Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Located in the Binhai Cultural District In Tianjin, the five-story library is called “The Eye of Binhai”. It covers 34,000 square meters and can hold up to 1.2 million books. Taking just three years to complete, the library features a reading area on the ground floor, lounge areas in the middle sections and offices, meeting spaces, and computer/audio rooms at the top. Check out the video below the photos for more awesomeness. On a related note, I have no idea how they reach the books on those upper shelves.

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Yep, that’s an underwater restaurant. A company called Snøhetta has designed a three-level structure with a 36-foot-wide panoramic window that allows visitors to “journey” under the sea in southern Norway. At first viewing it looks like a concrete container but inside it’s several kinds of awesome. The restaurant will be called “Under” and have the space to fit up to 100-guests, and will even double as a marine research centre when no one is dining because Norwegians are awesome. This bad boy is set to open in 2019. On a related note, Norway, man.

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So some bro created a cloud lamp that reacts in real time to the tweets of Donald Trump, because of course he did. This connected lamp is capable of reacting in real time to messages posted on Twitter, creating a thunderstorm every time a hilarious, self-congratulatory, delusional Trump tweet is posted. It’s the perfect gift for those of us who’d like a warning before a Trump Tweet slaps us in the Twitter Face, or for those who enjoy and approve of The Donald’s wacky, childlike antics. As for me, I’m going to purchase one and have the Looney Tunes theme song play with every Trump Tweet.

Photos and video below.

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Richard Nuetra was born in Austria on April 8, 1892 and moved to the United States in 1923. He became a naturalized citizen in 1929, and worked briefly for famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Eventually he became famous for a style you’ll all recognize, and it became known as the Neutra Design.

His design popularity hit its apex in the 60’s and is still widely emulated today.

As you look at these designs, remember what most architecture looked like back in the early 20th century, or maybe the house you grew up in. This is decidedly different. The open spaces, the crisp lines, the glass, the airy and breezy feel, I love it.

Let’s take a look. Click on a photo, then scroll through the collection:

If I could have any house I wanted it would be a Neutra house. Love everything about it. How about you? Anyway, Richard Nuetra was certainly a man ahead of his time, but we’ve just about caught up, right?

So here’s some delightful video of a lady kneeling down in front of some art out in L.A., only to succeed in falling backwards and creating an artistic domino effect of sorts. On a related note, only professional bloggers such as I are capable of writing that last sentence. Anyhoo, here’s the assclown in action.

The 80’s were a simpler time. You know, back when TV shows like Growing Pains had characters named “Boner” and nobody gave it a second thought.* When we watched a show about an furry alien named “Alf” who had an affinity for eating cats and thought it was hilarious. When David Hasselhoff rode around in a car that was way smarter than he was. You get the drift. Anyway, it should come as no surprise that a bro would want to get a tattoo of his favorite lovable, family values icon of the era.

Oops.

*I just found out that the guy who played Boner in Growing Pains committed suicide in Canada back in 2010. Man, that’s sad. 

I tell you what, man, I need to get to the Netherlands and I need to get there yesterday. Holland has this shindig every year, and the floats are made of flowers. Unreal. And what about that Viking Festival I told you about in Scotland? Awesome. Here in America we have parades with giant Charlie Brown balloons. That’s lame, man. Anyway, check it out:

Sometimes people think too much. And sometimes, they give too much power to a bunch of goofballs in their art department or advertising or whoever the hell makes these decisions. Anyway, below you can see the logo the Milwaukee Brewers used from 1978 to 1993:

 See, it’s an M and a B in the form of a glove with a baseball in it. That, my friends, is perfection. How could you improve on that? The answer is you couldn’t. Still, they tried. Sigh.

Well for God’s sake. That’s their logo from 1994 to 1999. Just awful. Confusing too. So, they changed it in 2000 to this:

Good God. Still turrible. And to think they had perfection and had to mess with it for the sake of change. For the love of God Milwaukee Brewers, admit your mistake and go back to the classic. People will thank you for it.

Keep looking. There’s way more there than you think.

Impressive.

