Meet Katie Austra Stelmanis. Katie didn’t know that her middle name means goddess of light in Latvian mythology until someone brought it up recently, but it makes a great name for a band – in Stelmanis’ words “its ambiguous.” Austra, who is due to release their first full length album entitled Feel It Break next week, is one part gothic, wagnerian siren Katie Stelmanis, one part brooding, angst ridden bassist Dorian Wolf, and one part high school outcast, black lipstick wearing drummer with a resentment for all cool people Maya Postepski. I don’t know any of these people personally, not in the least, but you can just feel it in the music – especially in the songs Villain or Darken Her Horse. Feel it Break is the kind of album that plays when you head back to your apartment, and you realize you’ve forgotten to pay the gas bill in ages and its cold as shit, and you decide to break all the pictures of your girlfriend, and then it still plays, faintly in the background, on a radio maybe, as you spend the night shivering – knowing full well the meaninglessness of life.
“…as you spend the night shivering – knowing full well the meaninglessness of life.”
As if to live up to the record’s name Stelmanis’ voice could very well break your heart more than any girlfriend could. In a powerful, heart twisting contralto, Stelmanis’ voice soars violently-but-sweetly above a digital backdrop that gives both a sense of longing and an uncontrollable urge to tap your feet. Wherein the record seems like a large abyss with plenty of high places to jump to your death – it is also extremely danceable, cathartic, beautiful, strange, weird, and a little surreal. (READ MORE >>>)
In 1963 Andy Warhol was on the cusp of fame when patron of the arts Florence Barron commissioned a painting that would become a seminal work of art in a nascent pop art movement. Barron purchased the self portrait, in which Warhol photographed himself in a photobooth and silkscreened the image onto a four panel canvas, for $1,600 – in installments. After a heated 16-minute bidding war the self portrait was ultimately won by an unnamed European collector who agreed to pay the $38.4 million.
The 2011 Hyères festival of fashion and photography in Southern France has come and gone. Swiss designer Émilie Meldem, who won this year’s Special Jury Prize, makes a unique and remarkable statement. Émilie Meldem “takes her inspiration from her native Switzerland, which she transposes into an isolated country, caught between modernity and tradition, restriction and freedom, fragility and strength. This duality results in a form of minimal eccentricity, which is at the same time decorative and radical.” (SEE MORE PHOTOS >>>)
Francois Boucher “Lady Fastening Her Garter” of “La Toilette” 1742
An exhibition at the Getty in Los Angeles, entitled Paris: Life & Luxury, “evokes the rich material ambiance of Paris during the mid-18th century. It brings together a wide variety of objects—from candlesticks and firedogs, to furniture and clocks, dressing gowns and jewelry, musical instruments and games—all from elite society in Paris, the fashion and cultural epicenter of Europe at the time.” On view until August 7. www.getty.edu
Steve McQueen may have died thirty years ago, but his eternal cool has not. You can start the bidding now, but on Saturday the auction is on – from McQueen’s famous 1971 Husqvarna 400 motorcycle to a wooden trunk of personal effects. In conjunction with the third annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering, Bonhams & Butterfields will conduct a live auction of authentic Steve McQueen artifacts. The auction takes place May 14 2011 at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California. www.bonhams.com
Ilona in the pool, photography by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Autre Quarterly….
Benjamin Péret was a founding member of surrealism, a card carrying surrealist – if there ever was such a thing – and he was Salvador Dali’s favorite poet; as well as a revolutionary and a rabble rouser who stirred the pot of literary movements as well as political ones. Péret, like his writing, led an almost automatic life. Entering world war one in order to avoid persecution for defacing a statue and whilst in a fox hole one day he discovers the writings of Dadaist Guillaume Apollinaire - a Dadaist poet who coined the word surrealism. After the war Péret found his way in to the heart of the burgeoning surrealist movement and subsequently into the heart of its founder Andre Breton. The surrealists found it best to stay close in the early years of its founding in order to protect their brilliant, insane, and sometimes infantile visions of the world – a vision that if proclaimed by a solitary person would most likely lead to confinement for insanity in a world that saw if perfectly fine without all the sliced eyeballs and flying tigers.
“…a smorgasbord of automatic writing.”
But Benjamin Péret was one of the only surrealists, beside Andre Breton, who stayed a surrealist even after the mirage wore off. Péret’s Leg of Lamb: Its Life and Works, which is available now on Wakefield Press, is a “foundational classic of Surrealist literature.” Almost entirely written in the 1920s, Leg of Lamb is a collection of brilliant, absurdist visions - twenty-four narratives in short prose - a “smorgasbord of automatic writing.” Visit the the Wakfield Press website and pick up a copy for your collection – its a must for your library. www.wakefieldpress.com
This summer, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York presents David Bowie, Artist, a multi-platform retrospective re-framing Bowie’s daring, multi-discipline career as that of an artist working primarily in performance. From his roots in such performance-based practices as cabaret, mime, and avant-garde theater, to Ziggy Stardust, his revolutionary tour that synthesized theater, music, and contemporary art into a rock spectacle, as well as his innovative video collaborations, and his work in cinema and theater, David Bowie, Artist presents Bowie as one of the most iconoclastic cultural producers of the 20th century. On view until July 15th – www.mademuseum.org