Interactive presentation of the MEAT A/W2014 Collection, take part!
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This tiny book of “tattoo designs,” dating from 1873-1910, has been on my radar for a while, so I was thrilled to stumble upon it during a recent trip to the American Folk Art Museum‘s newest exhibition Folk Couture.* Approximately 4.5 x 3.25 inches (11 x 8 cm) with pages of waterproof oilcloth, the pocket-sized book is similar in construction to the logbooks on sea vessels. While the artist’s signature (formerly on the first page) has faded, the book’s creator is likely to have been a seafaring man.
Its interior illustrations–of a man reclined in a hammock, dreaming of romance in the sail of the ship (among others)–evoke the feelings of nostalgia and solitude often associated in the American cultural memory with sailors’ adventures during that period. Although the images of this book’s pages have been quite difficult to track down, especially now that the book is on display, the museum parses many of the pages’ nautical designs and their historical import; for example, the page inscribed with “Remember the Maine” depicts the sinking of the American battleship by that name in the harbor of Havana in 1898. How some of these designs were interpreted as “tattoos” specifically remains somewhat unclear to me, but the clean modeling and graphic sensibility of its images, not to mention the material qualities of this tiny portable object, makes this rare book quite fascinating. I hope someday soon I can examine it with my own two hands and finally see each of its pages.
*The exhibition, which featured thirteen designers’ interpretations of objects in the AFAM collection, merits some attention itself, but for now the tattoo design book remains the apple of my eye. To give a quick sense of the book’s role in [...]
Zana Bayne’s F/W 2014 show was presented yesterday in New York where for the first time she placed her designs onto the runway. Merging the possibilities of underwear into day wear Bayne’s signature use of leather was ever present but now she has relaxed into the possibilities of casual wear through less obviously sexual pieces of clothing.
Named the Ornamentalist Collection this selection of pieces played with ideas of the collection being various objects of fetishised attention. This collection can be broken down into various looks and be worn in the bedroom but simultaneously out of the context of sexual activity too. It is through this mix of messages that the collection has transcended the obviousness of simply being fetish wear but now can also be exhibited as accessories of fashion.
Examples of this were shown in the confused notions of a shirt or skirt becoming an object of sexual desire through its semi transparent texture matched with leather harnesses. This was contrasted with the harnesses being more readily available to be manipulated into outerwear appearing more like jackets or jewellery than looking so blatantly erotic.
This selection of clothing most definitely looks a lot more sophisticated to previous collections and it is through this new kind of fluidity that this has been achieved. Bayne has moved the erogenous zones away from the strictness of leather and into something more sensual for this collection and the possibilities that emerge through that can only benefit her.
Hood by Air presented us yesterday with their Autumn/Winter 2014 fashion show at New York fashion week. The pure energy which the fashion company so effortlessly exerted quite simply made everything else happening at fashion week look soulless and frankly quite pointless.
Hood by Air are known for being achingly young but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily exclusive. Theres something so celebratory about what HBA are doing because they are showing us a part of contemporary culture which is too new and difficult for a wider audience to properly engage with because of how frankly cutting edge it is.
However what HBA are doing is what the most pioneering designers have done in the past, they are creating something which in around three to four years will become obliterated through consumer marketing or or re-appropriated by big named celebrities to the point where it means nothing.
But for now there is a rawness to the energy being manufactured by this brand which will always remain pure in how we look back at this point in fashion history and at the moment is too complicated to be replicated with any decency.
Hood by Air are creating clothes which are actually about living in the present, the most progressive forms of subculture are being performed on their catwalk because this is actually how this group of people are living and enjoying themselves.
Their use of styling was also quite frankly overwhelming, HBA turned the body into a canvas for collage. Long piece of hair were limply attached to the head in different tones and scissored photographs of eyebrows, cheeks and chins were stuck on top of models faces in different skin tones creating an uncanny repression of the human face. A few of the models [...]
Via Serlas 22
7500 St. Moritz
From Thursday February 20th St. Mortiz’s Galerie Gmurzynska presents the second solo exhibition by New York artist and Sang Bleu contributor Scott Campbell entitled The Smartest Things I Ever Did Were Foolish Things for Love.
Following his recent marriage to filmmaker, screen writer and actress Lake Bell, Campbell was inspired to make an entirely new body of work for the exhibition, including site specific elements, as ‘Love Statements’ to mark the occasion. Known primarily, tattoo aside, for his multi media works, most notably conceiving a format of relief carvings in stacks of U.S. currency, the artist goes back to more traditional media including watercolour and sculpture.
A catalogue of the works will be published with accompanying essays by American painter Elizabeth Peyton and art writer Neville Wakefield, who recently co-curated large-scale site specific exhibition Elevation1049 currently taking over the Swiss town of Gstaad.
Campbell will be present for the exhibition’s opening at the gallery’s Via Serlas location.
Sprüth Magers Berlin
Oranienburger Straße 18
An exhibition by the undisputed champion of bad taste and pioneering independent filmmaker John Waters isnow on at Berlin’s Sprüth Magers gallery.
The director is known for his transgressive film style, from classic comedies Hairspray and Cry-Baby, defined in his 1972 black comedy Pink Flamingos which highlighted the darker side of Hollywood glamour and made an underground star of larger-than-life drag queen Divine, entirely written, produced, composed, shot, edited, and directed by Waters.The exhibited works bring Waters’ dark wit and often twisted honesty to the gallery setting, presenting works like Playdate, a silicon, synthetic and human hair, “Charles Manson and Michael Jackson, reborn as perfect babies – could they have saved each other if they had met on a playdate before their lives went wrong?” Photographic work further accentuates the director’s sharp eye, outdoing even himself by presenting single stills taken from feature films, often on TVs, that highlight moments overlooked, re-contextualised via storyboard. Alongside the exhibition, specially made ‘peep rooms’ will show three of the director’s earliest films, including his very first Hag in a Black Leather Jacket, which showed only once to a limited audience when first released when Waters was just 18 and tells a twisted tale of cross-cultural romance during a time of heightened racial tensions, breaking boundaries from the instant his thin moustached face got behind the camera. The exhibition will run until 5th March 2014
SADAF H. NAVA
The representation of the body is a theme that runs through much of the work of multidisciplinary artist Sadaf H. Nava. Based in New York, Nava’s practice incorporates a variety of mediums, often linked through a foundation in performance. In an era where self-performativity and documentation is prevalent, the conceptuality inherent in contemporary performance art often seeps into tactics of advertising and brand-formation. Sang Bleu has asked Nava a few questions about self-portraiture, the accessibility of “art” and consumer culture.
How did you start making art?
As a toddler my preferred medium was drawing, but I would only draw faces with no eyebrows and no nose. I insisted that everyone would look much better without these features. Then around [ages] 9 or 10, I got into panhandling my drawings. I would go door to door in my neighbourhood and try to sell them for a dollar each, until my parents made me stop. Fast-forwarding to middle school, I would draw portraits during lunch to make friends. I never really thought much about pursuing anything else. I wasn’t derailed from being a doctor or psychologist or anything like that.
Is performance your preferred medium of art-making?
Performance is the most freeing medium. I got into performance mostly because of material constraints. I didn’t like the fact that other [art] forms such as painting and sculpture required having a studio. I wanted to have results faster, I wanted a direct experience, and I didn’t want to have to put my work in storage. It was important for me to be mobile. A lot of my work is concept-driven. Even if I make something formal, the object is often secondary. The body always comes first. Performance is the thread that links all of my work [...]