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Marcel Duchamp Wasn’t the Only Artist With an Alter Ego. Here Are 6 of the Greatest Art Aliases of All Time | Artnet News

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We all have hidden selves, but rarely do people name them, let alone give them an entire body of work.

The idea of the alter ego is an ancient one. Cicero coined the term, describing it as a kind of alternative self, a “trusted friend.” Centuries later, Robert Louis Stevenson imbued the alter ego with a notorious tilt after writing his famed 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Musicians, for their part, have often embraced other selves as a means of experimenting with new sounds or styles: David Bowie had Ziggy Stardust, Beyoncé has Sasha Fierce, and (as every person of a certain age knows) Miley Cyrus had Hannah Montana.

Many artists, too, have cultivated alter egos, occasionally to the bafflement of the public. If that comes as news to you, please let this be your introduction to six of art history’s most infamous, interesting, and outlandish alter egos. 

Rrose Sélavy

Man Ray, Rrose Sélavy (Marcel Duchamp) (1921). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Who’s Who?: Rrose Sélavy (Marcel Duchamp)

Origin Story: A few years after introducing the world to the readymade with his infamous 1914 Bottle Rack, Marcel Duchamp surprised the art world again when he debuted Rrose Sélavy, his female alter ego.

The name was a riff on the French phrase “Eros, c’est la vie” (Eros is life). For whatever reason, a second “r” was added to the name in 1921 when Sélavy added her signature to Francis Picabia’s collage L’Oeil Cacodylate

Artistic License: Rrose Sélavy was an artist, muse, and creative experiment all in one. Sélavy sat for a number of now-famous portraits by Man Ray and Florine Stettheimer, and Duchamp credited a number of sculptures to her. 

A SAMO tag declaring, somewhat antithetically, that SAMO is dead. Photo courtesy YouTube.

Who’s Who?: SAMO (Jean-Michel Basquiat)

Origin Story:  While still in high school, Basquiat first gained glimmers of fame as “SAMO,” a graffiti tag he used that stood for “same old shit.”

Basquiat and his friend and collaborator Al Diaz invented the character while still in high school, and the pair often added a copyright symbol to the end of the tag in a signature gesture. “It was supposed to be a logo, like Pepsi,” Basquiat explained of the addition.  

Artistic License: The duo tagged SAMO throughout Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn between 1977 and 1980, and when the collaboration came to an end that year, Basquiat killed off the alter-ego, with a bevy of tags declaring “SAMO is dead.”

Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun, Self-Portrait (1927). Courtesy of Jersey Heritage Collections.

Who’s Who?: Lucy Schwob (Claude Cahun)

Origin Story: This is one case where the alias is the star of the show.

The French-born Surrealist photographer, sculptor, and writer Claude Cahun was born Lucy Schwob, but adopted the alter-ego early in her career. What’s more, her lifelong lover, step-sister, and collaborator Suzanne Malherbe also had an alter-ego, by the name Marcel Moore. In Paris, the couple were friends with the likes of Man Ray and André Breton. The latter famously called Cahun, “one of the most curious spirits of our time.” 

Artistic License: Cahun’s artistic practice could be interpreted as one extended exploration of role-playing. Her gender-bending photographic portraits imagine her as figures from a boxer to a masked theatrical performer and everything in between. “Behind the mask, another mask,” Cahun once wrote.

Leaving Paris in the 1930s amid rising anti-Semitism (Cahun’s father was Jewish), the pair headed to the isle of Jersey, off the coast of England, hoping to escape. Soon after, however, the island came under Nazi occupation. This time, the couple decided to stay put, and staged Dada-inspired interventions intended to create dissent within German military ranks, including sneaking notes about the absurdity of war into soldiers’ uniform pockets while disguised as men. 

Organic Honey

Joan Jonas, Vertical Roll (1972). Still courtesy of Joan Jonas/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

Who’s Who?: Organic Honey (Joan Jonas)

Origin Story: Video art pioneer Joan Jonas has often pushed the limits of self-reflection and the omnipresent male gaze, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that she would turn that lens onto her own identity. In her early video works from the 1970s, Jonas often appears as Organic Honey, a glamorous alter ego.

Artistic License: Organic Honey appears as a protagonist in many of Jonas’s early video works, including her seminal Vertical Roll (1972), in which she appears wearing a disturbingly doll-like mask and donning a feathered headdress. 

