Central St Martins graduate Liz Black, has made her mark on the fashion world since graduating in 2010. Throughout her degree Black gained attention from all the right places – garnering stints in the prints department at Diane von Furstenberg and Elisa Palomino in New York and three seasons for Emilio de la Morena in London.
The Stockbroker, 2002, oil on canvas
In case you didn’t hear, Kanye West used a painting from a series he commissioned from George Condo as the cover of last year’s release My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album was promptly rejected by numerous retail outlets enraged and disgusted by the cover, which depicted the singer straddled by an armless naked woman with wings. That was exactly what West had in mind.
At the beginning of the month, cycling through a park, I came across a flash mob doing a silent rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The movements — and in particular the “raised-monster-hand twist” move — have become so ubiquitous, that it took me about 5 seconds to recognize what they were doing. If that. Now that’s what I call a case for Collective Memory! And maybe even Meme Theory…
With 7 days to go until All Hallows’ Eve, and even fewer until the best parties this coming weekend, you could sit at home with a copy of this cocktail recipe list (you’ve never seen a Martini like an Eyeball-tini!), find the Thriller video on YouTube, and channel some sort of zombie-Tom Cruise from Cocktail – OR — you can just make that the pre-party and head out to some of the more interesting Halloween parties White Line Hotels destination cities have to offer.
In London? Maybe you’ve found yourself strolling down Mare Street and seen the Last Tuesday Society Shop. If you have, then you already know why any Halloween party they’re throwing is probably pretty awesome. Their Danse Macabre is this coming Friday. The dress code: “the beautiful and the damned”. The Venue: a forgotten Art Deco picture palace in Elephant and Castle. Need more persuading? Check out the video on their shop’s website.
In New York? Spend at least one Halloween in your life at the famous vortex of artistic death and destruction that is the Hotel Chelsea. Once again this year you can pull up your bar stool next to the ghosts of Dylan Thomas and Nancy Spungen at the Chelsea Room for a $10 cover charge (and an open bar until 10pm). What night? Halloween itself, of course — the 31st.
In Vienna? Not so into going out drinking and dancing all night? Craving something frightfully refined? Then book for the Halloween dinner at Palais Esterházy. Enjoy a themed buffet dinner alongside music and readings.
When I walked through the darkened entry door of Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum last week, there were a few things I expected to find, and even to feel, when visiting the first major survey of the movement. A Michael Graves tea kettle, for example. Maybe an occasional twinge of repulsion as well. Postmodernism was, in a way, very reactive; surely not all of its expressions could hold up decades later. Add to the mix that no one seems to know how many more “post” prefixes to add on to accurately describe where we’ve philosophically been at in the last 10-20 years, and what I really expected was an almost indescribable suffocating nausea. I also expected that to fuel a good few conversations about why we, in a collective sense, seem to be struggling to throw over the weight of post-modernism (or post-post-modernism, or so on…) the way they had done with modernism, and just get on with it.
The last thing I expected was to be slapped in the face, almost immediately, with an overwhelming and incongruous sense of nostalgia. How on earth did that happen? Jenny Holzer’s Protect Me From What I Want never seemed so relevant…
In one way, I was relieved. That kind of reaction must really mean that post-modernism really is dead. The discussion is over. We are free. So why did I still feel such a sense of loss?
For one, the curation and exhibition design were excellent, and they knew what they were doing: throwing a funeral service. The low lighting, ostensibly to protect the objects exhibited, worked with the dark industrial display units to create an extremely somber atmosphere that at times created the perfect backdrop, by means of contrast, to postmodernism’s most colorful and playful moments. Pieces by early postmodernist Italian design group Memphis were among the works that looked more joyous for this context; the expected Michael Graves tea kettle, however, could have been an Egyptian relic in its low-lit vitrine.
