as produced by Caballeros de Vargas, a group which is a member of the Fiesta Council, and several current and past City of Santa Fe Councilors are members of the Fiesta Council or played parts in the Entrada over the years. So these are layers you must wade through when people ask questions and protesters demand changes. And changes or outright abolishment of The Entrada are what the groups “The Red Nation” and “In The Spirit of Popay” are asking for.

climate_news_network-binoculars-flickr-aniket_suryavanshi  Dire Climate Impacts Go Unheeded:

The social and economic impacts of climate change have already begun to take their toll—but most people do not yet know this.

Politicians and economists have yet to work out how and when it would be best to adapt to change. And biologists say they cannot even begin to measure climate change’s effect on biodiversity because there is not enough information.

Two studies in Science journal address the future. The first points out that historical temperature increases depress maize crop yields in the U.S. by 48 percent and have already driven up the rates of civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 11 percent.

big-pix-rick-bartow-counting-the-hours ‘Counting the Hours’ By Rick Bartow:

Rick Bartow, a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot, walked on April 2, 2016, and had suffered two strokes before he passed. The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts reports that those events affected his work, and it can be seen in his collection as “exciting examples of Bartow’s production since his stroke… that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.”

Born in Oregon in 1946, Bartow was never formally trained in the arts, though his artistic nature was encouraged and he did graduate from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education in 1969. Right after that he served in Vietnam from 1969-1971, and it was demons from that war that he spent his early years in art exorcising. He says he was “twisted” after Vietnam and his art can be described as disturbing, surreal, intense, and visionary; even transformative.

harney_peak_renamed_black_hills_peak_-_ap_photo  Celebration of Forgiveness at Black Elk Peak:

On a recent Autumn Saturday in the Black Hills, a handful of men and women gathered at around 9 a.m. at the Sylvan Lake trailhead just below Black Elk Peak. By 10 a.m., they numbered close to 80.

“The focal point of our gathering was to have family members of General Harney have an opportunity to apologize to members of the Little Thunder family,” said Basil Brave Heart, Oglala Lakota, an organizer of the event. Brave Heart initiated and led the effort to change the name of this highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.

Among those standing in a circle that morning was Paul Stover Soderman, a seventh-generation descendant of General William Harney, known as The Butcher of Ash Hollow, and to the Lakota as the architect of the same conflict, known to them as the Massacre at Blue Water Creek. Soderman had come to apologize to Sicangu descendants of Chief Little Thunder, the Brule leader of those murdered in that conflict, and to seek forgiveness and healing.

All this and much more at ICTMN.

Opus Anglicanum.

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Opus Anglicanum means English work, and this embroidery was sought after, for good reason. Maureen sent me a brief article about a recent show at the V&A in London. I dare say there aren’t many textile artists and embroiderers who aren’t familiar with medieval Opus Anglicanum work. It’s quite clear why it was so sought after, and much of the work survives in dazzling glory. I know someone who does this type of work exclusively, and the name of their blog is opusanglicanum. Now, I have no doubt, that to many people, this would be a dry, dusty subject. That’s fine, no one is obligated to ooh and aah over everything.

English work was highly sought after by the royalty, as it were, of religions. Much of the work that survives today is religious garments for high ups in a church, these certainly weren’t garments for your bog standard monk or priest. The Toledo Cope is just one example of not just stunning hand work, but the wide and rich array of story telling done one a single ceremonial cloak:

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I could go on about this, it’s an amazing part of history, but I’ll let everyone choose their reading and oohing and aahing. Oh, I do want to mention they have a special event today I’d love to go to, about the Game of Thrones Hardhome Embroidery. They also have curator talks, workshops, and symposia as well as the exhibition. I could stay lost in there for weeks, I suspect. http://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/opus-anglicanum-masterpieces-of-english-medieval-embroidery

All that excitement, all that vibrant history, all that amazing art work, and yet, one reviewer found it all rather terrible, because the emphasis wasn’t on Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Seems you can’t appreciate medieval art work of any kind unless you’re under the thrall of religion, which makes it all blossom forth, because really, the art is only so so without the added power of god. Pretty sure I don’t need to detail my opinion about that. Mr. Jones also seems to be of the rather odd opinion that it’s obvious the god stuff is so much better, because “mysteriously”, it’s the religious garments which survived the best, whereas few secular pieces survived well. *Coughs* Well, that would be because ceremonial garments weren’t worn all that often, and they were scrupulously taken care of, and stored very carefully in between wearings. After a religious person, such as a bishop, died, those garments were usually whisked off to a museum or other careful storage. There’s no goddish mystery there. The equally stunning and richly embroidered work done for kings and their courts, well, regardless of how splendid, they were every day clothes for those people. Naturally, they were going to see more wear, especially if people were in the habit of dashing off to war in said clothes. I also imagine there were more opportunities for theft in the vastness of royal courts.

Ah well, each to their own. Mr. Jones can wax on about god, while I’ll continue to be absolutely fascinated by the art work produced by those medieval hands.

Spurs Jesus for President.

