• Thomas C. Card

    ‘Kawaii’

    The Cute Streets of Tokyo

    During the day, these women hold corporate jobs. But on their off hours, they embrace 'kawaii,' the trend of dressing in a cute, almost child-like style, to flaunt individuality.

    On the back cover of photographer Thomas Card’s new book, Tokyo Adorned (Abrams, March 2014), a young girl with a light pink-and-blue hairstyle wears a brightly colored floral frock accessorized with a pink, patent leather watering can. “Kumamiki was one of the [first] girls who came to have her portrait done,” Card says in his Chelsea art studio, “This is what [she] wears on a day-to-day basis around the streets.”

    Kumamiki is just one of the nearly sixty individuals Card photographed for his series examining kawaii—or “cute”—style in Tokyo, one of the many trends that is exploring the complex ideas of identity and self-expression in the Japanese capital. Card’s fascination with the eccentric Japanese culture began roughly ten years ago after reading an article in The New York Times that highlighted a “crazy eye make-up phase” happening in the club scene throughout Asia. “The Ganguro were doing very extreme eye make-up,” he explains. “I thought it was just incredible, the variety and the creativity that went into these different looks. So I wanted to do a beauty story that looked at these girls before they went into the club and at the end of the night, so you could see the progression along the way. There is always this huge difference between the way you see yourself and they way it manifests in the physical world.”

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  • Donato Sardella/Getty

    Silent Collaborators

    Art World: Wives Don't Count

    The Grand Palais's Bill Viola retrospective has one glaring omission: recognition of his wife’s substantial contributions to his work. It’s 2014—why are women still overlooked in the art world?

    Bill Viola, celebrated as a pioneering video art innovator, is the subject of a 40-year career retrospective, called simply “Bill Viola,” that just opened to great fanfare at Paris’s prestigious Grand Palais. “Bill Viola in 2014 is like Picasso in 1966,” says Grand Palais curator Jérôme Neutres, citing the year a Grand Palais exhibition made Picasso a household name. A review in France’s Le Nouvel Observateur calls Viola a “master” and his work “spectacular.”

    Yet, Viola, 63, isn’t the sole author of his own works—he is but one member of a team led by his wife Kira Perov, Executive Director of the Bill Viola Studio, that produces the works credited to him. As The New York Times reported on March 11, “[Viola] has the visions, [Perov] helps realize them, along with a small technical team.”

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  • Laurie Simmons

    Masked

    A Dunham Doll’s Life

    Artist Laurie Simmons explores the freedom that comes with dressing up like someone entirely different—a doll—in a new exhibit based on the Japanese practice of Kigurumi.

    It was the discovery of Hatsune Miku, a fictional Japanese pop star whose voice stems from a Vocaloid, a singing voice synthesizer, during a trip to Japan last year that was the starting point for the latest body of work by artist Laurie Simmons. Over the course of researching the phenomenon, Simmons stumbled upon the bizarre world of Japanese cosplay. “We just went down this rabbit hole of people who dress up and fetishes, and the girls that surgically enhance themselves to look like dolls,” says Simmons.

    Simmons, whose daughter is actress Lena Dunham, finally found a cosplayer from Russia who makes giant masks of cute, anime-eyed women for Kigurumi, a subset of cosplay that involves costumed performers who dress as dolls or animals. “We don’t know who he is or what he is, but we ordered the masks, we customized them, and we just crossed our fingers and hoped they would arrive in the mail,” says Simmons, whose large scale photographs of costumed models wearing the masks are the focus of her latest exhibition, Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See, which runs through April 28 at Salon 94 Bowery in New York.

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  • Whitney Houston performs onstage at the 2009 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty)

    Inspiration

    The Whitney Houston Biennial

    Challenging what they see as the sexism of the Whitney Biennale, a group of female artists come together under the banner of a pop diva.

    After her death, Whitney Houston was described, rightly for such an over-used word, as an icon. And now she becomes one for female visual artists.

    The Whitney Houston Biennial: I’m Every Woman opens for one night only on Sunday in what curator Christine Finley describes as “a feast for the eyes.” “The idea started two months ago,” Finley told The Daily Beast, “and has quickly turned into a fantastic show of both established and emerging artists.”

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  • © Carrie Mae Weems; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

    Carrie Mae Weems

    Beyond Black and White

    For thirty years, Carrie Mae Weems has made the art world confront issues of race, class, and gender. A new retrospective at the Guggenheim looks back at her thought-provoking work.

    Artist Carrie Mae Weems knows how to get the art world to pay attention to race, class, and gender. Her thought-provoking work intelligently depicts racial stereotypes and uses appropriated portraits of slaves to get her point across. Although she won a prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Grant Fellowship last year and her work is the subject of a current retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Weems wasn’t always sure of her purpose in life.

    Photos: Carrie Mae Weems Retrospective

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  • Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard perform in Eternity Dress. (Vincent Lappartient)

    ‘Eternity Dress’

    Dressing Tilda Swinton

    A new, ballet-like performance at Paris’s eminent fashion museum explores the meticulous process of creating a beautiful garment, using actress Tilda Swinton as mannequin.

    Fashion today is true mélange: it’s mass-market collaborations at Target, it’s Madison avenue window-shopping, it’s Project Runway challenges, it’s impulsive e-commerce, it’s Fashion Week frenzy, it’s small-business Brooklyn, it’s foreign production in struggling countries. These are not equal circumstances, but what’s shared at the heart of them all is the act of making a garment. That common denominator gets lost in the muddle, sometimes, when we talk about fashion. But a performance in Paris is spotlighting just that meticulous and elegant act with Eternity Dress (running through Sunday November 24th as part of the annual French Festival d’Automne).

    Olivier Saillard (director of Paris’s eminent fashion museum, Palais Galliera) and Tilda Swinton (the beguiling Scottish-born actress) perform the entire process of making a single dress— from the measuring and patterning to the cutting and sewing—directly on Swinton’s body. Eternity Dress follows a 1950s methodology, with the dress ultimately representing the history of fashion and the architecture of the craft. It’s a striking conceptual counterpoint to the profusion of fashion collections.

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  • For Women

    Inside ‘Adult’: Femme Erotica

    Made for women, the newly launched Adult magazine explores sexually explicit literature and photography—and asks, is it possible for porn to be fashionable and artistic?

    What differentiates erotica from porn?

    Sarah Nicole Prickett, the founder and editor-in-chief of the "new erotics" magazine Adult, quotes seventies porn star Gloria Leonard: "The difference between pornography and erotica is the lighting."

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  • © The Richard Avedon Foundation

    Art in Motion

    Richard Avedon's Many ‘Women’

    Iconic fashion photographer Richard Avedon is the subject of a new show at Gagosian Gallery in London. See the highlights.

    Fashion—and the role of women in the industry—changed dramatically in the second half of the 20th century. Almost nowhere was that transition as apparent as in the work of Richard Avedon, the legendary photographer who shot countless editorials for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and many other titles. Now, in anticipation of an all-encompassing exhibition in November at Gagosian Beverly Hills, Gagosian London will run a selection of works titled Avedon: Women.

    The exhibition will feature some of Avedon’s famous photographs of models in motion—featuring household names like Ingrid Boulting, Gisele Bündchen, and Twiggy.

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