Dilone, Lida Fox, Avi, Lili Sumner, Willy Morsch, and Julia Cumming Photographer Ryan McGinley Fashion Director Sarah Richardson
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Charlotte Rampling Text by Anthony Haden-Guest, Portraits by Juergen Teller
Tilda Swinton & Olivier Saillard Text by Joshua Glass, Portraits by Colin Dodgson
David Adjaye & Lonnie G. Bunch III Text by Blake Abbie, Portraits by Harry Carr
Douglas Crimp & Malik Gaines Text by Drew Sawyer, Portrait by Alice O’Malley
Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski & Hannelore Knuts Intro by Joshua Glass, Portraits by Mark Peckmezian
John Cale & Florence Welch Intro by Joshua Glass, Portraits by Marlene Marino
Gaia Repossi & Francesco Vezzoli Intro by Joshua Glass, Portraits by Colin Dodgson Bjarne Melgaard & Glenn O’Brien Intro by Ann Binlot, Portrait by Ari Marcopoulos Sandra Choi & Mat Collishaw Intro by Ann Binlot, Portrait by Richard Bush Gaetano Pesce & Hans-Ulrich Obrist Intro by Ann Binlot, Portraits by Harry Carr DeRay Mckesson & Bevy Smith Intro by Ann Binlot, Portraits by Ari Marcopoulos Lucas Ossendrijver & Oscar Tuazon Text by Drew Sawyer, Portrait by Collier Schorr
Fashion & Articles
Women Photographs by Suffo Moncloa, Fashion by Delphine Danhier
Men Photographs by Brett Lloyd, Fashion by Jack Borkett
Subterranea Photographs by Richard Bush, Fashion by Sarah Richardson
Comme des Garçons Text by Rei Kawakubo, Photographs by Talia Chetrit, Fashion by Jodie Barnes
Jane Birkin Remembers Serge Gainsbourg As told to Joshua Glass, Portrait by Andrew Birkin
Christopher Kane on Creativity and the Museum Gugging As told to Sarah Mower, Portraits by Laurence Ellis 62
El Paquete: An Underground Railroad for Cuban Art Text by Richard Morgan, Portraits by Harry Carr Peter Dundas’s New Era of Glamour Text by Anders Christian Madsen, Portrait by Richard Bush Is China’s Architectural Landscape Changing? Text by Aric Chen, Photographs by Adrian Gaut Objects Without Shadows: ISIS’s Anthropological Carnage Text by Fiona Greenland, Artwork by Ali Cherri, Photographs by Lorenzo Meloni Future Formats: Electronic Arts Intermix Celebrates 45 Years Text by Tina Rivers Ryan, Portraits by Alice O’Malley
Steven Meisel A Closer Look 2016
Instant Diamonds of the Innocent Collection Between Skin and Sky Artwork by Pipilotti Rist, Intro by Lynne Tillman
The Yavapai-Apache Creation Story Artwork by Dara Birnbaum, Foreword by Barbara London 344
Amazing Grace Photographs by Roe Ethridge Blockchain Company Postage Stamp Design Artwork by Simon Denny, Text by Matthew Williams
Donald Judd Writings Essay by Donald Judd, Intro by Caitlin Murray Love Is Photographs by Matt Lambert, Fashion by Ronald Burton III Downtown (for Douglas) Artwork by Zoe Leonard, Intro by Drew Sawyer
Fall Winter 2016 2017
Text by Robert Montgomery Document 1 Photographs Willy Vanderperre & Olivier Rizzo Document 2 Bruce Weber & Joe McKenna Document 3 Ryan McGinley & Sarah Richardson Document 4 Max Pearmain & Theo Sion
Hand Painted Goya Bag with Flat Lock Charm, 2016
From Naples to Beijing, this special issue of Document is dedicated to the people and places around the world that have impacted culture as a whole. We spoke with Tilda Swinton and Charlotte Rampling, who have both undertaken a very personal and photographic project with fashion historian Olivier Saillard. We traveled to Montauk with Bruce Weber, upstate New York with Ryan McGinley, and to Paris with Willy Vanderperre. We ventured to the Museum Gugging, just outside of Vienna, with Christopher Kane to explore creativity. We connected with Jane Birkin on the 25th anniversary of Serge Gainsbourg’s passing to reflect on love. We went to Baltimore to DeRay Mckesson to advocate the importance of change. From Tokyo, Rei Kawakubo shares a rare insight into her creative process. Certainly not least, we visited Nestor Siré, the driving force behind Cuba’s strong, underground art network, in Havana. As our scale grows, geographically but also in terms of our family and contributors, the focus has stayed the same: to ask questions and document the blending of viewpoints with a similar fascination, intellect and beauty. —Nick Vogelson
Document No. 9
Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Nick Vogelson Managing Editor Joshua Glass Photo Director Spencer Morgan Taylor Harbinger Senior Editor Ann Binlot Art Editor Drew Sawyer Contributing Editor Charles Renfro Maripol European Editor-at-Large Daniele Balice Literary Advisors Darrell Crawford David McConnell West Coast Editor-at-Large Shay Nielsen Copy Editor T.J. Carlin Emily Votruba Fact Checker Julie Kliegman Transcriber Elizabeth Corkery Art & Photo Assistant Anna Alek Editorial Interns Benjamin Gutierrez Derrick Gaitér Art & Design Interns Jack Vhay Maria Gabriela Garuz
Fashion Director Sarah Richardson
Document Creative Cherlyn Russo
Publisher Tom Bailey
Contributing Fashion Editors Olivier Rizzo Joe McKenna
Design Director Harry Gassel
Chief Financial Officer Stan Kosyakovskiy Odis Management
Senior Fashion & Market Editor Ronald Burton III Men’s Fashion Editor Jack Borkett Junior Fashion Editor Alice Lefons Casting Directors Piergiorgio Del Moro Samuel Ellis Scheinman DMFashionStudio Fashion Coordinators Helen Young-Loveridge Terence Brown Fashion Interns David Canedo Dominique Shaw Erin Murphy Paris Amaro Quan Nguyen Sara Burrini Shawn Lakin Contributing Artists Alice O’Malley Ari Marcopoulos Brett Lloyd Bruce Weber Colin Dodgson Collier Schorr Dara Birnbaum Delphine Danhier Harry Carr Jodie Barnes Juergen Teller Laurence Ellis Mark Peckmezian Marlene Marino Matt Lambert Max Pearmain Pipilotti Rist Poppy Kain Richard Bush Roe Ethridge Ryan McGinley Simon Denny Suffo Moncloa Talia Chetrit Theo Sion Willy Vanderperre Zoe Leonard
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Document Journal No. 9 © 2016 Document Publishing, LLC. 264 Canal Street, 3rd Fl. West, New York, NY, 10013. Printed and bound in Spain in September, 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical—including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system—without prior permission in writing from the publisher. Document is published biannually in the fall and spring.
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Kiki Willems & Jonas Glöer
Photograph Colin Dodgson. Hair Cyndia Harvey. Make up Niamh Quinn. Dress by Loewe.
Photograph Willy Vanderperre. Fashion Olivier Rizzo. Hair Gary Gill. Make up Peter Philips. Kiki wears nylon coat by Prada Resort 2017. Jonas wears nylon pants by Prada Men’s Spring 2017.
Photograph Juergen Teller.
Dilone, Lida Fox, Avi, Lili Sumner, Willy Morsch, and Julia Cumming
Jean Campbell & Justin Petzschke
Photograph Ryan McGinley. Fashion Sarah Richardson. Hair and sculptures Recine. Make up Dick Page. Dilone wears dress by Louis Vuitton. Earrings by I Still Love You NYC. Lida wears vintage t-shirt from Cherry Vintage. Cardigan by Roberto Cavalli. Skirts by Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood. Avi wears dress by Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood. Jacket by Prada Men’s Spring 2017. Lili wears hoodie and jacket by Vetements. Willy wears vintage t-shirt from Metropolis. Jacket by Roberto Cavalli.
Photograph Bruce Weber. Fashion Joe McKenna. Hair Didier Malige. Make up Aaron de Mey. Justin wears t-shirt by Prada. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Jean wears dress by Céline Resort 2017.
Document No. 9
“This is a self portrait with Charlotte Rampling on a plate. (Teller is the German word for plate).”
“Lynne Tillman at three years old, portrait made in a photographer's studio. I have no memory of this happening. But I do remember, in a blurred way, that having my hair brushed was always a struggle.”
‘‘‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’ Pablo Picasso, quoted in ‘Time’ Magazine, October 1976.”
“My younger brother Dave and I on holiday in the 70s, living it up on chocolate digestives and orange cordial.”
“My faces for the world to see.”
“It’s an object that has always had a lot of meaning to me. I bought it in 1995 at a shop owned by Hans-Peter Feldmann in Dusseldorf. I then started a small portable museum.”
“My disco days.”
“This is a picture of me and my father in Ibiza in 1973. He passed away last year. In this picture I am one year old, the same age as my son Lorca is now.”
“When I was a girl, in the 80s in Michigan, I longed for a normal name and asked my friends to call me Frances—inspired by Frances the Badger. Now I love being Fiona."
“A Whiter Shade of Pale.”
“My first day there. For the next year I did not shave or get a haircut.”
“Quinn Harrelson, one of my favorite kids to photograph, did this drawing of Kodiak, one of my six dogs. When I got him as a pup he looked like a baby fox and didn’t grow until he was two years old. I told his breeder about this and she said ‘Do you want to return him?’ I said ‘No, already I love him too much.’”
Document No. 9
“I keep a laminated ticket that I used to get from Israel to my mother’s native Palestine to remind me that there is always a price (and a way) to cross borders.”
“This is me on safari in Kenya when I was seven. I really loved it. I’ve always loved animals and being in a beautiful place outside.”
“This pencil case has been with me since my days at college...almost 16 years ago. Even though the zip is broken I will never throw it away as it holds so many fond memories of carting it around Central Saint Martins.”
“This school photo was taken shortly after I fell off my bike and cracked my tooth.”
“Editing my grandmother’s closet.”
“No matter where I go in the world or what I achieve, I am forever and always a daughter of Harlem! I own this first edition of an iconic book written about the history of my hometown.”
“A signed Polaroid from the time I visited Gore Vidal’s house in the Hollywood Hills. He had just broken his finger when I asked him to sign this.”
“Circa 1993. With my aunt and my mom (in purple), the woman who taught me how to sew.”
“I love cycling in London at night whilst listening to music. It’s my own personal world. This is that, full moon and all!”
Tina Rivers Ryan
“This is my dog, Chico. We FaceTime, sometimes…”
“Both rings define who I am today. The sapphire one is my mother’s engagement ring. The other was given to me by my boyfriend, Nicolas Provost, when our son Angelo Apollo K Provost was born. I wear them like this every day, and see my past, present, and future.”
“I’ve owned IBM stock since I was an infant, married the son of an IBM programmer, and wound up writing about paintings of IBM machines in my doctoral dissertation. Even scholarship is autobiographical.”
Document No. 9
A / W Collec tion 2016 Set _02. Stripe craig-green.com
“My favorite sentence in ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith.”
“‘See Naples and Die.’ I took this in 2013. The lady saw me walking across the beach, got up off her chair, and screamed ‘Photo photo photo!’ She fixed her pose and I took the snap. She then sat back down and that was that.”
“I always like these US border portraits because they always have a bleary-eyed earnestness to them after you have come off a long flight. You get about half an hour clutching that piece of paper before you hand the image over and never see it again.”
“I came across this picture from around 1945 of my father as a young boy. He must have just returned to London after the Second World War. Like a lot of children he was sent outside of the city because of the heavy bombing.”
“‘We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.’ —Friedrich Nietzsche.”
“Barbara London’s Window Ledge: Henry VIII and Saracen Soldier Guard Her Petrified Mammoth Tooth.”
Ronald Burton III
Anders Christian Madsen
“Major hair goals. #mommy&me"
“The decisive moment. It was a total drive-by, on the highway, not staged at all!”
“I was going through my old cassette tapes at my childhood home in Denmark when I was asked for a picture. I thought these four summed things up pretty adequately.”
“The Specials in front of a statue of Lady Godiva, Coventry’s finest cultural export; their social values and integrity are never more relevant today.”
“My favorite old NYC haunt. The bar was sticky and pitch black (perfect for dates).”
“Image from US Visa issued 2015 stuck into now expired NZ passport issued in London/Berlin.”
Document No. 9
CHANTAL AKERMAN WARHOLâ€™S LUPE MAX HOOPER SCHNEIDER ALBERTO BURRI
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Document No. 9
CHARLOTTE RAMPLING & ANTHONY HADEN-GUEST TILDA SWINTON & OLIVIER SAILLARD DAVID ADJAYE & LONNIE G. BUNCH III DOUGLAS CRIMP & MALIK GAINES NADÈGE VANHEE-CYBULSKI & HANNELORE KNUTS JOHN CALE & FLORENCE WELCH GAIA REPOSSI & FRANCESCO VEZZOLI BJARNE MELGAARD & GLENN O’BRIEN SANDRA CHOI & MAT COLLISHAW GAETANO PESCE & HANS-ULRICH OBRIST DERAY MCKESSON & BEVY SMITH LUCAS OSSENDRIJVER & OSCAR TUAZON
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September 16, 2016â€”Paris and New York
Charlotte Rampling, a Fox, and a Plate (Teller) Photographs by Juergen Teller
Document No. 9
Interview by Anthony Haden-Guest
Charlotte Rampling photographed at Juergen Tellerâ€™s studio in London.
Photo Assistant Karin Xiao. Post-production Catalin Plesa at Quickfix Retouch. Special thanks Poppy Kain.
Conversation 1 I don’t remember just how I met Charlotte Rampling, but London
was pretty small back then, the urban hive element of it anyway, and if you were part of that—which, as a magazine writer, I was— sooner or later you were quite likely to run into most of the other players. The celebrity culture had not yet become the monstrous industry of today, serviced by minders, handlers, and branders, so the people you would run into face-to-face included individuals who had made or were making a name for themselves. One of whom absolutely was Charlotte Rampling. It so happened that I also did the texts for a book called “Birds of Britain” back then. It was about all the happening young women in London at that time—“Birds” being London lingo for just that—and Charlotte Rampling, aka “Charly” as I recall, was deservedly on the team. That she was lovely, was, of course, part of the job description, but she was also un-pushily resolute, smart, and reflective—qualities that powered her amazingly versatile career and qualities that she clearly retains to this day. It was precisely Rampling’s ability to work fluidly in different media, OK, her versatility, that commended her to Olivier Saillard, the head curator at Palais Galliera, the leading Paris museum of fashion. So it came about that she would supplied a series of performances with Tilda Swinton at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris during this year’s Festival d’Automne. These performances, titled “Sur-exposition,” are a formal breakthrough, namely a reimagining of some of the most powerful images by photographers who have created the visual vocabulary of our culture. Rampling and Swinton morph into the equivalents of museum walls to become human instruments who interact to bring to life the vision of such extraordinary, deeply different, and change-making photographers as Brassaï, Irving Penn, and Robert Mapplethorpe. The voices of the actresses live as the text. I spoke to Charlotte Rampling in advance of this event. Our talk took off from the place where we both began, which was the London of the 60s—a good place to start, too! Charlotte Rampling—Hi Anthony! Anthony Haden-Guest—Hello, it’s been a while. Plunging back to when we first met, I remember thinking, “This is the height of civilization! Man on the moon, terrific stuff on earth.” Then I decided every generation must think that. But now I think I was right about the 60s. Charlotte—You were right. Of course it was. There were so many barriers being jumped at that time. The man on the moon was one of the top things, wasn’t it? There were so many ideas being chased after. We had a lot of luck to have all that around. Anthony—Let’s look at the performance you’ll be doing with Tilda Swinton. I see that you have both been given credit, along with Olivier Saillard, for coming up with the idea. Charlotte—That’s generous. It was quite a communal thing. Anthony—The cover of today’s “New York Post” is the Guggenheim Museum. They’ve got a solid gold lavatory in it by the artist Maurizio Cattelan. An art story is on the front page of a major selling tabloid! Back in the 60s, we had rock ’n’ roll, we had great movies, but art was kind of a side issue, don’t you think? Now it has become dominant, which is another reason your project is really interesting. Who chose the photographs? Charlotte—They were chosen by mutual accord. We were given a big selection by the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, people I know very well because I’ve worked with them in the past. We had a nice, wide selection, and little by little we whittled it down to the things that seemed the most poignant and strong. Anthony—It’s an incredibly moving idea. In the age of iPhone photography, when everybody is a photographer, you’re returning to the golden ages of photography.
September 16, 2016—Paris and New York
“We’re reinventing the ways of looking at art with ourselves. We’re sort of joining it.”
Charlotte—Yes, exactly. It’s really cleaning the eye out, or trying to clean the vision out, trying to imagine if a lot of those photographs could actually disappear through sheer overexposure. It’s quite startling. We’ll need to find other ways of seeing things before we’re blinded by images. Anthony—Can you tell me how you prepared to embody these images? Charlotte—Not really, no, because it is a very instinctual process. We’re not doing anything in a formally rehearsed way. The actual procedure of the show will be formally contained, but within that containment, what we’ll do with the images will be very…Neither of us actually want to know too much about it or what we’re going to do. We’ll be invoking what the photographs say without people actually seeing them. It is very much a play with what you think you’re seeing, what you’re not seeing, and what you’re actually seeing. Anthony—Do you at all go into the issue of truth and untruth in photography? So many great photographs are now known to have been somewhat manipulated, like [Robert Capa’s] “Falling Soldier.” Charlotte—I often wonder if it matters? I know that people are very disappointed when they hear that. I remember a long time ago my son saw a picture of a young couple who were at the liberation of Paris—they were grabbing each other and kissing. When he heard that that had been staged, he was devastated. Anthony—I don’t think it matters at all. Mathew Brady did the same thing. He was known for dragging bodies and cannons around. Charlotte—I think if it evokes the feeling then it’s fine. If the magic’s there then you feel transported just by looking at it. Anthony—Tell me a little about the emotional process for “Sur-exposition.” Charlotte—You know, I honestly don’t know at this stage! [Laughs]. I can’t tell you. It’s a rather instinctive, free-form manifestation. Anthony—Improv. Have you worked with Tilda before? Charlotte—No. We were in a film together [“The Statement”], but we had no shared scenes. Anthony—I remember way back when I was a young journalist, I tried to talk Maggie Smith into doing a set of pictures in which she would reenact the Picasso Blue Period paintings, she had the kind of right features. And she gave me a kind of polite... she wasn’t interested. Now you have Jay Z doing “Picasso Baby,” you have Tilda Swinton sleeping in a window-like glass box at MoMA, and you were photographed by Juergen Teller in front of the “Mona Lisa” [for “Paradis”]. How does that happen? Charlotte—We’re reinventing the ways of looking at art with ourselves. We’re sort of joining it. It’s another way of looking at the masterpieces. We have the lack of humility to say, “Well, I
wouldn’t mind standing in front of the ‘Mona Lisa’ naked.” I think it’s quite a good idea. Not that it was my idea. [Laughs.] At all. What can I say? This is a certain way of wanting to see who we are now with the art of other times. I’m sure somebody could give you a much better art class than that. Anthony—No, that does very well. The extent to which art has become part of everybody’s vocabulary now is interesting. It did not used to be. Charlotte—No! Not at all. Not at all. It was quite an elitist thing. I mean the galleries now—when they have retrospectives of all the different artists—they’re the most visited things of all time. There’s queues and queues around the block for people to see all the wonderful artists who have their retrospectives. It’s just…a big, big, big thing. And art, in terms of investment, is a big thing to have. Anthony—Have you ever painted? Charlotte—I do stuff, I do artwork. I can’t say it’s painting, but it’s using materials to make things happen. Anthony—Yes, performance art. Charlotte—Yes. Well, no. It’s not performance, because it goes onto canvas and wood. It is artwork, but you can’t say it’s painting. It’s sort of...things emerge from what I do with materials, like what I do with paint and paste. I have a studio with quite a lot of them in it now, because over the years I’ve done this. I call them [the works] my monsters, because in a way, they come out of the darkness. Anthony—Can we see them? Charlotte—Yes, they are actually big and, I mean, people have seen them that have wanted me to show them, but I have not done a show...yet. Anthony—I’d love to see an image if I promise not to show it to anybody. Charlotte—You’ll have to come to Paris! Anthony—Your mother was a painter. Charlotte—Yes she was. Yes, she was a watercolor painter. She did very beautiful watercolors. Absolutely. She would have done much more, but she was a devoted housewife and mother, and was always putting herself down as women did then. We don’t do that so much as young women now. When I was young, we were 60s girls, as you know, thriving on another voltage than our mothers. She never gave herself credit for what she did, but she was a very fine painter and didn’t really develop it. “Oh, it’s just a hobby,” she would say. Anthony—Is it just me or are you doing the same thing yourself now? Keeping them hidden. Charlotte—Yeah! You see, you’re absolutely right. We certainly follow in our parents’ footsteps even though we think we’re not doing it. Even though we think it’s the last thing we want to do. Anthony—The apple is pretty close to the tree. I rememberquite vividly the book that turned me on to art. Do you remember when you first thought, “This is really interesting stuff?” Charlotte—Yeah. And it was when I was with Jean-Michel [Jarre], my husband at the time. He loved art and he initiated me. He took me to lots of galleries and painters’ studios. I had no idea before; I was rather perturbed that I didn’t quite understand what it was all about. Anthony—This was in Paris? Charlotte—Yeah. He took the children, too. They were dragged around, they thought they were dragged around. But they were so happy in the end, when they grew up, because they really sort of had an eye for things afterwards. They had been opened up and made aware of it, so they could understand and make their own choices.
