Babes and Fast Cars
by MOLLY LAMBERT
SPOTTED: on the Forever 21 website. A shirt in the "graphic tees" section, markedly separated from the "licensed tees." Not a particularly awesome shirt but instantly notable for a few cool convergences.
Forever 21 shirt, artist unknown, 2009
First impression; Gee that looks familiar. But what from? So many stock images are copied from even older stock images. But no, this has to be a Roy Lichtenstein rip.
"In The Car," Roy Lichtenstein, 1963
Which it is, a Lichtenstein work named "In The Car," itself probably copied from an earlier comic book panel. But why is it mostly stripped of colors? Why did they put sunglasses on the guy? Besides the proven fact that sunglasses make you cool.
Sonic Youth "Goo" LP cover, Raymond Pettibon, 1990
Because it's a hybridization of the 1963 Lichtenstein painting and Raymond Pettibon's iconic cover for the 1990 Sonic Youth album "Goo." What you might call in modern day netgoob parlance "a mash-up." Or just a multi-level knock-off.
Maureen Hindley and David Smith, en route to the murder trial
The similarities between "In The Car" and the cover of "Goo" are coincidental, besides portraying similarly posed subjects in cars. The Pettibon drawing is based off this photograph of Maureen Hindley and David Smith, witness to the infamous mid-sixties Moors murders, wherein Maureen's sister Myra and her boyfriend Ian Brady killed five children over the course of two years more or less for kicks.
Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, the world famous murderers' mugshots
Smith was waiting in the kitchen when he suddenly heard a loud scream from the adjacent living room as Hindley shouted for him to go and "help Ian". Smith entered the room to find Brady in a murderous frenzy, repeatedly striking Evans with the flat of an axe before throttling him with a length of electrical cord. Smith was then asked to help clean up the blood and bits of bone and brain in the living room, and help carry the body to the spare room upstairs and wrap it in a polythene bag trussed up with rope. Fearing for his own life, Smith complied. In the months before this murder, Smith had refused to believe Brady's claims of carrying out several murders and disposing of the bodies on the moors, and had conveyed his skepticism to Brady.
Kate Moss and Pete Doherty pose as the Moors murderers
Morrissey wrote the song "Suffer Little Children" about the Manchester murders for the first Smiths album. Part of what strikes me as so interesting about all this is how iconic these original images are, and how they've remained iconic for so long. All images are now are available all the time.
Not that one's better than the other. Certainly new technology lovers had reason to geek out this week with all the Iranian election online media. Things are newly possible that were unimaginable even a few years ago.
Neda Soltani, after being shot in the chest
Images are really transmitted across the world instantly. The youtube video of a woman being shot to death in the chest has already become the iconic image of this event. Especially chilling is the way the girl's gaze seems to shift (or roll, depending on your interpretation) towards the camera at the moment of death.
The footage has been shown on CNN several times and watched on the internet countlessly. As citizens we are mostly otherwise insulated from war and death, especially from its particulars. This video, in some ways resembling a snuff film, reminds us that death is often shocking, cruel, and horribly pointless.
"These Days" - Nico (mp3)
"These Days" - Casador (mp3)
"These Days" - Denison Witmer (mp3)
"These Days" - St. Vincent (mp3)