A recent gift to the Whitney Museum of American Art brings a collection of Edward Steichen’s early fashion work for Condé Nast to New York City.
It all began as a dare between two friends.
In 1911, Lucien Vogel, an influential French magazine publisher, proposed that photographer Edward Steichen promote fashion photography as fine art … or so the story goes.
Vogel’s dare resulted in photos of gowns by couturier Paul Poiret for Art et Décoration in what became known as the first modern fashion photographs ever published. In turn, Steichen was propelled to further prominence in the world of photography.
Steichen’s diverse portfolio of landscapes, architecture, portraiture, and war photos had already proved his excellence. He had commanded the photographic division of the U.S. Army during WWI, and one of his closest friends and early supporters was Alfred Stieglitz, founder of the infamous 291 Gallery, which was responsible for helping introduce European artists like Matisse, Picasso, and Brancusi to the U.S. But his fashion photographs, with their theatrical lighting and design, were revolutionary in both style and format.
Around 1817, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres scattered body parts across a canvas.
This strange image by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres instantly grabbed my attention, one recent day during a quick tour of the lovely museum at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence. John Smith, the director, told me that his curators had nabbed the picture for a song a little while back, after it went unsold at an auction. (So much for the wisdom of collectors.) The little canvas is a study for "Christ Offering Saint Peter the Keys to Paradise", a major altarpiece commissioned in 1817 for a church in Rome. The study includes hands and faces from different characters in the final picture, each painted with the canvas turned 90 degrees, so as to interfere less with viewing the other details. Of course, the result is a wonderful modernist assemblage that has an almost Surrealist flavor. So maybe what I've really got here is an Old Master discard being used – by me, the museum visitor – as a modern objet trouvé. This might not have won the out-loud approval of Ingres, the avid Academician, but I think his eyes would have understood.
He was arrested for graffiti, but Clayton Pettet won't rest until the world sees his art. And by art, we mean he's going to lose his virginity in front of a live audience.
A gay art school student, who plans to lose his virginity in front of a live audience, has been arrested in London while promoting the show.
Clayton Pettet, 19, who was warned that his performance art piece could breach decency laws, told The Daily Beast he had been picked up by police officers after taking an unconventional approach to publicity. He was caught by officers after spray painting the date of the event on a billboard in East London.
The teenager remains coy about the precise nature of his explicit performance, but he says he will lose his virginity to an anonymous male friend in front of about 100 guests. He graffitied Art School Stole My Virginity, the name of the show, in pink letters under a railway bridge on Old Street. Scotland Yard confirmed that they had arrested a 19-year-old male on November 26th on suspicion of criminal damage. No charges were brought against him.
“It was so embarrassing,” confessed Pettet, a student at London’s top art school, Central Saint Martins. “I got cuffed and mug shot and everything. I was in the cell. They said, ‘What color graffiti?’ And I was like: ‘blossom pink’ and they were laughing, and I was sat there like: fuck me.”
The Metropolitan Museum shows psychedelic textiles from circa 1700
The term of art for this kind of textile is “Bizarre Silk”, and it couldn’t be more appropriate: This silk could pass as acid-test Art Nouveau, but it’s actually a fabric from an as-yet-unidentified source in early 18th-century Europe that shows an influence from as-yet-unidentified Asian cultures. The example shown here is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, where I saw it in the exhibition called “Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade 1500-1800”. I want a dressing gown made from it, to inspire my opium dreams.
Performance artist Marina Abramović puts her life—in all its traumatic detail—in the hands of internationally-acclaimed director Robert Wilson in a new show at the Park Avenue Armory.
It all began with one infamous performance: The Great Wall Walk.
In 1988, performance artist Marina Abramović started at the East end of The Great Wall of China and began walking west. Ninety days later, she met her long-time lover and performance partner, Ulay, who had started on the West side walking east, to say, or rather perform, their goodbyes.
Abramović had come to a crossroads in her career. “It was difficult because we always worked together,” Abramović told The Daily Beast, “So, for me it was [time] that I actually make a theater of my life.”
For each of Abramović’s past biographies, spanning print and film, the artist relinquished every aspect of her life to the directors of her choosing, allowing them to arrange and edit as they liked, promising no interferences in their decisions. “They are always mixing things according to their own taste,” the artist stated, “but every time my life looked different to me.”
At MoMA, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin riff on Bertolt Brecht's take on conflict.
