The Man Who Played with Color: One January evening, before the men’s show of the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, a crowd bustled outside the Musee Bourdelle, tucked away in a side street near the Montparnasse train station in Paris. Outside, the desperate hangers-on were held back by the implacable PR watchdogs, while inside the buyers and the press were trying to squeeze into the tiny Great Hall, where the most prominent statues of Antoine Bourdelle, one of the most prolific student’s of Rodin, stood.
Last night the designer Ann Demeulemeester was signing her new monograph at Barneys in New York City. With her was her lifetime friend the singer Patti Smith, who cosigned the book and gave an intimate, heartfelt performance for the crowd of Demeulemeester’s diehard fans.
When Helmut Lang came out with a perfume duo in 2000 and followed up by a third one in 2002, it was one of those rare fashion moments that occurs when an independent designer with a cult following translates his vision to another medium, thereby expanding his world. Who can forget (and by who, I mean those over 35 and really interested in fashion) the iconic ad campaigns on New York’s taxis or the long narrow SoHo store opposite Lang’s flagship where you could only by those three products, the very definition of minimalism?
‘Tis a Schiele season. In New York one can head to Neue Gallery for a glimpse of what the Austrian modernist painter Egon Schiele made out of clothed bodies. Meanwhile, in Zurich’s Kunsthaus, there is another show where Schiele’s work is displayed alongside that of YBA Jenny Saville’s, exploring their common approach to the naked body. The nudes continue in London’s Courtauld Gallery.
The work of the German artist Joseph Beuys, its politics, earthliness and primacy, has captivated me for a long time. His performance piece I Like America and America Likes Me was the one that hit me both at the gut level and the cerebral one.
Today, the publisher Rizzoli released a long-awaited monograph on the Belgian fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester (Rizzoli, $100). The book is an exclamation point in the last sentence of Demeulemeester’s career, which is a long novel in itself. When we met in Antwerp this April, Demeulemeester just sent off the final draft to the publisher, and she spoke of it as if it was the perfect closure to her body of work in fashion.
I first met the singer Zola Jesus, whose real name is Nika Roza Danilova, this September in New York. She was wearing a black dress with a high collar that formed a dome at the back of her head. It resembled something from another era and a place that has little in common with our modern society.
My first brush with the sculptures of Richard Nonas was actually a missed opportunity. James Fuentes mounted a solo exhibition of new and old work in the spring of 2013 but unfortunately by the time I became aware of it all I got to see was images after the fact on the web.
Some time ago in Paris at a men’s show of the cult Japanese label Julius I found myself sitting next to the singer Usher. As I was chatting with his companion, Grace, I could not help but wonder what Usher was doing in a dark, cavernous space, looking at the goth aesthetic of black leathers and drapey wools that Tatsuro Horikawa, Julius’s designer, sent down the runway. And, I also wondered, where are the rockers?
In the age of Instagram, where minutiae of life is incessantly documented, Josef Sudek’s new book, Labyrinths (Torst, $60), seems oddly prescient. Here is the minutiae documented so artfully that the subject matter is seen at a remove. Meaning, you are first mesmerized by the masterful sepia of the photos before you realize that you are essentially looking at little piles of trash, scraps of paper, leftover food, unspooled string, and so on.