Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lou Reed for Supreme

The new icon of the next Supreme Collection is Lou Reed ! After Kate Moss, Raekwon, Dipset, or Kermit the Frog it's the New York singer who has been selected by the Streetwear brand.
And surprise last week, New York itself woke up with ad posters everywhere with the famous Velvet Underground singer. T-shirts should also be produced and sold-out in 5 min, as usual...

Thanks to Allen for the images.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Exclusive Interview with artists Kolkoz

Art is Alive catches up with collective artists Kolkoz and I have to say that the answers are worth it. Thanks Kolkoz for doing this interview !

Can you please introduce yourself ? How would you describe yourself and how would you describe your art?

Je m'appelle Benjamin Moreau, j'ai 35 ans et une moustache bizarre collée sous le nez. j'ai rencontre Samuel Boutruche lors d un tournoi de golf, ou nous avons termines second ex-eco, nous avons échangés nos coordonnées pour fêter cette étrange coïncidence et de fil en aiguilles nous avons décidés de monter une entreprise commune du nom de Kolkoz.

Au sein de Kolkoz nous élaborons des projets destinés a nous inventer chaque année de nouveaux métiers (nous occupons chacun dans cette entreprise le rôle de DRH).
Ainsi, cette année, nous avons décidé d être peintre. A dire vrai, ça n'est pas facile tout les jours, la bohème, mais on aime bien quand même.

Do you feel like you belong more to the fashion universe or to the contemporary art world?
Perhaps design and architecture rather than fashion and contemporary art or rather clubbing ?
Je ne sais pas trop ce que veux dire le mot RATHER... J'imagine que c'est une sorte de couteau très coupant, mais sinon je ne me sent pas trop proche de la FASHION (je ne sais pas trop ce que ca veut dire non plus d'ailleurs). A savoir si le DESIGN coupe en rondelle l'architecture plus que le clubbing, il faudrait faire des essais en laboratoire, apportez-moi des échantillons, on verra ce qu'on peut faire.

Do you believe that frontiers exist between fashion and art?Sûrement, une sorte de ligne Maginot, oui.

What is the role of an artist in today's world?
C'est justement la question que l'on se pose souvent, et c'est certainement pour cette raison que nous changeons de rôle aussi souvent. Pour avoir le plaisir de se poser la question le plus longtemps possible.

Does living in in Paris influence your creation's process ?
Oui, nous déjeunons souvent a Montmartre en ce moment.

What other artists, designers, architects do you feel close to?
Les freres Dalton, Sacco et Venzetti, bien sure, mais aussi, Patricia Carli, Bob Geldof ou Marie Myriam...

How far do you hope to go artistically speaking?
Toujours plus a l'ouest.

What gallery do you work with?
Emmanuel Perrotin.

Why did you choose this gallery ?
On aimait bien le galeriste.

Would you consider to do something else if you were not an artist ?
J'aurais aime être Boucher, personnellement.

What's your relation with le Baron ?
Assez bonne.

What are your upcoming projects ?
Nous projetons avec Samuel de construire une sorte de sculpture en forme de passage, ou il est impossible de circuler. Elle fera idéalement 3,5m de haut par 2,5m de large, et possédera une enseigne lumineuse ou sera inscrit le mot "EMOCLEW". Recto et verso.

Who would you dream to work for/with ?
Avec Samuel Boutruche.

To finish with, what would wish to this blog?
Je souhaite a ce blog de rencontrer le succès qu'il mérite. Je lui souhaite également une bonne santé, car après tout, c'est le plus important.

Thanks to Marlen Melone, you're a star.
To learn more:

Raven Row's inaugural exhibition, London

Raven Row's inaugural exhibition - to open on 28th February - is the first large UK show of the collages and mailings of New York artist Ray Johnson (1927-1995). Johnson used radical means to construct and distribute images, inadvertently inventing the ‘mail art movement’. He made art out of social life – both real and imagined – gathering celebrities, the art world, and friends into his work. His influence on twentieth century art far exceeds the recognition he receives.

‘Ray Johnson. Please Add to & Return’ will be the largest exhibition yet of Johnson's work in Europe. Significantly, it will be the first anywhere to represent Johnson's mailings, objects he regarded as gifts and thus contrary to the market, equally with the collage works he made for gallery exhibition in the sixties and seventies. Also included will be the collages he subjected to a seemingly endless process of reworking and overlaying that were found signed with multiple dates and neatly arranged in his house at the time of his death.

