Photography & Art

Photographer Rian Dundon Explores a Different Side of China

Peter Schurmann

There’s a restlessness to Rian Dundon that defines much of his work. Sitting over coffee, the 31-year-old photographer checks his phone, then his watch. He looks past the window, capturing mental images of the world outside. Then he returns. It’s that same nervous energy -- a sort of daring uncertainty - that animates the subjects of his forthcoming book on the Chinese city of Changsha, a one-time stronghold for Mao Zedong’s incipient Communist Party. 

Renowned Artist Xavier Viramontes Discusses His Career and Famous Political Artwork

Edgardo Cervano-Soto

Xavier Viramontes is a nationally renowned printmaker whose prints impacted many political movements and social justice campaigns during the 1970s. His prints are also part of the revolutionary canon of Chicano art produced at Galeria de la Raza in San Francisco. His most famous print, “Boycott Grapes, Support the United Farm Workers Union” from 1973, which depicts an Aztec warrior smashing grapes with his fists as the grape juice and blood drip over the title, is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  He spoke with Edgardo Cervano-Soto about his career and art.

David Hockney’s ‘A Bigger Picture’ Makes a Big Splash at Royal Academy of Arts

Liz Appleby

“A Bigger Picture,” David Hockney’s sell-out exhibition, now in its final days at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, perfectly showcases the artist's multitude of styles. The more than 150 pieces on display, most of which date from the last decade, include oil paintings, charcoal drawings, films, photomontages, watercolors and Hockney’s famed iPad drawings.

In Chile, Street Artists Turn Drab Concrete into a Carnival of Color

Christopher Moraff

In Santiago -- a sprawling metropolis that is home to well over a third of Chile’s population -- barrios like Patronato, Lastarria, Quinta Normal, Santa Isabel -- and especially the bohemian quarter of Bellavista -- are internationally recognized centers of street art.  An hour-and-a-half away, the gritty port city of Valparaíso is equally renowned for its graf culture, its crumbling walls and narrow alleyways home to a thriving community of artists and crews. 

How Street Art Went Hollywood

Adam Chardis

Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brooklyn-born painter who sold a piece for $14.6 million post-mortem started his career as a graffiti artist under the name, “SAMO.” This could be argued as the first modernistic conversion of basic graffiti into pop art, but is there even a significant difference? For more than 25 years, New York has been a hub for graffiti artists, so why is Los Angeles now declaring itself the street art capital of the world and, more importantly, why is no one challenging the claim?

Artist Nicholas Forker Pays Homage to the Era of Space Exploration

Eric Russ

Brooklyn-based artist Nicholas Forker has a rare talent, and it is one that is quickly earning him recognition in a city that is virtually filled to the brim with aspiring young artists.  In today’s art landscape, traditional skills like figurative drawing are not always as visible as they once were.  Benefiting as he does from undeniable technical ability, and a reverence for the way things used to be done, Forker creates masterful works in ballpoint, in some cases pouring hundreds of hours into a single work. What has caught his attention lately is the way that adventurers, and in his most recent work, astronauts in particular, can be used as a stand-in for American culture.  

Legacy: The Art of Mike “Dream” Francisco

Abraham Menor

Mike "Dream" Francisco's art brought together the worlds of art and activism. As the Manilatown Heritage Foundation displays his work through a commemorative gallery on display over the next several months in San Francisco, photographer Abe Menor reflects on Mike "Dream" Francisco's work and influence.

Artists Steven and William Ladd’s Unique Path to Success

Eric Russ

Steven and William Ladd have not taken the ordinary path to success as artists.  In fact, their crossover from design and couture into the creation of art objects has happened naturally as a kind of logical step in their collaboration.  Their predilection for sewing and beadwork has led them to develop a 10-year partnership that has become an approach to art and design that is firmly rooted in their shared experiences and memories.

Ai Weiwei: Rebel With a Cause

Liz Appleby

Few artists were featured in the media in 2011 as frequently as Ai Weiwei. His placement on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential figures came at the end of a year when he was taken into custody by the Chinese government for alleged economic crimes. Ai’s supporters believe these charges are a ruse, and the media have questioned their validity as well. As Andrew Stout of More Intelligent Life explains, the accusation of economic crimes is “a catch-all charge often used by Chinese officials to publicly discredit dissidents”. 

Mac Premo’s ‘Dumpster Project’: A Memorial to Human Life

Eric Russ

A little over a year ago, Mac Premo found himself with a problem.  He needed to move his studio from Boerum Hill, where he had spent the last several years, to a new but smaller location at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.  As an artist whose stock-in-trade was working with found materials, Mac had accumulated a fair amount of cultural debris, as it were.  The move meant that a purge would be necessary.  “This is sort of indicative of my problem as a human, or my greatest attribute as a human, I’m not sure which,” says Premo.  “My solution was to make an art project.”

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