 John Dogg

John Dogg, John Not Johnny (1987). Courtesy of Venus of Manhattan.

Who’s Who?: John Dogg (Richard Prince)

Origin Story: Richard Prince is notorious for appropriating familiar imagery—and his alter ego John Dogg is really no exception.

Prince has said that he fashioned Dogg as a version of a minimalist Neal Cassady, the legendary Beat Generation writer (and star character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road). Prince came up with the persona in collaboration with dealer Colin de Land after deciding he wanted to show his work under a pseudonym. 

Artistic License: A number of works from the late 1980s are credited to Dogg, primarily ones that take car culture as their focus. Prince and De Land kept up the ruse for a number of years, with the duo occasionally publishing under Dogg’s name. Another fun fact: Prince’s friend, the writer Rachel Kushner, gave the name to a character in her novel The Flamethrowers

Shoji Yamaguchi

Theaster Gates at Prada Mode Miami. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Prada.

Who’s Who?:  Shoji Yamaguchi (Theaster Gates)

Origin Story: While this alter-ego was short-lived, its boldness merits a mention.

In 2007, Theaster Gates made an appearance at the exhibition opening of a little-known Japanese master ceramicist named Shoji Yamaguchi. Though Yamaguchi was an obscure figure, Gates told all present an enthralling story about meeting the artist way back in 1985. Following the bombing of Hiroshima, Yamaguchi had moved from Japan to Mississippi, where he married a Black Civil Rights activist and, over the years, designed plates specifically for soul food. The artist, sadly, had died in a car accident, but his son, who was present at the opening, was preserving his legacy.

Artistic License: Many were captivated and began to inquire about works. Only at the end of the night did Gates reveal that Shoji Yamaguchi was an invention of his own imagination, and the son a hired actor. The tricksterism of the night was meant to reveal the artifice of the art world and the biographical narratives eagerly construct around art-making. 

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Mid-City Artisans is the new one-stop shop for locally made arts and crafts

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Owners George and Maria Harris opened Mid-City Artisans on Government Street with one goal in mind: “We man the store while you create.”

The idea began when the Harrises started doing craft shows and rented a vendor space in The Market at the Oasis in March 2020. By fall, they decided they wanted to look for ways to open a market more often and support other local makers.

“We wanted to open a place that would provide a six-days-a-week market, store and gallery where people can find items of quality that are locally made,” George says.

After originally looking at a space on Jefferson Highway for the concept, a space in Square 46 on Government Street became available. It was exactly what they wanted, and Mid-City Artisans opened its doors April 27. 

“We love Mid City,” George says. “We live in Mid City. This was such a desirable space, and Bistro Byronz moving in next door will be a real plus for us.” (Editor’s note: So will the new Tap 65. Find out more about that project here.)

There’s something for everyone at Mid-City Artisans. The beautifully sunlit indoor space is adorned with all kinds of items for sale from 66 local creators.

Large wooden furniture, beautiful pieces of artwork, handmade dolls and even “ear”-igami, or origami earrings, make the space colorful, eclectic and inviting. Other items for sale include body care products, candles, metal works, ceramics, pottery, handmade baby clothes, handbags, and artwork using mediums like resin, watercolor, acrylic, oil and charcoal.

Some of the large and unique wooden furniture was crafted by George himself. 

The Harrises are proud to say that Mid-City Artisans is 75 percent woman-owned vendors. They also say they are dedicated to everything about the market being fair for the artisans and the buyers.

“We want our merchandise to be known as right-priced,” George says. “It has whatever value is appropriate for the individual items. We want the artisans to also get their fair price.”

And the market is not just for selling work. The Harrises and their team are currently trying to secure more space at Square 46 to add a training room for classes taught by local makers. 

“We want to provide quality services with our training programs and our ‘Meet the Artisans’ events,” George says.

These events will tentatively start May 14. Mid-City Artisans will bring in two makers a week who will stay for 2-3 hours to work on their pieces or just be there to answer questions about the work.

The Harrises are also launching a digital component, called a “visualization station,” to help customers see if a piece is right for their home. Customers can email a photo of the inside of their house and staff will digitally add the piece of furniture they are considering to see what it might look like in the space. Eventually customers will be able to do it themselves on Mid-City Artisans’ website.

