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Archives: March 2013

Up Close and Peacocking: Garage Considers ‘Street Style’ Snapping Epidemic

Après the Satorialist, le déluge! Dasha Zhukova and the gang at Garage magazine, her artsy biannual, set out to make a short film exploring the world of fashion bloggers and the stylish types frequently featured on their bottomless digital pages. They ended up with something else entirely. “As we started to review the footage, two salient trends became apparent,” note the editors, “fashion editors frustrated by the ensuing commotion outside of shows, and the rise of ‘peacocking’ street style stars as a result of the proliferation of blogs.” The freshly completed short, “Take My Picture” (below), digs into both perspectives. stalwart Tim Blanks provides valuable perspective, pointing out Tommy Ton‘s exceptional eye, but it’s veteran street style photographer Phil Oh who takes the prize for best soundbite, comparing the fashion week pre-show melee of posing and snapping to a battle scene. “It’s become trench warfare,” he says.

Vintage Hotel Labels Live On in World Tour Seven Questions for Author Francisca Matteoli

Labels from the Central Hotel in Nantes, France (circa 1930s) and the Joia Hotel in Sao Paulo (circa 1964). © Louis Vuitton Archives

Remember when travel involved more than clutching bar-coded scraps and wheeling an ugly black case through “concourses”? Neither do we, but just imagine scenes from Titanic (pre-iceberg) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (without the murder)–all crisp kerchiefs, exotic matchbooks, and hotel labels slapped onto sturdy packing cases. Return to the golden age in the gilt-edged pages of World Tour, out this month from Abrams.

Chilean-born, Paris-based travel writer Francisca Matteoli (pictured) draws upon the vintage hotel labels collected by trunkmaker and traveler Gaston-Louis Vuitton (whose grand-père founded the leathergoods juggernaut) as fodder for a 21-city global adventure illustrated by oodles of illustrations, photos, vintage postcards, and more than 900 labels that live on as graphic souvenirs of getaways from Athens to Zermatt. “I realized that a small piece of paper like a simple label can tell a million stories,” says Matteoli. “Stories of woman and men, travelers, adventurers, gangsters, elegant people…and also of history, architecture, art, countries.” She made time between voyages to answer our seven questions about culling down the collection of labels, some personal favorites, and her own choice of luggage.

How did you come to write World Tour?
I was having lunch with Julien Guerrier, editorial director at Louis Vuitton, and I told him about my Chilean great grandfather and my family who always lived in hotels, and about our life in Chile and France…He then told me that Louis Vuitton had a magnificent collection of hotel labels and that we could connect our stories. He knew I liked writing stories, and we thought that it would be a very original way to talk about travel. That is how it all began.

How did you go about narrowing down/selecting the labels to feature in the book?
We wanted mythical hotels that are representative of the golden age of travel, that have a real visual quality–many of the labels are works of art. This allowed me to write not only about labels, but also about life, historical events, and people, because travel is connected with everything in life. We wanted a book that was both a pleasure to look at, and a pleasure to read.

What are some of your favorite labels from the collection of Gaston-Louis Vuitton?
The ones that bring back personal memories. The one of the Hotel Meurice in Paris–so refined, so art déco, because my grandparents liked walking down the rue de Rivoli when they came to Paris, as do the tourists today. The one of the Hotel du Louvre, where I lived with my family when we arrived from Chile. The Savoy Hotel in London–the label is very creative, very modern for its time–because my mother, who is Scottish, used to go to the Savoy when she was young. The Hotel Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, because I lived in Rio, love Rio, and this label is not only historical but also extremely stylish. The Waldorf Astoria in New York, where I have beautiful memories, so chic and a fine example of the architecture of the 50s.
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Quote of Note | Terry Jones

A photograph by Terry Jones taken at the Comme des Garçons showroom.

“My creative inspiration [for putting together these books] was seeing how [my wife] Tricia arranged her wardrobe. Fashion is not about the latest item you’ve bought–it’s an evolution of personal style. Today’s wardrobe is most inspirational when it has a history…

Selecting from the pages of i-D and sometimes making repro-facsimiles of the fashion pages to reflect the graphics of the time, together with transcripts of conversations or interviews with designers, then adding footnotes and facts, gave me opportunity to add a depth of hidden information. I avoided putting the book in chronological order–I prefer the moment being right, and these books are portfolios of moments in time, much like how the brain works. We have included images that I’ve found in i-D‘s archive or been given permission by the designer or some of our photographic contributors. We have also included video stills taken from screen grabs from my personal footage, as I love the blur of fashion.”

-Terry Jones, founder and creative director of i-D magazine, on his new Taschen series on contemporary fashion designers. The first three monographs–on Rei Kawakubo, Vivienne Westwood, and Yohji Yamamoto–will most likely be followed by books on Raf Simons and Rick Owens, according to Jones.

Diana Thater’s Videowall Bouquets Mesmerize at Armory Show

As Liz Magic Laser demonstrated through her fact- and figure-studded corporate sendup of a commission, less is rarely more at the Armory Show–a 15-year-old event that this year managed to celebrate its “centennial edition.” Exhibitors determined to get the most bang for their buck (a booth runs around $24,000, according to Laser’s tote bags) erect maze-like configurations to hang, store, and sell as much as possible. David Zwirner has recently taken a more Zen approach to the fair frenzy, devoting the gallery’s booth to a boldly presented solo show.

This year Zwirner gave over its prime rectangle of the fair floor (near the entrance and opposite the champagne bar) to Los Angeles-based video artist Diana Thater, whose haunting “Chernobyl” accompanied the gallery’s post-Sandy reopening last November. The Armory booth unveiled a trio of multi-monitor videowalls playing “Day for Night” (2013), footage of bruisey purple blooms that tremble like viscera through a persistent drizzle and the 16-millimeter haze of multiple camera techniques.