September 12, 2016—Paris and Nairn, Scotland August 31, 2016—Paris
Tilda Swinton speaks with curator Olivier Saillard about the artistic process and their fourth work together. Text by Joshua Glass
Portraits by Colin Dodgson
“Porcelain” is often used to describe the actress, artist, and over-
all creative muse Tilda Swinton. It’s not without warrant: Her face, unquestionably striking, has a silky fluorescence that companions her trademark frost-colored hair. But, beyond visuals, Swinton commands an emotional fragility that few dare to approach. She makes universes her own through a soft glance or simple sigh— no matter the gesture, her intensity directionally bleeds through. Though her work abounds in craft, from the theater—she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1984—to arthouse cinema— she appeared in several roles for the queer pagan punk director Derek Jarman in the late 80s and early 90s—and mainstream films by the likes of David Fincher, Wes Anderson, and Joel and Ethan Coen today, her exploits remain raw and wholly unique in whatever form they take. In 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art, she revived her on-again, off-again project, “The Maybe” back to life, a live art piece in which she “napped” for over six hours in a glass box (a collaboration with the artist Cornelia Parker that originally debuted at London’s Serpentine Gallery). The same year she opened Drumduan Upper School, an alternative, art-based school in the Scottish Highlands. Olivier Saillard, the curator of the Palais Galliera, Paris’s eminent fashion museum, is known for staging vast exhibitions of fashion’s most revered names, including Yohji Yamamoto, Christian Lacroix, Comme des Garçons, and more. He has been collaborating with Swinton over the last few years in a series of unusual yet exciting performance art pieces that deconstruct fashion as a concept. “The Impossible Wardrobe” in 2012 was a three-night, one-woman-show in which Swinton slinked down a
Document No. 9
runway in late 19th to mid-20th-century designer garb. “Eternity Dress,” in 2013, followed the archaeology of construction; the two designed a dress before the eyes of audience members in a small Parisian auditorium. The third in their trilogy, “Cloakroom— Vestiaire Obligatoire,” a traveling act that debuted at the museum’s Festival d’Automne and moved to Florence, Italy for Pitti Immagine in 2014, cast Swinton as a cloakroom attendant, improvising as guests flowed in and out of the space. To mark the pair’s fourth collaboration—“Sur-exposition,” a new project with Charlotte Rampling in which the actresses will personify images from historic photographers at the Palais Galliera’s seasonal event—Swinton and Saillard reflect on their past works and ongoing creative journey. Joshua—Do you recall when you first met? Tilda—Our dear mutual friend Katerina Jebb, the pho-
tographic artist with whom we have worked on all our pieces, originally introduced us. Unless it was upstairs above a café to discuss working together, I have no memory of our first actual meeting! Likely, it was a fairly serious conversation with various others, during which we just twinkled at each other, wanting to get on with the fun... Olivier—From that moment to our first performance, it seemed to me that we had some kind of secret connection and understanding, which was, and is, the appreciation for a different world. Joshua—You’ve collaborated many times in the past—for the Festival d’Automne and even at Pitti Immagine—what stays
the same, in regards to the collaboration, each time and what changes? Tilda—The playfulness, the curiosity, and the contentment in a shared enterprise with another who follows the same trail in the sand. Olivier—What changes is the atmosphere of the location, the platform of the performance. When we initiate a performance, or when we propose it to ourselves, the thought (the project itself ) leads to that location. I think that “doing” is better than “knowing how.” That is key. We have nothing to sell. My hope is that we offer a moment of distraction. Tilda—We feel like sleuths when we are together; forensic investigators on the hunt for something undiscovered. We share a kind of bullshit detector system that forces us to spool past gestures and inclinations that we feel we have seen before. This can make for a kind of tireless procedure: feeling for the edge in the carpet in order to peel it back. Joshua—How was “Sur-exposition” incepted? Tilda—Photography has never been far from our conversations—often related to sculpture and the concept of “pose”—over the past few years. Olivier—[The work is] a reflection on invasive images, harassing photos, and over self-exposure. We attempt to provide a paradoxical answer by completely removing all visuals. Joshua—Your previous works together call upon the idea of the “ritual.” Where does that come from and how do you interpret it? Tilda—It has to do with the boundaries of crafting a story. The three pieces that make up [our] trilogy engage themselves with the often-repetitive gestures associated with the showing of clothes, the making of couture, and even the surrender of our outer garments to a public cloakroom. Each collection of gestures creates a form of narrative for the performance. However, I think that by tracing these gestures in real time—by enacting a “fashion show” for an unwearable collection, by actually creating a dress in the course of an hour’s performance from first measurements to completed garment, and by inviting the audience to offer their own clothing to a cloakroom attendant—we have approached a dismantling of the rituals in favor of a more practical, humanist narrative. We are trying to break open the ritual in order to find the life within it. Olivier—It looks like a ritual because we are on stage, but in fact it’s gestures that come from the atelier or the fashion studio or our own relationship with cloth. Joshua—The first two performances seem so much more process-driven than “Cloakroom—Vestiaire Obligatoire.” Which world is this new piece meant to live in, or is it in another world of its own? Olivier—With every new performance, we try to hold a mirror to the garment to reveal the art and the poetry of the period, something that is very seldom addressed in either the art or fashion industry. Tilda—This is a new turn of the wheel. We felt very sure, with “Cloakroom,” that we were completing a trilogy of work. We have occasionally played with the idea of the still frame—of catching energy with a camera’s shutter—although the trilogy, as individual pieces and as a whole, was more invested in movement and the un-photographed material existence of clothes, bodies, and the lives lived within them. We start a fresh tack with [“Surexposition”], and we have invited a new collaborator, the lovely Charlotte Rampling, to make it with us. Olivier—In “Cloakroom,” the audience was invited onstage to give their coat to Tilda. To our surprise, Charlotte,
“We feel like sleuths when we are together; forensic investigators on the hunt for something undiscovered.”
who was in the audience, came [up]. The glance they gave each other indicated a form of intimacy, which, to me, was a sign of acknowledgement of each other. When Tilda and Charlotte found themselves face-to-face during one of our rehearsals, I was struck by their unique similarity. They are identical, without resembling each other physically, in the positions they take, the choices they make, and in their utmost singularity. Joshua—Do you think of your work—in this series and in your own solo pieces—as a whole or do you work on each project as its own? Tilda—It is a question of following one’s nose to the next scent, but, naturally, only according to the position to which one has found oneself through the previous foray. With perspective, of course, all the work is connected by the lives we are living while we make them, but, especially at the beginning of a project, it feels like a new departure, fresh snow ahead. Only later, with hindsight, can one see the through-line. Olivier—I decided in 2005 to initiate a poetic and performance piece based on a study of clothes without the body. Fashion typically works via runway modeling or photography with the body occupying a central role, but it is the absence of the body—something very much present in fashion museums or in one’s closet at home—that drive the exhibitions or the performances that I produce. I feel I occupy a territory, which is that of the written and a form of conservation for the disappearing fashion gesture. The performances are chapters, long or short. As long as I feel there is a need to say more on the subject, I will continue. But it is possible that these chapters will come to an abrupt ending. Joshua—Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and Brassaï are some of the photographers that inspire “Sur-exposition.” What do these artists mean to you? Tilda—History. By which I mean, not only their invaluable place in the history of the development of photography, but also something about the way in which they formulate and capture the gestures of their time in such a way as to render history entirely present and touchable. Olivier—Irving Penn is, for me, one of the greatest photographers. His work goes beyond the appearance of fashion to reveal the portraits of individuals. Tilda—I had the great honor of working with Avedon. I learned more from him about portraiture in two days than I have in the 20 years since. He was so entirely uninterested in repeating himself or in making a shape in each image that he had ever made before. (A tricky proposition, given that by the time I met him he had made pictures of people striking nearly every shape under the sun.) He waited for the pose to drop and the life to flood in. And then he snapped. This is the miracle of his iconic portrait
September 12, 2016â€”Paris and Nairn, Scotland
Dress by Loewe.
of Marilyn Monroe. He was like a hunter going after life. What a service that hunting instinct does us now, in amongst the bobbing sea of constructed, somewhat defensive poses recorded of that particular sitter. He shot her with a compassion dart. Olivier—[Avedon’s] work is totally connected to that Marylin Monroe portrait. He is the closest to a mirror, as he is able to predict [his subject’s] moment of weakness. Brassaï is known for his photography of Paris on a rainy day: a vanishing city with a nostalgic feeling. Joshua—What do you think academia can take from performance and what can performance take from academia? Tilda—I think that live performance, especially outside of the usually word-heavy environment of the theater, has the opportunity to play with unspoken and unspeakable things. Here, it is possible to dovetail, in one gesture, the tendencies of dance, of poetry, and of exhibition, for example, without having to signal loyalty to any one discipline. Academia, being all about words, can follow this openness of approach and attempt to translate it, to describe it with accuracy. But inarticulacy—being at the heart of the project of something performed in silence rather than spoken—is a winding and potentially transforming trail for the language of academia. The relationship is, therefore, a lively and energizing one. It pushes things forward. Joshua—You approach fashion from different ways—historically, socially, uniform-ally. For two people from very different
spaces, what does fashion mean to you? Olivier—Fashion has interested me in how it gives birth to authors such as Madame Grès, [Azzedine] Alaïa, [Cristobal] Balenciaga, and Madeleine Vionnet. It is this isolated area of solitude, not the theater of fashion that is more exclusive than inclusive. Personally, I don’t really have any sartorially fashionable clothing other than slacks and a blue shirt. Generally, I believe that fashion design is a topic about to be ignored in the mainstream because the prices are too high. Tilda—Naturally, Olivier has a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of fashion history, but maybe such a scope of perspective brings him not far from my pretty untutored crash-landing into a relationship with the fashion world exclusively via my friendships within it. I think we are both somewhat uninvested in fashion as a currency, heading, via style, towards an understanding of the anthropological—and, really, sociological—life of our culture. Joshua—Do you collaborate and perform to educate or to express? Tilda—I would say neither; rather, to share. Olivier—I don’t want to make a lesson about fashion. I hope I can bring some poetry into this fashion world, where it is sometimes ignored. Joshua—Do you have anything you’d like to ask each other? Olivier—If there were more questions, I would need to whisper them into her ears while threatening to kiss her.
Dress by Loewe.
September 12, 2016â€”Paris and Nairn, Scotland
August 31, 2016â€”Paris
September 12, 2016â€”Paris and Nairn, Scotland
Coat by Loewe Hair Cyndia Harvey at Streeters London. Make up Niamh Quinn at LGA.Photo Assistant Simon Wellington. Production Shelby Beamon at Art Partner, Michelle Methven at LS Productions, and Walter Micklethwait. Special thanks Jerry Stafford.
July 20, 2016—London and Washington, D.C.
Architect David Adjaye and curator Lonnie G. Bunch III on shaping an institution around the rich, yet complicated, African-American narrative. Introduction by Blake Abbie
Portraits by Harry Carr
Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, who in the past has used the runway as a platform to tackle race issues facing the black community, too offered questions to Adjaye and Bunch. Here the curator and architect discuss how in just a decade they took an idea and built a living, breathing space.
After more than a century in the making, and 170 years since the founding of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of African American Heritage and Culture finally opened its doors in Washington, D.C. this past September, inaugurated by President Barack Obama—a milestone for the first national museum dedicated to the African-American experience. The museum, which stands on the lawn closest to the Washington Monument, completes Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s grand plan for the National Mall. Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director, worked with the architectural team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup to design the building. Leading the design, the Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye envisioned the museum as an upsidedown ziggurat—the corona’s shape inspired by Yoruban columns from West Africa—with bronze-hued lattice ironwork hanging off the structure. Since establishing his office in the early 90s, Adjaye has become a favorite of the creative world, building homes for Juergen Teller, Glenn Ligon, and Lorna Simpson, but has also worked in the public space, notably designing the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. This year, his firm, Adjaye Associates, was named Architects of the Year at the Iconic Awards with the museum pegged as one of the most highly anticipated buildings of this generation. In advance of the occasion, fashion designer Kerby
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Blake Abbie—What does it mean to work on such a significant project? Speaking with Kerby, he wonders whether you felt a certain weight of responsibility? Lonnie G. Bunch III—This has been 100 years in the making, so it was really important to think about how all aspects of the museum—its collections, its exhibitions, its buildings—speak to the American public, to the global public, and how, in some ways, they symbolize the spirit of black America. David Adjaye—This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create, for the first time, a building about the African-American community on the nation’s capital that was publicly supported by the federal government. Blake—How did you begin? Lonnie—Before thinking about architects, we thought: “How does a building speak or make manifest resiliency, optimism, spirituality? How does it demonstrate there’s been a
David Adjaye photographed at his studio in London.
“This building had to be part of an education for America, to help America understand that it’s not being negative by exploring all the dark corners.”
significant dark presence in America that was often overlooked or undervalued? How does it sing with the rest of Washington, D.C.?” As we began to look at how to move forward, it was David’s—as part of the team with Max Bond and Phil Freelon—passion and understanding of what this could mean both domestically and internationally that was part of the appeal to work with him. David—We formed this triad. I reached out to Max as I was interested in collaborating and had heard from the Smithsonian about this competition to solicit [designs] from architects to see who could do the work. Max is the auteur—the Miles Davis of the group—and was the design guarantor who could wrestle with any complexities to come; Phil was the architect of record to ensure that we delivered; and I was the design lead. Later, the SmithGroup helped us with their experience as they had [previously built the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian] on the Mall. Lonnie—The Smithsonian doesn’t ordinarily do design competitions, but, because the site was so important, I wanted to see how architects from around the world would wrestle with it. David’s vision had a good sense of how the site itself could be used. They also listened to the words I wrote: This museum has to be a “lens to understand what it means to be an American.” I was not interested in crafting an institution by black people for black people, rather, [I wanted] something that would give sense of a two-sided coin: One side saying, “This is a building that speaks of a culture,” with the other saying, “This is a building, a museum that speaks of a country.” It may have been a people’s journey, but it’s also a nation’s; I looked at the design from that viewpoint. It was less about what it looked like and more: “Were they listening to what we needed to say?” This was going to be a building that could help America illuminate the dark corners of its existence. Blake—David, can you describe how the African-American journey informed the museum’s design? David—We wanted it to have a voice to tell the entire narrative; we wanted to talk about understanding the African-
American community through the lens of understanding their African roots, but also to understand how the African-American community is a way to understand the American identity. We felt inspired by the museum’s brief, which Lonnie just referred to; “resilience” and “optimism” were key words that made us think of new ways to make architecture. The traditional way is to create forms and hope those forms speak to ideas, or to create a container and then just put things in. Here was an opportunity to make a building where just a glimpse of its silhouette would pose questions and speak to the narrative. It’s a new kind of building—it’s not just the fantasy of an architect—but one that speaks specifically to the culture, community, and mission. Lonnie—This was going to be one of the most visible projects, not of one generation, but of many. And because this was so visible, because we had to speak with one voice and because we had to figure out how to handle the politics, we felt it was really important to grow together as a team. There was going to have to be an evolution to satisfy both my vision and to figure out how to protect it going through regulatory agencies. David—It was very challenging. But Max’s philosophy of needing a multi-headed team that could focus on issues and deliver their parts the best they could was correct in the end. When projects have a certain magnitude, the idea of a team of experts is a really good one. Blake—Lonnie, you mentioned you wanted the building to “sing with the rest of…D.C.” How does one shape a building’s narrative to include the dark history of the African-American community? Lonnie—The notion I use is remembering: the difficult moment, the moment of resiliency, the moments of optimism. This building had to be part of an education for America, to help America understand that it’s not being negative by exploring all the dark corners. In some ways, part of the greatness of the African-American experience—and ultimately the American experience—is being a work-in-progress. What one does is look
“A lot of the discourse seems to be about not understanding the incredible resilience of this community and how it had been nimble, grown, and become so structurally critical to the evolution of America. ”
much part of spirituality, too. This community is incredibly resilient and the upwardness is the ability to overcome incredible weight, which they still deal with. Almost all downtrodden communities use the upward motif as a way to talk about liberation and the release from oppression. Those images and their relationship to the form were very powerful. Lonnie—Yes, the corona [of the museum] sings on several levels. Your eye is drawn upward to almost being able to believe in a day that you shouldn’t. We used beautiful screens inspired by the [lattice] ironwork created by enslaved craftspeople in Charleston and New Orleans. The building was no longer separate from a community, but embodied one. These screens remind [us] that so much of America’s history—America’s African-American history—is hidden in plain site. [Look to the] enslaved people who built the White House and Capital. Once we came to that notion, the corona spoke to me as more than just something about a building here; it was a beacon to every person in the United States to realize how much of the story is right in front of them and has been unacknowledged and unexplored. Blake—As the museum draws attention to history, you also said that the museum acts as a lens through which to have a new perspective of what it is to be American. Lonnie—While this is a national museum of international importance, it’s also a place in Washington. Instead of what’s traditionally been done—you go into a building on the National Mall and you’re in the building—I wanted you to go inside and realize you’re on the Mall. Creating vistas and views would allow people to see the fact that this is sacred space for African Americans. There have been amazing moments here, like the March on Washington or when Marian Anderson sang at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939. I wanted people to look around and realize that not far from here, along Pennsylvania Avenue, were slave pens, or that, towards the [Smithsonian] Castle, a mixed-raced community lived in the 1840s and 1850s. The goal was to say: “This museum is not separate from its site but that the site has a rich
at these moments of difficulty and at the kind of struggles, resiliency, and optimism that came out of that. That was imbedded in what the museum is. Working on the National Mall is not easy, but in my mind anything that happened paled in comparison to the story of black America, so I felt we could figure out a way to get there. We knew there were going to be a lot of surprises on that site. This building takes on the best of African-American culture when it comes to improvisation. There is a phrase in AfricanAmerican culture: “Making a way out of no way.” While I didn’t know everywhere we’d go with this building, I knew we’d make a way out of no way and be nimble. David—I’ve seen projects that have looked at the AfricanAmerican or African communities, and whenever architecture was discussed, it was always, for me, through a sort of traumatic moment. A lot of the discourse seems to be about not understanding the incredible resilience of this community and how it had been nimble, grown, and become so structurally critical to the evolution of America. It’s a powerful human story that needed to be a kind of model [of a building], which does not harken to slavery or any other part of the story, but really looked at the entire journey to this moment. Blake—So how is the design of the museum inspired by this journey? David—I became excited about the way one talked about expression, the way [the museum] created relationships to the obelisk of the Washington Monument and created a dialogue about the craft and beginnings of the community in Western/Central Africa. It made an opportunity to create hybridity and translation through looking at labor practices of African Americans during slavery and at the beginning of the emancipation of slavery—to create an architectural journey. It was about concretizing stories, and the tripartite form of the building comes from [the Nigerian] Yoruban Caryatids—columns which embody in their form a whole narrative, a story. [The crown of the Caryatid] has an upward aspiration rather than a downward form. This upward motif is very
July 20, 2016—London and Washington, D.C.
“You want spaces that allow people to not just reflect and question, but to reflect surrounded by beauty.”
federal government. But, most importantly, it allowed us to find unexpected things like Nat Turner’s bible, Harriet Tubman’s hymnal, or a man’s free papers from just before the Civil War, which he had kept in a handmade tin wallet, a little safe—his family had kept it for generations. We found small things that told intimate stories as well as big things like a nearly 80-ton railroad car made during segregation in the 1920s; walking through that will explain segregation in ways no label I could write nor photo I could show: here’s where the white community sat, and through a swinging door, here is where the black community sat. Blake—Looking forward from these difficult moments, how will the contemporary issues facing the black community be incorporated into the curation? Kerby asks specifically of the Black Lives Matter movement—his Spring/Summer 2016 show was a call-toaction to fight against police brutality on the black community. Lonnie—The Smithsonian is the great convener, where people who wouldn’t necessarily wrestle with questions of race, identity, or science will when they visit. This museum had to be as much about today and tomorrow as it is about yesterday. Having a building that marries a sense of modernity with a sense of the past; one that allows us to have changing spaces so that new stories and materials can be added and new controversies can be explored; and one with the kind of space to have conversations, debates, book signings, and performances that allow us to wrestle with what Black Lives Matter means, with the challenge of violence in the community, and with the challenge of creativity at the heart of this community. The museum has to be a place that says, “We will not just look back when we collect, we will look ahead.” Unlike when I began my career—when I wanted to do exhibitions and there was no material—I want to make sure that scholars 20 or 30 years from now who want to wrestle with Black Lives Matter will have the kind of material to do so. Blake—And you’ve created spaces in the museum to contemplate all these issues. Lonnie—The museum is not all about these difficult issues, but they are there. It was important to recognize that you want the building to do three things: You want spaces that allow people to not just reflect and question, but to reflect surrounded by beauty. In the contemplative space there are quotations to help you think. The second piece was surprises: You want people to turn corners and see different juxtapositions. One of the most brilliant things David did was down at concourse level: you look up and see amazing light. You then look ahead and see the Contemplative Court. The third thing was that—despite the surprises, despite the moments of wonder—the building had to work as a museum, not just as a monument. David—What Lonnie outlined is central to my practice and belief in what architecture does: Architecture is not an autonomous thing, and is at its best when it is supporting, enhancing, and elevating the mission it is brought into being to serve. This idea that the building is really made better by the way in which it supports a mission is very important to the way I think and work. This is the most extraordinary journey to have done over eight years: to have been a part of creating this institution and finishing the monumental core of the National Mall. Lonnie—There are only two permanent things: the building and the collection. As long as there is America, the building and collection are there, and millions of people will be able to understand how we’ve been shaped in profound ways by the African-American experience. The building is a living, evolving presence. It’s the uplift, it’s the way the sun changes its look at different parts of the day. And in some ways, the building is as alive as the history and culture we’re exploring.
history and these vistas remind us of where we are.” Being able to look out allowed us to have African Americans claim the AfricanAmerican-ness of the National Mall. Blake—So how do you then take the journey on the inside, thinking about the curatorial mission? Kerby also questions how you plan to teach future generations about black America’s dark past? David—The building sets up a new notion of making the journey of a museum. The way you go around it interconnects with the views to create punctured moments. The idea is to go down into the lower level, to the history galleries, where there are the most important objects in terms of telling the story of the history from Africa to the present. Then you rise up into the corona to two gallery spaces, which are about the way in which the culture disseminates [in America, in] the South and into the urban North: how it professionalizes and how it starts to contribute. On the upper level, you have how the culture goes into music and art. People have asked me why the building has three tiers in its elevation. It’s not just formal, but also speaks symbolically about the way this building represents these three ways of curating the story. Lonnie—We were building and didn’t have the collection. I’ve always said it was like going on a cruise while at the same time building the ship. [Laughing.] You couldn’t say, “We’ll build this room this way so we can do or show that.” David—But by creating the largest column-free form we could, there was the ultimate flexibility to change the space in the upper two [sections]. Unlike other museums, where you move through small rooms, this large expansive space pushes the circulation to its perimeter. There you’re able to use the building and its location at the junction between the Mall and the Washington Monument to generate the views—what we call the “Nine Views”—looking at Washington as part of the story, allowing for the museum to have an inside/outside relationship. It wasn’t just internal content, but a constant looped dialogue to understand exactly where you were and what that does with the landscape and the museum curation. That is an important [architectural] part of the entire project. Blake—Let’s speak about the contents of the building, what you were concerned with, Lonnie. How did you build a collection? Lonnie—What’s so special about this museum is that it’s the first national museum ever that had to start from scratch everywhere. It didn’t have a site or building. It had a staff of two. It had no collections, and there was a worry about how to build one: Should the museum be a place of objects or a place driven by technology? By creating a structure for saving a lot of African-American treasures, it allowed us to go to communities and build partnerships with local museums. The goal was never to collect anything but to help preserve grandma’s old shawl or the old Ford sitting in the garage. Because of that, people realized, “Oh, I want to give.” We encouraged people to give to local museums first. From there we built support around the country to help find funds from the
June 21, 2016—New York and San Francisco
Cultural critic Douglas Crimp reviews queer liberation, the decline of radicalism, and his new memoir, with artist Malik Gaines. Introduction by Drew Sawyer
Portrait by Alice O’Malley
the 70s in New York; they came to maturity during the AIDS crisis. I think, for them, the period of gay liberation immediately following Stonewall was a bit mythologized, a sort of golden period, because it was pre-AIDS. But it was also a period that we all felt was in danger of being rewritten from a conservative perspective as the period of gay men’s immaturity that led, supposedly, to AIDS. In my writing on AIDS, I attempted to counter that narrative, and at the same time I was working on AIDS, I got involved with the new academic field of queer theory. When I would tell them anecdotes about my life in the 70s, many of my ACT UP friends would say, “You know, you really should write a memoir.” That put the notion in my head. In a way, my Warhol book [“Our Kind of Movie: The Films of Andy Warhol”] comes out of that same impetus, both to counter that conservative narrative and to provide a queer-before-gay view of a queer culture, before gay identity got so fixed with a turn from the liberation movement to a rights movement. Malik—I moved to New York five years ago, and I was surprised and excited at the return of promiscuity. It’s not the same kind of public space you describe, where the streets are yours and you can make them into any kind of counter-normative space you want to. It feels a little more like a shopping center, where a range of possibilities are opened. Now, there is a kind of pharmaceutical promiscuity. I wonder what you think about that shift in culture. Or shift in gay practices? Douglas—I’m 72 years old, so I don’t go out very much. I used to go out often, as you can tell from the memoir. I was a bar/ disco/sex club devotee. After AIDS, that shifted; I experienced so much loss because that scene was so decimated. Then there was [Rudy] Giuliani, who destroyed it even more. Then came internet culture, which is not my culture. I’ve never adapted to it. It has always seemed to me, given what little I understand or have experienced of seeking sexual partners over the internet, that people not only advertise who they want to appear as, but also believe
As an art critic, curator, and activist for more than 40 years, Douglas Crimp has defined much of contemporary artistic practices and discourse. In the fall of 1977, he organized the epochal “Pictures” exhibition at Artists Space, a small but renowned nonprofit gallery in downtown New York. The show and its associated essay, which examined the work of five young artists (Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, and Philip Smith) who used photography and appropriation-driven strategies to reflect on the functions and codes of representation, defined a generation of artists—indeed, this group, along with artists including Louise Lawler, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman, came to be known simply as “The Pictures Generation.” By the next decade, Crimp became one of the most influential voices in not only art criticism but also the response to the AIDS crisis, shaping the development of queer and AIDS politics beyond the art world. This fall, Crimp will publish “Before Pictures,” a memoircum-cultural history of his life as a young gay man and art critic in New York City between the late 60s and 70s, before his infamous “Pictures” show. Malik Gaines, a member of the art collective My Barbarian and an assistant professor of performance studies at New York University, spoke to Crimp about his forthcoming memoir, gay life in the age of the internet, and the problem of diversity in art, both then and now. Malik Gaines—As a person in his 40s, who came out during the height of the AIDS crisis, going back to the moment of gay liberation is really liberating in a sense. I wonder how it felt for you. I imagine you’ve worked on this [book] for some time. Douglas Crimp—Of course it was fun to return to my youth and to a time before AIDS—well, not only fun, but mostly fun. When I joined ACT UP in 1987, most of my fellow activists and the people who became my friends there were 20 years younger than me or thereabouts. Like you, Malik, they didn’t experience
Document No. 9
Douglas Crimp wears shirt by Woolrich. Jeans by Frame Denim. Photographed in his apartment in New York.
