Manifesta 10 Biennal

Despite the ongoing political and social difficulties in Russia, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is hosting the tenth iteration of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, which runs from June 28 through October 3, 2014.

Parallel to the main program, the city is dotted with carefully selected gallery exhibitions that aim to further broaden the public view of current artistic activity in St. Petersburg, a city long considered to be the cultural capital of Russia.



Those of you without easy access to New York galleries can secretly cheer this missive: this show at Marianne Boesky closes in a couple of days and, thus, it is of little use as “timely news” to those who do enjoy such access.  That said, “Image and Matter in Japanese Photography from the 1970s” merits attention, even if delayed, not so much for introducing us to a fascinating and pretty much unknown array of photographers (invaluable in itself) but for presenting them in the context of an intellectual proposal – the show presents itself more as a question than as an answer, or an unearthing – and that is bracingly refreshing.

Portret Vincent Willy Vanderperre

Vincent Van Duysen: Brutalism With a Soul

Vincent’s work is human;
it possesses many qualities
that we value in people
It is calm yet determined.
It is reliable yet surprising
It is sensual, but discreetly so.
It is sober yet spirited
In other words, it is like a good friend,
like Vincent himself.
— Ann Demeulemeester and Patrick Robyn

I first discovered the work of the Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen in the Copyright bookshop in Antwerp last year. His monograph caught my eye; its cover showed the texture of gray stone, alluring in its deceptive simplicity. While flipping through the book I realized that I am standing inside a space designed by Van Duysen.


Dieter Rams. Less but Better

Before Apple, Bose, and Bang & Olufsen, there was the German manufacturer Braun and its head designer Dieter Rams, an icon of consumer goods design. His minimalist style, characterized by the maxim “Less but better,” has had unparalleled influence on design of consumer electronics, appliances, furniture, and even fashion (Jun Takahashi of Undercover once designed an entire collection based on Rams’s work). His famous Ten Principles of Design are the Ten Commandments of the design world.

Photos taken during the Coldest Winter Ever Ball. Winter 2013

Bound by Night by Elegance Bratton

The New York Times headline caught my eye: “Michael Alig, the Former King of the Club Kids, After Prison.” That news article and an inconspicuous plaque bolted on the wall outside the Cheim & Reid gallery on far West 25th street that I had somehow never noticed before got me thinking again about a little, but powerful photobook titled “Bound by Night” by Elegance Bratton and published, as his wont, singlehandedly, by Steve Terry and his Wild Life Press, who we have covered before.

aSerpent bracelet 300dpi

Shaun Leane for SHOWstudio

The latest edition of SHOWstudio’s gallery/shop SHOWcabinet, curated by jeweler extraordinaire Shaun Leane, is reminiscent of another cabinet of curiosities currently on display in London: Growth and Form, an early work by Richard Hamilton showing as part of his major retrospective in the Tate Modern.

The latter contains a skull and a spine of unidentified large animals, a few eggs, rocks and crystals, alongside manmade grid-based structures and photographs. Leane’s SHOWcabinet comprises a piece of barely crystallised raw emerald from a Zambian mine, a board of mounted tropical beetles, paper cut flowers under glass domes and a live snake, as well as sculptures and photographs by various artists including Damien Hirst; not to mention eight artifacts specially created for the exhibition by Leane himself: a 22 ct gold beetle brooch, a diamond bracelet inspired by a serpent’s spine, cuffs in the shape of cherry blossoms, Macaw feather earrings, and so on.


August Sander / Bernd and Hilla Becher: A Dialogue

The gallery release reads, “Bruce Silverstein in collaboration with Sonnabend Gallery is pleased to present August Sander / Bernd and Hilla Becher: A Dialogue, curated by Hilla Becher.”  Packed into that one sentence is plenty to put a grin on the face of a fan of conceptual art, straight photography or even fashion (Yohji Yamamoto being a devotee of Sander).  The typological but also the technical and the sensual are in play and there is the unique plus that Hilda Becher herself curated the show and flipped the typical installation such that August Sander’s photographs are presented in grids while the Bechers’ are hung one-by-one.  In a delicate way, it is also a show about family bonds: his grandson safeguards Sander’s work and it is well known that the Bechers worked (Bernd died in 2007) as a husband-and-wife team over 50 years ago.


Studio Visit: Aleksandr Manamis

Last week we visited the showroom of Copenhagen-based brand Aleksandr Manamïs. We call it a ‘brand’ because we don’t know if Aleksandr Manamïs is a designer or just a name – they have done their best to remain anonymous, wishing their work to be the center of attention.

Since the start of the brand seven years ago, its development has been organic, with the size of the collections growing gradually. The F/W 2014 collection consists of little more than thirty pieces, and aims to provide a full wardrobe to the wearer. Manamïs’ collection is gender-neutral; for each piece, the cuts, for example through the recurring use of dropped shoulders and loose silhouettes that can be adjusted to the wearer’s body, are balanced to accommodate both male and female anatomies. The rest is taken care of through grading and sizing runs.


Luke Powell – Afghan Gold

It has taken years to produce Afghan Gold, the new photography tome from Steidl publishing, what with exacting natures of both Luke Powell, the photographer, and Gerhard Steidl, the publisher. But the result, an outstanding, slip-cased two-volume set, is a testament to the notion that some things are worth waiting for.

Powell had traveled extensively in Afghanistan in the 70s and 00s, documenting both the quotidian lives of its people and the magnificent nature in which those lives took place.


Todd Hido, Excerpts from Silver Meadows

We would like to bring to your attention Todd Hido, “Excerpts from Silver Meadows” at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York.

Bruce Silverstein Gallery is mounting its third solo show of new works by Todd Hido.  According to the gallery, the show coincides with the publication of Hido’s latest book, “Excerpts from Silver Meadows,” (Nazraeli, 2013) and “the gallery will feature a selection of images from this highly personal yet fictionalized body of work that surrounds his return to the ‘architecture’ of his childhood and a particular street in suburban Ohio where the artist was raised. The works displayed introduce a new larger format for the artist and are printed in an edition of one.”