50/50.2

The gist of Project Loop's 50/50 fundraiser is to raise the money to build a skatepark and a community center for the youth of Taylor, TX. Have no interest in helping out the kids of a town you have no connection to? Fair enough, at least give the massive auction a thorough browsing because there are decks being offered by the likes of Matt Groening, Jon Contino, Sasha Barr and Andy Vastagh... to name but a sliver of the talent involved.

Good causes with great art. Done and done.

A Fox Running Loose In The National Portrait Gallery

I've been seeing a link making the rounds of "A Fox Loose in the National Portrait Gallery" - supposedly a wild fox who found it's way into the gallery and was caught on the security footage. The reality behind the link is that it's an project from Belgian artist Francis Alys. To be fair, the piece is exactly as the headline reads - a fox running loose in the national portrait gallery. The only difference between potentially viral link and the art project is that the fox was meant to be there.

You can watch a summary of the piece here or the entire 20 minute capture here. It makes for some phenomenal screengrabs.

Prize Pins

They may be simple but these Prize Pins are surprisingly awesome. I wouldn't think a vintage style metal pins would grab my attention this much but I'm kind of smitten. I love loads of offerings from the main collection - Black Tooth, Do Not Disturb, Applause, Panther.. all right up my alley.

Beyond that, they also have design collaborations that are equally great. The Jean Andre collection is, unsurprisingly, sold out but there are plenty from the Tim Lahan collection to procure.

This is a lot of words for something so simple but each one is deserving of plenty more. via Golden Fiddle.

Dia:Beacon

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of heading upstate a little bit and vising the Dia:Beacon art gallery. It's actually an old Nabisco factory that's been painstakingly renovated into an art space for large art installations. The building is one of the first (if not the first) to renovate an old industrial space for contemporary art and they did a helluva job. The rooms are gorgeous. Some of the art certainly dives into that realm of contemporary where you're not quite sure what you're seeing - is this art? Is this a blank canvas? Is everything art? You know, those sort of pretentious questions that turn a lot of people off. Despite that, there are installations from the likes of Richard Serra, Dan Flavin or Michael Heizer that you just aren't going to see in a regular sized room.

Long story short, if you're the type that likes to take day trips while visiting NYC - this is a properly recommended one.

Watch Mood Indigo

If you have not seen it yet, please do yourself a favor and watch Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo. It has all the aspects that you expect from a Gondry movie - plenty of in-camera tricks and forced perspective - but also has an emotional depth that he only manages to capture every so often. I'd go as far as to say the movie is emotionally intense but that's far better than being fluff. You can snag it here and curl up with it over the Thanksgiving break.

JerkFace NYC

The past few days I've been familiarizing myself with the works of Jerk Face - an NYC street artist known for co-opting classic cartoon characters into huge murals. The depictions of the characters are pretty spot on but the mild alterations he applies gives them a chaotic and strange vibe - in the best of ways. He just opened a show at Bottleneck Gallery and I'm going to do my best to stop by but his Instagram and website is more than enough to occupy the eyes for some time.

Friday Videos - Nov 21st, 2014

Listen, I know there's a playlist of videos here that is just begging for your enjoyment and distraction but have you been paying attention to the changes over at Giphy? They launched Giphy TV and now I'll basically never get anything done ever again. But I digress... Don't forget to watch that Mount Sharp video and have a damn fine weekend.

Jon Contino 2014

By now, you are undoubtedly well aware of the works of Jon Contino. His empire of brands - Contino Brand, CXXVI, Past Lives - all manage to be compelling and different in their own right. And, somehow, beyond creating all those things he's also a ridiculous craftsman with lettering, illustration and layout.

So, that's the broad primer but the real nitty gritty is his recent official site relaunch. He shares a whole lot of new work and process pieces to go along with each. Be sure to check out his major campaign for The Book of Life, his end titling for Boardwalk Empire and his restaurant branding for Home of the Brave.

Rattling on about his aesthetic and his ability to execute it so well is old news. Just dive into it.

Universal Media Keys

I will admit, when I first encountered Sway FM's Universal Media Keys extension I was skeptical. My pessimism got the best of me and I assumed it was buggy as my previous experiences with keyboard remapping have rarely been pleasant. Fortunately, as usual, I was wrong. The software does just what it claims - allows you to use your built-in keyboard audio controls for playback of all sorts of web destinations - primary Soundcloud, Mixcloud and Bandcamp for me.

Maybe I'm getting a little too niche here but as an avid OSX / Chrome user, I really appreciate the ability to not have to find whatever tab is making noise and quickly try to mute it. Get it.

Crazy Eyes (Live-ish)

Mount Sharp recently released a new video for "Crazy Eyes" that cuts together performances from TT the Bear's in MA, Cake Shop in NY, Asbury Lanes in NJ and Casablanca Cruise Lines in ME. Yea, that's right, they played a boat. It's a solid representation of the goodness that is a Mount Sharp show and, of course, it's a nice way to showcase their EP Weird Fears, which you can get here.

