Today’s New York art world is painfully nostalgic for the 1980s — a time when rent in the East Village could be paid on tips, syringes littered the streets, and social forces challenged artists to create astounding works. Creativity crackled in the air, as did the impending trauma and transformation of the near future. Social spaces existed before social media supplanted them. It was a time — “post-disco, pre-house,” according to performance artist Jack Waters — when you could both dance and talk in clubs, and those clubs weren’t just filled with $12 cocktails and bridge-and-tunnel riffraff, but exciting creators building a community.
If there is but one cornerstone of “Punk” as fashion, it is what Dame Vivienne Westwood dubbed “confrontation dressing.” Swastikas, tampons, spray-painted swears, safety pins — these were the tools with which this particular postmodern machine of resistance, youth, and style were forged. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s spring costume exhibition, Punk: From Chaos to Couture, hovered over the essence of this defensive dress, but skirted the issues of subculture to champion superficial style.
With Chinese Fashion Week rapidly becoming a formidable competitor to Paris and Milan, and figures like Peng Liyuan reaching Carla Bruni levels of icondom (minus the fur bikini), Eastern fashion is dominating conversations of style and commerce. To capitalize on this emerging popularity, The Museum of Chinese in America has focused two of its spring exhibitions towards sino-sartorial oeuvres: Front Row, which takes a look at the exponential growth of Asian-American fashion designers such as Vera Wang and Jason Wu, and Shanghai Glamour, an examination of early twentieth century clothing and culture from the “Paris of the East.”
As members of the art world head to the home of The Golden Girls to peruse, critique and/or roll their eyes at the displays of one of the most popular art fairs in the world, a noble bunch of New York artists intend to intervene the glorified shopping mall to mitigate the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused to New York’s creative community.
The memoirs penned by the late Andy Warhol (with help from his assistant Pat Hackett), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: from A to B and Back Again, Popism: The Warhol Sixties, and the Andy Warhol Diaries, are more like an extension of his artwork than they are great works of prose.
The first survey of Chinese installation artist Lin Tianmiao at Asia Society, called Bound Unbound, could not have a more fitting title. The artist’s sartorial sculptures, grotesque bodies, and fibrous compositions illustrate an artist bound by cultural convention creating art unbound in technique and concept.
It all started with a write-up on the Gallerist blog about Jordan Eagles’s new show at the Krause Gallery where his blood paintings are currently displayed. I immediately cringed when I went on a journey following all of his press, posts about him on Facebook and Twitter, and real life opinions with real life people. Everyone seemed to be so in awe of paintings made out of blood, finding it so shocking that someone could use such an “unusual” and “disgusting” material to create something so beautiful. All I could do was roll my eyes.
Few men have the balls to be women, but even fewer can truly master the art of drag. New York–based photographer Leland Bobbé celebrates the fabulous queens that populate our fair metropolis in a new series titled Half-Drag, creating dynamic dual portraits of drag queens simultaneously in and out of hair and makeup.
In Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s new documentary About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, we follow the stories of a group of aging models discussing the nature of projecting an image, our society’s preoccupation with youth, and how an industry so consumed with beauty can be so ugly.
Seemingly all of the United States was put into a fashion frenzy last week when it was brought to the media’s attention that the Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms for the 2012 US Summer Olympic team with their all-American flair (and hideous berets) were produced in China.
Though its merely a global system of interconnected computers, the internet truly exists within its own spatial realm, in many ways a world each of us are citizens of in addition to our own countries. It lacks, however, its own unique and universal superstructures established in the physical world like governments, law enforcement and economic systems. That may be changing.
Fashion as a basis for genuine artistic work may be dead. Even when it’s properly approached and used, as in Cindy Sherman’s fashion editorial series or the early installations of artists-cum-couturiers Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby under the Boudicca label, I tend to find that the medium isn’t being mined for all its potential. Photographer K8 Hardy’s “Untitled Runway Show,” a performance piece mounted on May 20 as part of her work in the Whitney Biennial, seems to have proven that in the hands of popular contemporary artists, fashion in a museum can be as nauseating as the debauchery on display at Fashion’s Night Out.