Big Girls, Marilyn Minter, at Team Gallery

Once Shunned, Artist Marilyn Minter Is Having the Last Laugh

When Marilyn Minter exhibited Porn Grids, a series of paintings based on hard-core pornographic imagery, the critical response was so disparaging that she was more or less shunned from the art world. It was the end of the '80s, when few female artists had explored such a taboo subject. Despite the criticism, she continued to build her own narrative, upping the ante with projects like Food Porn, in which she depicted fruits and vegetables in suggestive states. Eventually she created the sensual style of hyper-realistic photographs and paintings she is known for today.

Now, over two decades later, Minter is celebrated in both the art and fashion worlds. With fiery red hair, her features are as exotic as the imperfect models she seeks out for projects, where gender and race ambiguity are preferred. Her latest show, Paintings from the 80s, on view at Team Gallery, revisits her now-lauded early work. With just a week left in the exhibition, we caught up with the visual pioneer to talk about the turbulent time, bonding with Madonna, and having the last laugh.

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Apr 24, 2011 00:00:00
Henrik Vibskov

Danish Designer and Drummer Henrik Vibskov Is Missing Coachella to Open a Store in New York

Over the last decade, the dapper Danish designer (and unwavering aficionado of knee socks) has garnered quite a reputation with his colorful creations and fanciful presentations that more often than not resemble installation art rather than run-of-the-mill runway shows. Along the way, he’s built himself an impressive empire of sorts, with standalone stores in Oslo and his home base of Copenhagen, a growing list of global retailers, and an online emporium. Clearly, there’s a method to the whimsical madness.

A man of many hats, literally and figuratively, the Scandinavian wunderkind has had to hang one up, at least temporarily, to attend to his latest project, the unveiling of his first U.S. store (456 Broome Street, NYC). We caught up with him on the eve of the grand opening...

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Apr 15, 2011 00:00:00
Charlie Le Mindu, photo Manu Valcarce

With Lady Gaga as a Client, Charlie Le Mindu Isn't Just Any Hair-Raising Wigmaker

Not many people have a client list that includes Lady Gaga, the new Rapunzel at Disneyland Paris, and “rich old ladies with blue rinses,” but Charlie Le Mindu isn't like many people. The French-born wig guru cut his teeth as a hairstyling denizen of Berlin and East London nightclubs before launching a wig collection and eventually a fashion line, which he's shown at London Fashion Week. Known for his outrageous, madcap style, Le Mindu is constantly pushing the limits of decency, whether staging a runway show featuring completely nude models or concocting a human-hair outfit that would make Cousin Itt do a double-take. Hairwith, a Q&A with le haute coiffeur...

You’ve worked with Lady Gaga and Peaches. Is there anyone else you’d love to team up with?
Of course Cher, the goddess of wigs. She is the queen! I’d like to be a little mouse and look in her wig collection.

What headpiece would you wear to the royal wedding?
I’m wearing a nice hat with “ROAST BEEF” written in giant letters and long blond ponytails in the back.

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Apr 13, 2011 00:00:00
Ryan McGinley

One Sentence or Less

Ryan McGinley, Artist

What did you do immediately before this questionnaire?
Got off an airplane and installed my show at Gabriel Rolt Gallery in Amsterdam.

What will you do immediately following this questionnaire?
Take Nyquil and cuddle up next to my hype girl Brandee.

What is your idea of bliss?
Coke Zero, popcorn, movie.

What is your greatest regret?
Not finishing college for my mom.

What would be the first sentence of your biography?
He had fun getting shit done.

What catchphrase do you use the most?
I'm going if you're going.

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Apr 07, 2011 00:00:00
Hedi Slimane

Hedi Slimane Looks Back at His Menswear Revolution

True fashion moments are rare. It's been a decade since the first of them this century began, a hallowed âge d’or of menswear when scalpel-cut suits, torn jeans, and scrawny rock 'n' roll teens set the agenda. This was the era Hedi Slimane ruled.

Times have changed since then. And like so many other gifted designers—Helmut, Jil, Martin—the former Yves Saint Laurent and Dior Homme maestro can no longer be found at the men's houses he built. Slimane's departure from Dior Homme has left a void that can still be felt in the industry. While awaiting his hypothetical, hoped-for return to fashion, his disconsolate following can find solace in Anthology of a Decade 2000–2010, a forthcoming photography book that documents his epochs in design and photography.

