Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hussein Chalayan at the Design Museum in London

Exhibition at the Design Museum in London : 22 January – 17 May

Leading the forefront of contemporary fashion design, the twice named 'British Designer of the Year,' Hussein Chalayan, is renowned for his innovative use of materials, meticulous pattern cutting and progressive attitudes to new technology.

The exhibition at the Design Museum in London is the first comprehensive presentation of Hussein Chalayan’s work in the UK. Spanning fifteen years of experimental projects, the exhibition explores Hussein Chalayan's creative approach, his inspirations and the many themes which influence his work such as cultural identity, displacement and migration.
Exhibits include ‘Afterwords’ which explores the notion of ‘wearable, portable architecture’ in which furniture literally transforms itself into garments; ‘Airborne’ bringing the latest LED technology to fashion design with a spectacular dress consisting of Swarovski crystals and over 15,000 flickering LED lights; ‘Before Minus Now’ a dress made of materials used in aircraft construction which changes shape by remote control and ‘Readings’ a dress comprising of over 200 moving lasers presenting an extraordinary spectacle of light

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Pure beauty, pure genius : KYRIE Requiem in D Minor, KV 626: II - Mozart

Let's pay attention to the second of silence at 2:18 minute which reveals the complete genius of Mozart. He manages to integrate silence into his music, this is brilliant !

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Prada Foundation new art project will coincide with the Venice Biennale

Fondazione Cini

The Milan-based Prada Foundation will be presenting an exhibition of Pop artist John Wesley to coincide with the 53rd Venice Biennale. The Fondazione Giorgio Cini, a non-profit cultural centre on the island of San Gorgio Maggiore, which was built by the famed Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, will be the space welcoming the show.

The curator Germano Celant describes Wesley's style as "a vocabulary of pop imagery and private emotions that are one of the most mysterious and compelling to define." The exhibition will feature work draw as well as documentary material such as cutouts, photographs and magazine covers.

This is not the first exhibition / project the Prada Foundation has organized. Artists such as Dan Flavin, Steve McQueen or Francesco Vezzoli had already been selected by the Foundation in the past.

To learn more: and

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jonathan Meese at Thaddaeus Ropac's Gallery in Salzburg

New sculptures byJonathan Meese are exhibited at Thaddaeus Ropac's Gallery in Salzburg until 17 January. Meese's esthetics of the exuberant characterizing his sculptures, pictures, and stage sceneries can hardly be assigned to one definite style or school. Meese creates his own universe far from the standards. It is populated by Caligula, Stalin, Scarlett Johansson, Marquis de Sade, Richard Wagner, Balthus, and Dr. No, to name just a few.

For this show, Meese mainly devoted himself to the classical fields of painting, drawing, and, in particular, sculpturing. Meese's position as an artist is defined by his striving for the autonomy of art and for general negation of self-reference. His concern is not about the artist's ego realizing itself in art but about the separation of both spheres from each other. The utopian project of a dictatorship of art - a goal often proclaimed in Meese's performances - is in the centre of Meese's work. As Meese puts it: "Art is completely indifferent about how Jonathan Meese feels."

General "HYBRISIS" (Bunter Lolly voll Abenteuer), 2007

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Annie Leibovitz at the National Portrait Gallery in London

Annie Leibovitz, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rob Besserer, Cumberland Island, Georgia, 1990Photograph © Annie LeibovitzFrom Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990 – 2005
If you've missed it, better run because the exhibition will be over soon...
"I don't have two lives," Leibovitz says. "This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it." The exhibition features many of Leibovitz's best-known portraits of public figures, including actors such as Nicole Kidman, and Brad Pitt.
The show also highlights images of artists and architects such as Richard Avedon, Brice Marden, Philip Johnson, and Cindy Sherman.

At the heart of the exhibition, Leibovitz's personal photography documents scenes from her life, including the birth and childhood of her three daughters, and vacations, reunions, and rites of passage with her parents and extended family.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990–2005 threads together the two sides of Leibovitz's work both chronologically and creatively, projecting a narrative of the artist's private life against the backdrop of her public image as one of the world's best-known portrait photographers.

Google allows you to visit El Prado in 3D

The Web giant has made a virtual museum on its Google Earth software available. Fourteen masterpieces of the famous Madrid Museum can be seen in high definition from any computer.
Admire the details of Three Graces by Rubens, the reflection of the painter in the mirror of Las Meninas by Velasquez or the white light of the convicted Fusillades of Goya, all in front of your screen computer, the latest magic tool by Google.
A principle not new at all, to the contrary to what Google says in their press release. The three dimensions museums that can travel in three dimensions exist since the first CD Roms. But the search engine has made a major innovation: the use of mapping software Google Earth to offer the viewer a selection of works exhibited in the museum. This is absolutely brilliant ! Thanks Google !

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

London Art Fair 2009

Is the art market crashing or is it going to crash a year and a half after the "financial crisis" ?
London Art Fair, the largest Modern British and contemporary art showcase in the UK, is apparently alright and only the smallest galleries were today suffering from the economic downturn. With a reputation both for quality and accessibility, the Fair brings together over a hundred leading British galleries, a selection of international projects and a showcase of contemporary photography at Islington’s Business Design Centre, Islington, which means that you can buy artworks from £20 to £1million pounds.

This year, the Art Projects section of the Fair welcomes a selection of galleries from New York, Madrid, Beijing, Frankfurt, Dublin, Belfast and London. Art Projects is a platform for galleries to bring stimulating and experimental contemporary practice to the Fair.

Photo50, successfully launched at the Fair in 2007, returns with a curated display of 50 photographs drawn from the international photographic scene. Major artists are positioned alongside rising stars and all the work on display will again be for sale.

