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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

New Yokr Aquarium Mural

Detail of Mural at New York Aquarium After Removal. March 21, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Back in March, the New York Aquarium’s popular mural on the Coney Island Boardwalk at West 8th Street was partially taken down due to the poor condition of the wall. Two-thirds of the approximately 211-foot-long mural was removed. We were waiting to see what would happen at the site before writing about it, but no work has been observed since then.

The frequently photographed mural depicts such Coney Island landmarks as the Parachute Jump, Cyclone and Wonder Wheel along with tidbits of historical info and quotes such as George C Tilyou’s famous line “If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June and September, is the world.” Details that were removed include Dreamland’s Iron Tower, a capsule from Astroland’s Skyride, and scenes of undersea life. The artwork was painted in 2006.

New York Aquarium Mural

New York Aquarium: Reconstruction of Crumbling Wall Aquarium Required Removal of Mural

Several readers have emailed to ask if the mural will be repainted after repairs to the wall. “The mural is being taken down for safety reasons,” WCS spokesperson Barbara Russo replied to a query from ATZ. “I’ll give you more updates as I have them.” Word from the Aquarium staff is no decision has yet been made.

Mural at New York Aquarium

Detail of Mural at New York Aquarium After Removal. March 21, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

According to the Mural Locator website, the seaside mural was a pro bono project taken on by artist Thanh X Tran and VSA Partners.

Working on a very tight deadline, a four-person team completed the illustration using Adobe Illustrator and stock photos as tracing references. In partnership with Colossal Media—one of the last sign painting companies in New York—we transferred the complicated design onto the wall’s surface. Over one hundred volunteers painted the mural (approximately 15 x 211 feet) in the span of a week, to the delight of Coney Island’s locals.

New Yokr Aquarium Mural

The Aquarium’s Coney Island Mural was a Popular Spot for Musicians. February 22, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

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November 5, 2013: Ghost Signs on Coney Island’s Mermaid Avenue

June 1, 2013: If Paris Is France, Coney Island, between June and September, Is the World

June 21, 2012: Photo Album: Mermaid Avenue Murals and Public Art

June 1, 2011: Photo Album: Street Art Down by the Coney Island Bowery

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Jersey Devil

Takeshi Yamada and his Jersey Devils at the Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest in 2011. Photo © Takeshi Yamada

The last time Takeshi Yamada competed in the Secret Science Club’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest was in 2011, when he won the “Shock and Awe Award” for his Jersey Devils. He also brought along a freak snake human baby and his constant companion the Sea Rabbit Seara. The Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist will unveil his newest wonders and curiosities when the event returns to Brooklyn’s Bell House on Sunday evening. The contest was not held in 2012 and 2013 due to Superstorm Sandy, Yamada says.

Fiji Mermaid

Rogue Taxidermy by Takeshi Yamada via takeshiyamada.weebly.com

At the 2009 contest, Yamada was awarded “The Most Twisted Prize” for his family of freak show babies made from his own skin. There’s a Two-headed Baby, Mermaid Baby, Octopus Baby, Lobster Baby, Snake Baby, Penguin Baby, and Three-headed Baby. Yamada also won the Grand Championship of Taxidermy in 2006 for his 6-foot-long mummified Fiji Mermaid. She’s the one he tried to bring for a ride on the Cyclone roller coaster during the Mr. Cyclone Contest!

Yamada, who has an MFA in fine art from the University of Michigan School of Art, considers his artwork “specimens” rather than examples of self expression. His new website shows examples of his rogue taxidermy artwork for sideshows and amusement parks, as well as TV shows and museum collections. There are also links to fan videos like this one from 2009 in which Yamada is the outside talker for his Freak Baby Museum in Coney Island. Special today, $1.00!

The Secret Science Club’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, Sunday, April 6 at the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Aves) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Doors 7:00 pm, show at 7:30 pm. This event is 21 and over. $12 advance, $15 at door. Subway: F to 4th Ave; R to 9th St; F or G to Smith/9th

UPDATE April 19, 2014:

Congratulations to Takeshi Yamada for winning the grandmaster’s prize in the Secret Science Club’s contest. He was awarded first prize for his “Five-headed Monster from Hell” and “Giant Space Alien Skull.”

