Senegalese Woman, artist unknown (ca 1910)

The Parallel Universe of African Portrait Photography

Proving that early photography was not the exclusive reserve of the West, a new show at the Met displays 100 years (1870s - 1970s) of portrait photography made by and for Africans — particularly West Africa, countries like Senegal, Cameroon, Mali, and Nigeria.

These 80 works, many of which are being shown for the first time, were taken both inside and outside of the studio, by amateurs and professionals alike, including Seydou Keïta, Samuel Fosso, and J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, as well as lesser-known artists. Together they explored the unique African potential of the medium that swept the continent as soon as it arrived in the 1840s and 50s. Present in almost all of the work is a certain self-possessed dignity of the sitter, in spite of, or perhaps in response to, the ravages of colonialism.

Photographic Portraits from West Africa, August 31, 2015 – January 3, 2016, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

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Aug 24, 2015 22:39:00

Wes Anderson Fan Art to Have Its Day — Make that Three Days

Wes Anderson's vast, zany fan club seems almost as ubiquitous and rabid as Taylor Swift's. You've seen them; think ennui-stricken, fur-clad Margot Tenenbaum wannabes and mopey, beanie-wearing Steve Zissou doppelgangers. And like any good cult, they wield fan art, loads of it, equally schlocky, meticulous, horrifying, and genius. Now they’re having their self-styled kitsch featured in an exhibit in an actual New York gallery — 100 unframed pieces by 70 artists in homage to the filmmaker's eight films. 

Well, not so much an exhibit as a two-day pop-up. Titled 'Bad Dads,' the idea sprang from San Francisco art writer Ken Harman's imagination in 2010 as a Halloween masquerade party. That first show was such a hit that it inspired Harman to open his first gallery, Spoke Art, and continue his yearly tribute to the cinematic auteur, this year making its New York debut — for better or worse, the worse the better.

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Jul 25, 2015 13:59:00
Christian Dior Museum, Granville

The New Look Gets Another Look

Next week the Christian Dior Museum in Granville, the only French museum dedicated to a couturier, will present an exhibition examining his optimistic, elegant, shapely vision of post-war women, which mirrored the reconstruction of the country at large. Before February 12, 1947, the day Dior's so-called New Look couture collection was shown, Dior was unknown. Thereafter he was one the world's most famous men and exalted artists.

That show catapulted the New Look — in particular the curvy Bar jacket — into a phenomenon. But not everyone was enamored. Dior’s designs were denounced in Britain, where fabric rationing remained in effect. Meanwhile, those who had heeded generations of calls to abandon the corset were rather opposed to the reintroduction of tiny wasp waists and other forms of restrictive femininity. But by the spring of 1948, the New Look had charmed its way into wardrobes everywhere and Paris had reclaimed its status as the center of fashion and style.

The exhibition will focus on 80 couture garments, ranging from that first 1947 collection through Raf Simons' tenure at the house today, as well as roughly a hundred photographs, documents, manuscripts, and original sketches.

Dior: the Revolution of the New Look, June 6 - November 1, 2015, Christian Dior Museum, Granville

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May 25, 2015 14:00:00
Twiggy by Terence Donovan

Swinging London Keeps Swinging

Few would argue London was the center of swing throughout the Swinging Sixties. It was ground central for a potent convergence of fashion, music, film, technological innovation, and, perhaps most importantly, social revolution. The era also launched the notion of photographer as artist and celebrity. These bold-faced lensmen will be the subject of an exhibition this summer at Foam Museum in Amsterdam, including Terence Donovan, Brian Duffy, John French, Norman Parkinson, John Hopkins, John Cowan, Eric Swayne, and Philip Townsend — the gamut of known and unknown yet influential names.

Swinging Sixties London: Photography in the Capital of Cool, June 12 - September 2, 2015, Foam, Amsterdam

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May 25, 2015 12:30:00
Azzedine Alaïa & Naomi Campbell, Arthur Elgort (1987)

Arthur Elgort and The Big Picture

Despite opening up fashion imagery in the 1980s and embracing supermodels of the '90s, capturing many of the era's most iconic and enduring images, Arthur Elgort remains one of the industry's more underrated talents. An upcoming exhibition, The Big Picture, at Galleria Carla Sozzani aims to change that. The show encompasses five decades of his work, including several original 'snapshots,' a candid and natural style Elgort introduced into the fashion vocabulary. His ideas of what a ‘fashion’ photo was, opened up the possibilities of what fashion photography could be to the next generation.

