Bad Art of The Rapture

Eager for May 21? Can’t wait for Jesus to dustbust up all the Christians so you can get on with your on post-rapture orgies and looting? Well, some of us are still holding on to the words of that great Party Pooper Himself when he tells the apostle Matthew “of that day and hour knoweth no man.”

Why you ask?   Art!  Think about the awesomely uninhibited art we’d lose!

As featured on postcards in evangelical bookstores and outsider art collections everywhere, this depction of the Rapture just outside downtown Dallas is the one that started it all back in early ’80s.

More gleeful mayhem with the accidental 911 foreshadowing just a little more obvious.

Rapture rockets.  The inscription to the right refers to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the primary biblical source for the notion of the Rapture.

There’ll be plenty of Wonderbread for everyone up there!  Looks like this artist missed the date by at least 50 years.

Ever seen those “Car Vacated in Case of Rapture” bumperstickers? Clothes are traditionally not part of the uptake either, but this artist’s modesty caused a bit of a compromise. Let’s call this one “Going Topless.”



The Oramics Machine Returns

Daphne Oramic

In late June, London’s Science Museum is sure to become a hotbed of art-tech geekery with the unveiling of the newly refurbished and more analog-than-thou Oramics Machine.

Named after its creator Daphne Oram, this early sequencer uses a set of 10 ganged 35mm film loops running over photo-electric cells to produce sound. Tones were produced by hand painting forms to control frequency, duration, amplitude, timbre, etc.

It’s doubtful whether anyone other than Oram every mastered the device, but in addition to her own experiments and compositions, she wrote (painted?) music on the machine for commercials (Lego and Heinz) as well as the soundtrack to The Innocents, 1961’s creepily effective adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.

The machine was the result of engineer Oram’s after-hours tinkering at the BBC, where she eventually succeeded in efforts to create an electronic sound lab. The fruits of the Radiophonic Workshop she founded are familiar to Dr. Who fans who would remember artist Delia Derbyshire sound effects and rendering of the show’s theme song.

Oram painting film

Oramics Machine

I Ain’t Gonna Pee Pee My Bed Tonight!

First there is horror of the incomprehensible. Why is this18th-century Joe Cocker boy is singing about pissing his bed? And the elderly figure in the voluminous nightshirt? Perhaps some sort of cultic patriarch controlling these children?

Such feelings are natural upon viewing this video, by the Kelly Family, a genetically related multigenerational music group, and while the group has roots in the hippy culture of the 60s, rest assured it’s more Partridge Family than Manson.

It began with Daniel Kelly, American antique and folk music enthusiast living in Spain began encouraging his children to perform at parties and busk on city streets. By the mid-70s they were making their own Ren Fair wardrobe, and vagabonding around Europe with their homeschooled brood, driving and living in a double-decker bus or, for a period, a houseboat.

A few accordion lessons, a few more kids, and many yards of untended hair later they were famous. By the 1980s, they were selling out venues, appearing on television, and making the charts in Italy, Holland and Germany, particularly the latter where they, like the beloved David “The Hoff,” Hasselhof, retain a particularly rabid, older following. While music lovers in this country remain largely immune to the Kelly charm, American insomniacs may remember them from late-night television commercials enthusing, ”Millions of German fans can’t be wrong!”

They’re still producing records, and while they’ve lately caved to current fashion trends, you needn’t expect any gangsta rap releases to be added to their extensive catalog of gentle rock, pop, and folk numbers.And while you’re all sniggering and pointing to certain unfortunate judgment calls made by the German populace in the past, the Kelly Family continues to sell millions of records yearly and have recently purchased their own castle on the Rhine.

Kelly Family Album


The Swallowing Plates by Lisa Wood

Swallowing Plates

Does the name Chevalier Jackson ring a bell?  No?  Then you’re probably not a laryngologist or obsessive fan of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum and its collection of medical oddities —  in particular the flat-files in which Dr. Chevalier Jackson obsessively-compulsively aranged his 2,000-piece archive of: “Foreign Bodies Removed from the Food and Air Passages.”

But you don’t need to know Jackson or have visited the museum to appreciate the work of San Francisco artist, collector, and jewelry designer Lisa Wood, who has created her own imaginative interpretation of the eccentric doctor’s collection using dinner plates, Victorian tintypes, and various esophagus-sized trinkets.

Each of Wood’s “Swallowing Plates”, published in her book The Swallowing Plates, Objects Swallowed and Recovered From the Human Body, serve up its tiny portion of doom along with matched narrative spun from the artist’s imagination — such as that of little Marion Pickering whose game of catching jacks in her mouth, claims not only her own life but the right arm of her guilt-ridden mother who flings herself before a train.

Those interested in a more literal (yet notably poetic) account of things that go down the wrong way and the doctor who loved them, may want to consult Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them, by award-winning author Mary Cappello.

For  a look at Wood’s other work, check out her recent set of insect dioramas currently on display at Gold Bug, Pasadena’s retail answer to the Mütter Museum.



Anatomy Minutes: The Salivary Glands

A parody of the scratchy old educational films used to sedate students of a bygone era, this latest from The Art of Bleeding — the second in the “Anatomy Minutes” series — quickly acquaints you with those most mouthwatering glands in the human body. After you’ve answered your quiz questions, and turned in your homework, mosey over to the new AoB blog for related medical curiosities and other infectious tidbits.

Experience What It Is Like To Be Old With The Aged Simulation Set


We all know getting older isn’t fun, but Koken, a Japanese manufacturer of training gear for medical professionals, wants to be sure you know the specific details. To that end, they’ve produced this cousin to the “fatsuit,” or “empathy belly,” a little bondage ensemble they not-so-idiomatically have dubbed “The Aged Simulation Set.” Not sure where the Bib of Shame or orange-and-green color scheme comes in, but then seniors aren’t known for their fashion sense.

The aged simulation set is a teaching material intended to demonstrate the inconveniences felt by the aged due to musculoskeletal, visual and auditory aging. This set is the most suitable for medical practice, nursing and welfare training. Inconveniences to the aged due to the changes in bones, muscles, sight and hearing can be experienced with this simulation set. This simulation set is suitable for the field of medical and welfare education.