The House on the Rock is an amazing structure built on some rocks up in Wisconsin. It’s weird, creepy and awesome. The house itself is atop Deer Shelter Rock, a column of rock approximately 60-feet by 70-feet by 200-feet on the top, and it stands in a forest. The complex features “The Streets of Yesterday”, a re-creation of an early twentieth century American town; “The Heritage of the Sea”, featuring nautical exhibits and a 200-foot model of a fanciful whale-like sea creature; “The Music of Yesterday”, a huge collection of automatic music machines; and what the management bills as “the world’s largest indoor carousel”,among other bizarre attractions. The carousel at the House on the Rock features 269 carousel animals, 182 chandeliers, over 20,000 lights, and hundreds of mannequin angels hanging from the ceiling. And get this – the carousel has no horses. During the winter, the attraction features a Christmas theme, with decorations and a large collection of Santa Claus figures. Many of the bathrooms are decorated with strange objects, including mannequins, flowers, and preserved animals. One of the house’s main attractions is the Infinity Room, which juts out 218-feet and looms 56-feet over the ground below. Cool.

[for the love of all that is holy, click to enlarge the photos]

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Stellar beard and luxurious hair, too. Leo had it all, man.

Leonardo da Vinci may well have been the greatest inventor in history, yet he had very little effect on the technology of his time. Da Vinci drew sketches and diagrams of his inventions, but either he lost interest in building them or was never able to convince any of his wealthy patrons to finance construction of his designs. As a result, almost none of da Vinci’s inventions were built during his lifetime. And because he never published his diagrams, nobody else knew about them until his notebooks were discovered long after his death.

Like Edgar Allan Poe, da Vinci wasn’t appreciated until after he was long gone. Sad, really.

And that’s a damn shame, because da Vinci’s designs were spectacularly and amazingly ahead of their time. If they had been built, they might have revolutionized the history of technology. The problem is, many of them may have been impossible to build with the tools available in the 15th and 16th centuries.

How could Leonardo possibly imagine building inventions that would require tools not yet invented? Because he was a freaking genius, man.

In recent years engineers have begun to construct models of da Vinci’s amazing machines, and guess what? Most of them actually work. What follows is just a few of the most imaginative, and coolest, designs that da Vinci sketched out in his notebooks.

As you read about these inventions, remember that Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1452 to 1519. To put this in perspective, he was 40-years old when Columbus discovered America. So, long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue Leonardo was drawing blueprints for flying machines and machine guns.

Incredible.

Read on, and prepare to be amazed. Remember that these are just a few of his ideas.

THE PARACHUTE

Da Vinci, who was fascinated by the idea of human flight, conceived his parachute as a way for people to drift through the air. Its pyramid-shaped framework was draped with cloth. As da Vinci wrote in his notebooks, it would allow a man “to throw himself down from any great height without suffering any injury.” Twenty-first century attempts to build the design show that it would have worked pretty much as da Vinci described.

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Kewl, man. Kite-like.

THE ORNITHOPTER

The ornithopter would theoretically have allowed humans to soar through the air like birds. While da Vinci’s parachute would have allowed a human being to jump off a cliff without being hurt, the ornithopter was actually a way for people to soar off the ground and into the air. As you can imagine this was beyond comprehension during da Vinci’s time. On paper, the ornithopter looks much more birdlike than present-day airplanes. Its wings are designed to flap while the pilot turns a crank. This invention demonstrates da Vinci’s strong grasp of aerodynamics and modern attempts to reproduce the ornithopter show that it could indeed have flown. However, it would have already had to be in the air because taking by hand would have been impossible. And get this – the parachute and ornithopter were only two of the flying machines concocted by da Vinci in his notebooks. Others include a glider and something a little farther down on this list.

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Looks safe enough.

THE MACHINE GUN

Da Vinci’s idea for a machine gun, or “33-barrelled organ,” wasn’t a machine gun like we think of one. That is, it couldn’t fire multiple bullets rapidly out of a single barrel. It could, however, deliver punishing volleys of gunfire at rapid intervals and, if it had been built, would have effectively mowed-down oncoming infantry like a boss. Da Vinci proposed mounting 11-muskets side by side on a rectangular board, then attaching three such boards together in a triangular arrangement. By placing a shaft down the middle, the entire contraption could be rotated, so that one set of 11 guns could be fired while a second set cooled off and a third set was being reloaded. Then the entire mechanism could be rotated to bring the loaded set to the top where it could be fired again. That’s just terrifying, man.

