Monday, March 26, 2012

Madonna: MDNA

Madonna's MDNA drops officially today — though it leaked online earlier last week — and many critics are calling the set a return to form for the Queen of Pop. 

"MDNA — her 12th studio album — is a collection of thoroughly pumping pop tunes, some of which are slices of sheer brilliance. Not only does Madonna take us to the club with MDNA, she exhausts us, drains us, and confides in us," Billboard writes in its track-by-track review. "Five minutes after an aerobic workout on the dance floor, we're in her private booth, where she's spilling her guts about relationships and how things just didn't turn out the way they planned." 

Slant magazine calls the album "surprisingly cohesive" given the seven different producers who worked on the project, but has particular praise for the tracks produced and written by Madonna and her Ray of Light collaborator William Orbit. "It's obvious Madge and Billy Bubbles [Orbit] can still create magic together," the magazine writes. 

"Songs like 'Gang Bang' serve as reminders that what separates Madonna from most other mainstream pop stars is her willingness to try new things," Slant continues. "Fear — of failure, of looking uncool, of death — can either paralyze or propel you. MDNA finds Madonna continuing to defy the laws of nature by doing both." 

In an otherwise middling review, Entertainment Weekly praises Madge's vocal performance on the album's love songs, which are parsed out between darker tracks that seem to focus heavily on Madonna's divorce from Guy Ritchie. EW gives particular props to the Golden Globe-winning Orbit track "Masterpiece" and the "synth stomper" "I'm Addicted," which it says is "a warm ode to a crush [and] offers a good excuse to join in when she says, 'I need to dance.' " 

Many critics compliment Madonna's decision to be so emotionally revealing. She's gotten personal in the past, of course, but on MDNA, she takes it to the next level. 

"There's something remarkable about Madonna's decision to share her suffering the way she once shared her pleasure," Rolling Stone writes. "Her music has always been about liberation from oppression, but for the first time the oppression is internal: loss and sadness."

More than anything, though, critics seem to be assuring fans that they can breathe a sigh of relief on two fronts: Not only is the album good, it is 100 percent Madonna and no one else. 

"There's no denying MDNA delivers thrills. In true Ciccone fashion, club pop pounders like 'Some Girls,' 'Love Spent' and 'Turn Up the Radio' seem to push a bit harder than the competition — that last one's got a drop like an open manhole," the BBC writes. "MDNA also has something the last two Madge albums lacked: ballads, both of which are quite lovely. ... Best of all, several moments prompt a welcome sigh: 'God, only Madonna.' " 

Text reblogged from Madonna's MDNA: Reviews Are In! By John Mitchell

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rise and Shine

In honor of the Chinese New Year i-D Magazine collaborated with  Chen Man and MAC’s UK director of make-up, Terry Barber, to create these 12 covers for the Spring issue. These portraits are works of art that celebrate the diversity of Chinese beauty in a very avant-garde fashion.

Les Femmes Heretiques

Les Femmes Hérétiques / AWARD: IPA Los Angeles, LICC London Intl. Creative Competition

Recently, a group of archeologists in Israel found a mural representing Jesus as a woman, with a crown of flowers, pearls around her neck and red painted lips. It could be the not only symbolical confirmation, of God feminine nature, as in the past many heretics declared among them Wilhelmina the Bohemian. 

The hypothesis is fascinating and, if true, would change immediately the bone structure of the contemporary society, frozen in a hard to kill paternalism. Our "femmes", not at all aiming to be divine, represent all sacrifices and suffering that women had to bear along history, and that allowed them to evolve into the so called “women century” - the nineteen hundreds -, and which we should never forget and always keep mind as far as conquests and emancipation. [Winkler + Noah]

Exhibited in Milan (2010).

For Winkler+Noah, photography was the most fitting point of arrival for an artistic itinerary that they began instinctively from childhood, exploring all the forms of expression that they encountered — painting, drawing and sculpture — amalgamating them and trying out blends between different media.


This creative need for self-expression matured over the years, first becoming curiosity and then a strong will to create and to photograph. After a professional detour as an illustrator and graphic designer, Noah met Winkler and this acted as a detonator, producing a mixture fusing traditional photography with experimentation.

What their pictures reveal is a sensation of hyper-reality: the protagonists of their portraits appear in a real context, but they stand out from it as if highlighted by reality itself. They are stark, intense photos because each single picture encloses an idea and conveys powerful emotions to the observer. The artists deal personally with post-production so that the creative process joins up with itself like a circle.[The Magenta Links]
Winkler + Noah, the brand name of Milan photographers Romina Raffaelli and Stefano Marini,

Saturday, March 24, 2012


NOH8 is a photo campaign that was started in response to the passage of Proposition 8 in California back in 2008.

Kaki West

Prop 8 is a ban on same-sex marriages, and it pissed off a lot of same-sex couples and famous people who know same-sex couples and just people in general who think you shouldn’t be denied rights just for being yourself.

Photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley started taking pictures of people, famous and not, who don’t like Prop 8 — and they’re still doing it today.

Ida Ljungquist

Tila Tequila

Coco Pop

Coco Rocha by Alix Malka Coco Pop - Numero Tokyo Issue 19

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Revenge: Ellen Von Unwerth

Ellen Von Unwerth’s “Revenge” images trace the erotic journey of three young women arriving at a rural manor for a delightful getaway. The Baroness has a more erotically charged experience in mind, one that seduces the three jeune filles into titillating but never demeaning S&M power play.