Material Girl

The Madonna Auction Madonna Knows Nothing About

There's going to be the largest auction of Madonna memorabilia ever and her publicist says she's oblivious to it. Maybe she's still raging at her well-instagrammed 56th birthday bash in Cannes.

Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills — which dubs itself "the world’s premier entertainment and music memorabilia auction house" — has amassed a wide assortment of personal and professional items of Madonna's, apparently gathered from her various acquaintances over the years. Although how an acquaintance would wind up with her 1988 calendar book or some of her trophies, like the American Music Award for her song Vogue, isn't clear.

The item with the highest estimated value ($20,000 - $40,000) is Madonna's Marilyn Monroe-inspired dress, fur stole, and costume jewelry from her Material Girl video of 1984. Meanwhile, the items with the highest gross-out value are the panties, bra, waspie, and latex mask she wore in a recent V magazine cover shoot with Katy Perry. Negatives and prints from the infamous nude shoot she did with photographer Bill Stone — who, after she became famous, took to Penthouse — will also be available to bid on.

Memorabilia from other music videos — Music, American Pie — will also be on hand, while her various films are also represented, including Evita (accessories and jewelry), A League of Their Own, and The Next Best Thing.

Madonna Auction, November 7 & 8, 2014

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Aug 23, 2014 13:06:00
Andy Warhol filming Lonesome Cowboys (1968)

Andy Warhol's Films to Get a Major Reboot

Andy Warhol's films are rarely shown, due mostly to their fragile condition. Some might argue that's a good thing, since most (all?) of them flout filmmaking convention and, in many cases, were made to be deliberately unwatchable. Empire, for example, consists of one continuous eight-hour shot of the Empire State Building, while Blow Job shows nothing more than the face of a man receiving one.

But we contend the artist's film projects, many of them made in collaboration with Paul Morrissey, were eminently watchable for their sheer lunacy and how Warhol's Superstar non-actors were allowed to be themselves on camera — or rather, melodramatic versions of themselves. Warhol's films were never about the plot.

People will soon be able to judge for themselves. The Warhol Foundation and MoMA have announced a joint effort to digitize around 1,000 rolls of Warhol’s 16mm film. The project will see roughly 500 works converted, frame by frame, into high-res footage, with the assistance of the visual-effects studio MCP, better known for its work on Godzilla, The X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy. When the process is completed in a number of years, the Foundation and MoMA will be able to screen and loan out these once delicate films. In the meantime, the Warhol Foundation says it will showcase 15 never-before-seen films, also digitally restored by MPC, later this year at its Pittsburgh location.

Aug 22, 2014 10:30:00
The garden at the Tom of Finland Foundation, photo Daniel Trese

Sizing Up the Tom of Finland Competition

It goes without saying that erotica is the main criterion for entering the 10th Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition. But actually, there's very good reason to be vocal about it. The Tom of Finland Foundation launched the contest in 1993 to advance the principles of the Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland, who for decades portrayed well-endowed men looking for and engaged in homosexual acts — during a time when homosexuals were targeted, persecuted, and victimized by police.

The artist Bob Mizer was another target — and contemporary of Tom of Finland — of forces opposed to freedom of expression. As Dennis Bell, president of the Bob Mizer Foundation, told us in a recent interview: "He went to prison and had years of legal troubles simply for creating images that, in their own time, were as subversive and controversial as any image you see today in Straight to Hell. You have put it in context. In the 1950s, naked male bodies with only an outline of a cock seen through a posing strap were [considered] explicit."

The judges of this year's contest are an eclectic bunch. They include Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide-Pierson of the Brazilian art collective assume vivid astro focus; Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset of the art duo Elmgreen & Dragset; designer-turned-artist Helmut Lang, Bruce LaBruce, Richard Hawkins, Ryan Heffington, Linder, and A.L. Steiner.

The winner — who'll win the above Tom of Finland sketch and a stay in his former bedroom-cum-studio (who knows what you'll find!) — will be announced on December 3, while the awards will be presented at the Foundation’s 30th anniversary celebration on December 14, 2014, in Los Angeles. Submissions — photos, drawings, paintings, collages, sculptures, 3-D art, digital art, mixed media — must be received by the end of November 3. Apply at Tom of Finland Foundation.

Aug 21, 2014 14:57:00

Finally, a Leather Case in Any Shape for Any Occasion

If you happen to need a leather case custom-made to the dimensions of, say, your favorite recliner, trophy collection, kitchen sink, the letter L — anything, basically — Sarah Williams is there for you. With her company, Williams Handmade, the graduate of the London College of Art (who majored in Fashion Artefact, hmmm) harnesses the power of age-old craftsmanship to concoct hand-held marvels of engineering, some of which look like they belong in a museum. Well, in fact, Williams exhibited in the recent Power of Craft exhibition at the V&A.

Williams' futuro-artisanal cases and bags aren't just for moneyed eccentrics whose every move is made-to-measure. Aside from her bespoke service, she crafts of-this-earth satchels, wallets, and, most recently, sandals. They may not get as many gawks as a U-shaped suitcase or an S-shaped briefcase, but they'll last just as long because her leather, all of it, is only the finest. In the end, each piece is truly handmade, usually by Sarah Williams herself.