Leonardo da Vinci noted time and again in his notebooks that he hated war and loathed the idea of creating killing machines like this one, he needed the cash and found it easy to convince his wealthy patrons that such machines would help them triumph over their enemies. Perhaps it was for the best that this hellish death machine was never actually built.

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Diabolical.

THE DIVING SUIT

While living in Venice in the late 15th century, da Vinci devised a wild idea (for its time) for repelling invading ships. He suggested sending men to the bottom of the harbor in diving suits so they could cut holes in enemy hulls. That idea is not so outrageous nowadays, amirite? Hell, it’s common now for frogmen with scuba gear to engage in underwater sabotage. In da Vinci’s time? Unheard of, man. Da Vinci’s divers would have carried breathing hoses connected to a floating bell full of air, wearing facemasks with glass goggles that would help them see underwater. In another version of the concept, the divers would have breathed from wine bladders filled with air. In both versions, the men would carry a bottle to urinate in so that they could stay underwater indefinitely. Da Vinci’s design was not only feasible, it was practical. These diving suits were actually going to be constructed, but the invaders they were intended for were driven away by the Venetian Navy. Hence, they were never tried.

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15th Century Aquaman.

THE ARMORED TANK

While working for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, da Vinci proposed what may have been his ultimate war machine – the armored tank. Driven by the muscle power of eight men, the armored tank was a turtle-like moving shell with no less than 36-guns poking out of its sides. It was operated by a system of gears propelled by cranks that turned a sequence of wheels. Sounds complicated, huh? The eight men would have been protected by the outer shell so that they could have driven the tank at about walking speed right into the heat of battle without being hurt. The guns, firing in all directions, would have been devastating to the bad guys. Dude was pretty good at devising weapons of destruction for somebody that hated war, right? Money is a magnet, folks.

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Flying saucer-ish, man.

THE SELF-PROPELLED CART

Da Vinci’s self-propelled cart was pretty much the first car in history. In fact, because it has no driver, it can be looked at as history’s first robot vehicle, too. The drawings that da Vinci made of the car in his notebooks don’t fully reveal the mechanism inside and modern engineers have had to guess at what made it go. The best guess is that it used a spring-driven mechanism similar to that in a clock. The “mainsprings” were contained inside drum-shaped casings and would be wound up by hand. So, the cart would be driven forward like a wind-up toy. Leonardo apparently considered his cart to be sort of a toy, but it’s not hard to imagine that useful applications for it would have followed pretty quickly.

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Sort of like a wind-up toy.

THE AERIAL SCREW

No, this is not some weird sexual accomplishment. Da Vinci’s aerial screw is arguably one of the coolest designs that he ever sketched in his notebooks. Working much like a modern helicopter, this flying machine looks a lot like a giant spinning pinwheel. However, the blades of this helicopter were to have been made out of linen. When turned fast enough, they were intended to produce lift, the exact same aeronautical phenomenon that makes airplanes and helicopters fly. Air pressure would have built up under each blade, forcing the flying machine right up into the sky. At least that was the idea, anyway. The aerial screw would probably not have worked, but da Vinci had the basic concepts of flight pretty much down pat.

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Because everybody likes an aerial screw, amirite?

THE ROBOTIC KNIGHT

If da Vinci’s self-propelled cart was the first working design for a robotic vehicle, then the robotic knight would have been the first robot, albeit one from the 15th damn century. Da Vinci was fascinated by human anatomy and spent long hours dissecting corpses in order to figure out how the human body worked. Sort of a morbid hobby but hey, geniuses are weird like that. Anyhoo, this gave him an understanding of how muscles propelled bone. Being the brainiac that he was, he reasoned that these same principles could be applied to a machine. Unlike most of da Vinci’s inventions, Leonard apparently actually built the robotic knight. Driven by a system of pulleys and gears, it was used primarily for entertainment at parties thrown by his wealthy budro Lodovico Sforza.  Da Vinci’s robot has not survived and no one knows exactly what it was capable of doing, but apparently it could walk, sit down and even work its jaw. Yowza.

