Tag Archives: New York

Raf Simons, Fall 2017 Menswear, No Fear in New New York.

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Raf Simons, Fall 2017 Menswear

Whether it’s the Statue of Liberty beckoning over the curve in the horizon as your steamer approaches from the east, or a frantic cluster of handwritten “Have you been detained?” posters waiting outside immigration as the automatic doors of JFK whoosh blessedly closed behind you, every outsider’s first arrival in New York is as different as it is meaningful. For Raf Simons, a designer who is no less vaunted in fashion than he is sometimes ambivalent about it as an art form—i.e., deeply—that rule applies.

Simons is a recent immigrant arrived to take the mantle at Calvin Klein: The king is dead, God save the king. But before he Makes American Fashion Great Again in nine days’ time, tonight was about the transposition of his own 22-year-old brand from Europe to the new continent.

What we got was this: Oversize satin-sheen topcoats and almost aggressively mundane boxy check jackets worn atop oversize pants with luxurious breaks at the ankle, bottomed by rope-trimmed chisel-toe shoes. The slightness of the models and the bigness of these pieces contributed to what Simons said he’d aimed to muster, a sense of children adopting their parents’ uniform. Sometimes the boys wore nothing but maître d’s waistcoats with their baggies, or attenuatedly utilitarian long-yoked work shirts. They almost always wore heaped beading at the neck.

Shiningly recognizable was the typographical design of Milton Glaser, transposed into rough-knit I heart N.Y. sashes and sweaters. Less so were the Raf Simons Youth Project tees, the service-industry Thank You (writ thrice) above Have a Nice Day graphics, and the seemingly random insertion of words including blow and forest in double-edged collegiate fonts onto split-neck sweats. Absolutely the standout detail—and gratifyingly cheap and easy to replicate at home—was the duct tape cinching at the waist of outerwear.

Simons’s rationale for all this was tangled but ultimately coherent. As he said: “I wanted to approach it from the combination of a mind-set of someone who comes to New York in the beginning, a kid let’s say. When you are a young kid you end up in the places that are very touristy, that confront you with all these things, the Statue of Liberty, the I Love . . . I wanted to go back to how I experienced New York in the beginning and combine it with how I experience it now. So this fresh young direction to the city and everything it stands for—and what is happening now.” The rise of Donald Trump after his personal move was arranged had changed everything, he added, and moved his process back to the DIY subversion of British punk under Margaret Thatcher.

Had his perception of New York changed since its Trumpification? Simons shook his head: “I can only see this city as a city that has incredible history, incredible inspiration, and incredible people . . . ask me do I think that you should stand up against what is happening in this country, then I say yes. Even in writing, I do not think people should be fearful—we should be more fearless—and not behave like everybody is expecting you to behave.” No fear in new New York.

Text: Luke Leitch, http://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2017-menswear/raf-simons.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Talia Chetrit, I Wanted to Expose the Vulnerability in the Private Moments Between Takes

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Talia Chetrit, Heat, 2015, Parents/Trees, 2014 and Jeans, 2016

Talia Chetrit’s work focuses on the human body—often her own—as a starting point to examine how images are constructed to support different agendas and interpretations of reality. After beginning her practice with an exploration of the manipulative nature of photography, Chetrit is increasingly interested in the relationship the camera has with the subject matter it documents.

“I’m Selecting”, Talia Chetrit’s second exhibition at Sies and Hoke, comprises two discrete bodies of work. One consists of 13 images shot on the streets of New York and Paris. The other, made using a mirror, is a suite of four photographs which depict the artist in her studio, nude from the waist down. Tightly cropped and grainy, semi-anonymized images of businessmen crossing the street and groups of people buying museum tickets typify the impersonal. While, contrastingly, the artist stares back at her viewer in bottomless, startling self-portraits.

The seeming incongruity between these two series is bridged by the amount of control exercised over both. Chetrit’s focus has long been aimed at the ways in which images are constructed and the manner in which they function in society: their contrivances, their agendas, and their fictions. Often the body serves as a site for this exploration of photography’s tenets, and in I’m Selecting, Chetrit uses the bodies of others as well as her own. These images are a reminder of the degree of self-scrutiny we impose on ourselves when we know our pictures are being taken, and the feeling of panic inspired by being photographed without realizing it.

