It was at the Five Points Festival that I spotted this amazing painting by artist Paul Fernandez-Carol that mashes up The Beatles with characters from Star Wars in a very clever way. On one hand, we could be looking at The Beatles, dressed in their colorful, highly-recognizable satin band suits from the Sgt. Pepper-album cover — Ringo in Pink, John in Yellow, Paul in Blue and George in Red — who are avoiding being recognized by wearing disguises on their heads. On the other hand, this might be the Star Wars saga characters of a Scout Trooper, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and an Imperial Stormtrooper (who are all distinguishable by the helmets they wear) posing as The Beatles. Who can say? Speaking of posing, I believe that the figures’ poses in this painting were copied from This Photo of the Fab Four taken in 1967 during a promotional photo shoot for the Sgt. Pepper album cover. You can see more art by Fernandez-Carol on his page at Seven Arts Gallery.
You can see this colorful mural of the Sith Lord Vader (by Street Artist Huetek) in First Street Green Cultural Park, which is located on the north side of E. Houston Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. You can also enter at 33 East 1st Street, which is the official address. The murals change frequently, so if you want to see this one, don’t wait too long!
You must first read This Post to find out where in New York City you can buy this bitchen Ed Hardy Tote Bag with Star Wars characters all over it! May the Force of Shopping Be With You!
Hey what’s up? Today we are having our first official snowfall here in NYC, and it is lovely, but mostly it makes you start pondering how are we going to get through the winter months, and still have fun, without leaving the house. If you are looking for ideas of fun outings you can take in the borough of Manhattan that involve indoor activities, and which are all pretty close to public transportation (i.e. limiting required outside time) then you should plan to head over to the Discovery Center in Times Square for the Star Wars and the Power of the Costume Exhibition, which is just outstanding.
Perhaps you are thinking that you have not seen all of the Star Wars films, and won’t have fun because you don’t know all of the specific minutia of the backstory for each character that wore a particular costume, so I am here to tell you that it does not matter. All you need is a loose grasp of the franchise and the names of a few main characters and you’ll be good to go, because there is such clear and compelling narrative that follows each display. I learned so much and was so intrigued that it made me want go back and see the films I haven’t seen yet. Even the ones everyone whines about.
Let’s get to the costumes!
The exhibit galleries are scattered with quotes like the one above, from Director George Lucas, and others who worked on the costumes, which add a new dimension of understanding to what “The Power of the Costume” means.
The Jedi Vs Sith Gallery has interactive features and also the best lighting of any gallery, which is helpful, because flash photography is not allowed.
Darth Maul, what badass.
Robe worn by adult Luke Skywalker next to child costume of the young Anakin Skywalker, the future Darth Vader. Heavy.
The Droids have one small gallery.
The Phantom Menace costumes were inspired by the art of the Pre-Raphaelites — 19th Century English painters – who had particular visions of heroines and female beauty. The use of rich color influenced the fashions of Padme’s handmaidens and the citizens of Naboo.
The Yellow Throne Room Costume (above) included a hood, constructed to extend out and create deep shadows, used to hide the faces of the handmaidens and give them a sense of mystery. This also enabled Padme to travel in disguise as one of the group.
The elaborate costumes of the first three episodes generally serve to emphasize the point that, once The Empire falls to The Dark Side, fashion goes out the window.
Few costume designs in the history of film are as iconic as the Imperial Stormtroopers. This “Spooky White Space Armour” was inspired by designer Ralph McQuarrie’s knowledge of medieval armor.
This is a mirrored room filled with suspended Stormtrooper Helmets. Very cool and super hard to photograph!
There is a deeply fascinating backstory on the de-volution of Senator/Emperor Palpatine that accompanies several of the costumes worn by actor Ian McDiarmid.
Truth: the famous Leia Slave Bikini looks very jenky up-close. I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable it was to wear (look out for Carrie Fisher’s hilarious quotes to that effect, somewhere in the display narrative).
There is no argument that actress Natalie Portman got to wear the best costumes of any character. Padme Amidala’s clothes are simply stunning.
This the costume Padme is wearing when the audience first sees that she is pregnant with Luke and Leia.
There is no question that Padme Amidala stole Darth Vader’s thunder in the costume department, but as we all know, he got the last laugh.
Geoffrey and I visited the exhibition at 6 PM on a Saturday, when attendance was sparse (read: it’s a good time to go, as the exhibit is open on Saturdays until 9:00 PM). A highlight of our time there was when we overheard one of the exhibit attendants excitedly tell another attendant that a guest was “on her knees, fully worshiping the Darth Vader Costume.” Hilarious.
The final gallery of the exhibition is dedicated the latest episode in the franchise, The Force Awakens, which I saw over the Christmas holidays, and just loved.
After having all kinds of crazy fun, it was time to Exit Through the Gift Shop and ogle the vast bounty of Star Wars swag available for purchase!
If only this shirt had come with long sleeves, they would have made an easy sale.
And for the truly lonely, Actual-Size Cardboard Character Stand Ups!
Get More Information on Star Wars and The Power of the Costume Exhibition and the Discovery Center Times Square, Including Address and Directions, Hours, and Purchase Tickets Blah Blah Blah, at This Link!
No, this isn’t a mash-up tie-in for The Force Awakens and racist douche Donald Trump’s mortifying horrorshow of a campaign to win the Republican Presidential nomination; it’s an actual artwork by Seattle-based artist Michael Leavitt, that appeared in his 2103 exhibit, Empire Peaks. For this exhibit, which was shown at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in NYC, Leavitt created action figures of celebrities, politicians, humanitarians and other famous non-fictional personalities crossed with Star Wars characters, juxtaposing the classic archetypal roles found in Yoda, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader, etc. With Trump, I think he really nailed it.
