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Monthly Archives: January 2013

A young Ginsberg in 1953.Though not a great photographer in any sense of the word, Allen Ginsberg’s collection of photographs gleaned from his illustrious past give us a tiny glimpse into the world of counterculture in its halcyon days. The photos span periods of his life during the 50’s and 60’s, as well as his later years in the 80’s and 90’s. The only thing missing from this collection are the moments in history that Ginsberg witnessed and those which led him to become the great countercultural activist that achieved global recognition. It’s a little bit of a let down, but seeing shots of great writers and revolutionaries such as Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and muse Neal Cassady in mundane settings isn’t a total loss. Though their writings prove more incendiary than their documented lifestyles, these photographs take us back to an era where literature was being overhauled for a new, free-thinking generation, and the bohemian cultural revolution made it’s mark. Too bad Ginsberg didn’t capture some of the more poignant psychedelic moments, as they made their way across America and back in search of quantifying and transcending levels of consciousness. I would love to see the rest of them – the whole collection was exhibited primarily at the National Gallery of Art in 2010 entitled “Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg”.

To buy a copy of his book of photography, visit Amazon.

To see more photos by Ginsberg, check out the Allen Ginsberg Project.

A 1950s shot of Neal Cassady with a girlfriend in San Francisco.

A 1950s shot of Neal Cassady with a girlfriend in San Francisco.

A 1956 image of the writer Gregory Corso in Paris.

A 1956 image of the writer Gregory Corso in Paris.

A dissolute Kerouac in 1964.

A dissolute Kerouac in 1964.

Burroughs in 1953.

Burroughs in 1953.

Burroughs, left, making a point as Jack Kerouac listens intently at Ginsberg’s East Seventh Street apartment in 1953.

Burroughs, left, making a point as Jack Kerouac listens intently at Ginsberg’s East Seventh Street apartment in 1953.

From left, Bob Donlin, Neal Cassady, Ginsberg, Robert LaVigne and Lawrence Ferlinghetti in front of City Lights Books in San Francisco in 1956.

From left, Bob Donlin, Neal Cassady, Ginsberg, Robert LaVigne and Lawrence Ferlinghetti in front of City Lights Books in San Francisco in 1956.

Ginsberg’s paternal grandmother, Rebecca Ginsberg, in 1953.

Ginsberg’s paternal grandmother, Rebecca Ginsberg, in 1953.

The painter Larry Rivers in 1985.

The painter Larry Rivers in 1985.

The poker-faced Burroughs standing next to a stone chimera in the Egyptian wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1953.

The poker-faced Burroughs standing next to a stone chimera in the Egyptian wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1953.

The view from Ginsberg’s kitchen window, taken in 1984.

The view from Ginsberg’s kitchen window, taken in 1984.

braun-5-600x450Judith Braun has come a long way since her famous 1994 blue penis installation for the “Bad Girls Show” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York which threw feminists in an uproar. Her evolution began in the 80’s when she was consumed by realism in her paintings, deftly creating gorgeous works that featured translucent skin and heavenly realms. Once she found that her “faith was in art more than angels”, she moved on to a reductionist technique of photocopying her previous paintings and adding text to them, forcing them into a new socio-political context. After dealing with a period of domestic violence, the next step would be to focus on text, and language in particular, with much sexual and racial emphasis, embracing political correctness to the extent that she changed her married name at the time from Weinman to Weinperson.

In 1992, she broke free from her previous works and created a 30 foot tall vagina to sit in a chapel niche at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. Entitled “The Sacred Order of the Burning Bush”, it received a positive response from the public, as it wasn’t “in your face” and was only recognizable when seen from a distance. The blue penis followed shortly after, and summoned a new shift in evolution in her life, tearing her away from creating art for a period of time, where she was obligated to work in other fields in order to make ends meet.

In 2003, after feeling that she had lost a large part of herself, she re-evaluated her life at an annual tarot card reading and reconnected with the inner artist. She moved into her studio to save money and immersed herself into finding the right form of personal expression. By drawing on her previous metamorphosis, she re-entered the world of art and exhibition with her “Symmetrical Procedures” drawing project, and began to work in a more tactile format, simply using her fingers and paint. The symmetry and simplicity combine to create some incredibly stunning works. A true inspiration to artists everywhere that proves that no matter who you are or where you are in your life, the spirit of art will always burn bright in your soul, and expression will guide you through your life, and grant it new meaning.

To find out more about Judith Braun, and check out more of her work, visit her website.

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30_2005painting3Michael Sieben’s illustrations have always been a favourite of mine. He’s been a staff writer and illustrator for Thrasher Magazine since 2004, peppering their pages with all forms of awesomeness and hilarity, and partnered with Stacy Lowery to found the super-fantastic Roger Skateboards brand in 2008. Aside from that, he’s one of the founding members behind Camp Fig Gallery, which lasted from 2002-2006 and is one of the founders of Okay Mountain Gallery in Austin, Texas since 2006.

His extensive collection of work has been showcased around the world, including major markets such as London, Japan, Mexico and Peru. As an illustrator and designer, he’s focused mainly on the wonderful world of skateboard subculture, and has worked for huge clients like Adidas, Bueno Skateboards, MySpace Secret Shows, Toy Machine, Upper Playground and Volcom Stone to name just a few.

Recently, Gingko Press and Upper Playground published a book of his artwork entitled There’s Nothing Wrong With You (Hopefully.) I’m dying to get my hands on this one – it’s available at Amazon, as well as on the Gingko Press website, and copies are flying off the shelves, so I better act fast.

To see more of Sieben’s wicked work, check out his website.

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What better way to kick off 2013 with some really dope skate art created out of recycled materials. Japanese artist and avid skater Haroshi is making his mark in the art scene by transforming used wooden skateboard decks into three dimensional sculptures that evoke popular skate themes. By fusing the decks together, cutting them into mosaics, then assembling the pieces and carving away, he’s developed a technique that gives each piece a very intricate and colourful one-of-a-kind pattern based on the revealed layers. A lot of the used decks were even once owned by pro team riders. How cool is that?

To find out when and where his next show is, visit his website.


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