Postmodernism covered a lot of ground, and the stand-out achievement of the exhibition was the successful transition between art, architecture, product design, film, fashion and, perhaps most importantly, music. Pop songs become siren songs, irresistibly pulling you around dark corners to discover the next chapter in Postmodernism’s story, and then decline. Indeed, the room on pop music seems to serve as the exhibition’s control room. Here costumes from Grace Jones, David Byrne, and Klaus Nomi are displayed at unnatural heights, elevating the characters they represent to a God-like status. If any doubt remains as to music’s importance in the exhibition’s narrative, that becomes as dead as the movement itself at the exhibition’s end. Staring at Andreas Gursky’s Tokyo Stock Exchange (1990), you’re pulled around one last corner, past a Robert Longo drawing, by the sound of New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle. In this last dark room is the video Longo directed for the song, and it’s almost impossible not to see it as an epitaph for a movement that, at that time, was just beginning to crash under its own weight:
I feel fine and I feel good
I’m feeling like I never should
Whenever I get this way
I just don’t know what to say
Why can’t we be ourselves like we were yesterday
For a different London experience, base yourself at White Line Hotels London edit The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington.
Contributing writer: Melissa Frost
Photos: Victoria & Albert Museum
You know it, I know it, but still no one says it very often: art fairs are terrible places to see art. The atmosphere is always…oh how best to say it…something like being on one of those black rubber people-mover conveyor belts designed to shuffle gawking masses past valuable items of interest and a pre-designated speed. Sounds fun, right? But, should it even be fun? I mean, art fairs are trade fairs, after all, and their purpose is for doing business. If sometimes that business can be done after hours at a party or bar too, all the better, but business is still the word of the day. And sales.
London’s Frieze Art Fair still hasn’t changed those final keywords of what the event is all about, but it has succeeded in presenting itself as just one part of a larger yearly cultural event through sidelines such as the TV-broadcasted Frieze Film, educational programs aimed at younger children, an off-site music program, and of course the on-site artists commissions and the Emdash Award (previously the Cartier Award). Past their own attempts to increase the scope of Frieze, the city’s galleries and artists don’t pass up the opportunity to make the most of the energy the fair brings in, and Frieze weekend sees some of London’s best exhibitions, and parties. Truth be told, unless you’re an industry professional, you don’t even have to step foot in Regent’s Park to get the most out of what the Frieze Art Fair has to offer.
If the business side of the art game leaves you cold or, shall we say “Frieze-ing”, here’s my top 5 off-site picks for the Frieze Art Fair. And guess what? For the first, you don’t even have to be in London.
LuckyPDF TV Ok, so this one is a half-cheat, because you can also go see the Peckham collective on set at the Frieze Art Fair, but you can also watch them live from your computer screen, anywhere in the world, from now until sunday at 4pm (London time). www.luckypdf.com
No Neutral Ground at the German Embassy (22 Belgrave Square) is something you might look over at first glance, but is worth the effort for Melanie Manchot’s Perfect Mountain. Here the German-born, London-based photographer has asked tourists atop an alpine glacier to don traditional costume, and pose in front of a backdrop of the mountain they are standing on. The next time a holiday seems surreal, remember Perfect Mountain. This one goes a bit longer — it’s on until October 20th.
Wilhelm Sasnal opens for Frieze weekend at the Whitechapel Gallery. Mixing a bit of art history with a bit of internet found imagery (think Roy Orbison meets Georges Seurat, and then a few more characters), even if the work isn’t so much your thing, the Whitechapel’s always worth checking out.
Sarah Lucas‘ Artist in Bed at St John Hotel (1 Leicester Square) has the easiest opening hours of anything this weekend: 7am until midnight (i.e., if you miss this, you’re just lazy). The sculptures are installed in the bar, and there’s a good chance you’ll be somewhere near there at some point, so stop by for a drink and a viddy.
The Evening Before the Morning After: on the subject of bars, did you hear the one about the alcoholic artist? No, me neither… Mario Garcia Torres invited a selection of artists to send him their ideas for cocktails, recipe included, to be mixed at Bistrotheque on the 14th from 8pm. Consider it a homage to Gilbert & George, and critical commentary on the culture and expectation of artists and alcohol, and just a fantastic opportunity to imbibe some of the most creative cocktails you’ve seen.
Where else can you spend the evening before the morning after? White Line Hotels edit The Ampersand Hotel .