Also amongst Art Projects, HF Contemporary Art will show important pieces by the seminal "Viennese Actionist" Hermann Nitsch, I-MYU Projects will profile emerging art from Korea, Flowers will show Max Dean's robotic collapsing chair.

A recession-busting £20 Video Booth offers high-quality, editioned video art works for only £20. The aim is to introduce a new audience to video art and to profile artists early in their careers. Each edition will be signed and sold in a specially made case.

Husband and wife team Rob and Nick Carter work together to create what they describe as ‘images without cameras and paintings without brushes’. Their site-specific billboard installation outside the Fair consists of 42 neon words on a white aluminium board which explores the 'stroop' effect - the difficulty people have in reacting to words illustrated in a colour specifically different to that which it spells. Individual words are for sale at the Fine Art Society's booth in the Fair. Rob and Nick's work is collected by Elton John, David and Victoria Beckham, Simon Fuller, Philip Treacy and Mathew Williamson.
The preview evening party welcomed Gavin Turk, Adam Dant and rumoured was Sophie Dahl...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Madonna strikes a pose for Louis Vuitton

From the Times Online

January 3, 2009

"This was really different," explains Antoine Arnault, communications director of Louis Vuitton, when asked how Madonna came to front the company's new spring/summer campaign. "Usually, these things take much, much longer," he explains; a lengthy process of identifying the right person to embody the fashion and luxury-goods brand, the right photographer, the right look for the campaign, plus, of course, all the deal-making a project like this involves. This time, however, pretty much everything was agreed inside a week.

"On the Monday," Arnault recalls, "we had a meeting, and Marc Jacobs suggested Madonna. I thought, yes, great idea, but it will never happen. Then, in the meeting, Marc sent her a text saying, ‘Love, would you like to be the new Louis Vuitton woman?' Five minutes later, she'd replied. He showed me his phone, and she'd said, ‘Yes, I'd love to do it.'" What could be simpler ?

Clearly, when a big brand like Louis Vuitton chooses a new face for its campaign, it's not just a matter of affectionate text messages between Marc Jacobs and Madonna. Men like Louis Vuitton's CEO, Yves Carcelle, have to agree that it is a good idea, not a whim, as well as, of course, Carcelle's boss and Antoine Arnault's father, Bernard Arnault, head of the LVMH luxury-goods empire.

But as Antoine Arnault sees it, "Marc knows the brand probably better than anyone now," having been artistic director for a decade, during which time Louis Vuitton has expanded massively. Jacobs had seen Madonna in concert the week before, but it wasn't some "let's be crazy" decision, Arnault explains, citing how Jacobs had previously picked J-Lo as the face of Louis Vuitton in 2003. "That wasn't an obvious choice, perhaps, but it instantly put us on the top in the US in one campaign.

"Madonna is glamorous," Arnault continues. "She has a global image. She's the ultimate performer and businesswoman, and not someone who is just a famous singer. She has travelled; she has tried to change things." And if her personal life isn't perfect right now, "Well, that only makes her more human." Once the proposal had been made, and provisionally accepted, in both cases by text, "Then we had to agree on a figure, a concept, a photographer." Yet the whole process seems to have been plain sailing – an object lesson, if you like, in the degree of certainty that people at the top of the fashion industry tend to display about their creative choices.

The figure? Well, just how much Madonna is being paid for what is, in a sense, both one day's work and the product of many years at the top of her game is a moot point. Some have claimed it's $10 million (£6.6 million). But Arnault is careful to puncture that, saying, "The figure is really, really lower than that. In times like these, it would be totally irresponsible to pay anyone $10 million."

The concept? Madonna has been photographed in a nostalgic, Parisian bistro setting, perhaps at that "waiters whistling as the last bar closes" moment in the early hours. "Only it's in LA," Arnault quips, not Paris - "One of those French bistros in California where you really think you're in France" - and it's daytime and there are hundreds of paparazzi outside. Madonna smoulders quietly, all fishnets and high kicks, with a glamour that gives more than a nod to Dietrich, long an acknowledged influence. She's wearing Marc Jacobs' ready-to-wear clothes for Louis Vuitton, styled by Marie-Amélie Sauvé, with, of course, due prominence given to some lovely bags and shoes, those accessories that have long been such steady earners for the brand.

But there is a certain quietness to the images, a kind of gentleness, perhaps, which might also (along with that willingly professed prudence over Madonna's fee) be a sign of the extraordinary times we live in. Certainly, when I put it to Arnault that the crunch might be changing the aesthetic and that, in particular, a certain kind of flash advertising message now looks passé, even wrong somehow, he doesn't exactly demur. "Other people can try to rationalise every campaign, but there is certainly a feeling that emerges from designers, photographers, creatives of all kinds, which is maybe something they don't talk about, but which they can feel."

The photographer in question here is Steven Meisel, rather than Mert and Marcus, who have shot all of Louis Vuitton's campaigns since 2002, including those amazingly effective shots of J-Lo. "We were very happy with them," Arnault insists, but all good things come to an end – and, after all, it was Meisel who photographed the wilder, younger, more in-your-face Madonna who leapt off the pages of Sex, the book which caused such a storm back in 1992. So this campaign can be seen as something of a reunion, Meisel additionally having photographed Madonna for Vanity Fair late last year. Jacobs and Meisel are old friends, too, Arnault explains, "from the crazy years of the Eighties".

And once Antoine Arnault had assembled his dream team? "I think the three of them were in touch with each other on the phone almost every day," he says of the run-up to the shoot, “talking about ideas, sharing references, then talking about individual shots." On the big day itself, "About 50 people were on the set, which sounds like a lot, but it's all in the preparation, in the make-up and the set and so on. Once that was in place, Madonna would come out, get into position, and the shots went amazingly quickly, sometimes in about 15 minutes. It was a delight."
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