Several years ago, Russian graphic designer Ruslan Khasanov was cooking with oil and soy sauce when he stopped to appreciate the strange relationship between the two fluids as the pooled and mixed in unexpected ways. The observation lead to his creation of Pacific Light, a sort of experimental music video meets science project that captures the up-close interactions of ink, oil, and soap. Khasanov just released a follow-up video—now with glitter!—called Odyssey. Music by Ilya Beshevli.
What is luxury? A fur coat, a silk Hermes scarf, a vintage Chanel 2.55, or a Guerlain lipstick? Or is luxury time, or even knowledge? Ultimately, everyone has their own version of luxury, but the V&A’s new exhibitionexplores the history of the subject and questions the traditional norms of what is usually thought of as luxurious. By collecting a highly curated selection of objects—from furniture made of human hair, to a classic Hermes saddle—the exhibition investigates the future of luxury through culture, economics, art, fashion and design.
Listen to Kurt Cobain’s Haunting, Never-Before-Heard Beatles Cover
Below, BAZAAR talks with one of the curators, Leanne Wierzba.
HB: How do you define luxury in terms of fashion?
LW: In terms of fashion, we’re really looking at the motivations of the designer and also thinking about the investment, time and application of skills that’s involved in the production or making of an object. So, it would be difficult to say that any one type of material could be considered universally luxurious. One of the fashion designers we included in the exhibition that we think epitomizes luxury is Carol Christian Poell. He’s Austrian by birth but based in Milan and does menswear, primarily. What’s interesting about Carol is that, unlike most designers who begin with the fabric, he begins with the thread. He spends a lot of time and puts in a lot of research in developing textiles himself. He’s developed a textile that is 15% glass beads—they reflect light in a particular way. Another interesting thing about his work is that he doesn’t use lining. You can actual see all the internal seams. All though there’s a very raw aesthetic, it’s completely precise because the lining typically hides a lot of mistakes or other fabric that hasn’t really been dealt with.
HB: Which fashion objects throughout time have represented luxury?
LW: One of the objects we have in the exhibition is a 17th Venetian lace chasuble, of course used in the church. Another fashion example that we have in the exhibition is Iris Van Herpen’s work. What we think is interesting about her is her compulsion to innovate and collaborate. Most of her work is done collaboratively, people from different fields—architecture, industrial design, or music, and she is bringing in knowledge and expertise and disciplines from other industries and applying them to fashion. We have a Savile Row suit in the exhibition, but it’s actually a military uniform. We thought that was incredible that the object is so heavily codified and it has so much cultural meaning—that’s luxury as well.
Snuffbox, Jean Guillaume George Krueger, Berlin 1775-1780
HB: Can luxury be inexpensive?
LW: One of the increasingly recognized luxuries in busy cities like London is time. Regularly, when we speak to people about luxury they say time is their biggest luxury. Time for yourself, time to spend with loved ones and family, and also time to develop knowledge and to become a connoisseur of luxury.
HB: Does sustainability play into luxury?
LW: One of the resources that will continue to grow will be human hair. In the exhibition, we have a project where they’ve created furniture and accessories using human hair, and resin. They’re quite beautiful, but once you look closely and realize its human hair, people are quite disturbed by that—which is interesting, because there’s a huge global hair trade at the moment. Having it re-contextualized as furniture is a really strong statement.
HB: What does the future of luxury fashion look like?
LW: It’s really tied up in supply chains and thinking of production. That’s really the focus of the exhibition. I think the supply chain will have to be more adapted to resolve ecological and ethical issues related to current fashion models. We agree that the future of fashion, especially pertaining to luxury is about small batch production and imbuing the kind of objects you’re creating with meaning and intention. Something that you would really want to invest in, value and hold on to. Luxury is something you’d want to repair rather than discard and replace.
What is Luxury is on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum from April 25th-September 27thand is in partnership with the Crafts Council and sponsored by Northacre.
If their experience was anything like mine, they probably felt they were walking on air. At the opening celebrations I attended, including the ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Thursday with Michelle Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio present and Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, presiding, the atmosphere was euphoric, unlike anything I’d experienced in over four decades in the New York art world. Now we know how it feels, I kept thinking, when a museum emerges bigger but better from the excruciating process of building a new home. Now we know what can happen when an architect — in this case Renzo Piano — and trustees, a director and curators are on the same page and keeping their priority straight. Namely, to accommodate art and people with equal finesse.
