Tag Archives: fashion

Mona Lisa & an Iguana on 5th

 

MonaLisa Winking

While LVMH has Masters in their windows, someone at Gucci must be reading this blog.

How ELSE would an iguana wind up in the Gucci window on 5th Avenue this summer? (please see Day of the Iguana).

OR, Gucci Inc. has been following me since the late 80’s when I worked as a Christmas seasonal hire blissfully selling merchandise at the flagship 5th Avenue store, spending my days/eves chatting in Italian and English with Signora Rossellini (yes, Isabella’s grandmother and Elettra’s great grandmother) who was the concierge there in those years and who would randomly award me with those in her client book when they happened in on the store. Ah, what fun and nice commissions, too.

In any event, back to the iguana. Here it is: GucciIguana Window

GucciIguana CloseUp

…and a chameleon, too!

GucciChameleon CloseUp.jpg

There are also kitten head children one store front north of the iguana and chameleon.

Gucci KittenChildren

All this was quite the build-up as one walks up the avenue, to fashion conglomerate LVMH’s display/appropriation/misappropriation of the Mona Lisa and four other master works of art for luxury handbags designed by artist Jeff Koons for LVMH.

VanGogh LVMH Window

Frangonard LVMH Window

Where do I start with the wrongness of this? And yet I am drawn to the Titian tote despite its $2,800.00 price tag. Watch this and you’ll see why…

…and this…

At least the window displays are a more subdued treatment than the monumental projections of Mona Lisa & Co. when the collection launched. Drat! No photos and I was there for it, but too dazzled by the spectacle and too mournful of the Benjamin-ian auras decaying by the nanosecond. (please see The Digital Aura).

It is summer after all and even I could not resist a contemplative selfie (or two) with a winking Mona Lisa and a Titian AND hilarious passers-by in the background:SelfieWith Winking MonaLisa

SelfieWith WomanOnPhone

SelfieWithTitian AndWoman

photos, selfies and video by Carolyn

 

SERENITY NOW!

RoseQuartz SerenitySunset1

The only explanation for Mt. Etna erupting on December 2, other than it’s an active volcano, is retribution from the color Gods.

Pantone’s official announcement of the BLENDED 2-color as THE color of the year, a follow-up to 2015’s Marsala (which ALSO hails from Sicily) coincided with the eruption and it really makes ya wonder.

The dual, melded colors of Rose Quartz 13-1250, aka Baby Pink (forgive me Pantone) and Serenity 15-3919 aka Baby Blue (forgive me again) are indeed lovely. I’m excited about all the fashions to come and I’m on board with the rationale, which according to the official announcement is:

“Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”

But my concern is HOW on earth are these going to scheme with 2015’s Marsala?! Not to mention 2014’s beloved Radiant Orchid? And what about 2013’s Emerald? Let’s not even go there! (heaven help anyone who revamped their decor or wardrobe that year).

While the fashion and cosmetics execs will have a field day blending Rose Quartz and Serenity in palettes, and can even add in some Marsala and Radiant Orchid as accents, the Interior Designers are likely to have nervous breakdowns! Yikes, it’s not even a tonal ombre in the same color family!

I get it: it’s a gender blur and Rose Quartz is a blue pink and Serenity is a blue blue. BUT STILL!

Maybe Pantone could have gone with VOLCANO (which I envision as a smokey grey) or MOLTEN LAVA (a golden-y orange). At least these would go with Marsala, which many are probably drinking as they toss the marsala colored throws and pillows they bought last year. Perhaps photos from the recent glorious pink/blue blended sunset will also help.

For moral support, please visit the official Pantone announcement

RoseQuartz SerenitySunset2

p.s. Momotombo erupted for the first time in 100 years after this post was published–makes ya wonder…

 

SAVAGE BEAUTY

Bravo to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for mounting a heroically comprehensive homage to Alexander McQueen to coincide with Paris Fashion Week 2015, which includes the profoundly memorable Savage Beauty. I was among the lucky to view its closing night at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In my opinion, Savage Beauty references culture, art, media, multi-media, performance art, technology, art + engineering, memory, identity, gender, and of course, fashion, in astounding and, as yet, unparalleled ways. Its use of screens, projections, TV monitors, soundscape, and the inclusion of its haunting hologram, affected me deeply and lastingly.

In the words of Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1 & Chief Curator “art can be beautiful” but “good art…has a disturbing quality, it makes you stop…and examine what is real in your life”. This was indeed my experience in attending Savage Beauty on its closing night. Both the exhibition as a whole and seeing the Kate Moss hologram are experiences I’m still processing on many levels–experiences that have forced me to confront “reality”, perception and meaning in culture, art, media, fashion, narrative, design, beauty, violence, nature, death, curating, and genius.

