Olaf Breuning, Emmanuelle 2009
Jesse McLean, Magic For Beginners 2010, 20 min video
Ten artists are a part of a group show entitled Magic For Beginners at P.P.O.W. Gallery in NYC–including Bas Jan Ader and Olaf Breuning. “Their works concern themselves with an intensely personal present tense, with lives lived and documented in real time. These works are inward, solipsistic, and in some instances, similar to an occult experience or an exercise in ritualized revelation.” Magic for Beginners is on view from July 28 to August 27. www.ppowgallery.com
photograph by Walker Evans, 1950s
Painter Lucian Freud dies in London at 88.
Matt W. Moore, the brain behind MWM Graphics–a design and illustration studio based in Portland, Maine–just released his numerically controlled poster series; a collaboration between engineer Aaron Panone, Paper Fortress Films, and MWM Graphics. Aaron Panone, who engineered the jig explains, “Vector graphics are converted into a tool path and then a machine language which controls a 3-axis CNC Machine retrofitted with a special fixture that holds a marker [a sharpie] and mimics hand pressure during the act of drawing. Thirty-three mechanical drawings in three designs were produced using this process.” Each drawing comes with one of the Sharpies used.
Robert Lesser began collecting pulp paintings, comic books, and comic-character toys in the 1950s. As a student at the University of Chicago, Lesser’s literature studies combined with his fascination with popular culture kindled his interest in studying and collecting pulp art and comic memorabilia….In 1975 he wrote A Celebration of Comic Art and Memorabilia, an informational collectors guide; in 1997 he published Pulp Art: Original Cover Paintings for the Great American Pulp Magazines, a full-color collection of pulp paintings and history that includes expert interpretation. The style of artwork created for pulp magazines is often compared to Norman Rockwell’s cover designs for the “Saturday Evening Post,” but the character of the paintings was quite disparate from Rockwell’s jovial depictions of everyday life. Pulp Art flaunted unsettling images of violence, racism, sex, and crime. The publishing houses that produced pulp fiction such as Popular Publications, Street & Smith, Condé Nast, and Frank A. Munsey Company destroyed much of the artwork produced for the magazines after printing. The images weren’t suitable for display in homes or museums so artists and auctioneers deemed them worthless. Tens of thousands of pulp paintings were created, out of which only a small number survive today.The 90 works on display at the Museum of American Illustration are now a part of the collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art, promised gift of Robert Lesser. Now on view until July 31. www.societyillustrators.com
Berlin-based artist Marc Brandenburg (born 1965) has recently emerged as one of the best-known draftsmen of his generation. Influenced by the pop and punk culture of the 1960s and 80s, Brandenburg’s graphite drawings document Berlin’s subversive nightlife, portraits of friends or extremely zoomed-in details of banal, ordinary objects. Brandenburg is fascinated by the velocity and movement in the scene images of today, but also the simplicity and beauty of a laconic Christmas ball, for example, or a fairground carousel. He deliberately makes use of these fast images only to freeze them, in black and white, by means of a lengthy, obsessive drawing process. Brandenburg draws from his own photos and images from magazines, which he distorts using a photocopier, converts to negative images with the computer and then traces. These reversals have a stunning effect: portraits or images distorted to the point of abstraction take on an intensity and sharpness that alienates the subject while lending them a ruthless precision at the same time. Nevertheless, Brandenburg does not believe in the power of the ultimate, singular image – instead he often hangs his drawings close together in a manner that resembles film sequences. According to Brandenburg, it is through this series of images that a dialogue emerges between the individual pictures: “It’s about what cannot be depicted; it’s about the aura, the spaces in between.” Marc Brandenburg: Drawings is now on view at the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Germany until October 9. www.hamburger-kunsthalle.com