Correct Culture: Egg Work, Photo Finishes, Bauhaus Built

Fiercely Correct Art – Besides being a talented photographer whose alterna-persona Rosie The Clown is known for beyond-scandalous performance art shenanigans and homo-erotic photos that feature him as a bizarre clown serving up a rather, ahem, large appendage, artist Paul Wirhun a.k.a. The Eggman is also an uber-talented artist working in a medium involving eggshells and found wood. Inspired by early modernist paintings, Asian ceramics, and Japanese prints, Wirhun painstakingly arranges thousands of eggshell fragments into surreal, sensuous collage/paintings depicting everything from a young man’s curvaceous backside to the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Caution: Correctness Ahead – John Kelly is a performance and visual artist whose legendary career dates back to the early East Village clubs of the 80s. His talent seems to know no bounds, as he is not only a trained dancer who studied with the American Ballet Theater, but also a visual artist who studied painting and drawing with Larry Rivers and Barbara Pearlman at Parsons School of Design. His homage to Joni Mitchell, “Paved Paradise,” was so unsettlingly realistic that he was invited to give a command performance for her at Fez in 1998. Since the 80s he has created over 30 performance works and has appeared at many alternative venues including PS1, the Warhol Museum, LaMaMa, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. He recently had a successful showing of his paintings and drawings titled “The Mirror Stages: Self-Portraits 1979-2009,” at Alexander Gray Associates, and was last seen on the big screen acting in John Turturro’s Romance & Cigarettes in 2005. He is constantly in a state of creation, utilizing the many splendid gifts he is blessed with to exhilarating effect. But most important, Kelly remains one of the most humble, sincere, and truly sweet people on a scene that often turns even those with the best intentions into bitchy caricatures of what some feel a performance artist or diva should be. After a much-deserved rest this coming September, he will be focusing more on his acting, hopefully bringing his particular brand of magic to the wider audience he so justly deserves.

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Take the Picture – Victoria Dearing is incapable of cliché, in constant motion through the world refusing all those easy visual options, refusing repeatedly to take the photograph that so many already have and will do again, always seeing everything anew instead. She will not focus on the poverty even in the poorest pueblo of El Salvador but rather grants us elegantly composed, almost abstract details of everyday existence — images which tell us all we need to know about life here, yet with the promise of redemption, that spark of beauty which every person and place guards. Likewise in Africa she creates compositions of great tonal and aesthetic intrigue whilst never reducing her subject matter to mere geometries, always connecting directly to their essential humanity. Dearing is opposed to the condescension and compromise inherent to so much photojournalism; instead, she offers her utter and genuine curiosity and, yes, friendliness toward the world and all its inhabitants … an exceptional openness apparent in every one of her photographs. Dearing has photography built into her DNA and has been taking pictures all her life, negotiating that path between commercial imagery and personal vision where that art has currently found itself at its most fruitful. At a time when everyone travels and everyone takes photographs, it has become easier rather than harder to distinguish between the true photographic eye and the tourist’s banal snapshot. Any one of Dearing’s images makes it immediately clear that whether you mean a “decisive moment” or Barthes “punctum” — whatever the word for it — she has that rare and precious gift of truly seeing and so letting us see also.

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The Stuff You Need Now – I asked my friend Alex Bator to describe in his own words exactly what the deal is with his hot new T-shirt collection Dessau ({encode=”dessausportgear@gmail.com” title=”dessausportgear@gmail.com”}:

I chose the vintage bike as an ICON, because it represents freedom. A metaphor for that good feeling we all get from doing the things that we love to do. DESSAU on the other hand is one of the founding cities of BAUHAUS the art school/design movement. If you recall, I had always published Stuf Mag under an assumed parent company: Amerikan Bauhaus. To me the Bauhaus movement represented and new way of thinking and teaching. Bringing several artistic disciplines under one roof, for what seemed like the first time, there was a lot gained by the proximity of arts and more importantly ARTISTS. This lead to collaboration and unexpected goodness. Thus Dessau is based on this collaborative effort. In this way I am looking for other artists and brands to collaborate with. And because of all of the above, and COI (Conflict of Interest) included I am ok with moving very slow, very limited edition type of productions.

Personality: I am as you know a guy from Detroit I have always been drawn to cars, Muscle, Euro, Micro, Trucks, cool shapes and colors, I’m all about it. Motorcycle were stronger when I was a kid and used to dart around on a Vespa Style Honda 50 and super fun, Little Indian which was the lawn mowers version of a mini bike replete with Briggs and Stratton, pull start engine. I remember I bought one, took it all apart, painted the frame black, dropped new chrome fenders on it and recovered the seat with Denim that I probably re-cycled from a pair of old jeans or a jacket. Unfortunately the photo documentation is a bit weak, but maybe I could dig up, scan and PSD magic it back to visible life. 110 Film camera’s sucked for sure. Weirdly enough I‘ve recently found a slew of global brands that are mining the same idiosyncratic passions, literally stating: “We’re into Vintage Cars, Motorcycles and Skateboarding”. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you I’m into skateboarding! (ya, that was a J-oke and I know you got it!).

Photographs (except for Victoria Dearing) by Walt Cessna. See more from Walt Cessna on Facebook.

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