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April 1, 2013: Sea Rabbits Swim Ashore in Coney Island, Up For Adoption

November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

September 24, 2009: Photo Album: Coney Islanders and Carnies at San Gennaro

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'Mic Check" by RAE in Coney Island

‘Mic Check” by RAE in Coney Island, March 25, 2014

It wouldn’t be spring in Coney Island without street art by RAE popping up across from the Cyclone roller coaster. One of his Instagram followers calls it “Rae’s block.” This imposing and folksy character was created from scrap metal, handlebars, a BMW hubcap, Mardi Gras beads and of course a microphone. “All parts are found. I believe the hands are from a Bart Simpson doll,” RAE tells ATZ.

The last time we saw the Brooklyn-based artist’s work in Coney was around this time last year on the same block. “Rae practices good placement, which is one of the most important considerations for exciting street art,” says RJ Rushmore of street art blog Vandalog, who named RAE one of the “10 Street Artists to Watch in 2013.″

And watch him we did. Last year, RAE’s drawings, paintings and sculpture transformed an East Village bodega into a pop-up show titled “Word of Mouth” and his first solo show in London opened at the Signal Gallery.

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March 18, 2013: Art of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island

June 21, 2012: Photo Album: Mermaid Avenue Murals and Public Art

May 3, 2011: Photo of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island

April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island

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Spinning Glass

Spinning Glass. Sideshow Banner, circa 1915-1920. O’Henry Tent and Awning Co., Chicago. Morphy Auctions

It seems quaint today, but glass blowers used to be one of the working acts in carnival sideshows. “Have you ever seen glass finer than the hair of your head? This is made on a spinning wheel which revolves at the rate of 1000 revolutions per minute,” according to a century-old ad for a glass blower at a fair. “Every lady patron to the show will receive a pretty Souvenir FREE OF CHARGE of Spun Glass, which can be used as a book mark.”

This circa 1915-1920 sideshow banner from the studio of Chicago’s O’Henry Tent & Awning Co. is on the auction block today at Morphy Auctions along with another advertising Ho-Jo The Ostrich Man. The pre-sale estimate for the two banners is $600-$1,200 and bidding is available online.

sideshow banner

Sideshow Banner, circa 1915-1920. O’Henry Tent and Awning Co., Chicago. Morphy Auctions

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November 23, 2013: More Photos from the Glory Days of the Sideshow Banner

November 7, 2013: Photos from the Glory Days of the Sideshow Banner

June 27, 2013: Photo Album: The Front of the Show at Meadowlands Fair

February 4, 2013: Rare & Vintage: Girl to Gorilla Sideshow Banner

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ATZ has featured Philomena Marano’s artwork in the past, but missed seeing this delightful cut-paper animation “Take Me There” (2011) until she posted it on Facebook as a holiday greeting. The short film was produced by Mary Nittolo of The Studio and features music by Carol Lipnik. Marano, whose cut-paper collages and prints celebrate Coney Island’s rides, games and signage, recently moved back to the South Brooklyn neighborhood of Bensonhurst, where she grew up. Childhood train rides to Coney Island inspired the piece, the artist says…

Growing up, I can’t remember ever NOT going to Coney Island. It seemed like we took that elevated train to the beach every day. We’d board the train at the 79th Street station (at that time, early on it was known as the “West End” or “T” line, later it became the B and is now the D), We were just 6 stops away from Stillwell Avenue. The ride seemed so short that in my young mind I imagined that the elevated train was an extension of the roller coaster! One and the same. I lived 1 1/2 blocks from the elevated line and even when we weren’t riding, the rumbling overhead was still the roller coaster, high above New Utrecht Avenue.

Pholomena Marano Wonder WheelMarano’s prints are for sale at Coney Island USA and Tabla Rasa Gallery in Brooklyn and Smart Clothes Gallery and City Lore in Manhattan. Pendants featuring images from the artist’s Coney Island series are available online via her Philo-mania store.