When a structure like this opens, a sensation of transformation occurs in real time. The Whitney and its collection are shifting shape — growing and deepening before our eyes.
At Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, the city’s cultural metabolism seemed to quicken noticeably as successive speakers affirmed art’s importance to society. That’s because the new Whitney forces a decisive yet organic realignment of the balance of power among New York’s main museums that is good for all concerned. With its enlarged galleries and the reveal of its collection, the Whitney, and to some extent American art, should begin getting the full respect both deserve.
One sign of this realignment: Last Friday, the Museum of Modern Art congratulated the Whitney in a quarter-page ad in The New York Times. It seemed magnanimous but weird. “Welcome to the top tier,” it seemed to say. And yet, except for the white lettering, the entire page was black, like a death announcement.
In my years in New York, I’ve seen a lot of disappointing architectural activity among the city’s museums: expansions and new structures that displayed glaring flaws from the outset that either got worse or became, at best, bearable. The most prominent include two expansions at the Museum of Modern Art, one at the Guggenheim, two at the Brooklyn Museum, two at the Morgan Library & Museum, a new building for the New Museum and the coming — and going — of the American Folk Art Museum.
The Whitney is palpably a different order of achievement. Art looks better here, to my eyes, than it did in the old Whitney, and it is amazingly comfortable to be in. I didn’t understand this fully until last Friday night, my third time inside the building.
Up to that point, I’d seen Mr. Piano’s eight-floor structure empty, looking big and fabulous inside but somewhat anonymous. I’d visited again when the first show, of roughly 600 works by some 400 artists, was nearly installed, which was thrilling. For a permanent collection display spanning more than a century of art, the opening show has an unusually high (for the Whitney) percentage of works by women (nearly one-third) and a strong representation of African-American and Asian-American artists, if too few works by Hispanic artists. But this isn’t just a matter of numbers; diversity is broadcast by the art itself, throughout the show and in numerous outstanding works and telling juxtapositions.
To cite but a few: Among the works unfamiliar to me were I. Rice Pereira’s “Boat Composite,” a large, vivid yet grisaille canvas from 1932 that dominates a gallery of Precisionist paintings and photographs with its bold scale and paint handling, learning from Fernand Léger while presaging the great late works of Stuart Davis and Philip Guston. And old standbys suddenly became new knockouts: Lee Krasner’s “The Seasons” from 1957 commandeers the Abstract Expressionist gallery, which is further enlivened by excellent lesser-known works by Norman Lewis, Alfonso Ossorio, Hedda Sterne and Eldzier Cortor. In a gallery centered on the use of non-art materials, assemblages by Raphael Montañez Ortiz and Noah Purifoy hold their own against a Rauschenberg combine, and Jim Dine’s “The Black Rainbow” from 1959-60 shows him at his rough-edged best.
But to see the new Whitney in active use is to understand its success as a place for visitors. It instantly became the most physically welcoming art space in New York outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And it accomplished its new level of comfort without carving a huge event space out of its center, as many museums have done. For better or for worse, the Whitney is in something of an event space, the meatpacking district, but it also has a series of events spaces at its margins: a flexible auditorium and four large terraces, three of which are linked by an outdoor staircase.
The Whitney may be too hospitable for its own good, but only time will tell. It has timed tickets that are designed to control crowding, but people may linger longer than expected. After art they can retire to the eighth-floor cafe, the terraces or the lines of comfy leather couches facing glass walls overlooking the Hudson and Greenwich Village at either end of the fifth floor (an unmitigated luxury for denizens of New York museums).
The outdoor staircase epitomizes the operative and symbolic logic of Mr. Piano’s design. The meaning and function of a wide switchback three-level affair in steel grating will be parsed for years to come. It is the most aggressive part of the multiple components that make the building a kind of architectural assemblage. From the street, the switchback juts out over the building’s east face like a fire escape on steroids or a fragment of an aircraft carrier. From the galleries, it is a people magnet but also a people mover, integrating the indoor galleries and the outdoor terraces and eliminating dead ends in a way that rarely happens in buildings of any kind. It affords a third way to move among three (if not four) of the museum’s main display floors. It is something like the Whitney’s very own High Line, except that it works for its living.