“What I took from the gay liberation ethos was that we didn’t know who we were and we didn’t necessarily know what we wanted. Instead, we felt we should be open to everything, even things we thought we didn’t want.”
they truly know who they are and what they want. What I took from the gay liberation ethos was that we didn’t know who we were and we didn’t necessarily know what we wanted. Instead, we felt we should be open to everything, even things we thought we didn’t want, which might open you to partners of different races, to differently abled partners, and certainly to people with different sexual proclivities. I tried many things that frankly I was quite repelled by, but I was just being a good liberationist, thinking, “OK, I can’t say, ‘No, I don’t do that,’ or ‘That’s not who I am.’” I didn’t necessarily seek such things out a second time, but I often surprised myself. I guess that would be my question to you: How much do you surprise yourself? Or how much does one surprise oneself in the current situation? When people first started talking about themselves and their desires as coded in terms of “bottom” and “top,” I almost didn’t understand what they were talking about. I mean, of course I understood, and there were hanky codes and all of that, but to say, “Oh, I really only want to top, or only am a top,” didn’t make sense in my experience. Malik—Your story of shrimping with Ellsworth Kelly is one of the more delightful moments in the book, and it comes out of what you’re describing, this openness to try whatever. I think with apps and this kind of mainstreaming, which is always a kind of corporatizing, it means sexuality is a little more branded and a little more marketed. In your gay life in the book, which is distinct from the art world you are also participating in, you meet different kinds of people, you go to different places, you talk about the “exotic look of so and so” or an “interest in Latinos” in another space. Esther Phillips appears in a beautiful album cover in your disco section. It’s so great, by the way, to see those fragments of your unpublished disco writing. But I noticed how exclusively white the art spaces were at this time, and I connected that to what you write about where you came from in the Northwest, a white supremacist place. I wonder how conscious you were of that whiteness at the time. Or how conscious anyone was at the time? Douglas—Well, there was a consciousness, it’s probably a failure in some ways not to have written about it, but it wasn’t really enough part of my life. But of course, the art workers coalition grew out of the anti-Vietnam war movement and the Guerrilla Girls out of the women’s liberation movement...A lot of the organizing around anti-exclusivity in the art world did take place in
the late 60s and early 70s as part of political movements. There were real eruptions of that among black artists, particularly with the 1969 exhibition “Harlem on My Mind,” at the Met. It wasn’t as if it wasn’t happening at all and there wasn’t a consciousness of it, but my experience of diversity and of racial discourses was all in my queer life, not in my art world life. The latter was a very white world, no question. There only began to be a consciousness about the paucity of women artists and numbers of black artists in the Whitney Biennials around that time. We’ve moved some from there. It was also the time when the Museo del Barrio was founded as a response to the lack of diversity in the mainstream art world. But I would have had to go pretty far afield from my own activities and experience to bring that stuff in. So it really came in terms of my other life, essentially. I experienced that as just one of the really big differences between the kind of people I knew in the art world and the kind of people I knew in the queer world. I was hanging out at The Cockring, which was a largely Latino bar. I started going to La Escuelita a lot after the experience in a Cuban gay bar in Miami that I describe in my book. My first boyfriend was half-Arab. I was drawn to ethnic and racial diversity purely as an attraction. It probably has to do with the incredibly...I mean it wasn’t just people of color, you couldn’t even be Jewish in my hometown. The Aryan Nation[s] literally ran Jews out of town, it was awful. The worst of that happened after I left, but I remember Irish Catholics being considered weird in my hometown because they weren’t Protestants. They weren’t even Italian Catholics! Talk about the narcissism of small differences! It was very real in my hometown. Then going to a majority black city for college really jerked me around and made me a different person. Malik—Something that I really appreciate about this book is the movement in and out of the disciplinarity of art. Moving between not only the official museum world that you started in, but the contemporary art world that you moved yourself into, and then this world of queer life, where you’re going to different kinds of places and meeting different kinds of people, what you described as a diversity of people. You frame the art world with a lively world around it, something like the ornate School of Fontainebleau frames you explicate in the text. For me, this makes the art world, which at this point is fairly canonical, seem really narrow and a little imprisoning. Still, it’s amazing the way you’re
June 21, 2016—New York and San Francisco
“The idea was that juxtaposing the gay world and the art world would unsettle the standard narratives of each and then come up with a different kind of history for both.”
promiscuity of my culture and that of yours. I think the biggest difference is that ours was public; it both took place out in public and there was a public discourse about it. The official discourse of gayness right now is marriage, and has been for quite a while, so while this promiscuity is going on, nobody really wants to talk about it because it interrupts that more proper narrative. Malik—Well, one doesn’t want to upset one’s husband with too many sex exploits! What you were just talking about—using your life as a context to unsettle the art space that you’re critically describing, considering the framing structure of the book, and thinking about your own writings in your chapter about Balanchine, Craig Owens, and Derrida—I’m wondering if the strategy of the book is a good example of a postmodern strategy? Douglas—I hadn’t thought of it that way. Many chapters in the book are clearly informed by current discussions, and the fate of postmodern theory is one of them—in this case, it’s the new theoretical dance studies in the Academy. Because I’ve been teaching and writing about dance in the past few years, I have read much of that work and am ambivalent about it, so I wanted to at least obliquely enter it with that chapter. I always knew I would write about Balanchine, because his choreography was and still is a big part of my life, and it was certainly something that was central to my friendship with Craig. Then it occurred to me that it was all happening at the same time that Craig and I were reading poststructuralist theory in graduate school. I think one could say that destabilizing standard narratives is a more or less deconstructive or postmodern strategy. But I wasn’t so conscious of using postmodern theory as a model for writing this book. Where theory did play a significant role is the way that the ethos of gay liberation determined so much of the thinking that I grew to maturity with. It’s so embedded in the way I approach things. That was especially true when I was writing about AIDS in the 80s and 90s, because at that point my own subjectivity entered the picture. Writing this book from a subjective perspective is pretty much the way I write now. Certainly, a lot of my AIDS writing was very deeply personal, and my Warhol book has a lot of it that is personal too, although a lot of it is very much close readings of certain films. I’m trying to do both at once. I think you destabilize those discourses by making hybrids of them in some sense, bringing something into the picture that doesn’t “belong” there.
able to use the language of that discipline in the context of this completely interdisciplinary space of the queer city. Douglas—Thanks. One of the pleasures of writing this book was that I made an arbitrary decision in the beginning, writing the first chapter. I liked the crazy spiraling structure of that chapter; it went from anecdote to critical theory, back to anecdote, and so on. I thought: “I’ll just take the things I did professionally during this period of time, say the Agnes Martin exhibition at the School of Visual Arts in 1971, and I will use them arbitrarily as the starting point for a chapter. Then I’ll just let myself go wherever it takes me.” So one of the reasons it was so fun to write this book was that I didn’t really have an agenda. I had the anecdotes that I knew I wanted to tell and, of course, I had my own critical positions. I also wanted to return to my work and see what my young self looked like from my current perspective. There was really only one overall agenda for the book: to put the two worlds of which I was a part of in the first 10 years I was in New York, the art world and the gay world, into some kind of juxtaposition and conversation. That didn’t take much doing, because that was simply the way my life was. It wasn’t as easy to be gay in the art world then as it is now. The interdisciplinary or hybrid quality of the memoir flows from that juxtaposition that started with the first chapter, in which I discuss what I call “my two first jobs,” haute couture with Charles James and conceptual art with Daniel Buren at the Guggenheim; two seemingly incommensurate things, I use that sort of incommensurability throughout as a means through which to interrogate both sides. I do this in the chapter about [George] Balanchine and [Jacques] Derrida, for example. The idea was that juxtaposing the gay world and the art world would unsettle the standard narratives of each and then come up with a different kind of history of both. I’m hoping that is what the book accomplishes. It’s a history of New York in the 70s, it’s a very personal history, but I think it is also a broader history. It’s a very unusual history, because the history of gay liberation is not told this way and the history of the art world is not told this way. Certainly the fact that both of these worlds were radically experimenting at the time makes the story an especially rich one. I think it’s harder to feel that way about the art world right now, and certainly harder to feel that way about the queer world right now. Neither of them feels as radically experimental to me. You mentioned before a difference between the
Apri 6, 2016—New York
Hermès’s Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski recalls Belgium and the beauty of difference with iconic model Hannelore Knuts. Introduction by Joshua Glass Portraits by Mark Peckmezian
done a lot of different colors as a little heritage of my explorative life. I’ve always loved styling, fashion, and clothes because they could always express so many things about who I was. It was transformation and emancipation. You probably met me in Antwerp because I was in some little Flemish bar going to see garage rock. It was the time of Jack White and bands from Detroit. My friends and I would always try to sell shirts to them. We’d wack a bit of embroidery on rockabilly fabrics that we’d found at the old woman shops in Belgium, and go to the bands with charming French and Flemish accents! Hannelore—Oh my God, we lived the same life, only you drove this way and I drove the other. Nadège—That’s probably why we didn’t meet sooner: I was too busy creating garage band merch. The education in Antwerp was great, though. It was the perfect storm. The city is small enough to be affordable, but it’s always striving. Historically, it has always been turned towards the world, and there are so many different communities. Hannelore—And the schools are very international. Nadège—Yes, at that time, we had a lot of people coming from ex-Yugoslavia. All of a sudden you were with kids from Croatia and Serbia, and discovering a totally different kind of Europe that was even more mixed. It was great, I had a great artistic foundation. Hannelore—Because Belgium is so small, we were obliged to look outside. I grew up in a small town, where you had to create your own entertainment—garage bands, there were plenty of them. Nadège—We have a lot of pop-culture in Belgium: comic strips, music, cinema, it’s quite interesting. Coming from Antwerp, where I was amongst so many sculptors and painters, I became aware of the artistic form. I love a personal approach [in design]—I don’t want to say artistic—but quite personal in terms of the cutting, draping, and also being aware of what a woman wants to wear. There is a lot of paradox with women; we want this, but we also want that; we want to be alone, but we also want to be with someone. We go left, then we go right… Hannelore—We want to be comfortable, but… Nadège—We want to have practical clothes, but we also want to have whimsical clothes. I really like to personalize clothes. I give them names or characters. In the fittings, the team sometimes looks at me like, “What is she talking about?” It’s important for me to have those names and to relate and project into [the clothes]. Hannelore—What you’re talking about now is a sort of luxury. It’s not only the quality of the fabrics or the craftsmanship,
Conceptually, Antwerp has defined a historical radicalism that
has born and bred specific artist movements and even whole disciplines thereafter. For fashion, the Antwerp Six immediately come to mind, but perhaps more pertinent to today’s conversations are their successors: the raw, young eyes who took notice of that first avant-garde plunge and followed off the cliff soon after with newfound ways to return back to the ground safely (or simply to never land at all). Inconspicuous in her approach, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski took such a leap, beginning her career at Maison Margiela—perhaps the most successful incubator of intentional extremity conceptualized as clothing—before moving to Céline, rearticulating a new wave of minimalism under Phoebe Philo. After helming the design team for The Row, and introducing an unprecedented point of view to the Olsen-owned brand, Vanhee-Cybulski was appointed artistic director of Hermès’s women’s collections in July 2014, the first female designer to hold the title at the house in nearly two decades. Perceived by many as soft spoken, the designer’ kindredness to polite subversion has established a mobile elegance in her work: it’s classical and yet it’s ever so complicated. Years before any of this happened, though, Vanhee-Cybulski was first introduced to Hannelore Knuts in the charged town of Antwerp. Famous for her androgynous profile and unconventional personality, Knuts was at the forefront of the early aughts’ Belgian wave of models that infiltrated fashion. After seizing countless covers, she transitioned into the world of art, staging a self-referential show at the Hasselt Fashion Museum in 2010 and working on special pieces with the likes of painter Michaël Borremans and digital artists Radio Soulwax since. Linked by shared deviances, the two remember their first moments of friendship and how life and luxury have changed along the way. Hannelore Knuts—I believe that we met too late! Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski—[Laughs.] I do too. Hannelore—You studied in Antwerp around the same time
I did. When we met, you had this little string of pink hair hiding under your beautiful ginger locks! That’s very mysterious to me [now], and I want to know what was Nadège like as a student, pre-Hermès? Nadège—It’s funny that we met then. As a ginger, I was a bit ostracized by other kids when I was little, but the older women loved it. “Oh you have such nice hair!” I was annoyed, because I wanted to be attractive to the young boys, not them! [Laughs.] As soon as I could, I turned it black, white, and pink—I’ve
Document No. 9
Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski wears sweater by Hermès. Photographed in Paris.
but also about how you become one with the clothes. Nadège—There is definitely that experience. [A piece] belongs to you so it makes one with you, but it also has the person that worked on it with their own hands, developing the fabric, etc.—the maker. I can tell you so many stories about each piece of clothing, why we did this on this and that on another. Beyond generations, everyone has his or her own definition of luxury. Some people will tell you that it’s sitting on the top of a hill in Tuscany and having a glass of wine. Another person will say it’s a free Sunday where they can sleep in. There is something transcendental in projecting something outside of the object and having a good feeling [about it]. A luxury piece to me is an object with a soul. Hannelore—The difference between generations is not so much in thinking, but that the younger generation still needs to gain experiences. They are still searching, and have more ideas of what luxury could be. It’s more hectic. I’m happy that we’re getting older and have had time to realize what luxury is! Nadège—This new generation is processing information through the internet very quickly. I’m still from the time where if I had to look for vintage clothes, I had to take my car and drive 20 minutes across the border, be in Belgium, and change my money into Belgian francs just to go through the racks…[Laughs.] Now you go to Etsy, eBay, or 1stdibs and click! I can be in Malibu and see a selection from a great shop. There is a very fast and slow knowledge of research, but it’s interesting how the new generation is also aspiring to a sort of longevity. Hannelore—The classic beauty, if it exists what would it be? Do you feel it is a challenge to keep it modern, or does it need to stay modern, or is it just what it is? Nadège—I really want to explore the classics and really—I don’t want to say twist them—but observe them. It’s a great paradox, because when you look at a classic it’s always relevant but at the same time [it can be] very stuffy and boring. Hannelore—Isn’t it that tension that keeps it exciting? Nadège—Exactly, because you can transgress it. You can keep it alive. I’ve always been interested in seeing subcultures and different groups use classics like the blazer or the check shirt or the pleated skirt. It’s a great reference to dig into my inspiration and a tool for moving towards the future. Hannelore—Do you stay close to the classics when you create? Or do you pick a classic and step away or deconstruct it? I’m just trying to find your creative process, if you’re willing to share. Nadège—It’s very difficult to synthesize the creative process because it can be a word; it can be a color; it can be a picture; it can be an action, like draping; it can be collecting works then applying them. I’ve been looking at a lot of artists from the 60s, and I love the way they translated the action of art, and how, instead of taking a brush and painting on a canvas, they were on the floor or standing on a platform. I want to design fashion like this, I don’t want to just draw flat silhouettes and give it to someone. I think there are much more interesting ways of being a fashion designer, and I hope that different people can come up with different formulas of designing. Hannelore—That way of working must feel comfortable in a house like Hermès, because you have the experience and craftsmanship. Nadège—It’s reassuring. Even though you know you want to break the rules, having someone say, “No, this is a rule,” can be a great collaboration. Sometimes you have to be humble and say “OK,” and let it go. It’s great to have this new formula; there’s both a rigor and spontaneity to it. It was the same when I was working for Martin Margiela. When I was assigned to design Line 4, a
“Fashion magazines love putting you in a box. I just want to be a bit more actual.” wardrobe for women, I was like, “Oh my God, this is going to be so boring!” I was coming from Antwerp, where you had to twist everything; cut it out and pull it up, inside, and out. Hannelore—Your designs are not loud and noisy like “wahhhh!!!” but they say so much. A quiet whisper can be louder than an ear-piercing scream, that’s what I like about your work. It’s clever and speaks for itself. It’s for a woman that is strong, not in hiding; that wants to be seen in a very elegant way, not loudly. Nadège—Nowadays, there are so many assumptions about fashion and femininity. It’s funny that people tend to put tags on things. “You’ve got a Flemish name, you did Antwerp, you work at Hermès, therefore you’re a minimalist, quiet woman.” There’s a much more complex approach. [Once], I went to see a doctor—a homeopathic—and I was like, “Oh I’m tired and have a lot of responsibilities. I’m designing and have a team and it’s exhausting.” He said, “Yes, but you chose it. You want to be there. You want to express something.” Then, I was like “No, no!” but actually it’s yes. It’s really interesting that you say the clothes are not shouting but they are strong. I really think I am working with paradox. Hannelore—You are! For me you are. Nadège—It’s really difficult to put an etiquette to it. Fashion magazines love putting you in a box. I just want to be a bit more actual, because right now we’re in a society where I know exactly what can happen in Bombay [Mumbai] or Sydney or Lima. We have such a great global sense and there are so many individuals on the web expressing themselves that I think it’s much more complicated now to say, “This is this tribe or this is that.” This is why I think I am in the right place, because it’s not about this woman or the “Hermès Woman.” It’s the plurality of women. I always feel very awkward when someone asks, “What is your woman?” It’s a very strange corner for me. Hannelore—That wasn’t the question I meant to ask. Nadège—No, I know. Women are just so complex. We’re not in the 50s anymore, where you had those awful strict books that told you what to wear for cocktails, what to wear for a house party. I found some manuals that really tell you what to wear on Sundays, what to wear on Monday, after 6 pm... Hannelore—Some days it would be practical to have a manual! [Laughs.] Nadège—Yes, but it was to the letter! What to wear at 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm…for tea…I was like, “Woah!” The point is that nowadays you can play with the stereotypes of women, as you can also have a deeper exploration of personalities. The latest is more attractive to me. Hannelore—Like you said, clothes still are your identity. I experienced that too. I was shy, so I used my clothes to tell people what I was and that I was different. Nadège—People decide how to project you. You were a top model! You still are. Hannelore—I know you as a very sweet person, and you’re really a duality; you’re humble and always so aware of things, yet you do all these things and you are screaming when you send out your girls. It’s such a beautiful scream, and I really enjoy that moment.
Nadège wears sweater by Hermès.
August 21, 2016—Los Angeles
Composer and legendary musician John Cale muses on poetry, sobriety, and Hood By Air with songstress Florence Welch. Introduction by Joshua Glass
Portraits by Marlene Marino
Summers, eventually forming the indie rock band Florence + the Machine. Recognized especially for her wide contralto voice range and gothic romantic style, Welch too has lent her voice to the visual arts, appearing on Baz Luhrmann’s soundtrack for “The Great Gatsby” motion picture and in a special project with video game franchise “Final Fantasy.” Bonded by literary favorites, Cale and Welch connected over old poisons and the curious depths of the artistic process.
Once Andy Warhol’s Factory house band, the Velvet Underground might be what John Cale is best known for, but the multi-instrumentalist’s 16 solo records and vast collaborations in the decades since—with proto-punk artists such as Nico and Patti Smith and experimental outfits like LCD Soundsystem, Animal Collective, and more—have shaped the sound of several alternative movements today. Lauded by many as the godfather of rock, specifically its classical and punk transgressions, the avant-garde Welsh artist has defined a music theory of extremities: poetic lyricism overthrown by rapid change, be it through improvisation or, in many cases, a diversion of genre. Cale’s work extends from studio and live-written discography to the silver screen, and includes composed scores for cult films like Mary Harron’s “American Psycho,” Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild” and Paul Morrissey’s “Heat.” In 1996, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2010 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. A listener of the Velvet Underground from an early age, Florence Welch lists Cale and his collaborators—the likes of Siouxsie Sioux, David Byrne, Lou Reed—as early influences. The singer/songwriter began her musical career performing at open mic nights in British pubs with friend Isabella “Machine”
Document No. 9
Florence Welch—You know, I never understood how to be “girly.” I’ve always really enjoyed wearing men’s clothes. John Cale—An oversized raincoat? Florence—[Laughs.] Especially as a performer, I look to male artists a lot for what they are wearing. I’ve always felt envious of the fact that their stage personas and lives seemed very much on the same plane. I mean, obviously, Bowie was very...you know. But I’m kind of jealous of the simplicity of perhaps, say, a Nick Cave suit that he’d wear all day, everyday, and both on stage and off. I’ve definitely been looking at how to bring masculinity into my work. Everything is becoming more fluid, which is a really beautiful thing. The idea of inclusivity is something I would love to see us moving even more towards. The kind of fluidity that comes from
John Cale photographed in Los Angeles.