“After reviewing images I had taken of my parents 20 years ago as a teenager, I returned home again to photograph them. As I was shooting, I discovered a dynamic between them that was unknown to me. The presence of the camera and the resulting power shift created an artificial atmosphere that revealed an uneasy interaction between them and a window into their relationship. Curious to find a way to capture this dynamic I began, unbeknownst to them, to videotape our numerous photo sessions over the following year. I wanted to expose the vulnerability in the private moments I had witnessed between takes — moments that the photographs had failed to represent. Parents is a sequence of clips which attempts to capture this staged reality.” Talia Chetrit, 2015

Talia Chetrit was born in Washington, DC in 1982 and lives in New York. Her recent solo exhibitions include Model, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2014); Leslie Fritz, New York (2013); Bodies in Trouble, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf (2012); Ringer, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles (2011); Marking, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2011), Renwick, New York (2011). Recent group shows include, amongst others: MORNING AND EVENING ASYLUM, Tanya Leighton, Berlin & Off Vendome, Düsseldorf (2014); The Black Moon, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); A Disagreeable Object, Sculpture Center, New York (2012); Figure and Form in Contemporary Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2012); Second Nature, deCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA (2012); The Extension, Vilma Gold, London (2011); and The Reach of Realism, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2009).

Text: Patrick Armstrong, http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2015/06/talia-chetrit-at-sies-hoke/ and The Aimia AGO Photography Prize https://www.aimiaagophotographyprize.com/artists/talia-chetrit.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Artist: Jordan Wolfson

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Jordan Wolfs, Female Figure, 2014 and Colored Sculpture, 2016, Installation View

In a recent interview Jordan Wolfson artist traced a cycle of works produced since 2009 back to a moment of eye-contact: “It is something that became clear to me in Your Napoleon (2009) […]. For that work, I kept trying to figure out how to cut and paste these mock conversations about string theory and pop culture, and it felt like an ad-lib […]. I didn’t come up with the term formal bridge until I basically asked the actors to just read the script and look directly into my eyes, stare deep into my eyes” [Jordan Wolfson and Aram Moshayedi, “Tell a Poser,” in Ecce Homo / le Poseur, Walther König, Cologne, 2013, p. 92].If eye contact is both the semblance of a “truthful” connection and in the right hands a mask for falsity, Wolfson has pursued this “formal bridge” into a realm of heightened artifice and discomforting disclosure. His sophisticated animated constructions have achieved an unerring capacity to meld the giddy “anything goes” of computer-generated imagery with the telling fetish of the pop-cultural meme.

In his first solo exhibition for David Zwirner in New York in 2014, comprising a projected film, an installation and a number of digitally printed reliefs, instances of engineered eye contact between an artwork’s protagonist and the viewer anchored the show. The looped film Raspberry Poser (2012) featured a medley of animated forms layered against stock-image backgrounds and tastefully shot locations, set to a soundtrack of Beyoncé and Mazzy Star. Bouncing HIV virus particles and ethereal floating condoms emitting cascades of love hearts roved the streets and luxury lifestyle boutiques of New York’s SoHo. Meanwhile a generic cartoon boy gleefully strangled and self-eviscerated himself, as if to prove his immortal otherworldliness. Intercut with these characters, a series of live-action sequences showed Wolfson dressed as an archetypal punk on a “dérive” through a Parisian park. A close-up shot sees him turn to the camera and hold the prolonged gaze of the lens, an insouciant smile flickering across his face. The camera, of course, mediates the connection between Wolfson and the viewer. But the intentionality and persistence behind “the look” is unnerving. It holds both an arrogant knowingness and something of the contorted power play of a fashion model’s stare into the camera.

Female Figure 2014 is an almost absurdist endgame for discourse around the theatrics of the sculptural object and the tendency towards stagecraft within the contemporary art exhibition. While the robot’s routine was scripted, programmed and seamlessly looped — not unlike Raspberry Poser playing nearby — the physical nature of the encounter was heightened through the restriction to one or two people entering the room at any time. This conceit, a gesture towards an individualized performance, allowed for the singular experience of being “seen” by “her,” a phenomenon made possible by the use of advanced facial recognition and motion-sensing technology. The robot is the distant figure in the park in Jean Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness (1943). Thought of as a puppet, its relation to the objects around it is purely additive; it creates no new relations in the world of the viewer. In its locking of sight-lines, however, the viewer is momentarily yet disconcertingly aware of becoming an object in the eyes of the automaton.

