Aubrey Beardsley

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Aubrey Beard­s­ley was born on 21 August, 1872, in Brighton, Eng­land. The fam­ily, of mid­dle and upper mid­dle class ori­gins, was often nearly des­ti­tute. He attended Bris­tol Gram­mar School for four years as a boarder, indulging in his tal­ents by draw­ing car­i­ca­tures of his teachers.

In Feb­ru­ary of 1893, Wilde’s scan­dalous play Salome was pub­lished in its orig­i­nal French ver­sion. An illus­tra­tion inspired by the drama was admired by Wilde and Beard­s­ley was com­mis­sioned to Illus­trate the Eng­lish edi­tion (1894).

Not con­tent with art alone, Beard­s­ley expressed an intense desire to trans­late the French text after Wilde found the trans­la­tion by his inti­mate, Lord Alfred Dou­glas, to be unsat­is­fac­tory. This assign­ment was the begin­ning of celebrity but also of an uneasy, and at times unpleas­ant, friend­ship with Wilde, which offi­cially ended when Wilde was tried and con­victed of sodomy in 1895.

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Beardsley’s fame was estab­lished for all time when the first vol­ume The Yel­low Book appeared in April 1894. This famous quar­terly of art and lit­er­a­ture, for which Beard­s­ley served as art edi­tor and the Amer­i­can expa­tri­ate Henry Har­land as lit­er­ary edi­tor, brought the artist’s work to a larger public.

It was Beardsley’s star­ling black-and-white draw­ings, titlepages, and cov­ers which, com­bined with the writ­ings of the so-called “deca­dents,” a unique for­mat, and pub­lisher John Lane’s remark­able mar­ket­ing strate­gies, made the jour­nal an overnight sen­sa­tion. Although well received by much of the pub­lic, The Yel­low Book was attacked by crit­ics as inde­cent. So strong was the per­ceived link between Beard­s­ley, Wilde, and The Yel­low Book that Beard­s­ley was dis­missed in April 1895 from his post as art edi­tor fol­low­ing Wilde’s arrest, even though Wilde had in fact never con­tributed to the magazine.

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The film Af­ter Be­ards­ley at­tempts to de­pict to­day’s world through Be­ards­ley’s eyes and in his draw­ing style. Show­ing Be­ards­ley’s bet­ter known draw­ings, so­me of which ta­ke on a dif­fe­rent gui­se la­ter in the film. Writ­ten and drawn by Chris James.

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Sou Fujimoto’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013

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The Ser­pen­tine Gallery Pavil­ion 2013 will be designed by multi award-winning Japan­ese archi­tect Sou Fuji­moto. He is the thir­teenth and, at 41, youngest archi­tect to accept the invi­ta­tion to design a tem­po­rary struc­ture for the Ser­pen­tine Gallery. The most ambi­tious archi­tec­tural pro­gramme of its kind world­wide, the Serpentine’s annual Pavil­ion com­mis­sion is one of the most antic­i­pated announce­ments on the cul­tural cal­en­dar. Past Pavil­ions have included designs by Her­zog & de Meu­ron and Ai Wei­wei (2012), Frank Gehry (2008), the late Oscar Niemeyer (2003) and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inau­gural struc­ture in 2000.

Widely acknowl­edged as one of the most impor­tant archi­tects com­ing to promi­nence world­wide, Sou Fuji­moto is the lead­ing light of an excit­ing gen­er­a­tion of artists who are re-inventing our rela­tion­ship with the built envi­ron­ment. Inspired by organic struc­tures, such as the for­est, the nest and the cave, Fujimoto’s sig­na­ture build­ings inhabit a space between nature and arti­fi­cial­ity. Fuji­moto has com­pleted the major­ity of his build­ings in Japan, with com­mis­sions rang­ing from the domes­tic, such as Final Wooden House, T House and House N, to the insti­tu­tional, such as the Musashino Art Museum and Library at Musashino Art University.

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Occu­py­ing some 350 square-metres of lawn in front of the Ser­pen­tine Gallery, Sou Fujimoto’s del­i­cate, lat­ticed struc­ture of 20mm steel poles will have a light­weight and semi-transparent appear­ance that will allow it to blend, cloud-like, into the land­scape and against the clas­si­cal back­drop of the Gallery’s colon­naded East wing. Designed as a flex­i­ble, multi-purpose social space — with a café sited inside — vis­i­tors will be encour­aged to enter and inter­act with the Pavil­ion in dif­fer­ent ways through­out its four-month tenure in London’s Kens­ing­ton Gardens.

Describ­ing his design con­cept, Sou Fuji­moto said: “The del­i­cate qual­ity of the struc­ture, enhanced by its semi-transparency, will cre­ate a geo­met­ric, cloud-like form, as if it were mist ris­ing from the undu­la­tions of the park. From cer­tain van­tage points, the Pavil­ion will appear to merge with the clas­si­cal struc­ture of the Ser­pen­tine Gallery, with vis­i­tors sus­pended in space.”


How Color Vision Works, Vintage Film From 1938

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In 1938, The Handy (Jam) Orga­ni­za­tion pro­duced Color Har­mony: a fan­tas­tic ani­mated expla­na­tion of how color vision works, how other ani­mals use their eyes, and how the human eye func­tions to see col­ors both sep­a­rately and in combination.

The irony, of course, is that on the time­line of film inno­va­tion, color didn’t per­me­ate Hol­ly­wood until the 1950s — main­stream film tech­nol­ogy in 1938 was con­fined to black-and-white, so all the live footage is devoid of color, com­ple­mented instead by hand-drawn color animation.