“It’s really a trick to be able to transform something realistic into something eloquent. And when it works, it works. I just wish you could do it more. But sometimes reality just takes over.”
love and the sharing of ideas. If we can start with clothes... John—The thing that confuses me with those shows is whether you really get any leadership. Florence—What? Fashion shows? John—Yeah. The guys in New York, for instance, they’re really all over the place. It’s chaotic. Even they’ve realized that you can have this great line that’s ferociously individual and still, you have to put the “straight” garment in there, just so that everybody can say, “Oh, he knows.” You know what I mean? Don’t scare them too much. I mean, I’m not scared, I’m just thinking about the market. I like [labels like] Hood By Air. Gypsy Sport. But, mostly, brands people have never heard of before. Florence—Alessandro [Michele] is doing really amazing stuff at Gucci, blending what is masculine and feminine. The kind of patterns and stuff—even for men—they’re incredibly flamboyant. John—Do you know David Peace? He is from Yorkshire. He taught English in Japanese schools, and wrote a series of novels about West Yorkshire [the “Red Riding Quartet”] all about the miner strike and [Margaret] Thatcher. He came out with these two books about post-war Japan, life just after the bomb. He’s got this really ferocious style of writing. He writes dialogue—no descriptive prose—so you’re thrown right in the middle of what’s going on. I’ve been thinking about the Japanese clothes in Tokyo at the time, but I also just threw that out because I was wondering who you like to read. Florence—At the moment I’m reading quite a lot of poetry. For one of my birthdays, my dad gave me his old school copy of T.S. Eliot, and it still has all these notes and annotations. It’s quite precious to me. He used to do impressions reading Eliot lyrics in
a Bob Dylan voice. “Let us go then, you and I.” [Laughs.] “In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo.” John—Very good. That’s a great upbringing. Florence—And it worked! I reread “Everyone Sang,” which is a poem by Siegfried Sassoon. I re-came across it in an anthology about birds, and it’s about people singing in the trenches. He says, “horror/ Drifted away ... O, but Everyone/ Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.” It seemed so poignant. John—Those wall poems, they get you. I just listened to “Poetry Please” this morning. There was an Eliot Weinberger poem, and they talked about how tribes and primitive people have omens. You know, the idea that if a bird whistles, then your friend will come. If the wind blows at midnight, then your horse will sleep. Things that are really disjointed. Florence—My friend Robert Montgomery does these big billboard poems that are just huge messages of words. They’re really powerful. I’ve been thinking about what a poem is versus what a song is. I had a poem that just became this huge list of things I felt I could never put into music because they weren’t beautiful enough. In fact, they were sort of horrible; these artifacts that were just sort of too bloody and ragged and, like, shameful. John—Do you know the reason why most of those things don’t appear? That list, for instance, why wouldn’t they be parts of a song? Florence—Well, maybe they could now. Some of them didn’t rhyme. Some of them were words that I didn’t think were pretty enough. Songwriting in my teens and 20s was kind of super swampy, and I was quite troublesome. When I would write songs, it was almost like I could rewrite events; I would reimagine a situation that had kind of been, well, horrifying. Like some kind of really crippling hangover or something I had done when I was drunk that I really regretted. If I could reimagine it into this event that seemed grander—and more biblical, even—that had mythology in it, then I could sort of reclaim it in a way. John—I think that’s what Weinberger had in mind. He just started with a couple of things that were really sort of local tribes talking, and then it took off. That’s a legitimate practice in literature. Florence—It’s sort of turning the mundane into the magical. I think it’s good. I just put the word “carpark” into a song. John—That’s a good way to start, actually. Find the words that you really can’t put into a song, and then put them into a song. Florence—I was writing a poem about this sort of weird thing in my early 20s where my ex-boyfriend had turned up outside my house on Valentine’s Day and somehow tried to kill my then-new boyfriend with a shoe. That doesn’t seem very “song-y,” but if you put it into a poem it kind of works. John—Yeah, you putting “kill” into a song is weird. Anyway, the idea of killing anybody is better done mentally than literally saying, “His heart stopped.” Florence—It was more that I would write about these things that would happen, but it would be in a very obscure way that was further from what had actually happened—almost as self-protection. You rewrite them in your imagination into something completely different. But now it’s all carparks and reality. [Laughs.] Not really, I’m still sort of half in… John—It’s really a trick to be able to transform something realistic into something eloquent. And when it works, it works. I just wish you could do it more. But sometimes reality just takes over. Do you ever switch things up on stage? Do you improvise? Florence—We’ve got so many musicians now, it can be
“The thing about improvising is that there’s no beginning and there’s no end. Wherever you were before, you can still pick it up in the exact same place and it still makes sense.”
quite maddening to do the setlist over and over again. Everyone has to become this one organism. John—Because you’re ahead of the band all the time? Florence—In some ways it’s good, because you get really slick doing the same setlist, but after a while it really becomes like Groundhog Day: you wake up, go to the show, and do the same thing. All my first gigs were improvised. I was, what, 19, super drunk, and there were all these open nights in clubs in London all the time. I would just get up and improvise whatever words came into my head. John—Did you like doing them? Florence—I did, but it is like flying with the wind. You have to just go wherever. We’d pick a chord and just start. What was really interesting was a lot of my early songs came from that improvisational space because you’re forced to just sing words and create. I’m going to have to tell my guitarist and drummer, “John Cale says we’re doing one fully improvised song...” John—Sure. Blame it on me! Yeah, most of my stuff is improvised. The guys I’ve got really listen all the time, and they just love it because there’s freedom. You have a skeleton and then you go from there. I really want them to be the Gil Evans Band live. Gil Evans did all the “Sketches of Spain” with Miles [Davis]. Those kind of dance harmonies. It’s never gotten there, but I’m not worried about not getting there. Just having the thing float in the air, maybe you’ll find something else. I started doing it on the road because it was driving everybody mad. Florence—Doing the same thing? John—It’s like the hole in the lid of a kettle that lets the steam out every once in awhile. The thing about improvising is that there’s no beginning and there’s no end. Wherever you were before, you can still pick it up in the exact same place and it still makes sense. You don’t have to worry about a thread. I set [poet] Dylan Thomas to music once, and then I thought, “Let’s keep going.” The plan was to just drink as much as you can, open up the book of poems, and do all of them. There are tapes of me trying. A few of them are fine. Eventually, I finished off a suite of songs and recorded an album, “Words for the Dying.” Florence—That is really nice. You’re definitely making yourself vulnerable, which is good. We’re kind of obsessed with getting it really slick, so to really unravel in front of people would be something. John—I think everybody would be amazed at it. I mean, you’ve got to set it up and you’ve got to prepare yourself for all that. But when you get uncomfortable, keep going. Don’t stop. Florence—That’s a good message for life. They say when you’re uncomfortable creatively that that’s the best space—that’s where you’re supposed to be. John—Absolutely. The number of times I’ve written lousy lyrics and come back and looked at them and been like, “There’s nothing wrong with these.” Florence—My early songs were a lot like little stories I was telling to myself. Before I’d even gotten to the style of the way I write songs [today], there was this sort of meandering. John—I wonder what would happen if you decided to write a song about how you don’t know what you’re doing now and you don’t know what you’re going to be doing next, or afterwards. It’s really, I mean, to convince us of a state of mind more than anything else. Florence—Sometimes, when I’m writing I’m trying to find an answer to something—to some kind of question. And I guess sometimes I want to be like, “I don’t know. I don’t know anything.” But, yeah, it’s nice to feel ready to write again. I feel energized about it. I’m quite into structure-less Gaiathings. wears Repossi rings and ear cuff.
“I thought I needed the darkness and I needed the pain of chemicals or alcohol. I thought that was my fuel. Really, I said that to someone when I first stopped drinking. ‘What if I lose, you know, the thing?’”
John—That’s great. A lot of songwriting ends up being didactic if you don’t do some of that. Country music does that to me. I don’t want to be told quite what’s going to happen in the first three lines. Florence—When you’re playing shows, do you think phones have an impact on the interaction between the artist and their audience? John—I try to ignore it. Florence—Really? John—I have to, otherwise it would drive me nuts. Actually, there’s a greater danger of people on the street coming up and following you around with their phones. That’s much more aggravating. Florence—Yeah. I just wonder, because I have a song now where I ask everyone to put their phones away. For the whole song. John—If I heard your voice asking to put a phone away, I’d put it away right now. Florence—You just ask if everyone can be here and be together and experience this. I think, in that moment, people are kind of like, “Oh yeah, we can! It’s OK, we can just experience this as it is.” If I see someone in the front row super, like [phone in front of face], I actually have to say, you know, “Put it down.” John—The worst ones were in Moscow. They had gigantic, old video cameras—you know, with real videotapes that you put in. Gigantic machines. And they’d come up right in front. Florence—Once people put their phones away I notice they are like, “Oh, that was great. We really had a good experience.” I wonder if on my next tour there’ll be a no phone policy. It’s almost like a fear. All I want is an intimate exchange, and it feels like there’s such a barrier. John—I drove all the promoters in Europe crazy. No smoking. [I performed] at Drum Festival, which is a tobacco company.
Florence—It felt a bit funny when I was playing BottleRock festival and I hadn’t had a drink in like two and a half years. They literally had bars in the crowd. I was like, “H-hi.” I was singing all these songs about trying to quit drinking. And I was like, “Um, this song is about the reasons why I quit drinking.” [Laughing.] John—Oh, really? You have a history? Florence—Yeah, I have a serious history. I know it seems weird. I’m, like, demure, but no, I was a lunatic. I was a complete lunatic. I got famous when I was 21, and it all came with the territory. When I went on tour, I’d get to have a bottle of vodka a day, and that was deemed vaguely normal. I was always trying to keep up with the other bands. John—I used to do all these chemicals—really that’s how I was driving my creative force. But then my daughter was born, and I cut it all out. I just went crazy. I started writing, writing, writing, and ever since then I haven’t stopped. Florence—Yeah! I was sort of scared, because I thought I needed the darkness and I needed the pain of chemicals or alcohol. I thought that was my fuel. Really, I said that to someone when I first stopped drinking. “What if I lose, you know, the thing?” John—The thing. Florence—The thing! “It’s a trap,” She said, “Don’t believe that, it’s a trap.” And I feel much more open to the world now. The things I want to write about are much broader as opposed to writing about what I did when I was hungover or how I hate myself today. It’s quite narrow; you’ve only got your perspective and your world is quite small because it’s so internal. So I feel a sense of having cleaned up a bit. John—Oh my god. Did you just say what am I going to do when I hate myself today? Wow. OK. Take two. Florence—Take two. I was thinking that if I was ever going to write a book, I know what my voice is in a song sense—I have a voice when I’m writing music—but if I’m writing a novel, what is the voice? Who is that person? I don’t know if I would ever be able to find that specific voice that could fill a book. What would that be? John—It’s a lot easier to deal with verses than it is with pages. I mean, I’ve started a bunch. I’ve got one short story that is OK. I don’t know. It’s daunting. Florence—I’m always worried I’d drown everything in metaphor because I’m so used to songs, interchanging the reality. John—You know, there’s got to be a way. I’m kind of fearless when it comes to improvising lyrics onstage, so I really should man up and write something. Not that it even needs to make sense all the time. I got really angry with someone years ago and I wrote a poem, “Curse.” I was really into Middle Age phrasing and phraseology, and I showed it to this poet-friend of mine and he said, “I don’t know what you’re worried about. This is a love poem.” Florence—Oh, wow! Yes. John—And I said, “Dang.” It was really meant to go for somebody. You know, to hurt them. Florence—They’re very close together, those two things. Love and hate. So much of my songs have dealt with relationships or how I relate to people. It feels like, in terms of my relationships, I’m sometimes just not very articulate at all. And yet, if I put down into a song what I’m feeling, this clarity comes through that I can’t seem to get or find [otherwise]. John—From singing? Florence—Yeah, from singing. From the act of taking a pause and not fighting for the words to explain how you feel but just letting them come. If I could find a way to apply that to daily exchanges or whatever that would be really good.
Grooming Ramona at Jed Root.
Date, 2016â€”New York
May 3, 2016—New York
Jeweler Gaia Repossi and artist Francesco Vezzoli observe an unexpected sparkle. Introduction by Joshua Glass
Portraits by Colin Dodgson
Opulence—the mere word itself tongues its own enviable madness. But can the attraction to it be tamed between one’s fingers? Or even ever fully understood? Of her family’s namesake jewelry line, Gaia Repossi ponders this complicated idealogy through public and private studies of art, cultural anthropology, and the human condition. Appointed creative director of the house of precious stones at the young age of 21, Repossi has, in the almost decade since, rethought the approach and the intent of jewelry, presenting artistic treasures that call into question more than carat weight. The artist Francesco Vezzoli too pursues this reckoning. Rather than metalwork, he uses a mix of methods—flamboyant videography, character performance, and archaeological sculpture—to immortalize a kindred seduction of ideation, as seen in his solo exhibitions at the likes of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA PS1, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and collaborations with Prada, David Hallberg, and Lady Gaga. On the eve of the re-opening of Repossi’s Parisian flagship—a Rem Koolhaas-designed boutique at 6 Place Vendôme—the two consider their ancient interests in a modern place.
Gaia—I have enormous respect for cultural heritage, patrimony, and the importance of craft. But in the past, I was not so receptive to this world. It wasn’t modern enough, and it had changed in a direction that I didn’t like. Perhaps, also it was because it was my father’s, and I did not want to be his “clone.” [Laughing.] When you grow up in the world of jewelry, you either fall in love with it or you don’t. Putting myself in the position of a “stranger” allowed me to discover a side more interesting, because I started to question the foundations of the old world. I studied fine arts, and when you’re training to become an artist, you’re told to make a tabula rasa (“blank slate”): you always have to aim for higher. I try to apply that vision to what I do now, asking myself, “What is the role of jewelry nowadays?” Later, studying archaeology, I discovered all the craftsmanship that is transmitted over time: from tribe to tribe, civilizations, in anthropology, and the influences in between worlds. I started to realize what an interesting narrative our histories have. Now, we live in an age that is a bit austere, where we strongly lack identity. There is an authenticity that isn’t any longer connected to jewelry. I wanted to have a very direct language with a radical point of view. A bit like you. Francesco—You confront yourself with a huge problem. For example, contemporary art in 1960s Italy was characterized by three great figures: the Marquis [Annibale] Berlingieri in Rome, the Count [Giuseppe] Panza di Biumo, and the Baron [Giorgio] Franchetti Jr.—the triad of the aristocracy of collecting. In this historical moment, art was collected by people of a higher socioeconomic and cultural level to stand out. Nowadays, it is very difficult to identify the high rank. This need for uniqueness and distinction has decreased a bit. Even in a globalized art world, everything is a fair of similar works that are produced in quantities that, I suspect, are even greater than in luxury jewelry. Obviously, for me as an artist and for you as a creative, this poses a very big challenge. I produce only one- offs and struggle a lot, because the market does not distinguish them. Gaia—You have a very trying position in your work: You reject standardization and you praise the woman, but the vision of the woman you have is more romantic, more accessorized [than mine]. I’m interested in almost the opposite, rejecting this opulence and proposing a radical, new statement inspired by usages we’ve lost. But, because I’m questioning how to bring my profession to a higher level, it also makes me think: “What is modern opulence? Is opulence gone forever because it doesn’t connect with a contemporary elegance?” There is a high demand for opulent items. How can I respond to that without compromising my aesthetics? It’s something I am investigating right now and that I find myself at war with. [Laughing.] Maybe you are the key to this
Francesco Vezzoli—I am intrigued about how others relate to your work. There is indeed great enthusiasm, because making contemporary jewelry is very difficult. In the history of aesthetics, the culture of the dress has never been taboo over the years, but after a certain historical moment, the culture of the jewel has taken on a significance that was not [before] considered “politically correct.” You decided to pick up this challenge, and have brought back dignity to the object jewel: You made it modern again, wearable, and politically acceptable. Was it a tough challenge? Gaia Repossi—Yes, because, at first, I had no interest in jewelry. Originally, I felt a kind of rejection, because it did not have enough intellectual foundation for a woman who wants to express herself. I wanted to be a femme savante. Today, women can have the same responsibilities as men. They can aim for the same careers. I asked, “Who are these women and what do they need to feel smart, relevant, or accepted? Moreover, what do they want to reflect?” Today’s women responded extremely positively, identifying themselves to this new chapter I started perhaps more than the market itself entirely understood. Rem previously said on this subject of the industry, “Gaia had no choice but to change it, not necessarily because she wanted to, but because she realized she had to.” Francesco—That’s a very beautiful sentence. Rem reads the historical and aesthetic aspect of your persona. But, you didn’t have an alternative, because you came from tradition and you had to confront it. I like to say in Italy that we have family histories instead of “brands.”
Document No. 9
Gaia Repossi wears ear cuff by Repossi. Photographed in Paris.
research. I still believe that you should produce one-offs, otherwise what is the point of what we do? Francesco—I am very interested in understanding the evolution of taste, because it reconnects to that imagery of the divismo (“stardom”) that I have studied. The world and the market have expanded, but that does not necessarily correspond to a rate of sophistication. The challenge is to redefine exclusivity without losing creative rigor. You first have redefined the identity of [your family] brand, and your flagship store [reopens] with a gesture that, to me, is almost a work of conceptual art: bringing Rem to Place Vendôme. I think it is clear that the Marquis Berlingieri, the Count Panza, and the Baron Franchetti no longer exist. They were great aristocrats who, in order to distinguish themselves from the traditional aristocracy whose palaces had Caravaggio paintings inside, said [instead], “I want a [Cy] Twombly!” They already had the best of the past but they also wanted the best of the future. In this liquid, globalized, confused, and hysterical society no one has a Caravaggio anymore. Gaia—In the eyes of many people, [art] objects have become an investment. Your work takes value, hence it attracts even more. It’s almost a stock market. My work does not make value through time. I have to consider impulsive desires with a certain eye for investment, quality, and handwork but with new codes that break the previous. A lot of my clients want what they don’t have. They follow the opinion leaders, so they take off what is old right away. The evolution of taste today seems to seek for this identity with a lot of thirst. Your work is perceived as an analysis of today’s society. I saw your performance when you dressed as a Marlene Dietrich and brought her back to life—it was incredible. Francesco—Most other jewelry brands sell more of a lifestyle. So, let’s say that compared to those other houses, you are like [Azzedine] Alaïa. You produce a precise, unique, and thoughtful work. Gaia—In a certain way, it’s easier. I function with systems, kind of like architects. With infinite solutions from references, I find a repetition that has a precise order. My work is not art, it’s a craft. A product in my profession has to be perfect, but it has less freedom. There’s the business side; market objectives. What’s interesting is that our worlds are linking: we have clients in common with important galleries, and this makes you think about who is today’s customer. I’m not a businesswoman. I hate that. I only have the intuition of what a woman wants. Francesco—I think you already reached that objective. But I find that the issue of opulence is the new challenge: the jewel for the girl who wants something different, the jewel that communicates both your roots and the things that you studied. I feel the theme of archaeology. Your jewelry has something ancestral to it. Gaia—I started as a pure fan of the ancient world. It began when I started to travel and see the remains of civilizations that no longer existed and the strong identities that we have lost. This for me is an endless narrative; it’s a world of infinite possibilities that you can rethink. It became an evident link to my work, just like you and your muses. Francesco—We are in New York, where there’s just been the Met Ball. It’s a grand parade, a social ritual that surely reflects our era in all its aspects. Are there personalities you absolutely consider your muses? Gaia—One of them was at your table: a young actress we jeweled, Mia Goth. To me, she is an anti-actress. I do not like too glamorous women...divas. Divas are too related to the jewelry world. I try to juxtapose opposites for interesting results rather than perpetuating this frozen image of Grace Kelly on a red carpet. I like a strange association. A woman with a masculine identity
“There is a high demand for opulent items. How can I respond to that without compromising my aesthetics?” that wears the most glamorous thing there can be: a jewel. That’s where the contrast becomes interesting. Francesco—Paradoxically, you want to create a contrast, but in reality you want to create classicality. Gaia—Yes, modernity comes from new associations, don’t you think? We are in an era where gender does not exist anymore. For me, an interesting woman is not necessarily masculine, but one that doesn’t need all this. She becomes a bit of a hybrid in her role, and ultimately even more feminine thanks to this ambiguity. That’s what woman fought for—to have a voice. We should maintain this desire. You maintain your divas alive because there are none left. Francesco—In this I read the roots of classic intelligence in the sense that you see an androgynous figure—sophisticated, almost distant, lunar, alienated, etc.—and choose to immortalize her. Gaia—Although Italian, I was raised sort of French. I grew up with this woman in mind that was tough, tortured, and does not accept certain things. She’s not necessarily a feminist, although much has been derived from that. I still love to wear no jewelry at all sometimes. Francesco—You’re the worst testimonial. Gaia—I find naked skin even more beautiful. It’s important to dare this freedom, especially in the profession I’m in. I do not put on anything. The bare skin is the tabula rasa. I was [recently] asked to find our new égéries (“muses”) among today’s actresses, so I started looking at film stills because I like tormented characters. Isabelle Huppert is the most an actress can be to me for what she represents in her madness, in her intelligence, and as a tortured character. She says that jewelry suffocates her. I love that. I met Tilda Swinton, a woman of true kindness, incredible authenticity, and of a very singular beauty. The first fitting was informal, around a breakfast, and when we tried the jewels on her—she being tall and very lean—they looked as if they were made for her. Francesco—On Tilda, opulence probably takes on another meaning. Gaia—Some years ago I also met Cindy [Sherman] through the art world. I see her as the woman with no obstacles of any kind. Like you, she digs in this world of sparkles and nurtures herself. When I invited her to the Met with me last year, she became one of her photographed [subjects] for the night. These are the characters that fascinate me. I’m intrigued from the moment they are antiglamor, especially in their filmography, where they adopt these twisted personalities, which in the end, is actually maybe theirs. Francesco—So, I will wait for you at the threshold of this challenge. I will wait at the threshold of the Place Vendôme. Gaia—[The threshold] of opulence. And disruption. Francesco—I will wait at the threshold of opulence. I’ll be by your side.
Gaia wears Repossi rings and ear cuff.
March 4, 2016 — New York
Artist Bjarne Melgaard explains to Glenn O’Brien why art should alienate. Introduction by Ann Binlot
Portrait by Ari Marcopoulos
The most famous Norwegian artist since Edvard Munch,
Bjarne Melgaard—I knew about him from years ago. I had followed his work for many years and he certainly had a renaissance where people were rediscovering him. Glenn—He was an amazing character—collector, dealer, artist. His son Billy used to hang around the Warhol factory around the time of his famous “X-Rated” show at the New York Cultural Center. He’s one of the major figures of the secret history of art. Bjarne—Those BFBC paintings were originally made for a show I curated at the Maccarone gallery called “Frogs on the High Line.” We formed the art collective Big Fat Black Cock to make copies of CPLY paintings with black people in them to talk about the segregation and racial tension that was going on at the time that he was making his paintings. Glenn—Oh, I remember the neighbors around the gallery called the police because there were black people having sex in the window. Bjarne—Yes, that was it. They were beautiful paintings. Glenn—It is provocative these days for a gallery to show something beautiful in the window. Did you have any objections from black people? Bjarne—No, they were partly made by black people. Glenn—You did a book based on Karel Appel and were influenced by COBRA. Was that your first influence in terms of the relationship between art and insanity, or is it something you’d been contemplating for a while? Bjarne—That’s something I considered for many years. Glenn—Were you a fan of Artaud? Bjarne—I was a fan of Artaud and Jean Dubuffet and all those people. I have long been interested in the relationship between the so-called abnormal mind and creativity. Glenn—What about in your life? Have you had relationships with people considered mentally ill? Bjarne—I had a group of schizophrenics that I worked with in my studio for almost one year, collaborating on my paintings. I have also curated shows with them. I’ve had close contact with some of them for a very long time. Glenn—Your work deals with the dichotomy of sanity and insanity but also with good and evil. Traditionally they were very interrelated. Mentally ill people were thought to be possessed by
Australian-born, New York-based Bjarne Melgaard tackles thought-provoking subjects that are deeply personal to him, like AIDS, drug addiction, and gay sex. Although Melgaard started his career as a painter in the 90s after studying at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam and the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the artist soon moved on to a variety of mediums, creating intricate immersive installations that involve sculpture, video, and sound. On his canvases, phalli emerge from the mouth of an anonymous beast, point at his self-portrait, and turn into the bodies of cartoonish creatures. His sculptures are just as layered and complex: the Pink Panther smokes crystal meth, a hand comes out of a vagina, “Planet of the Apes” figures engage in sexual acts, and monsters are covered with colorful hair (made in collaboration with hair stylist Bob Recine). Melgaard often makes connections with the controversial; his first installation involved the late porn star Joey Stefano, and he hired a group of artists with schizophrenia to collaborate on paintings for a year. In 2014, his “Chair” sculpture, a flat base that sits on the thighs of a black woman tied up in a sexually charged pose, which references Allen Jones’s 1969 work, stirred controversy for being racist after Garage Museum of Contemporary Art founder Dasha Zhukova was photographed sitting on it. Glenn O’Brien—a writer entrenched in New York’s art, fashion, and music scenes since the 70s, who coined the term “editor-at-large” when he held the position at “High Times” after serving as the first editor of Andy Warhol’s “Interview” magazine—first came across Melgaard’s divisive work at New York gallery Venus Over Manhattan in 2013. The following conversation between Melgaard and O’Brien is an excerpt from “Bjarne Melgaard,” (Skira Rizzoli) the first comprehensive monograph on the artist’s oeuvre, which debuts this fall. Glenn O’Brien—I think the first time I ever encountered your work I was completely taken with it and confused at the same time. I saw the show you did that was half you—under the pseudonym BFBC Inc.—and half William Copley, or CPLY. It took me a while to figure it out because your pictures looked so much like his except for a certain thematic variation related to your pseudonym “Big Fat Black Cock Inc.” How did you know about his work?