In many regards, Jordan Wolfson artist work embodies the internalized contradictions of a generation whose teenage years spanned the twin poles of a burgeoning hyper-sexualized cultural economy and the media-stoked specter of sexually transmitted disease. In conjuring up a social imaginary around HIV and AIDS activism, Raspberry Poser echoes a young adult asking: “What does it mean about me?” — what writer Sarah Schulman has described as a “suburban narcissism in which one is able to ‘identify’ in order to internalize value”[Sarah Schulman, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, University of California Press, Oakland CA, 2012, p. 7]. The “place of distortion” Wolfson moves toward is undoubtedly agonistic, as it rests on a neurotic self-identification that appropriates positions of sexuality, gender, race and class — positions that themselves are present in the work only through inflated, vulgarized stereotypes. “Do you think I’m homosexual? Do you think I’m rich? Will you tell them what it’s like to be with me?” The artist’s needy voice is caught within the performance of a hyperbolized role, a meta-dialogue with the viewer that challenges their presumptions of identity and the “honest” disclosure of inner angst. While Wolfson is evidently not himself the loose-skinned, tired man of the poetic monologue in Female Figure 2014, the psycho-sexual inner world of the creator of the Bellmer-esque robot-as-sex-object looms large as an involuntary fiction.

There is a clear sense in which the artist’s work from 2009 onward has rejected a reliance on acquired methods and signifiers of artistic validity and rectitude. The complex cycle of works that culminates in the twin gazes of the female automaton and the languid punk instead offers witness to an unadorned self-image at odds with the governing techniques of the self-enterprising individual. Wolfson’s adoption of animation and animatronics locates this externalization within structural ambivalence; the ability to warp, inflate, distort and fantasize offers a fitting testimony to the splitting of contemporary subjecthood.

Source: Kunstforum International, June July 2016 Issue.
Text: Richard Birkett, Flashartonline.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Hood By Air Menswear Spring 2017, Paris

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Hood By Air Menswear Spring 2017, Paris

Hood By Air makes things difficult. These images were shot days after its Spring 2017 show in Paris, a frenzied cruise in semi-darkness through a gay sauna in a seedy part of the Marais that culminated in a synchronized swim in the hammam’s subterranean pool (don’t think: Busby Berkeley). The clothes were glimpsed only in passing, as models pressed against bystanders and then moved along. “We revisit things that people know about HBA here, like logo placement. Because it’s recognizable in the dark,” said Shayne Oliver postshow. “We push newer ideas forward in the light.”

The light he’s talking about is Hood By Air’s biannual shows that are part of New York women’s Fashion Week, staged with increasingly polished production values (and, indeed, lots of lights). While Oliver himself is loath to put labels like menswear or womenswear on his garments, he understands the demands of presenting collections with those market restrictions. Hence the fact his Paris “shows” boycott the runway in favor of atmospheric locales and unconventional formats. “We just want to celebrate Hood By Air in the men’s market,” said Oliver. “When people are reviewing it against something that is very tailored, it feels weird . . . we’re not competing with them.”

So what are these January and July shows all about for Oliver? Research and development, it seems; he talked about the garments acting as the reference for the show to be staged in September, also acknowledging the very real business behind this creativity—that these clothes will drop earlier, satisfying retailers with an advance delivery. Almost like a Hood By Air recollection then, although the ingenious complexity of Oliver’s work couldn’t be further from bland commercialism. There’s something unsettling about what Oliver shows, often with implications of violence in the slicing, mutilated pieces distorting perceptions of the body within. But he saw these looks as a kind of “positive utilitarianism,” also linking to the military theme that ran through the season. Although Oliver’s utility wound up in hospital garb: Rather than garments slicing apart the body in attack, the outfits were centered around healing, with their trusses, bandages, and even built-in leg braces. What was bandage and what was bondage? The contrast between flesh strapped for pleasure and flesh strapped to cure pain was never quite clear. Oliver said these spaces were about relaxation, about a relaxed attitude to sexuality, and an ease with the body. It wound up like a Netflix-and-chill session watching The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, helped by a decibel-shattering soundtrack. It was uncomfortable, but it also pushed us out of our comfort zone.