We are able to see mix­tures of two-color rays as one color. We don’t need green light in order to see green, and we don’t need orange light to make us see orange. Mix­tures of blue and yel­low light and yel­low and red light will cre­ate green and orange for us. To make the eyes see all color, then, only the three pri­maries — red, yel­low, and blue — need be used. From these pri­maries, a com­plete color cir­cle can be cre­ated. That is why it is pos­si­ble to repro­duce the bril­liant col­ors of nature, faith­fully, with just three pri­mary col­ors in mod­ern color repro­duc­ing processes.”


Don’t Deliver Us From Evil

Two Catholic school­girls (with the help of a retarded gar­dener) pledge their lives to Satan and a life of evil. Never released in the United States and “banned” for blasphemy.

“…we renounce for­ever Jesus Christ and all his works…”

Influ­enced by their read­ing of for­bid­den books, they decide to explore the world of per­ver­sion and cruelty.

Once they have stepped over the line, they find it impos­si­ble to stop. Soon they are con­tem­plat­ing the ulti­mate evil act.

It’s a film that should be viewed only by those with very open minds.


Even Dwarfs Started Small (Werner Herzog, 1970)

In an unadorned room of a police sta­tion, a dwarf is seated on a chair, hold­ing an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber in his hand. He is pho­tographed and then inter­ro­gated about acts of vio­lence he com­mit­ted dur­ing a revolt.

The story thus turns back in time, to when the dwarfs, detained in a cor­rec­tion facil­ity, took advan­tage of the director’s absence to rebel. Once they take the head­mas­ter hostage – he does noth­ing but laugh and shout dec­la­ra­tions of revenge – the group is free to act as they please.

The set­ting is dis­tress­ing and sin­is­ter, where each event is more sur­real than the last: the dwarfs sink into acts of van­dal­ism and gra­tu­itous cru­elty to things and peo­ple, in a crescendo of frenzy and madness.

Sub­ti­tles in Eng­lish avail­able (CC)

Prom It’s a Pleasure: Etiquette Film From1961

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The Prom It’s a Plea­sure is a well-produced color film that stars the 1961 Coca-Cola Junior Miss Pageant win­ner as the guide to a well-mannered prom night.

From the phone call ask­ing Junior Miss for the date, to the drop-off at the end of the night, this film details prom eti­quette for the curi­ous and uncouth teenager. It also explains that the boy should call his date’s mother before the dance to find out the color of her dress so he can match the cor­sage to it.

Whole­some six­ties movies often dealt with Amer­i­can morals, and this prom night film is a clas­sic exam­ple. At the high school dance itself, the film shows how to dance, how to ask some­one to dance, ways to ask some­one to dance, how to fill out a dance card, and how to nav­i­gate the refresh­ments, which con­sisted mostly of Coca-Cola, not sur­pris­ingly. In addi­tion to all the prom do’s and don’ts eti­quette tips, this film fea­tures great footage of a typ­i­cal six­ties prom.


Rewind This!

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Home video changed the way the world con­sumed films. The cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal impact of the VHS tape was enor­mous. Rewind This! is a doc­u­men­tary that traces the rip­ples of that impact by exam­in­ing the myr­iad aspects of art,technology, and soci­etal per­cep­tions that were altered by the cre­ation of videotape.

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The film is the first fea­ture length effort from Austin, TX based IPF Pro­duc­tions, with shoot­ing loca­tions all over North Amer­ica and abroad, includ­ing a two week stint in Japan. The team has spo­ken to film­mak­ers, stu­dios, archivists, rental chain oper­a­tors, per­sonal col­lec­tors and media experts to cre­ate an overview of the video era that is both infor­ma­tive and cel­e­bra­tory. The film will pre­miere at SXSW Film Fes­ti­val in Austin March 2013.

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Chris Burden’s Metropolis II

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Chris Burden’s early career was all about the inter­sec­tion of art and dan­ger. The 1970s saw him lying cru­ci­fied with nails on the roof of a Volk­swa­gen Bug. In another piece, he was shot through the arm by an assis­tant — literally.

It was a way to make art with­out mak­ing an object,” he says. For the past four years, Bur­den has been work­ing with a team of eight on a piece called Metrop­o­lis II. It’s a giant model of a city with 1,200 col­or­ful lit­tle cars zoom­ing at light­ning speed around it.

As a young artist, I tried to fig­ure out what sculp­ture really was,” Bur­den says, “and my con­clu­sion was that human action, move­ment, per­for­mance in a cer­tain sense, was the core of sculpture.”

Bur­den has moved on from con­cep­tual work and made lots of dif­fer­ent stuff since then. He says this new sculp­ture of a city “kind of goes back to mak­ing an object, but an object that is performative.”


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The piece is a 10-foot-tall model of a city. Basi­cally, it fills up a room. There are col­ored build­ings here and there, and dozens of alu­minum tracks slop­ing over, under and around them at dif­fer­ent lev­els. An oper­a­tor steps under some tracks, into the mid­dle of the sculp­ture, and flips a few switches.

The cars aren’t teth­ered to any­thing. They move by a cen­tral engine and mag­netic pulls, so there’s a pos­si­bil­ity of real acci­dents. The oper­a­tor in the mid­dle of the piece has to keep a close eye out for prob­lems and can press emer­gency stops if she has to.

This is the artist’s sec­ond major instal­la­tion for the Los Ange­les County Museum of Art. The first was the now-iconic sculp­ture Urban Lights, which fea­tures rows of antique street lamps look­ing out on Wilshire Boule­vard in front of the museum. Bur­den feels his more recent works give the museum a lit­tle more mass appeal.

I think all these things help bring maybe a lay pub­lic that would not … be inter­ested in art nec­es­sar­ily,” he says. “I don’t think you need to have an art his­tory back­ground to under­stand this sculpture.”