Document No. 9
Bjarne Melgaard photographed in his apartment in New York.
“Our culture is so overloaded with sexual themes and sexual content that it’s hard to avoid. It’s everywhere. Sex has become our God in a way.” the devil or evil spirits. Do you think that attitude still prevails? Bjarne—I definitely think that. But it depends on what types of mental illness you’re talking about. The more classical schizophrenia isn’t looked upon as something that is liberating or that could be liberating, or something that could lead us into new dimensions of how to reform our society. For most people there’s a stigma there. Glenn—I think somehow the issue of mental illness connects with the change in the way morality is looked upon. For centuries, morality extended to economics and business practice, but it seems that a coalition of religious people has managed to restrict the notion of morality almost entirely to sexual behavior. Bjarne—Well, our culture is so overloaded with sexual themes and sexual content that it’s hard to avoid. It’s everywhere. Sex has become our God in a way. This is the most sexualized society ever. There’s nothing that’s not available anymore. I think it’s a political trap. I think by getting people to focus that much on sexuality, it takes away their focus on the much more important ways that our society needs to be reformed, and what needs further research. Glenn—When did you take up art? Bjarne—Well, now I’m 49. I started going to art school when I was 12 and then I took evening classes. When I was 19 I moved to Poland to study the neo-plasticism movement and was awarded a scholarship, and then went to the Rijksakademie in the Netherlands. After that I moved to Australia. Glenn—Why did you move to Australia? Bjarne—I was born there from Norwegian parents and went back again in my late 20s. Glenn—You also were involved with black metal music. I’m still not sure what that is. I know it’s a big Scandinavian thing related to heavy metal. Very dark, distorted, maybe Satanic. Were you a fan? How did black metal stuff relate to your sensibility? Bjarne—Well, when I grew up with black metal in Norway I wasn’t interested in it at all. So that came later on when I moved away from Norway. That was when I began to get more and more interested in that phenomenon and involving myself. I worked with all the bands, like Mayhem and Satyricon, Emperor and Darkthrone. I was also in this film “Until the Light Takes Us.” I was basically interested in trying to find something that would have a similar emotional impact to [Edvard] Munch. I think that black metal is very similar to that emotional outburst of darkness that is in Munch. To me, it was the only thing that I saw that had the emotional intensity of “The Scream.” Glenn—Munch? Really? Bjarne—Yeah, I was seeing black metal as kind of a contemporary version of “The Scream,” or something in the sense of
utter decay and darkness and murder. Glenn—I think when we look at “The Scream” today we don’t experience it in the same way. Bjarne—Yes, but I think at one time it had that kind of intensity. Glenn—Is that a purely Scandinavian thing? Bjarne—Black metal is a Norwegian phenomenon. From Sweden you have death metal. But black metal came from Norway. Glenn—What’s the difference? Bjarne—The difference I think was that black metal involved a lot more church-burning and crime, and was way more radical and violent than the other music movements. That’s the main difference. Glenn—Is it urban? Is it rural? Where do the kids come from? Bjarne—They come from lower-middle class, working-class backgrounds. I think it’s typical working-class-background kids. Glenn—What did you do with these bands? Bjarne—I had a record company that I made records with. I did shows, I showed photos, I did documentation, I did performances—all kinds of things. Glenn—How did they relate to you? Bjarne—I’m not sure what they thought of me. I was an outsider, not a rock ‘n’ roll person. I didn’t go to any concerts. I didn’t have long, black hair or eye makeup. I came from a totally different background. I guess they related to me in that they thought it was interesting to work with an artist. Maybe they found it a bit weird and maybe they were a bit puzzled by it...Maybe because I had so much knowledge of the music, they found a certain respect in that. Glenn—I find heavy metal interesting in that it seems to express things that the audience might not be entirely aware of. I had this idea when I heard the German metal band Accept—they did the song “Balls to the Wall.” The album cover had a guy in black leather short shorts. They were really into leather. I think they were a forerunner of speed metal and thrash metal. It seemed to me there was a connection, maybe unconscious, maybe not... Bjarne—It’s very male-dominated; there are no women on the scene. Glenn—Even in regular American heavy metal it’s the same; you never see women at those things. Do you think they were cognizant of that? Or do they just not think about it? Bjarne—I don’t think they think about it. Glenn—There aren’t many visual artists who have produced as much writing as you. Did art or writing come first, or did they develop at the same time? Bjarne—At the same time. I just always have been writing and I see it in the same light as drawing. The signature, writing on a piece of paper—it just came very naturally to me. I was always very interested in literature and I read a lot. Glenn—Who are your favorite writers? Bjarne—I think my favorite book is Guillaume Dustan’s “In My Room,” and I also like all the people published by Semiotext(e) like Kathy Acker. Glenn—I knew Kathy very well. I edited one of her books. Bjarne—How was she? Glenn—She was a really interesting character; she was almost like a fan. She thought of herself as an outsider and it seemed like she was always falling in love and seeking acceptance, almost in a masochistic way. I thought she just had a great voice as a writer. For me editing her was frustrating because the first half of the book was one of the greatest things—so immediate, intense, and personal. I think it was the best thing she ever did. But then I felt like she kind of just lost interest or something
“I was an outsider, not a rock ‘n’ roll person. I didn’t go to any concerts. I didn’t have long, black hair or eye makeup.”
Bjarne—It was structured like a church. That was my main first installation that I got recognition for. I like to create a complete environment and I like to push the limits to have a world of my own. I’ve attempted to do a lot of things. I don’t know if it’s about what I have done, but about what I’ve tried to do. It’s not always that easy to do whatever you want. You always have the aspect of where the money is supposed to come from and how to survive on it. Glenn—That’s why you just keep working, I guess! You’ve produced a lot. Are you more satisfied than in the beginning of your career or less satisfied? Bjarne—Less satisfied. Glenn—Why? Bjarne—I just would like to do more new stuff, try new things. I feel like I’ve come to a point where I need to change my expression and go into new territories. Glenn—Would you like to work on a bigger scale? Bjarne—Yeah. Also I would like to work with film. Glenn—Have you ever made any longer, form films? Bjarne—Yeah, I’ve made several. Glenn—Feature length? Bjarne—Yeah, like an hour and a half-long films. I usually include them in my shows as partial installations. I made several. Glenn—I like Freeman and Lowe. They’re what you’d call installation artists but it’s more than just an installation. Bjarne—Oh yeah, where they construct meth labs. I know them. Glenn—They go beyond installation because they create entire mythologies in the process. There are fictional backstories, often with a lot of relevance to historical events. They started working on things that were based on Timothy Leary and LSD and the psychology experiments with psychedelics conducted by intelligence agencies. Bjarne—Where do you think the notion of LSD stands today? Have you been involved in a lot of LSD? Glenn—Years ago, I took a lot of LSD. I guess I’m still digesting it. Now I’m mostly interested in keeping the kids from taking it. [Laughs.] I know a lot of people that got involved in ayahuasca and many of them are very appreciative of the insights it gave them and a lot of them also seem insane. I guess it can be interesting, but I don’t know. Personally I feel that the drugs in my life did their work. Bjarne—Yeah. At a point they just don’t work anymore. Glenn—Or, maybe the insight that they give you is permanent. I was a Rasta-level smoker but now I just find it slows me down. Bjarne—Yeah. Glenn—I think maybe I write better when I’m not [under] any influences. Bjarne—Did you used to write a lot on drugs before? Glenn—I smoked pot and wrote a lot, yeah. I think it’s good for that instant change of mind or just to break the continuity a little bit. It gives you another insight. But I think when you’re doing creative work a lot of it is about control. It’s a fine balance between control and giving up control. What’s your experience? Bjarne—Well, I’ve done a lot of work while taking different types of drugs. But now I don’t do it anymore. I just feel like it came to a point where it didn’t give me anything anymore. As you said, it’s kind of like the knowledge it’s given you is now the knowledge you have; you don’t get any further with it. The artist’s first monograph “Bjarne Melgaard” is edited by Document Editor-in-Chief Nick Vogelson and will be published by Skira Rizzoli in October 2016.
halfway through. I think that she exemplified the problem that fiction writers have now. Maybe it has to do with attention span. Kids today...Even on the internet they want to watch something that’s like three minutes. Bjarne—Their attention span is so short. Glenn—Yet novels seem to get longer and longer, 400 to 600 pages. It seems like it’s almost a different species of people that read novels. Bjarne—Yeah. Glenn—Do you think that affects art? Do you think the attention span has altered in terms of the visual arts? Bjarne—Yes, I think so. I think so especially among the young generation; they have become so [engrossed] in consuming image after image after image so fast. In the end I don’t think they really can recollect any images afterwards—it doesn’t stay in their heads. It’s this endless consuming of images and information; they’re kind of over-informed about everything and it gives you the feeling that they’ve lost their own language. You know? Glenn—That also seems related to the whole idea of craft. We used to spend months or a year making a painting and now things happen really fast. I don’t know if fast work can contain the same power or emotion of something that has a broader timeframe. Whistler has this lawsuit with a famous critic who he was suing for defamation because he’d made the painting in one day and that was considered scandalous. But that was kind of the beginning of abstract painting also. Has your way of working evolved over the years? Bjarne—Yes. I started out as a painter and drawer and then I developed into doing more installations and films. I’ve done different things over the years. I take the time that I need. But I think this changes with age. I feel like I have less patience now. Also, it doesn’t come as easily to me as it used to. I don’t know if it’s about getting older and about time, but before I could just draw for hours and hours and it would just come out of me. Now it feels like something that comes much harder. Maybe also because of the time we live in where everything is so fast, you have to be influenced by that. Glenn—Were there installation artists that inspired you? In a way some of your things remind me of Kienholz. Maybe it’s the real intensity and diversity of content. What were your first installation pieces? Bjarne—My first installation pieces were wax figures that I made in England about a dead porn star called Joey Stefano who I kind of dedicated a church to. I made over two thousand pieces about him that I exhibited in the museum in Ghent. That was the first major installation I worked on. It was really dense and packed with work. Glenn—Did he have a tragic death? Bjarne—He committed suicide. Glenn—It was made like a church? You did your own Ghent altar piece?
July 14, 2016—London
Rebels in their own disciplines, shoe designer Sandra Choi discusses uniformity and hanging Jackson Pollocks with artist Mat Collishaw. Introduction by Ann Binlot
Portrait by Richard Bush
Naica Mines in Mexico, as well as footage featuring rain, traffic, and high-rise buildings. Here, the two discuss the relationship between art and fashion, experimentation and style en masse.
Jimmy Choo and Tamara Mellon founded Choo’s namesake
luxury shoe label in 1996, and although both of them sold their shares and have departed from the brand, Choo’s niece Sandra Choi stayed on, becoming the sole creative director of the brand in 2013. Intent on being a designer, Choi had the opportunity there to learn from the very best, honing her skills under her uncle, whose impeccable shoes were worn by the likes of Princess Diana. She then headed to Central Saint Martins—the alma matter of John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney—to briefly study fashion design for one term. Her shoes since have graced the red carpet on A-listers like Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, and Natalie Portman. Over the years, the label has collaborated with a number of artists, including Rob Pruitt, Richard Phillips, and Nan Goldin. In 2014, Jimmy Choo tapped British artist Mat Collishaw—who was part of the Young British Artist (YBA) movement in the late 80s, along with the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin—to conceptualize the ad campaign for its Cruise 2015 Vices collection, which was inspired by Choi’s fascination with crystal shards and gems. The designer knew that Collishaw had the ability to manipulate light, and the collaboration resulted in a film and photographs incorporating crystal-like shards similar to those found in the
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Sandra Choi—I travel a lot, and what I’ve noticed is that there are packs of people that dress up like they are armies. Everybody gets their ideas from everybody else, and they all end up wearing a similar look, which ends up being a very cohesive form of dressing up. It’s the idea of a uniform. I found a picture from the 90s: it showed all different types of people, but they all wore black and they all had hats on and they all looked really powerful. It was the multiplying that really spoke to me. I translate that into how people actually take ideas from one another. Mat Collishaw—Do you think that’s a good thing? Surely it’s quite depressing. Sandra—It can be depressing, but it also can turn into a powerful thing. When you’re en masse in a line of people, everybody looks the same. Visually, it is quite satisfying. Mat—Like Vanessa Beecroft’s performances? She touches on that quite effectively. Sandra—Exactly. You can be half naked and vulnerable, but at the same time it is about strength and power. That thinking led
Sandra Choi photographed in London.
“You need to leave a little bit of room for experimenting, otherwise you’ll never evolve or elevate.” me to military and using the idea of a uniform as a backdrop to the story I created for [Jimmy Choo] Fall/Winter 2016. To soften it up, I threw something else at it into the story; I looked at the turn of the century and the Belle Époque period, which combined well with the opulence of military uniforms and hierarchical decoration of the time. Being in uniform was seen as very grand and a reflection of status. You constantly add, change, twist… Mat—In the past, they would design the military uniforms so that they would look sexy to the women. Because people didn’t have great clothes at that point, one way of a chap getting that— and therefore getting a girl—was to join the army. You would look the business when you walked down the street in those shiny boots and chrome accessories; you became sexy through your uniform. Yeah, there [was] a lot of swagger with the uniform. Sandra—Very showy, very ostentatious, and showing off their ranking. Mat—Camouflage came along and ruined all that. They had to quit having chromed silver hats with feathers on. It’s not really what you need when you’re trying to hide in a bush, you know what I mean? Sandra—“War and Peace” was the same thing. You have to wonder with whatever custom thing that they were wearing how they were supposed to move? It was more the weight than anything else. I suppose you can go back to showing off how strong you are, because with all that opulence you’re still able to be the man on the field. Mat—Like peacocks with their feathers. They’ve got this crazy plumage that makes them obvious to predators and yet they still survive, therefore their genes are probably quite good ones. But that kind of fashion is much older than art. Art—as I know it in the world I live in—has been around for less than a thousand years. Individuals making artworks even less, more like one hundred years in terms of contemporary art. Whereas fashion has been here for a hundred thousand years, since people started daubing themselves with ochre and putting feathers on their heads or seashells to create ornament. Fashion was there from the very beginning. Sandra—Yes, yes. It was all about presence and getting noticed. I’ve been thinking a lot about Louis XIV… Mat—And the ostentation? Sandra—Exactly, and how cleverly he used presence, and how you present yourself as power. That’s incredible. Mat—Like with the Olympic games—when you have it in Beijing or you have these big military parades in Russia—and they demonstrate their prowess by having thousands of uniformed officers marching and performing the same drill. It is impressive but there is an underlying… Sandra—It’s impressive and oppressive to someone like us. Mat—Exactly. Which is what was interesting about what
Danny Boyle did for the British Olympics. It was just so eccentric and sprawling. You know, one guy over here in a top hat, and another over there in stilts. It was all over the place. One thing it wasn’t was that oppressive militaristic repetition of the same thing over and over again. It was about the individual and ingenuity. Sandra—Do you think it’s also because we wanted to portray that we are free and we respect culture? Mat—Yes, absolutely. We’re not going for that huge synchronized swimming, which in the end is a bit facile, right? It is just people working like cogs in a machine. Sandra—Robotic in some way. Mat—Merce Cunningham has done some interesting dance pieces based on that—human beings playing cogs. I’m not a big dance fan, but it’s great. It’s from the early 60s or maybe late 50s. Mesmerizing. Sandra—To be told what to do. Some people are more comfortable in that situation than others. Mat—Oh yes, absolutely. Sandra—I can identify with this when concepting new season collections. I need to identify a strong story and a strong visual, so that when I work with my design team I have a succinct message to communicate and they understand the creative journey we need to take. That idea is always there, but then in between the start and the middle of the development, something else can come up as a secondary inspiration. You need to be open to those additional ideas emerging through. Sometimes they’re scary, but you have to go for it and cross your fingers that they all connect and meet in a place that makes sense and strikes a complimentary balance. Mat—Absolutely, you have to be ready for accidents to occur and things that you can’t predict. Generally, you’re only capable of projecting so much into the future and coming up with ideas that are so good. Accidents are limitless in what they can throw up, so you have to be open to those things occurring. It’s not until you start faffing around with leather or ink or polyester that the fusion can happen. Those accidents can become something. Sandra—As an artist or as a designer, you need to leave a little bit of room for experimenting, otherwise you’ll never evolve or elevate; never discover; never cross that line. At the beginning it’s raw, but give it time. Look at fashion right now; somehow, sometimes what can be initially perceived as ugly evolves to become powerful. Fashion itself doesn’t always have to be beautiful and perfect. Mat—I’ve seen many things happen in my lifetime where, when first seeing it, I thought, “God, how ugly,” and within about 10 years it’s become a staple and everybody is wearing it. That’s kind of what fashion is about: making you see things in a different way and appreciate them. Sandra—Age changes everything too. [Laughs.] Should I
June 14, 2016—London
“One of my favorite artists is Gerhard Richter. His pieces that look accidental, I’m sure, are somehow planned.” abstraction, he’s using certain clues that our brain gets from our eyes when we look at the real world. Sandra—The thing about art is it’s so instant because it’s just for your eyes and it doesn’t need to be functional. It just needs to please a certain individual. Going back to fashion, yes, of course you need to have that hook to attract. You need to feel the sensation. At the same time, there is a difference between creating something that looks amazing and something that will suit an individual. Mat—Do you think that’s the same as selling a painting? For example, seeing a painting displayed in a huge apartment in Los Angeles designed by Mies van der Rohe, and then buying it. You get it home, and put it on your wall and think, “Uhh…this is not the same.” There are some galleries that use a trick where they darken the room and then flag a light, which they shine onto a painting so that it pops more than it will in the real world. Sandra—What actually happens when you purchase a piece of art that you love and you take it into your own space—some people have galleries and some people have their own home to feature their purchase—and it doesn’t fit? Can they return it and get their money back? Mat—There is a great story about Peggy Guggenheim when she bought a very long, horizontal painting by Jackson Pollock. Something like 20 feet long or something. They got it into the place where she wanted it in her apartment, and it was about six inches too long. She was like, “What are we going to do? It doesn’t fit, it’s too long,” and Marcel Duchamp, who was there, suggested that they get a pair of scissors and cut seven inches off the painting and hang it like that. Sandra—Did they call Jackson Pollock? Mat—“So Marcel is suggesting that we…” Sandra—Reduce! Mat—I think Jackson was dead by that point, so Marcel was free to have a little irreverent humor. Marcel was not the type to enjoy Jackson’s pompous seriousness, and this primordial male, ripping art from his gut type of thing. What you are talking about is more to do with something working within its environment, rather than a piece fitting in a space visually. Sandra—I don’t know about you, but my husband certainly does that. He will go out and say, “This is really nice, that is really nice,” and I joke with him, saying that if he bought everything he thought was really nice, we would own a football pitch. It’s impossible. I’m so pleased we can’t buy that much stuff. Is buying something that you really love but don’t have a place for it…? Mat—I was just hanging artworks the moment before I came out. I was going around the house with a Jean Cocteau drawing trying to find a place for it. Sandra—It needs to suit a certain pairing. Mat—Absolutely, there is a right place for every work.
not touch on that subject? We’re from the same era! Your fashion sense has changed as you’ve evolved? Mat—I don’t really do fashion in terms of my own style… I’m fashion blind and colorblind. Sandra—You’re an artist and yet you’re colorblind, how does it work? Mat—Well, generally I don’t squirt pigment out of a tube, so I’m never really in that position where I have to… Sandra—But even to get the right shade of transparency or the lighting right, how does it work? You call a friend! Mat—Exactly. Sometimes I don’t, sometimes I’m just working on things that involve me squashing lots of butterflies and then manipulating them on a computer until I print them. At some point I’ve got about three million colors in there, and I take about two and a half million colors out until it gets to a point where all the colors for me appear to balance. I have no idea what is green, blue, or red. The whole process is about throwing everything into the pot and then removing the things that I think get in the way of the image working. When I think there is harmony—when it’s interesting, it’s dynamic and colorful, but isn’t overdoing it with the color—that’s when I know it’s finished. Sandra—People who know me know that I always describe a color called “donkey.” Mat—Gray with a bit of white flecks? Sandra—No! It’s a browny gray, but I call it donkey. It’s very specific to me. Like you, you’re very specific about your artwork because you see what you see. One of my favorite artists is Gerhard Richter. His pieces that look accidental, I’m sure, are somehow planned. The things he does at that monumental scale just grab my attention. Of course, when you put various different colors together, you can predict what color is going to come out, but then there is the accidental part, which I love. Mat—Yeah. He’s an interesting example, because he’s kind of known as being an abstract painter. Sandra—But also very traditional. Mat—Absolutely, and I don’t think his seemingly abstract paintings are abstract in the way that we look at them, because I think they relate to things that we are familiar with seeing and that he’s not depicting them literally. I think when lying in the park—looking up through the branches of the trees, through the leaves, and above that is the sky with clouds moving along—you move your head from left to right, things move around a little bit, and you get a sense of parallax. Things closer to you move more quickly, and you get this depth through these shapes that you’re looking at. I think he’s doing something similar. He sets parameters and within those parameters accidents can happen and the effects of those accidents are something similar to what we experience when we use our eyes looking at the real world. It’s not total
August 11, 2016—London and Taranto, Italy
Architect and industrial designer Gaetano Pesce reflects on politics, pop culture, and the passing of time with curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist. Introduction by Ann Binlot
Portraits by Harry Carr
Always armed with an element of surprise, Gaetano Pesce’s
Gaetano Pesce—Anthea is a very intelligent woman, and she understands that art and architecture today are going toward figurativism—toward what is more recognizable for people and closer to the content of the work. Fifty years ago, pop art showed us the return of recognizable forms. Anthea understood that what I made in 1972 was ahead of its time, but I still think that a contemporary city—one that is abstract most of the time—needs to have buildings and urban elements that are able to provoke surprise (like the one Anthea realized). I really hope she wins the prize. Hans-Ulrich—In many ways, your work has connections to American pop in its use of chance, imperfection, humor, and references to the body. Do you see this connection? Gaetano—I believe that, unfortunately, the architecture of our time didn’t understand and didn’t use the contributions of pop art. Or if it did, it was in very rare occasions. Pop art brought the ordinary reality to the attention of a public that was interested in art. It pointed out the importance of advertisement, marketing, and what is connected to the world of mass production. I’m sure that I took advantage of that movement in my work. Hans-Ulrich—The general understanding of design is related to a large-scale production of a standardized product, while artisanal craftsmanship—where each piece is bespoke and unique—occupies the other end of the spectrum. How do you see these two approaches to design and craft relating to each other, and how do you approach them within your own practice? Gaetano—In the 60s, I took time to think about Marxism and I ended up with the opinion that I had to separate myself from that movement and its beliefs. In the 70s, though, I stated that the main right of human beings—men and women—is to be different, and in that diversity we can realize ourselves as individuals. In the same way, I started thinking that objects should have the same
designs are far from conventional. For the past five decades, the Italian, New York-based designer has been challenging the worlds of design and architecture by using sociopolitical and pop culture references through innovative materials, vivid colors, and multisensory environments. Pesce’s work ranges from the 1993 “Organic Building”—a brick-colored structure covered by a vertical garden containing over 80 species of plants that disguises its sophisticated watering system through a series of strategically placed pots—in Osaka, Japan, to the bulbous “UP 5” chair (commonly called “Donna”)—which was inspired by his idea of women and is shaped as a female form. Its accompanying spherical ottoman (“UP 6”) is meant to represent a ball chained to her foot. In 1966, he concocted a formula to emulate the scent of minestrone soup for his show “The Time of Questions” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and then did so again in 2013 for his retrospective at the Collective Design Fair in New York. In 2010, he created a pair of malleable shoes composed of plastic discs for Melissa that the wearer can shape to her liking. His work has been exhibited at the world’s biggest institutions like the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Curator and Serpentine Galleries artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist spoke to the legendary designer about his legacy, his practice, and his 2014 retrospective at the MAXXI in Rome.
