Phebe Schmidt Photography
In the hands of photographer Phebe Schmidt, everyday objects are set against backdrops that make one do a double take. With a refined and polished style, she highlights ideas of consumerism and stylized beauty through the recontextualization of mundane props as well as the exploration of "plasticity", or the ability of an object to shapeshift with its environment. The resulting works feel curious, having an effect similar to staring at something for so long that it begins to feel unreal by nature, its fine details becoming confusions within the mass of its existence. "My aim is to draw the viewer in with bright cheesy colours and curious props; on second glance, they realise that something is not quite right -- floating razors or a melting block of cheese often placed together with a profiled product," explains Schmidt, who gathers a number of props specific to each shoot, chosen both for their aesthetic and conceptual values.
Phebe Schmidt Photography

REDEFINE magazine and Holocene host FANTASTIC BABY: The Opulent Kingdom of Contemporary K-Pop, a K-Pop music videos gallery and discussion panel on the following topics: - Repeated motifs and common techniques in filming contemporary K-pop videos: a technical analysis - The rise of colossally sized K-pop idol groups with 10+ members - Eroding...

HealeyIsland On Ponzi Bridge White Label MusicFrances Fukuyama's book The End Of History, published in 1992, went directly against Jacques Derrida's Spectres of Marx, predicting the global triumph of Capitalism and of the Spectacle. Greg Healey's music, as HealeyIsland, is the soundtrack of sprawling shopping complexes and virtual dating sites. This is the world predicted by Walter Benjamin, in his unfinished Passagenwerken (The Arcades Project): the birth of the pop culture, the beginning of the shopping mall, of commerce, of virtuality. It's the simulacrum's smug satisfaction that it is real, that it has it all under control, under wraps. It's a dustbin museum, full of never-ending card catalogs, everything dated and numbered, and we are told to go pilfer, go explore. But the museum is not real life; Healey remembers the outside, the sunshine and dirty gutters. Healey both pays reverence to and makes a mockery of high-definition, high-gloss early-'90s CGI utopianism in On Ponzi Bridge. Healey loves and hates the spectacle, and fights back with the keenest of British weapons: sarcasm.
 
"We do not want to please, we want to question the Knife." - Olof Dreijer, in the manuscript for the group's latest album, Shaking The Habitual.
From the heavy-handed manuscript and bio written to accompany their first album in seven years to the album's eye piercing artwork, The Knife pull no punches in making sure the ideology behind Shaking The Habitual is made clear. And while it's not always executed gracefully, the two Swedish siblings certainly remain a relevant force on this indoctrinating album. What's most difficult to ignore upon first glance is Shaking the Habitual's expansive track listing. Clocking in near 100 minutes, with a 19-minute track positioned squarely at the center, Shaking the Habitual is an album bent on perturbing even the most dedicated of listeners. And herein lies the major crux of the album, the very essence of The Knife which allows them to differentiate from their peers: Shaking the Habitual is not music written for escapism; it's a social enigma masquerading as music. Instead of something to enjoy, "to please" as Dreijer put it, Shaking the Habitual rails against every conceptual conceit in modern music. Or at least that's what The Knife want you to think.

 

Dictators! Love them or hate them (philosophically-speaking), it's hard to argue that a Communist aesthetic a la Mao Zedong or Joseph Stalin doesn't have a compelling color palette and welcome vintage grain associated with it. Perhaps in spite of themselves -- or perhaps not -- illustrators and artists the world over are constantly reinventing these iconic images of humanity's most well-known leaders; the question is why. Andy Warhol included Mao in his collection of silkscreened works in 1972. Since then, many artists have followed in his footsteps to reimagine the dictator's face and place. In this post is a mix of classic images of China's Mao Zedong, alongside new interpretations of his distinguished mug and some philosophical ramblings.

Up through the end of this week at Carmichael Gallery in Culver City (5795 Washington Blvd.) is a globe-trotting exhibition with a somewhat street art lean.

Bumblebee

The appearance of materials such as stencils, spraypaint, and unconventional installation materials makes sense when one considers the curator of the show is none other than Los Angeles street artist Bumblebee -- an individual that really runs with his moniker to create miniature beehives and models that he attaches to abandoned phone booths. In this group show, he pulls his work off the street and into a gallery setting. What is perhaps most impressive about the curation of this show is that beneath its sophisticated facade, each and every artist knows how to get down to the nitty-gritty and how to take his or her works to the street. Perhaps this quote can serve as a fitting summary for this show:
"There are many artists in the urban / street art movement. For this show, each artist was selected based on his or her unique voice and ability to push the boundaries of the genre, while remaining true to its origins." - Bumblebee

Hyuro

Valencia by way of Buenos Aires artist Hyuro makes drawings which blur the lines of where individuals begin and end. A heavy aspect of this all-in-oneness lays focus on hair, which she textures delicately and with great dimensional purpose. Expect a post soon about her street art brilliance.

Dave MacDowell is a self-taught artist who creates some extremely detailed works centered around pop culture icons. Fast food brands, movie actors, and commonplace logos show up time and time again in his pieces, but that doesn't really mean that his works are boring or derivative. They're chaotic, colored in...

"That’s the thing I like the most ­ -- structuring something that normally wouldn’t have very much structure to it, carving something out of nothing, and making it better as a template for the next artist to use." -- Michiko Stehrenberger...