Decades after his death, with only seven feature films under his belt, Andrey Tarkovsky remains the greatest film maker Russia has produced, under Soviet Union and thereafter, both in the collective critical film imagination, and probably in fact. His films were so multifaceted – from the stunning cinematography to the philosophical dialogue that always centered on the same question – what it means to be human – that to unpack their sheer elegiac sweep of his films requires a book.
The art world has its own trends and fashions that come and go. Artists and art movements get discovered and rediscovered, sometimes with a nudge from powerful art collectors who first stock up on the art and then make bank once they help popularize it.
Paolo Roversi is one of those photographers that tends to frustrate you not because he is bad, but because he is do damn good. Roversi has been responsible for some of the most iconic imagery from Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto, and more than a few memorable portraits and fashion editorials. Along with Sarah Moon and Deborah Turbeville, he has managed to make fashion photography transporting, taking you to a place that’s quieter, more contemplative, more intimate. The frustration comes from the lack of avenues to experience his sensual, touching work. There are few books that capture his output, and there are few exhibits. In 2005, when I was just starting to write and I scarcely new his work I had a chance to review his Studio book, published by Steidl. I passed on it, and I still kick myself for it. You can now get it on Amazon, for $600.
The photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is inextricably woven into the fabric of the New-York-Before-It-Sucked (that is the ‘70s and the ‘80s) cultural mythology. He’s always been that for the art circle, and he’s become that for a wider circle after Just Kids, a Patti Smith’s memoir about their friendship wildly popular amongst those who weren’t there. For fashion people, Raf Simons most recently popularized the name by devoting an entire collection to Mapplethorpe’s work.
Unapologetically gay, unapologetically promiscuous, unapologetically bohemian, Mapplethorpe was indeed a fixture on the New York cultural circuit, hanging out at Max’s Kansas City, rooming with Patti Smith, circling the requisite Warhol circle, and so on – the stuff of legend to be sure.
This year the ever savvy Guggenheim is capitalizing on the legend by holding a year-long two-part exhibit on Mapplethorpe, called Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now. The show is timely, as the LGBTQ rights continues to be a hot-button topic that attracts millennials. Why not attract them to a museum to see the granddaddy of it all? Because Mapplethorpe remains supremely important when it comes to highlighting the gay scene in New York. And not only highlighting it, but sticking it in the face of America. Contrary to the title, I find nothing implicit in the tensions Mapplethorpe put on display with his work.
I have a nagging suspicion that a lot of people who say they love Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV don’t really.
As I am writing this, I’ve gotten a chance to read a couple of reviews by the few critics I respect, and I am finding myself in an unusual position of an optimist.
And so it was on again, amidst confusion as to what designers should be designing and whom they should be catering to.
Since the publication of his first book Vincent Van Duysen: Complete Works in 2010, the prodigious Belgian architect has been busy.
Here is a collection of songs that have impressed me one way or another over the past five years or so.
Chris Stein, the co-founder and guitarist of Blondie, was there.