Hans-Ulrich Obrist—How do you feel about being referenced in Anthea Hamilton’s piece [“Project for Door (After Gaetano Pesce)”], which is short-listed for this year’s Turner Prize? At this contemporary moment, why do you think this particular piece of your work has been returned to?
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Gaetano Pesce photographed in his studio in New York.
right: they shouldn’t have been “slaves” nor standardized, so I attempted to find a way to produce unique pieces in large scales. The technology of today, with the help of computers, can provide for a unique car, a unique refrigerator, a unique table, etc., at industrial costs. Hans-Ulrich—You often speak of a contemporary “liquid” materialism. What brought you to that sense? Gaetano—In my opinion, liquid refers to something that could change its form and contents. Today, there are materials that represent the nature of our time. I personally use liquid materials that can assume different densities and, for example, could become rigid. Their feminine qualities are: transparency, love for colors, elasticity, sensuality, unpredictability, sonority, softness, and surprise…Traditional materials, instead, are predictable and rigid; they can be easily ruined, they don’t provoke surprise, they are matte, they don’t like sound, and—generally speaking—they are masculine, coherent, and repetitive. I’m sorry to say that there is not a lot of curiosity in materials of our time, especially in architecture. Today we use materials discovered by engineers of the 19th century. Hans-Ulrich—You once produced a piece of work that featured a block of polystyrene, which drips water droplets to mark the passing of time. You’ve stated that the power of this piece lies in that each drop produces a different sound as it falls, signifying the perception of time is always different. Could you discuss this piece, and the attached philosophy a little further? Gaetano—This is a beautiful question, and I’m really pleased to give you my answer. It is a common belief that time is standard and repeats itself based on equality, but I always thought the exact opposite: that time never repeats itself. The drops that produce sounds is a good example. In 1975, in Paris at the Louvre, in the last room devoted to my retrospective [“The Future Is Perhaps Past”], there was a huge clock with just one hand; it would have taken 80 years in order to complete its full round, the ideal length of life for that time (today even more). Today, I’m working with an Italian company on a wristwatch that gives the real time [life] of a person. It can be purchased for a newborn that can know the exact position of the time of his life just by looking at his clock. Hans-Ulrich—In your 2014 retrospective at MAXXI in Rome [“The Time of Diversity”], the show was organized according to the words “Non-standard,” “Person,” “Place,” “Defect,” “Landscape,” “Body,” and “Politics.” The relevance of most of these in relation to your practice is glaringly obvious, but I was struck by “Landscape” as perhaps the least self-explanatory. Gaetano—The most important property of a new material would be its lightness. If I remember well, I’ve never had to deal with materials that proved their instability, but I very often discover new things when using new materials outside of the proper ways indicated by their instructions. When it happens, it is a good surprise. The liquidity of our time—inconsistent values arising to the attention of the world and vanishing quickly—makes me think that this instability must be represented by unstable materials, not because of its poor durability, but because of its different forms. If landscape means nature, I’m not very interested in it. If we are to think of the landscape as a multitude of languages—expressions and incoherences not recognizable by style—then I’m really interested and it is the most fascinating aspect of my work. Hans-Ulrich— How does this relate to the use of design as a way of expressing politics? Gaetano—In the past, a portrait was a practical product, and served as representation of a family or a person. If an artist made the portrait, it had also a cultural and artistic dimension. Even a
“Design must become a commentary of reality; a document of the identity of the place where it is realized and produced; and an expression of the mind of the person who created it.” painted landscape had the function of showing a place, maybe unknown by someone else. “The Last Judgment” by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel had the practical function of reminding the devoted people that they had to follow the precepts of the church, otherwise they would have ended up in hell. When I was young, I thought that design as well would have had the same double dimension; practical and political or philosophical and existential, etc. In this way, design can be part of the art family. An example would be my chair with the ball and the chain (“UP 5” and “UP 6”) or the “Chador” lamp, with his legs like swords piercing female bodies. Hans-Ulrich—You once stated: “Abstraction is boring and limited as a mode of expression. Reducing designs means that at the end you have nothing...Minimalism was an important step in the creation of modern design, but it’s over.” With the notion of figurative versus abstract in mind, how do you define the purpose of contemporary design? Gaetano—Contemporary design must assume richer dimensions than what has been done during the modern movement. For this reason, design must become a commentary of reality; a document of the identity of the place where it is realized and produced; and an expression of the mind of the person who created it—of his political or religious belief, of his life. Modern movement or international style brought us to globalization: to the same art, same architecture, and same objects for different places. Today, with technology, we can express the identity of people, places, countries, and—in the future—planets. Hans-Ulrich—Relatedly, in “The Time of Questions” the space was scented with the smell of minestrone, while other works were inclusive of sound and touch as part of their design. What is it about multisensory stimulation within design that is so important for you? Is contemporary design more or less stimulating of multiple senses than that of the mid-20th century? Gaetano—I wanted to communicate to the public that my work is multidisciplinary, as the minestrone has a particular smell derived from different legumes and vegetables. I’m sure that sight is the least provocative sense because it is overused. For this reason, I like to use sounds. I invited the public to touch my work, and I asked the museum’s staff to spray odors that recall my work (paint, resin, wood) in the rooms of the exhibition. The other senses can communicate in a deeper and more durable way than sight allows. I will always remember the exhibition: some Japanese visitors were crawling because the smell of rotting was not breathable. That part of the exhibition was destroyed and closed after 11 days by the director of the museum.
August 31,August 2016—Baltimore and New York 31, 2016—Paris
Activist DeRay Mckesson discusses social change and black identity with pop culture arbiter Bevy Smith. Introduction by Ann Binlot Portraits by Ari Marcopoulos
Louis. I was called to go. I believed more in the people I saw standing in the street than I did in the media, and I thought, at the very least, I’d go down there and see. A weekend turned into a long weekend. I understand it differently now; I understand my role in this kind of work now. I talked to [San Francisco 49ers quarterback] Colin Kaepernick last night about how all of the work from the last two years has been about telling the truth in public in a different way and using technology to help open up space and have that truthtelling work be different. We understand that that is the beginning of the work: Telling the truth is the hard part, but then what do we do to change. Bevy—You just had to pick up the phone and go. Were you raised in a very religious faith? DeRay—No, both of my parents were born addicted to drugs. My father raised us because my mother left when I was three. I grew up in a community of recovery. My father was always in Narcotics Anonymous; we grew up sitting in the back of meetings. He spoke about a power greater than his own—that was the context that I was raised in—but we didn’t go to church every Sunday. As I got older, I sort of had a distance from God because my father had such a close relationship. I believed in a higher power, but the way the belief was manifesting with my father…it was too much. When I ran for mayor [of Balitmore, earlier this year] there were some hard moments. The usual places I would go to find solace—the people and the places—weren’t there. Something happened where they were no longer available in the same way and God was the only person I could talk to. I will never forget the moment when I prayed. Bevy—That’s very brave of you, because a lot of times faith is a very difficult thing to have. People talk about faith all of the time—that cliché that “if you have faith, you have no worries”— but a lot of people have worries even if they’re going to church every single day. I connect with you in that way: When I was little I didn’t grow up religious, but now I am super faithed-up. I don’t believe in organized religion at all. DeRay—When did you realize that the movement was going to spread across the country? Bevy—Ferguson. DeRay—What about it? Bevy—It was the amount of young people I saw on the
One hundred and two African Americans were killed by police in 2015. That means nearly two deaths a week occurred at the hands of American law enforcement. Of those murdered, nearly one-third were reported unarmed. Knowing something had to be done about the senseless killings, DeRay Mckesson, an African-American civil rights activist and educator, joined Black Lives Matter, the organization founded in 2013 that campaigns against violence and racism. This past year, he quit his job in the Minneapolis Public Schools system to move first to St. Louis—he had been paying regular visits to Ferguson, in the wake of the Michael Brown protests—starting Mapping Police Violence, a group that collects data of those slain by the force in 2014, and then to his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. He then launched Campaign Zero, a plan that calls for police reform. Last July, Mckesson was arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while live streaming a protest against the shooting of Alton Sterling. Four days later, Mckesson, politicians, enforcement officials, and other activists met with President Barack Obama to discuss solutions to police brutality against the black community in the United States. Born at the end of the Civil Rights movement, Beverly “Bevy” Smith grew up in Harlem, New York, climbing through the ranks of the advertising world at “Rolling Stone” and “Vibe” magazines before making a name as a commentator on pop culture. She’s co-hosted television programming for Bravo and BET since, and her daily SiriusXM’s one hour radio show, “Bevelations,” has been on broadcast since 2015. Known for her cross-pollinating ideation, her ongoing event series, “Dinner with Bevy,” has brought minds from the arenas of fashion, entertainment, media, and social justice to the same table. The two came together to speak about the pressures they face as African Americans, the importance of social media in activism, and finding an answer to end systemic racism. Bevy Smith—Was your activism accidental or were you conscious that it would absorb 95 percent of your life? DeRay Mckesson—I wouldn’t call it an accident, but a calling. Like most callings, something had to happen to help me see the call. On August 16, 2014 [a week after the death of Michael Brown], I was sitting on my couch at one in the morning in Minneapolis. I saw what was happening on Twitter and on the television. I decided to get in my car and drive nine hours to St.
Document No. 9
August, 31, 2016â€”Baltimore and New York
DeRay Mckesson photographed at his home in Baltimore.
front lines and the social media activism. That was really an “OK” moment for me that we were going to show the world. Since the Civil Rights Movement died down, people have been looking for that next black moment and that next powerful black voice. Times are changing and instead of it being one person, it became a whole network of people. It was a youth culture explosion. I knew then that it was going to be an international movement. At Ferguson, the visuals and the ground! The explosion from social media; some people from earlier that day who were probably talking about busting a cap were, too, galvanized. Black lives do matter. DeRay—As we get further from August 16, 2014, the most interesting and challenging thing is that I’ve seen people distance themselves from how unique the protests were. We were in the streets for over 300 days in uncharted territory, we had not organized like that ever before in a generation, and part of that is having access. There was no organization that led it, there was no chapter or anything; it was just people who came out and made that happen. What’s powerful is that we built the infrastructure in real time. People became the tweeters, the live-streamers. It’s been really wild to watch people rewrite history—I know some people that think an organization started the protests, but that just isn’t true. There have been so many incredible people who have done really great work that was hard and before it was popular to be a protester. Before we even knew how it would come out on the other side, there were people who were not going to be silent. That’s really powerful. Bevy—What was really powerful for me, too, were the people in my age group that came after the affirmative action group, the second generation. I was an advertising executive—I’ve always worked inside the corporate structure and coming into entertainment was my first taste of freedom—when you see people with so much to lose be compelled to speak out, it means a lot. Some say that social media activism is not important, but it actually does a lot. There are people who have not even thought about this kind of outrage and injustice. In that space they have to take note because it’s in their face. I called out so many people in the days of Ferguson. To be silent is to be part of the problem. A lot of the work I do from a philanthropic point of view is with AIDS/ HIV, specifically among youth. I’m always there for you. I’m talking about young black men being gunned down in the street and nobody is retweeting it, reposting it, sharing the post—what’s going on? DeRay—One of the other powerful things that the movement has done is open up a conversation about the real complexities of blackness. We are talking about identities in blackness in a more public way than we’ve ever talked about it and that is really powerful. What the movement has done is created a critical mass of people who have acknowledged that there is a problem and who are talking about it. The next powerful thing is to create a critical mass of people who have the skills to do something about it and who know what to do. Bevy—What is next? How do we take what you all have built and how do we amplify it into real, manifested change? DeRay—One is about developing a different type of coalition. The Black Panthers, [Martin Luther] King [Jr.], SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference], and SNCC [The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee], understood this— that we can’t win alone. In these moments, the real test is if we can organize even if the people we bring together don’t have the same goals but the same outcome of living in a world of equity. Two, I’m not sure if chapter-based or member-based organizations are going to work. I don’t think our goal is to mirror those models,
“If money could fix this, it would be fixed. If money could fix education, there would be no problems in education. There are a lot of people who want to give money. I worry about money without a plan.” but re-create new ones that organize a critical mass of people that may not want to belong to an organization but that want to do good work. The third is about keeping imaginative solutions to scale. When you think about Baltimore, where 40 percent of the adults cannot functionally read, after-school programs do not address the scale of this issue. I believe in them and I support them. After-school programs are important; I opened up one. We have to figure out how to keep solutions to scale. We could visit children born in Baltimore and give them a library, but we have to address these imaginative solutions at scale. Bevy—How do we get companies who have made money off of [our] culture to fund these opportunities or do we fundraise within our own communities? DeRay—If money could fix this, it would be fixed. If money could fix education, there would be no problems in education. There are a lot of people who want to give money. I worry about money without a plan. The way most people work is that they ask for money and make up the plan as they work. I’ve never seen that action lead to great outcomes for black people. Creating programs that exist regardless of their impact or outcomes is really dangerous. I’m focused on what the plan is and developing a critical mass, and once we nail that down, then finding the resources. Bevy—How does being an activist, being black, and being gay all work in tandem? Was there a worry about your sexuality or were you always comfortable in your skin? DeRay—I’ve always been comfortable in my skin. I was student body president in high school. Most people know my family—and that I grew up in a community of recovery—but love was one thing I never felt the need to talk about. The movement came, and then I felt that I didn’t want people to think I was afraid or ashamed to be gay. This is part of the complexity of blackness. I’m more afraid of being silent than I am of speaking up. In the [conversation of identity], we think homophobia and misogyny are manifestations of different violence and that we have to be comfortable with talking about it in public so people can change their behavior and understand the world better. Bevy—Are you as patient with people outside of our community as you are with people in our community? DeRay—It’s hard. Sometimes I expect to deal with racist white people, but I do not expect people who look like me to say, “The police haven’t damaged the community.” I would love to work with someone who has a large reach like Oprah Winfrey. What Oprah did for daytime television helped people process a complicated world—I’ve come to accept that so we can push them to think about the world differently.
August 31, 2016â€”Paris
August 26, 2016—Paris and Los Angeles
Lanvin’s Lucas Ossendrijver speaks of space and the functionality of design with artist Oscar Tuazon. Introduction by Drew Sawyer Portrait by Collier Schorr
William Mulholland, the engineer instrumental to Los Angeles’s massive aqueduct system. The pair recently caught up to speak about the artist’s new land in the Olympic rainforest in Washington, the problem of functionality in art and fashion, and Ossendrijver’s 10-year anniversary at Lanvin.
Dutch-born designer Lucas Ossendrijver did a tour of duty in
fashion that began at the Fashion Institute Arnhem—the same school that produced Viktor & Rolf—before stints at Kenzo, Kostas Murkudis, and Dior Homme under the direction of Hedi Slimane, landing at the helm of menswear at Lanvin in 2006. Known for his penchant for research and for mixing the rugged with the refined, Ossendrijver launched a now-iconic sneaker at France’s oldest extant fashion house. The designer constantly thinks about his craft, and after a decade at the house, Ossendrijver still manages to shake things up; he spray-dyes jackets, creates creases, and adds a bit of slouch, which bring his clothes closer to reality than those of Lanvin’s perfectly pressed and tailored counterparts. Ossendrijver’s designs are not mere decorations; they are intended to be lived in. Like Ossendrijver’s work, Oscar Tuazon’s art is not meant for simple observation, but rather, as an environmental experience. So it is fitting that the two became friends while they were both living in Paris. Tuazon, who now lives in Los Angeles, often combines industrial and natural materials to transform the experience of a building or site, and the do-it-yourself sensibility of his work pushes the limits of objects and architecture: wood beams transform structural frames, and trees adjoin cement forms. For a recent solo show at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the artist cut a hole through the wall in the lobby’s gallery, attaching a large aluminum pipe to it. The circular object extended out to the building’s glass exterior, so that visitors could walk right up to the outside and passersby could peer in. The approach embodied Tuazon’s response to a Los Feliz neighborhood monument to
Document No. 9
Lucas Ossendrijver—Hi Oscar, how are you? It’s really hot here. It’s like a heat wave in Paris at the moment. Oscar Tuazon—I’m good. I’ve had a long summer. I have my cabin in the woods; I’ve been cutting trees. Lucas—Oh yeah? Whereabouts? Oscar—It’s in Washington State, up on the Olympic Peninsula, in the middle of the forest. Lucas—Is it for work? Oscar—Well, I don’t know. It’s not quite work. I guess it might be someday, but at the moment, it’s a good place to go and think. I’m with the family. They love it up here. It’s been four years that we’ve had the place. We bought a piece of property and it had this small garage and a room attached. Since then, we’ve been slowly improving it. Now we have running water. Lucas—You’re kind of doing up the place? Oscar—Slowly, yeah. Making it livable. Lucas—Yours. Oscar—Exactly. It’s really like making a space, you know. In the very beginning, it was just a big empty room. It had one wall in it that I took out. We installed an inside stove, and made a kind of kitchen and water system. It rains very constantly, so
Retouching at XXX.
August 26, 2016â€”Paris and Los Angeles
Lucas Ossendrijver photographed in Paris.
“You have to seduce people, you have to make new things and get people excited.” we have a huge, 14,000-gallon tank that collects the water. We run it through a filter. I haven’t done anything architectural in the space at all, actually. I’ve just left it open. That’s the beauty of it, to make that space. Now I’m going around cutting trees [laughs], making a different kind of space in the landscape. Making a space to move through. Lucas—Like a space within an environment; a space within a space. Oscar—Yeah. It’s five acres, and it’s all wooded with pretty big trees. Lucas—It sounds interesting. I’m kind of trying to envision it because I don’t know the area. It seems a little bit mysterious. What I remember from your apartment in Paris was that you basically did everything. You redid the space. Is it really important for you to live somewhere that you can really control in a way? That you actually create? Oscar—That’s how I try to work: to go in and create a living situation inside of another space. This year is your 10-year anniversary at Lanvin. I imagine it must be difficult to continue to come up with new ideas every year, especially with the speed of fashion. How do you do it? Lucas—Men’s fashion has developed at an incredible pace since I started. We used to do just two collections a year. Now [it’s] four, and the demands are much higher since there is fierce competition. It’s something I don’t want to complain about—it’s just the way it is. As a designer, you have to deal with it. It forces you to be more precise and focused on what you do. You cannot afford to be mediocre. The only way for me to deal with this pressure is to be as creative as possible, and to give as much as possible. The difficulty is to find the right balance between the desire to experiment and the will to make clothes that are believable; clothes that people can relate to and can wear. Desirability is key. Have you ever thought about fashion? About clothes? Is that ever something that’s on your mind? Oscar—Well first, you know, living in Paris, I was constantly thinking about fashion, but in terms of making clothes, I don’t know. No, I guess. I haven’t really thought about that. Lucas—When I think about what I do, I never feel like I’m designing or that I’m a designer. I really don’t like the word. I don’t like the meaning of the word, but I really like the craft. I really like the making of the clothes—that you actually do something with your hands. To learn the craft and to learn how things are made, for me, was very important. That’s something that really drew me into fashion. I didn’t really know what fashion was until I was able to make clothes. It’s that sense of having to know how to do things yourself in order to create. Is there a similar need for you? Oscar—Yeah, definitely. There’s a compulsion to try and express something just by being able to make it with your hands and understanding that process of construction. Lucas—So you never thought about making clothes. [Laughs.] What do you wear when you work? Do you have some kind of uniform?
Oscar—No. [Laughs.] I know a lot of artists have made uniforms, and I don’t have anything against that. For me, the most important part of clothes is their insides. Do you know what I mean? The inside of the suit. I work alone, so the idea of having a uniform—it would just be for myself. That interior space of the clothes is interesting for me to think about. The connection would be through furniture and how you have to kind of...designing a chair is a difficult process. It requires you to move your body and think about your body and to pose yourself more than it does drawing. I understand that process of physically translating the movements of my body into… Lucas—Into furniture? Oscar—Yeah. Into physical objects, a form. So that, as you’re thinking about clothes, you’re thinking about… Lucas—Well, with clothes you always have to deal with the body. It’s very restrictive, actually. It’s not an architectural shape; it has to do with the body, it has to be worn, and it has to be functional. It has to keep you warm or keep you cold. Menswear, in the end, is about working around a lot of constrictions; the vocabulary is usually limited to the shirt, the jacket, the pant and so on… so to find your own language within those boundaries is the real challenge. Oscar—How do you get around these constraints? Lucas—When working on a collection it is important for me to almost erase all direct references to the idea from the beginning, so that when you look at the [finished] garment it exists by itself and is not too referential. Sometimes people find it difficult to read into it, they prefer direct visual references, but I don’t care about that. My work is not about visual references; it’s about construction and detail. I don’t see myself as a decorator. It’s not really my thing, but at the same time, the functionality can also kill a lot of ideas and kill creativity. It’s always a kind of strange contradiction. What is also typical of fashion that is very contradictory is the making of disposable clothes so that people can buy new ones. Actually, it’s quite weird. It’s a system. But what I do like is that it’s kind of a free space at the same time. You have to seduce people, you have to make new things and get people excited. But sometimes it’s like, why change? Why should people buy new things? Sometimes I really don’t know. [Laughs.] Oscar—Right, and in a weird way, it comes back to that: the real question of function. But I think the constraints of functionality in designing a piece of clothing or designing a chair are ultimately kind of a dead end. Lucas—It’s very essential, because it forces you to think about the function of what you’re doing and why you’re actually doing certain things. It’s always a question. I was just going to ask you: Does it bother you that what you make is in itself almost a useless object? That it’s something that doesn’t necessarily have to have a use? Or that it has a specific use but that the use is not for people? That it’s something they’re attracted to, but that it’s not, like, a functional object? Oscar—The frustration that I feel stems from the way that an object is protected or presented as an artwork, which prevents it from acting on and influencing the world, because it’s kind of hard to touch. In that sense, when you’re making clothes, they are objects that are in physical contact with people who are wearing them. I have a kind of magical overestimation of what the powers of an object really are. If I’m frustrated with what an artwork can do, it’s because it doesn’t reach enough people and it doesn’t touch enough people and it can’t create real action in the world. And, somehow, there’s the sense that—I don’t know—I start to think about designing a tent, which, in a way, is kind of where
August 26, 2016—Paris and Los Angeles
“I’ve learned over the years to not be afraid and to really listen and follow my intuition—it’s the only thing I really trust.”
fashion and architecture meet. [Both laugh.] Lucas—Protection. Oscar—Yeah. I have this urge to say, “OK, I’d like a lot of people to share this.” It would be cool to see other people using it. Lucas—Are the people you reach a consideration for you when you make your work? Do you think about what your work becomes afterwards? For example, once somebody has bought something and it disappears from your sight, do you think about that? Or is it over for you then? Oscar—Well, usually the work continues. Lucas—It lives on? Oscar—Yeah, and I come back to things. So I don’t need the objects around. It’s almost a process of prototyping: As each object is produced, I don’t have a physical connection to it or anything but I do intend to take the work further. Sometimes I’ll work on a project for a year or two intensively, and sometimes there’ll be a small sculpture that I make and three years go by, and I come back and try and repeat the process that led to that work. That’s how things from the past come back and I try and use them. To remake the work—it’s something that I wonder, given the way that fashion keeps changing and also the way that it makes you relate to an audience, the way that you receive information constantly. Are there things that you come back to? Lucas—I think it’s something that happens almost naturally, because of the speed of fashion, because of the medium—it’s like continuous. It’s inevitable, there are parts of what you do that are almost like a language that comes back. It might not be in exactly the same form, but you go back to certain ideas. I never consciously look back to what I did before. I really try not to. I find it really depressing, because then you really feel like you’re kind of milking out an idea and going back to re-do it, so it looks new when it actually isn’t. Oscar—Better than the first version. Lucas—Yeah, yeah. But if I see something that comes along my way and then afterwards it comes out and I think, “Oh, maybe it looks like…” I’m not going to reject it because of that. Quite naturally, things tend to come back. But it’s not conscious. A lot of the times people recognize you for certain things, and then if all of a sudden you don’t do them, they don’t recognize you. It’s more difficult for them to identify you. At some point, I stopped really caring about that. You don’t have to be all linear and all logical for people to follow. Sometimes you have to do something else, and it might be a mistake, it might be good. I don’t try to make anything too logical; I really try to follow my intuition and see what I’m interested in at certain points. Even if it doesn’t make sense next to something else in the past, it doesn’t have to be a clear path. Oscar—Exactly. The narrative is much less interesting than the moment. To be able to respond to something now is much more urgent. It’s what you have to do. I’m curious—what have you learned in your decade at Lanvin? Lucas—You could say that after 10 years one might become bored by designing clothes—but actually no! The passion gets stronger. It’s a different kind of mindset that I get into each time I start thinking about a new collection. Fabric is always inspiring because there are a lot of developments that influence design, and then there are also a lot of changes in the way we live: we travel more, the climate changes, people have less time, and people need clothes to be more practical and carefree. You want to be able to go to a dinner party in your day clothes, for example. All those considerations influence the way you design. I’ve learned over the years to not be afraid and to really listen and follow my intuition— it’s the only thing I really trust. Designing for me is mostly about intuition and then technique and craft.
