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Archives: June 2008

Paris Picks Pugh: London Designer Wins ANDAM Award


There’s a new bright spot in the typically dark, gothic-tinged world of fashion designer Gareth Pugh (pictured above, at far right). The 26-year-old Londoner and Central Saint Martins graduate, who last year said that he had yet to sell a dress, has been awarded the ANDAM (Association Nationale pour le Developpement des Arts de la Mode) Paris International Fashion Award. Founded in 1989 and supported by such corporate sponsors as Galeries Lafayette, Longchamp, and LVMH, the ANDAM award is now the largest international fashion award, with a prize of 150,000 euros (that’s $236,312, at current exchange rates). Past winners include Martin Margiela (1989) and Viktor & Rolf (1994). According to WWD, Pugh will use the funds to help finance his first Paris runway show this fall. Pugh has previously shown his collections, in which we’ve detected an enduring Wizard of Oz flying monkey flair, at London Fashion Week. ANDAM will officially bestow the prize upon Pugh at a ceremony during Paris Fashion Week in October.

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Loch Ness Monster Spotted in New York

nessie.jpgHere at UnBeige, we have an insatiable appetite for fantastic creatures of the deep (don’t even get us started on the giant squid), so imagine our delight when today in downtown Manhattan we caught a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster. Expect the reported “Nessie” sightings to explode come Wednesday, when apexart opens “Nessie Does New York: Monetizing Myth, Legend, and Culture,” a new exhibition that turns the arts space into the Loch Ness giftshop, stocked with items ranging from stuffed Loch Ness monsters to mugs and key chains. On view through August 2, the show explores the commercialization of art, myth, and culture with the help of installation artwork by Adam Maron and Quincy Pearson. Meanwhile, apexart promises that Nessie will be joined in the exhibition by other creatures (some call them mythological, we prefer “controversial”) such as the Chupacabra and Bigfoot. Look sharp for Mulder and Scully, as this has all the makings of an X-Files reunion.

Visionaire Gets Sporty

visionaire 54.jpgAh, Visionaire. You’ve smelled it. You’ve tasted it. And, thanks to the next issue of the limited edition fashion/art sensorial feast, you’ll soon be able to wear it—ostensibly while playing a sport. Visionaire #54 is entitled “sport” and consists of a suitcase book with three photographically-printed, artist-designed Lacoste polo shirts embedded within its dozen pages, which feature images of all of the commissioned shirt designs. The issue comes in four different three-shirt sets, kind of like sports teams! The “team” whose shirts are featured at left are the genre-bending megastars (shirts pictured from top) Michael Stipe, Karl Lagerfeld (who looks to have taken the Lacoste link literally), and Nick Knight. Team two is more international, with a strong Euro vibe, featuring shirts designed by Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin with M/M (Paris), Thomas Demand, and David Byrne. We’d call the third team the “artists’ artists,” as it consists of Peter Lindbergh, Thomas Ruff, and Pedro Almodovar. Rounding out the dozen is Richard Phillips (whose shirt is a tight shot of model Coca Rocha‘s creamy visage), T.J. Wilcox, and Phil Poynter. Visionaire and Lacoste (now celebrating its 75th anniversary) will debut the shirts tomorrow at a party in Paris, where haute couture week began today.

Frank Gehry to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Venice Biennial


Elsewhere, while Starck and Foster are charting the seven seas, Frank Gehry is in his rumpus room in the basement, trying to figure out how to clear off some space in his trophy case, as it’s just been announced that the starchitect will be receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s Venice Biennial in September. Hopefully those extra couple of months will give him enough time to find a space for the new award. We recommend maybe just moving the Pritzker into the garage, because, really Frank, you never use the dang thing anymore. Here’s a bit:

With this award, the desire is to stress — in line with the spirit of the 11th Architecture Biennale — how much Gehry’s work is the significant result of years of experimentation. “Frank Gehry has transformed modern architecture”; writes Aaron Betsky in his motivation. “He has liberated it from the confines of the ‘box’ and the constraints of common building practices. As experimental as the art practices that have been his inspiration, Frank Gehry’s architecture is the very modern model for an architecture beyond building.”

The Board has also underlined the important presence Gehry will have in Venice with his Venice Gateway, the water gate linking the city to the airport.

A ha! There’s the line. Very clever, you Venetians — give him the award so he’ll one day finish the big project you’ve hired him for (and maybe it’ll also persuade him to stay on budget, too).

Lord Foster Gets into the Yacht Design Game


What’s with these famous architects and designers and gigantic yachts? Maybe taking a page from Philippe Starck‘s plans to build a massive “green” boat, Lord Foster has gotten into the game and has teamed up with a boat manufacturer to design super-yachts (or “really big yachts” if you don’t like reading prefixes), the first of which will roll off the assembly line in September. But, somewhat like Starck’s commitment to earth-friendly floating behemoths, Lord Foster is also doing his part and the super-yachts will be available by timeshare for an annual fee of $2 million, thus allowing the mom and pop shop owner to experience super-yachting on a regular basis. Here’s a bit:

Participants can spend up to 34 nights every year on board one of the $16m yachts. Each vessel accommodates 12 guests and eight crew.

The aluminium-hull, 132ft yachts are said to provide significantly more light inside and deck space outside than rivals in the same class.

The part-time owners will be able to enjoy a glass-walled main saloon with 180-degree views. Over the eight years of the scheme, the owners can rent the super-yacht out for up to $80,000 a week in high season — and can expect to recoup 70% of the initial investment when each of the luxury boats is sold.

