The German artist Jochem Hendricks brings a whole new meaning to the idea of self-adornment. He’s turned both a human ear and a leg into “diamonds,” a process that involves converting the body parts—apparently acquired in the former Eastern Blocinto pure carbon and then using them to produce the synthetic gems. Another project involved hiring illegal immigrants in Germany to count grains of sand. The final tally, which was something over 5 million, raises questions about the value and meaning of work. But that’s just the kind of moral discomfiture Hendricks likes to produce. From this week through September 29, a selection of his work will be exhibited at London’s Haunch of Venison Gallery. It will no doubt cause unease, though possibly of a different sort: The top floor of the space is given over to an installation made up of a pack of snarling dogs. Haunch of Venison Gallery, 6 Haunch of Venison Yard, London W1K 5ES, 011-44-207-495-5050.—Nancy MacDonell
Photo: Jochem Hendricks, Hansi, 2002-2004. Courtesy of the Haunch of Venison, London
The flesh that comes to mind when you think of Australia may be of the bikini-clad, Bondi Beach variety, but Julie Rrap, one of Oz’s most respected artists, would like you to think otherwise. In her distorted and manipulated images, she uses her own and other bodies to challenge the way the human form has been depicted, interpreted, and (mis)understood in European art and popular culture. Beginning on August 30 and running through January 28, 2008, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney will host Body Double, a comprehensive survey of Rrap’s 25-year career. With her knack for what MCA guest curator Victoria Lynn calls being a “trickster,” Rrap works with photography, video installation, and sculpture to turn ethical and aesthetic issues on end, somehow always managing to strike a balance between serious analysis and comic effect. In Overstepping (2001), for example, she showed her own pedicured feet digitally altered to include fleshy high heels. Though the subject matter shifts between male and female, single bodies and groups, her questioning of the effects of the societal on the physical and vice versa remains constant. For more information, see www.mca.com.au.—Celia Ellenberg
Photo: Julie Rrap, courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Bertrand Burgalat, the mastermind behind the Paris-based indie label Tricatel, is often called “the French Phil Spector” (fashion people, however, might know him better as Azzaro designer Vanessa Seward’s beau). But he’s also a rock star in his own right, as his latest album, the just-released Chéri B.B., amply demonstrates. For those who have yet to discover the Burgalat Sound, it’s groove-a-riffic 1960s-esque electronica tinged with dollops of French pop and breathy bilingual vocals. In other words, retro-futurism at its best, which explains why it’s the current soundtrack of choice in every bachelor and bachelorette pad in the City of Light.—Gentry Lane
Given the water-logged transportation debacle they faced a few weeks ago, New Yorkers may rather not dwell on what goes on beneath their city’s streets. But San Francisco-based artists Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall don’t have any such misgivings about Gotham’s underbelly. Subterranea, an exhibit of their paintings that opens at the Fuse Gallery on Saturday, depicts a down-the-rabbit-hole world where many-eyed monsters—the better to see you with, my dear—frolic with miniskirt-wearing misses, and robots do all the work. There’s a definite fashion tinge to the show—the Prada store even makes an appearance in one canvas. “I started reading Vogue when I was nine, in the suburbs of Oregon,” confirms Tunstall. “I’d make paper dolls from cutouts of the collections.” So style has a place in the underworld? “Oh, yeah. There’s a party going on down there.” Fuse Gallery, 93 Second Avenue, New York, (212) 777-7988.—Nancy MacDonell
Image: Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall
The French just can’t seem to keep their hands off the property of their friends across the Channel—or should we say La Manche? First William the Conqueror, a.k.a. the Duke of Normandy, stole the English throne back in 1066, and now the French are nicking from another London institution: the Libertines. Scruffy Parisian boys (and a few ladies) are worshipping at the trilby of Pete Doherty, borrowing liberally from his former band’s loose garage-punk style. Here, a field guide to the Paris scene and its Libertine ties.
Parisians: Four guys in leather jackets of the sort Libertines singer/guitarist Carl Barat has been known to favor
Sounds like the Libertines meets: Early Strokes
Bonus points: They credit meeting the Libertines on a Paris rue with jump-starting their career.
Brooklyn: Three T-shirt-clad boys with great shaggy bangs, plus cutie-pie bassist Jane Lane
Sounds like the Libertines meets: The (International) Noise Conspiracy. Perfect for dancing Ann-Margret, kitty-cat style in a smoky club (because, bien sûr, you can still smoke in Paris).
The Plastiscines: Four Birkin-beautiful teenage girls who snarl like pros
Sounds like the Libertines meets: Sahara Hot Nights—hip-swiveling guitars and garage-punk beats
Bonus points: The other three members allegedly met bassist Louise Basilien at a Libertines show.
Second Sex: Four impossibly pretty boys with New Romantic hairdos (above)
Sounds like the Libertines meets: Sixties garage-rock pioneers the Sonics. Retro in the best way.
Bonus points: Cheekbones as sharp as Kate Moss’ circa 1993
Les Droogs: Four black-clad rock ‘n’ roll guys who all share the surname Droogs, à la the Ramones
Sounds like the Libertines meets: The Cramps. Sinister, sexy, and weird.
The Hellboys: Four dudes in swinger lounge suits and slicked-back hair that make them look incongruously rockabilly
Sounds like the Libertines meets: The seventies L.A. punk of the Germs and the fifties bad-boy rock ‘n’ roll of Jerry Lee Lewis
Photo: Second Sex