Will Bruno

It's difficult to encapsulate the work of Will Bruno into a single representative image. It's best to dive into a full series of work - Comics with Still Life: Finding the Inevitable Place is a good spot to start with as it gives you an idea of the kind of variety he's offering. There are bits of sculpture, more traditional leaning still life paintings and pieces that seem to straddle the line between visual journal entries and comic book.

He's also got some more straightforward illustration offerings like these MOCAD pieces that should be suitable to appreciate the man's skill. Go follow his blog and maybe even his inspiration blog.

Tomy Toy Robots

Josh recently clued me in to this massive archive of Old Robots. I can't even begin to describe the ridiculous amount of documentation here covering industrial robots to movie robots to toys - it's rather unbelievable. However, I will suggest taking some time to browse the Tomy Toy Robot collection from the 1980's. Designs like Mr. Money and Robie Jr are quite familiar but there are other delights like Kitbot or Hootbot in there that I was unfamiliar with.

As rudimentary as some of these may seem there doesn't seem to be a huge progression between designs of the 80's and something like a Furby or even Asimo - one could argue they have similar foundations. Even if you disagree, you can enjoy in their designs and ability to make something cute out of something so seemingly cold on paper.

The Art Is Not Yours

I'm a big fan of Austin Kleon. Period. His art is interesting, his books are fascinating and his insight into art is both simple and worthy of note. This hand scrawled note about the preciousness of art may seem obvious on the surface but it's often hard to remember when you're working on something and feeling quite precious about it.

Being inspired is one thing but actually acting on that inspiration is another. It's good to remember that the process of loving the creation is every bit as important - if not moreso - as putting it out into the world.

Also be sure to read this Steve Albini quote that's right along the same lines.

Amie Siegel - The Sleepers

Similar in theme to the Gail Albert Halaban series I posted last week, this series of voyeuristic images from Amie Siegel - The Sleepers - is right up my alley. Unlike the Halaban series, these images are culled from a 16mm film documenting the observations and are certainly not art directed or setup beforehand.

Is it somewhat creepy? Is it a violation of private space even if your windows are wide open to the world? These are the questions being posed! And the answers are certainly an interesting discussion to have.

Venture

I know zilch about Alvin Risk beyond the fact that he's an EDM artist. And, moreso, one that seems to understand the power of a good community powered art project to augment his audible releases. I know a similar small amount about Venture, a collection of five songs and five artist redentions of variations on the same theme. This piece from Andrew Archer is my favorite among the group. I recommend checking out the other variations but diving deep into the Archer portfolio is the real gem to be found here.

Geoffrey Farmer

I found myself browsing some galleries this weekend thanks to a visitation from Mr Jeremy Okai Davis and encountered a massive installation by Geoffrey Farmer at the Casey Kaplan gallery - preview that show here.

Farmer dabbles in a lot of different media - photography, video, even a little audio but he's definitely found his niche with the series of paper cutouts. He's done previous shows that featured LIFE magazine images in an equally grandiose and more chaotic way. It's some form of collage sculpture installation hybrid that I'm quite entranced by.

Magnum Archive Unearthed

Magnum Photos is a lot of things but, at the core, it's a collective of passionate and talented photographers - founded by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour - that's been documenting our planet beautifully since 1947. The recently asked several of their members to dive into their archives and release a new photo - something from the contact sheet that they'd just not published - and share it with the world.

You can see many of the results from this 'Archive Dive' here (and more here and here). I can't seem to find the official collection anymore but I highly suggest jumping around to see these beautiful images and their backstories.

Friday Videos - Nov 14th, 2014

It's a weird one this week. I don't know what happened but the offerings that came my way this week were either strange or adorable but quite entertaining. Enjoy! Have a great weekend!

Suzanne Ciani: A Life In Waves

Take a moment to watch this trailer for Suzanne Ciani: A Life in Waves - a, hopefully, forthcoming documentary about a pioneer in electronic music that often gets overlooked. She's responsible for the "Pop and Pour" Coke sound effects as well as this rad theme song for Atari's "Liberator." Seriously, listen to that song now.

She did a ton more than that but that should be enough to convince you to give the Kickstarter a fair shake. Her career story in a world of music that was almost entirely unknown to the world at large through an industry largely dominated by men is nothing short of fascinating.

TMBG Instant Fan Club 2015

I haven't consistently listened to TMBG for a few cycles now. They will always hold a fond place for me but the recent music hasn't grabbed me in the same way (self-titled through John Henry is unflappable). Despite that, I am absolutely floored by this Instant Fan Club that they recently announced. For $98 you get 52 new songs, two tickets to a show, three CD's, a DVD, a t-shirt and two basal wood airplanes. There's another, slightly more expensive, tier that includes vinyl of the new music, an autographed copy of Flood on vinyl and a pretty badass commemorative coin.* It's a very smart move on their part - fully leveraging their audience to set them up for success for an entire year before said year has even begun. Granted, this works best for a band with a fervent fanbase that's been doing their thing for 20+ years but that doesn't make it any less interesting of a thing.

I'm continuously impressed by the flux of the music industry and how artists find their a way to traverse themselves to a solvent monetary solution. Good on you TMBG.

* There's also a cheaper tier of just digital downloads but that's slightly less compelling to talk about