depopulated:

Exploring the Modern Wing: Part 2

Posted in art by Anna on May 29, 2009

This year I celebrated Memorial Day, not by rising at the crack of dawn to suit up in a wool band uniform, as was the case on so many Memorial Days past, but by revisiting the Art Institute’s Modern Wing, where I learned that not only does Cy Twombly have one of the coolest names on record, but he is also able to produce stunningly evocative works, even now, in his early eighties.

Twombly01Twombly’s creations, which serve as the debut exhibit for the Modern Wing, in a show entitled “Cy Twombly: The Natural World (selected work 2000-2007),” are jarring and rich with lush blooming colors which provoke and confront the viewers.  While his work very much addresses the natural world, he uses this theme to ask philosophical questions as well.  One work, in particular, “Untitled” from the series “Peony Blossom Paintings” (2007) evokes the vibrancy of life while simultaneously incorporating suggestions of violence and mortality.  The vast, overpowering painting depicts enormous scarlet peony blossoms that drip wetly like blood that has flown and then clotted thickly on the canvas, leaving the viewer wondering if they’re observing blooms or wounds.  The background, too, is riddled with ambiguity, painted a bright yellow, it could either add a vibrant and sunny optimism to a work already filled with life, or serve as a sickly, jaundiced backdrop for the pre-existing pain of the blossom-wounds.

This kind of muddled passion is equally present in another of Twombly’s work, this one entitled, “Untitled Lexington” (2001).  Not a painting, but a multi-dimensional piece, this work consists of two boxes stacked atop one another, atop which perch paint-drenched, dripping balled up paper towel, implying that this is the artist’s twisted interpretation of a flower box.  Again, contradictions are central to Twombly’s work, as this retro symbol of the fresh, light-hearted spirit of spring appear tainted and mottled by what appear to be randomly placed moldy-looking chunks of plaster.  This aura of decay is bolstered by the crushed nature of the paper-towel-blooms.  Again, by re-interpreting and re-working the natural world, Twombly utilizes contrast by murdering symbols of life and rebirth with splotches, splatters and drips which are reminiscent of American Expressionism

Twombly achieves feelings of life and vibrancy, and destruction and rot simultaneously, asking many valid questions about the relationship between life and death, and the fineness of the line that separates them, and in doing so projects a raw, youthful, rebellious, richness one would never expect from the painterly hands of a man entering his eighties.

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Exploring the Modern Wing: Part 1

Posted in art by Anna on May 21, 2009

modernwing

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of visiting the much-anticipated and recently opened Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago and was pleasantly surprised.  Having recently visited the Walker, a contemporary art museum in Minneapolis rife with oppressively whimsical architectural nuances, such as eight stories of space-wasting split-level stairs and an entire floor wallpapered with Dr. Suessian eyeballs against a coral-pink background, I was relieved to see the Modern Wing veers away from such self-indulgent kookiness.

Rather, it opts for function over fashion, with a palette of bright white and sleek, minimalist lines.  There is a clean, clear, spacious quality to the wing’s smooth glass paneling, linear support poles, light-filtering screens, and high, wide entryways, that allows the space to serve as a canvas for the art, rather than demanding the viewer’s attention with endearing, but distracting, absurdities.  A large part of how the architect, Renzo Piano, is able to turn viewer’s attention to the objects inside his rooms occurs through the illusion of space.  Although the wing houses two shops, a coffee bar, a courtyard, and numerous galleries, his building never feels cluttered, commercialized, or overcrowded.  And although I visited the  day after the wing opened, and the halls were flooded with people, the wide hallways and bright, open lights dissipated the masses.  Crowds are lost in Piano’s sea of light, lines, and angles, as is anything hokey or gimmicky.

The Modern Wing exists not as an egotistical entity, but as a platform for the art it houses.

this week’s streams

Posted in music, video by eddie on April 24, 2009

Mastodon – “Divinations”

Bat For Lashes – “Daniel”

Art Brut – “Alcoholics Unanimous”

ringwald amadeus phoenix

Posted in music, video by eddie on April 14, 2009

Sorry to get all gushy over this new Phoenix record, but when the weather’s particularly shitty and you’re facing the anguish of uncertain future, there is simply nothing better than 80s Brat Pack dance scenes set to bouncy, sun-soaked pop songs. This will make your day better:

Thanks to Katherine for showing us this four minutes of joy.

your semi-weekly juggalo update

Posted in juggalo beat, wtf by eddie on April 7, 2009

utah_90

We noted in an in-house Phoenix advertisement that 15% of the 3-4,000 Juggalos in Utah (!) have been affiliated with crime, a statistic since deleted from the “Crimes attributed to juggalos” section of the juggalo Wikipedia page. Could this mean someone in government is a high-ranking juggalo? My money’s on North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue. She’s already got the creepy clown thing going on.

Sadly, another one of our Dark Carnival bros has walked the tightrope between good, clean fun and, well… grotesque medieval battle-axe murder. And it’s in Salt Lake City again!:

A 22-year-old Juggalo gang member was sent to prison for three years to life Friday for attacking a Kearns teenager with a medieval battle ax last summer.