Mr. Piano has built more than his share of disappointing museums, including his expansion of the Morgan Library. But the new Whitney reaffirms why museums began turning to him in the first place. Moreover, it shows that despite Manhattan’s treacherous real estate market, the borough can still accommodate a gracious museum that is equally receptive to art and the viewing of art. It proves that these conditions are mutually dependent. You can’t have one without the other.
Whether you’re talking about high-end splurges like Chanel bags, or mass-retail staples (think the Nike swoosh), the designer logo has long been considered a status symbol. But, as anyone who’s clicked through pics of the Fashion Week collections — or even breezed through the mall recently — knows, the role of the ubiquitous fashion logo has been moving in the opposite direction.
Some brands have embraced minimalism. Louis Vuitton made news back in 2013 when it pulled back on the use of its iconic LVs in accessories. And, logo-less purses, such as the understated Mansur Gavriel bucket bags, have usurped the popularity of branded carryalls. Now, there’s a noticeable change happening on the other end of the fashion spectrum: Major fashion labels are flaunting the logos of brands other than their own.
Call it the Jeremy Scott effect. For his debut fall 2014 Moschino show, the designer sent models down the runway decked out in McDonald’s and SpongeBob SquarePants motifs. Scott’s throwback vibes continued for spring 2015, with a Barbie-inspired Moschino collection that was almost exclusively pink and plastered with the Mattel doll’s logos. Scott has been repurposing logos — both commercial and indie — for his eponymous line for years, and he’s not the first to do so, but following the financial success of his Moschino collections, others in the industry are rushing to get in on the business.
The trend picked up more steam this season with additional designers hopping onboard: Opening Ceremony showed tops printed with old-school Kodak branding, NYFW newcomer Bobby Abley debuted a collection featuring characters from The Jungle Book, and Joyrich referenced retro Coca-Cola logos in its pieces. David Melgar, creative director of Joyrich, explained the inspiration behind the logo-centric design: “Being that we are heavily influenced by ‘80s and ‘90s pop [and] street culture, I wanted to do something that reflected this time. I liked how the logo had a nostalgic, vintage feel to it and I felt that with the combination of the fabrications that we used, it would bring life to a whole new story.”
Inspiration aside, tapping into these instantly recognizable images is also a strategic move. Jeremy Scott is consistently one of the top-ranked brands on social media for both Scott’s eponymous line (its spring 2015 collection earned 650,000 likes, posts, and tweets), as well as Moschino, which essentially won the Internet last season with 1.5 million total interactions.
It’s smart for designers to capitalize on our nostalgia for other brands, but we have to wonder: How is this even legal? Turns out, there’s a line between nodding to another company’s logo and infringing on its intellectual property rights, and it all boils down to the message the design sends to consumers.
According to Christopher Sprigman, a professor at NYU School of Law, brands that evoke other brands’ logos must first negotiate licensing deals. “I had seen a report that there was a deal made between Kodak and Opening Ceremony,” he said. “If there hadn’t been one, it would raise questions in the consumers’ minds about whether the product was sponsored.” Not having a deal could have spelled major trouble for OC.
In this case, the partnership with Kodak was part of a collaboration between OC cofounders/designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim and the photo company. As the duo said in an interview with Kodak, “We’ve always loved Kodak’s logos and trademarks, and admired Kodak’s dedication to continuity. We think the capsule celebrates all [the] Kodak values we appreciate.”
Unsurprisingly, this type of licensing deal usually entails a financial transaction. “It’s a situation in which a brand like Opening Ceremony would say, ‘We want to use T-shirts with your logo,’ and Kodak would say, ‘Okay. Pay us money.’ The fashion industry is notoriously for-profit, so this would be typically a deal that exchanges a license for money,” said Sprigman. The goal is to define the relationship between the parties, and if a designer incorporates a logo in a way that might cause confusion about whether it was sponsored, he or she runs the risk of being sued.
