Last night, Frank Ocean announced he'll release his third album, as well as the first issue of a new magazine, in July. He revealed this news with a photo on Tumblr, featuring two stacks of magazines, himself, and a framed poster of a frog. In 2015, things rarely appear in shared photos by mistake. So what might the frog mean?
The poster in Ocean's photo was originally for a gigantic 2011 group show at New York's Maccarone Gallery, titled After Shelley Duvall '72 (Frogs on the High Line). The show was curated by Bjarne Melgaarde, a New York-based artist interested in wild installations and "amoral painting," who was born in Australia and raised in Norway. The frog poster was produced by Melgaarde in collaboration with a couple other guys—art director Eric Wrenn and Brendan Dugan, who founded Karma, a New York gallery/publisher/book shop.
Over the course of a successful career, Melgaarde has done a lot of everything. Previously, he directed music videos and collaborated with fashion designers Eckhaus Latta. "In the art realm, Bjarne Melgaard is a projectile vomiter, and like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, he seems possessed by a demonic force," wrote one critic in the New York Times last year.
The show's name was taken from actress Shelley Duvall's character in The Shining, who, according to Melgaarde, was "so fucking annoying, so terrorizing in her silence that she is the real moment of horror in that film." Its installation caused a stir in the gallery's neighborhood—someone nearby called the police after paintings by a group called Big Fat Black Cock were placed in the gallery's windows. "I think that's incredible," Mr. Melgaard told the Observer at the time. "I think those things are incredibly beautiful, and they're made by African Americans. It's kind of like—whoa, there are black people in America who do not feel inferior to white people."
During the show's run, the New Yorker called After Shelley Duvall a "hot mess," but commended Melgaarde for posing "important questions about free speech, gay rights, race, and the agency of the artist." I commend Frank Ocean for putting the internet at large on to any of this and would put that poster up on my wall. Looking forward to this magazine!