Paul McCarthy, WS, 19 June – 4 August, 2013
Park Avenue Armory, New York
McCarthy is using Disney’s Snow White, turning her into his White Snow, as a character she is readymade emotional architecture dressed as an impossibly beautiful group of images. The largest installation yet for the artist, WS took 72 semi-trucks to transport from the artist’s studio in Los Angeles to New York, where 38 people worked for about a month to install it in the Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall. The artist’s son, Damon McCarthy, was among 120 people who worked on several films tied to the project.
Walt Paul is Mr. McCarthy’s character in the large-scale exhibition at the Armory, where the artist has installed a “forest” featuring 30-foot trees, oversize plants and flowers, and a three-quarter-scale replica of his childhood home. Video screens hung from the ceiling surrounding the installation show a series of 10 video projections of performances from a recent party at the house, which quickly gets out of hand. McCarthy plays Paul Walt, an amalgamation of himself and Walt Disney, who is embroiled in various psychosexual scenarios with White Snow: he cries as she asks him about doing his homework; he shoves a boom mic into her mouth; she covers his face with ketchup, etc. There is a very sad sequence where he follows her through the forest at night, howling, crying, falling down. The dwarfs dine on chicken and Red Bull, get drunk and descend into debauchery.
Tucked into a room at the entrance of New York’s Park Avenue Armory, is a fully functional souvenir store overrun by Snow White. The artist has arranged 1,500 pieces of Disney memorabilia on countertops and in glass display cases. A small stuffed Snow White doll costs $75, a Snow White costume $350 and a large figurine of the princess dining with her dwarf cohort $10,000.
The Los Angeles-based Mr. McCarthy purchased most of the pieces, many of which are real Disney products, online from secondary sources like eBay, gallery representatives say.
The shop is part of the exhibition, and all profits go toward offsetting the overall cost of the show (which includes the funds used to acquire the knickknacks and staff the shop). Mr. McCarthy signed the pieces “Walt Paul,” a combination of his name and Walt Disney’s, in black somewhere on each of the items. Disney declined to comment on the exhibition.
Representatives at the armory say the Snow White collectibles, the boxed princesses and stuffed dwarves, the Disney piggybanks and paper plates, are flying off the shelves. “There’s some humor” in the gift shop “and a sense of Americana,” says Rebecca Robertson, president and executive producer at the armory. Mr. McCarthy, she adds, is “playing with the concept of what is art” the way Andy Warhol or surrealist Marcel Duchamp did.
The exhibition has already drawn criticism for its explicit treatment of the classic fairy tale. Restricted to visitors over the age of 17, the show comes with disclaimers about its content.
Real Estate, view setup , 2013, Loulou , 2013 and Smokes , 2013
“Growing up in Los Angeles, I have spent a majority of my life in traffic, looking out the window watching disgruntled individuals make their way from point A to point B, then C, into eternity. You find yourself staring at your reflection in the waxed surfaces of the cars next to you looking for some sense of purpose in the homogenized population of vehicles of the freeways (and in many ways not so free at all). As you continue your journey moving forward, you lean back, and rest your head.” Statement written for “Heavy Hand” and exhibition by Nina Beier at Standard, in Oslo, Norway.
Of any artist working today, 35-year-old hyper-mixed-media artist Nina Beier is creating some of the boldest examples of the contemporary artwork in crisis mode. This has a lot to do with the unstable, in flux, usually-referencing-something-absent, often-crushed-or-pieced-together, and likely-to-change nature of her sculptural explorations.
The Danish-born Beier gets much of her creative impulses from philosophy and literature (Heidegger and Lewis Carroll are recent touchstones). But for all of the theoretical uplift, the end result is provocatively tactile. Her most recent productions include dipping photographic stock images in glue and hanging them to dry on mass-produced household items, thus using an image to utterly envelop an actual thing. Another series involves found secondhand fabrics stuffed together inside a frame to create an almost Arte Povera-esque surface on the verge of busting open.
Beier has been living in Berlin for the past three years after starting her career in London. “I moved mainly because I was attracted to the qualities of an underpopulated city,” she says. “I guess the pace of the city is a little slower than other cities I have lived in, but I find the contrary to be true when it comes to the productivity of artists who live here.”
Installation view: Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, geometrics, 2013
Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, June 18 – September 22, 2013
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The first major museum exhibition of Ken Price’s work in New York, will trace the development of his ceramic sculptures with approximately sixty-five examples from 1959 to 2012. The selection range from the luminously glazed ovoid forms of Price’s early work to the suggestive, molten-like slumps he has made since the 1990s. In addition to the sculpture, the exhibition will feature eleven late works on paper by the artist. Price’s close friend, the architect Frank O. Gehry, designed the exhibition.