The exception? When logos are used in a way in which there’s no risk of misleading consumers into thinking they’re endorsements. One example is using multiple logos. Sprigman cites the streetwear designer Heron Preston. Hissignature tees feature 17 logos splashed all over them, including Google, Nascar, Home Depot, and M&Ms. But, despite all the branding, Sprigman says the message remains clear: “If I had looked at this shirt, I wouldn’t necessarily think that any of these companies were sponsoring the shirt,” he said. “I don’t think the trademark law would require this to be licensed, because I think consumers would conclude that this is a commentary about brands as opposed to a T-shirt sponsorship.”
With London, Milan, and Paris still left in Fashion Month, these clearly aren’t the last of the logos we’ll be seeing on the runway. So, designers, take note: Imitation might be the highest form of flattery, but don’t forget to ask permission first.
Fractal animation made with Mandelbulb3D. Jeremie Brunet originally designed it for Bryan Alvarez from UC Berkeley, for a TEDx talk about his Human Atlas project, to illustrate his initial dream about the beauty of living systems. This one is an enhanced version.
This is a hybrid Julia fractal where many parameters are being animated: the fractal paramaters themselves, the Julia seed, the colors, and of course the camera position.
Click PLAY then go to full screen (bottom right of Video)
by Jeremie Brunet | Soundtrack by Ricardo Montalban.
Tennessee-based artist Charles Clary knows a thing or two about patience as evidenced by his structural paper creations reminiscent of biological formations or topographical maps. In creating a new piece Clary can work for up to 12 hours a day cutting each thin layer in his delicately stacked sculptures that arise from gallery walls or descend into geometric volumes. The artist most recently had an exhibition at Brett Wesley Gallery last month, and you can see much more of his work on his website. (via Hi-Fructose)
Warping and shifting, the future of human identity is one of the great uncertainties of our modern world. Pablo Picasso considered its fragmentation through his twisting, evocative Cubism; Gerhard Richterconveyed its intangibility through his blurred photorealism; Frida Kahloexplored her own identity through introspective self-portraiture. Despite such brilliantly diverse outputs, all of them, it can be argued, chime in agreement with the idea that identity is not innate or even organic, but rather constructed in the society we live in.
It is the emergent social contexts of a digitized and globalizing world that a new exhibition at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, “Looks,” centers on. Identity never has been fixed or distinct, the show suggests, before considering the implications of today’s increasingly fluid and disparate existence. The issue, however, is that through exploring and channeling further into these concepts, radical output on the subject is often fragmented and testing in itself.
The exhibition’s title stems from Los Angeles-based filmmaker Wu Tsang’s A day in the life of bliss (2014), a 360-degree film installation in the ICA’s Upper Gallery. “The LOOKS,” the film’s subject, is the name of an intelligence system, a thinly veiled reference to the Snowden revelations, which acts as a panopticon-like machine, monitoring every inch of public place through its social media platform “PRSM.” Via dual-screen projections, flanked by a set of mirrors, a young, genderless pop star called BLIS—played by the artist boychild—proceeds through an intense existence, constantly flanked by overwhelming fans, retiring to the underground during darkness. It is a mesmerizing yet unsettling experience, and one that speaks of oppressive surveillance.
Continuing with video work, a medium that is well-represented at the ICA, Andrea Crespo appraises the role of the cyborg—how this blend of human and machine can liberate us from patriarchal gender systems as well as risk reinforce them. The Miami-born, New York-based artist, who began making drawings in MS Paint around the age of four, has an ethereal film in Parabiosis: Neurolibidinal Induction Complex (2015). It’s about Sis, a digital system that makes an attempt to redefine what a human is; to question the idea that we are subjective individuals. “You are floating, you are sinking, softly drifting,” it states silently in type, before hashtagged words roll by on the screen alongside ephemeral bands of light, in what Jack Kahn in DIS Magazine calls a “chimeric composition of data and flesh that flows between the sensual and the machinic.”
More immediate is Berlin-based artist Juliette Bonneviot’s subtly political series of monochrome paintings, which are made with xenoestrogens, hormones that imitate estrogen and which are known to cause birth defects and cancerous growth. The seven works are an unhappy spectrum of various sheens and softness, glimmering and garish. Their minimalistic appearance is juxtaposed with the complex and varied nature of their material matter—Bonneviot has used Oestradiol from contraceptive pills, the artificial estrogen Bisphenol A, first produced in the 1930s, and even mushrooms and soybeans, which produce a chemical compound similar to estrogen.
