The Mental Museum

Archive for July 2008

N Korean Propaganda

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“Let’s give a bigger part to the advantages of the socialist treatment system through greater effort.”

The hand-painted posters are produced at a studio complex in Pyongyang, North Korea where about 1,000 artists work. Many posters promote the communist state or seek to tear down American imperialism. They also promote healthy lifestyle and hard work. Despite hostile messages directed towards the western empire, the astonishing resemblances in style and tone to American 1950 poster doctrines is uncanny.  “A car in every garage and a chicken in every pot” screams its way to the surface of these patriotic and public encouragements.  Western “We can do it” and “I WANT YOU” ad mentality of promoting hard work, staying fit and staying loyal not only seems to inspire this style, but its purpose to propagate. Buyers purchase posters like these in the hopes to sell at art auction to collectors overseas. And as these posters have infact proved so popular, a book has been published and an exhibition in New York is planned.

“Let’s learn to swim at an early age.”

“Look! The face of American imperialism.”

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July 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm

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Takashi Murakami

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Murakami is a young Japanese born artist. He began his artistic endeavors at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music by studying more traditional forms of Japanese art. He pursued a doctorate in Nihonga, which is the artworks that have been made in accordance with Japanese traditional artistic conventions, techniques and materials. Although Marakami’s background is more conventional, he became transfixed with the modern Japanese otaku culture, which is centralized around the commercial nature of anime and manga styles. His work seeks to incorporate pop culture and otaku styles, resulting in “Poku” culture (pop + otaku). The epitome of this successful fusion are the new facades of Louie Vuitton purses bearing Murakami’s notorious design.  While successfully attempting to blur the boundaries between high and low art, he also creates thirty foot sculptures and large scale paintings worthy of high end New York London gallery space. In 2008, Takashi Murakami made Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list, and was the only visual artist to do so. Congratulations Takashi.

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July 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm

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Pae White

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Pae White is a California born artist who entered the art scene in the mid 1990s. Her contemporary style is influenced by today’s pop culture while also incorporating an abundance of art historical references. She is notorious for her majestic large scale mobile installations. These works evoke the essence of entities such as schools of fish, flocks of birds, impressionist paintings, or even computer generated pixels.  White describes this body of mobile work as “an exploration of movement contained.”  Like “a waterfall on pause” the works are “a flurry of color and gentle movement, suspended for contemplation.” Her mobiles are constructed from brightly colored cut paper hung delicately to respond to the slightest of movement, breeze or breath; defining three-dimensional space while remaining fluid. Her work evokes a sense of freedom, fragility and unity. Her constructions, although meticulously organized, suggest chaos. The character of her work fits nicely with the current up and coming trend of bright and delicate work being produced by artists from the west coast. Her motifs suggest an influence from the Chuck Close school of optical mixing while her installations as a whole allude to the computer generation’s colored pixel disarray.  By granting each installation freedom to move and become misaligned she ultimately challenges us to reconsider three dimensional space.

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July 3, 2008 at 4:59 pm

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