Grace Jones

Just the Pics Please: Andy Warhol's Polaroids

From the late 1950s until his death in 1987, Andy Warhol toted a Polaroid camera with him wherever he went. He was thus able to capture the barrage of famous faces — including his own — and fleeting moments that swirled around him with every step. Not even his private time was off-limits.

A new book, Instant Andy (Taschen), features hundreds of the instant snaps he took — many of them unseen — decades before Instagram. In conjunction with the book's release, Christie's will hold an auction of the artist's polaroids from September 17-29.

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Sep 01, 2015 12:50:00
Chris von Wangenheim

The Man Who Brought Savage Chic to the Masses

"His MO was to attack through beauty," writes Steven Klein, himself a provocateur, in his foreword to Gloss (Rizzoli), the new and first monograph on Chris von Wangenheim. The German-born, New York-based 70s photographer, before his own violent death in a car crash at the age of 39, was the third in a triumvirate — along with Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin — associated with dark, dangerous, disturbing depictions of glamour. "It is a fascinating and daunting notion, one that I apply to my own work."

Exhaustively researched by Roger and Mauricio Padilha — also authors of Rizzoli's Antonio Lopez and Stephen Sprouse titles — the book contains over 200 of these provocative, graphic images and fashion campaigns (Dior, Valentino, Calvin Klein) that von Wangenheim somehow managed to convince supes (Gia Carangi, Christie Brinkley, Lisa Taylor) to model in and glossies (Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, Interview) to run. His powers of persuasion, likely bolstered by his friendship with the unassailable Anna Piaggi, enabled his brand of savage chic to reach and shock the masses, challenging outmoded taste levels all around the world, which was precisely his point.

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Aug 26, 2015 14:50:00
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
Madonna & Debi Mazar

Photographer Edo Bertoglio Unearths Vintage Polaroids

Swiss photographer Edo Bertoglio became involved in the downtown scene right as the crazy, colorful, frenetic, plastic 80s era was picking up steam.

His new book, New York Polaroids 1976-1989 (Yard Press), shows a candid side to the likes of Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Madonna, and his good friend Maripol during the endlessly alluring time.

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Aug 09, 2015 22:40:00

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
Elio Fiorucci (center) with Halston, Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, and Michael Jackson

In Memoriam: Elio Fiorucci

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...

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Jul 22, 2015 12:01:00

Azzedine Alaïa Among Great Works of Art

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

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Jul 12, 2015 12:51:00

Henrik Vibskov to Blow the Minds of Seoul

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...

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Jul 03, 2015 18:29:00
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

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