While James Murphy, he of LCD Soundsystem fame, has always made crowd-pleasing alterna-pop tracks, he has higher aspirations. Specifically, arranging sounds that transcend music altogether and become a more integral part of people's lives. Now that LCD Soundsystem is but a fond memory, it seems he'll have plenty of time to devote to his latest aural pursuit, the Subway Symphony.
He explains thusly: "The sound of the subway is kind of a drag. Every time you swipe your MetroCard, the turnstile emits a flat, unpleasant 'beep.' Each turnstile emits its own beep, all of which are slightly out of tune with one another, creating a dissonant rubbing-styrofoam-on-glass squeak in stations all around New York City."
"What I propose to do is to create a series of 3 to 5 note sequences, all unique, one for each station in the subway system. These sequences will be part of an intersecting larger piece of music, which would run from station to station, and cross one another as, say, the 4, 5, 6 line (one musical piece) intersects with the L, N, R, Q and W (another musical piece) at Union Square. At each turnstile in Union Square, as you tap your new tap and ride card, a pleasant bell tone will sound, in one of a set of possible notes, all related to that station's note sequence. The effect would be that at the busiest times, like rush hour, what was once cacophony would now be music."
"I think people who do what it takes to live here and work here — the commutes and the crowds — deserve a small sonic gift." So while bedraggled users of the city's archaic subways, particularly those in shamefully neglected outer boroughs, might wish for more pressing updates to the system, at least they'll feel slightly less miserable while stranded on a lonely platform, fading to grey.
If F. Scott Fitzgerald invented the Jazz Age, then David Bailey invented the Sixties — his Sixties, an iconic black and white world full of glamour and possibility. The decade when everybody could be famous for fifteen minutes was reinvented to include East End gangsters and burds like Twiggy with estuary accents.
Bailey is the sexy East End boy who grew up to marry Catherine Deneuve, an ice queen who never married anyone else. Vogue frizzbomb and ex-model Grace Coddington described Bailey as better-looking than the Beatles, though to be fair, the Fab Four would not have been so easy on the eyes without their mod suits and Hamburg haircuts.
Bailey brought Vogue into the 20th century during an era when photographers had been upper class, or tried to be, like Princess Margaret's husband Tony Armstrong Jones and Garbo's mate, Cecil Beaton. He gave the Sixties their swing, creating the coolest decade of the century. Plus, he invented the first supermodel, Jean Shrimpton, a shy girl with a swan neck whom Vogue at first thought was funny lookin' until they saw his images of her in Manhattan.
The Shrimp became the first model as famous as a pop star like Mick Jagger, who was dating her sister. Without Jean there couldn't have been Twiggy, or even Kate. The Shrimp has long since retired to Cornwall to run her own hotel, but even if you don't know her name, you would recognize her face on a bag sold in the gift shop of London's National Portrait Gallery, where Bailey's photo exhibit has just opened. The title of the show, Stardust, comes from the notion that, as he says, "We are all made from and return to stardust."
Bailey became as famous as the people he photographed and he photographed everyone, from the Beatles and the Stones to the Kray twins. Would the East End gangsters, who probably "did" his father, giving him an ear-to-mouth scar, have been glamorous enough to be celebrities without the iconic Bailey image of them that now adorns a mug at the NPG? Apparently god isn't in the details, he's in the souvenirs.
Like most glamorous people, glamour doesn't interest Bailey. He has an obsession with skulls, which predates that of Damien Hirst, another one of his subjects. Like Chanel, he thinks style is more important than fashion. "Whatever you see in the photograph, whether you call it glamour or edge, it's already in that person. I can't put it there. It's finding it and bringing it out."
What is he bringing out in Marianne Faithfull, photographed alarmingly in her bra and pants, no longer looking like the tarnished angel of her Rolling Stones days? Did Ma Faithfull do something to upset him?
Stardust, despite covering the entire ground floor of the NPG, isn't even close to representing his entire body of work. Anyway, the dude's still in demand, having recently turned down Lady Gaga because she sounded like a headache.
His pictures of Kate Moss give her a sophisticated but innocent allure, but a lot of his best pin-ups are boys. Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher and Karl Lagerfeld are just some of his 21st-century portraits. And Johnny Depp never looked more beautiful that when Bailey shot him showing his Betty Sue tattoo.
Andy Warhol insisted on going to bed with Bailey when he was interviewed by him for a documentary that was banned. But Andy wouldn't take off his clothes, confiding, "I have more stitches than a Dior dress."
Bailey selected the 250 images in this show himself, so there's no annoying curatorial spin. Only one picture of Deneuve, whom he was married to for seven years, but an entire room is devoted to current wife Catherine Bailey, including nude shots which are more sexy saint than Readers' Wives.
There's some reportage, as well as sculpture influenced by his hero Picasso (whose own sculpture was influenced by Gauguin) included in Stardust, but it's his pictures of monochrome faces that seduce the eye. The camera doesn't steal your soul, but the photographer has a good try. "The camera doesn't take the picture, it's the photographer," as Bailey is quoted on my pink fridge magnet.