Raven Row is a new non-profit contemporary art exhibition centre at 56 Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, London. Constructed within two eighteenth-century silk merchants' houses onto which 6a Architects have added two contemporary galleries, the art centre stands on a part of the street that was known as Raven Row until 1895, when it was absorbed into Artillery Lane.

Monday, February 16, 2009

David Lachapelle in Paris

Kitsh, trash-religious, show-bizz photographer David Lachapelle is having a big retrospective at La Monnaie in Paris. You may like it or not, but one has to admit that some of the photographs are fascinating. It will run until 31 May 2009.

To learn more:
Exposition David Lachapelle 6 février au 31 mai 2009

I love AES+F

"The group that makes up AES+F consists of four Russian-born artists: Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky,Vladimir Fridkes. Working in collaboration, the four create a concept, discuss the story they want to illuminate and decide the best way to proceed. This could involve photography, video, installation, mixed media works, or a combination of all these media.

In "The King of the Forest", the first in a four part project by AES+F, a mythological creature based on the folklore of medieval Europe, kidnaps the best and most beautiful children, keeping them locked away in his palace. The new "King" to which AES+F refers is the contemporary mass media, a force which seduces our children at an ever-increasingly young age. The subjects in advertising, models and pop stars, start their careers in very early childhood, losing those precious years of innocence and wonder. Times Square, the archetypal image of American Media, serves as the backdrop, juxtaposing a high-paced world flooded with energy and vitality, with the innocent character of children. In the first series, the group uses a vast architectural space (The Marble Palace in Saint Petersburg) as another monumental backdrop. The artists posed young ballerinas and models against this grand opulence, underlining the fragility of our children. Similarly, "More Than Paradise", the second installment of the project, takes place in the grand castlemosque Mohammed Ali in Cairo, Egypt. Here images of the Islamic world, often portrayed as disturbing and dangerous, are those of beauty and gentleness when populated by children."

No more comment, it's brilliant !
To learn more:

The Hermès revolution

The streetwear universe is accustomed to misappropriation and parody. That's exactly what the brand Six Pack has done for its "Modern Utopy" collection with the Hermès logo. The brand is known to get its inspiration from two movements of modern architecture : the Archigram and Superstudio. They both challenged the consumption society and we can definitely feel that in the products Six Pack develops.

The fake Hermès t-shirt shows the caleche in fire and the horse no longer heading up. Revolution hit again...or the "credit crunch" should we say.

This collector is sold in the The Lazy Dog shops in Paris Bastille, The Lazy Dog Citadium and at Colette Paris for 40€.
Let's wait for Hermès' answer, maybe a case in justice...

To learn more:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Le Corbusier is more than alive at the Barbican in London

The master, the genius, the visionaire, Le Corbusier is coming to the Barbican in London for a series of events, exhibitions, discussions, conferences. Among them the exhibition entitled "Le Corbusier – il Maestro: An Exhibition of Furniture from Cassina" which opens on 05 March 2009 and runs until 28 April 2009.

A unique display of some of Le Corbusier's most famous items of furniture, including the Casiers Standard system of container units designed for the Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau, Paris in 1925, and the Equipement intérieur de l'habitation designed for the Salon d'Automne, 1928.
Drawn from the Cassina I Maestri collection, the furniture provides a fascinating focus on Le Corbusier's work as a designer and traces the history of his iconic designs.
Curated by Piero Lissoni.

Don't miss it !

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Takashi Murakami at Gagosian London

Yet to be titled, 2009
Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London, will showcase an exhibition of new paintings by Takashi Murakami until 10 April .

Beneath its bright and playful appearance, Murakami's art deftly challenges the established dichotomies of high art and popular culture, East and West, present and past, life and death, humor and gravity, skepticism and belief. Visually, his work merges the dystopic worlds of popular animé and manga cartoons with the ultra-refined techniques of traditional Nihonga painting. The centerpiece of Murakami's compact exhibition is a vast and intricate five-panel painting, which possesses the intensity of such master works as Tan Tan Bo Puking – a.k.a. Gero Tan (2002). If the jaunty toons Kaikai and Kiki have come to be seen as avatars of the opposing aspects of Murakami's own character, then this immense and ambitious work, jostling with Kaikais and Kikis of every size, shape, and humor, can be interpreted to be his ultimate self-portrait, predicated on an identity that is very much of our time — culturally specific yet ambivalent, mercurial, and multiplicitous.The Kaikai Kiki painting is flanked by new paintings in the Time Bokan series, begun in 1993.

