Alexander Heir talks to us about his exhibition at Sang Bleu



Alexander Heir is the man behind New York’s punk clothing label Death/Traitors and artist in his own right, who for the last week has held an exhibition of his new work at Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Project Space. We spoke to him today about his career, the work he’s showing with us and what he’s going to be upto next. Heir’s pop up shop will be open until Saturday from 12-8pm where you’ll be able to buy some of his artwork, clothes and his new book. And a big thank you to Jura Whiskey for sponsoring the opening on Tuesday evening. 


How have you got to where you are now?


I moved to New York City in 2002 from New Jersey to attend the Pratt Institute to study print making. My father was a photographer so I always grew up around art, as a teenager I grew a great interest into Punk so print making seemed to be the logical step to merge the two things that I really loved. The best thing that I got out of art school was the network of young artists that I met who have become great friends that I’m still in touch with. When I was in school I started printing t-shirts with the schools facilities, and by the time I’d graduated me and a friend had invested in a t-shirt press. A year after I graduated I started doing Death/Traitors which is basically the apparel end of my art. So since then I’ve simultaneously been creating t-shirts but also creating my own art work which is on show at the moment at Sang Bleu. As I started the brand the punk scene in New York really started flourishing so coincidentally because of that I’ve ended up doing [...]

Maxime Ballesteros takes photos at his private view at the Sang Bleu Contemporary art and project Space

Photographer and friend of Sang Bleu, Maxime Ballesteros presented the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and project Space his solo exhibition of work named ‘ENTRE CHIEN ET LOUP’ two weeks ago. Here he has shared with us some of the photographs he took at the private view which have also been shared with Purple Diary of our friends and collaborators including the likes of Ben Cotrell and Matthew Dainty of Cottweiler, Yasmina Dexter, Maxime Buchi, Liam Sparkes, Reba Maybury, Robert Montgomery, Chadd Curry, Emanuele D’Angelo, Dani Smith and more .

See more of Maxime’s work here and read the interview we did with him about the exhibition here

With special thanks to Jura Whiskey for sponsoring the event.


Lori Beth White Potarf is 2014’s drugged hazed answer to Diane Arbus

Earlier in October, a woman named Lori Potarf stirred some controversy in the headlines of Oklahoma’s newspapers. According to reports, police stopped Potarf and her companion, Richard Henderson, along U.S. 81 for a broken tail light, and it didn’t take long for them to discover a stash of syringes, spoons and methamphetamine residue. However what really captured peoples attention was Potarf’s surreal announcement that after her arrest  for possession of crystal meth, it was her Wiccan religion which allowed allowed her to posses the drug. Potarf was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia.

Since this news spread in some lower grade media circles, her personal Facebook profile was discovered with an exceptional amount of photographs documenting her hazy, often harrowing and drug fuelled  life. One site named her ‘the Diane Arbus of Tweaker Cellphone photography‘ and its easy to understand this comparison once seeing her photographs. There exists a kind of brutal honesty only comparable to the work of outsider artists within her images, how much thought has gone into the direction of each image seems relatively naive and instant, simple snapshots of her surroundings turn into obsessive and catastrophic projections of the life of a drug addict. However there is a kind of originality to these images which could only exist within the realms of our democratic use of technology and how we share images online. Anyone can now create and share aspects of their lives, which as we all know is something that we don’t necessarily always want to see, but discoveries like this make the internet all the more of a fascinating place. Many news sources have quite obviously painted Potarf as a rejection of society, pandering towards creating her into this example of a moralistic freak show which is not [...]

LOVE ME – a retrospective of Greer Lankton’s work at PARTICIPANT gallery

Greer Lankton was a New York based artist who passed away in 1996 and was famed for her creation of life like dolls and figures. Born Greg Plankton in 1958, while studying at Pratt Institute she went under gender reassignment surgery and changed her name at the age of 21. Her father, a Presbyterian minister from Michigan funded her surgery through his church which amassed a large amount of media coverage in 1979, this act was and still is considered fantastically progressive considering how much controversy a case like that still has the potential to create in 2014.