"I'd like to have taken more pictures of the old East End, but I was busy having a good time," he said. But Bailey doesn't take pictures, he makes them. In an age when everyone has a camera, everyone has bad pics. Instagram can't supply an imaginative eye. "The silly selfies craze will die out," he says.
Maybe. One craze replaces another. But Bailey's work endures. He isn't interested in nostalgia, but understands that "The 1960s didn't end in 1969." Once the world changed, there's no going back. Bury your past in a successful future. "I'm only interested in now. When this moment is gone, it's another moment...But I'll have a word with the devil at the crossroads and see if I can get a bit more time."
Read more about Vivien Lash in her evil twin Carole Morin’s novel Spying on Strange Men
If you thought you had issues, get a load of the T-shirt Issue and their animated bird shirt. The interdisciplinary art collective combines fashion, design and technology to create unique, mind-bending items of clothing that range from daily basics to conceptual installations, all stemming from digital experimentation.
The group is particularly fascinated by the triangular polygon and the unlimited 3-D shapes it can produce in regular old jersey. For their Muybridge series, on view at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), three frozen frames from a bird in flight are rigged and animated into a garment-based interpretation of the pioneering work of the 19th-century photographer Eadward Muybridge, who first captured a sense of motion through a succession of stills — the original animated GIF.
Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital, Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, NYC
Looks like one of our 2014 predictions is already coming true. Last night at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, chipmaker Intel announced plans to explore the realm of wearable technology. The terrain, however, has been anything but smooth, judging from other tech giants. In response to its much-heralded Glass eyewear, Google can barely get more than an air kiss from the style-minded.
Intel has an advantage, though. They're working with Barneys and Opening Ceremony, as well as the CFDA, on a fashion-friendlier accessory — a bracelet — that presumably won't look like it belongs to a Russian robot from the '50s. OC will help with the design of the smart device, which of course would use Intel technology, while Barneys will carry it in their stores (as will OC).
“The collaborations we announced today are indicative of Intel’s collective and conscious approach to the wearable market,” said Intel VP Ayse Ildeniz. “Our shared vision is to accelerate wearable technology innovation and create products that both enhance peoples’ lives and are desirable to wear.” It's going to be a tough road, but no one said starting trends was easy.
We're probably excluding ourselves from the test pool, but please can it look like these? ...
A metaphorical indictment of society's addiction to luxury and consumerism, "these 24K gold-leaf capsules turn your innermost parts into chambers of wealth," says Ju$t Another Rich Kid's Ken Courtney. "Consume and digest."
A reissue of his 2005 "Indulgences" collaboration with the late artist-designer Tobias Wong, the glittering flecks safely disperse throughout one's bowels, gilding and beautifying its contents for your most sparkly bathroom visit ever. Talk about pot of gold.
This is either super sweet and sexy or super vengeful and sexist. Chilean-born, New York-based artist and designer Sebastan Errazuriz has collaborated with Melissa, the Brazilian maker of jelly shoes, on a dozen shoes that depict his feelings about past relationships with women — some nice, others less so.
Sculptural therapy, if you will, the series comes with little anecdotes that explain the reason behind the breakup. Jetsetter Jessica, with an airplane for a heel, is so named because Jessica was too self-important; the Honey Natasha shoe, resembling a honeycomb, tells of a girl who was too nice; and The Boss Rachel can be worn like a dust-knuckle because that's what a bossy girl would do — and that's a deal-breaker.
Visit 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers
A couple of nights ago, Turner Prize-winning UK artist and cross-dresser Grayson Perry appeared as his alter ego, Claire, in a documentary about the iconic London store Liberty of London — and he sported a very unusual bag. Take a moment or two and study this image. See if you can...oh, yes, it's coming to you now?
Called Scrotal Sack, it is exactly that, a leather handbag designed by himself and modeled after a human scrotum, wrinkles and goosebumps and all. And there's more. That flappy frontal nob? Yes, that would be a penis pierced in the foreskin with a little bell. Now take a look at the back. Uh-huh, yup, buttocks with a starfish in the center. Please, please, please someone produce these.
Slogans are nice; Susan Sontag quotes are better. L.A. designer William Anzevino has emblazoned tees and sweats with the outspoken art theorist and cultural critic's more memorable musings: "Passion paralyzes good taste," "Sanity is a cozy lie," "Desire has no history." For the bolder bibliophile, the designer has even made dresses and button-down shirts printed with all-over type.
Sontag's most famous essay, Notes on Camp (1964), appears to have been left out, but given that Anzevino's previous obsession was the proto-porn homoerotica photographer Bob Mizer, we think he gets it.
Following their Where the Wild Things Are collaboration from 2009, Opening Ceremony has once again teamed up with Spike Jonze, this time on a capsule based on his forthcoming film, her. Think endearing misfit.
Putting the off in office, costume designer Casey Storm created a distinctively nerdy look for the film's protagonist, Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, as he develops a curious intimacy with a computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Their strange love informs the women's and men's collection of color-blocked sweats, patch-pocket jackets, quilted shearling coats, and tees printed with scenes from the film.
$105 - $450, exclusively at Opening Ceremony in New York, Los Angeles, and London (beginning in January) and online (beginning December 2)