A key image in Murakami's oeuvre, the skull-shaped mushroom cloud is borrowed from the eponymous Japanese TV animé series from the 1970s. The cloud symbolized the villains' demise at the end of each episode, although they would reappear, unfailingly, in the next, to the delight of their young audience. Although the creators of the animé series could not have intended to send a positive message about the atomic bombing of Japan, let alone a safe return from it, the invincible villains became great favorites with children. By reviving this powerful image of Manichean paradox as a form of vanitas in relation to self-portraiture, Murakami provides a bold interpretation of a classical genre within a wholly new iconography.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Francesco Vezzoli has been called both a tease and a whore

Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Francesco Vezzoli has been called both a tease and a whore. The tease camp points to such recent artworks as a trailer for a movie that doesn’t exist and a premiere for a play that never ran, while the other cites his self-admitted obsession with bold-faced names, many of whom — Helen Mirren, Milla Jovovich, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Sharon Stone, Courtney Love, and Benicio Del Torro, to name a few — have participated in these productions.

Both tendencies are evident in Vezzoli’s latest work, a highly polished, celebrity-endorsed marketing campaign for an utterly elusive product. Debuting tomorrow at Gagosian Gallery in Rome and running through March 21 is “Greed,” an exhibition based on a nonexistent perfume, featuring a minute-long commercial directed by Roman Polanski and starring Portman and Michelle Williams, a series of billboard-like ads with images of famous Greed gals (artists ranging from Frida Kahlo to Eva Hesse), and a nifty bottle with a photograph of the artist in drag (an homage to Marcel Duchamp, also auteur of a fake perfume whose bottle has a self-portrait in drag).

And inside the bottle? Well, last we heard that’s still up in the air.

ARTINFO caught up with Vezzoli on the eve of the worldwide launch of his new fragrance and asked about his celebrities, his critics, and the fugitive scent of Greed.

Francesco, how did the idea for Greed come about?
I’ve done a trailer for a movie that didn’t exist, an election campaign for candidates who were completely fictitious, and a premiere for a play that was never going to run. A project about the launch of a perfume that didn’t exist seemed like a natural next step.

Miuccia Prada and Francois Pinault, owner of Gucci, have sponsored some of your works. Did you speak to people at these fashion lines to learn about building a campaign for perfume?
Miuccia Prada and Francois Pinault are collectors of mine, but we never talk perfume.

Do you imagine that Greed has a smell?No, I think that Greed smells like nothing, but nothing smells like greed.

That was clever. Have you practiced that answer?No, no. Only for you.
To give you a more serious answer, I played with the idea of Greed smelling like something. But then I was so happy about the video, which is made by one of the best movie directors in the world, that I thought that even if I worked on a perfume for three years with the best noses in the world I wouldn’t be able to find a perfume that defines the notion of a perfume as well as this perfume commercial defines the notion of a perfume commercial. I presume you started this project before the current economic crisis. Yes, otherwise nobody would have green-lighted it.

Do you feel that the meaning of the work has changed as a result?
Well, some people have said, You are clairvoyant, you have anticipated the moment. Others may think that because it’s such a daring project, it belongs more to the type of work that people would have done before the crisis. Me, I just hope that greed will evaporate like a perfume.

It would be very easy for me to claim territory on this project and say that it has a critical and moral stance, etc., etc., but I don’t like to sell this version. I thought of Envy by Gucci and wondered how to push it forward. I thought to myself, What’s similar to a capital sin, and Greed came up. Unfortunately greed will always be fashionable, with or without a crisis.

So you don’t think of the project as having much of a critical element?
No, I do. I think my work is very political, because it deals with the perception of celebrity culture, which is something that we’re all involved with. But many critics get stuck on the fact that I have celebrities in my work and conclude that since my work is about surface, it stays on the surface. So I have given up trying to claim a political aspect to my work. I leave it to others to judge.