What Oliver does is exciting because it speaks to people. His fashion seems progressive, difficult even, due to its odd proportions and strange slogans. Do you know where your children are read one, mimicking scare mongering that preoccupied previous generations and hasn’t entirely been shaken off by our own. These clothes are arresting because they’re a product of our times, of a designer plugged into groundswell movements in culture, rejecting the hierarchy and elitism and creating something that resonates. It also satisfies fashion critics who want to be excited, annoyed, and generally provoked by clothes that challenge. Which means that you don’t mind being crammed into a sweaty bathhouse and barely glimpsing fabric and flesh in the gloom. It’s an experience—inconvenient, but interesting.

At least it feels like Oliver is trying to say something new, to find his own voice rather than join the conversation about the tired language of luxury. That doesn’t even feel relevant when you’re talking about these clothes. They’re something else. And in a world where otherness is rapidly co-opted by a voracious fashion system and forced into its pigeonholes, Hood By Air’s steadfast refusal to kowtow to the system is worthy of plaudits.

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Alexander Fury, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Raf Simons Menswear Spring 2017, Florence

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Raf Simons Menswear Spring 2017, Florence

Earlier this year, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation contacted Raf Simons. They asked if he’d like to work with them on something. He said yes. That’s the shorthand version of the story behind the collection he presented at Pitti Immagine Uomo, perfectly chimed with a duo of Mapplethorpe exhibitions at LACMA and the Getty Museum, and the HBO documentary subtitled Look at the Pictures. It was the right time. And Simons is a Mapplethorpe fan, so it was the right artist. “I was honored,” Simons said after his show, his voice vibrating with emotion. Hence he shelved the idea he was working on for a collection (he wouldn’t reveal what it was; it may, he said, come out in a later show) and began his latest artist collaboration.

Normally, when Simons works with an artist, he approaches them. This time, the dynamic had somewhat shifted. The generosity of the Mapplethorpe Foundation’s offer is reflected in the generosity of Simons’s interpretation: There’s no outfit in Simons’s Spring 2017 show that doesn’t feature a photographic print of a Mapplethorpe. His curly-haired male models, with seductively slanted leather biker caps, often bore a striking resemblance to the photographer himself—though Simons stated that, rather than the artist’s doppelgängers, “every boy is a representation of a piece of work.” Each could be a Mapplethorpe sitter. The billowing shirts had shades of Mapplethorpe’s famous muse Patti Smith on her Horses album cover. Robert Sherman, a model whose alopecia made his skin approximate marble in his many portraits shot by Mapplethorpe, also attended the show. Simons had to clear third-party rights with all the sitters before reproducing their images. It began a dialogue that resulted in an immersion on Simons’s part in Mapplethorpe’s work.

That being said, the artist sat for himself a lot. Mapplethorpe was a fascinating character, and the art is inextricable from the man. “If you think about the work, it is so much about him,” said Simons, and, indeed, it was so much about the clothes he wore, too. On a voyage of sexual self-discovery, many of Mapplethorpe’s first pictures were Polaroid self-portraits, trussed up in leather gear, testing the limits of pleasure and pain. Later, he documented his own sexual fetishes; the leather scene and BDSM predominantly. Clothing was a vital component: At one point, Mapplethorpe began stretching his own (worn) underwear across wooden frames to form unconventional sculptures; later, he clad himself in black leather.

Simons knows all of that. Hence the fact his homage to Mapplethorpe felt so thoroughly rounded, so passionate and truthful. The subtlety of Simons’s multiple references gave the show depth—his palette of black; white; the bruised-flesh shades of crimson, pink, and purple; and the burgundy of coagulated blood; the leather dungarees glinting with metallic buckles. Simons spent two afternoons pawing through the Mapplethorpe archives of contact sheets. He struggled with the English terminology to describe those: He called them “maps,” which is a far more interesting and evocative notion when applied to Simons’s search, to find new territory for Mapplethorpe, to make him feel relevant and exciting to a new generation. That’s what he saw his role as.