These are two pages from “War Primer 2”, a gripping artist’s book by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin that I saw in the New Photography 2013 show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The book is an intervention into another volume: Bertholt Brecht’s own “War Primer”, which he published in German in 1955. It consisted of press images from World War II paired with four-line poems that cast light – and doubt – on the photos’ meanings. Broomberg and Chanarin have simply taken Brecht’s pages (in their 1998 English translation) and collaged on images of our recent “War on Terror” that they found on the Web. It’s sad, but I guess inevitable, that over more than 50 years the issues and imagery have stayed so much the same. The artistic strategies have too, which is much more surprising. When they work this well there may be no reason to change them.
Nick Lord, 25, wins commission to paint Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel for a portrait which will hang in the British Library.
Nothing seels like controversy, eh?
An artist who painted a daring picture of a pregnant Kate Middleton in a racy stripper-style pose has been named as the winner of the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year competition.
Nick Lord, 25, was named winner of the prize - which comes which comes with a £10,000 cheque, a year’s supply of art materials and a commission to paint Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel for a portrait which will hang in the British Library.
Will he paint Mantel in a similar state of undress to his notorious Kate pic? We think not.
From London gallery.
Like a real-life sequel to The Thomas Crown Affair, two signed Damien Hirst paintings were stolen Monday from a London gallery, Scotland Yard confirmed Wednesday. The stolen works, called Pyronin Y and Oleoylsarcosine, are valued at $54,000 (£33,000). A spokesman said one person carried out the theft—but there may have been a getaway car, since it would be difficult to carry the paintings out on foot. Both paintings feature Hirst’s signature mutlicolored dots. Police are asking any witnesses to come forward.
David Blatherwick's videos fill a church with bird calls.
This is a detail from David Blatherwick’s installation called “I Wish I Knew”, in St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Toronto. Blatherwick videotaped five members of the church’s fine choir as they whistled transcriptions of real bird song, then mounted the results in various corners of the sacred space. (Click here to see video of the piece.) When you first enter the building, you think a small gaggle of songbirds has somehow got trapped in the church. And when you spot the little video monitors showing the singers, that impression doesn’t much change: We’re so used to humans who make human sounds that birdsong never quite seems to come from their lips, even when we see it coming forth. For centuries, European composers played with the idea of incorporating bird song into their music. (The clavecinistes of the French baroque were especially keen on the idea.) Blatherwick does without the music, and finds enough pleasure just in the birds. Saint Francis would have been proud.
It has bejeweled the upper crust for over a century. A new retrospective in Paris looks back at the house’s work from its birth in 1847—including Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara.
On a summer day at a villa on the French Riviera in 1957, top Hollywood producer Mike Todd gave his ravishing 25-year-old bride Elizabeth Taylor some buffed red-leather boxes. Her eyes brightened—she knew those boxes came from the French jeweler Cartier, one of her favorite stores in the world. She opened them and discovered a jaw-dropping ruby and diamond necklace, with matching earrings and bracelet glittering in the hot Mediterranean sunlight. “It was like the sun, lit up and made of red fire,” Taylor would remember. She swooned and cooed as she put them on and jumped into the pool, the drop earrings swinging like chandeliers in a storm. Ever the movie star, Taylor had someone on hand to film it.
The necklace, earrings, and film clip are among the marquee items on display at Cartier: Style and History, an unprecedented retrospective of the jewelry house’s work from its first year in 1847 through the 1970s that is being held at the Grand Palais in Paris. In the recently restored Salle d’Honneur, more than 600 items are on display, including the Halo Scroll tiara, a swirling diamond-filigree headdress that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and is currently owned by Queen Elizabeth II, who lent the tiara to Kate Middleton for her marriage to Prince William in 2011. Also on display is the 10.5-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring that Prince Rainier III of Monaco gave to American actress Grace Kelly in 1956.
But there are a great many other gems on view, such as the sword crafted with a Picasso-head-like hilt for writer and filmmaker Jean Cocteau when he was admitted into the Academie Française, France’s regulatory body for language, in 1955; enameled, jewel-encrusted objets, such as clocks, cigarette cases, and desk accoutrements; a case devoted to a hundred-year’s-worth of Cartier watches; and a revolving display of international tiaras, including a Roman laurel wreath-like diadem once belonging to Princess Marie Bonaparte, the great-grandniece of Emperor Napoleon I of France and a psychoanalyst associated with Sigmund Freud.