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Document No. 9
WOMEN BY SUFFO MONCLOA & DELPHINE DANHIER MEN BY BRETT LLOYD & JACK BORKETT SUBTERRANEA BY RICHARD BUSH & SARAH RICHARDSON COMME DES GARÃ‡ONS BY TALIA CHETRIT & JODIE BARNES
170 188 204 228
June 30, 2016â€”Madrid
Women Photographs Suffo Moncloa Fashion Delphine Danhier
Lina wears dress, gloves, and boots by HermĂ¨s.
This page: Lina wears shirt, blazer, pants, ring, and boots by Balenciaga.
Opposite page: Lina wears shirt, jacket, and skirt by Gucci.
Marland wears bag by Jimmy Choo.
Marland wears dress and shoes by Marc Jacobs.
Lina wears dress, jacket, and shoes by Chanel.
Lina wears shirt, blazer, skirt, and shoes by Calvin Klein.
This page: Lina wears jacket, corset, belt, and agenda by Prada.
Opposite page: Aomi wears dress, coat, sleeves, and shoes by Marni.
Marland wears dress by Nina Ricci.
Aomi wears dress by Louis Vuitton.
Above: Lina wears earrings by Repossi. Below: Lina wears top, skirt, and choker by Loewe.
Marland wears cardigan, jacket, skirt, and shoes by Miu Miu.
Lina wears jacket and pants by ChloĂŠ.
Marland wears dress by Roberto Cavalli.
Cavalli This page: Aomi wears sweater, coat, skirt, and shoes by CĂŠline. Opposite page: Lina wears shirt and jacket by Burberry September Collection.
Models Aomi Muyock at Monster, Lina Hoss at Next, Marland Backus at Supreme. Hair Chi Wong at Management + Artists, David Harborow at Streeters. Make up Sergio Corvacho. Photo Assistants Alberto Moreno Omiste, Emilio Buccolo, Gabriel Diaz de la Morena, Karina Valentim. Fashion Assistants Ana Manuela, Luiza Cirico. Casting Piotr Chamier.
July 6, 2016â€”Naples, Italy
Men Photographs Brett Lloyd Fashion Jack Borkett
Document No. 9
Opposite: Teo wears knit collar by Raf Simons. This page: Teo wears all clothing by Dior Homme.
This page: Gianluca wears vintage swimsuit stylistâ€™s own. Scarf by Zegna.
Opposite page: Daniele and Teo wear all clothing by Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci. Necklace by Slim Barrett.
Opposite page: Teo wears all clothing by Dior Homme.
page: All clothing, necklace, TeoThis wears all clothing by Dior Homme. and shoes by Gucci. Glasses by General Eyewear.
This page: Daniele wears all clothing and shoes by Calvin Klein Collection. Pocket square stylistâ€™s own.
Opposite page: Laura wears coat by Y-3. Local boys wear swimwear all their own.
Opposite page: Teo wears pants and boots by McQ. Necklaces by Slim Barrett.
This page: Teo wears hat by Prada.
This page: Teo wears jacket, track pants and bag by Burberry. Underwear stylistâ€™s own. Necklaces by Slim Barrett.
Opposite page: Daniele wears all clothing by Valentino.
This page: Teo wears shirt by Ports 1961. Hat stylist’s own.
Opposite page: Daniele wears tank stylist’s own. Coat and trousers by Lanvin. Shoes by Prada. Gianluca wears all clothing by Lanvin. Necklace by Slim Barrett. Shoes by A.P.C.
Above: Shoes by Camper. Below: Daniele wears sweater by A.P.C. Earring by Stephen Einhorn. Laura wears clothing all her own.
Teo wears all clothing by MSGM. Necklace by Slim Barrett.
Models Gianluca Adinolfi, Laura Marazzi at Fashion Model Management, Daniele Paudice at I Love Models Management, Teo Sanabria at Tomorrow Is Another Day. Lighting ProLighting London. Photo Assistants Nick Bentham, Chris Lensz. Fashion Assistant Joanna Valmai Wills. Hair Mari Ohashi at LGA for R+Co.
July 11, 2016â€”London
Subterranea Photographs Richard Bush Fashion Sarah Richardson Beauty Tom Pecheux
Document No. 9
Previous spread: Willy wears shirt, jacket, skirt, and tie by Vetements.
This spread: Willy wears tank top from stylist’s archive. Sweater from Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci. Trousers by Courrèges. Harness from stylist’s archive.
Hannah wears dress by Jacquemus.
Opposite page: Julia Campbell-Gillies wears leather top from stylist’s archive. Patent mini skirt by Courrèges.
This page: Suzi wears bralette from stylist’s archive. Bracelet (worn as choker) by Lanvin.
Opposite page: Julia Campbell-Gillies wears leather top from stylistâ€™s archive.
This page: Paul wears shirt, jacket, pants, belt, and chain by Balenciaga. Choker from stylistâ€™s archive. Vintage bandana.
Rupert wears jacket and pants by Balenciaga. Jewelry modelâ€™s own.
This page: Julia Cumming wears dress and jacket by Vetements.
Opposite page: Julia Cumming wears dress by Louis Vuitton.
Suzi wears bralette and harness from stylistâ€™s archive. Trench coat by Vetements x Mackintosh. Fishnet tights by Wolford. Pants by HermĂ¨s.
Opposite page: Paul wears vintage Sisters of Mercy top from stylistâ€™s archive. Jacket with harness by Dior Homme Spring 2017.
This page: Dilone wears leotard by Hood By Air. Blazer by Burberry. Pants by McQ. Harness from stylistâ€™s archive. Arrow key hook in ring by Lanvin. Silver chain on silver hooks by Masha Ma.
Opposite page: Dilone wears dress by Erika Cavallini.
This page: Timmy wears top by McQ. Harness from stylistâ€™s archive.
This page: Julia Cumming wears shirt dress by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. Bracelet worn as choker by HermĂ¨s. Belt by Louis Vuitton.
Opposite page: Jon wears hoodie by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. Belt by Louis Vuitton.
This page: Ben wears t-shirt and pants by Lanvin. Blazer by 3.1 Phillip Lim.
Models Suzi Leenaars at Ulla, Julia CampbellGillies at Tess, Hannah Bennett at IMG, Willy Morsch at IMG, Julia Cumming at Premier, Dilone at DNA, Jon Cooper at Select, Paul C at Rockmen, Timmy at Nii, Ben Blackmore, Rupert Wilmot.
Hair Martin Cullen at Streeters London for Bumble & Bumble. Nails Mike Pocock at Streeters London. Casting Director Piergiorgio Del Moro. Photo Assistants Jack Storer, Lucie Rox, Jack Wilson, Matt Kelly, Richard Dowker,
and Rachel Samuin. Fashion Assistants Sue-Wen Quek, Marley Kiwinda, and Marianthi Hatzikidi. Production 2B Management. Special thanks Rida Studios, Labyrinth Photographic, Klaus Kalde, and Love Retouch.
July 21, 2016—Tokyo
Comme des Garçons Photographs Talia Chetrit Fashion Jodie Barnes
Document No. 9
My works abounds in paradoxes and accidents... I have never changed from my search for finding something new for every collection. That is what I decided to do 47 years ago and that is what i have to keep trying to do... nothing changes within the “everything changes”. and to have a chance to succeed, i have to be free (from every constraint of the fashion industry) but because I can’t do anything else, i am anything but free… and yet the best creation often comes out of the most severe most self-inflicted restraints... like the best freedom often comes after the end of the most tyrannical of situations…in the photos you can see what a woman rebel fighting tyranny in say the 18th century might have looked like. —Rei Kawakubo
Opposite page: Multicolor silk jacquard dress by Comme des Garรงons.
This page: Pink faux leather enamel overalls and jacket by Comme des Garรงons.
This page: Burgundy cottonvelvet and floral cotton jumpsuit by Comme des Garรงons.
Opposite page: Multicolor jacquard dress by Comme des Garรงons.
Model Maeve Whalen at MC2. Special thanks George Miscamble, Mathias Pardo.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Document No. 9
JANE BIRKIN RECOUNTS HER LOVE FOR SERGE GAINSBOURG CHRISTOPHER KANE ON CREATIVITY AND THE MUSEUM GUGGING EL PAQUETE: AN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FOR CUBAN ART PETER DUNDAS’S NEW ERA OF GLAMOUR NO MORE WEIRD BUILDINGS—CHINA’S ARCHITECTURAL REVOLUTION OBJECTS WITHOUTS SHADOWS: ISIS’S ANTHROPOLOGICAL CARNAGE FUTURE FORMATS: ELECTRONIC ARTS INTERMIX CELEBRATES 45 YEARS
236 240 248 254 258 262 268
August 31, 2016â€”Paris
On the 25th anniversary of Serge Gainsbourgâ€™s passing, Jane Birkin recounts their love. Text by Jane Birkin
Document No. 9
As told to Joshua Glass
Portrait by Andrew Birkin
Article 1 I first met Serge during a song test for “Slogan.” When I got to the studio, I could hear Marisa Berenson reading dialogue [for the role]. She was quite perfect, and I could imagine Serge’s annoyance to have me, an English girl who couldn’t speak French. I was very shy and he seemed sarcastic. I think I said, “Why don’t you ask how I am?” And he said, “Because I don’t really care.” I’ve told this story so many times I don’t know if it’s really true! He was very elegant, though. He saw that I was stuck on some of the words, and he whispered them to me. Then when I started to cry, which I did very much because I had quite a lot to cry about—John Barry had left me and I was alone with my daughter Kate—Serge thought that was really disgusting: to mix my private life with the movie. I didn’t think I started off on a very good foot but, on the other hand, he didn’t quite veto me, and when I went back to England I wasn’t sure if I’d gotten the part or not. Then there was the May uprising of 1968, so everything was pushed back for a month; nothing could be done because of the student riots in Paris. Eventually, [writer/director] Pierre Grimblat rang me to say that I’d been cast. I got on a plane and arrived in Le Bourget with Kate. We shacked up in a little hotel, Esmeralda, which was next to Shakespeare and Company in the 5th arrondissement. My brother [Andrew] was with me, he was working for Stanley Kubrick’s film on Napoleon. He took my daughter in the daytime while he went off investigating what locations they could use to film—you know, [Château de] Malmaison—and I was free to film with Serge, who I thought was quite aggressive from the beginning. There was an instance where he was sitting in a bathtub with an enormous pair of trunks, which were red, white, and blue, if I can remember right, and I had to sit on the corner of the bath, with, as per usual, nothing on. He looked up at me in the rather sarcastic way that he seemed to look. One night, Pierre fixed up a dinner for the three of us and then slipped off like a gentleman. I was left with Serge alone at Régine’s nightclub, and I asked if he wanted to dance. He said no, but I pulled him onto the dance floor anyway for a slow song, and he stepped on my feet. I just thought, “My goodness, everything that I thought was him being sarcastic or dandyish was actually him being terribly shy!” From there we went to La Calvados, where there was a group of Mexican singers, and, oh, Joe Turner at the piano and they did four-handers together. He [Serge] gave a great deal of money to the singers, and then we wandered off to Raspoutine’s Russian nightclub where they all knew him. He loved to have his briefcase full of loose money, so he handed out great big notes to them so that they could stab them with knives in their mouths while they did Russian dances. He asked them to play [Jean] Sibelius’s “Valse Triste” on the pavement while we got into a taxi. We went off to Pigalle and saw all these people [opening] the market. It was like Covent Garden in the middle of Paris, and they were carrying côte de boeuf and vegetables. They all said hello to Serge, and Serge handed over glasses of champagne to them. I said he could drop me off at my hotel, but to my horror, he brought me to the Hilton, where they said at the desk, “Same room as usual Mr. Gainsbourg?” [Laughing.] I thought, “Oh, no!” In the lift I made faces in the glass to give myself courage. When we got to his room I slipped into the bathroom, and when I came out he was asleep. I went off to the drugstore and bought [a copy of ] “Yummy Yummy Yummy”...(I’ve Got Love in My Tummy). It was a rather silly song that I danced to in Régine’s. I stuck the single record between his toes and went back to the Hotel Esmeralda so happy—so, so happy that something had started, and that I’d managed to not keel over at first glance. After “Slogan” was over, I was to go back to England because I didn’t want to be sitting around like I did for John with
“He gave me the most heartbreaking texts to sing, very, very high. All I could do was to sing them as high as possible and make him proud of me.”
nothing to say for myself. There was nothing else in France. I was terribly English, and I didn’t think that anything would turn up, which was not what happened. [Director] Jacques Deray was looking for a sort of nouvelle girl to be in “La Piscine” with Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. He flew up the staircase when I was having dinner with Pierre, and thought I looked OK. Jacques offered to fly me down to Saint-Tropez to see what Romy and Alain thought. They OK’d me too—I was sort of the right height, or I don’t know what—and I was able to be in the movie. In SaintTropez, Serge, Kate, my parents, and I were all shacked up in the Hôtel Byblos for this eight-week shoot. It was so wonderful because I didn’t believe in myself at the time—not after a broken marriage and being very young. Serge was able to wake me up to nearly everything because he’d already done his education. He was able to teach me about painting, because he had attended [École Nationale Supérieure des] Beaux-Arts. He was able to tell me about music, because I really didn’t know. He was the one who used my very high voice on “Je t’aime... moi non plus” a year after [Brigitte] Bardot, because it was an octave higher than hers. I had a sort of choir boy sound, which was what Serge desired. I’ve just been singing his songs all my life, really. He wrote the most beautiful songs when I left him. I was going to be his B-side, or rather, his feminine side. I realized that straight away when he gave me the text of “Baby Alone in Babylon,” or “Les dessous chics” or “Fuir le Bonheur [de peur qu’il ne se sauve].” I realized I was singing him. He gave me the most
“Jane and Serge,” 1969 from “Jane & Serge. A Family Album” by Andrew Birkin and Alison Castle. Published by TASCHEN.
August 31, 2016—Paris
heartbreaking texts to sing, very, very high. All I could do was to sing them as high as possible and make him proud of me. Serge developed a new French language. More than any of the others, he put so much into words. He cut up his phrases a bit like Cole Porter. “Champagne flying too high in the sky”— things like that. I don’t think it was done before. “[Histoire de] Melody Nelson,” was an entire story about falling in love with [Melody] as he crashed into her bike, right to the very end. French or American, I don’t think anyone’s ever done that. He was also into fashion. I was reminded the other day—seeing all these boys having a sort of four-day beard with no socks on in their white shoes—of how I once grabbed him a funny pair of shoes [Repettos]. At the time, I was going to buy myself ballet shoes and I rang Serge to find out if I’d gotten his feet measurement right. I got him these pumps that were in a basket on sale—they were like wearing a pair of gloves. He never wore anything else after. He used to totter out of his house and straight into a taxi in them because he didn’t like walking much. The jeans...and the shirt... and the women’s pinstriped jacket that he bought in a Chelsea antique market. I covered him with jewels, because he didn’t have hair on his chest, which I thought was so sophisticated. I bought him Russian jewelry—I guess it was sort of second or third hand next to Hermès—with sapphires. He was so childlike. Once, he went off with my brother on New Year’s Eve. They went up to Pigalle, and Serge thought that this group of men there were sort of “cuddling” him into a taxi. Of course, they were ripping off all his jewelry! [Laughing.] When we got him back home, he was crying in the sitting room. I said, “You must promise to be more prudish next time and not to get into a taxi with people you don’t know!” He had this wonderful mixture of being a clown—I’ve never known anyone who had such wonderful stories—and at the same time, terribly romantic and sad: crying and, very, very close to the skin. Sensitive. There were so many memories. We used to get very plastered in a place called Chez Castel, which was a nightclub that had this grand floor with people dining upstairs. One night, we went downstairs, and I think Serge had my basket. In those days, I carried a rather famous bag—a two pound basket from a Portuguese market. Serge turned it upside down and everything fell out. I was so ashamed and horrified that everyone could see everything! In a rather drunk mood, I put it all back in, itching for revenge. We went back upstairs and, in less than no time, I got my hands on a lemon custard pie that I chucked at Serge. It went straight onto his face. He turned his back, and he walked towards the door, which had been opened—out he went. First to the right, and then down the street, bits of pie falling off. I thought I had done something so shameful that I really had to do something pretty extraordinary: I raced past him and went straight down the Rue des Saints-Pères to the river and then I chucked myself into the Seine! I had to be fished out by firemen, it had quite a strong current! The Saint Laurent blouse I was wearing was dry cleaning only. [Laughing.] Serge was in a forgiving mood like anything—I mean really. All was forgiven. When Serge died, then four days later my father died, I didn’t want to read clever obituaries, but there was an editorialist in England that was absolutely wonderful. My mother cut [the article] out. Bernard Levin was the name of the man who wrote, and it said, “We’ve got a great writer,” and gave the name. “But is he also a clown?” “We have a clown,” and they mentioned the name, “But is he also a singer?” “We have singers, but are they all the things that Serge was?” Then he said, “No, decidedly, no. We do not have a Serge Gainsbourg.” Anyone who met him was smitten. Such charm, such charm.
July 29, 2016—Klosterneuburg, Austria
On being an outsider, Christopher Kane finds creativity at the Art Brut Center Gugging in Austria. Text by Christopher Kane
As told to Sarah Mower
Photographs by Laurence Ellis
Gugging Psychiatric Clinic in Austria (known as Gugging), where Dr. Leo Navratil encouraged him to draw—he could have been a designer! Dr. Navratil set up the Center for Art and Psychotherapy at Gugging in 1981, inviting artistically talented patients to live there. I read that there is [now] a house of artists, Gugging Gallery, run by Dr. Johann Feilacher, who took over from Dr. Navratil, who changed it into a community of artists, so I wanted to go. Gugging is half an hour’s drive from Vienna in a valley surrounded by green. It looks phenomenal. There are two buildings: a residence, where they sleep, with nurses and a canteen, and the old school, which has been converted into this massive, beautiful gallery, which is open to the public, where they showcase the work. Other artists can come and work alongside them—they’re very inspiring. There are 11 men and one woman. Johann, the professor, took us around and introduced us to everyone. He is trained as a psychiatric doctor, but is also a sculptor, so he really understands the world of art and loves it as a facility for people to be creative. Johann will go out and meet people that he thinks have the ability to live there and support themselves, but not only
I’ve been talking about the influence of outsider art in my collec-
tions over the past couple of years since my mum died. [My sister] Tammy and I have felt like outsiders our whole life. Growing up in Newarthill, in Scotland—a small village background—we grew up around people who had been touched by madness; we’re still raising it in our work. There was a woman we called Jan. She used to cut her own hair, wore the shortest skirts. She was insanely beautiful—could have been like a Tilda Swinton—but she was touched; something had obviously happened to her. She lived in the village, and she would call my mum and dad Auntie Chris and Uncle Tam. She was older than Tammy and me, and we were always scared and riveted by the way she looked and dressed. I’ve always dug deep when I research. Thinking about all this, I came across the work of the Czech outsider artist Johann Hauser (1926-1996), and found a drawing of his, which was so uncannily like a yellow lace dress I designed in my Princess Margaret on Acid collection of Spring 2011 it freaked me out. Who was this guy? Hauser was thought to be “feeble-minded,” and was sent to an institution at the age of 17, but then transferred to the Maria
Document No. 9
Artist Thao wearing an original mask. Photographed at the Maria Gugging Psychiatric Clinic just outside of Vienna in Klosterneuburg, Austria.
“We’ve all got it in us, something dark that can come out as something beautiful, haven’t we?”
that—he sees that they are talented. He curates the exhibitions and does all the amazing graphics and billboards for the museum. He’s curated an exhibition dedicated to Hauser. I just walked around, and saw how this guy painted every day of his life with so much passion, rage, and happiness. You just think, “Yeah, I want this.” Whereas sometimes you walk around galleries and think, “What is this shit?” The word “trendy” applies to art now, and I think it’s so wrong. Art wasn’t like that when we were growing up; it was part of your life story. You’d never follow a trend, and it was great. And that is their world; they’re led by their art. Gugging looks after people who have an interest in art. They may have high-functioning autism or Asperger’s. They sell their art to keep them going. I’d never been to anywhere like it before, but Tammy once taught art therapy for two years. It was when my dad died. I was 21, in my first year of my BA at Central Saint Martins. Obviously it was a huge and horrible shock. Tammy had been living with me, but went back home to Scotland to help Mum out. Sandra, who is our elder sister, was a nurse, and was working in nursing homes at that point. Tammy had seen something about art therapy, and was like, “Well, I could do that!” That’s how I got engaged in this world, through Tammy. The difference is where Tammy worked was a nursing home for the elderly; these were people who were scientists, teachers, mums and dads, who were forgotten about—I love them. The other day, I was in Scotland, seeing my auntie Mary, one of my mother’s sisters, who
has dementia. Being in that kind of facility can scare people, but it doesn’t [scare] me. They’re people who’ve been discarded in some way. I mean, what did they do before? It was great to see her. But Gugging is on a completely different level, because these people were born with their conditions. I thought, “I’m going to go in, and I don’t know what to expect.” You expect the worst, don’t you? There were humbling moments where I thought, “This is quite sad,” but then the richness they’ve got when they go to work in the studio is incredible. There was an artist whose 85th birthday party we were invited to, one of the oldest residents. His work is quite extraordinary. He’ll do a canvas the size of a wall, which is flower-flower-flowers. It was quite humbling to walk in. Everyone was sitting down, and they all really engaged with me, speaking to me in German. There was one man, Karl Vondal, who followed me around, asking about Wembley Stadium, it was so touching. I’m sure he went through a lot growing up, but his outlet was his art. Alfred Neumayr was drawing jellyfish and anatomy. Arnold Schmidt was just saying hello every two minutes, and shaking your hand; he was so lovely. I’m going to buy some of his work. He’s now drawing flowers, so happy and so engaging. He was such a lovely person. The flowers really catch his personality—he’s like that, smiley. He’s been there for a long time, 30 years or so. They’re very sensitive people. Really receptive to what other people feel, too, and really emotional. There were people
July 29, 2016—Vienna This page: Artist Alfred Neumayr, whose work has been internationally exhhibited. Opposite: Artist Katharina Muss at the Haus der Künstler (“House of the Artists”).
This page: Artist Arnold Schmidt (“Andi”), holding his artwork. Schmidt, 57, has been living at the House of the Artists since he was a teenager. Opposite: Artist Jüergen Tauscher points at one of his artworks.