I’m a Mapplethorpe fan too. I couldn’t help but ally this show to Mapplethorpe’s fascination with frames, with giving his imagery a three-dimensional element, a sculptural quality by framing and matting in plush velvets and exotic woods, attaching imagery to objects. Making his photographs more than they may first appear. Simons framed Mapplethorpe’s images with cloth, but then further framed them on the body: an image printed on a tabard, say, surmounted by the curtains of jacket lapels, or revealed on a T-shirt under a loosely draped sweater. Simons gravitated towards Mapplethorpe’s sexualized images of flowers, his idealized portraits of famous subjects like Debbie Harry, caught in coronas of light, and of artists whom Simons also shares an admiration for, like Alice Neel, captured a week or so before her death in an extraordinary 1984 portrait. Sex was in there, too; Simons was insistent on that. A down-stuffed jacket memorably turned to reveal an image of an erect phallus.

He also used the phrase “curation” to describe this show: “I wanted to approach it like a museum show, or a gallery show. Which has been done very often when it comes to Mapplethorpe’s work. Cindy Sherman did it, David Hockney did it. But always in a gallery.” Simons frowned. “I am a fashion designer. I thought the biggest challenge would be to do it in my own environment.”

The curatorial aspect made for a fascinating notion, especially in a time when so many designers appropriate and reference without credit—and when so many people throw around the verb “curate.” It’s indicative of Simons’s nature—respectful, quiet, intellectually hefty—that he saw this collection not as his creations with Mapplethorpe’s imagery tacked on, but as a collaboration akin to a gallery show, where his role was, at least in part, to best showcase the works he was given. But it was also to use those works to tell a new, exciting, and provocative story. To show us something new from the well known, and much seen, archives of Mapplethorpe. Which he undoubtedly did.

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Alexander Fury, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Tim Coppens Menswear, Spring 2017, New York

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Tim Coppens Menswear, Spring 2017, New York

Remember clubbing? Do people still do that? You know—roll deep, head to some warehouse where the music is so loud it obliterates all reality, and emerge busted at sunrise to face the city you left behind the night before. That kind of clubbing. Tim Coppens remembers those cockeyed mornings. Their surreal attitude informed his latest collection.

Coppens got at his post-clubbing vibe via a canny mix of sharp geometry and willed ersatz-ness. The geometry was witnessed in the emphasis on grid check and houndstooth, and graphic color-blocking and stripes. The ersatz-ness, meanwhile, was most overt in the collection’s soft shapes, like the blouson bombers for men and women, slouchy trousers and distended shorts and shirtsleeves, but it was also to be found in his clever layered-look outerwear, lightweight coats and anoraks that offered a meticulous reinterpretation of sundry items sloughed over each other willy-nilly. From a purely practical standpoint, the layered-look pieces were a smart proposition—an armored-up, streetwise aesthetic in a format suitable for warm weather.

But Coppens’s most inspired touches here were in his details. There was a lovely poetic quality to the blurred stripe edges on his needle-punched knits, for instance, while his kimono-inspired jet print boasted an intriguing, unexpected tactility, inasmuch as the print had been cut out of the original fabric and re-embossed on houndstooth jackets. These kinds of gestures really captured the tone of bygone comedown mornings—the way the blunt shapes of the streetscape go all watercolor, viewed by bleary eyes; the surprise of sensation returning to dance-numbed extremities. Man, being young was great.

Source: Vogue.com.
Text: Maya Singer, Vogue.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Charles Harlan, Sculpture

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Charles Harlan, Stack, 2015, Roll Gates, 2012 and Counter, 2013

Drawing inspiration from Land Art of the 1970s, Harlan avails himself of the most common materials at hand – including such hardware store staples as ladders, shipping palettes, and one-ton metal pipe – in his large industrial works. Huge in scale, Minimalist in form, and shown both indoors and out, Harlan’s art has often been referred to as Duchampian in its reliance upon readymade components, its deceptive simplicity, and it spatial humor. His stacking and layering of recognizable, utilitarian materials renders surprisingly potent forms that invite unexpected associations.

