Swans just released six images from their upcoming album, To Be Kind, which is due out on May 13. The art is by Bob Biggs, a painter and the founder of Slash Records. Michael Gira, frontman of Swans, offered the following comments about how the art came to be featured in the album:
I first met Bob Biggs in Los Angeles in 1976/77, through friends in the so-called punk scene there. He was a conceptual artist, but like everyone else with a brain, he was enthralled with the sudden and concussive events endemic to the rise of the beautifully scabrous punk explosion at the time. He was “outside” of it (as was I, in retrospect), but also in it, and had a sardonic view of it simultaneously. I distinctly remember him arriving at the infamous (genesis site of LA Punk) Masque Club, with a Semi Truck bearing a a fully grown, mucous-dripping cow, and leading it down a ramp into the club, where it ambled about, shat, and was then led out. I’m not certain what this was supposed to actually mean, but it was a delightful event, nevertheless.
Later, I was at the house of a friend (and a friend of Bob’s), and I noticed an unfathomable image on the wall. It was a pastel of one of the baby images we are now using as the art for the new Swans album. An uncanny visual cipher, and it stuck with me, all these years... I look at Bob’s baby images as something like the Mona Lisa—utterly inscrutable, but ACHING to reach up to the surface. Or like one of Jasper Johns’ flag paintings—I just can’t figure them out, but they keep calling me back.
I recall asking Bob in 1981 or so if I could use one of those baby images for a record, and he said, definitively, NO.
But those images have remained in the back of my head since then, always nagging. It seems they’re always calling me, calling, calling...
I’m delighted that these images, finally with Bob’s consent, can now act as innocent, but implacable sentinels for the music of Swans, after all these years. .. God Bless Bob Biggs...
One of your perennial favorites, Danish menswear brand Han Kjøbenhavn, just double-dosed the intercaves with its 2014 offerings--a Spring/Summer lookbook (photographs below) and Autumn/Winter über show (video at the bottom). The former is slick and technical with an airiness about it. The latter, presented at the National Museum of Denmark as part of Copenhagen's fashion week, is dark and formidable. It's a spectacle in which Speedoed hulks pedal white chariots in an ominous parade of gas-masked grotesques. In other words, it's more of the awesomeness you've come to expect from Han Kjøbenhavn.
Takahiro Matsushita unveiled his menswear label, m's braque, in 2002, and the Paris-based, Japanese designer has been going strong ever since. He finds and employs vintage fabrics and mixes textures, patterns, and colors beautifully and simply, as evidenced in his current collection. The photos below feature the art of Aki Kuroda.
French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot is a trained musician and composer whose installation featuring 70 zebra finches and a slew of tuned, amplified guitars will be on display at the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA). As the birds nest, feed, flock, and perch on guitars and cymbals, the sonic experience unfolds. The piece was originally designed for the Barbican's Curve Gallery in 2010, but will be on view on in the P.E.M.'s 2,000-square-foot walk-through aviary starting on January 18.
Richmond, Virginia-based retailer Need Supply recently released an episode of their "Meet the Maker" series featuring Gitman Brothers Vintage, which has been manufacturing shirts since 1978 in Ashland, Pennsylvania. The brand is an extension of Max Gitman's original company, which relocated to Ashland from Brooklyn in 1932. Slim fits and interesting patterns and prints have elevated the popularity of Gitman Vintage shirts in recent years.