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Marilyn Minter, Cyclone, 2006 (detail)

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Art Meets Fashion
September 6-19, 2006

With New York Fashion Week kicking off the couture season, followed by shows in London, Milan, and Paris, we look to artists who revel in, and question, the sensuous glamour of fashion. Shapeshifters such as Hussein Chalayan and Martin Margiela move easily between art and fashion, while artists like Wangechi Mutu and Josephine Meckseper appropriate fashion imagery in order to subvert it. We profile Yi Chen, who creates off-kilter paintings out of glossy body parts, and recommend a new film on the super-sleek design duo Viktor & Rolf. Addressing the future of fashion online, we interview Penny Martin, editor-in-chief of SHOWstudio, about her site's combination of interactive media and fashion editorial. And for those less concerned with appearances, so to speak, we review clever exhibitions of video work by Pierre Huyghe and Mike Kelley.

  The Starbucks Salon runs every day from September 8th through September 17th at 76 Greene Street (between Spring & Broome), with rotating art, interactive installations, free nightly performances, and more. We'll be open all day Sunday through Tuesday from 10am-10pm, and Wednesday through Saturday from 10am-11pm. Come by and drink in the festivities.

"New" Wright House Stirs Controversy
(Guardian, August 28)
A new home being built from designs by Frank Lloyd Wright is drawing criticism from the architectural community. Based on an incomplete 1950 design by the legendary architect, the triangular, three-bedroom house is being constructed by Joe Massaro, a retired building supplier, on an 11-acre island in New York's Lake Mahopac. Massaro realized the project with the help of Illinois-based architect Thomas Heinz, a Wright scholar who has worked on 40 of the master's buildings since the '70s. Massaro has hewed closely to the original designs for the house, but the construction is eliciting fire from those looking to preserve the integrity of Wright's legacy or to protect their investments as owners of "authentic" Wright buildings. "To me, that's ridiculous," Massaro responded. "It's like, if you found a symphony by Beethoven, you wouldn't play it?"

Digital Evans Prints Raise Questions
(New York Times, August 25)
A show of photographer Walker Evans' work currently on view at New York's UBS Art Gallery is being displayed as enlarged digital prints. Writing about the show, Times critic Michael Kimmelman says that the rich images call into question fundamental issues regarding the nature of photography. The pictures are Depression-era compositions that Walker made for the Farm Security Administration and are owned by the Library of Congress, which means anyone can reproduce them. According to Kimmelman, the new prints increase the detail from Walker's negatives while adding tonal warmth. These modifications raise questions about the artist's original intentions as well as whether photography should be thought of as an immutable art like painting, or an interpretive art more akin to a piece of written music.

Returned Kirchner Becomes Political Issue
(Bloomberg, August 28)
A 1913 painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner that had hung in the Brüecke Museum since 1980 has become a hotly contested topic in an upcoming Berlin state election. Culture Senator Thomas Flierl was instrumental in returning Kirchner's Berlin Street Scene to the heir of the Jewish family who had owned the work before World War II, when it was seized by Nazis. The city's Free Democratic, Green, and Christian Democratic parties have criticized Flierl for giving the painting back without first informing the government and the public of the decision. Pleas to use public funds to buy the painting back were rebuked by officials of the deeply indebted city. The work will be auctioned at Christie's in New York on November 8 and is estimated to fetch $25 million.

Stirling Prize Announces Shortlist
(Guardian, August 25)
Six finalists were announced for the £20,000 Stirling Prize, an annual competition of British-designed buildings. Richard Rogers heads the list with two projects: his new terminal at the Barajas airport and the National Assembly building in Cardiff, Wales. The other finalists include Caruso St. John's Brick House, Zaha Hadid's bold science center in Wolfsburg, Michael Hopkins' greenhouse-style extension for a London children's hospital, and David Adjaye's Idea Store in Whitechapel. Because the projects differ so greatly in size and scale, expect controversy of some sort when the winner is announced on October 14.

