Few artists that came into their own after high modernism measure up to Francis Bacon, whose paintings are models of twisted introspection. What’s more, Bacon actually knew how to paint. Not silk-screen, not put messages on LED boards, not make collages, not arrange objects together, but actually work with phenomenal skill like the greatest of the artists had done. And his work hits not only on the visceral level, but on the intellectual as well.
Today is the final day of the StyleZeitgeist Book Week, where we have brought you Fall titles that we liked. We hope you do, too. We wanted to end it on a light-hearted note. Light-hearted by our standards, of course:
Mmmm, Berghain – if you have ever known what it is like to abandon yourself to the pulse of the beat and dance, this is the place to be. The Berlin techno club is legendary by now, for its space, its sound system, its star-studded DJ lineup, its face-tattooed doorman and his tough-but-democratic approach of face control. It was even profiled in the New Yorker, out of all places. If you are a DJ, having played at Berghain is a badge of honor and a status marker. If you just love dancing to techno, it’s a must-visit.
It’s day three of the StyleZeitgeist book week, where we review the Fall books we think worth your attention. The Belgians: An Unexpected Story: In case you missed the Belgian fashion exhibit, “The Belgians: An Unexpected Story,” at the BOZAR in Brussels earlier this year, you still have a chance to experience it through the eponymous catalog published by the German publisher Hatje Cantz ($60).
It’s day two of the StyleZeitgeist book week, where we continue to review our favorite Fall art books. ZERO (Walther Konig, $60) is a comprehensive book on the eponymous mid- 20th Century international art movement, which was largely forgotten for a while, but has recently had a major resurgence. Major dealers/collectors like Axel Vervoordt have been championing the ZERO artists like Lucio Fontana and Gunther Uecker for a while now, and last year the Guggenheim museum has held a major ZERO retrospective.
It’s StyleZeitgeist book week! We wanted to take a break from fashion and delve into another aspect of culture we love – art books. This week, each day we will highlight a recent release we thought worth your attention. The Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto is no stranger to processing the analytical into the visual, and in meditating on a subject. His new book, “Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes” (Damiani, $70), is a prime example. The 274-page tome contains a series of 220 photographs of various bodies of water – the Altantic, the Pacific, the Sea of Japan, among others – taken by Sugimoto over the course of thirty years. Some of the photos are being reproduced for the first time.
If you find yourself in Atlanta in the next six months, the Iris van Herpen retrospective, currently on view at the High Museum of Art is a must-see. It is the first fashion exhibit at the High Museum and I could not think of a better one to inaugurate what I hope becomes a tradition. Actually, I am sure it will, as the 2,3000-strong crowd that came for the exhibit’s opening left no doubt about where the public attention is channeled today.
Last week Raf Simons left Dior after only three and a half year tenure. Some weeks before that, Alexander Wang exited Balenciaga. Both designers cited the desire to concentrate on their own brands as the main reason for leaving and made the obligatory public statements of gratitude to their corporate employers. But some in the fashion press took the opportunity to voice the old refrain – the fashion system is broken and it needs to be fixed.
It used to be that when a designer showed an item in a particular season and you did not get a chance to buy it, you were out of luck. And if you really wanted it, a hunt ensued. You would call stores in other cities. You would pray that the item would pop-up on Ebay or Yoox in your size, or at your local consignment store. Or you would have to accept defeat.
But as designers have become savvier at business, they realized that if the customer wants something, they should give it to them, again and again. Perhaps they learned the lesson from watching luxury houses fling it-bags season after season with great commercial success. If it could be done with bags, why not with clothes?
I first came across the work of the Belgian art collector-dealer-interior-designer-manufacturer-real-estate-developer Axel Vervoordt when I reviewed his 2011 book, “Wabi Inspirations.” I was struck by how the interiors Vervoordt conceived reflected the beauty of simplicity, decay, and aging that are championed by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi. It was not anything I expected from a major European collector, raised on Louis XIV furniture and antiquaries, whose roster of clients includes major celebrities and the old-time aristocracy.