In the Lower Gallery, Scottish artist Morag Keil is paired with New Yorker Stewart Uoo. Though well-known for her satirical critiques of consumer culture, Keil here takes a low-key approach to identity in the post-internet age. Leg1 (2015) depicts a busty Amy Winehouse tattoo on an anonymous limb; another piece, Untitled (2015), peers into a banal and cliched Instagram feed—Skyscraper shots, restaurants, domestic scenes. It’s the perfect complement to the archetypal metropolitan women that Uoo’s sculptures subvert (part of a larger series called “No Sex, No City”). This a post-apocalyptic interpretation of the cyborg, riffing on Crespo’s nearby work: these mannequin figures are a mix of organic and mechanical, and overtly a critique of modern ethical decay. One is adorned with a hippy peace necklace, another with a heart tattoo on the hip. But most pleasing of all is Uoo’s carpet, mimicking a Cosmo Girl magazine cover from 2008, which parodies its clichéd vacuity, including inane headlines such as “Mary G, 12, from Rohnert Park California made a fake Facebook to stalk an Ex’s new girl.”
“Looks” is a playful and powerful consideration of mass digital culture and how it impacts the ways in which new strands of identity are negotiated. It’s a provocative compendium of work, looking forward to the ever-closer post-human world, but at the same time, only conjecture, a broad brushstroke of what lies ahead.
—Peter Yeung “Looks” is on view at the ICA, London, Apr. 22–Jun. 21, 2015.
Warhol’s 1962 work Campbell’s Soup Cans (Credit: Andy Warhol Foundation/ARS, NY/Licensed by Campbell’s Soup Co. All rights reserved)
Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans was mocked when first exhibited – but the work went on to have a lasting impact not only on the history of art, but on the way we dress, writes Sara McCorquodale.
However, this unpopularity didn’t last. Irving Blum, owner of the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles where the work was first shown, realised the 32 paintings of the piece had to be kept together rather than sold off individually as intended. This made it different; it made it a statement. The work seemed to speak of the spirit of a new America, one that thoroughly embraced the consumer culture of the new decade. Before the end of the year Campbell’s Soup Cans was so on-trend that Manhattan socialites were wearing soup can-printed dresses to high-society events.
These days the piece influences collections by fashion houses in Paris, London, Milan and New York every season: from the Pop art palette of Chanel’s spring/summer 2014 show to Prada’s graphic prints the same year, to everything Jeremy Scott has sent down the catwalk since becoming creative director of Moschino in 2013. As far as the fashion industry is concerned, referencing this particular Warhol is a sartorial statement worth making.
Now, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is exhibiting the Campbell’s Soup Cans in a manner that confirms its ongoing relevance. It is being displayed exactly as it was for its debut show: in a continuous line across five walls, as opposed to the grid-like structure in which it has often been shown. This has only happened four times previously – and never before at MoMA. In addition, the frames and Perspex surrounding each piece have been removed to allow visitors even closer scrutiny.
“It’s kind of amazing to see it like this – you realise how major it is,” says the curator of the exhibition, Starr Figura. “The paintings are all exactly the same except for the name of the soup. You realise how methodical Warhol must have been to work in such a mechanical, repetitive way.”
Campbell’s Soup Cans was the breakout piece that gained Warhol widespread fame after spending most of the 1950s working as a graphic artist in advertising.
“It was about produce being plentiful and industrial fabrication; great prosperity and convenience,” says Figura. “He figured out what American culture in the 1960s was before anyone else.”
In 1962 Warhol became one of the first Pop artists to turn his work into fashion items when he began printing this design onto dresses. “These weren’t sold commercially,” says Alistair O’Neill, a Senior Research Fellow at London art school Central St Martin’s, “but were made as one-offs for New York society women who wore them to gallery openings.” Wearing one of Warhol’s very first Campbell’s can dresses, which were printed on paper, was a sign you were part of a very exclusive club – an ironic inversion of the mass-produced consumer item.