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Unsettling.

So yeah. Leonardo da Vinci? WAY ahead of his time, man.

PS: I haven’t even mentioned Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, which weren’t half-bad as well. After all he did paint the freaking Mona Lisa. Bro was multi-talented, man.

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“How YOU doin’?”

Streamline Moderne is a late type of Art Deco architecture and design that emerged in the 1930s. Some people call it Air Flow Design as well. Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines and it was cool as hell. I don’t know, there’s just something rally appealing to me about the look. There were Streamline Moderne automobiles, houses, furniture, appliances, and even toys. Check out the slideshow below. Love it, man.

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The Antiques Roadshow appraised a grotesque jug to be worth $50,000, comparing it to a Picasso. Unknown to the appraiser, it was actually made by some random high school kid in 1973. After finding out, he changed his appraisal to $5k, saying it was “not bad for a high schooler.”

 

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Wow. Just . . . wow. These are made by a Hungarian chef named Judit Czinkné Poór, and she is the Leonardo da Vinci of the cookie world. I’m not sure I’d want to eat one, maybe just frame it instead. Impressive.

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I absolutely love this stuff.

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Since the blog “Album Covers from Hell: They’re Here to Haunt Your Dreams” was such an international sensation I was inspired to follow-up with this one.

Note: By “international sensation” I mean some guy from the Maldives messaged me and said he laughed ’til he wet himself. By the way, the Maldives are a bunch of islands in the Indian Ocean. I looked it up. Anyway, I’m glad I made Maldives Dude lose control of his bladder. I think.

Understand that these are my personal favorites, so you may not find them on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Album Covers or any of those lists. Then again, maybe you will. My list consists of album covers that appeal to me, and they might just be appealing to me for no apparent reason. That said, I’ll try and explain why I like them as I go. Let us proceed . . .

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles (1967)

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I have to start with the most iconic album cover of all-time. I bet I’ve looked at this cover for hundreds of hours if you added them all up. The lads had to get permission from everyone pictured, and of course there’s the famous “Paul is Dead” connection with the grave in front and the letters “PAUL?” spelled out in the guitar made of flowers. Allegedly. Anyway, great, legendary cover.

The Beatles – The Beatles (1968)

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I know. Hard to see. But that’s the famous album that came to be known as “The White Album.” After the frenzy of album cover creativity in rock music (which they started), the Beatles came out with this beautifully simplistic cover, plain white and named “The Beatles”. Each cover was numbered as well, at least for awhile, as you can see in the bottom right corner. Overall, a stroke of genius. Well done boys.

Playing Possum – Carly Simon (1975)

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H-m-m-m-m-m . . . what to say. It’s hard to put a finger (insert your own joke here) on why this cover had such an impact on me. Maybe it was the boots? Have mercy.

Strange Days – The Doors (1967)

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Wait a sec. Still looking at the Carly Simon cover. Good God. OK, I’m back. There’s so much goin’ on here I barely no where to start. We have the dancing midget, the Strong Man (in a skirt?), a juggling mime, dancers of some sort and a random trumpet player. Actually these are street performers, circa 1967. The trumpet player is actually a cab driver they pulled off the street. It was taken on a NYC sidestreet, and it’s right up my alley. Epic cover.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh – The Mothers of Invention (1970)

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I dunno, there’s just something about the old-style cartoon graphics paired with the flesh-ripping weasel that mesmerizes me. I’m pretty sure I’ll never write that last sentence again. Anywho, the cover is actually a parody of the old Schick razor ads, and it serves as more proof that Frank Zappa, the leader of this band, is batshit crazy.

Breakfast in America – Supertramp (1979)

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I always thought this was a clever cover, what with the kitchen utensils and tableware forming NYC in the background. The Twin Towers sort of give it a melancholy feel now, but it’s still a great cover in my opinion. And that waitress just screams America to me. And want to get freaked out a little? If you look at the album backwards in a mirror, you will see a 911 over the Twin Towers.

Atom Heart Mother – Pink Floyd (1970)

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I have one, and only one, reason for loving this cover. I like cows. And I love the way that cow is looking at me. Seriously, only a cow can look at you like that, amirite or amirite?

