Huffpost Arts

The Week In Art: Heaven, Hell And Plastic Surgery

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This week we heard the heartwarming story behind a Beastie Boys fan's tribute to Adam Yauch, with a little help from Shepard Fairey. We also saw some horrifying (but gorgeous) imagery from the Middle Age depictions of hell and some impressive art from unlikely materials.

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Flowers have long been a favorite subject of painters throughout the ages, but while most artists spend hours perfecting the way the light hits each petal, Jack Long captures the whole flower, leaves, and pot in a single splash.

The artist created his high-speed photo series, called "Vessels and Blooms," by quickly snapping a photograph just as drops of color splash in the air. Through this process, he creates an entire still life from the mixture of water, thickener, pigment and dye. Although the flower is captured in a split second, however, much preparation goes into making sure the final shot is just right.

Go wild over the liquid flora here, which the Daily Mail calls, "blooming marvellous!"

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Phillip Toledano's latest exhibition, titled, "A New Kind Of Beauty" is heading for Los Angeles. The photo series captures classical portraits of subjects who had extreme cosmetic surgery; each model has undergone a combination of procedures including nose jobs, eyelid lifts, breast and pec implants, and collagen injections. The transformative procedures make the models look almost inhuman, and yet the portraits suggest a new frontier of beauty, perhaps one that has not even fully evolved yet.

The models -- dubbed "Botox Botticellis," by the Daily Mail and other sites -- are rendered like traditional Renaissance portraits, semi-nude with their chiaroscuro skin glistening. Rather than being depicted as sensational or abnormal, however, the models appear proud and determined.

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What do you get when you mix sculpture, puppetry and origami? Rochester, New York duo Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle have developed 'Airigami,' the not-so-ancient art of folding balloons. Their process combines different styles and forms to create balloon creations you would be hard-pressed to find at a birthday party.

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While today the word "hell" is often used in situations involving long lines and a lack of caffeine, in the Middle Ages hell was darker, hotter and had a lot more pits. A new exhibition at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, "Heaven, Hell and Dying Well: Images of Death in the Middle Ages," depicts the rewards and punishments of the world beyond in a collection of artworks and manuscripts.

The exhibition features a collection drawn both from the Getty's permanent collection and several new acquisitions, made up of remarkable imagery from illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, printed books and paintings. Skulls, angels, gruesome demons and lost corpses are rendered in incredible detail, rendering a convincing view of damnation.

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Adam Yauch, known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, passed away on May 4 at 47 years old after a long battle with cancer. His street art tribute began with Los Angeles Beastie Boys fan Jason May, who rented out three Los Angeles billboards to pay homage to Yauch's legendary musical impact. He enlisted street art icon Shepard Fairey to make the iconic image. Fairey had been a longtime fan of the Beastie Boys' innovative punk-rock, hip-hop fusion, and remembered the band's impact on him in New York Magazine: "Hip-hop was the new punk rock, and I wouldn't have embraced that if not for the Beastie Boys. They opened the doors for a lot of people to be more courageous about blending genres." Both Fairey and Yauch are known for attracting youth culture to social causes through their optimistic works.

May paid for the endeavor himself, entirely out of respect for the late artist. "Adam Yauch was someone who deserves a public memorial, so now he has it -- at least in L.A.," he told L.A. Weekly. "I'm proud that I was able to do something in the name of great art and great music."

Well, that was our week. What were your favorite art finds?