Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

Fascinating maneuver from a godawful angle.

I spent a couple of hours on trying to source this and the first posting of it appears to have been to a now deleted twitter account. The tattoos should be a give away but beyond the fact that the seem similar to Kiara Winters, it’s appears to be someone who is ripping off her style. The stud is–I’m pretty sure–this creepy actor White Ghetto studios uses a lot.

Beyond that I have no clue. Google’s image search is less and less usable with each passing day.

Does anyone perchance know the source–you know for research
purposes (I’d be interested in expanding on this towards a different end,
actually)?

(Please & thank you so much.)

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.

Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)

My thought with this was originally merely to add one of those diagrams of what areas of the tongue register what kinds tastes. However, as it turns out, that notion has been thoroughly debunked.

First off, there’s no longer just bitter, salty, sour and sweet. There’s umami–which refers to something that is savory (I always think of it as the craving you get for a veggie burger cooked exactly to your preference.

Also, apparently these days they are thinking that fat may actually be a sixth factor contributing to taste.

Interestingly, it’s theorized that receptors designed to register sweetness are binary–they only register whether something is sweet or not? Whereas something that is bitterness has a vast spectrum of distinct variations.

Diane ArbusCouple in Bed Under a Paper Lantern, NYC (1966)

I’ve maintained for years that reading something on a screen vs on a page effects how you process the information. (My recall for printed materials is generally better-than-average; via digital interface noticeably less astute.)

As far as Arbus goes, I’m not a fan. Yes: Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park is one of the all-time best street photography portraits. (And one of the reasons it’s so brilliant is because it was made as things started to escalate in Vietnam–intuitively connecting wars overseas with their psychic impact closer to home.)

I never knew what I didn’t like about her work–and here it’ll become clear why I started with memories formed reading something off a page vs on a screen–I remember reading something on the Internet, a criticism of Arbus that associated her well-known quote: I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” with her interest in social outliers and the stigmatized.

I look at so many of her pictures and there is this circus side show feeling to them–an I’m going to show you what you don’t want to see. That’s maybe okay: spectacle sells, after all. (But also: maybe don’t rely on solely that?)

Her images always leave me with this feeling that she was far more interested in what made someone a freak than how such social castigation impacted a person’s humanity.

So while I’ve seen this image a dozen or so times before it wasn’t until I saw it in the context of Tumblr porn reblogs that I realized what it depicts–a couple making out while a vigorous handjob is administered.

There’s something more disarmingly honest about it for it’s focus on the familiar–Arbus being ostensibly white (Jewish), cisgendered and heterosexual.

Further–and again, now that I need it I can’t find it–there is a similar post-coital image of Sally Mann with her husband Larry that actually is almost certainly influenced by this Arbus’ image.

Apollonia Saintclair605 – Les béquilles [The Third Auxiliary] (2015)

Each time I re-encounter Saintclair’s work, my appreciation of her talent expands.

Like Mœbius–who’s syncretism of sacred (attuned to the rigorously established precepts of classical drafting and design in high art) and profane (explicitly graphic depictions of sexual activity) is almost certainly a major influence–Saintclair almost always releases work that is both salacious and eminently refined.

I adore the image above. I appreciate the fact that I actually sat here for ten minutes decoding the fact that the hands depicted here belong to four different people.

Further, I love the way her treatment of cross hatching and shading render appear to be almost art nouveau-esque when you are examining the piece close at hand, and then when you zoom out and see it at a distance, the stylization diminishes to affect a sort of photo-realistic look.

Compositionally, I can’t see how anyone could look at this and not appreciate the careful balance between highlight and shadow–I mean this illustration is, after all, a gradient from top to bottom (light to shadow). But like the yin-yang symbol, the shadows in the light area balance against light in the shadow areas. It’s masterful, really. (She’s probably also riffing on Escher here.)

Lastly: for three years–give or take and excluding guest curatorial stints–I’ve insisted on alternative between B&W and color images every other post on this blog. (I know, I know–your mind is blown.)

It’s not especially easy to pull of. There is a dearth of B&W stuff, a surfeit of color. So it’s refreshing to have an artist whose work successfully scratches a particular itch in such a virtuoso fashion.

(Disclaimer: this Tumblr was high af off Cali’s finest medical edibles while writing this post.)

 Anna BlockUntitled feat. Konstantin Ladvishchenko from Black Red series (2013)

Block was born in an grew up in Moscow.

She’s currently pursuing a post-graduate photography degree in the Czech Republic.

I’m honestly struggling not to follow the rabbit trail of interrogating influences. Partly because I think of the three dozen or so folks whose names I could drop here–maybe four of them actually ‘hold up’ next to Block’s work.

I’ll let one slip…she shares an almost identical angle of view to Lina Scheynius, only I feel given the same space, Block does for more complicated and nuance things.

What’s much more interesting to me is to compare Block’s work with someone like Inside Flesh.

At first, that’s going to seem absurd. One is porn, the other is ostensibly art. (I’d argue that capital A is in order here; others might disagree.)

But, take this image and compare it with the one above. There are similar motifs–thread/wire, graphic depictions of sexuality: yes; however, the results couldn’t be more different.

Think of them in terms of an aesthetic of desire. If you are familiar with Inside Flesh’s work, you can spot them from twenty yards out. Same with Block. They diverge quite substantially in where they end up–but they’ve accomplished similar feats.

But there’s another difference I think that is also important to address. Of her work, block says:

I
use photography as a space where I can mix my fantasies and desires
with what is called reality. (via redeye)

I don’t think it’s necessarily as cut and dried but I do think that another crucial difference between Block and Inside Flesh is a matter of process ending in production vs product fueling further process, respectively.

Suzanne Ballivet – Title Unknown (194X)

Angel lust (aka post-mortem priapism)

(Also, this reminds me of the opening scene in Deadwood: where the guy in the who is supposed to hang is worried about how he’ll die of strangulation instead of a broken neck and Sheriff Bullock says he’ll give him a hand. Bullock subsequently strings him up, kicks the platform out from under him and the guy looks bewildered and betrayed until Bullock reaches out and jerks the lower part of his body down violently, snapping his neck. The masturbating nun in the image above appears to not only be holding his hands behind his back but to also being dragging him down; there’s a sort of visual symmetry between her orgasm and his death.)