Daft and the group’s helmets can really do no wrong. Which is why placing them front dot and center on theObsession magazine’s latest May 2013 cover is pure perfection. Those who are fluent in French can check out the in-depth interview with Joseph Ghosn and Olivier Wicker on their latest Random Access Memories album, while the rest of us can just marvel at the amazing shots, care of Maciek Kobielski (or go with Google Translate).
By now, you’ve no doubt already heard about—or even seen—the facsimile of CBGB’s bathroom that Andrew Bolton included in the opening gallery of the Met’s Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition, which opens to the public on Thursday, following tonight’s red-carpet festivities. “CBGB was the heart of punk in New York,” said Bolton at a preview this morning. “Punk was all about shock and provocation, and so to start off an exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a toilet—well, I thought was the ultimate punk statement,” the curator [stated].
The exhibition juxtaposes original (and contemporary) punk wares by Vivienne Westwood against luxury and haute couture looks from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana (who are featured in the Graffiti room, above), Maison Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano, and Gianni Versace (yes, the 1994 safety-pin dress is on display). One might be hard-pressed to differentiate between Vivienne Westwood’s destroyed seventies sweaters and Rodarte’s Fall 2008 knit dress, which are on display side by side. The same gallery boasts Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s lewd T-shirts (for instance, her famed “Tits” top hangs against a black PVC curtain). “I love that we start off with T-shirts with very obscene political and sexual slogans,” said Bolton. “They’re still shocking thirty-seven years later—in a way, more shocking, because of our political correctness.” Beyond the T-shirts lies a reproduction of McLaren and Westwood’s infamous—and iconic—shop, Seditionaries, which stood at 430 King’s Road. The remainder of the show was divided into DIY categories, like Hardware, Graffiti and Agitprop, Bricolage, and Destroy—and each room was punctuated by a film by Nick Knight. “No other subcultural movement has a greater or more enduring influence on how we dress today,” Bolton noted in his opening remarks. Consider, as evidence, the fact that there is a slew of Fall 2013 looks in the show, from such houses as Viktor & Rolf, Saint Laurent, and Gareth Pugh—whose Fall 2013 trash-bag dresses are arranged into a veritable mob in the center of the Bricolage installation.
Bolton made sure to steer away from clichés—for instance, he noted that hairstylist Guido Paulo, who created the spiky Technicolor mops that topped each mannequin’s head, avoided Mohawks, and instead pulled inspiration from Richard Hell’s signature ’do.
“I wanted to present punk in a respectful, and even reverential, manner,” said Bolton. That’s already earning the show some mixed reviews. And of course, there are those who protest discussing punk in a high-fashion context—or, for that matter, paying couture prices for a punk-tinged look. “I think that’s completely punk,” said Bolton in response. “People seem to forget that punk really was a commercial movement. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, in a way, created what we know as the punk look. And they commodified it,” he explained.
As for why consumers and designers, from Karl Lagerfeld to Met Ball host Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, are still drawn to the seventies subculture, Bolton offers, “Punk endures today because it reflects our longing for a time when originality and creativity were celebrated, a time when fashion was provocative and confrontational. And, above all, a time when fashion championed the individual and self-expression.”
Punk: Chaos to Couture opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this Thursday, May 9.
This minimal yet contemplative exhibition consists of 12 pieces of dark rock from Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame, two islands that float in the beautiful St. Lawrence river running through Montreal, Quebec.What makes this exhibition particularly engaging is how each piece challenges our traditional ideas of natural light and shadow. Canadian artist Pascal Grandmaison paints one side of each rock in varying shades of black, creating an optical illusion of the sun hitting the pieces as if they were outdoors. He visually creates shadows where there are none. This mysterious illusion is maintained by the placement of the rocks in a very specific order which creates an indoor geographical landscape of sorts, complete with peaks, valleys and ranges.
Designer Rick Owens opened the doors of his Parisian apartment to the Wall Street Journal. With an accompanying interview, we get a look into the dark, gothic, raw space from which the designer works and lives, the former French Socialist Party headquarters on the Place du Palais Bourbon. Not surprisingly, it is filled with the designer’s own signature furniture, and an assortment of cool, creepy design objects from which Owens undoubtedly finds inspiration.
Maya Lin, who first came to attention for her Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C., is at work on what she calls her last memorial, a call to reflect on the human impact on the earth. Rather than a static monument, What Is Missing? is a constantly evolving website, a geographical and chronological database of what has been lost and what environmental organizations are doing about it. In fact, all of Lin’s recent sculptures, installations, and multimedia works seem to be pieces of this vast and meticulously researched monument to the earth.
In the New York exhibition, recycled silver and steel pins trace out minimalist representations of waterways. Pin River Sandy maps the area flooded by Hurricane Sandy, and Crossing Midtowncharts the path of two creeks that spanned what is now midtown Manhattan at the time of the city’s founding in the seventeenth century. On the floor are two marble sculptures, longitudinal and latitudinal sections of the earth’s terrain where it passes through Manhattan. Another pair of sculptures, 52 Ways to See the Ocean and 52 Ways to See the Earth are topographical maps made from an environmentally friendly wood byproduct.
The simplicity and craftsmanship of these pieces presents them not as scientific maps, but as objects of contemplation and curiosity. The data is computer-modeled, but the pieces themselves are carefully considered, handmade objects, and are immediately apparent as such. If one way to make sense of complicated information about the world is through an online database like What Is Missing?, another is to pick out specific pieces of that information for special attention, as works of art. Lin knows the importance of both approaches, and her latest work alternates between them, between local geography and global ecology, between big data and art on a human scale.
Maya Lin: Here and There is open April 26 through June 22 at The Pace Gallery at 57th St., New York and through May 11 at The Pace Gallery at Lexington Street, London.