But it’s great that a gallery like Gagosian allowed me to play with everyone’s identity: I play with my identity, since on the label I look like a woman; Roman Polanski plays with his identity by doing the job that a movie director hates the most, which is being a perfume commercial director; and the actresses play with their identity, because they accept to do what most actresses hate the most, which is to be like coathangers; and the gallery allows me to play with its public identity by claiming they produce or sell perfume.

As part of the exhibition, you’ve designed Greed posters featuring female artists like Eva Hesse, Leonor Fini, and Frida Kahlo. How do all these figures relate to one another?The list is very perversely chosen, because I wanted to mix the sacred and the profane. I deliberately mix artists who had an aura of integrity, like Eva Hesse, with others who have an aura of corruption: either completely sold-out commercial figures like Tamara de Lempicka or social hangers-on like Leonor Fini, who you only see in that store in SoHo where there are all those dreadful multiples of Salvador Dali and pictures of her going to parties with him.

Is the idea that these are women who would use the perfume Greed?
No, the idea is that this project is all about corrupting everyone’s image into commercial promotion. Since we are turning an artistic structure into a perfume commercial, why not use artists as the ultimate testimonials to push the project onto a more perverse edge. I thought:
What’s more violent than imagining Eva Hesse wearing Greed?

What do you think your work says about celebrity culture?I think our culture’s obsession with celebrities is evident, but few artists deal with this topic, because the moment you touch it you feel corrupted. You’re dealing with your own vanities, your own insecurities, your own desires to be close to celebrities, to know the secrets of their visibility. I see myself as a mirror holder. I hold up the mirror and say, OK, this is the reality we live in. These are the fascinations most people have, and art should look at them the way art looks at most phenomena. I don’t think the crisis will make the obsession for celebrities any weaker. It will make us less rich, it will make us less interested in money, but not in celebrities. Even in a changed financial panorama, I think people will still go to see movies and want to dream.

You’ve worked with celebrities who are very much of the moment, such as Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett, but also with figures like Anita Ekberg, whose time has passed. Do you think that people relate differently to these two types of celebrities?In the beginning I was fascinated by nostalgia. I deliberately quoted Italian and European film history, and I thought that was my contribution to the artistic discourse. Later, I shifted to dealing more in the moment. I wanted to make work that was more realistic and less oneiric, less evocative.

If I look at the sculpture of Jeff Koons, like Michael Jackson and Bubbles, and I think that if I’m capable of putting in my videos the people that Jeff Koons uses as subjects in his sculpture — or the contemporary equivalent in terms of the amount of media curiosity they generate — I’ll be making an interesting social study.

Who do you have in mind?Right now I would do a project with Zac Efron if I could. I am fascinated by youth culture, by all these movies I would never go watch. I open up these magazines and I don’t know who these people are, but clearly they generate an insane interest, which feeds my curiosity.
In the end it’s all about making art, because making art, being an artist, is about creating an aura about things that don’t have one or creating an aura around your persona that then enables you to push boundaries or make different types of dreams on behalf of other people. It’s very natural for me that an artist is fascinated by big stars.

What about your interest in advertisements? You’ve done a movie trailer, political ads, and now a perfume campaign.
Well, I’m fascinated by propaganda. I never miss those exhibitions with the Russian posters from the ’20s, and I love that room at MoMA with all the old movie posters. I love when commercial obsession gets translated into an artistic language.

But do you see a difference between a trailer and a movie, between a political ad and an actual campaign?
I think there is a difference between art and a real trailer, but I don’t think there’s any difference between a real trailer and a movie. The promotion of something and the something itself sometimes merge very dangerously, but that’s world we live in.

A lot of your work seems to reference artists: Pasolini, Pirandello, now Duchamp. We could put Gore Vidal into this category as well. People will say that you’re obsessed with celebrities, but what about this other obsession, with artists of the past.

Well, they were celebrities too, but we like to deny that. I think Pasolini and Gore Vidal have always used the media for their best interests and to make their best work. Pasolini was a movie director who worked with the celebrity actors of his day, sometimes for commercial purposes; and he was a celebrity himself. Some of his best writings were the editorials he wrote for the Corriere della Sera on the front page, which would be as if Gore Vidal — God would wish that on us — were writing editorials for the front page of the New York Times. I think that whatever great artist or thinker we look at, they’ve all used whatever weapon they might have to attract interest to their thoughts.