Charles Harlan sculpture and work invites contemplation of the ways in which we adapt to and absorb the toughness of the urban landscape. Pristine, immutable walls are made from the same sheet metal fencing that encloses myriad outdoor parking lots and construction sites, and hosts graffiti and flurries of advertisements throughout the cityscape. But whereas the world around us is wild and feral, Harlan’s work is carefully ordered, throwing into higher contrast the realms of tumult inside.

Harlan was raised in Smyrna, Georgia, and his work exhibits a vernacular, domestic flair, as if the suburban housing tracts featured in Dan Graham’s Homes for America (1966) were taken apart and repurposed as elegant, redneck Minimalism. With Shingles (2011), for example, Carl Andre’s floor-based metal works meet their working-class counterpart, as copper plates are exchanged for patterns of overlapping asphalt roofing tiles; Siding (2011), meanwhile, replaces Donald Judd’s shiny metal cubes with the work’s namesake – and very plebeian – exterior vinyl wallcovering found on many a tract house; and by simply lifting a marble countertop off the bathroom sink and onto the wall, Counter (2012) proves that even the slightest of gestures, such as a change of orientation and context, can render foreign something familiar – the everyday as convincing art object. Similarly, with Pipe, it’s as if one of Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1976) was transported from the desert to this small, white cube gallery on the Lower East Side.

Equally industrial as Holt’s work, though perhaps more refined-looking with its clean metal surface and, when struck, resonant timbre, Harlan’s invasive culvert more closely pressures the thin distinction between rote object and institutionally legitimated artwork. Even if they’re in the middle of nowhere, Holt’s tunnels are art because the artist presents them as such; Pipe is equally authored and institutionalised. That it’s a pipe is precisely the point. While it’s a beautiful object, it illustrates how arbitrary ‘art’ really is. The term may designate anything, from a painting to a pickle in a jar. The latter, displayed in the gallery’s back office, is sold by Harlan’s mother in her hardware store; it could be an artwork too, if he willed it.

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Jamian Juliano-Villani, Penny’s Change, 2015

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Jamian Juliano-Villani, Penny’s Change, 2015,

What makes a painter paint? In her Bedford-Stuyvesant studio, artist Jamian Juliano-Villani uses a digital projector to create surreal paintings and discusses the graphic source material that inspires her. Juliano-Villani’s Brooklyn studio is crowded with a wildly varied collection of books ranging from 70s-era fashion, to commercial illustration, to Scientific American-style photography, to obscure European comic art. This vast image bank—which the artist began collecting in high school—generates the building blocks for her mashup creative process. “When I’m working I’ll have thirty images in a month or two months that I’ll keep on coming back to, and I’ll try and make those work with what I’m doing, but they’ll never look like they’re supposed to be together,” says Juliano-Villani. “That’s when the painting can change from an image-based narrative to something else.”

Working quickly and intuitively with the projector, Juliano-Villani toggles through a series of potential images on her laptop as a way to discover solutions for content and composition. Long attracted to cartoons, the artist borrows from illustration as a way to deflate painting’s historical pretensions and to speak in a more direct language; and yet, despite her use of vernacular imagery, what her works ultimately communicate might only be personally understood. “Painting is the thing that validates me and the thing that makes me feel good. I care about it, and they care about me. That’s why I put the things that I collect and really, really love in my paintings,” says Juliano-Villani. “They’re helping me figure out the things that I can’t communicate to myself yet.”

Her trippy acrylic paintings combine cartoonish imagery from far-flung sources, some of them actual cartoons from artists like Chuck Jones. She calls her use of other artists’ work “simultaneous exploitation and homage.”
Juliano-Villani explained her thinking in a Facebook comment: “It’s important to realize that all visual culture is fair game for artistic content, ‘appropriation’ isn’t a ‘kind’ of work, it’s almost all art. When making a painting or a print or a sculpture, it’s nearly impossible to make something without thinking of something else. A good reminder that when dealing with images 1) once an image is used, it isn’t dead. it can be recontextualized, redistributed, reimagined. 2) It should have several lives and exist in different scenarios.”

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Ari Benjamin Meyers

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Ari Benjamin Meyers, Songbook, 2013

Ari Benjamin Meyers, Songbook, Installation view, 2013

Ari Benjamin Meyers artist, born 1972 in New York, is an American composer and conductor working in the experimental, electronic, new music scene in Germany. He is also active in the field of contemporary art.

