An upcoming exhibition at the Bronx Museum will be the first to examine Frida Kahlo’s deep appreciation for and fascination with the beauty of the natural world, as seen in the complex use of plant and animal imagery in her artwork. The unique exhibit will feature a rare display of more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper.
Additionally, the adjacent Haupt Conservatory will recreate the iconic artist’s famed garden and studio at Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City. Passing through blue courtyard walls, visitors will stroll along lava-rock paths lined with a variety of important Mexican garden. A scale version of the artist’s pyramid — created to display pre-Hispanic art collected by her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera — will feature traditional terracotta pots containing desert plants found in her garden.
Friday: Art, Garden, Life, May 16 - November 1, 2015, New York Botanical Museum, Bronx, NYC
In Linz, Austria, a new exhibition explores the darker side of fashion since the 1980s, when the likes of Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela, and Rei Kawakubo started following melancholic tendencies that had hitherto been reserved for the other visual arts and literature. It was an altogether new aesthetic that saw the rise of post-punk deconstruction and destruction, animalism and naturalism, aging and decay, and a morbid fascination with mortality. Continuing to this day, the look "emphasizes the traces of time, praises transience, and flirts with death," says curator Ursula Guttmann.
The show presents designers — who, in addition to the above, include Walter Van Beirendonck, Viktor & Rolf, Bless, Iris van Herpen, Bernhard Willhelm, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carol Christian Poell, and Barbara í Gongini — alongside photographers and other artists, totaling 160 works by over 50 creatives.
Love and Loss: Fashion and Mortality, March 13 - June 7, 2015, Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, AustriaRead More
The extreme means in which women — and men — have shaped their bodies through undergarments in the last four centuries are examined at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery. The exhibition, which began at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, showcases the many curious intimate devices used to achieve seemingly impossible silhouettes, from the 17th century onward. Think panniers, corsets, bustles, stomach belts, girdles, and modern bras. One takeaway: Spanx, while popular, is certainly not a new idea.
Spread across three floors, the exhibit opens with the 17th-century silhouette, exemplified by a reinforced women’s vest. Garments of the 18th century, with their structured armatures and other mechanisms, went further in imposing an erect posture. The bustle and particularly the corset ruled undergarments of the 19th century, accentuated by abundant crinoline below the waist. The exhibition continues with the 20th-century bra and girdle, including those worn by men, as well as the push-up bras of today, reflecting a silhouette based more on diets and surgery than clothing.
In addition to complete outfits, the exhibition also features mechanized reconstructions of panniers, crinolines, and bustles, to show how involved they were. Visitors can also try on replicas of many items.
Fashioning the Body: An Intimate History of the Silhouette, April 3 – July 26, 2015, Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 West 86th Street, NYC
Much is known about Jean-Michel Basquiat, given his high-profile rise from the New York underground in the late '70s to a posthumous retrospective at the Whitney in 1992. But not many know that the autodidactic artist kept prodigious notebooks that, filled with poetry, sketches, and observations on race and class, were essentially studies for his large-scale paintings.
At the Brooklyn Museum, the first major exhibition of these notebooks showcases nearly 200 pages of these rarely seen documents, along with related works on paper and large-scale works. The pages on display contain early renderings of the crowns, stick figures, and skulls that appear throughout Basquiat's oeuvre, as well as the juxtaposition of words and images, stressing the importance of writing throughout his process.
The Unknown Notebooks, April 3 – August 23, 2015, Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NYC
The great Herb Ritts stumbled into photography when, on something of a lark, he shot his aspiring-actor friend and soon-to-be global beefcake Richard Gere. Those photos went viral for their time, the early '80s, simultaneously launching Ritts' career. He soon began doing what he's most known for, immortalizing supes, musicians, and celebs in artful and often bare repose. (Funny story: he played matchmaker for Gere and that original '90s supermodel, Cindy Crawford, introducing them at a BBQ at his mother's house.)
Now, a new exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts showcases many of these modern classics. It's intended to be a posthumous revisit (he died in 2002) of his 1996 exhibition, WORK, a mini-blockbuster for the museum. The Ritts Foundation provided a print of every image in that retrospective and later, in 2007, supported the museum's first gallery dedicated to photography, which will of course house the new show.