Naturally, Greer’s artwork delved into an understanding and exploration of themes about gender, sexuality and the body and her famed dolls are often compared to the work of Hans Bellmer.  However where Bellmer’s work was intrinsically distressing, Greer incorporated more of her own life into the dolls by injecting a healthy level of glamour into her artworks. Existing in the New York East Village scene, Greer lived with Nan Goldin in the early 80s, was a muse to Peter Hujar and David Wojnarowicz and was life long partners with artist Paul Monroe where she worked in his shop Einsteins. As a transwoman, Greer was always impeccably dressed with a distinct personal style which has been recorded by many photographers. When Greer and Paul married in 1987, Teri Toye was the bridesmaid, her father was the minister and Nan Goldin encapsulated the whole event with beautifully iconic photographs.  Greer created a large body of work but sadly passed away in 1996 from a drug overdose and after a lifetime of struggling with anorexia. Much of her work has been celebrated throughout many prestigious galleries but its wonderful to hear that a solo exhibition of her work opened a [...]

Silent Partners; Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish

The strangeness of the mannequin is a theme which has a long history of fascinating artists, so it exciting to hear of the new exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge called Silent Partners which is devoted to these uncanny human impostors and their relationship to art.

The exhibition will examine the various strange ways the mannequin has appeared in art history all the way from the Renaissance to present day.

For centuries the mannequin was no more than a studio tool for the artist, a piece of necessary equipment, however this exhibition will reveal its varied purposes,  from fixing perspective and painting reflections, to being a support for drapery and costume – and shows how it gradually moved centre stage to become the subject of the painting, photograph or film, eventually becoming a work of art in its own right.

One of the most wide-ranging and ambitious shows ever hosted at the Museum, the exhibition will feature over 180 paintings, drawings, books and photographs as well as fashion dolls, trade catalogues, a series of extraordinary patent documents and videos. There will be paintings and drawings by Cézanne, Poussin, Gainsborough, Millais, Ford Madox Brown, and Degas as well as photographs by and of Surrealist artists such as Man Ray, Hans Bellmer and Salvador Dali; works by Jake and Dinos Chapman show that, even today, artists continue to be drawn to the creative potential unleashed by our artificial Others.

After its showing in Cambridge, Silent Partners will travel to the Musée Bourdelle, Paris. It will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated book published by Yale University Press in association with Paris Musées.

Find out more about the exhibition and the events which will coincide with it here

Fitzwilliam Museum
14 Oct 2014 —
25 Jan 2015

Musée Bourdelle
31 [...]

Yasmina Dexter chooses her favourite Helmut Newton images in celebration of his birthday

The 31st of October would have been the 94th birthday of one of our favourite photographers Helmut Newton. So it felt right to celebrate his work by asking Yasmina Dexter, a woman who on a daily basis looks as if she should exist in one of his images, Art director at LN-CC and international dj  to pick her favourite photographs of his and explain why she loves them so much.

Sie Kommen (They are Coming), 1981

I remember seeing this image vividly when I was nine, my mother was a textile designer and we would get monthly subscription to Italian Vogue which I would spend hours consuming. It shocked me as a child, but in an intriguing way and it has stayed with me ever since, I was seduced by Helmut Newton for the first time. In these images he seems to be challenging the depth in world of fashion, with keeping the sense of intruige,humour and desire.


Untitled Polaroids, 1976

These Polaroid’s illustrate the roles of master and servant in equal power. In the composition of these images particularly, Newton only lets us see part of what is going on in the multi-dimensional set and makes the viewer feel voyeuristic, leaving us intrigued and wanting more. Always.


Le Smoking, Vogue Paris, 1975

A statement of femininity and sexuality that did not rely on typical features of the time, this image of the girl in the perfectly cut Le Smoking Yves Saint Laurent suit in a Parisian street is timeless. The image itself represents a time of re-invention and breaking boundaries in womenswear, with sensational elegance the images are perhaps less about gender for me but a woman exploring her sexuality.

Various polaroids from the 1970s

The combination of skin and water in these images [...]

Collections of Collections, Reba Maybury talks about Sang Bleu at the Victoria and Albert Museum tomorrow

Tomorrow evening, our editor Reba Maybury will be giving a talk at The Victoria and Albert Museum about the different creative and research processes used to create Sang Bleu. A selection of different typographers, performers, food designers, tatoo artists, curators, editors, art directors and product designers will be also talking about their different ways of researching and how they use the Curator app.

Using the Curator app and a maximum of 25 slides of varying content, the group will offer a lightning fast insight into their individual creative process: how they moved from the first fragment of an idea to its final form.

Join us for this event which is part of the V&A Friday Late programme on curating, called Collections of Collections. Entry is free.

Victoria and Albert Museum Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL London

V&A Friday Late: Collection of Collections
Friday, 31st of October, 18.30—22pm


More information can be found via Curator or here