For context, the curators Laurent Salomé and Laure Dalon have staged the jewelry alongside ephemeral gowns, period wallpaper, news clips of Cartier-bejeweled movie stars and portraits of socialite heiresses who were among the company’s most important clientele. Notebooks of preparatory pen and ink sketches and plaster molds from the early atelier illustrate the craftsmanship process of translating metals and bijoux into sparkling adornments. Particularly beautiful and unexpected are the collection of coral, onyx, and lapis lazuli scarabs, falcons, and other Egyptian bestiary from the 1920s, when Egyptomania swept across the world following the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. All is displayed in the cathedral-like hall in an ethereal darkness illuminated by kaleidoscopic projections of jewels on the wall that look like swirling stained glass windows.
Cartier was founded in 1847 when a young French jewelry apprentice named Louis-François Cartier bought his master’s atelier in Paris. He quickly made a name for himself among the French aristocracy; among his patrons was Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. He passed the business to his son Alfred, whose two sons Pierre and Jacques modernized and expanded the company internationally. The Cartier family sold it in 1964. Today it is owned by Richemont, the Swiss-based luxury group run by South African entrepreneur Johann Rupert, and does an estimated $5 billion in annual sales, according to analysts.
Some of the Dutch Golden Era’s best works, including ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring,’ are making the final stop in their American tour at The Frick Collection. See them while you can.
The Yayoi Kusama exhibit isn’t the only show in New York that people are willing to wait in long, cold lines to experience. At the Frick Collection on the Upper East Side, droves of visitors are turning out daily to see, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting From the Mauritshuis.
Mauritshuis Exibition October 22, 2013 to January 19, 2014 At The Frick Collection (Michael Bodycomb/The Frick Collection)
The collection, normally based at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, has been on a world tour while the prominent Dutch museum it calls home undergoes renovations. The Frick Collection is the final American stop for the exhibit, which includes fifteen works from the Dutch Golden Age, some of which have not travelled in decades.
Roughly occurring in the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age saw a rapid expansion in the Netherland’s wealth and power, both domestically after the Thirty Year’s War and internationally with the growth of the Dutch East India Company. Much of the increased wealth was spent cultivating one of the most significant levels of art production in history. Despite the plethora of Dutch works from this period that fill museums worldwide, some experts believe that only one to ten percent of the total art produced during this time survives.
You missed it. The biggest bash of the year and you weren’t even there. Good thing all of these people were. What the tongues are wagging about at the end of Miami Art Basel.
“What I love most about the art week in Miami is the incredible contrast between the absolute professionalism of fair directors, gallerists, and artists by day and our absolute debauchery by night on boats, behind bushes and in sultry underground dens of iniquity,” says Shiva Lynn Burgos, an artist with work at Freight & Volume at Pulse. “Case in point Tuesday's White Cube kick-off party at Soho House and Le Baron at the Florida Room Delano last night.”
I was not at the White Cube bash nor at Le Baron. Mundane but pressing matters kept me away from Art Basel Miami this year, which was frustrating because pre-fair buzz had suggested that things were finally going into hyperdrive, that the branding events and celeb parties were going to euthanize – or Kardashianize - the art.
I decided to call a few friends and write about ABM anyway. So here we have it: The Tongues of Art Week. Or some of them.
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Sinning in Miami Beach? Talk to Father G, better known as writer Glenn O’Brien, who launched ‘Penance,’ based on his performance art, complete with a Catholic-style confessional booth.
Each year at Art Basel in Miami Beach, the fashion and art crowds parachute in for a week of parties and debauchery where sinning is aplenty.
So Alldayeveryday, the group behind the pop-up Newsstand in Brooklyn’s Lorimer subway station, and writer Glenn O’Brien seized the opportunity to launch his book, Penance, along with a Catholic-style confessional at the bayside Standard Spa.
Penance is an account of a performance that O’Brien held in May 2012 at New York’s iconic Chelsea Hotel, where he took on the pious role of Father G, listening to people’s dark secrets and offering them advice in an actual confessional booth, while surrounded by artworks by artist Richard Prince.
Unfortunately, the original confessional wasn’t able to make its way to Florida, so visitors sat with O’Brien and cleared their conscience as he signed books and offered advice in a fresh enclosure created just for the event.