Artist Spotlight: Surrealist Meret Oppenheim

Artist Spotlight: Surrealist Meret Oppenheim

How she transformed the everyday world into the strange.
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Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985) was a Surrealist artist who transcended numerous barriers to reach her acclaimed status. Transforming everyday household items into the erotic and bizarre. Seeking to redefine the domestic life of a woman, she approached art with dreaminess, feminism, fetishism, aggression, and dejectedness. Motifs in Oppenheim's work are connected to food, sex, death, cannibalism, and bondage. Her work can get a reaction out of just about anybody.

Losing interest in her native Switzerland, at the tender age of 18 she took to Paris like many aspiring artists did. That was an unparalleled art scene, rich with opportunities and a boundless collection of minds. She would drop out of at the Paris Académie de la Grande Chaumière to advance her career outside the realms of a classroom. Networking was everything in this period. Befriending artists twice her age, she found good company with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Hans Arp and Dora Maar.

Rather than display as a solo artist, it was a near necessity to join an established group for a larger pull. The Surrealist group was male only, but Oppenheim's talent and charm would bend the rule in her favor. She would repay them by being a muse and model for their works.

A major artwork features her as the model. Naked with a sensual, commanding pose in Man Ray's photo Erotique Voilée (1933), Oppenheim is inviting the male gaze. Published in the magazine Minotaure, scandal followed and put her on the map as a name to know.

Oppenheim looked to Erotique Voile without any objection, but unease surfaced when it came to having that included in her body of work. Despite entering on the premises of displaying her art, Oppenheim found herself in a role well-known to women: on the other side of a canvas.

Her reputation and vision would be wrapped in a sexualized lust for her by news media and curators alike that she used to her advantage but struggled to balance with her own career. An artistic breakthrough would come, thanks to the bronze high relief sculpture Giacometti's Ear (1933). It was made at the heed of Giacometti, who had encouraged her to make an artwork of him.

Fine art and fashion were seen as mutually exclusive. Oppenheim helped to shatter the barrier. Working for the 1936 Winter collection of the luxury clothier Elsa Schiaparelli, Oppenheim designed gloves. Polished nails, bones, and claws were among the take to each pair. With grey goatskin, she created the illusion of veins, turning the human body inside out and reversing the usage of gloves to conceal the body. Boundary-pushing, its sleek look was an immediate hit. The duo would team up again, with Oppenheim finding more work creating fur-covered pieces.

Even a meet up at a Paris cafe could turn into wonder works, especially in the company of Picasso and Maar. Picasso took interest in Oppenheim's fur-covered bracelet before making a quip comment that anything could be covered in fur. Brief, but impactful to Oppenheim who viewed the world with openness and imagination.

After being invited to participate in the Surrealist's first object displays, Oppenheim purchased a teacup, saucer, and spoon from a department store. She then covered them with Chinese gazelle fur. Entitled Le Déjeuner en fourrure or Object (1936), this would be her entry.

Everyday objects people mostly do not devote notice to, Oppenheim primed as her newest canvas. It draws notice to what they mean in the context of women. Its bizarreness grants a second look and new function. Making the civilized world look back on the primitive and animalistic, Object rejects the holder traditionally getting a taste. Anchored to this piece are interpretations of patriarchy.

Oppenheim would become the first woman featured in The Museum of Modern Art thanks to Object. Coined First Lady of MoMA, she reached the heights of her mentor Marcel Duchamp. Alfred Barr ensured Object had a starring role in the major 1936-37 show "Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism." Its coarse coat has remained a source of reference to modern art's timeline and Oppenheim's best-known work made at just 22 years old.

A creative crisis would shake her the following year, which art critics have tied to the hastened amassed fame she struggled to contend and surpass. It would not be until 1954 when she resumed work in the costume, jewelry and furniture sectors. From then on to her passing in 1985, Oppenheim continued to make her conceptualization tangible.

Today, she has made her mark and been subject to numerous spin-offs, discussions, and curations. Recalling her ventures as a female artist after years of personal crises and creative roadblocks, she stated in 1975, “Freedom is not given to you, you have to seize it.”

Cover Image Credit: emiliesdaughter.blogspot.com

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Cole And Sav's New Book Will Tell You Everything Their YouTube Channel Doesn't

"Our Surprising Love Story" gives you an inside view of the world between these two beautiful souls in which we are all aspiring to be.

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Cole and Savannah LaBrant have taken the world by storm as individuals and as a strong power couple that many aspire to be.

With their YouTube channel sitting at 7 million followers and counting each and every day, they have strived to fill the internet with love and positivity through the influence of their videos. However, there are just some things that you don't know from their Youtube channel but you can learn in their book, "Our Surprising Love Story."

Cole and Sav, and you can't forget cute little Everleigh, seem to be genuine and unique social media influencers.

They are strong in their love and faith and are always spreading it to all that watch. Nevertheless, there are just some things that can't be taken just from the 10-20 minute videos they upload. We would all love to think that we know this family like the back of our hands, but in reality, we are only seeing 10 minutes of their 24 hour days, leaving this cute and growing family still with a private life to enjoy.

Yet, their book gives you a sneak peek just a little farther into their lives than what their YouTube channel will ever share.

One of the biggest being their relationship. Cole and Savannah's channel isn't just about the two of them, but more importantly about their family. What the book does more of is highlight their relationship itself and their struggle through long distance, Cole learning to grow into a father figure faster than he ever imagined, and their adaptation to making Christ above all.

This is one of the best and most heartwarming things about their book, seeing the raw truth to what they both went through. Not only did Cole have to learn how to be a father figure to Everleigh, but Savannah also had to learn to let her guard down and to accept the love she has been so scared she would never find or even knew existed.

The book also takes you a little deeper into their strong stance in faith.

Yes, this family is already so great at spreading their beliefs in God around like it's confetti, but you truly get to see their strength in Christ just by the way they speak about one another, their family, and about life in general. You can take a lot away from how someone writes and this book confirms all and then some of their faith in God just by their pure and innocence shown in their writing style.

This 199-page book left me crying a little here and there, laughing a ton more, and reevaluating the way I should be treating my own relationship, in the best way possible. "Our Surprising Love Story" gives you an inside view of the world we have not been seeing on YouTube, that being the struggles, love, and commitment grown between these two people we all aspire to be.

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