Customers can also scan the QR codes located on various pieces at the market to see the artist’s bio and view other works by the artist, Maria says.

Mid-City Artisans is now open, with a grand opening weekend planned for Friday-Sunday, April 30-May 2. It’s located at 516 Moore St. You can find more information on its website or on Facebook

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Easy Paper Tiger Puppet for Kids – Red Ted Art – Easy Crafts

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Easy Paper Tiger Puppet for Kids - Red Ted Art - Easy Crafts

Roar. Our love for Easy Tiger Crafts continues! Here we have our easy Paper Tiger Puppet Crafts! These paper puppets are soo easy to make, once you know the basics, challenge the kids to come up with their own designs!

The great thing about today’s craft is that you do NOT need a Tiger Puppet Printable! These hand puppets are based on basic shapes and everyone will be able to make them!!

This tiger craft would make a great addition to any Year of Tiger activities for Chinese New Year 2022 (and beyond!), or as part of an wild life study units. Or make them just because they are so cute!

What Year is the Year of the Tiger?

Year of the Tiger is in: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034.

In 2022, it will be the year of the Chinese Zodiac Tiger! Find our more about the Year of the Tiger here.

To make your Tiger Hand Puppet, you will need:

How to make a paper tiger puppet – step by step instructions!

Watch the video tutorial on auto play or check out the step by step instructions:

To save on paper, trim of a strip of orange first – you will use this later to make the tiger ears. If you have enough orange paper scraps, you can skip this!

Fold the paper along it long edge, approximately 1/3 of the way up.

Fold down the top long edge to meet, bt overlap the bottom edge. Secure with a glue stick or some sticky tape!

With the seam of your fold on the outside, fold your paper in half.

Then fold over flap.

Flip and fold over the other.

You will end up with a type of “M”. The point in the middle will be your mouth. The long sides of the M, fit you fingers.

Cut out all your paper tiger shapes. The basic hapes are simple – some orange ovals for the ears. You can add a second set of smaller ovals in contrasting colours if you wish. Or you can draw the inside of the ear in pen.

A large oval for the mouth part – draw on a black triangle for the nose, a line and some dots.

Glue these features in place. Note: the ears go in the “inside” of your hand puppet, so that they don’t get in the way of your hand.

Add eyes and more tiger stripes with your black pen and you are finished!

Isn’t he adorable?

You can add additional features such as a red tongue and tiger teeth!!

You can also experiment with different Tiger Face features – e.g. use our tiger corner bookmark for inspiration?!

We have many more great Homeamde Puppet Crafts for you here:

See more Chinese New Year Zodiac Animal Crafts here:

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‘Everything Is Connected’: Collector and Curator Raquel Cayre on Why There’s No Point in Differentiating Between Art and Design

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The Tomorrowists is a four-part interview series with young art world innovators who are hoping to shake up the art industry with cutting-edge initiatives and projects.

The curator, collector, and advisor Raquel Cayre, 29, has long viewed the art and design worlds as one in the same—two spheres whose differences are superficial, bound by the fact that they share the power to stir the soul through the eyes of the beholder. 

In the years since starting her Instagram account @ettoresotsass—which began as a love letter to Sotsass, the founder of the Memphis Milano movement, whose work Cayre has come to collect herself—the young design aficionado has carved out a place of her own in the industry, earning the attention of such design heavyweights as Kelly Wearstler and Sotsass’s widow, Barbara Radice. 

Beyond her personal collecting and social media presence, Cayre is also developing a series of projects that aim to offer audiences novel ways to experience design. For her monthlong design exhibition “Raquel’s Dream House,” she took over a New York City townhouse to create a distinctly domestic-feeling display; in “Chairs Beyond Right & Wrong,” she teamed up with R & Company to present 50 chairs from famous designers around the globe, encouraging audiences to consider them more as art than functional design.  

Cayre’s latest endeavor, Open Source, is an online platform that showcases an individual artist or designer’s work that is then sold via her online shop. 

Last week, we spoke to Cayre about how she fell in love with art and design, why she loves Sotsass so much, and what the design world might look like in 10 years.

Tell me a little about your background. How did you come to fall in love with art and design? 

Lots of travel, books, and museums, and connecting with the right people in the field. I guess I’m an autodidact. I draw from direct experiences. When I was still a student, I took a year off from university to travel. One trip to Milan and boom! Everything changed. 