I don’t see anything wrong with using celebrities to make clearer, more understandable statements or, in my case, simply to reflect a reality that has a huge power on our lives. I insist that the taboo surrounding my work comes from the fact that people get stuck on the presence of Gore Vidal or Cate Blanchett. I’m kind of stuck and surprised, too: I’m so surprised Polanski accepted. I thought this time maybe I was not going to be able to pull it off. I thought an actress might accept for vanity, although the ones I work with have way better job proposals than the ones I offered. But I thought: Polanski, why would he give a fuck about me? But he said yes.

What was it like to work with him?
A dream. He came to one of our meetings in this fake crocodile Ralph Lauren jewel box perfume promotional thing; he just got the ironic and critical aspect of the entire operation, and I think that’s why he accepted. It was the easiest professional relationship ever. My job was to commission him to make the commercial, and his was to direct it in his eponymous and unmistakable style. The last thing I wanted to do was put my finger in it and try to make it more Vezzoli than Polanski.

What is the role of humor in your work?
It’s the only strategy that I have. There are many contemporary artists who do so many great things, but there are very few who can really make you laugh. If you speak to movie producers they can tell you that you can make people cry with a couple of tricks, but to make people laugh is so hard. If I make them laugh, I win.

What are you working on now?We’re in the process of potentially remaking the Kinsey Report with the Prada Foundation. The trick would be to come up with a project that through artistic channels raises enough media curiosity so that the poll has a real scientific value. In the same way that the perfume commercial that Polanski did could easily be a real perfume commercial, even if it is a very wild and twisted and intellectual one, my dream with this Kinsey thing is that some serious scientists see real scientific evidence that they’ll be surprised with. To achieve that is very complicated, but I think that would be the point of an art project like that. I believe that doing pale, low-tech imitations of high standards belongs to the past in terms of artistic practice.

How concerned were you with the example of Duchamp as you conceived of Greed?
It was very important. His perfume bottle is such a genius piece. And then it ends up in the hands of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge — you can’t imagine a more appropriate metaphor for the past century, you know, Eau de Voilette by Duchamp ends up in the hands of the two most sophisticated, gay, creative brains in France since the War; it’s such a great story. The Duchamp perfume for me is unlike some of his objects — I know that this is dangerous to say, and people will think Vezzoli is taking some weird drugs — but compared to the urinal or other famous pieces, this has a kind of dandyish touch, a play with the vocabulary of fashion with Man Ray shooting him dressed like Rrose Selavy. I love that. There’s no real intellectual agenda. Just to say how much I loved that part of his work.
I gather there is an actual Greed bottle.

There is, right at the center of the gallery, and it looks like a very desirable sculpture, made in crystal.

Is there anything inside it? We’re discussing that right now. I want to put Scotch. Because it looks like piss.

MGMT for Petit Bateau

MGMT and Petit Bateau have collaborated together photoshooting the two members Ben and Andrew. It's Beni Valsson, the photographer who've been shooting them for this 2009 Summer campaign. Petit Bateau usually doesn't collaborate so it's the first time for the brand.

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Marc Jacobs multiplies collaborations with artists

After striking the pause with her father for the the Summer 2008 campaign - photoshoot signed by Annie Leibovitz - Sofia Coppola will be designing bags and shoes for Louis Vuitton.

"It's been a fantastic experience to design exactly what I wanted" she said about her work for the fashion house. The collection will be available in store on 9 March 2009. We knew that Marc Jacobs was a close friend of Sofia, having featured her in her Marc Jacobs campaign but it seems like Marc can't separate his work from collaborations with other artists whether Madonna or Stephen Sprouse.

In 2001 Stephen Sprouse collaborated with Vuitton for an accessories line. The Artistic Director used the famous Sprouse graffiti and declined it in green, pink and orange on shoes, bags and clothes. These products were available in store in January 2009 and were specifically launched to coincide with the New York retrospective on the arts of 80's entitled "Rock on Mars" as well "The Stephen Sprouse Book". On 15 Decembre, Louis Vuitton also launched, which showcases interviews of artists the artist worked with, such as Debbie Harry, Candy Pratts Price or Patricia Field.

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