Daily Archives: June 30, 2009

Plastic Surgery As Art: Michael Jackson, Orlan and Self-Mutilation Performance

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was the penultimate post-modern artist; the indelible impression of a person being able to transform race, gender, age, and identity with the use of mass media is an artform beyond the realm of acceptance for many.  Like a human collage Michael had a tiny doll nose, pretty pink lips, fawn eyes, opalescent skin, Liz Taylor hair and Kirk Douglas jaw line, his thin frame absolutely perfect in the “You Are Not Alone” video.  Only in our futuristic present are people able to transform their physical being to match their internal identity, anyone can change their look, even in the slums of Brazil breast augmentation is big business.  Michael Jackson was a true visionary who understood the synergy of image, performance and marketing to penetrate the minds of people even to the farthest corners of Earth.

The French artist, Orlan, famously uses plastic surgery to transform her image creating ugly/beautiful, intriguing/repulsive, ancient/futuristic changes to her face.  Cheek and lip implants, bulbous forehead adornments, Cruella DaVille hair all mashed up to create a shocking, memorable experience – a design using human flesh as canvas. Check out Orlan’s website – she is a trip!  On David Bowie‘s “1 Outside” album, the CD liner notes tell the tale of a performance artist who cuts off small bits of his body for an audience of connosseurs willing to pay for the privilege of witnessing self-mutilation, the artist cutting off digits and bits of muscle till only one arm remained.  Art is in the eye of the beholder.


Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister‘s famous AIGA poster.

DoN LoVeD Michael, always believing he would never harm a child.  A friend once told DoN he saw Michael Jackson with a wheelchair bound child at a ride in Disney World, the people in line went wild asking for autographs but Michael told the crowd he was there to be with the sick kid and devoted hours to making a child’s dream come true.  We are the world.

Phillustration 2009 @ PSC

Phillustration 2009 @ PSC

Christian “Patch”ell, self-promo @ Philadelphia Sketch Club’s Phillustration ’09.

Rich Harrington gathered the region’s finest illustrators to participate in the Philadelphia Sketch Club’s annual illustration show – Philly is a hub of creative talent called on to promote products, tell stories, illuminate text and create memorable images.  With almost 100 images in the sunny upstairs gallery the exhibition was informative and amusing.

Phillustration 2009 @ PSC

Hal Taylor, Riki- Tiki-Tavi, book.

Phillustration 2009 @ PSC

Philadelphia Sketch Club’s Phillustration 2009.