This handsome likeness of Lord Darth Vader is proudly displayed alongside a Tie Fighter and the back end of a Tauntaun in this photo that I snapped at the Museum of the Moving Image on a recent visit. Note that Vader is not merely an action figure in this case, but an official doll, suitable for cavorting with Barbie should she grow bored with Ken and wish to make a move to the Dark Side.
While not necessarily a household name, Mr. Brainwash is arguably one of the most commercially successful street artists alive, and certainly one whose art panders to the lowest common denominator, Hallmark-Greeting-Card-sensibilities of the general public. What his heavily appropriated artworks lack in originality, Brainwash makes up in Chutzpah and being backed by a team who are geniuses at marketing and selling his brand. Right now — for how long, who the fuck knows — you can explore a warehouse-sized exhibit of Brainwash’s Greatest Hits at a pop-up space on West 14th Street, directly under the High Line Park. Entitled Life is Beautiful, the exhibit is the French-born, LA-based artist’s follow-up to 2010’s all-encompassing exhibit/happening, Icons; which was up for most of that year, it seems. Was it worth the wait? You betcha.
It is easy to criticize Brainwash’s Instagram-Nation-mentality visual puns and platitudes, but it is hard not to fall in love with pieces as hilariously snarky as this depiction of Tiger Woods playing through on Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World that i saw on socialproof.xyz. Talk about taking the piss out of beloved cultural icons.
Norman Rockwell’s classic Americana portraiture also gets a liberal dose of the Brainwash Treatment, hybridizing these well-loved images with modern memes and technological gadgets.
If you are my age or older, you probably grew up with Rockwell’s art in your house. In a way, this generational mash-up gives Brainwash’s art an ideal cross-over accessibility, making it a fun exhibit to bring your parents to. In fact, I daresay there is something here for everybody.
Do you like Star Wars? There are Star Wars characters in this exhibit.
Look at all this stuff! It’s like Bansky’s attic blew up in your face.
Some of the art is disguised as stuff that you can sit on. Can you sit on this? Try it and find out.
This cabinet stuffed with vintage toys appealed to my collector/hoarder mentality.
If you look long enough, you’ll probably see something you used to own, before it was purchased for a nickel from the Goodwill, or scavenged from a landfill.
Maybe you remember the celebrity portraits created from meticulously pieced-together broken vinyl LPs that made up about 50% of the Icons exhibit. Well, they’re back for an encore appearance in Life is Beautiful. Some, like this ubiquitous image of Jimi Hendrix, now have psychedelic paint thrown onto the hair, for an updated effect.
Yeah, you remember these guys.
Is it artsy recreation of a Midcentury Living Room, or is it a comfy place to rest? Again, why not see what you can get away with?
Here, Brainwash offers a few redesign ideas for your kitchen.
Renaissance Caitlyn Jenner manages to be both topical and mind blowing simultaneously.
And of course the art is nothing if not hyper-self-referential.
Another rehash from Icons but, like an old friend, always fun to see again.
I wonder if Damien Hirst gets a cut of this one?
These stylized portraits of the cast of Seinfeld are probably my favorite pieces in the show.
This one made me nostalgic for the Cow Parade. If you don’t know what that was, you should Google it.
I finally made in it to see the Life is Beautiful exhibit at 2:30 PM on a Friday, after three unsuccessful attempts; meeting a closed and locked door each of the previous times. So, if you feel lucky or have time to kill, why not see if your timing is right and you arrive on a day and time that someone with keys decides to open the door. Hours are not posted on Brainwash’s official website, nor can they be found anywhere on the storefront itself. So it is really a crap-shoot that can get old fast, depending on your tolerance for being jerked around.
Don’t forget to hashtag the shit out of your photos.
The exhibit has moved to much smaller space just a few storefronts east of its previous home, and is now a Pop Up “Store” with hours clearly posted on the doors, as seen in the photo below:
You only have until August 1st to see the really fun — and diverse — summer group show up now at the Joseph Gross Gallery. The exhibit features a few of our favorite artists, including Ron English, Sebastian Wahl and Joseph Grazi, plus a lot cool new stuff from artists we didn’t previously know, including: Alex Yanes, Alison Mosshart, Ben Venom, Dave White, Diane Munoz, Eric Inkala, Etai Rahmil, James Charles, Jet Martinez, Jessica Hess, John Felix Arnold III, Pam Glew, Peter Gronquist, Rune Christensen, Jessica Hess, Sergio Garcia, Christopher Schulz, Tahiti Pehrson and Ted Lincoln.
Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show!
Glass Trumpet Sculpture
Collage pieces by Sebastian Wahl.
I love the vibrant colors and geometric shapes in this painting.
Whoever made the decision to put this one in a blue frame made the right choice.
Painting and Sculptures by Ron English.
Darth Vader’s likeness inlaid into a slab of wood. Very nice!
Shark Guns! Yes!
More Cool Stuff!
I especially enjoyed the collection of five dollar bills modified with images and sayings few various Pop Culture Icons. Above, Napoleon Dynamite.
And Malcolm McDowell as Alec from A Clockwork Orange, plus there are a bunch more.
Be sure to stop by before they take this stuff down because it is a must-see show!
The Joseph Gross Gallery is Located at 548 W 28th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.