The lasting power of Merriweather Post Pavilion

The lasting power of Merriweather Post Pavilion

Claudia Maddaluno · 5 years ago · Art

In 2009 we still had a MySpace page and Barack Obama had just become the first black President of the United States.

We used to talk about a music album sitting around a table, rather than behind a PC. We still had no idea what would happen in music industry and how the way we consumed music would change: we read album reviews on blogs or magazines at the time. I mean, we used to read, trying to separate ourselves from the common crowd and find out the hidden indie gems before anyone else.
We were squeamish with mainstream and sold out because we liked intimate shows in small spaces, better if they were in remote places.

In those first nine years of the new millennium we were impressed with a fascinating, prolific and alternative band from Baltimore called Animal Collective: the band consisting of Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Avey Tare (David Portner), Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Geologist (Brian Weitz) had already released seven folk and guitar-oriented albums at the time.
That band made us crazy because their music was polarizing: we either had to love it or hate it.
But, even if you hated their records, you agreed that Animal Collective were the last bastion of a bygone indie scene.

When it was released on January 6, a lot of critics called Merriweather Post Pavilion the best album of 2009, even though other iconic records of that year like XX or Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix hadn’t come out yet.

Animal Collective’s eighth full-length (the first after Deakin went out) sounds like an hallucinatory mix of experimental electronic and mesmerizing psychedelia, full of 80s synths and lysergic atmospheres that remind us Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. In short, the production on this album is so chaotic that it even impressed their diehard fans.

The discussion about Merriweather lasted for months because everyone realised it would remain an isolated case. Well, first of all, Animal Collective made a pop record without releasing the pop hit: they weren’t looking for commercial glories, indulging their baroque and stressfull productions.
Then, the way the record leaked two months before it was released was a very unusual way: in a way Merriweather was a precursor to how modern labels would released their albums in the streaming era.
It also marked the ending of a decade and the transition of the band from the indie scene to mainstream.

How they did it?

When Merriweather came out, everyone discussed about it for months on blogs and magazines that served as a way out of indie world, helping a band from Maryland to reach the popularity and headline the most important international festivals, from Primavera Sound to Coachella.

The diehard Animal Collective fans might turn up their noses at the popularity the band experienced after the release because AC has always been a hard band with a spontaneous but intricate sound. Now that we are 10 years into the future, we can say that Merriweather was an incredible inspiration for psych / baroque band like Tame Impala or Arcade Fire. Their successful formula was replicated over time but Animal Collective was the last indie band to crack the mainstream code.

Ten years later we know that social networks and streaming platforms changed everything in music even if we really don’t have the time to analyse how and when things have changed: with the New Music Fridays too many records come out every week so we probably have one or two albums that we can hear in depth.
Today we’re obsessed with an album for a couple days, discussing about it on Twitter, and then we forget about it.

But a resonant reverb still survives in this fleeting communication era: Animal Collective’s Merriweather was not isolated to a couple days. It still has a lasting power.

The lasting power of Merriweather Post Pavilion
The lasting power of Merriweather Post Pavilion
The lasting power of Merriweather Post Pavilion
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The Sensual and Vulnerable Photography of Alexandra Mavrofridi

The Sensual and Vulnerable Photography of Alexandra Mavrofridi

Anna Frattini · 2 weeks ago · Photography

In her artist statement, Alexandra Mavrofridi emphasizes her ability to communicate the strength of emotions rather than attempting to inadequately describe them in words. The photographer grapples with society’s tendency to label and criticize women based on their choices, appearance, and behavior. Faced with this verbal violence, she has found refuge and strength through the lens of her camera. Mavrofridi’s photography becomes a sanctuary where she can embrace her sensuality and vulnerability without fear of judgment. Within this creative space, she confronts the violence that society often conceals beneath its expectations. Her work becomes a testament to her resilience, a visual narrative of her journey to break down the barriers between her innocent self and the seductive woman within her.

Every self-portrait she captures is a glimpse into her inner world, a safe place where fragility and strength coexist harmoniously. Through her lens, the photographer embarks on a nostalgic journey, a reminiscence of the reality she began shaping when she first ventured into photography. It is a journey untethered by direction but guided by deep emotions and the stories she wants to convey. Mavrofridi’s photographic adventure is driven by intuition, leading her to explore various mediums. Her goal is to create a versatile body of work, a growing masterpiece that paints a vivid universe populated by nude forms, enigmatic shadows, and human hybrids. In doing so, she challenges stereotypes and preconceptions, using her art to provoke contemplation rather than judgment.

In an era where words can sometimes be weak in expressing the depth of emotions, Alexandra Mavrofridi’s photography is a testament to the power of visual storytelling. It allows her to confront societal norms and reveal the vulnerability that often hides beneath the surface, creating compelling work that speaks to the human experience.

Ph. courtesy Alexandra Mavrofridi

For more of Alexandra Mavrofridi’s photographs, you can visit her Instagram profile.