I think it’s fair to say you are one of the foremost young collectors and appreciators of Ettore Sottsass and an expert on the Memphis Milano movement more generally. How did you become interested in this period and work? 

I fell into Memphis Milano by chance, and with some luck. I first encountered Ettore’s earlier works (1955–69) in Milan and was attracted to his use of natural materials: rosewood, walnut, bronze, and terracotta. With Memphis, it was the plastics and laminates in bright colors and pattern that drew me in. I bought every out-of-print book on Sottsass I could find and really nerded out. I fell in love with his work and design process as a whole. His output wasn’t limited to just Memphis… it pushed outward into other disciplines. 

What, in your view, distinguishes great design from good design? 

László Moholy-Nagy describes the project for design as “seeing everything in relationships.” Great design is seeing relationships disappear. 

Photo courtesy Raquel Cayre.

Cayre’s first acquisition, a work by Cory Arcangel. Photo courtesy Raquel Cayre.

Let’s focus a little more specifically on how you began collecting. What was the first piece you got, and what’s the story behind how you came to acquire it?

In 2014, I stumbled into Cory Arcangel’s exhibition “tl;dr” (that red-carpet install!) at Team gallery, where he was presenting works from his “Lakes” series. As sculpture, these consist of flatscreen televisions turned on their sides, displaying images with the Java applet “lake” overlaid. I knew I wanted to live with the lake of Larry David and Skrillex—two opposite worlds colliding, which is something Cory was activating with the material and dated graphics in the work too.

How did that initial acquisition grow into a collection? 

Everything is connected. A collection is about making these connections visible. Like design, it’s about seeing relationships. I am always re-examining traditional methods of presenting, viewing, and experiencing art as much as its corresponding mode of display. 

What are some lessons you learned in bringing all these pieces together?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Peggy Guggenheim’s experimental gallery, Art of the Century. She’s a great inspiration for someone who wants to learn about the rules of collecting by abolishing them. She translated the act of collecting into a way of life. 

How do you like to display your collection? Do you have any decorating tips for aspiring design collectors or young appreciators of design? 

It’s always changing. To quote some lines from Sottsass: “These objects, which sit next to each other and around people, influence not only physical conditions but also emotions… They can touch the nerves, the blood, the muscles, the eyes, and moods of their observers… There is no special difference between [art] and design. They are two different stages of invention.” 

Art collector Peggy Guggenheim poses with paintings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Oct. 22, 1942. (AP Photo)

Art collector Peggy Guggenheim poses with paintings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Oct. 22, 1942. Photo courtesy Getty Images.

It seems that in recent years, design has come to be valued as art in its own right. There’s also a lot of crossover between the two fields, with many new galleries, art fairs, and shops showing art and design alongside one another. Do you think that will become the norm over time? 

This really isn’t a new idea. Since the early 20th century, we’ve been thinking about interdisciplinary art practices and museums without walls. The flatness of painting has always been linked to the flatness of pages, posters, and the flattening out of different mediums and disciplines, like the flatness of an interface. There are connections forged between photography and typography or illustration and exhibition design, between decorative objects and a poem. Everything is connected. 

Perhaps what has changed is the model for making these relationships more equitable, more commercial. Instead of a museum without walls, we get a museum shop without walls. The interface isn’t just about reproduction, but where taste and subjectivity are constructed. It brings equivalence to the relationship between production and reception. We are the museum. 

In your view, how should we engage with design in order to try and view it in a different or more meaningful way? 

I always start by asking the question: Is it productive? 

What are you focused on at the moment? 

Right now, I’m working on Open Source, an online initiative to present works by individual artists and designers through my website. Works are sold through the website’s online shop and focus on one artist at a time. It does not propose to rethink e-commerce or the exhibition format, but, like a laboratory or workshop, test and iterate as it develops instead. Right now, there are no [formalized] shows, programs, seasons, or space. I’m presenting works by Nikako Kanamoto and Jasmine Gutbrod next. 

What do you think the design world will look like in 10 years? 

Nature. Design is always coupled with relationship and context. Like music, it’s about the production of space. Design thinking traffics in experience and reconstitutes as an act of being and seeing in the world.

The post ‘Everything Is Connected’: Collector and Curator Raquel Cayre on Why There’s No Point in Differentiating Between Art and Design appeared first on Artnet News.

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