Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art

Diego Rivera. Agrarian Leader Zapata. 1931. Fresco

Diego Rivera was the subject of MoMA’s second monographic exhibition which run from December 22, 1931, to January 27, 1932. MoMA brought Rivera to New York six weeks before the exhibition’s opening and gave him studio space within the Museum, a strategy intended to solve the problem of how to present the work of this famous muralist when murals were by definition made and fixed on site. Working around the clock with two assistants, Rivera produced five “portable murals”—large blocks of frescoed plaster, slaked lime, and wood that feature bold images drawn from Mexican subject matter and address themes of revolution and class inequity. After the opening, to great publicity, Rivera added three more murals, now taking on New York subjects through monumental images of the urban working class and the social stratification of the city during the Great Depression. All eight were on display for the rest of the show’s run. The first of these panels, Agrarian Leader Zapata, is an icon in the Museum’s collection.

This exhibition, until 14th May 2012, brings together key works made for Rivera’s 1931 exhibition, presenting them at MoMA for the first time in nearly 80 years. Along with mural panels, the show includes full-scale drawings, smaller working drawings, archival materials related to the commission and production of these works, and designs for Rivera’s famous Rockefeller Center mural, which he also produced while he was working at the Museum. Focused specifically on works created during the artist’s stay in New York, this exhibition will draw a succinct portrait of Rivera as a highly cosmopolitan figure who moved between Russia, Mexico, and the United States, and will offer a fresh look at the intersection of art making and radical politics in the 1930s. MoMA will be the exhibition’s sole venue.

Chanel, the luxury book

Chanel Luxe, by François Baudot and François Aveline, éditions Assouline, traces the history of the most famous French fashion house. It's a beautiful item and would make for a nice Christmas present ! But you will have to be patient because it's already out of stock.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Coming Soon: The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum

Certainly megalomaniac but also interesting: the new virtual Valentino Museum should "open" soon. It will feature all the collections ever made, advertising posters, press coverage, intimate pictures... A fascinating insight into Valentino's world.

I look forward and maybe one day a real museum will be built. Valentino already had retrospectives in big museums such as the New York's Guggenheim...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cézanne at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris

A remarkable exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg gathers 77 works by Paul Cézanne.  Until February 26.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quote of the week: Karl Lagerfeld

"I think they should make a tax so that when you earn a certain amount of money, you have to spend a certain amount on shopping. To buy whatever … And that way, we create tons of jobs. I think it’s a good idea. What I hate is people with a lot of money who don’t spend it."

Karl Lagerfeld
 to WWD.

Yayoi Kusama at the Pompidou Centre in Paris

Yayoi Kusama is one of my icons. Her universe and the visual language she's developed are fascinating.

The Centre Pompidou is presenting the first French retrospective dedicated to the Japanese artist and I hope to see it asap. Following her career through 150 works created between 1949 and 2001, the exhibition tracks the major moments in the life of the artist and illustrates the protean character (paintings, sculptures, environments, performances) of a collection of works which Kusama has herself described as "obsessional". Strongly rooted in a childhood memory, a hallucination from which she developed the polka dot motif, this unclassified work still has significant influence on the cotemporary scene.

Beautiful, scary and amazing at the same time!  Go and see it, it's until 9 January 2012

The Calouste Gulbenkian Cultural Centre opens new headquarters in Paris

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has unveiled on 17 of October, the new headquarters of the Calouste Gulbenkian Cultural Centre in Paris, located in a 1869 building at number 39 Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg in the area of ​​Les Invalides. Since 1965 the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has been developing its activities in the former residence, at 51, Avenue d'Iena. The center has played a key role for more than four decades, in Luso-French diplomatic relations, and its library has become the largest and most important library of Portuguese language outside Portugal and Brazil. The new space on the Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg features around 1,900 square metres on five floors and a basement. The rehabilitation project has been carried out by the Lisbon-based architect Teresa Nunes da Ponte and includes an exhibition area of 240 square metres, and a hall with 140 seats for seminars and conferences. 

I love this Marc Jacobs' Spring 2012 collection dress

"Dear all,
The Marc Jacobs PR team is sorry to inform you that our press day tomorrow in the Marc Jacobs store is canceled, due to the theft of the spring/summer 2012 collections during its transfer from Paris."

... said the unfortunate press release.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The latest Benetton ad campaign rocks !

The campaign is called ‘Unhate,’ and features images of world leaders kissing each others - the Russian way. There’s one of Barack Obama with Chinese leader Hu Jintao, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy with German chancellor Angela Merkel, the European tandem, and most controversially, in Rome, an image of the Pope with Egyptian imam Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb.

No artist has been named yet but I am sure, I am convinced it's inspired by Dmitry Vrubel, God! Help Me to Survive Amongst This Deathly Love (1991–2000) featured in a show at Haunch of Venison, in London a few years ago.

Well done Benetton ! It rocks !

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

France: the first mobile Museum dedicated to kids features works by famous artists

Very interesting initiative by former “be contemporary” editor and friend Ingrid Brochard. She’s created a mobile museum which is currently touring France and next year in Africa to make primary schools kids aware of contemporary art. It features some amazing artists such as Mc Carthy, Buren, Huyghe, Moshiri or Weiner...