Thater began with bouquets of flowers, placed on a mirror on the ground, and hoisted her camera up on a crane to shoot from above. “They’re all made in sixteen-millimeter film, on a very old camera, and they’re double-exposed film, so they’re not layered in the edit process. They’re layered in the camera,” Thater told us at the fair. “It’s something very simple that’s made in a complicated way.” The bright blue L.A. sky, reflected in the mirror, is made dusky by a day-for-night camera filter. “I brought it down to look like evening so that the flowers would kind of melt into the sky,” she explained.
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Watch This: Martin Puryear on Printmaking

Art21′s year-long celebration of having profiled 100–count them!–artists on its its PBS Series Art in the Twenty First-Century rolls on, and with it come journeys into the vault for footage that never made it to air. The latest is this archival gem, filmed in 2002, in which Martin Puryear discusses his interest in printmaking and how the directness of the process contrasts with the accretive approach he takes with sculpture. Watch Puryear at work at Berkeley’s Paulson Bott Press, where he employs skills he learned as a student at the Swedish Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm, and see how the ideas explored in his sculptures manifest themselves on the page.

Chris Anderson on ‘Liberating’ Force of 3D Printing

This week’s episode of NPR’s On the Media tackles the past, present, and future of ownership, from fan fiction and fair use to the strange tale of who owns “The Happy Birthday Song.” Wired editor-turned-robotics entrepreneur Chris Anderson joined host Bob Garfield to discuss 3D printing, the technology so trendy that it was touted in the most recent State of the Union address. Anderson, author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, compared the current state of 3D printing to that of desktop publishing in 1985. “There was software that would allow you to do things that used to require a typographers’ union. Kind of extraordinary, because it adds the word ‘desktop’ in front of a word that was previously industrial,” he said. “It didn’t change the world by itself, but what it did do was it kind of liberated the concept of publishing from industry and put it in the hands of regular people.” So what does a 3D-printed future look like? According to Anderson, “When professional tools get in the hands of amateurs, they change the world.”

Help Preserve the Eames House, Get a Print

The Eames House in Pacific Palisades, California is approaching 70 (after a protracted design and building process, Charles and Ray moved in on Christmas Eve 1949) and the beloved landmark is need of some TLC. The Eames Foundation is ready to preserve the house as it existed when Charles and Ray lived and worked in it–plans call for not only conserving the house for the future but also celebrating the Eameses’ legacy and philosophy–but it’s going to need some help, and by help, we mean money.

The foundation recently launched a campaign to raise $150,000 toward preserving and protecting the Eames house for the next 250 years, with an incentive to donate in the form of hand-numbered original prints from Nebo (the interactive agency is also to thank for the campaign website). Each of the four Eames-inspired designs is available in a limited-edition of 500 prints. The prints are 75 tax-deductible dollars a piece, with all proceeds going to support projects of the Eames Foundation, and Herman Miller and Vitra are matching donations for each print purchased. Read more

In Brief: LACMA Plots MOCA Takeover, Imran Qureshi Bound for Met Rooftop, Adobe Awards

Imran Qureshi’s “Blessings Upon the Land of My Love” (2011), a site-specific installation commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. (Photo: Alfredo Rubio)

• The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has made a formal proposal to acquire the financially strapped Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times.

• Next to tackle the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s summer rooftop commission is Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi. His site-specific work, to be unveiled in May, will be the first to be painted directly onto the surfaces of the roof garden, the museum announced yesterday.

• Adobe has put out the call for entries for the 13th annual Adobe Design Achievement Awards, a global student design competition for individual and group projects produced with Adobe tools. Submissions will be accepted through June 21 in a dozen categories in three segments: traditional media, interactive experience, and motion and video.

• Can’t make it to Armory Week? Explore the main fair online, thanks to Artsy, and then consider how technology is transforming the practices of presenting and collecting art in this video of a recent discussion with Artsy co-founder Wendi Murdoch, artist Kenzo Digital, and Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu.

Quote of Note | Oscar de la Renta

“I don’t have favorites [of the pieces I've designed over the years]. Not until Alex [Bolen, now CEO] joined the company in 2003 did we even have an archive. Alex was appalled. He started buying pieces at auction or from vintage dealers. When I see these things, I think some are horrible. I always thought that in fashion, the most important thing is to move on. I think there are two kinds of designers: the survivors, like me, and the designers who so strongly identify with one look and one period in their careers that they can never get beyond it. I also have the memory of a mosquito, so the most important piece is the next piece, and the next collection, because I cannot remember the last.”

-Oscar de la Renta, in an interview with William Norwich for New York magazine

Scouring the Globe: A Brillo Box Moment, at the Armory Show and Beyond

It is both surreal and disturbing to watch people–Very Important People, no less–stagger around an art fair carrying unwieldy cardboard boxes, but such was the scene at yesterday’s Armory Show preview, where a rapidly shrinking tower of the colorful crates made famous by Andy Warhol was there for the taking. And take they did. The flurry of grabbing, folding, and foreign accents was apropos, as this was “Babel (Brillo Stockholm Type)” (2013) by Charles Lutz. The work was commissioned for the fair by Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum. He also curated the special “Armory Focus: USA” section of the fair, which includes Gagosian Gallery, making its Armory debut with a booth wallpapered in Warhol–the man, the myth, the camouflage.

This outbreak of Brillo Box fever is not an isolated incident. Belgian furniture brand Quinze & Milan has inked the appropriate licensing paperwork with the Andy Warhol Foundation to produce the Andy Warhol Brillo Box pouf (at left), a cushy foam cube screen-printed with the Brillo logo. The stool-sculptures will be unveiled next month at MOST in Milan, but the online retailer Fab is now taking pre-orders at $425 a pop.