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.
One of the defining qualities of photography is that it can cast the familiar in a different light, to make you look again. The photos in Alexey Titarenko’s new book The City Is a Novel (Damiani, $60) do just that. Titarenko’s signature style is a washed out grayscale that recalls early platinotypes. If you lived in the Soviet Union, as did Titarenko (and I), you would understand where the grayness comes from. Everything in the Soviet Union seemed gray, reflecting the drabness in the water supply, from the country’s soul to its streets.
Proliferation of books on the designer Alexander McQueen since his suicide in 2010 has been a boon to his fans. Or an unabashed attempt by publishers to exploit his death for monetary gain – you decide. On my recent visit to the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit in London there was literally a wall of books devoted to him. Before his death the number of books I remember seeing devoted to McQueen, probably the most talented designer who has ever lived, was zero. The best attempted at analysis was done by Caroline Evans in her important book, “Fashion at the Edge.”
The Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere is famous for her striking sculptures of wax and epoxy that resemble flesh in all its disfigured, vulnerable glory. She has been making these since the 1990s, but there has not been a definitive monograph of her work until now.
Postpunk and goth are two subcultures that came and went without a bang – amorphous, indefinable, unbracketed. There was something, and its elements were clear enough to see, but to make a structure of the thing was futile. And that is exactly the way the scene liked it.
The New York born, South Africa-based photographer Roger Ballen’s breakthrough came when he published “Outland” in 2001. The book made a splash, sold out quickly, and is now being republished by Phaidon. Ballen was already an established photographer when he produced a video I Fink U Freeky for Die Antwoord in 2012. Most recently, his work has been painted onto the backs of leather jackets for the latest Comme des Garcons Homme Plus collection.
Despite her commercial success and critical acclaim Chitose Abe and her Tokyo label sacai are still a pretty well kept secret among the fashion industry’s cognoscenti. A product of the Comme des Garcons design lab that is adept at turning out prodigies, Abe has launched sacai in 1999, while she was at home nursing her child (Chitose is married to Junichi Abe, also a CdG alumni, whose label is kolor).