 Touring museums seem to be quite trendy in France... Remember the mobile Pompidou Centre?

Kate Moss on the cover of Dazed

The December issue of Dazed & Confused boasts 20 different covershots by co-founder Rankin, featuring the likes of Kate Moss, Chloe Sevigny, Eva Green and Alicia Keys. I like Kate's !

Friday, November 11, 2011

Twin Parallel is a film written and directed by Justin Anderson

Twin Parallel is a film written and directed by Justin Anderson showcasing the Jayne Pierson S/S 2011 collection. Premiered at London Fashion Week it features two girls caught in the Twin Parallel- a parallel time shift of the twin paradox theory- with still life, a cuckoo clock and the golden goose girl.

Viktor & Rolf - Fairy Tales

Needless to say that Viktor&Rolf are some of my favourite fashion designers ever. What impresses me the most is the innovative and artistic approach. I've always praised them in the past and invite you to read again my previous post (link here) which was actually shared with them, at the time it was written. They sent me their best regards after reading my comments.

One of the designers' new creative initiative, setting their artistic reputation to another level is their brand-new book called "Fairy Tales". The book features tales of the pampered Princess Giselle in The Golden Dress; of Princess Shanilla in The Fifth Perfume Bottle and of the transformational magic behind Flowerbomb.

The perfect Christmas present and an immersion into the pink and positively weird world of V&R!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Save Keith Haring's mural in Melbourne

While Comme des Garçons releases a capsule collection of Keith Haring's t-shirts, a more serious issue arises in Australia. 

Keith Haring traveled Down Under in 1984 and painted a mural in Collingwood as a gift to the city of Melbourne.
The mural is currently in a sorry state and we should all play a part in helping to preserve it ! Please simply sign a petition at Save Melbourne's Keith Haring Mural  website:


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Prince at the Versace for H and M presentation

The PR effort of Versace and H&M is a total success ! The presentation took place yesterday in New York and their collaboration is featured everywhere on the web today... Maybe because Prince performed and was looking totally awesome as usual !

Turner prize 2011 contenders: George Shaw - video

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank you so much !

I just wanted to say thank you to all my followers and readers ! I appreciate your amazing support ! Expect more from Art is Alive in the next few weeks !

Friday, November 4, 2011

Maurizio Cattelan retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum of NY

This figure from Mr. Cattelan’s “Daddy Daddy” was previously displayed at the museum floating face down in the rotunda’s fountain.

"I've never thought about my works as something that I wanted to see again. Now I am forced to relate to them. It's a chance to see myself from a different perspective. The 130 works will come together in a new work: it's a family" the artist said to the Financial Times about his NY Guggenheim's Museum retrospective which opened this week. He adds: "There is no other way to do a shw there and pay respect to the building."

I look forward to seeing this retrospective but to be honest, I am not sure I like what I see on the pictures... It feels too much...

Pictures Credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.

Madonna’s new fragrance is called truth or dare

For years, Madonna refused to launch her fragrance unlike many cheap stars, but she now feels time has come to release "a unique blend of narcotic florals, balanced with addictive woods and vanilla, creates a scent that is timeless, yet contemporary, simultaneously dark and light."

She also feels it's the right time to launch her own brand and she will surely cash in a lot! She says: "Over the past several years, I have been approached countless times to create my own brand. The timing is right and I have found great partners in Iconix, who can help translate my vision to reality."

Will you be buying?

Happy 62th birthday Anna Wintour !

Olympics 2012 posters by famous UK artists

The official posters for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, designed by some of the UK's leading artists, have been unveiled today. Here is my selection of the best !

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fashion must-have: the Daria sweater

Exclusive interview with fashion pioneer Diane Pernet

Diane Pernet needs no presentation but for those who don't know her, she is a world-renowned fashion critic and video journalist based in Paris. Previously a photographer and designer in New York, fashion editor of and Vogue amongst other responsabilities, she recently reinvented herself as documentary filmmaker, talent scout and fashion blogger on her site A Shaded View on Fashion ( In 2008, Diane launched A Shaded View on Fashion Film, the world's first fashion and film festival. 

I had the huge pleasure to catch up with her ahead of the Barcelona edition of A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival which will be held from 24 to 27 January 2012 and I touchedbased on various topics, from her contemporary art tastes to her love for koalas and the programme of the festival. Enjoy !

Tell us something we don’t know about you as a matter of introduction.
I fell in love with a koala bear when I was in Perth, Australia in August and ever since then have become obsessed with saving them from extinction.

Who or what inspires you the most?

Lighting by James Turrell and  Olafur Eliasson, architecture and design by Joseph Dirand, fashion and furniture by Rick Owens. Soichiro Kanbayashi’s amazingly beautiful sculpted wooden chair, films by Mike Figgis, John Cassavetes. I love directors who can make great films. Anything Miguel Villalobos does from photography to sculpture to jewelry, cooking...,  Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, Erwin Olaf, Pierre Gonnard….

