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.
Elio Fiorucci — who died this week, aged 80, of unknown causes — championed a neo-glamour with a wink and a nudge throughout the 70s and 80s. Not only was he an early pioneer of the cheeky, bold, bright style that came to define the over-the-top 80s look, but he transformed his stores in Milan, London, Beverly Hills, and especially New York into creative hotspots, where celebrities and the demimondaine would collide in performances and happenings. The NY outlet became known as the 'daytime Studio 54,' where the likes of Andy Warhol, Cher, Jackie Onassis, Liza Minnelli, Keith Haring, Grace Jones, and Klaus Nomi mingled.
The mild-mannered Italian became such a sensation that he was namechecked in a Sister Sledge song and in Mark Leckey’s cult 1999 club-culture film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (which coincidentally was the inspiration for Raf Simons' spring 2016 collection). From signature stretch jeans to campy ad campaigns, here are some of Fiorucci's choice moments...
The designer of museum-worthy pieces now has his designs in an art museum. Not just any art museum, but the Galleria Borghese in Rome, one of the great institutions of the world. Which makes its exhibition to the couturier Azzedine Alaïa a big deal. The exhibition casts a light on the designer’s works that are as much sculpture as they are fashion. And there is the fact that Alaïa studied sculpture when he was a teenager at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tunisia, before decamping to Paris.
Couture-Sculpture: Azzedine Alaïa in the History of Fashion, July 11 - October 25, 2015, Galleria Borghese, Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, Rome
The genre-defying, boundary-busting, expectation-slaying Danish designer and artist Henrik Vibskov is bringing his delightfully perverse, deliciously puerile vision to Daelim Art Museum in Seoul, South Korea (July 9 - December 31, 2015). In typical Vibskov form, what exactly will be shown is entirely a mystery, but we do know 300 or so pieces by the Nordic Fellini will go on view, arranged in an elaborate display utilizing installation and performance. It may (or may not!) resemble his greatest collections...
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
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
Like so many hard-to-imagine aspects of Alexander McQueen's life, and death, a play about the designer has been made and it's opening soon.
Playwright James Phillips began work in 2012, the year of McQueen's exhibition at the Met. That the blockbuster is now on view at the V&A, causing heightened McQueen frenzy across the UK, is a stroke of luck. He's also fortunate that, after sending the manuscript to McQueen's family, he received enthusiastic approval.
Nonetheless, Phillips says he's been cautious in his portrayal of the sensitive subject matter. “I was really clear I didn’t want to write a documentary-style bio-play," he told the Independent, "because I don’t think bio-plays work. And there’s a tabloid version of this story, which I had no interest in at all.”
Thus, the play takes the shape of a fairy tale. Based on the theme of one of McQueen's own collections, The Girl Who Lived in a Tree, the story begins with an obsessed fan named Dahlia, who breaks into McQueen's studio and befriends him. The two then go on a magical journey across London, through Savile Row workshops, glamourous fashion parties, and rough East End. This hopscotch structure allows Phillips to address the darker parts of McQueen's story, including his rocky relationship with Isabella Blow, and his eventual suicide.
McQueen is played by Stephen Wight, a fellow East Ender whose resemblance to the designer is uncannily, while Dahlia is played by Diana Agron (Glee). There is also a fair amount of choreography, video projections, and bits of soundtrack from McQueen’s shows, from Mozart to Nirvana. The costumes, too, will nod to McQueen's work, acting as interpretations rather than reproductions.
McQueen, May 12 - June 27, 2015, St James Theatre, London
Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans series first exhibited in 1962. Originally, there were 32 paintings, representing the number of varieties of soup sold at the time. They rested on a shelf, to mimic a grocery store aisle, on the walls of Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.
Warhol once said of his choice of Campbell’s soup cans, “A group or painters have come to the common conclusion that the most banal and even vulgar trappings of modern civilization can, when transposed to canvas, become art.” Taste was another reason he tapped the mundane object to immortalize. “I used to have the same lunch every day for 20 years, the same thing over and over again," he said. "I used to drink it.” Although the Campbell’s company is said to have considered legal action at the time, legal action was not pursued, opening the door for many more portrayals of the unsung icon by the master of pop art.
MoMA calls the cans "the signature work in the artist’s career," a "landmark" in its permanent collection. Thus the original 32 paintings are the centerpiece of a new exhibition of the artist's work from 1953 to 1967. For the first time at MoMA, they're shown in their original grocery-store line, rather than a grid. The exhibition also includes early drawings and illustrated books Warhol made, as well as other paintings, prints, and sculptures from the time.
Andy Warhol: Campbell's Soup Cans and Other Works, 1953–1967, April 25 – October 12, 2015, MoMA, NY
He lived 99 years, 1903 - 2003, and was drawing Hollywood and Broadway stars until the very end, along the way elevating caricature to an artform. Now the celebrated illustrator Al Hirschfeld, known as the Line King, is getting an exhibit at the New York Historical Society.
In The Hirschfeld Century, a tidy 100 of his greatest works, including both black-and-white and the rare color piece, will be displayed at the New York Historical Society, in addition to paintings, studies, video, and ephemera.
The Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld, May 22 - October 12, 2015, New York Historical Society