Visit Williams Handmade. Shop at Not Just a Label

Aug 21, 2014 14:58:00

Iggy Azalea Makes Her Debut as the New Host of MTV's House of Style

She channels Cher Horowitz in her video for Fancy, but Iggy Azalea is hardly clueless about who she wants to emulate on stage. That's the takeaway from her first episode as host of MTV's House of Style reboot, in which she visits L.A. vintage stores with Moschino's new creative director and L.A. resident Jeremy Scott.

Giggling and hamming it up, the two hark back to the 90s heyday of Cindy Crawford and Todd Oldham. And that's the only retro vibe going on. Iggy, her blonde ambition showing, says right from the start she wants to find a cone bra and, although she doesn't find one, she does manage to spot piece after piece seemingly pulled straight from Madonna's closet. An S&M-themed book shot by Steven Meisel is surely not far.

Aug 07, 2014 14:18:00

The Happiest Place on Earth

For artist José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros, nothing is sacred, not even the princesses and wizards of universally adored fairy tales. In "Profanity Pop" at La Luz de Jesus gallery in L.A., he portrays an alternate magic kingdom, where Minnie Mouse tokes on a bong and a plus-sized Snow White takes a very immodest selfie, and where princes and the seven dwarves are free to kiss openly. So, progress.

Profanity Pop, José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros, La Luz de Jesus, L.A. thru Aug 31

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Aug 21, 2014 09:20:00
Andy Warhol for Bugaboo

Something Different: Andy Warhol for Bugaboo

You can never start too early teaching your kids the value of acquiring art. That's one message — probably not the right one — behind Bugaboo's three limited-edition Andy Warhol strollers adorned with the artist's 1980 portrait of Debbie Harry, circa Blondie. Starting next week, in partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation, Bugaboo —  the Dutch baby-mobility company — will auction them off, with all profits going to the UK charity Kids Company.

This is just the latest art-minded collab for Bugaboo, who've previously created Warhol-created strollers, and who've previously partnered with Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Henrik Vibskov, and Viktor & Rolf. The latter came up with My First Car, a gray-drab stroller costing in the four digits, souped up with hand-stitched leatherette and a separate footmuff. The allusion to Victorian-era baby pushers was no doubt lost on the little tykes who rode in them. But pop art, on the other hand — even adult babies are dazzled by that.

Aug 05, 2014 19:18:00

Gareth Pugh to Kick Off New York Fashion Week

London's reigning avant-gardist Gareth Pugh will show an "immersive live performance" on the first day of New York Fashion Week in September — meaning, he's kicking off all of Fashion Month. According to the New York Times, the performance will include live dance and his most trusted medium, video. We hope it's as bat-sleeve crazy as our favorite Pugh looks...

Aug 01, 2014 16:02:00
Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Sélavy, photo by Man Ray

Marcel Duchamp and the Anti-Influence of Dada

With hints of Dada and Surrealism — or, more generally, the sense that things aren't what they seem — percolating through fashion at the moment (Schiaparelli, Toilet Paper for MSGM, Maison Martin Margiela, Kenzo, Carven), it's worth noting that Marcel Duchamp, one of Dada's daddies, was born on this day in 1887. (A proponent of chance and randomness, he would have embraced the tenuous coincidence.) He died 81 years later, in 1968, leaving a robust legacy of anti-aesthetic, anti-establishment, anti-bourgeois, anti-everything sentiment.

By definition, Dada resists definition — primarily of the visual sort, relying on concept over optics. Dada acts as a kind of dark matter for the arts, completely invisible and immeasurable, yet known to exist and known to give form to everything else. In this way, Miuccia Prada, too, could be considered a Dadaist, with her collections that challenge accepted notions of beauty and non-beauty, constantly recombining the house's DNA with the démodé. If Dada was a rejection of all that came before, one could argue that all that came after owes its existence to Marcel Duchamp.

Ever-contrary, Duchamp himself disregarded his own creations. Almost immediately after unveiling what was arguably his most radical work, Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912), at the Armory Show in New York, he rejected painting altogether. Another controversial work, a found porcelain urinal that he titled Fountain (1917), was itself a repudiation of artistic canon and the notion of the singular artist. Duchamp became synonymous with these Readymades, as they were called, even after he'd moved on. He once said, "I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own tastes."

What he moved on to isn't entirely clear, but glimpses remain. In the 1920s, he adopted the female alter ego Rrose Sélavy — a word play that, in French, sounds like "Eros, c'est la vie" ("Eros, such is life"). Dressed to the nines in women's finery, Duchamp consorted with surrealist photographer Man Ray, who took several series of portraits — and doesn't Rrose look smashing? That alone is enough legacy to keep J.W. Anderson and other gender benders inspired for seasons to come.

Intermittently throughout his life, Duchamp became obsessed with chess, probably for its deceptive simplicity. He eventually became a chess master, with the title to prove it, and wrote voluminously on the subject. The last year of his life, 1968, he entered into a match with the avant-garde composer John Cage, in which music was created by photoelectric cells underneath the board, sparked randomly by the movement of pieces.

For all of these reasons and many more, let's champion the unpredictable influence — perhaps anti-influence — of Dada on fashion today. Until, like Duchamp, we're bored of it.

Jul 31, 2014 09:16:00

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