In a Hint exclusive, Slimane looks back at those years, remembering his seminal Yves Saint Laurent days, the trauma upon leaving the house, his best and worst souvenirs from Dior, his relationship with the then-fledgling—and some now-defunct—London rock bands, the influence he's exerted on other designers, and of course, the skinny models he's discovered on street-casting adventures...

Let’s time travel back to the beginning. We're in the mid-nineties and you’ve just been promoted to Yves Saint Laurent’s menswear designer. What was going through your mind?
I was extremely naive, and at the same time very grounded. I wanted not to disappoint Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who had trusted me. There were around 30 collections to watch, each season from all the license agreements around the world. Mind you this was a different time for luxury houses, with tons of licenses, a legacy from the early 80s. I found the only way to make YSL menswear relevant again, in the manner of the late '60s, when Yves was designing, was to go back to hardcore luxury, focusing on Rive Gauche, the house line, and move from menswear to men's fashion. It was a new area in Paris, and no couture house at the time had even thought about the potential of men's fashion, not only in terms of image, but in terms of business. It was therefore a commitment, and a daily battle to bring the attention back to Paris and to the old gems of couture, the beauty of our tradition and craftsmanship.

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Apr 03, 2011 00:00:00
Justin Bond, photo Amos Mac

One Sentence or Less

Justin Bond, Artist

What did you do immediately before this questionnaire?
Sent a response to a dinner invitation. The answer was "yes."

What will you do immediately following this questionnaire?
Answer my next email.

What is your idea of bliss?
My idea of bliss is straddling a log on a mountainside on a warm spring day, with my journal open in front of me and creative juices flowing through me, while my friends prepare an amazing dinner nearby.

What is your idea of misery?
Being stuck in a bad situation with no idea how to get out of it.

What is the strangest article of clothing in your closet?
Probably an original gown made for me by Machine Dazzle, which consists of safety pins, fishnet, and laminated tranny porn. I say probably because for some people I know, that wouldn't be so strange at all.

What is your proudest moment?
When I sent the master of my upcoming CD, Dendrophile, to the manufacturers. It was the culmination of many years of hard work and truly satisfying.

What is your greatest regret?
That I didn't go to a faery-gathering with my dear departed sister Miss Kitty Litter Green when she asked me to in 1993.

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Mar 27, 2011 00:00:00
Rick Genest & Nicola Formichetti

The Incredible But True Story of How Nicola Formichetti Got Rick Genest to Model in Mugler

There are some things that neither money nor distance, nor even the law, pose an obstacle. If you have a muse, this won't be news to you. Here's the incredible but true story of how Mugler's new creative director Nicola Formichetti discovered Rick Genest — aka Rico, aka Zombie Boy, aka that guy with the mad skull tattoo on his face — and got him to walk in his debut men's collection, basically becoming the face of Mugler. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a little encouragement from Lady Gaga (who, by the way, snapped up half the collection, with the other half in Rick's inky hands).

Lee Carter: How did you find Rick Genest?
Nicola Formichetti: I found Rico on Facebook.

You stumbled across his profile?
I had his picture on my wall forever. I saw it one day on Google. I thought it was amazing Halloween make-up done by Peter Philips or something. I mean, I've done so many shoots with skull make-up. And then, in October I got my first tattoo, a triangle with a circle inside, an ancient Japanese symbol meaning centeredness. And the tattoo artist who did it, my friend Maxime, who has this tattoo magazine called Sang Bleu, saw that picture and said, "Oh yeah, that guy is Zombie Boy. He lives in Montreal."

So you sought Rico out on Facebook and asked him to model for you.
Yeah, I just wanted him to be the face of whatever we were going to create. At that point the clothes were, you know, proper suits and shirts and very clean. I just needed to have some kind of a twist to it or...

An edge.
Yeah, so after seeing his pictures on Facebook, I just thought he was so inspiring. Just by looking at his pictures I changed the whole collection.

You changed the whole collection?
Well, I added more, by taking stuff from him, making it a bit darker and gothicy. So basically I Facebooked him and was like, "You know, I'm doing this thing in Paris and I would love you to be there in two weeks." He emailed me back straightaway and he was like, "Yeah, sure, I would love to, but I don’t have a passport." And then I start thinking how the fuck is he going to get a passport in time?