Herb Ritts, March 14 – November 8, 2015, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Jump, Paradise Cove © Herb Ritts Foundation
Madonna © Herb Ritts Foundation
For Inspirations, the first exhibition devoted to his nearly 30-year career, Dries Van Noten looked back on decades of influences, handpicked more than 400 garments and objects, and arranged them just so at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris last year. Now, that very retrospective is being recreated inside MoMu (Antwerp's Fashion Museum), opening this Friday.
The sprawling new exhibition will again offer a stunning glimpse into the creative process of one of fashion’s most fertile minds. The core of the show remains visually dense grouped themes — e.g. gold, butterflies, Francis Bacon, punk, uniforms, marble, Bollywood — that will now include several new themes, among them Pierre Balmain, Elizabeth Peyton, and Ryan McGinley. Looks from past collections are juxtaposed with film clips or significant artworks lent by other museums, among them pieces by Pablo Picasso, Agnolo Bronzino, and Damien Hirst. As before, the walls and ceiling will spell out Van Noten’s far-flung references, from obscure arias and the now-defunct French fashion magazine Le Jardin des Modes to the films E.T. and Desperately Seeking Susan.
The carefully considered effect is not unlike a cabinet of curiosities, tapping into historical, ethnic, cinematic, and musical references. As such, the show merges fashion design with the world of fine art, illustrating the Belgian designer's unparalleled artistic vision.
Dires Van Noten: Inspirations, February 13 - July 19, 2015, MoMuRead More
Hood By Air, designed by Shayne Oliver, was the latest special guest of Pitti Uomo trade show in Italy, following the likes of Kenzo, Band of Outsiders, and Haider Ackermann. The runway show — at Villa di Maiano, just outside Florence — featured the kind of evocative, gritty, androgynous looks the Brooklyn-based label has been showing in New York for several years, to much populist acclaim.
As supporting material, Hood By Air also commissioned a kind of journal depicting of the evolution of the brand. Photos of the collection as preliminary 'toile' garments are meant to show the process and details of the pieces, while photos of a road trip through England by twins Sam and Joe O'Neil, clad in archival HBA, convey the kind of dishabille and disregard that defines the brand.
Despite opening up fashion imagery in the 1980s and embracing supermodels of the '90s, capturing many of the era's most iconic and enduring images, Arthur Elgort remains one of the industry's more underrated talents. An upcoming exhibition, The Big Picture, at Galleria Carla Sozzani aims to change that. The show encompasses five decades of his work, including several original 'snapshots,' a candid and natural style Elgort introduced into the fashion vocabulary. His ideas of what a ‘fashion’ photo was, opened up the possibilities of what fashion photography could be to the next generation.
Elgort attributes much of his liberated direction to his lifelong love of music and dance, particularly jazz and ballet from the '30s to '40s. "Some of my best pictures were taken when I wasn't 'working' — models getting ready, people on the street, the little moments in between shots," he writes in a new book, published in conjunction with the exhibit. "That's when you can really capture people as they truly are and see what's underneath. It's those real moments that just can't be faked."
Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture, ￼February 6 - April 6, 2015, Galleria Carla Sozzani, Galleria Carla Sozzani, 10 Corso Como, Milan
John Waters knows the built-in absurdity of any situation, whether he's hanging out with Beth Ditto at Coachella or hosting the CFDA Awards. So when the master of camp makes art of the gallery kind, which is a common occurrence, it invariably deals with the same sordid, preposterous themes as his films: faded (or never achieved) glamour, over-the-top sadism, geek love, extreme slapstick, anti-hero worship. In other words, not family fare. Which is odd, thinks Waters, because if you strip the sex, violence, and obscenities from his films, you have solidly funny stories that kids would love.
That's exactly what he'll screen at his new exhibition at Marianne Boesky gallery, among his photographic odes to bad taste. On loop will be a 74-minute video, Kiddie Flamingos, that riffs on Waters' notorious Pink Flamingos of 1972, starring Divine as a degenerate sociopath whose only goal in life is to be named "the filthiest person alive" by a tabloid. The new G-rated version is a table read of the Pink Flamingos script, but recast with child actors — in bright wigs and cat-eye glasses to evoke their original counterparts — and all explicit content removed or rewritten. It's still quite perverse — even more so, attests Waters.
John Waters, January 9 - February 14, 2015, Marianne Boesky, 509 West 24th Street, NYC
Pink Flamingos poster
John Waters, A Passion for Audrey
John Waters, Hollywood Smile Train
John Waters, Haunted
John Waters, Stalker