Tracey Emin tapped as British representative to Venice Biennale more »

Iran unveils anti-Semitic art show more »

Stern's Hamptons "Art Barn" profiled more »

Chuck Close fights developers to keep his studio sunlight shining more »

Lost director has first painting solo show more »

Picasso's dog has his day more »

Museum's glass pavilion reflects Toledo history more »

Artists turning to blogs to sell their work more »

Stolen Scream recovered after a two-year search more »

Rome's new contemporary art museum kick-started with gift from an Italian-American businessman more »

UK artist receives £5,000 to make edible sculpture more »

Light artist Rudi Stern dies at 69 more »

Note: Some online publications require registration to access the articles. If you encounter a registration screen, try akreader1 as the username and password.

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[ Flirting with Fashion ]


Yinka Shonibare / van Lamsweerde & Matadin / Elmgreen & Dragset / Hussein Chalayan

After escaping the clutches of elite culture, art and fashion — once exclusive properties of the few — have filtered down to mass accessibility and consumption. What started out as an acquaintance between forms has become a steady flirtation, yielding interdisciplinary creators of varied influence, criticism, and collaboration.

Using fashion magazines, Wangechi Mutu creates collages that juxtapose stereotypically black attributes with idealized white counterparts. Kehinde Wiley takes on black marginality by positioning proud black men, dressed in the height of urban fashion, as the subjects of baroque-style portraits. Also using clothes as signifiers of class and race, Yinka Shonibare pulls genteel postures out of the frame and onto headless mannequins donning 18th-century garb in "traditional" African prints that are really made in Amsterdam. Ideas about facade also loom large in the work of Marilyn Minter and Amy Dicke. Minter's crisp close-ups of caked makeup on tired faces and stilettos on blistered feet reveal fashion's gritty realities; Dicke's cut-outs of fashion ads, with their vacantly webbed outlines, transform models into ghoulish specters.

Martin Parr's bright, popping photographs of tourists and shoppers, especially his Fashion Magazine project, are biting social commentaries on consumption. Josephine Meckseper's still life and photographic compositions allude to globalization by juxtaposing designer underwear with a toilet plunger and chic footwear with protest posters. Collaborative installation artists Elmgreen & Dragset dropped a model Prada store in the middle of the desert to comment on capitalist encroachments into every corner of the earth.

Other team-ups abound. Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin's digitally manipulated photos often have a pointed, surreal quality. The twosome has collaborated with Dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf, whose high-concept shows have been likened to performance pieces. Turkish designer Hussein Chalayan references architectural theories and pays homage to sculpture. The process and materiality of clothing is also central to the recycled work of the mysterious Belgian designer Martin Margiela.

Perhaps the flirtation has even grown into a love affair. The hip collective assume vivid astro focus' psychedelic designs can be found on LeSportsac bags. Cindy Sherman has incorporated her continued probing of postmodern subjectivity into Marc Jacobs ads shot by fellow photographer Juergen Teller. The most symbiotic and progressive of unions is United Bamboo's collaboration with curators who pick young artists to design their own t-shirts. As the art market surges, fashion's influence is ever-present in art's rejuvenated glamour, visual familiarity, and ready-to-sell attitude. (JC)

Read up on the crossover between fashion and architecture in our sister publication JC Report, previewing the upcoming Skin + Bones exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

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Daniel von Sturmer: The Field Equation

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
Now through September 24

  For this solo show, Daniel von Sturmer — who will represent Australia at the 2007 Venice Biennale — responds to the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art's imposing, asymmetrical space with a composition of variously oriented and scaled white plinths. He animates this landscape by painstakingly placing everyday objects — a golf ball, a cutting pad, a wooden cube — on the pedestals. Some structures echo minimalism and modernism; others allude to the dualism of nature and artifice. Minute video projections add an element of sound and time to the installation. Walking through the labyrinthine structure, the audience becomes an active part of the work, as personal perception and its memory emerge as fundamental components for experiencing the space and questioning its objectivity. (CA/RT)

Karim Rashid
Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Price Tower Arts Center
Now through September 17

  Oklahoma's Price Tower Arts Center, housed in the only skyscraper completed by seminal 20th-century architect Frank Lloyd Wright, plays host to Karim Rashid's first US solo museum exhibition. The exhibition follows Rashid's creative process through sketches and prototypes to finished pieces. Best known for his Garbo garbage can and Oh! chair, the "Poet of Plastic" seizes upon cutting-edge technology and materials to realize his streamlined, seductive designs. Evoking sculptor Anish Kapoor's Chicago landmark Cloud Gate, the exhibition centerpiece is a large site-specific installation, Blobjectory, that hovers in mid-air. Its metallic, undulating curves refract the Price Tower's angular architecture, aligning two great visionary minds of the creative fields. (JG)