Dreams of a ‘Fashion Pope’ Dashed


As a Catholic, it is this writer’s duty to always be on the lookout for ways to work in references to the Pope in everyday conversation. It’s just what we Catholics do. So, understandably, we were excited to retire the old standard when asked an obvious question: “Do I want to go to the carnival?! Is the Pope Catholic?! Of course I want to go!” with a newer, hipper version that the kids would respond to: “Does the Pope wear Prada?!” That would work, of course, had the speculations that the Pope’s bright red shoes were, in fact, specially designed by the Italian fashion house. Sadly, the rumors that we were in the midst of a “Fashion Pope” came to an end this weekend, as it was confirmed that he isn’t wearing Prada after all, but shoes made by a simple cobbler in Novara, Italy. But while that news is sad, we’re hopeful for something else to come around one day soon. Until then, we’ll just suffer through some good ol’ Irish Catholic guilt for wanting it so badly to be true.

Longest Guided Tour Yet of Libeskind’s Contemporary Jewish Museum


One more and then we’ll lay off, we promise. You’ll recall we spent some time passing you along to various links when Daniel Libeskind‘s Contemporary Jewish Museum opened in San Francisco. Although those were terrific, a vast majority were filled with a lot of “Isn’t this building just the bees knees?!” and didn’t give a very good tour of the place. Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal‘s David D’Arcy took a trip to the new museum and offers up a great tour of both the building and the artwork therein. It’s a swell piece, with lost of detail about nearly everything, for all you Libeskind buffs or fans of contemporary Jewish things. Here’s a bit about working within the building and the limitations learned from Libeskind’s other museum projects:

Past the CJM’s gift shop with Libeskindian angularity and jagged windows that double as product displays, and up a shimmering white staircase that will test the nimbleness of aged donors, the feel gets lighter. Underneath the upward pointing tip of the tilted cube is what the museum calls the yud space — named for the Hebrew letter it resembles. Inside, the white conical volume’s 36 diamond-shaped windows are arrayed like stars in a mythological sky. Their shadow-play on the sloping walls as light passes through is beguiling. “Flat objects” — CJM talk for painting and sculpture — will not be exhibited there. It’s a wise decision, given the struggles in Mr. Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum and his Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto to show paintings in galleries built with his branded tilt. So far, the yud space will be used for readings and sound installations and for rental events.

A Visual Tutorial on David Byrne’s Playing the Building


After we posted news of it a few weeks back, followed shortly thereafter by 99% of every blog on the planet, thus making it a viral-y thingie, Wired has returned to David Byrne‘s Playing the Building project and have put together a video tutorial of just how the thing works, what’s connected to what, and so on. You might be a little tired of seeing the project talked about by now, but this one’s some fun, getting into the technical end of things. And really, who can’t get enough of listening to Byrne’s carefully-paced speaking voice?

Friday Photo: The Butterfly Effect

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Photo: Brian Franczyk / Thea Dickman for Wright

What do you get when you cross Gio Ponti with Piero Fornasetti and a bunch of caterpillars? All we know is that it involves lithographed butterflies—and you can sit on it. Continuing with our collaboration theme, in today’s Friday photo, we bring you the butterfly-adorned, lacquered ash armchair designed by Ponti and Fornasetti around 1951 for Fornasetti Milano. The chair was sold last month for $60,000 (a steal compared to that Titanic life preserver we told you about earlier this week) at Wright‘s sale of “objets d’affection” from Nilufar Gallery, the Milan-based design and textiles mecca founded by Nina Yashar that this year is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. The sale’s stunning exhibition catalogue (designed by Rick Valicenti/Thirst with Wright’s James Potsch and Jennifer Mahanay) describes Nilufar as “one of the most singular voices in design today. Channeling the energy of Via della Spiga, the works are fashionable—at once reflective and progressive. Harmonious compositions of color, line, and form meld against a backdrop of modern and contemporary history.” Just thinking about it gives us, well, butterflies.

Eyes, Words Deceive Richard Hell, Christopher Wool

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psychopts.gifOn Wednesday evening, many art lovers not dining at David Zwirner for the Friends of the High Line benefit could be found several blocks east at the Strand, where painter Christopher Wool (above, at far left) and writer/musician Richard Hell (center) sat down to talk about words with Barry Schwabsky (far right), the poet and art critic. Hell and Wool, which only sounds like an unstoppable vaudeville duo, teamed up to create Psychopts (JMC & GHB Editions), a slim paperback that collects 57 images of deceptive word pairs that caught Hell’s attention over decades of reading. Out of the corner of his eye, he would spy “incest.” The word was “nicest.” He saw “Sinatra” in “sirens” and mistook “salve” for “slave,” while “facts” turned into “farts.”

salve slave.jpg“I’ve been collecting these pairs of words for years, but hadn’t been able to figure out how to use them,” Hell told the capacity crowd, which included painter Dana Schutz and a group of art students visiting from Stockholm. “For 30 years these things had just been mildly frustrating me.” The idea for the collaboration was born after Hell and Wool, already friends, saw the 2006 exhibition at the New York York Public Library on artist/writer collaborations. They spent more than a year of Thursdays together to choose word pairs from Hell’s list, experiment with typefaces, and figure out how to combine them into a single image. At first, Hell said, they “looked too much like design, something that could be in an advertisement.” A breakthrough came when they turned to one of Wool’s favorite tools. “We attacked the words with a Xerox machine,” said Hell. The resulting images (like the salve/slave example, pictured above) wobble and glow with the ghostly fuzz of degraded copies.

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