The Sensual and Vulnerable Photography of Alexandra Mavrofridi
The Sensual and Vulnerable Photography of Alexandra Mavrofridi
The Sensual and Vulnerable Photography of Alexandra Mavrofridi
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Gaia Caramellino captures the essence of nomadism

Gaia Caramellino captures the essence of nomadism

Anna Frattini · 2 weeks ago · Art, Photography

Gaia Caramellino, a very talented photographer, has embarked on a journey in search of the concepts of home, belonging, and identity through photography. Her creativity is reflected in an exploration of her nomadic past, transforming perpetual movement into a suspended and melancholic world where the concept of “home” undergoes profound reflection.

Born into a family of traveling wanderers, Caramellino spent her childhood in a home on four wheels with her parents, always on the move. It is here that her photographic journey began. Her photography is characterized by a bittersweet tone, seeking something stable within this perpetual motion. «My mother used to say that the melancholy of nomads is nothing more than the search for an innocent place, a place to protect,» explains the photographer.

Through her lens, Gaia Caramellino captures the fleeting moments of a nomadic existence and the deep emotions that arise from it. Her photographs tell stories of transience and the search for that elusive sense of belonging. Each image is a testament to the power of art to explore, express, and heal the soul. Gaia’s work invites viewers to join her on this journey, to contemplate the beauty of melancholy, and to reflect on the universal quest for a place to call home.

Ph. courtesy Gaia Caramellino

Discover more from her Instagram profile. Gaia Caramellino will be past of Photography at Fondazione Matalon in Milano from 22nd to the 24th of September.

Gaia Caramellino captures the essence of nomadism
Gaia Caramellino captures the essence of nomadism
Gaia Caramellino captures the essence of nomadism
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Alex Katz and his beloved Ada

Alex Katz and his beloved Ada

Anna Frattini · 2 weeks ago · Art

Deodato Arte brings Alex Katz‘s exhibition to Milan from September 14th to October 7th at its location on Via Nerino, 1. “Alex Katz: Ada” is a rather recent retrospective that focuses its strength on the muse of the American artist: Ada Del Moro, his wife and a biologist researcher who features in over a thousand works by Katz. It consists of two portfolios, one in color from last year and one in black and white from 2017.

«For me, it was very strange to be looked at so closely by the man I had just fallen in love with. The way he studied me, my face, my ears, everything. It was very strange and at the same time an overwhelming feeling,» says Ada, a model of her time and a figure in the artistic and literary scene of Alex Katz’s New York. Dark hair like Jackie Kennedy, intense eyes like Anne Bancroft. All framed by a matching neck scarf, large sunglasses, and a timeless lipstick.

In short, hers is a timeless gaze that penetrates the viewer’s mind. For Katz, Del Moro is never in the wrong position but exudes a naturalness that seems to come from old movies and continues to shine despite the passing decades. The summer residence of the Katz couple – a 19th-century farmhouse – is located in Maine. It’s a magical place where they move every June, and where the American artist returns to his studio, standing for 55 years. This seems to be the perfect backdrop for Katz, a safe place to enjoy the summer months and work on his favorite subject: Ada.

Alex Katz and his beloved Ada
Alex Katz and his beloved Ada
Alex Katz and his beloved Ada
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Côme Clérino: painter or designer?

Côme Clérino: painter or designer?

Giorgia Massari · 2 weeks ago · Art

Art or Design? We often ask ourselves this question when confronted with a work of art. With the spread of collectible design – which we have told you about here – it is increasingly easy to come across unique pieces that oscillate between sculpture and design objects. Functionality seems to be one of the easiest prerogatives to cling to in order to make a distinction. Can I use it? If the answer is yes, then it is almost always a design piece. The same question arises when admiring the pieces of Parisian artist Côme Clérino. But he gives us the answer. «I am a painter,» he says. «My work consists of painting from an anchor point in reality and from there offering a different look at what surrounds us every day.» With these words, Clérino offers us an initial key to understanding his work and his research. After graduating from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Clérino developed a multidisciplinary practice, challenging the academic definition of painting and combining photography, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and installations.

In Côme Clérino’s installations, the line between his works and the design sphere becomes thinner. Even in his neat sketches, one can glimpse his method, both design and technical. The scenarios that the artist creates are real sets, living spaces in soft colours – such as mint green and peach – within which the viewer can move around and search for a homely dimension. A further point of encounter with design lies in the choice of materials, which have all the characteristics to make the works potentially functional. MDF, plaster, acrylic resin, fibreglass, paraffin, fabric, thermoplastic glue, tile sealant, ceramic and polystyrene are some of the materials Côme Clérino chooses for his pieces.

From a structural point of view, fluidity is master. The lines are soft, the forms are imperfect. Looking more closely at his works and in particular his installations, it is evident how his research starts from an urban context. Clérino’s scenarios offer a new point of view to observe the city, bringing the transformations she undergoes – such as deterioration – into a living context. Exterior materials covering interior objects. Quoting Léo Marin, who wrote a critical text on Clérino, we leave you with a series of questions to ponder. «A sculpture of use? Final design by the artist-creator? A change in practice, as seems to be the current trend? Light shed on the importance of the material? So many questions are being asked by Côme Clérino: What if we threw the furniture out of the window? And start again from scratch?»

Courtesy Côme Clérino

Côme Clérino: painter or designer?
Côme Clérino: painter or designer?
Côme Clérino: painter or designer?
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