Uncertain States of America: American Art in the 3rd Millennium
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Bard Center for Curatorial Studies
Now through September 10

  Organized by three European curators — Daniel Birnbaum, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Gunnar Kvaran — this lively survey presents the latest in contemporary American art. First shown at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue offer an edgy overview of more than 40 young artists working in a variety of media. Highlights include spiritual line drawings by artist/musician Devendra Banhart, a Paul Chan light projection across the floor, a funkadelic sculpture by Jim Drain, a collaborative installation of stylized paint cans and colorful pop paintings by Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker, Christian Holstad's purposely programmed jukebox, Cristina Lei Rodriguez's synthetic interpretations of stressed plant life, and surreal videos by Mika Rottenberg and Aida Ruilova. (PL)

Another version of the exhibition opens at London's Serpentine Gallery on September 9 and continues through October 15.

Pierre Huyghe: Celebration Park

Tate Modern
Now through September 17

  The references to puppetry, anime, small-town fairs, and Snow White in Pierre Huyghe's oeuvre suggest an obsession with childhood fantasies, but these fairytale elements underpin a serious conceptual practice. At his solo show at the Tate Modern — Huyghe's first such exhibition in the UK — two giant revolving white doors move across one room, offering entrance to an alternate reality. Featuring surreal cinematography, This is not a Time for Dreaming is a filmed puppet show about Le Corbusier designing a building for Harvard University. Another film, A Journey That Wasn't, included in this year's Whitney Biennial and incorporating musical sequences shot at New York's Central Park, follows Huyghe's search for a mythical Antarctic creature. (FG)

Mike Kelley: Profondeurs Vertes

Musée du Louvre
Now through September 18

  Startling tourists and art cognoscenti alike, Los Angeles-based artist Mike Kelley has mounted video projections within the medieval foundations of the Louvre. Shifting from his 30-year sampling of pop culture, he focuses on two green-hued, historical American paintings: Thomas Wilmer Dewing's Recitation (1891) and John Singleton Copley's Watson and the Shark (1777). Four melodramatic videos zoom in on the paintings through billowing smoke and haunting soundtracks. As in his recent Day Is Done installation at New York's Gagosian Chelsea, Kelley builds strange drama from modest source material, employing clichéd film techniques to expose genuine emotions in the source imagery. In addition to the videos, a painting of a half-faced man completes the eerie scene. (BR)

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[ Yi Chen ]

Yi Chen

Educated in Beijing and Nova Scotia, Yi Chen came to the United States with a particularly global take on the painted portrait. The history of Western art is full of distorted faces; from the fauvists and cubists to the especially messy Francis Bacon, artists have always created new ways of seeing the human visage. With the striking cut-and-paste composites featured in his first solo show at Marianne Boesky Gallery this past spring, Chen delves into the multicultural chapter of the facebook of art history.

First collaging mutant faces from facial features clipped from glossy fashion and celebrity magazines, Chen then paints portraits of the resulting hodgepodge. Eyes are impossibly large, ears are askew, noses and mouths point every which way, and shellacked hair is suspended in flat planes of color. Sometimes the heads sit on skinny bodies dressed in Betsey Johnson-style couture; other times they teeter on long necks, casting shadows against pastel backdrops. Chen's paintings captivate the viewer with their racial and sexual ambiguity. Some have both blue and brown eyes; all of them wear bold lipstick. Their sad, misshapen appearances inspire pity, while the mix of realist and abstract painting styles lends them a pop flair. But these poor creatures also poke fun at the fashion world's pursuit of nip-and-tuck perfection and the current Asian obsession with Westernized physical features. Chen's paintings are portraits of youths disfigured by global media, forever caught in awkward poses. (JK)

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[ Penny Martin ]


Ross Phillips and Marie O'Connor / Nick Knight and SHOWstudio participants / Gareth Pugh / Gareth Pugh

Hannah Vaughan talks with Penny Martin, editor-in-chief of London's SHOWstudio, about the creative process of putting together an online fashion-broadcasting company.
AK: How would you describe SHOWstudio?