Eve – The Alan Parsons Project (1979)

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I find this cover (which actually opens up to reveal a third woman on the back) fascinating because, at first glance, you see beautiful women. Upon closer inspection though, you notice that the veils partially conceal disfiguring scars and sores. The cover reflects the album’s focus, which is the strengths and characteristics of women and the problems they face in the world of men.  See, I can be deep when I wanna be.

School’s Out – Alice Cooper (1972)

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This album cover was modeled after an old school desk, and is exactly like the one I sat in at Twin Elementary, circa 1967. You know, except mine had “Shoe was here” carved into the top, alongside, “1-2-3-4, we don’t want your f**king war!” Hey, I was a radical at a very young age.  This album actually opened from bottom to top, just like the old desks. But even better? Every record came adorned with an pair of women’s panties, which was awesome. When I took those babies out and hung them on the bedroom wall my Bourneville street cred shot through the roof. Su-weet.

Eldorado – Electric Light Orchestra (1974)

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Everyone knows of my love for The Wizard of Oz, so this one’s a no-brainer. Yep, that’s Dorothy’s shoes zapping the evil hands of the Wicked Witch. Good vs. Evil, all that. Love it.

Eels – Beautiful Freak (1996)

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I love Mark Olver Everett (the man behind the Eels) and this simple, haunting cover perfectly mirrors the surreal feel of the album. Sometimes the cover makes more sense after you hear the music, and that is certainly the case here.

In Your Honor – Foo Fighters (2005)

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I’m not sure what draws me in here, but maybe it’s the grandiose, Civil War era vibe I get from it. Since I teach the Civil War, maybe that’s it. For whatever reason, I love this cover.

Raditude – Weezer (2009)

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Well, I love dogs, and this looks like a happy, flyin’ across the room dog. I actually love the room the pup’s in as well. Sorta has a 70’s vibe. Fits Weezer’s style perfectly.

We Are Not Alone – Breaking Benjamin (2004)

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What can I say? We’ve all had days where we felt like this, amirite? It just screams frustration and angst. Maybe anger, who knows? That’s why I like it.

You Can Tune a Piano but You Can’t Tuna Fish – REO Speedwagon (1978)

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I like this album as much for the title as I do the cover. One of the all-time great puns, don’tcha think? The album also includes “Time for Me to Fly”, a great great song.

So there are my favorites. All told a pretty eclectic group, but my musical tastes are pretty eclectic so it works for me. What about you? Have any all-time favorite album covers? If so I’d love to hear ’em. Readers, it’s your turn.

A true American classic.

Amazing.

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So I was given this drawing by a 4th grader yesterday and I thought I’d break it down, critique it if you will. Let’s do this, but first let’s take a look at the drawing. My comments follow.

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PROS

First off, I really like the “King” angle. It sort of plays up to my ego and whatnot. Believe it or not I’ve been told my ego is a little over inflated at times. I know, crazy, amirite? I also like the sceptre and cape. I’ve often thought I’d look pretty fly sporting a sceptre and cape around town like a boss. And of course I love the fact that The Spark has been included and he’s wearing what appears to be some type of ornamental blanket on his back as he gazes quizzically at us.  Oh, and I’m diggin’ the boots and cool crown.

CONS

Man, that’s a round head. Is my head that round? Just bulbous, man. Looks like a giant muskmelon. Hell, I put Charlie Brown to shame. Jeebus. Plus I have no eyebrows but I can live with that. And have I mentioned that’s a freakishly round head? Yikes.

Meh. I don't get it.

Meh. I don’t get it.

Page 6: Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is the secret buyer of the Alberto Giacometti sculpture “Chariot,” sold last week at Sotheby’s for a near-record $100,965,000.

Despite all the hype around the sale, top art collector Cohen was the only bidder for the Giacometti masterpiece last Tuesday, sources connected to the sale tell Page Six.

Man, is art confusing or what? I know, beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, blah-blah-blah. And hey, I love The Scream and Nighthawks, my two favorite paintings which can be seen below. But paying over 100-million for a tall stick figure dude standing beside a short stick figure dude on a rolling chariot thingy? I don’t think so.

Trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you.

Cool.

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Well, now you have.