Elgort attributes much of his liberated direction to his lifelong love of music and dance, particularly jazz and ballet from the '30s to '40s. "Some of my best pictures were taken when I wasn't 'working' — models getting ready, people on the street, the little moments in between shots," he writes in a new book, published in conjunction with the exhibit. "That's when you can really capture people as they truly are and see what's underneath. It's those real moments that just can't be faked."

Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture, February 6 - April 6, 2015, Galleria Carla Sozzani, Galleria Carla Sozzani, 10 Corso Como, Milan

Jan 04, 2015 21:10:00
Björk, Debut, photo Jean Baptiste Mondino (1993)

Björk to Have Her Head Examined at MoMA

The Icelandic virtuosa known by one name is getting a major retrospective of the same name at MoMA. Opening in March 2015 and not scheduled to travel to other institutions, Björk is dedicated to the multifaceted, multimedia work of the composer, musician, and artist. It will span more than 20 years of pioneering projects and albums, from Debut (1993) to Biophilia (2011), the app for which — made with M/M Paris — was MoMA's first acquisition of its kind. Her pursuits in the realm of sound, film, visuals, costumes, and performance will be highlighted.

The installation will present a narrative — part fact and part fiction — co-written by Björk and the Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson. Björk’s collaborations with video directors, photographers, fashion designers, and artists will be featured, culminating with a newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience.

Björk, March 7 - June 7, 2015, MoMA, 11 West 53rd Street, NYC

Björk, Homogenic, photo Nick Knight (1997)

Björk, photo Danny Clinch

Björk, still from All Is Full of Love, directed by Chris Cunningham (1999)

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Dec 18, 2014 17:19:00
Whiskers Between My Legs

Julie Verhoeven Has a Go at Society's Notions of Femininity

Known mostly as a fashion illustrator and collaborator (Louis Vuitton, Versace), Julie Verhoeven has channeled her inner satirist to create Whiskers Between My Legs at the ICA in London. In the immersive installation, Verhoeven explores notions of femininity and its (mis)representation in popular culture by draping collaged fabrics and other mixed media throughout the space.

In addition, a new short film addressing female seduction and so-called perversion will also screen on monitors, some placed within toilet seats, thereby creating a playfully ironic environment that defies and questions perceptions of gender, etiquette, and taste.

Whiskers Between My Legs, December 9 - January 18, 2015, Institute for Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London

Dec 12, 2014 20:46:00
Beard at Somerset House

Beard Watching

If beards haven't been growing on you, an upcoming exhibit of the hirsute pursuit may change your mind. Eighty portraits of assorted whiskery wonders by London photographer Brock Elbank will open at Somerset House in March. The exhibit, Beard, is the latest in Project60, an ongoing series that began when Elbank teamed up with Jimmy Niggles, founder of Beard Season. The Australian organization raises awareness about skin cancer by encouraging men to let their facial hair run wild — the ultimate sun block. 

The diverse group of participants includes actor John Hurt, fashion editor Nick Wooster, tattoo artist Miles Better, and models Ricki Hall and Billy Huxley. Perhaps the most striking image is that of bearded lady Harnaam Kaur, who started growing facial hair at the age of 16, due to a hormonal imbalance caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. After various attempts at removal, she was eventually baptized a Sikh, which forbids the cutting of body hair. Et voila, problem solved.

Beard, March 5 – 29, 2015, Terrace Rooms at Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 1LA

The moving story of how Beard Season came to be... 

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Dec 12, 2014 09:33:00
Daniel Arsham, Welcome to the Future

Guess Who's Coming to Art Basel: Daniel Arsham

New York artist Daniel Arsham's MO is to fossilize everyday objects, particularly communication devices, as a comment on the transient nature of media, and of art itself. At Art Basel, he's transformed Locust Projects into an excavation site deep in the gallery's floor, where thousands of calcified, petrified artifacts of the 20th century have been buried: boomboxes, cameras, electric guitars, game controllers, cell phones, VHS tapes, Walkmans, film projectors, and so on — all rendered in crystal, volcanic ash, and other minerals.

The site-specific installation derives from Arsham's childhood, specifically the year 1986, when he survived Hurricane Andrew huddled in a closet of his family's Miami home. The wreckage he discovered in the storm's wake had a profound impact on his perception of space and time, which leaves the viewer with the impression that a century has passed in a moment.

Daniel Arsham: Welcome to the Future, Locust Projects, 3852 North Miami Avenue, Miami


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Dec 03, 2014 13:55:00

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