PM: SHOWstudio is an online fashion broadcast that's been in operation for about six years. It is owned and run by fashion photographer Nick Knight, and it produces fashion editorial that interacts with new media from an Internet platform. It deals with moving images, interactivity, broadcast, and notions of performance.

AK: Fashion is a notoriously closed community. SHOWstudio facilitates greater access to fashion production through its projects online; how does that affect the audience for fashion?

PM: There are certainly some projects that are more appropriate than others, but by and large, we're very accessible. In fact, when we scrutinize our viewing figures, we find that we reach just about every demographic, even though we haven't necessarily pursued that directly. Unlike print publications, we can reach almost anybody.

AK: SHOWstudio often collaborates with print magazines, most recently with i-D. Can you tell us how collaborations come about and how they work?

PM: There is huge potential in being owned and run by a photographer like Nick Knight, who is naturally involved with interesting projects. If he's doing a project that has the capacity to expand beyond the printed page, then he involves SHOWstudio. Quite often, he'll do a couture shoot for a publication like W, and he'll have a great opportunity for a broadcast project within the shoot. If the participants are generous enough to allow us to do it, we do, but it's not an intentional thing. It comes up as an opportunity, and we grab it.

AK: What does Nick Knight offer as a director that other creators might lack?

PM: It's hard to compare because few creators would put themselves in a position to run something like SHOWstudio. I know that David Bailey briefly ran a magazine in the '60s. When we interviewed him for an online broadcast, I remember him saying it was too much trouble and that it distracted him from his career. It does take an enormous amount of time and energy to run a demanding, expensive project like SHOWstudio; it could only be done by someone like Nick, who has a wildly optimistic viewpoint. He's incredibly committed to making SHOWstudio what it is. He's addicted to it and to the possibility of pushing things forward. I think that's been the theme of his career.

AK: Of your current projects — Antony, Fash-Off, What are you looking at?, The Sound of Clothes, and TransmissionsAntony offered viewers the most direct opportunity for collaboration with the SHOWstudio team: a chance to have their own photographic work featured in a Nick Knight photo shoot with Antony Hegarty, lead singer of Antony and the Johnsons. How was the project conceived and executed?

keep reading the interview »

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  Viktor & Rolf: Because We're Worth It!
Femke Wolting

Viktor & Rolf's fantastic creations have wowed the fashion crowd since the early '90s. Darlings of the avant-garde, they produce smart collections such as the fall 2002 blue "Long Live the Immaterial" ready-to-wear, inspired by the artist Yves Klein. In this documentary, Femke Wolting — former initiator and programmer of the International Film Festival Rotterdam's adventurous Exploding Cinema — presents an intimate view of the Dutch designers over the course of a year. From preliminary sketches and selection of fabrics to a spirited runway show — a simulated hunt where the models sport antlers and walk to a soundtrack of barking dogs — and on to the development and release of their first perfume, Flowerbomb, Wolting's camera captures the creative process of an energetic and talented team. (PL)

Discover the latest creations from Viktor & Rolf — including Antidote, their fragrance for men — by logging onto their blog and check out their dynamic designs in the Skin + Bones exhibition at MOCA LA, opening November 19.

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Cover Art
Marilyn Minter
Cyclone, 2006
50 x 36 in./127 x 91.5 cm
Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York
All Rights Reserved

Paul Laster

News Editor
Greg Zinman

Reviews Editor
Andrew Maerkle

Production Editor
Bryony Roberts

Contributing Editors
Jennifer Y. Chen
Shana Nys Dambrot
Jocelyn K. Glei
Allison Kave
Sarah Kessler
Doug Levy
Mark Mangan
Marlyne Sahakian

Chiara Agnello
Justin Conner
Jessica Kraft
Roberta Tenconi
Hannah Vaughn

Anjuli Ayer
Morgan Croney
Jules Gaffney
Teel Lassiter
Lauren McKee

Mailer Design
Jessica Bauer-Greene
Mark Barry

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Artkrush is a twice-monthly email magazine, featuring current news, people, and events in the international art community. All stories and links are pure editorial, never paid advertisements.

In addition to this twice-monthly digest of the visual arts, Flavorpill also publishes nine other email magazines, covering NEWS, BOOKS, MUSIC, FASHION, and cultural events in five cities — NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, CHICAGO, and LONDON.

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