Price was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Price’s earliest aspirations were to be an artist, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an artist. Even when I was a kid I would make drawings and little books, and cartoons..,” he states. Price enrolled in his first art ceramics course at Santa Monica City College in 1954, where he quickly embraced a formal craft tradition as espoused by Marguerite Wildenhain. He subsequently studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, before receiving his BFA degree from the University of Southern California in 1956.
In the 1950s Price lived along the Pacific coastline, where his interest in surfing and Mexican pottery developed. During surfing trips in Southern California, Price and his friends, “always made a point of hitting the curio stores in [Tijuana], because they had great pottery. …just looking was a great education in earthenware pottery.” Price’s ceramic work at USC could be characterized as functional vessels derived from a folk pottery tradition.
Josh Smith, Untitled, 2008 and Untitled, 2010. Mixed media on canvas, acrylic glass
Through paintings, collages, books, and ceramics, Josh Smith challenges the ideas of the artist. In forcing the painted image to be somewhat arbitrary, he has managed to take the act of painting beyond aesthetics.
Smith’s early training in printmaking is often the spur which drives his art making. Many of his paintings start with the artist’s name or a fish or leaf motif as a point of departure, but they typically eschew formal representation in favor of an exploration of abstraction. Other works, such as his palette paintings, are purely abstract and explore the notion of composition created by chance.
In his mixed media collages on plywood, subway maps, take-out menus, newspapers and street posters are combined with reproductions of Smith’s existing works as well as silk-screened text and original painting. Smith intersperses the manufactured with the handmade and elevates found materials by virtue of inclusion. He makes art so he can look at it.
Born in 1976, Josh Smith is from Knoxville, Tennessee. He has had numerous solo exhibitions. He lives and works in New York.
A dynamic forward movement for Dior. First and foremost, Simons was challenging himself, the way Miuccia Prada does with things she feels she has no natural instinct for. Lace, for instance, has never been part of Raf’s lingo. He didn’t want the history or the romance of the stuff, so he juxtaposed it against urgent striations of color in a dress that felt like gravity was dragging it sideways. He laid lace over a bandeau top and metallic tap shorts for a carelessly sporty effect, and he streaked lace dresses with fractured, angular graphics. But if there have been times in the past when Simons seemed like an arch iconoclast, what is increasingly coming through in his work with Dior is his ultimate respect for tradition. Why else would he try so hard to make it relevant for the new clientele that is being drawn to his clothes? So here there was a gorgeous cropped blouson with an abbreviated kimono sleeve, couture and casual in one compact package. As well as a floaty, peachy sundress in a satiny twill that wouldn’t have gone amiss on Grace Kelly, but Simons bifurcated it with a zip. “A symbol of sport and dynamism,” he said.
He’s always eulogized the movement of Christian Dior’s dresses, but here, at last, he acknowledged the restriction of those original looks, so there were zips everywhere. And aerodynamism. And asymmetry. One message came through loud and clear: release yourself. That timeless incentive amplified the notion that Raf Simons is about to take Dior on a long and glorious ride. Tim Blanks for Style.com
Librairie des Archives Bookshop
83 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris
firstname.lastname@example.org, +33 (0) 142 721 358
Librairie des Archives is an independent bookshop in Paris specialising in fine art, decorative arts and design, fashion and jewelry. The bookstore is located in the historic district of the Marais, close to Centre Pompidou, the Picasso museum (which is soon to be re-opened) and galleries such as Yvon Lambert (In witch also have a great bookstore).
The store is devoted to art of the 20th century. With his expertise and knowledge, the owner Stefan Perrier will advise you on his large collection of books, including exhibition catalogues, reference books, imports and a huge selection of out-of-print books.
Nicolas Ghesquiére, First interviews after leaving Balenciaga, System and 032c, 2013
System magazine’s Jonathan Wingfield interviewed Nicolas Ghesquière several times between early December 2012 and late March 2013. This was the first time Ghesquière had chosen to speak publicly about his shock departure after 15 years at Balenciaga.
Ghesquière opens up about why he left Balenciaga, his thoughts and impressions about the current state of the fashion industry and what the future has in store. As he mentions at one point in this defining conversation, “The best way to move forward is to go back to work.”
What follows is a global exclusive excerpt from the interview.
At what point into the job at Balenciaga did you realise you needed to wise up to the business side of the brand?
NG: Straight away. It’s part of being a creative because the vision you have ends up in the stores. It actually makes me smile today when I think about it because it was me who had to invent the concept of being commercial at Balenciaga. Right from the start I wanted it to be commercial, but the first group who owned the house didn’t have the first notion of commerce; there was no production team. There was nothing.
What was your vision for the brand?
