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.
My relationship to Warhol’s art has been full of tension. I used to hate it – the obviousness of it, the surface, the refusal to say something serious.
When Foundation Louis Vuitton opened several years ago in Paris, it joined a slew of those manufactured by the newly minted patrons of the arts who have made such incredible amounts of money that they could build not private collections but entire museums; people like the fashion designer Miuccia Prada (Fondazione Prada in Milan) and the real-estate moguls like Eli Broad (the Broad in Los Angeles).
It’s one of those things you find out about and your jaw drops to the floor.
This has been another marquee year for the European titans of mid-century art.
I generally try to see every exhibition of Chaim Soutine’s paintings that can I manage to get to and of those that I can’t I try to track down the catalogue.
I don’t remember the first time I encountered the work of Chiharu Shiota, but I remember being immediately drawn to it.
To the rather inelegant but often-asked question, “Who is your daddy?”, modern sculpture can assuredly answer, “Constantin Brancusi.”
The Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, who spent most of his working life in Paris, is by now widely considered to be one of the most important artists of the 20th Century.