How did the idea of A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival come about?
When I first started this back in 2008, somehow I instinctively knew that ASVOFF would fill a much needed creative gap.  I guess it was because I understood there was already an audience waiting to be served.  But what I could never have anticipated was just how quickly the cross-over between fashion and film would evolve from wild experimentation into a bona fide art form and a valuable commercial outlet.  To begin with, I think the ‘fashion film’ was born out of a real need to breathe life into the old static medium and set fashion in motion through the magic of cinema.  What ASVOFF does is to give people in both industries – and talented outsiders too – a platform to let this genre flourish.  Hopefully, by rewarding excellence in the field, it also keeps pushing them to push the boundaries forward too.

Do you feel that fashion films are the future of “fashion marketing” i.e complementing catwalk shows, streamed live catwalk shows, lookbooks etc. ?

Four years later, the two disciplines have grown even closer thanks to the incredible impact of the digital revolution, new commercial realities and a mutual fascination between fashion and film industry leaders.  But it’s not only that.  As online, tablet and smartphone media channels grow ever more important, ‘fashion film’ is also filling important business niches and offering artistic solutions to challenges we could never have imagined even a few years ago.  It’s also creating totally new, sometimes unexpected opportunities as it goes along.  ‘Fashion film’ makes perfect sense in today’s world where we have the live streaming of catwalk shows, click-to-buy video e-commerce functionality, behind-the-scenes and fly-on-the-wall fashion brand documentaries – not to mention video ads spreading virally like wild fire through social media networks.  There’s something in the bigger picture too, you know.  Fashion is still a hot topic for reality TV shows; there are biopics of fashion designers coming out left, right and centre; designers are moonlighting as Hollywood film directors – and actresses as designers.  I don’t think there has ever been a better moment for a festival like ASVOFF than now.

Why a Barcelona edition for the festival? Is Spain an inspiration (I guess so given the mantilla which is part of your look)?

Actually 4 or 5 years ago I did my first fashion festival called You Wear it Well in the Arts Santa Monica  on la Rambla in Barcelona sponsored by B-Guided magazine. I think it was 2006 and later I did ASVOFF in Santiago de Compostela. I do like Spain a lot. Alex Murray-Leslie (Chicks on Speed) and I have been talking about working together on ASVOFF Barcelona for about a year. ASVOFF will be customized for Barcelona with a new jury, two new competitions one for students with a one word brief AMUSE for a 1 minute film, deadline January 1st and a one minute mobile phone competition. You can visit for more information on the Barcelona edition.

What other cities do you have in your radar?
I just came back from an ASVOFF screening in Tokyo, we are currently planning ASVOFF in Miami Basel, followed by Barcelona and then we plan to go to Cannes again in May and in between maybe NYC and next year back to Australia. I’m not sure where else at the moment. Probably Milan again.

What events can we expect to attend in Barcelona?
New jury, new competitions , some Spanish archival fashion films, concerts, special appearances….work in progress at the moment.

How important is it to promote young fashion designers?

I like to promote young talent be it fashion, film, art or music. I think it is very important as that is the future.Young designers need a platform , they do not have the means to advertise and they deserve to be seen.

Do you feel there’s not enough visibility in the press or online given to young fashion designers?

Blogs and online websites and e-commerce and festivals do provide plenty of opportunity for designers to be seen.

Who do you think we should most watch as designers of the future?

At the moment I think Jean Paul Lespagnard is a good one to watch. I’ve been watching his work for about  4 years now ever since he was participating at the festival d’Hyeres. Aganovich is also making a name for themselves. MaMe in Tokyo is an interesting brand.

Same question for fashion film directors or photographers?

I really like the work of Elisha Smith-Leverock, Alex Prager, Lernet + Sander, Justin Anderson, Suzie Q + Leo Siboni, David Bedoni, Jason Last + Jaime Rubiano, I could continue but maybe should stop there.

What are your contemporary art tastes like?

I like Theo Mercier, Takahiro Kimura, Gregory Crewson, The Quay Brothers, Marc Quinn, Anish Kapoor and Yayoi Kusama.

Have you seen any recent striking exhibition?
Yes October 10th the Yayoi Kusama exhibition opened at Centre Pompidou.

What are your next projects? Directing a film yourself? 

Like I said working on ASVOFF Miami Basel and ASVOFF Barcelona also trying to raise money for the Save the Koala fund by doing an event in London probably with the new Le Baron, just in the planning stage at the moment but the Koala bear situation is very dramatic. If something is not done soon they will be extinct. I like to direct low fi documentaries, for the moment only very short ones my dream is to one day assemble a series of short films and make it into one long film which will be a patchwork of the people that I find inspiring, interesting or entertaining.

To finish with, what do you think about this blog and what would you wish it?

I think it looks great, clean and interesting texts.

Thanks Diane !

Another Bowie obsession

Quote of the week: Amanda Lear on Claudia Schiffer

"There was a time Hollywood was considering making a film of Dali's Life, with Claudia Schiffer in the lead. Claudia said: "I love your book! Who wrote it for you?" I said, "I did, Darling. Who read it to you?"..." Amanda Lear.
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