NG: For me, Balenciaga has a history that is just as important as that of Chanel, even if it’s a lesser-known name. It had the modernity, it was contemporary, and I’ve always positioned it as a little Chanel or Prada.
But what makes Chanel and Prada bigger structures?
NG: The people that surround the designers. Miuccia Prada has an extraordinary partner, whereas I was doing everything by myself.
So without the right people, building something as big as a Chanel or Prada is unimaginable?
NG: I don’t know if it’s impossible, maybe the system will change, but what’s clear is that those brands have family and partners surrounding them, and they have creative carte blanche. Prada, for example, has made this model where you can be a business and an opinion leader at the same time, which is totally admirable. It’s the same thing at Chanel. Sadly, I never had that. I never had a partner, and I ended up feeling too alone. I had a marvellous studio and design team who were close to me, but it started becoming a bureaucracy and gradually became more corporate, until it was no longer even linked to fashion. In the end, it felt as though they just wanted to be like any other house.
You’re saying this spanned from a lack of dialogue?
NG: From the fact that there was no one helping me on the business side, for example.
Can you be more specific?
NG: They wanted to open up a load of stores but in really mediocre spaces, where people weren’t aware of the brand. It was a strategy that I just couldn’t relate to. I found this garage space on Faubourg-Saint-Honoré; I got in contact with the real estate guy who’s a friend of a friend, and we started talking… And when I went back to Balenciaga, the reaction was, ‘Oh no, no, no, not Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, you can’t be serious?’ And I said yes really, the architecture is amazing, it’s not a classic shop. Oh really, really… then six months went by, six long months of negotiations… it was just so frustrating. Everything was like that.
And the conversations, like that one about the store, who would you have them with?
NG: I’d rather not say. There wasn’t really any direction. I think with Karl and Miuccia, you can feel that it’s the creative people who have the power. It was around that time that I heard people saying, ‘Your style is so Balenciaga now, it’s no longer Nicolas Ghesquière, it’s Balenciaga’s style.’ It all became so dehumanised. Everything became an asset for the brand, trying to make it ever more corporate – it was all about branding. I don’t have anything against that; actually, the thing that I’m most proud of is that Balenciaga has become a big financial entity and will continue to exist. But I began to feel as though I was being sucked dry, like they wanted to steal my identity while trying to homogenise things. It just wasn’t fulfilling anymore.
When was the first time you felt your ambitions for the house were no longer compatible with Balenciaga’s management?
NG: It was all the time, but especially over the last two or three years it became one frustration after another. It was really that lack of culture which bothered me in the end. The strongest pieces that we made for the catwalk got ignored by the business people. They forgot that in order to get to that easily sellable biker jacket, it had to go via a technically mastered piece that had been shown on the catwalk. I started to become unhappy when I realised that there was no esteem, interest, or recognition for the research that I’d done; they only cared about what the merchandisable result would look like. This accelerated desire meant they ignored the fact that all the pieces that remain the most popular today are from collections we made ten years ago. They have become classics and will carry on being so. Although the catwalk was extremely rich in ideas and products, there was no follow-up merchandising. With just one jacket we could have triggered whole commercial strategies. It’s what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t do everything. I was switching between the designs for the catwalk and the merchandisable pieces – I became Mr Merchandiser. There was never a merchandiser at Balenciaga, which I regret terribly.
Did you never go to the top of the group and ask for the support you needed?
NG: Yes, endlessly! But they didn’t understand. More than anything else, you need people who understand fashion. There are people I’ve worked with who have never understood how fashion works. They keep saying they love fashion, yet they’ve never actually grasped that this isn’t yoghurt or a piece of furniture – products in the purest sense of the term. They just don’t understand the process at all, and so now they’re transforming it into something much more reproducible and flat.
What’s the alternative to this?
NG: You need to have the right people around you: people who adore the luxury domain. There has to be a vision, but there also has to be a partner, a duo, someone to help you carry it. I haven’t lost hope.
At the time when you were starting to feel that frustration, did you talk to any other designers who were in the same situation?
NG: Yes. What’s interesting is how my split from Balenciaga has encouraged people to get in touch with me, and they’ve said, ‘Me too, I’m in the same situation. I want to leave too.’ There are others, but my situation at Balenciaga was very particular.
In spite of the increasingly stifling conditions you felt you were operating in, were you nonetheless scared by the prospect of leaving Balenciaga?
NG: I just said to myself, ‘Okay, well you have to leave, you have to cut the cord.’ But I didn’t say anything to anyone, apart from to a few very close people, because, you know, I’ve become pretty good at standing on my own two feet.
Once you’d decided enough was enough and you made your intentions clear, was management surprised that you wanted to leave?
NG: Yes. I think so, because I’d shown my ambitions for the house. There’d been lots of discussions, of course, and there were clearly some differences, but that sort of decision doesn’t just come out of nowhere. I’d been thinking a lot too. I was having trouble sleeping at one point. [Laughs] But there’s usually something keeping me awake.
