London showcases the best of Bernstein


As photography succumbs to its fate as the art form of the everyman, illustration has once again hit its stride as a relevant and precious medium, embraced with gusto by the fashion world. Where once New York held the vital pizzazz of names like Tony Viramontes and Antonio Lopez, it seems today London has picked up where the Big Apple left off, with William Ling’s Fashion Illustration Gallery in Mayfair leading the pack as a hub for talented illustrators young and old. Celebrating their 20th century heroes amidst a crop of new talent, FIG opens its 2014 summer show this week with an exhibition celebrating the seminal works of the American artist and illustrator (and Studio 54 regular) Richard Bernstein. Bernstein’s painted, sliced, and stenciled celebrity designs graced the covers of over a decade’s worth ofInterview Magazine issues from 1972 into the mid-’80s.

Bernstein’s designs were often mistaken for those of Warhol (who would have turned 86 last Wednesday), but, as Warhol himself exclaimed: “Sometimes people think I do the cover ofInterview. Well, I don’t; I haven’t the time. But Richard Bernstein’s faces are wonderful. They’re so colorful, and he makes everyone look so famous.” Often crafted from celebrity portraits photographed by the likes of Herb Ritts and Albert Watson, Bernstein’s works evolved the hyper-coloured, pop aesthetic of the magazine’s early years—his shading, collage, and airbrush methods transforming the likes of Diane Keaton, Mick JaggerAretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Matt Dillon, and Elizabeth Taylor into dazzlingly graphic incarnations. “It’s interesting that some of the biggest photographers of the era were prepared to have their photographs painted over,” [...]


You’re One Orgasm Away From Sanity


Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.

The preoccupation of conforming to either of these powers reaffirms the binary relationship between them. Whereby the existence of pleasure at any given moment decreases the existence of pain and vice versa. Considering them as one, allows for a varied response to the states of play and torture. Pain as a state of sexual pleasure is a well-documented phenomena; bodies reveling in the limitations opposed by the tools of inhibition no longer instills fear into the hearts and minds of the ordinary. Sexual pleasure as a cure for pain is lesser known and unlike the former is often categorized as a short lived chemical experience, wherein the release of oxytocin promotes a sense of calm and a state of well-being. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) the Austrian psychoanalyst was famed for developing methods to harness the powers of pleasure and he preoccupied himself with the functionality of sexual satisfaction.

 

 

In his book The Function of the Orgasm (1927) he concluded that ‘there is only one thing wrong with the neurotic patients: the lack of full and repeated sexual satisfaction.’ To Reich sexual repression could be shed and a ‘genital utopia’ could liberate and revolutionize the masses. It was always a question of geniality, but not of impulsion as he has so often been misread in advocating. It was not about ‘free sexual expression’ and ‘obeying the impulses’ of desire, nor about constant masturbation or sexual gratification, it was about realising an individual morality or what Reich termed, a ‘non-natural existence.’

 

It was believed that ‘natural’ morals are concerned with the following values; sex is desirable if one is with a partner they love, promiscuity and perversion are insipid and pornography is [...]


A Chat with Miki Vialetto, Co-curator of Time: Tattoo Art Today

Since “Time: Tattoo Art Today” opened on July 3rd at London’s Somerset House, the exhibition has been redefining the way the public views tattoos and their creators. While the exhibition focuses upon tattooing, it has departed radically from recent shows by featuring artworks that, while created by tattooers, are not tattoos. Predicated upon tattoo’s growing popularity and influence into mainstream art culture, this exhibition explores how some of the most influential tattooers of the last thirty years have been creating work that re-imagines the medium of tattoo and its artistic potential.

For the exhibition, the co-curators, publisher Miki Vialetto and tattooer Claudia De Sabe selected 70 tattooers–including Chris O’Donnell, Horiyoshi III, Alex Binnie, and many others–to create works revolving around the theme of “time,” not on skin, but using the materials traditionally associated with fine art. By freeing tattooers from the constraints of collaborating with clients, the show hopes to focus on the ways in which the practice of tattooing and the aesthetics of tattoo and flash have reached an audience outside the medium. From Shawn Barber‘s incredible time-lapse painting of Kim Saigh to Chris Garver‘s classical nude, with undulating dragon “tattoos” resembling china porcelain, the exhibition not only provides an outlet for tattooers to expose their work to a greater public, but also reveals the many influences from art history upon tattooing.

Sang Bleu recently caught up with co-curator Miki Vialetto to chat about the exhibition.

 

 

What were your goals for this exhibition when you were first conceptualizing it? How did you first approach Somerset House with the idea for this show?

The idea for this exhibition emerged from the desire to create an event to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the London Tattoo Convention, which will take place this September. At [...]


Fascist Fever: Skinheads in Italy

It’s a strange thing that photography allows us such an easy and immediate insight into a particular subculture, from romanticised images of a Brooklyn gang by Bruce Davidson or John Deakin’s shots of the hidden corners of London’s Soho to the all more morbid shots of Weegee, capturing death on the streets of Manhattan; but it’s a very different thing to find yourself figuratively side by side with those you would actively avoid in life, those you not only don’t identify with, but actively object to their cause. For five years, from 2009 to 2013, Paolo Marchetti has been doing just that. In the hope of uncovering the rhyme and reason behind the actions and iconography of Italian skin heads, the photographer has trailed what is now a burgeoning fascist movement; documenting their appropriation of historical and religious imagery (their badge emblazoned with the Colosseum highlighting their respect for both the Roman empire and the more recent fascist regime) and those appropriated in repeat appearance tattoos (featuring the Fasces symbol, portraits of Mussolini, swastikas and the Celtic cross, appropriated from Christianity as the image of racial identity), action, (using a gladiatorial ‘arm-shake’ in the place of hand), down to their collective name (SPQR skinheads, named after the city’s motto – Senatus Populusque Romanus, or the Senate and People of Rome). It’s easy to look into images of long since past times and imagine them existing in the context of a very different world, but these men, and women, exist within what I had believed to be a more progressive and increasingly accepting society, actively rejecting it in favour of their 9% supremacy. Below the photographer explores his findings alongside Sang Bleu’s selection from the series.

