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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Gert Robijns, Tri de graver, 2010, Happy New Year, 2008 and Pro Deo, 2006
Gert Robijn’s exhibition Happy New Year shows six new pieces. They are characterised by a clear style and referring to everyday situations. Themes such as perception, organisation and classification are treated in an instinctive manner. Elementary scientific experiences are being displayed in a minimal fashion. An apparently new balance arises between concepts such as light/heavy, below/above, covered/uncovered, visible/invisible. The items on display have their conventions taken away, renewed, as if they had been painted over.
The objects have been placed in various ways on formica-coated showcases, which remind one of shapes that can be found in every house. Refrigerators, kitchen units, occasional tables, white, austere blocks. The sides are sometimes interrupted by a shade of grey, which makes one hesitate between a constant shadow and an area of colour.
Robijns’ Liter shows two milk cartons on the level of a kitchen table. While one is still in its recognizable, original condition, the other has had its top removed and has been filled with a plastic bag containing exactly 1 litre of water. This bag partly droops over the carton in small folds. One appears to be light, the other heavy. New Balance also seems to refer to heaviness and weight. Two shoes crushed under the edge of the case. A similar, absurd scene can be found in Dieet. An empty packet of biscuits is being displayed on a lower case. The glass has been positioned right in front it. As if a passer-by hastily ate the contents and then walked off. The shape of the showcase has been applied in a more complex manner in the work Lijn N°5. There it functions as a machine, maybe a fax or a printer. Five pencils, that can draw five straight lines, are submerged in the wood. Right underneath is a groove where paper can be inserted or taken out. Scanner is another example of a machine that has been brought back to utter simplicity. It shows how two loose objects can represent a very complex device like a scanner. Happy New Year shows five diaries of different sizes ranging from a small pocket size to a double A4. This work visualizes the difficulty of predicting how busy the year will be, how many new exhibition projects and artistic productions there will take place.
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Mathew Cerletty, The Economist, 2007, oil on linen, Yoplait, 2007, colored pencil and gouache on paper and Epson, 2009 graphite on paper
Since the early 2000s, Mathew Cerletty has been earnestly stretching the possibilities of figurative painting while cleverly subverting much of what we have come to expect from both realism and hyperrealism. Transitioning from his early, psychologically compelling portraits to more abstracted takes on household products and text-based images, Cerletty has been probing some amazingly banal subject matter as a challenge to the transcendent promise of traditional painting and to his skills as a draftsman.
Mathew Cerletty was born on 1980 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin New York. Matthew Cerletty’s paintings encapsulate a cosmopolitan air with their voguish finish and ambivalent sexuality. Presenting a fragmented body, Cerletty’s untitled trade’s image for the fetish of gesture, his absent figure reduced to an intimation of style. Rendered as graphic form against an empty slate colored ground, Cerletty’s hands seem strangely foreign and empirical. Classically positioned, Cerletty sets his study as abstracted intrigue, his opaque white sleeve and purple nail polish convert the representational to formalist balance, constructing the sublime through the simplicity of casual expression.
Matthew Cerletty’s Untitled reconsiders the figure as an abstracted strategy of design. Set on a cold ground, his torso is centered as an obsessional focus of concentration. Rendered with painterly impasto, his shirt becomes a slacker study of illusionary space: its simplified cartoon form balancing between graphic flatness and 3D perspective, the stylised shadow alluding to sculptural form reinforces the planar surface. The addition of the hands converts Cerletty’s painting from compositional study to relational subject, infusing traditional line, shape, and tone with dandyish and charismatic personality.
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Isa Genzken, Halleluja, 14 April-19 May 2012, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Hubertus Exhibitions, Zurich
Isa Genzken’s work is a cacophonous riot of colour, material and form. She pulls from the geometries of modernist architecture, the aesthetic of Robert Rauschenberg’s combines and the stark and severe ethos of minimalism and corrals these elements in to her own world, rearranging them according to her distinct set of rules. For Hauser & Wirth’s final show at the gallery’s temporary space at Hubertus Exhibitions, Genzken will present new sculptures and collages. These works reference the individuality of the real world, exploring the works’ more human qualities of fragility and haphazardness.
Genzken’s new sculptures echo the architectural dimensions of the high-rise buildings and skyscrapers abounding in New York, the artist’s favourite city. Each work consists of a fantastical melee of objects, such as stacked shipping crates, potted plants, overturned designer chairs, and paintings of Disney characters. These elements are all perched precariously upon high plinths, seemingly held together only by sprays of paint and a few dots of glue.
Like a tourist wandering wide-eyed through a sprawling metropolis, the sculptures invite the visitor to first gaze up at the fabricated skyline, and then to look closer at the ‘eye level’. At this level, Genzken takes the viewer inside the sculpture, transforming her spiralling towers of miscellany into anthropomorphic forms, a surprising humanity residing in their instability.
Photography, sculpture and painting overlap in Genzken’s new collages and with these works, Genzken activates all surfaces of the gallery, not just the walls. One new installation spans the floor of the space, like a sidewalk down the hectic streets of New York City. Each collage contains a mixture of imagery: snapshots from the artist’s personal life, self-portraits, works from her oeuvre, reproductions of Renaissance paintings, kitsch greeting cards, adverts from glossy magazines and an assortment of gaudy patterned papers sprayed with paint. Installed as if they had been forcibly flung upon the walls and on to the floor, Genzken lends these two-dimensional works the same tactility, movement and momentum seen in her sculptures.
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Cindy Sherman: “Untitled #465”, 2008, C-Print, 161,9 x 145,4 cm
Cindy Sherman, Retrospective, February 26-June 11, 2012
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Throughout her career, she has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet, and art history.
Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has captured herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting.
To create her photographs, she assumes multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman has deftly altered her physique and surroundings to create a myriad of intriguing tableaus and characters, from screen siren to clown to aging socialite.
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