After the announcement, did lots of people in the fashion world contact you?
NG: I didn’t actually see all the reactions straight away because I was in Japan at the time; one of my best friends had taken me on something of a spiritual trip to observe people who make traditional lacquer and obi belts; it was such a privileged environment with tea ceremonies. On the other side of the world, there was this violent announcement being made. When I got back to Paris I saw the press, and with all the commentary going on I actually learnt things about myself; it was quite beautiful in fact. Generally the reaction had been very positive, even on Twitter there were some very satisfactory things being written. Ultimately, I felt okay in the end because it seemed very dignified. I haven’t expressed myself up until now, but I would like to say thank you to everyone, I really am very grateful.
Did you ever think about making a personal announcement?
NG: No, I never wanted to express myself like that. I don’t know how to do that.
What’s the most exciting thing about this period of time for you?
NG: Preparing for the next chapter and having the time to observe what’s going on in the industry. People could have forever associated me with Balenciaga. We saw clearly when the split took place that there was a desire for my name, so I disassociated myself naturally from the house. That could have been a risk. It would have been different if Balenciaga had disassociated itself from me, but people had seen me develop my signature and knew that it might happen. That’s exciting because whatever choice I make, the possibilities are open, and that was confirmed with the freeing of my name from Balenciaga. I’d made so much effort and been such a good obedient kid in associating myself… Now I can imagine a whole new vocabulary. I’m regenerating again, and that’s very exciting because it’s a feeling I haven’t had since I was in my twenties.
Marfa Journal Issue 1 is a new publication created by artists for artists to connect contemporary high-end fashion and art. Marfa Journal‘s overriding concept is inspired by the small desert town of the same name in Texas, which has attracted the art world since the 1960s and continues to be a capital of cultural disorder despite only having a population of 2,000. The first issue premieres with a bang, with two cover options featuring either Erik Brunetti shot by Victor Saldana or the cast of the new film The Total Princess shot by Alexandra Gordienko. The magazine is split into six sections: raw, casual, decadent, romantic, obscure and progressive.
Neapolis, A poetic look at the world through prism of skateboarding, 2013
Self published book featuring works and words by : Rick Owens, Taro Hirano, Jean-Max Colard, Camille Vivier, Jérémie Egry & Aurélien Arbet, Eric Tabuchi, Audrey Corregan & Erik Haberfeld, Yann Gross, Andrew Phelps, Estelle Hanania, Jerry Hsu, Raphaël Zarka, Paul Virilio, and many more. 368 pages, 17×24 cm.
A poetic look at the world through the prism of skateboarding.
The idea of a book as an invitation to wander. A journey through images, essays and interviews from fields as diverse as architecture, contemporary art, choreography, youth studies or the sociology of risk.
The practice of skateboarding has been a big part of our daily lives for many years now. From our childhood to a somewhat prolonged adolescence, it has not only influenced our perception of the city, but of the world at large. Today, we are taking a step back as we contemplate the wide-ranging and seemingly disjointed manner in which this practice has informed our worldviews.
Neapolis is a subjective attempt to connect the dots and explore the imprint left in our lives by skateboarding, through a selection of works and reflections from artists, authors and photographers.
Shelter Press is a Paris / Brussels based independent publishing company founded in 2011 and run by the publisher / graphic designer Bartolomé Sanson and the artist / musician Felicia Atkinson, from the fundaments of Kaugummi Books (2005-2011).
Their publishing program focuses on contemporary art, writings, and experimental music through art books, mutliples and records.
The name Shelter has been chosen as a reference to the californian thinker and generous mind LLoyd Kahn who published in the 70′s DIY masterpieces The Dome Book and Shelter.
For over 45 years the Yvon Lambert Gallery, has played an important role in the representation and support of the most innovative artists of our time. Founded in 1966 by the art dealer and collector Yvon Lambert, the gallery has a strong tradition of presenting artists’ projects that are ambitious, intense, and innovative.
Starting in the early 70′s Yvon Lambert boldly chose to present American artists, pioneers of minimal art, conceptual art, and land art such as Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Brice Marden, Robert Ryman, Cy Twombly, Lawrence Weiner, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Niele Toroni.
Today the gallery continues to represent and support historically signifigant artists such as Douglas Gordon, Jenny Holzer, Joan Jonas, Anselm Kiefer, Bertrand Lavier, Roman Opalka, Andres Serrano, Niele Toroni, Lawrence Weiner. Equally the gallery engages with a new generation of artists such as Mircea Cantor, Vincent Ganivet, Loris Gréaud, Shilpa Gupta, Koo Jeong-A and Nick Van Woert.