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Instagram will soon be blessed with San Antonio’s latest piece of photo opportunity art, a mural of — and by — Spurs Jesus, on the exterior wall of Tito’s Mexican Restaurant.

The holiest Silver and Black superfan, who has a local discipleship of his own, is the subject and co-artist of the “Spurs Jesus for President” mural, at 955 Alamo St.

Spurs Jesus told mySA.com he and local artist, Carlos Cantu, finished the mural, designed by Ray Scarborough, late Tuesday night.

Like the “I love tacos so much” wall, by Luis Munoz, there is a higher purpose for the Spurs Jesus piece.

He told mySA.com the installation is sponsored by the St. Anthony Hotel and Alamo Brewery. The two businesses will donate $1 for each photo taken of the wall and posted to social media with the hashtag “#SpursJesus4President.” The challenge lasts until Election Day, Nov. 8, and will benefit The Paseo del Rio Association, dedicated to preserving and protecting the San Antonio River Walk.

The mural is also part of Spurs Jesus movement to “keep San Antonio great” and “puro.”

“I’m excited to bring another fun piece of art to San Antonio,” Spurs Jesus said, adding he hopes the mural becomes a “fun way to lighten up” the U.S. Presidential race.

Sharing a mural photo is also good for your appetite. Spurs Jesus said Tito’s will give a 10 percent discount to customers who show proof of their social media posts.

Surely, a Spur Jesus presidency would have room for taco trucks on every corner.

Via My San Antonio. That’s a Jesus I could get behind, and if I was in the area, I’d be taking advantage of that discount, too.

Wonder Woman Confirmed Bisexual.

Greg Rucka said Wonder Woman’s queer identity was important to the narrative. Photograph: Frank Cho/DC Comics.

Greg Rucka said Wonder Woman’s queer identity was important to the narrative. Photograph: Frank Cho/DC Comics.

Wonder Woman is queer, her writer has confirmed: “I don’t know how much clearer I can make it”.

Greg Rucka, who worked on Wonder Woman for DC Comics throughout the 2000s, returned to DC Comics this year for the new Rebirth series commemorating her 75th year in print.

He told the comic news site Comicosity the character had “obviously” been in love and relationships with other women, as has long been speculated by fans.

Wonder Woman is known as the warrior princess Diana in her homeland of Themyscira, an island populated only by Amazonian women.

The confirmation was met with celebration on social media.

That said, Rucka then goes on, practically choking in his need to say this doesn’t mean there should be any sort of queer storylines, no. I suppose acknowledgement is a good thing, but representation sure would be nice. Really nice.

Full story at The Guardian.

Kim & Kim: Interview with Magdalene Visaggio.

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Science fiction stories are nothing new. It’s a pretty sure thing modern geeks have traveled to and from the stars many times within the pages of a comic book, novel, or in their favorite TV show or movie. At this point, space is no longer the final frontier; it’s as familiar to comic books readers as a superhero’s cape and tights.

So it’s truly rare and exciting to discover a story that can add a new element to the sci-fi genre. Thankfully, four-issue limited series Kim & Kim is just such a story. Published by Black Mask Studios, written and created by our trans writer Magdalene Visaggio, with art by the straight/queer team Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aquirre, Kim & Kim mixes space-faring action, with salty language, humor, and a female buddy adventure with a trans lead character.

In short, this outer space comic book series with a decidedly queer- and female-centric tale is what our modern culture needs. The Advocate was happy to chat with writer/creator Magdalene Visaggio to discuss Kim & Kim, the importance of featuring an authentic trans character, her upcoming work, and what to look forward two in the final two issues of the series.

The Advocate has an in-depth interview with Magdalene Visaggio, good reading, and if you’re new to Kim & Kim, now’s a good time to catch up!

From Trash to Animals, Wow!

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Instead of contemplating a series of sketches or attempting to envision how an artwork will come together, Portuguese artist Bordalo II (previously here and here) begins each of his animal sculptures in a grimy hunt for raw materials in junk yards or abandoned factories. Car bumpers, tires, door panels, mountains of malleable plastic bumpers, and even entire vehicles are stacked and bolted to the sides of buildings to resemble everything from pelicans to foxes and tiny rodents. The pieces grow on-site, taking form as he interprets the available materials. As a final detail each animal is finished with a flourish of spray paint that bestows a near lifelike quality.

Through his art, Bordalo II hopes to draw attention to our culture’s uncontrollable production of waste. “The idea is to depict nature itself, in this case animals, out of materials that are responsible for [their] destruction,” he shares with Colossal. In this way he hopes to make environmental destruction more visible. “Sometimes people don’t recognize that their simple routines are too much, we are using too many resources too fast and turning them into trash, waste, and pollution.”

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Bordalo II was one of many artists recently involved with the Unexpected art project curated by JustKids in Ft. Smith, Arkansas where he created a new fox and opossum. He also constructed a flying squirrel at Street Art Jam 2016 in Estonia, and several pieces for the Aruba Art Fair. You can follow his recent work on Instagram.

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Via Colossal Art.