Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

I’m pretty sure this is a digital collage. (The easiest way to tell is to look at the top of the woman who hugging the tree’s right thigh–there’s a seam between her and the background. From there you can see that the light falling on the background is coming from a different angle as the light that is falling on the couple vs the light on the woman up the tree. In the case of the background the light is lower in the sky and you would almost certainly have the sun in frame if this framing was panned so that the left frame edge started where the current right most frame edge is. The sun on the couple is higher in the sky–probably roughly early afternoon; it’s still coming from beyond frame right at least. The woman hugging the tree, however, has light that would be coming from the opposite direction as the couple.)

There’s also some small issues with scale. The woman up the tree is further back and therefore should appear smaller but she’s easily head and shoulders taller than the boy.

I’m not sure this completely works as a composition but the Photoshopping is surprisingly clever–even if it doesn’t completely work. I’d be curious to know who made this originally.

Lastly, several of my dude preferring women friends refer to guys they find hot by saying: I’d climb that like a tree.

Arthur Tress – [↖] Young Man in Burning Forest (1995); [↑] Bride and Groom, New York (1971) [↗] Boy with Cigarette, Albany, NY (1970); [←] Spinal Tap, New York, NY (1996); [] Twinka At Arles, France (1985); [→] Teenager Drinking on Telephone Pole, Bronx, NY (1969); [↙] Sex with Vice (1977); [↓] Untitled (197X); [↘] Male Nude (1970)

In ritual, the world as lived and the world as imagined…
turns out to be the same world.
C. Geertz

Duane MichalsTake One and See Mt. Fujiyama (1976)

It’s a bit difficult to read the text giving the low-res nature of this assemblage. And since it’s a bit of a challenge to find all the individual photos (presented legibly) in one place, I went ahead and transcribed everything:

  1. It was a hot day. The book was dull. He was bored.
  2. Someone slipped an envelope under the door.
  3. There was something peculiar written on it. (Take one and see Mt. Fujiyama)
  4. Inside were some green pills. Without any hesitation he gulped down a pill.
  5. He felt like a balloon with it’s air being let out. Instantly he became six inches tall.
  6. The door squeaked behind him, as the largest woman he had ever seen entered the room.
  7. She grew larger as she approached his chair and began to tower over him.
  8. She did not to see him. He was excited by her size.
  9. His excitement turned to terror, when he realized that she was going to sit on his chair and on him.
  10. As her colossal ass descended upon him, he tried to run but was paralyzed. His tiny legs refused to move.
  11. He stood frozen with excitement, as the big behind settled down, closer and closer.
  12. She sat on him.
  13. Miraculously, in the darkness, he began to see the snow covered peaks of Mt. Fujiyama.
  14. [No text]
  15. [No text]

I had never seen this until this morning–it’s superbly Lynchian (even if David Lynch would’ve been in the process of struggling to get Eraserhead made at the time Michals unleased this on the world.)

The interesting thing in putting this together is that there appears to be variances in the captioning based on editions? Also, there’s at least two versions of the 6th frame (v1, v2).

I actually think that v2 is probably better because the way it reads above, the frame 6 functions like an insert shot whereas and with v2 there’s a sense that the whole thing is covered in a single master shot.

Robert MapplethorpeCock (1985)

Ever since the Venus of Willendorf or Lascaux paintings–or, as I refer to it, tongue-in-cheekily: prehistoric Instagram–visual art, as such, has been preoccupied with ontology of representation.

There has been–and as far as I’m concerned, continues to be–resistance to photography/image making as capital A Art. Although I am decidedly on the photography can absolutely be Art side of things, it does occur to me that there is a fundamental conceptual rift between other forms of visual art and photography; namely: painting, sculpture and architecture are arguably not primarily but intrinsically decorative, too.

Painting, sculpture and architecture proclaim look at this here in this specific place, i.e. the location of the canvas, the relationship of a sculptural object to its surroundings, architecture as the physical manifestion of space as decoration.

Photography/image making starts from the same impetus–the hey, look at this! exclamation. However, it does not have the same relationship with location in place, space and time. (Thus, I think, the fixation in fine art photography on conceptualization and installation–whether that be in a physical/virtual gallery or increasingly in the making of artists’ books.)

In a sense–presentation becomes part of what activates the photo/image as Art.

(I don’t have time to tease out the implications in this forum, but I do think it would make an excellent interrogation to expand this notion using Benjamin’s rt in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction viewed through the prism of @knitphilia‘s thesis on the deeply misogynistic history of distinguishing (and through distinction, diminishing) forms of creative expression normally associated with femme creators as ‘craft’–as opposed to ‘art’.)

Strangely, it was this thought that led me to a ‘discovery’ (of sorts) in the above photo It seems this was never something Mapplethorpe printed during his life. A print was made in 2010 and gifted by The Robert Mapplethorpe foundation to LACMA .

The digital print was clearly made by someone intimately familiar with Mapplethorpe’s work–the balance and interpenetration between highlights, mid-tones and shadows with the sort of atmospheric haze (sfumato) despite the razer sharp focus, couldn’t be more Mapplethorpe if it bore his signature.

Yet, knowing all that about the work there is still something about it that makes it Art–I think–even before it becomes physically instantiated: yes, the work (just like all visual art) says hey, look at this! and like all photography/imagery it (implicitly) states this is how I see this thing! Mapplethorpe takes things a step further and says: by looking at this it will be clear to you why I think this is beautiful should be appreciated.

Musubu NakaiUntitled (2012)

I really like this guy’s style. His compositions tend to be too busy but he has an interesting way of parsing things so that although his stuff is frequently overwhelming, it does surrender to a sort of implicit ordering structure after the initially dismaying over-stimulation.

Consider the variegated pointillism of the color here, the green red and blue of the wall, the complementary cover of the book from which the boy is reading. The subdued pink and blue of her skin; the blue of his shorts and the bluw in the pants of the person standing at the edge of frame. The red, blue and hints of green in the floor tiles.

I am, however, not 100% on-board with some of his content. The cat–which seems to be the way he inserts himself into his paintings and the young woman with her eyes closed are almost certainly a veiled reference to Balthus. (Which is very much in line with the work he’s done… notable projects include illustrating The Story of O and a lot of stuff that looks more or less like a cross between Sailor Moon and Alice in Wonderland.)

I don’t have a problem with artists depicting age appropriate sexual curiosity. Some of the aspects of this strike me as unsettlingly suggestive. The way she is naked and he isn’t suggested a sexual freedom, whereas he’s forced to hide his erection behind the book. It’s presented as a sort of seduction.  I don’t think I need to explain why that’s problematic.

But what I find unnerving is the orderly type figure standing off to the side. As if this exchange is being monitored somehow? Which given what is shown–there’s no way to spin that in a slap on the wrist sort of way. I’m not going to say that this crosses a line but it’s definitely toeing it in a way that feels irresponsible to me, somehow.