Closing night of the Met’s exhibition was a “happening” in and of itself. I can personally vouch for this. As I wound my way serpentine waiting on line chatting with a German director most known for his Pantene shampoo commercials, both outside and then through the entire museum, the line was buzzing with anticipatory energy. I myself had a close encounter with Anna Wintour, Chief Editor of Vogue, who smirked at my outfit while bypassing me in line, startling me as this a compliment of sorts, coming from her. Having stood in line for 3 hours, I finally entered at 11:00pm (The Met kept the museum open for 24 hours, to accommodate as many final visitors as possible.) Finally inside its confines, I became fuzzy on museum policy and took photos to capture what I was immersed in, until I was reprimanded by a guard. The rooms were packed and warm with body heat, the crowding was scary.

Here is the Met’s curator Andrew Bolton on Savage Beauty:

The curator’s video illustrates how powerful this exhibition was to see in person. I can speak to this power. In the crush, I became obsessed with the “McQueen Tartan” pant suit upon first sight (it appears on the far left of the screen at 3:38 in the Romantic Nationalism room) a rare phenomenon I’ve only felt toward fashion a few times prior. I had the simultaneous, visceral feelings upon viewing it that “I would kill for it and wear it every Christmas for the rest of my life”. The divergence in these radical urges that came up in me from viewing a garment, is a testament to the art of seduction and the “dark arts” magic of McQueen. This exhibition is clearly not pretty dresses on mannequins. This is the work of a master tailor at war within himself, subverting his craft, and fashioning (all pun) art from this deep internal conflict.

An example of such inner struggle is the display of Dress No. 13 from McQueen’s 1999 No. 13 Collection. In the finale of this collection’s showing, it was worn by a model/ trained ballerina teetering on a rotating platform while being attacked, i.e. “shot” with paint by two robots, built by Fiat, that took one week to program. The concept was inspired by an installation of the artist Rebecca Horn, and the result, I can assure you, is much more than mere “Pollock couture” (my phrase). I have to think the artists Billy Kluver & Tinguely would have appreciated the “man vs. machine” engineering concept and de-construction of the formerly pristine dress. Have a look:

As is widely known and mourned, the darkness and tension of the runway ultimately peaked in real life with McQueen’s suicide by hanging himself in a wardrobe, in February 2010 at the age of 40, on the eve of his mother’s funeral. Even his death was self-orchestrated performance art complete with metaphor, one could say, though too painful and shocking for the industry he worked within and those close to him, to presume this. His untimely death, a year before the Met show mounted but already well within the planning and curatorial process, then became a ghostly presence in the final exhibition, like a modern-day Macbeth.

McQueen remains one of the rare exceptions in fashion with his work being described in art terms. Both a conceptualist and a formalist, narrative was of the utmost importance to him in his collections, putting him on a par with contemporary artists of note, in my opinion. Also an obsessive blogger, McQueen was ever examining his work and seeking ways to engage the public in his work, as many contemporary and DIY artists do. In 2010, he live-streamed his collection “Plato’s Atlantis” an outlandish array of monumental designs, that left me stunned upon seeing those selected for display at Savage Beauty.

In a tortured irony, with his own surname acting as pun, the House of McQueen posthumously dressed the bride Kate Middleton for the British royal wedding in April 2011, just one month before the opening of Savage Beauty, in which McQueen holds the English to account for their Scottish genocide, through his highly controversial 1995 Highland Rape collection, shown within the exhibition. A maddening dichotomy, befitting a queen, indeed.

#McQueenRules

Written by Carolyn A. McDonough, April 2014 for the Museum of Modern Art’s online course Catalysts taught by multi-media artist Randall Packer. Revised by the author on March 14, 2015 upon the opening of Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.
©CAM All Rights Reserved
CultureArtMedia.com™ & CarolynArtMedia.com™

References and Related Links:

Conversations: McQueen’s Savage Beauty [Andrew Bolton on McQueen’s creative producers]
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/conversation-mcqueens-savage-beauty/

Designer as Dramatist and the Tales He Left Behind
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/arts/design/alexander-mcqueen-show-at-the-met-review.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Alexander McQueen in All His Dark Glory
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/fashion/03iht-FMET03.html

Culture/Art/Media

CULTURE + ART + MEDIA = ORIGINAL MULTIMEDIA BLOG
CONTENT WITH A FLARE

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CULTURE + ART + MEDIA = ORIGINAL MULTIMEDIA BLOG
CONTENT WITH A FLARE