I spent time up close with members of the Italian extreme right in order to understand why they are afraid. Why they [...]


ROY INC – Point Defiance

 

Sang Bleu friend ROY is premiering his brand new music video on www.sangbleu.com today so enjoy his new music,  film and this comprehensive explanation of the subculture icon himself.

You know the face – or should we say faces? With his traffic-stopping combination of superhero build, a high-precision bone structure fusing Jamaican, Chinese, Indian and Cuban genes, a full-body web of stunning custom tattoos and gender-transcendently luscious lips, eyes and skin, Roy Anthony Brown’s outrageous, ever-changing style manifestations have been igniting London’s most flamboyant club nights and the world’s most hallowed fashion pages since the glory days of Taboo, i-D, Kinky Gerlinky and Red Hot + Blue.

 

But did you know Roy also packs a voice just as arresting, expressive and individual? Sometimes soulful, sometimes defiant, sometimes intimate and sometimes full-on furious, it’s an instrument which, in his latest incarnation as ROY INC, the multi-talented Mr Brown unleashes on his debut solo album We Were Here, I’m Just Like You. Heralded by the first two singles Attention Kills and F.A.M.E. For All My Enemies, and now by the brooding Point Defiance, it’s a collection of ten tracks plus bonus material in shades of sophisticated, ebony-dark electro pop, and comes accompanied by spectacular videos that marry some of Roy’s most dazzling guises yet with state of the art special effects and sweeping, cinematic storyboarding that betray the singer-songwriter’s graphic artist past.

 

Perhaps you did. At the same time as Roy was building a unique profile as a performer, model, and artists’ muse that has seen him photographed by everyone from David Bailey to Pierre et Gilles to Juergen Teller to Sølve Sundsbø, gracing the pages of The Face, L’Uomo Vogue and Dazed & Confused, vogueing for Les Childs and Neneh Cherry and [...]


Photographs of Rome’s 1980s Dark wave scene by Dino Ignani

We all usually associate subculture within the boundaries of the urban spaces of New York, London, Berlin or Paris so its easy to forget that subculture also authentically existed else where.

These images were taken from 1982 to 1985 by photographer Dino Ignani at Dark Wave clubs in Rome.  The portraits resemble the kind of New Romanticism which had been present in London a few years earlier but these styles existed originally on their own too. A young Diamada Galas can be seen with her signature crazed hair and the weird mixes of Edie Sedgewick with Rockabilly looks all mixed with deep monotones of black and extended eye make up were regular features.

This particular subculture was described as ‘Darkwave’ and Ignani’s documentation of it and the young people who attended these gigs and club nights are really quite wonderful. However Ignani’s described how like all authenticity of subculture it eventually gets eaten up and regurgitated into a flimsier more commodity driven version. The effort put into each individuals outfits whether through the hand drawn eyeliner or ripped up sweaters posses the kind of innocence and creativity that are reminiscent of Derek Ridger‘s portraits so its so fascinating to be able to see how young people in Italy used their bodies as a space for self expression against the mundane besides from what we’ve become so accustomed to understanding.

 


Sang Bleu mixtapes

Introducing SANG BLEU TAPES a new musical project created by Sang Bleu, follow sbtps.tumblr.com to follow our latest mixes.

 

 

1. mia x-hoodlum poetry
2. flesh-n-bone-crazy by the flesh
3. young jeezy-still on it
4. paul wall-break em off
5. skull duggrey-welcome to my hood
6. kane & abel-black jesus
7. z-ro-don’t worry about me

microtape G. “cassettes” by MXM 

1. al kapone-vampin with no remorse 
2. d. edwards-teenage tapes 
3. kingpin skinny pimp-long story 
4. suicide-keep your dreams 
5. three 6 mafia feat camron-sippin on syrup pt2 
6. martin dupont-top of the pyramid 
7. gangsta pat-you can’t get none

 

1. DrAG-acid trip 2 
2.gangsta boo & la chat-like a bitch 
3. spooky black-we were together once 
4. gucci mane & rothko-what the hell 
5. blue sky black death-one deep 
6. twista & the speedknot mobstaz-legit baller 
7. coil-the dreamer is still asleep 
8. clams casino-swervin 
9. bone thugs & harmony down foe my thang

microtape E. by MXM “” 

1. death in june-break the black ice instrumental 
2. d. edwards-teenage tapes 
3. michel dupont-welcome to the dissidents 
4. triple six mafia-funky town 
5. compton’s most wanted-driveby miss daisy instrumental

microtape C. by MXM “silver thangs” 

1. mayhem-silvester anfang 
2. nick cave & warren ellis-song for jesse 
3. burzum-rundgang um die transzendentale saule der singularitat 
4. ester brinkmann-maschine