While primarily known for his work with the ground breaking dance club-orchestral mash-up, Redux Orchestra, he has also worked with many other artists most notably Einstürzende Neubauten and Anri Sala. Other collaborators include Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal, La Fura dels Baus, The Residents, raumlabor.berlin, Ricardo Villalobos, Staatsoper Dresden, Staatskapelle Berlin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, Morton Subotnick and The Orb.

Meyers’ catalog includes operas, music for plays, dance, and film as well as music for diverse chamber ensembles. As evidenced by his arrangements for the live performancesRedux Orchestra versus Einstürzende Neubauten, Meyers’ work often takes the form of productive sabotages: he constructs and deconstructs musical situations and deliberately plays on the expectations of a given audience. Although personally distancing himself from the term “Crossover”, his work is often discussed within that context.

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New York Fashion Week: Calvin Klein Collection, Spring / Summer 2014

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Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein Collection, Spring 2014, New York

Francisco Costa is celebrating his tenth anniversary at the helm of Calvin Klein this season. It’s a milestone, and the brand is doing it up: new Tribeca venue, A-list star power in the form of Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara (the face of the label’s just-launched perfume, Downtown) in the front row, and a glitzy party planned for later this evening. Costa, for his own part, didn’t let the moment slip by. True to the house’s roots, minimalism has long been the designer’s signature here, but you couldn’t call what he did today pared back. If he didn’t exactly play against type, he certainly tried a few things that felt new. “Elevated deconstruction,” he called his Spring experiment afterward. It was a gutsy show for Costa.

The collection started off much as they usually do at Calvin Klein—with white, but the exposed seam allowance on the opening look’s strapless wrap top and skirt flashed pink. Color was the first difference; in addition to that pink, there was the red, mint, and brilliant emerald green of handwoven cotton tweed. A black nylon material he used for a tank top and a full, short skirt was loomed with bright threads. Yarnlike threads also appeared as a deep fringe on a woven black leather jacket. Costa has traditionally been too controlled a designer to embrace something like fringe. Here, he made it a big part of the story, and the three swishy finale dresses especially were an argument for a more freewheeling Francisco.

Not all of Costa’s ideas about deconstruction were as successful. Some of the materials he used were too stiff (we’re thinking in particular of those wide-cuff painter’s pants), and it’s also fair to wonder how many women out there want to wear their seam allowances on the outside of their clothes. But we really liked the look of a pair of dresses patchworked from graphic leather and silk basket weaves. All in all, Costa more than earned all of the celebrating he’ll be doing tonight.

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R. H. Quaytman

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R. H. Quaytman

Installation view, R.H Quaytman, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, 2009 and Chapter 12: iamb (checkered blue screen with edges), 2008, Oil, silkscreen, gesso on wood, 51 x 82.2 cm

R. H. Quaytman is a contemporary artist, best known for paintings on wood panels, using abstract and photographic elements in site-specific “Chapters”, now numbering twenty-five. Each Chapter is guided by architectural, historical and social characteristics of the original site. Since 2008, her work has been collected by a number of modern art museums.She is also an educator and author, and is based in New York City.

She received a BA from Bard College in 1983 and attended the Post-Graduate program in painting at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Ireland in 2001 and later attended the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques in Paris to study with Daniel Buren and Pontus Hultén.

She is a Rome Prize recipient and attended the Institute des Haute Etudes in Paris. R.H. Quaytman incorporates optical abstractions, silkscreened photographs, diamond dust layers, and hand-painted trompe l’oeil elements into her works. In 2011, her painting was on the cover of Artforum magazine, with an essay by Paul Galvez describing her international triumvirate of installations in the past three years

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Exhibition: John McCracken, Works from 1963-2011, David Zwirner, New York

john mccracken artistjohn mccrackenmccracken_installation

John McCraCken, Untited Sculptures, Installation Views

John McCraCken, Works from 1963–2011, 10 September – 19 October, 2013
David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street, New York

McCracken occupies a singular position within the recent history of American art, as his work melds the restrained formal qualities of Minimalist sculpture with a distinctly West Coast sensibility expressed through color, form, and finish. He developed his early sculptural work while studying painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in the late 1950s and early 1960s. While experimenting with increasingly three-dimensional canvases, the artist began to produce objects made with industrial materials, including plywood, sprayed lacquer, and pigmented resin, creating the highly reflective, smooth surfaces that he was to become known for.