Video/Photo Credits:
Video Backdrop of Ca’d’Oro, Venice, Italy
still photo by B. McDonough
video capture by B. McDonough
-CAM with funerary relief of Attia Rufilla, Mid 1st c, Marble, Collection of the Florence Lehman Loeb Art Center
-CAM with Rev. Billy at Joe’s Pub, post-opening of HoneyBeeLujah!

photos courtesy of FFLAC and B. McDonough
Hair by VuSalon and Randi/Eclipse/Aveda

Unleaked & Unaltered

SO glad I did not buy in to the CC torso photo hoax and EVEN GLADDER that I didn’t have the time over the past two weeks to blog a word about it. So, it didn’t surprise me today, when I heard the supposedly leaked photo was supposedly altered, therefore rendering the whole matter hoax. Really? Golly…

When I first heard about and then saw the supposed out-take photo of CC shot by John Russo for Marie Claire Mexico, I thought, WHO are you kidding? I’ve been studying, analyzing and writing on photography, way too long to buy in to this, as well as having worked in editorial fashion photography.

I do thank this inane photo hoax, however, for spurring me to dig out my personal copy of Camera Lucida Reflections on Photography written by the great French scholar Roland Barthes, an essential read for anyone working in the field of photography and media in any capacity. In Camera Lucida, Barthes introduces his theory of the punctum in photography.

In very short summation, and with no intention of reducing his incredible scholarship, the punctum is described within his reflections, as the “memory of what pricked the viewer.”

What pricked me about the CC photo is the impeccably made up face and hair, with impeccable lighting, unlike the flabby torso, which became its lightning rod. This led me to the conclusion that CC MUST be trying to increase sales of her rare French melon extract skin care line by showing how well her face–rather than her torso–has held up after two children. Which further begs the question: then WHY NOT use some rare melon extract on the stomach?! CC can probably fill a swimming pool with it, if she so desired.

Camp CC has remained silent during the arc of this “story” first generated by Buzzfeed which appears to have duped –oops! engaged–the fashion blogosphere, and CNN, in the process, during the lead up to Fashion Week in New York. How curious! And as we watch this cycle through, the question about this particular photo coming online remains: why? for what purpose?

Meanwhile, the utterly stupid what-color-is-this dress # has been sandwiched in between “CC Photo Leaked!” and
“CC Leaked Photo Altered!” hoax. Hey, 2 hoaxes in 1 week! I know how pressured the fashion world is, but some people still seem to have way too much time on their hands.

[Editor’s note: additional suggested reading–
On Photography by Susan Sontag]

RADIANT THANKS

S3PhoneTransferMarch302014 024
photo by Brian McDonough

A BIG THANK YOU to all those who’ve liked my posts and to all followers of the CarolynArtMedia blog since its launch this year.

Culture + Art + Media + Likes = Thank You!

(Moments before my hub took the above photo of me at a fundraising event in a historic country club, a waiter spilled a HUGE glass of red wine on me. Most of the wine landed in my hair, hence the “Cabernet tint” to it.)

I may not be “Selfie-Ready Always” but I’m “Camera-Ready Always”!

Radiant Orchid Dress by AB Studio
Hair by VuSalon (minus the Cabernet)

NEW MEDIA CRITIQUE: DIY 5 “CATALYSTS”

When one considers new media, multi-media, contemporary media art and local art museums, The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art does not come to mind immediately. However, while contemplating a local new media art exhibition to critique after surveying the current art scene in my area, it was my recall of a hologram projected within an exhibition I attended there that made my choice clear: Savage Beauty Alexander McQueen May-August 2011. Although I did consider critiquing local exhibitions on the art of video games and one entitled “Dear Diary: Update on All” examining the diary’s evolution from private to public via social media, Savage Beauty lives on both in my mind and online. In my opinion, it still references new media, multi-media, performance art, technology, art + engineering, memory and identity, in astounding and as yet unparalleled ways. The use of screens, projections, TV monitors, soundscape, and the inclusion of its haunting hologram, affected me deeply and lastingly.  

