Depeche Mode: Monument

Some time ago in Tallinn, Estonia, I went to a Depeche Mode bar. That such a thing exists is emblematic of the deeply devoted fan following that the band has commanded since its inception. That Depeche Mode is a phenomenon that is hard describe is old news – it’s essentially a pop band that has blundered into the zeitgeist, instinctively grasped it and has held it tight to its chest for decades, more often than not not knowing exactly how or why. Depeche Mode is simultaneously surface and depth, lightness and darkness, seriousness and silliness. Its range of work runs from the cringe-inducing to awe-inspiring. It’s a band that has often been bewildered by its wild success, one whose members who for the first time knew they had a sure hit in “Enjoy The Silence,” ten years after they began making music. In other words, Depeche Mode is a band that despite its mostly electronic sound is quintessentially human. Perhaps this is why the world has been so generous to it, so patient with its failures, and so richly rewarding in its successes. Not to mention that the band’s influence on electronic music, from techno to industrial, cannot be underestimated, but that’s a whole different story.

Tatsuo Kawaguchi “Land and Sea 1970”

Taka Ishii Gallery New York published “Land and Sea 1970” to accompany an exhibition by Tatuso Kawaguchi in September 2015. Since that time his book has consistently stood out from the other gallery publications and art books on my bookshelf as being an exceptionally good one. It manages to function not only as documentation of a specific show but, in a sense, is practically a work in its own right. In that regard, we could refer to it as an artist’s book though it was not intended as such.

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New Order, Joy Division and Me – Bernard Sumner

New Order, a band that came out of the tragedy that ended Joy Division, is one of those rare acts that have somewhat inexplicably achieved critical acclaim and dance floor popularity. Much ink has been spilled by music journalists to trace the ups and downs of the band over the years. (Former) band members have weighed in – most notably the bassist Peter Hook who has left the band in 2007 and in 2013 released a memoir called “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division,” documenting the band’s fraught existence and his fallout with Bernard Sumner, New Order’s singer.

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Tilda Swinton – Impossible Wardrobes

The closest I got to Tilda Swinton was almost a year ago in Florence, when I gave her my sleeveless jacket. She gave me a cloakroom ticket, took the jacket, touched it gingerly, put it on a table, dragged it around, fixing it with her trademark, hypnotizing gaze. Then she put it on a hanger and hung it on a garment rack. True story. What was I doing with Ms. Swinton is that I was part of a select group of fashion editors at the Pitti Uomo trade fair that got to witness a performance art piece by Swinton, masterminded by Olivier Saillard, the director of the Palais Galleria, Paris’s fashion museum.