Drawn primarily from public and private collections, the approximately fifty works in this exhibition chart the evolution of McCracken’s diverse but considered oeuvre. Encompassing both well-known and lesser-seen examples of the artist’s production from the early 1960s up through his death in 2011.

Highlights from the exhibition include a room-size installation of six monumentally scaled black columns, a layout introduced by the artist in his sketchbook in the early 1970s, but first produced and shown at David Zwirner in 2006; as well as an adjacent room containing stainless steel sculptures from 2011, which are polished to produce such a high degree of reflectivity that they seem translucent and camouflaged, bordering on invisibility as they reflect their surroundings.

A number of works from the 1960s, when McCracken first emerged onto the Los Angeles art scene, are included in the exhibition, such as Untitled (1964), a cross-shaped hybrid form that vacillates between painting and sculpture; three multi-colored rectangular “slot” works, a form that McCracken first exhibited in his seminal 1965 solo show at Nicholas Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles; as well as several of the artist’s earliest “planks,” his signature sculptural form that he first generated in 1966 and continued to make throughout his career. These narrow monochromatic, rectangular board-shaped sculptures lean against the wall while simultaneously entering into the three-dimensional realm of the viewer. Also on view is Untitled (2011), the last plank that McCracken made in his lifetime, which is fabricated in stainless steel.

In 2015, the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California will host a retrospective of McCracken’s work.

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Exhibition: Paul McCarthy, WS, Park Avenue Armory, New York

Paul McCarthy White Snow

Paul McCarthy White Snow

Paul McCarthy, WS, Exhibition View, 2013

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.

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Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Ken Price Sculpture

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.

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Artist: Josh Smith

Josh Smith Artist

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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.

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Iman Issa

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Iman Issa, Material for a sculpture representing a monument erected in the spirit of defiance of a larger power, 2010 and Making Places (c-print), Series of ten c-prints, 2007

Iman Issa, born 1979, Cairo, is an artist based in Cairo and New York.

The cryptic work of Iman Issa rarely denotes its subject matter nor reveals the artist’s creative process. In many of her recent projects, there is a tacit insistence that Issa’s materials – which include sculptural objects, photographs and video – speak of far more than their content suggests.
This is also true of Issa’s work in that most content-laden of media: fiction. Her book of one-page stories, Thirty-Three Stories about Reasonable Characters in Familiar Places (2011), which she considers both a work of literature and of art, almost completely omits names, places or adjectives. The sto­ries are more like fragments in which the reader must locate a narrative arc from a brief spark of disappointment, a passing thought or a disagreement between a handy­man and his client. Issa’s writing suggests that what ultimately characterizes a situation, event or concept may not lie in its own self-evident, specifically described form or content. Rather, it might extend itself from an association, a memory or an otherwise insignificant detail.

In making a work, Issa often proceeds as though she has a hypothetical relationship to the medium or subject matter, then alters her position during the development of the piece as a tactical measure. For example, in her series ‘Triptychs’ (2009), Issa created the three elements in each work by assuming a different artistic subjectivity in relation to a source. In Triptych #1, for instance, she began with a snapshot she had taken of a bland communal waterfront space. Treating the photograph as though she had never seen it before, Issa then developed a second piece in response. The third work in the triptych was likewise created as though she were unaware of the first two, and had simply imagined the connections between them. Whilst this may seem a curious process to adopt in order to communicate a personal memory or sensation – involving as it does more alienation than proximity – the elements of the triptychs nonetheless resonate with one another.

Her group and solo exhibitions include Trapped in Amber: Angst for a Reenacted Decade, UKS, Oslo, 2009, 7th Gwangju Biennale, 2008, Cairoscape, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, 2008 , Making Places, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, 2008, Look Around, Arte Ricambi, Verona, 2008, Memorial to the Iraq War,ICA, London, 2007. Her video work has been screened at several venues including Tate Modern, London, Spacex, Exeter, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, and Bidoun Artists Cinema.

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