In the words of Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1 & Chief Curator at Large, from Randall Parker’s interview with him on Pipilotti Rist, “art can be beautiful” but “good art…has a disturbing quality, it makes you stop…and examine what is real in your life”. This was my experience in attending Savage Beauty on its closing night. Both the exhibition as a whole and seeing the hologram are experiences I’m still processing on many levels, and that have forced me to confront the reality and perception of art, culture, fashion, narrative, beauty, design, violence, nature, death, curating, genius and media. Here is the hologram:

The exhibition was a “happening” in and of itself. I can vouch for this. As I wound my way serpentine waiting on line both outside and
then through the entire museum, the line was buzzing with anticipatory energy. I myself had a close encounter with Anna Wintour, Chief Editor of Vogue, who smirked at my outfit while she bypassed me in line, startling me as I’ve heard this a compliment of sorts, coming from her. Having stood in line for 3 hours, I finally entered at 11:00pm (The Met kept the museum open for 24 hours, to accommodate as many final visitors as possible.) Finally inside its confines, I became fuzzy on museum policy and took photos to capture what I was immersed in, until I was reprimanded by a guard. The rooms were packed and warm with body heat, the crowding was scary.

I will let curator Andrew Bolton lead you through Savage Beauty:

The curator’s video illustrates how powerful this exhibition was to see in person. I can speak to this power because I became obsessed with the “McQueen Tartan” pant suit upon sight (it appears on the far left of the screen at 3:38 in the Romantic Nationalism room) a rare phenomenon I’ve only felt toward fashion a few times prior. I had the simultaneous, visceral feelings upon viewing it that “I would kill for it and wear it every Christmas for the rest of my life”. The divergence in these radical urges that came up in me from viewing a garment, is a testament to the art of seduction and the “dark arts” magic of McQueen. This exhibition is clearly not pretty dresses on mannequins. This is the work of a master tailor at war within himself, subverting his craft, and fashioning (all pun) art from this internal conflict.

An example of this struggle is the display of Dress No. 13 from McQueen’s 1999 No. 13 Collection. In the finale of this collection’s showing, it was worn by a model/ trained ballerina teetering on a rotating platform while being attacked, i.e. “shot” with paint by two robots, built by Fiat, that took one week to program. The concept was inspired by an installation of the artist Rebecca Horn, and the result, I can assure you, is much more than mere Pollock couture (my phrase). I have to think Billy Kluver & Tinguely would have appreciated the “man vs. machine” engineering concept and de-construction of the formerly pristine dress. Here is the finale:

The darkness and tension of the runway ultimately peaked in real life with McQueen’s suicide by hanging himself in a wardrobe, in February 2010 at the age of 40, on the eve of his mother’s funeral. Even his death was self-orchestrated performance art complete with metaphor, one could say, though too painful and shocking for the industry he worked within and those close to him, to presume this. His untimely death, a year before the Met show mounted but already well within the planning and curatorial process, then became a ghostly presence in the final exhibition, like a modern-day Macbeth.

McQueen remains one of the rare exceptions in fashion with his work being described in art terms. Both a conceptualist and a formalist, narrative was of the utmost importance to him in his collections, putting him on a par with contemporary artists of note, in my opinion.  Also an obsessive blogger, McQueen was ever examining his work and seeking ways to engage the public in his work, as many contemporary and DIY artists do. In 2010, he live-streamed his collection “Plato’s Atlantis” an outlandish array of monumental designs, that left me stunned upon seeing those selected for display at Savage Beauty.

In a tortured irony, with his own surname acting as pun, the House of McQueen posthumously dressed the bride Cate Middleton for the British royal wedding in April 2011, one month before the opening of Savage Beauty, in which McQueen holds the English to account for their Scottish genocide, through his highly controversial 1995 Highland Rape collection, shown within the exhibition. A maddening dichotomy, befitting a queen, indeed.  

The only negative comment I have about the exhibition, is that I believe the hologram should have been projected “life-size” as it had been at the 2006 Widows of Culloden Collection runway show. Here is that moment:

That said, it was extraordinary to view it miniaturized projected in a glass and wooden box. While the hologram can be easily chalked up to a “special effect” bordering on mere entertainment like the hologram of Tupac Shakur that was projected at the Coachella Music Festival in April 2012, I daresay: who among the artists we have studied in Catalysts/MoMa has NOT manipulated media, technology, material, and viewer to serve the narrative, the concept, the vision, the social and political agendas–the art?

For me “art” is the feeling that’s left, the memory of something newly experienced that remains over time.  Such is the case I make for Savage Beauty as a new media exhibition at The Met. #McQueenRules

Researched & Written by Carolyn A. McDonough for Catalysts/MoMA Spring 2014

Referenced and Related Links:

Conversations: McQueen’s Savage Beauty [Curator Andrew Bolton in dialogue talks about McQueen’s creative producers] http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/conversation-mcqueens-savage-beauty/

Designer as Dramatist and the Tales He Left Behind

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/arts/design/alexander-mcqueen-show-at-the-met-review.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Alexander McQueen in All His Dark Glory

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/fashion/03iht-FMET03.html