This exclusivity was short-lived: in 1965 Campbell’s took advantage of its new cult fashion status and produced the Souper Dress. It was made from paper and could be bought by anyone who sent $1 and two Campbell’s soup can labels to the company. These days, a ‘Souper dress’ fetches approximately £5,000 ($7,500).
The impact of doing fashion the Warhol – and later the Campbell’s – way had a ripple effect on the rest of the industry. Dr Hazel Clark, head of fashion and design at Parsons Design School in New York, says: “The Souper Dress certainly led the way in mainstream fashion for cheap Pop art printed dresses.” After wartime austerity, when clothes were sturdy luxuries created to endure, the dress also changed how women thought about shopping.
“It tapped into progressive design ideas about the disposability of consumer products,” says O’Neill. “That you could literally wear the dress and then throw it away.”
Warhol’s influence seeped into the mass-market fashion and not just in the US. British boutiques Biba and Mr Freedom began commissioning Pop art-printed dresses and t-shirts in the 1970s to sell to the style-conscious public and outfit icons such as Twiggy, Mick Jagger and Jean Shrimpton.
Then, the artist’s prints were made catwalk-worthy in the 1980s by his friend, designer Stephen Sprouse, while Jean Charles de Castelbajac included his own Campbell’s Soup Can dress for his 1984 Spring/Summer collection.
However, it was Gianni Versace’s 1991 Pop art collection featuring a jewel-encrusted version of Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe prints that truly made the artist synonymous with high fashion. Modeled by Linda Evangelista, it encapsulated the sexy, daring aesthetic that defined ’90s fashion and is seen as so important that it is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
More recently, Prada’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection was dominated by graphic faces in primary colours, and Céline abandoned its signature colour-blocking for a line of loud prints in the same season.
Pop goes the catwalk
So what is it about Campbell’s Soup Cans that continually inspires fashion? Designer Philip Colbert has a few ideas. Founder of label The Rodnik Band, he was anointed the “godson of Andy Warhol” by André Leon Talley – a high-profile editor for US Vogue – for his bold collections which heavily reference the artist’s work. “Fashion loves to dip into art and big fashion houses look for a new artistic theme every season,” he says. “However, referencing Warhol is about more than just the art itself – the art is symbolic of an incredibly glamorous era. Studio 54, New York, excess, style. It is a very powerful message.”
O’Neill believes we still want Warhol-influenced designs because Pop art communicates something we recognise and understand. It takes something traditionally consumerist and reassuringly familiar, but presents it compellingly in a high fashion context. Take Moschino’s Autumn/Winter 2014 show. Inspired by fast food restaurants, it was knowingly witty – no one wants to wear an actual McDonald’s uniform or logo but you’d consider Jeremy Scott’s better cut, distinctly similar versions.
“One of the reasons the work of Jeremy Scott for Moschino is so popular in our age of digital fashion is because of the motifs it draws upon,” says O’Neill. “Barbie dolls, McDonalds and M&Ms are visual icons of popular culture with a high visual impact.” He adds that the use of these logos and motifs is readily informed by Warhol’s experiments made over 40 years ago.”
Figura thinks that Warhol’s soup cans are still representative of something essential about Western culture and therefore resonate with us decades after they were created. “Consumer goods are our culture and the idea of reproduction and repetition is even more prescient in this digital age – it’s like something a designer would do on Photoshop now,” she says.
So, if you have graphic prints in primary colours or fast fashion in your wardrobe, their inspiration is rooted in an artwork created 54 years ago. Does this make Warhol the most far-seeing, most referenced artist of consumerist culture ever? Not necessarily.
Figura believes Warhol’s background in advertising informed ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’. The piece was a canny move, not just a eureka moment. “He knew how to find the next thing that would grab people,” she says. “He had instinct and incredible talent, but he was also trained.”
Regardless of where his inspiration came from or what propelled him to paint the piece, one thing is certain – it’s influence remains strong and there is still an appetite for Pop art-style clothing. The latest evidence? Rita Ora’s selfie of her modeling Warhol-esque printed pieces by Au Jour Le Jour earlier this month. It was liked by 101,000 people.
“Campbell’s Soup Cans still speaks to us because it still says something about the world now,” says Figura. “Warhol had an eye for this – you can’t help but be compelled by it.”