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October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Philomena Marano of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Richard Eagan of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

September 19, 2010: Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

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Mrooklyn Community Services

Maxim Kornev’s mural, the winner of the ‘Community’ theme for the Brooklyn Community Services mural contest honoring Coney Island after the storm

The winner of the “Community” theme for Brooklyn Community Services’ mural contest honoring Coney Island after Superstorm Sandy is Max Kornev. The work of the 27-year-old artist, who grew up in the neighborhood, will brighten a wall at BCS’s new offices on Mermaid Avenue. Kornev’s design juxtaposes the Wonder Wheel, Parachute Jump, Steeplechase Funny Face and a ginormous mermaid with sea gulls carrying letters that spell BCS and Coney Islanders lining up behind beach umbrellas.

Founded in 1866, Brooklyn Community Services has offices throughout the borough. In Coney Island, BCS is working in collaboration with Astella Development Corp. and Coney Recovers to assist Brooklyn residents affected by the storm. According to the organization’s website, BCS is “providing short and long-term relief, recovery services, and assistance including benefits assistance, mental health and family counseling, clothing, support and guidance around entitlements, and essential furnishings.” For information about making a donation or getting involved as a volunteer, visit WeAreBCS.org.

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November 5, 2013: Ghost Signs on Coney Island’s Mermaid Avenue

October 28, 2013: Photo Album: Banksy Brings His Robot to Coney Island

March 5, 2013: Coney Island’s Mermaid Avenue Four Months After Sandy

June 21, 2012: Photo Album: Mermaid Avenue Murals and Public Art

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Rutland Fair Sideshow

Rutland, Vermont Fair Sideshow, 1941. Photo by Jack Delano for the U.S. Farm Security Administration Collection, Library of Congress

Among the more than 200,000 images of rural life by photographers working for the U.S. government’s Farm Security Administration during the New Deal are hundreds of images of the American sideshow. Taken by Ben Shahn, Jack Delano, and Russell Lee at state and county fairs in Vermont, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas, the photos document the midway shows of the late 1930s and early ’40s and their glorious banners.

Millard and Bulsterbaum banner

Sideshow attraction, county fair in central Ohio, 1938. Photo by Ben Shahn for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, Library of Congress

The two banners seen above–Human Freaks and Personality Fat Girl are the work of the Coney Island studio of Millard & Bulsterbaum. The firm’s name and address — 2894 W 8th Street — can be seen in the lower right corner of the banners. “Just one more bolt of cloth will make it,” says a tailor depicted fitting the glamorous fat girl with a new costume. Algernon Millard and John Bulsterbaum, who were in business from 1915 though the Depression, were considered the best in the business.

cat with 6 paws

Rutland, Vermont Fair Sideshow, 1941. Photo by Jack Delano for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, Library of Congress

This banner for a 28-toed cat and a cat with six paws was part of a banner line also featuring sea gull ducks, midget mules, a pop-eyed cow, and a “Charlie Chaplin chicken.”

Ohio Fair Sideshow Attraction

Sideshow attraction, county fair in central Ohio, 1938. Photo by Ben Shahn for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, Library of Congress

In this nicely framed shot by Ben Shahn of a homemade front for the single-o “Ramo- 4 horns, 3 tails,” a weird, alligator-like creature appears on the bally stage.

Nudist Colony Banner

Sideshow attraction, county fair in central Ohio, 1938. Photo by Ben Shahn for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, Library of Congress

After a sideshow promoter made Zorine, Queen of the Nudists and the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony the sensation of San Diego’s 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition, imitators sprang up on carnival and fair midways. This banner for the “Nudist Colony” at a county fair in Ohio asks “Are they ever ashamed?” Shows featuring talkers and inside lecturers dressed as nurses and doctors helped explain the wonders and mysteries of medical science in the days before television and the Internet. Step right up to the College of Hygiene Science!

sideshow banner 1939

Sign at sideshow at Gonzales, Texas county fair, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, Library of Congress

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November 7, 2013: Photos from the Glory Days of the Sideshow Banner June 27, 2013: Photo Album: The Front of the Show at Meadowlands Fair November 4, 2012: Up for Auction: Ringling Bros Circus Side Show Poster May 4, 2010: Rare & Vintage: Major Debert the Tiniest Man’s Sideshow Banner

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