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Dark Art: The 10 Best Macabre Visuals According to Teeth Agency

If you’re a Stones Throw head you may already be familiar with the work of Jesse HackettJUNK was the first album released on the label’s offshoot, Circle Star, back in 2015 (he’s also a touring member of Gorillaz). He’s teamed up with Chicago-based multimedia artist Mariano Chavez to form the mutli-faceted Teeth Agency.

The pair began exchanging ideas after Hackett bought a vintage ‘dental phantom’ from Mariano’s Agent Gallery (more on this phantom below), inspired by a mutual love of macabre art, striking artefacts and unconventional music.

Since they share an affection for morbid curiosities, Bonafide asked the pair to think of some of their favourite artworks evoking that macabre feeling. Be warned…

The album You Don’t Have To Live In Pain is out now on Stones Throw. Listen and purchase on Bandcamp.

Teeth Agency’s Top 10 Macabre Artworks

1. Paul McCarthy: WGG Test

A POV video by the influential master of the repulsive, Paul McCarthy. The video depicts a night party on the docks. You enter inside to find bikini-clad women hacking someone’s leg off. (Graphic content warning – simulated mutilation)

2. Sterling Ruby: STATE

Aerial shots of beautiful rolling hills —are we in California? After a bit we are surveying architecture from above you begin to see these are prisons. The geometry of the buildings start to ring horror of what lies inside.

Image: Sterling Ruby Studio

3. Kiki Smith: Untitled 1988

I love Kiki’s work, and especially love this piece that looks like a person has been skinned and left to dry. Very powerful piece that shows what a little paper, glue and paint can accomplish.

4. Louise Bourgeois Spider

L.B is the queen of the nightmare. From her insomniac drawings to her sculptures— she is as real as it gets and conveying the horrors of life is what she does best in the most poetic dream.

5. King Tutankhamun

Nobody does death better than the ancient Egyptians . A whole culture dedicated to the after life with the loudest and boldest time capsules ever created. Who else can go on a world tour and draw crowds and sell out tickets when dead? King Tut — thats who.

(Image credit: Griffith Institute, University of Oxford; colourised by Dynamichrome)

6. DJ Hi-Tek Rulez [Die Antwoord]

Growing up watching Mike Tyson box was something else—watching him lose his shit was even scarier. This Die Antwoord Hi-Tek rap is based on his famous rant is just that—a mad man unhinged ready to kill you. It really taps into that horror effectively and emotes the same response. 

7. Inuit Mask – Greenland

Looking at the Die Antwoord video reminds me of this Inuit mask used traditionally in a theatrical way to evoke laughter. There is something about using the grotesque that makes one laugh nervously to hide your fears. 

8. Calibration Phantom by 3M

If we can admire Tut after death— can we learn from your death? Yes! The skull phantom helps calibrate X-ray imaging machines and is very helpful, but you are now a mummy that has been assigned to this eternal task.

9. The Sedlec Ossuary

What to do with all of those human skeletons after the Black Death plague of the 14th century? Ah yes, let’s make a bone church and a human bone chandelier!

10. Faces of Death

The cult classic I didn’t intend to watch as a kid but had older cousins playing it on VHS—terrified me. Like a modern car crash film for a kid that grew up in the 80s. I don’t recommend you watch this unless you are already damaged and have seen it all. 

Image: vhscollector.com

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