Like it's a crime to have a tattoo on your face? What did you do?
I had no idea what to do. I was calling my lawyers, saying we have to get this guy to Paris. But then I thought, maybe he doesn’t need to be there physically. Maybe I can do a film or pictures. So I told him I would go to him in Montreal in two days. I called my friend Mariano [Vivanco, photographer] and my manager. We got together the first week after the holidays as I was about to leave for Paris to work on the last bit of the collection. I remember thinking I have to do this, I just have a gut feeling, I have to work with this guy. Everyone said he's a freak, why would I want to do that to a luxury brand? I didn’t listen to anyone and just went. I brought some clothes, a couple of suits, and I actually made lots of clothes the night before I left New York. I had pieces sent from Paris and was just making stuff in my house, and then took everything to Montreal and we did a photo shoot and video. The photos are the ones we just launched as a visual campaign.

I saw those. Beautiful.
It was so inspiring. Then I showed it to Gaga and she was like, "Oh my god, you have to do a show." I always loved her song Shiza. For me, Shiza is in the spirit of Mugler, kind of like a dirty Berlin club meets glamour. So she’s like, "Okay, I will remix it and make it amazing for you." I had just wanted to do a film projection, not a show, but I thought, fuck it, let’s do a show.

Okay, so how did you get Rico to Paris in time?
Right, then we found out why he couldn’t get a passport, because he was homeless. He had a lot of fines or something, because he was always sleeping on the street.

Ah, so Mugler paid them? Were they very much?
It was a lot.

A few thousand dollars?
Like ten or twenty.

Yeah. And he just kept telling me, "I'm not a criminal, I'm not a criminal." It took him so long to tell us. Oh my god, he was so emotional. He was crying and saying how this was going to change his life. It was a beautiful moment.

That was really nice of you guys.
I paid it myself. I really believe in him. He was only in Paris for two days. You kind of imagine him to be a freak, some punk. But it's actually inspiring to hear him talk about shades, which are the dots that create the 3D effect of his tattoo. It becomes more and more refined when it’s shaded.

Wait, is his whole body tattooed? Like a skeleton?
It’s a skeleton theme, yeah. Well, except his uh, there. (Laughs.)

It's good to know some things are still sacred.
Yeah, but not because he didn’t want to. He didn’t have the money.

So eventually he’ll get it done. Sounds painful.
(Laughs.) Maybe it'll be a selection of cock rings. I just really fell in love with the way he lived. In a way his story is similar to Gaga, in that there's no going back. You do what you believe. You are that, you are what you’re creating.

Mar 20, 2011 00:00:00
Francesco Vezzoli, Sacrilegio

Francesco Vezzoli Thinks Religions Are Interesting, But Sacrilege Is More Fun

There's only one more week to catch Francesco Vezzoli's Sacrilegio exhibit, in which photocopied images of supermodels are affixed to facsimiles of Renaissance paintings—thus rendering Naomi Campbell as the Virgin Mary—while giant tears made of actual bits of embroidery and needlepoint stream from their eyes like some sort of cartoon stigmata. You really have to go and see for yourself. But first, a quick Q&A with the artist...

As a culture, are we as obsessed with celebrity as with religion?
We live in an obsessive era, so we tend to be obsessed with religions, with celebrities, with our own weight, with our appearance, and with many other things.

Is religion or sacrilege more interesting to you?
Religions are more interesting, sacrilege is more fun.

How important is fashion to you?

Are we in a new kind of Renaissance, as your show could suggest?
Many contemporary artists do behave and function like Renaissance artists, for better or for worse.

How did you come to embrace the medium of needlepoint, which is more often associated with old, lonely grandmothers?
I like oxymorons.

Your work seems influenced by famous men of the arts—Duchamp, Dali, Fellini, Vidal—but they rarely appear in your work. Why is that?
Men are more ill-at-ease with their vanity, so I prefer to work with women.

Berlusconi seems like he'd be a natural fit for one of your films. Have you ever approached him to work with you?
I would love to but I am afraid he would turn down my proposal for being too revealing or daring.

Gagosian, 522 West 21st Street, NYC, through March 12, 2011

Mar 04, 2011 00:00:00
Kris Van Assche, photo Julia Champeau

One Sentence or Less

Kris Van Assche, Designer and Dior Homme Creative Director

What did you do immediately before this questionnaire?
I was checking my emails.

What will you do immediately following this questionnaire?
Go for dinner with friends.

What is your idea of bliss?

What is your idea of misery?
Lack of freedom.

What is your proudest moment?
I am sure it is yet to come.

What is your greatest regret?
That time goes so fast.

What would be the first sentence of your biography?
He believed...

What catchphrase do you use the most?
"Not bad."

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Feb 20, 2011 00:00:00

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