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Abrams Books / Oliver Barrett (collage)

Artists Pay Homage to Wes Anderson’s Filmography in a New Book

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Abrams Books / Oliver Barrett (collage)

In 2010, curator and gallery owner Ken Harman organized his first “Bad Dads” pop-up art exhibition dedicated to Wes Anderson and the father figures in his films. Shortly thereafter, Harman established the Spoke Art gallery in San Francisco and now, six years and several exhibitions later, he and the gallery are looking back and celebrating the show that started it all with the release of The Wes Anderson Collection: Bad Dads: Art Inspired by the Films of Wes Anderson.

The Wes Anderson Collection: Bad Dads by Spoke Art Gallery featuring a foreword by Wes Anderson © Abrams Books, 2016

Published by Abrams Books, the book features hundreds of images of paintings, sculptures, prints, and other works of art from the annual exhibit (and 2015’s special pop-up show in New York City). There are works inspired by everything from Anderson’s 1996 directorial debut, Bottle Rocket, to his more recent films, including 2014's Oscar-winning The Grand Budapest Hotel. The 256-page hardcover also includes a preface by Harman, an introduction by New York magazine TV critic and editor-in-chief Matt Zoller Seitz, and a foreword by the man himself, filmmaker Wes Anderson.

“Wes and his entire team have been very supportive over the years,” Harman told mental_floss. “I believe he first found out about the exhibit in 2010 and we always try to send them an update whenever we put on a new show ... Wes does have a fair number of works from the show which he has collected over the years."

Anderson attended the New York City pop-up along with actor Jason Schwartzman, but he is not the only one of Anderson's collaborators who has shown appreciation for the work. “We’ve also been lucky enough to meet Tony Revolori (Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Kara Hayward (Suzy in Moonrise Kingdom),” Harman says. “Jared Gilman (who played Sam in Moonrise Kingdom) has quickly become a friend of the gallery and we see him pretty regularly whenever we do a show in New York, even when it’s not Wes Anderson-related.”

Rich Pellegrino, "Peter" Acrylic on panels

Doug LaRocca,"F is for Fantastic" Screen Print 10.5 x 13.5

Oliver Barrett, [names clockwise from top] Raleigh, Steve, Walt, Herman. Screen Prints 18 x 24 each.

Ruben Ireland, "Margot," Fine art giclée print

Matt Needle, "Rushmore," Fine art giclee print 18 x 24

Ivonna Buenrostro, "Le temps del’amour," Fine art giclée print

Harman says that designer Martin Venezky is the one who deserves thanks for the cover and interior art; Venezky worked on the previous installments of The Wes Anderson Collection, and was also responsible for selecting the art for the Bad Dads book.

“Looking at the way he laid everything out, it’s pretty apparent that there are a lot of similarities between book design and gallery curation,” Harman says. “The way individual works compare, contrast, or speak to each other across the two-page spreads and in segments throughout the book is very reminiscent to how we, as a gallery, decide which works go where.”

The Wes Anderson Collection: Bad Dads: Art Inspired by the Films of Wes Anderson is available today via Abrams Books and Amazon.

All images courtesy of Abrams Books.

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Ape Meets Girl
Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.


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