Scott Tyler Stapley was convicted by a 3rd District Court jury in January of first-degree felony attempted murder for his part in attacking 17-year-old Justin Ennis.

Stapley wielded a four-bladed warrior axe with a spiky ball attached.

Co-defendant Cody Jesse Augustine, 21, who is awaiting trial, allegedly stabbed the victim several times with a knife.

“This ain’t World o’ Warcraft–this is real as it gets / I gotta four-bladed warrior axe with a spiky ball attached mothafucka, dont u eh-errrr 4get!”

You gotta hand it to the mercy of Mormon courts–they give a hopeful juggalo executioner some sentencing leeway, promising anywhere from “three years to life.” I’m not entirely sure Joseph Smith believed the Middle Ages ever happened, so that could explain the confusion.

And it gets more wonderful:

Stapley defense attorneys claimed at trial that Ennis was targeted outside his home in the early morning hours of July 29 because he supposedly had passed a sexually transmitted disease to a girl whom Augustine later slept with.

A tip for you randy clown sexers out there: Question your painted lady BEFORE you remove her chain wallet and JNCOs. Burning sensations / battle axe to face may occur.

do you know this man?

Posted in ad-aware by eddie on April 6, 2009

I really still don’t know the marketing strategy behind these “HAY BTW THIS DUMBSHIT’S IQ IS 122! ARE YOU SMARTER THAN THIS DUMBASS?” quiz advertisements.  Are we really all that vain to need to assure ourselves we’re smarter than Simon Cowell? I just picture some nard in Toledo taking 25 minutes from his Excel spreadsheet charting bristles in a hairbrush to answer SAT questions, only to throw his arms up in victory upon completion with the documented proof that yes, an outdated, scientifically inaccurate test of intelligence he found on the Internet proves he is smarter than a celebrity, 94% of whom are COMPLETELY STUPID in the first place.

The banner I found today though put a dark spin on the trend:

What a delightfully average day!

What a delightfully average day!

“WANTED: Positively mediocre looking man in every single way. Must possess strongly middling qualities and a keen desire not to succeed. Baldness preferred, but not required.  Must be willing to have goofy, punchable smile. Will become poster child for the mundane, lightless vortex of American aspiration to become nothing in particular.”

Was this man notified that for thousands of Internet citizens he would become the benchmark for pedestrian?

And who in the hell would want to take this test? At least the nard in Toledo gets five seconds of morbid pleasure before crying into his Dilbert mug. This is a test to prove you’re not below average, meaning your final reaction, at most, is a sigh of relief.

Internet, you win again.

this week’s streams

Posted in music, video by eddie on April 1, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Skeletons”
It’s Blitz! (Interscope)

MP3–> Kylesa – “Said and Done”
Static Tensions (Prosthetic)

Peter Bjorn and John – “Nothing to Worry About”
Living Thing (Almost Gold)

cast no shadow

Posted in music, wtf by eddie on March 30, 2009

Leisure pursuits.

As my insightful roommate put it: Has there been a news story involving Liam or Noel Gallagher in the past 10 years that hasn’t been absolutely ridiculous?

Taking a break from slandering reputed acts in British rags, brother Liam was summoned to Twitter-deny reports that he can be seen in a Google Earth image relaxing outside his favorite restaurant in London, his pasty legs crossed, pointing furiously at the Google camera car. Perhaps most jarring is that CNN finds this front page news. Check out their QUICK HITS for this momentous Tweet–I picture a medieval waif of a messenger boy breathless from sprinting to the king to report these key facts:

  • STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher denies Google Earth appearance
  • Fans said man captured on camera drinking outside London pub was singer
  • Gallagher said the man was too embarrassingly dressed to be him

STUDENT BODY SLAM

Posted in Uncategorized by kalbing on March 23, 2009

With an undergrad population of 6,000+, it’s tough work keeping track of the goings-on of your fellow Loyolans (go Ramblers!!!!!) I mean, you’ve got the ‘book, but that can only take you so far. Luckily for you, we directly engage your classmates so that you don’t have to. And believe you us, they’ve got a lot to say. Introducing: Student Body Slam! Every week, we’ll interview undergrads whose lives are more interesting than yours. (Unless they’re not. In which case contact us at phoenixdiversions@luc.edu.)

Today, we chat it up with Tina Dragisic,and Brandon Wisinski, 21, two science kids who spend the vast majority of their week in the corner of a Life Science Center lab carving up rat brains with what looks like a deli meat slicer. Right.

As you read this, imagine a sort of dull, humming “chick-chick-chick” sound in the background. That’s the sound of the metal slicer slicing off bits of tiny rat brain, which fly up in the air like pink coconut shavings.

BW and TD pose with their cryostat.
Phoenix Diversions: What are you doing right now, Brandon?

BW: I am cross-sectioning rats brains.

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this week’s streams

Posted in music, video by eddie on March 19, 2009

New Found Glory – “Listen to Your Friends”

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