“The word ‘trendy’ applies to art now, and I think it’s so wrong. Art wasn’t like that when we were growing up; it was part of your life story.”
obviously working through things from their childhood[s]. We’ve all got it in us, something dark that can come out as something beautiful, haven’t we? Their art has been sold in big galleries, and at the Sotheby’s and Christie’s of the world, they’re really quite world-famous, but it’s a fact that outsider art or art brut is still not properly recognized. Whereas these people are doing better things in some respects, I think, than what we’re seeing now. Their work has so much emotion and so much narrative and personality—you feel that there’s a life story they’re telling in their work. Researching the history of art brut—the term coined by the French artist Jean Dubuffet—is pretty revealing. There were artists from the past, like Scottie Wilson (1888-1972), a Scottish artist, from Glasgow, who Dubuffet discovered and collected. Scottie was very primitive in his work, but he always refused to sell it at commercial art rates. Picasso and Paul Klee bought his work, and you look at it and think, “Hang on. Who did this first?” There was Henry Darger (1892-1973), who worked as a hospital custodian in Chicago, who did these amazing pictures of little girls and boys—but they’ve got guns and rifles, because he was obsessed with a young girl who was murdered that he couldn’t get out of his head. That was in the 40s and 50s—almost like Enid Blyton. There was Judith Scott (1943- 2005), who had Down syndrome. When she was separated from her twin sister when she was institutionalized, she constantly started to cocoon things,
wrapping them to protect them. Madge Gill (1882-1961), was a housewife who had so many miscarriages, she drew all these beautiful self-portraits and spirits that she saw, and used knitting, weaving, and crochet. Johann says he hates what they do at Gugging to be called art therapy, and it’s not that. But I personally feel that when I draw, I do feel better about myself. It’s an outlet, like returning to being a like child again, to being normal, not thinking—just letting your hand dictate. When you’re drawing you just feel like, “I can achieve anything!” Just from that pen and piece of paper, I can come up with collection after collection. I’ve drawn all my collections; maybe not many designers do that. I draw, scale it up, and try it on. My life is consumed by that part of the process. I love to be isolated and just draw for a week. It’s that sort of thing, of being back at school where you had no influences, no idea what was fashion, what was art, and you just had that real naiveté. There were no rules; you just broke them. You made your own rules. It relates to how I work in the fashion world, too. Doing it for the love of it. It’s hard to be creative all the time. To do it to order, that’s when you can’t produce the work because the demand—it affects you in your shoulders. Creativity is the sole purpose of me being in fashion. The sole purpose of my getting up in the morning. I don’t want to do anything derivative: If it reminds me of anything else,
“I personally feel that when I draw I do feel better about myself.”
has to be integrity there, for me to look back and be proud in 10 years time. Not that, I just did that, or I was being lazy that day. Tammy and me are from Scotland, we’re just normal people. We never want to conform. Everything’s become that blandness stuff. I don’t want that. I want people to go, “What the fuck is that?” It’s good to be unsettled—to be taken out of your comfort zone—because it means you haven’t seen it before. The company’s changed so much in 10 years—10 years, it doesn’t feel like it! Obviously when we joined with Kering, it was the best thing me and Tammy could have done, because we could grow and do our job. Because François-Henri Pinault really supports the creative vision, because why be like anyone else, why cannibalize? The world has changed. So this is really a great opportunity to be creative—to be radical again. That’s why I got into fashion, because it was radical, and it’s a fantasy, a mystery. It was such an honour to meet everyone at Gugging. Everyone’s just getting on with drawing or painting. Some will take weeks, months. They’re inspiring, the way they are.
I scrap it. I don’t want to be thought of as having a cut-and-paste mentality. I know historical context, I know everything going on in fashion. If you put it out there, and someone doesn’t like it, that’s all right, because things are meant to be different. I was taught by the biggest outsider: Professor Louise Wilson OBE [MA fashion course director at Central Saint Martins until her death in 2014]. Obviously, Louise was pivotal to my career. This woman, who was seen to be a nightmare to work with, brought me out of my shell. She was loud, obnoxious, a cunt, a motherfucker—so many names Louise was called, and called herself—but to me, she was a gentle giant, so easy to talk to. The life lesson she taught me was that she was brutally honest, and actively went against the establishment. Louise said, “There is no such thing as good and bad taste. There’s just different.” And this applies even to Gugging. I don’t think there’s just one way of doing things. For me, it’s my life coming out in my work. It bleeds into my work. Obviously, I want my business to grow, but there still
This page left to right, top to bottom: Murals by Gugging artists cover the walls of the House of the Artists. Johann Feilacher, artist director and founder of the Museum Gugging. Opposite: Artist JĂźergen Tauscher holding another artwork.
August 20, 2016—Havana, Cuba
In Cuba, where the all-consuming freedom of the internet is just beyond reach, Nestor Siré and El Paquete offer an underground railroad for art. Text by Richard Morgan
Portraits by Harry Carr
In the way that the light bulb transformed the 19th-century Parisian art scene by making it the City of Light, or the assembly line transformed the 20th-century New York art scene, so too is the internet—that wooly worldwide wonder—transforming the 21st-century art scene in Havana and, through it, the entire island of Cuba. Although it is not an experience that anyone has ever seen before, and certainly not the internet the way it was intended. Begun as a protocol for military communication readiness, then unspooled for public consumption first as the Information Superhighway of the 90s and on through the clicks-and-likes marketplace of brands to what it is today, the internet has always contained multitudes. And exponentially more. Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization through to 2003, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a crowd at a tech conference—but that was way back in 2010, when Twitter was still relatively novel. A lot has happened since then. Notably, the booming internet presence in Cuba.
Document No. 9
Nestor SirĂŠ photographed in Marseille.
Last year, the Cuban government created public WiFi zones where locals swarm like ants on sugar. Verizon and Google are ramping up their presence as well. But internet access is still scattershot and expensive (two Cuban convertible pesos per hour for use, keeping in mind that Cuban salaries are, on average, 20 Cuban convertible pesos a month). For five Cuban convertible pesos a week, more than 90 percent of the island’s 11 million inhabitants opt for an alternative: El Paquete (“The Packet”), a terabyte-sized hard drive—a kind of pocket internet—from which they can download webpages, magazines, movies, books, music, viral videos, and all manner of digital art. Sitting in the middle ground between legal and illegal, consider it the Cuban version of our Cuban cigars. It’s how Cubans keep abreast of the myriad of “Games of Thrones” plot twists, all to the tune of an estimated $4 million US dollars a month. (The exact number is unclear due to the inherent rhizomatic nature of its use.) It is the largest private employer on the island though, second only to the communist government itself. “Artists from every nation can participate, either with individual projects or collective ones,” reads an invitation from the art project by Nestor Siré, a 28-year-old video artist from Camagüey who, in a way, is Cuba’s shadow minister of art. He is the artist who has been a part of El Paquete the longest, and he is treating it as a work of art all on its own, having added a folder to the mix called “!!!A R T Section.” which includes “the F O L D E R =gallery=.” It continues: “This space has a monthly frequency with a maximum general weight of five gigabytes, and it is under the rules of the Weekly Package (NO pornography and NO openly political subjects), although we are open to investigate its limits.” The folder’s current iteration was inspired, in part, by the work of Lázaro Saavedra, a prominent Cuban contemporary artist, whose “Galería E-mail” archived and dramatized early online communication between Cubans (picture the AOL days of the US internet). Its weekly manifestations coexist in the real-world Cuban art scene through the work of the likes of Yonlay Cabrera—a young, net art artist who presented “Debugging Nauta - Registros de error #Investigación ciudadana” (“Debugging Nauta - Records of errors #Citizen Research”), a work that analyzed the errors and social impact of the Nauta WiFi service provided by the governing state— new media literary group PAQUETE LITERATURA (“Package Literature”), and journalist, poet, and filmmaker Yoe Suárez. On screens and in the streets, El Paquete is giving Cubans—to employ another online trope—a second life. Siré compares it to the difference between getting water from a kitchen sink and getting it from a public well in the town square; there is an added social dynamic ripe for the spread of ideas. “El Paquete is our national conversation,” he says. “The internet everywhere is about information. But in Cuba it’s about information interacting with freedom. It is almost like performance, like a movie where we don’t know the ending.” He is, like much of Cuba, in its current crux, daring a radical take on conventional wisdom: his aim is not to give Cubans a fish or teach Cubans to fish, but rather to get Cubans sharing recipes of what to do with fish. “The internet in the rest of the world is a private moment, almost like hiding in a cave with a little scrap of fire,” he says. “But in Cuba it is a public phenomenon. If you want to watch that video or play that song or have that video conference, you are doing it in the street, next to your neighbors and strangers. It is a unique phenomenon.” In conversation, even in Spanish, Siré has a habit of calling everything a “phenomenon.” Such is the tongue-tied curse of living in such interesting times. He feels no Belle Époque wistfulness for the Hemingway 30s or the protest-heavy punkish 80s. He is
“The internet in the rest of the world is a private moment, almost like hiding in a cave with a little scrap of fire, but in Cuba it is a public phenomenon.”
taking the transformational power of the United States’s softened stance on its 56-year embargo and amplifying it in concert with the way the planetary culture—not just Cuba—is being consumed by the transformational power of the internet. He knows it can affect visual art beyond memes and other viral drivel. He has partnered with Julia Weist, a New York artist with a background in library science, at the Queens Museum for a run scheduled from September 2017 to February 2018 during which they’ll exhibit a year’s worth of Paquetes, not unlike various other exhibitions and pop-ups themed on the quantified self—a grocery store made of all the food and drink packaging an artist consumed in a year, for example. But the totality of the work has the power to become something wholly different, as with, say, the jump from Charles Dickens’s serialized chapters in newspapers to holding one of his whole novels in hand. “Many Cubans jumped straight to the web of 2015, missing the early history of the internet,” says Weist. “If you had skipped from dialup and AOL to Facebook and Netflix, would you know where to dabble? It’s natural for them, but what’s interesting is that they’ve been naturalized to the internet differently.” These seismic shifts of embargo meeting embrace have unlocked two important movements. First, in the digital realm, Cuban artists and everyday Cubans who are so familiar with recycling, repurposing, and making do with meager materials are discovering something almost antithetical to the communist tenet of sharing: unlimited resources. The new era may see a boom in the scale of art not seen since the first wall paintings of the postwar art scene in New York in 1945. But second, and in many ways much less expected, Cuban art is moving away from grandeur (as with Alberto Korda’s iconic “Guerrillero Heróico” photograph of Che Guevara taken in 1960) and counterculture (as with 1981’s Volumen Uno exhibition, which not only changed how Cuban art looked but also how it was promoted and exhibited). The unlikely hero of Paquete’s influence now is Cuba’s mundanity, the poetry of its everydayness (as with Siré’s compilation of “for sale” signs, which bring to mind Andy Warhol’s “200 One Dollar Bills” or Ormond Gigli’s “Girls in the Windows”). Confident he is living in Cuba’s golden age, Siré is remarkably present of mind. “I approach the happening,” he says, “unveiling it as it is in its present state, trying to figure out exactly how it exists within the social scheme.” He hopes his work will get Cubans to see their lives in these tumultuous times not as a beginning or an ending, but rather as a moment all its own. “These days, it really is a situation of truth being stranger than fiction. My purpose is to share truth and awareness—to educate. Education in Cuba in general is very conceptual. That’s what life is like in a nation built on an idea.” Not that he’s totally above an expected approach to the art scene. Last year, after some online sleuthing in which he discovered that Banksy had paid a visit to Havana in 2004 (as a pit stop to Jamaica), Siré combed the streets of Old Havana until he found a dilapidated version of Banksy’s “Gangster Rat.” He restored it, excavated it, dubbed it “the only Banksy alive in Cuba,” and put it on the market for $40,000—with the stipulation that whoever buys it can never take it off the island. “I make art not just for the statement that it is [art] but also for the communication it allows,” he says. “Nobody in art should want the conversation about their work to be about the actual work. The conversation should be—needs to be—about more, about ideas and boundaries and even the next new frontiers. Only the worst artists want you to look at their work and then talk to them about that work.” For their coming exhibition in New York, Weist is excited about the idea of a “let’s play” approach to internet use—a video
“My purpose is to share the truth and awareness—to educate. Education in Cuba in general is very conceptual. That’s what life is like in a nation built on an idea.”
merely showing people how other people use the internet. “We’re hoping to browse the weirder, outer edges of their daily routines, their relationship to the web,” she says. “The internet now—the social machine that it has become—is highly curated, so highly focused on what you already know, what you like, what they think you like. We’re interested in making work that exists outside the art world and then bringing it back for exhibition.” In that sense, they might transcend the personal into the multi-personal, the omni-personal, and piggyback information onto the illicit Paquete, the way people might learn a dare-notspeak-its-name sexual move by watching pornography. Siré doesn’t mind getting dirty. “Galleries are white, clean, blank, sterile. There is no sense of touch, of contact, of connecting to the art, interacting with it,” he says. “The mystery of the internet is that, because it is digital, it is not real, and yet it permits more contact with the human condition than a day out at the Louvre.” But Siré’s brave new world is not without its pitfalls. “We are not prepared for the viruses the internet brings,” he says. “The last one went through Facebook and affected everyone. It’s an ironic phenomenon, because we are not prepared for the electronic viruses, but also not prepared for the intellectual, philosophical, political, artistic, and cultural viruses that will be entering the air of Havana soon.”
July 3, 2016—Paris
In a fashion world where realisits are pulling dreamers out of their fantasies, Peter Dundas is leading Roberto Cavalli into a new era of glamour. Text by Anders Christian Madsen
Portrait by Richard Bush
couture—Paris has had the blues, backed up by a year of terror attacks and the reality of France’s dire economy. As with the rest of Europe—and America, too—the state of the EU has created a Paris even more divided than it already was, right and left of the river, and certainly of the political spectrum, too. If fashion is a reflection of everything, its two poles are expressed through dreamers and realists: the anti-escapist new kids on the block fronted by Vetements and Gosha Rubchinskiy, who seek a sense of grounded authenticity through their work, and on the other side, the guardians of the fashion fantasy to which Dundas and his house, Roberto Cavalli, have always belonged. “Fashion is a weird thing, because it’s so subjective. It makes people insecure,” he says. “Of course you want to have relevance in what you do, but I also think fashion is supposed to make you dream. It’s one of our duties.” That fact isn’t just splitting into two camps the designers of the industry, but their spectators as well. “I always find it difficult when people talk to me about analyzing from the point of view that what I’m doing is not their cup of tea,” Dundas says. He tells the story of a since-retired fashion critic who came backstage before his debut show as the newly-appointed creative director of Emanuel Ungaro in 2005. “Don’t you think all these
Turning around a corner in the bar of the Park Hyatt in Paris, Peter Dundas materializes on a sofa—golden surfer curls, snug jeans, his tan game strong. The night before, his boyfriend, the actor Evangelo Bousis, took him to a Céline Dion concert, and he’s a little coy about it. He wants the burger but goes for baby spinach with prawns. “I’ve got a wedding in Mykonos next week,” he sighs. It goes with the jet-set lifestyle, which Dundas—as a fashion celebrity—can’t really help but lead. Luckily, he’s got the star quality to back it up—that most elusive of superpowers, and fashion doesn’t have a lot of them. Isabella Blow was one, John Galliano is another. Unlike designers who take their bow in baggy jeans and a washed-out white t-shirt, Dundas and his larger-thanlife peers wear their hearts on their sleeves. They could never not look like that, because they live and breathe the beautiful life they’ve created. La dolce vita. “I don’t think you’re supposed to make depressing clothes for depressive times,” Dundas says. “If there’s economic hardship, should we all be wearing black? That doesn’t make sense to me.” As Donatella Versace would have it: Less, darling, is really just less. It’s a week after Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union, and throughout the men’s shows in June—and now
Document No. 9
Peter Dundas wears all clothing by Roberto Cavalli. Photographed in London.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to make depressing clothes for depressive times.”
80s getups were a really horrible moment in fashion? Why on earth did you go there?” she asked him. “A, it was half an hour before my first solo show ever, and B, I obviously believe in it if I’m doing it,” he says. “So it always gets a bit tricky when you have to defend what you do.” Of course, that question mark is a sign of the times. In the 80s and 90s, designers didn’t have to defend the dream, no matter how lavish or opulent it was. But times have changed, making this designer a unicorn amongst the clotheshorses. Since Dundas took the reins at Roberto Cavalli in 2015, following more than six lauded years at the helm of Emilio Pucci, he has insisted on holding on to the fantasy world—and excelled in it, too. His rakish sophomore collection of Belle Époque rock goddesses for Fall/Winter 2016 proved it, drawing rave reviews that all echoed the same Dundas-centric sentiment, even if the invitation said Cavalli on it. “Dundas has always been fashion’s most committed translator of the louche world of the early 70s rock chick,” Sarah Mower wrote, echoed by Suzy Menkes: “[He] may have referenced the past, but new life was put into the familiar.” It’s no surprise, then, that likeability comes naturally to Peter Dundas. He has the lightheartedness often associated with his Norwegian countrymen, but a surprisingly reserved character for a man sitting there lit up by all his fabulous gear like some rhinestone Viking. He’s wearing a U.S. army jacket covered in Cavalli insignia from his men’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection. “My jeans are Cavalli, my belt’s Cavalli, my scarf ’s Cavalli,” he pauses, pulling at one very fancy baroque number with a leopard on it. His boots are Cavalli too; snow leopard on a heel, which isn’t nearly as high as the men’s platform boots he’s designed for his decadent traveler’s collection for Spring/Summer 2017. “I’m afraid I’m going to look like Frankenstein,” he says, but he’s still getting them. “I like how men look in heels. It makes their legs look nice.” January’s men’s collection wasn’t just Dundas’s first for Cavalli—it was the first of his career, too, allowing a spiffy dresser his first- ever opportunity to dream up an entire wardrobe for himself. And he’s not afraid to admit it. “I’m sorry, I’m egotistical,” he shrugs. “If I cannot imagine it either for myself or my friends, I don’t want to do it.” Inspired by rock stars who’ve often been referenced in his womenswear as well—Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Plant, Serge Gainsbourg, Gram Parsons—Dundas nailed fashion’s hot topic du jour, genderfluidity, but fused it with the masculine values that have always belonged to Cavalli. The house didn’t launch a men’s line until 1999, but the Roberto Cavalli man was always defined by the founder himself: his free-spirited youthfulness as an Italian playboy in the 70s, setting the Florentine hills he called home on fire
in a Ferrari Daytona and a leopard shirt. “I really followed my own sensibilities, but thank God they corresponded with Roberto’s,” Dundas says with a smile. “I haven’t spoken to him for a while. I think he’s been busy with his Swedish island,” he says, referring to Stora Rullingen, the island not far from Stockholm that Mr. Roberto Cavalli bought with his Swedish Playmate girlfriend Sandra Nilsson after selling 90 percent of his fashion house to Clessidra SGR in April 2015, a month after Dundas was hired. “It’s not my first time at the rodeo,” Dundas points out, eyebrows bouncing like a Ken doll cowboy. “In this case too,” he quips. His first chief designer job was for Cavalli from 2002 until 2005, working under the suave expertise of Mr. Cavalli, Italy’s king of animal prints and general glamour. (Dundas spent two years working for Christian Lacroix in Paris prior to the move to Cavalli’s headquarters in Florence, preceded by eight years assisting Jean Paul Gaultier.) It was almost symbolic: as Roberto traveled north to the Nordic scenery where Dundas spent his childhood, his Norwegian successor went south to the Italy so synonymous with Cavalli. And it is perhaps a paradox that a boy from Norway should learn to speak the Italian language of glamour so fluently. Born in Oslo in 1969, Dundas spent the first decade or so of his life in the pleasant but decidedly unglamorous bubble of Norway. “I didn’t know my mother because she died when I was four, but I think my father painted such a vivid picture of her. He always depicted her as very glamorous,” he says. Dundas can recall rummaging through her clothes as a boy, a colorful wardrobe of rich fabrics and lots of jewelry. “For me that was probably my first conception of what beauty and glamour were and what was desirable.” Those impressions would follow him through his childhood and adolescence where the white winters of Norway— sometimes so snowy he’d have to ski langrenn (“cross-country”) to school through the forest—were interrupted by escapist getaways to see his maternal American grandparents in Indiana. “I loved visiting them and looking at “Life” magazines from the 40s; movie stars and a different life than my own.” At 14, Dundas moved there with his cardiovascular surgeon father, and became an all-American high school student, who’d go on to study fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York. His continental accent still bears witness to a life spent crossing the Atlantic, more melodically Norwegian than jaw-breakingly American, but with occasional Southern European pizzazz. In Indiana, he was surrounded by a clothes-loving aunt and a sister who shares his statuesque Norwegian physique. “She’s almost too glamorous because she’s five-foot-11—and she loves four-inch heels,” Dundas smiles. His father died a few years ago.
July 3, 2016—Paris
“Of course you want to have relevance in what you do, but I also think fashion is supposed to make you dream.”
represented a brighter, younger approach than the glitzy, yachtready glamour favored by its founder, his sophomore collection took the Cavalli woman closer to Dundas’s Cavalli man: a rock ’n’ roll sense of aged opulence with an emphasis on the 70s. It had all the glamour Cavalli stands for, but was rugged, decadent, and essentially much closer to Cavalli’s early work than the founder’s own efforts had been in recent years. Those collections were symptomatic of a house resting too much on its glamorous laurels, where routine had become protocol and a shake-up was needed, right down to its foundation. Just Cavalli, the diffusion line launched in 1998 as a younger and more accessible take on the main line, had virtually lost its identity. “So the first thing I did was to cancel the show,” Dundas says. “I wanted to free it from the constraints of being runway-friendly.” For Fall/Winter 2016, he staged a series of casual mini-shows over one day in Milan, presenting his new Just Cavalli: skinny glam rock kids in vibrant, clubbier interpretations of that louche tone he’d already established for the parent label. To highlight the Milanese youth scene for which Just Cavalli was originially created (but few visitors will ever see), he threw an enormous party for the city’s club kids that evening. “I ended up bartending because I didn’t know what to do with myself,” he says, laughing—and luckily he makes a good gin and tonic. Dundas, of course, is no stranger to the millennial generation of fervent Instagrammers who follow him for his ritzy lifestyle and illustrious posse of friends. When you make a name for yourself designing the kind of dresses Dundas does, expect Beyoncé, Rihanna, Ciara, and Naomi to follow you back. And he isn’t a fame snob. The first dress he designed as creative director for Cavalli was the heavily beaded, feathered ball gown Kim Kardashian West—that most divisive of superstars—wore to the Met Gala in 2015. “Here’s the thing: I really like Kim. I have a blast with her,” he says. “Yes, I did wonder what the reaction would be, but I was really happy with the way she looked, and I know she was as well. She’s keeping the dress for her daughter to get married in.” As far as that glamour factor goes, so central to Cavalli, Dundas couldn’t have found a more dedicated pinup for his debut—or bigger-scale exposure. And whether you like the Kardashian Wests or not, whether you think they’re trivial entertainment or a distraction from those disasters that preoccupy our lives right now, they represent that unapologetic escapism that creates the aspiration for a beautiful life—that Cavalli dream world far away from Brexit, terror, and failing economies. Looking at it like that, Peter Dundas plays a pretty decent role in fashion. “I don’t want it to sound like a cliché,” he says of going to Cavalli, “but it feels like going from a small passenger plane to flying a double-decker.”
“He was a really fundamentally good person and he’s been an inspiration in life. I try to be that as well.” Dundas doesn’t at any point hint at the tough sides an uprooted childhood like his must have entailed, but his optimism never comes off as forced. Rather, it’s appreciative—the key to that beautiful life his whole character and lifestyle embody. He talks about his homes with exuberance, his main residence in West London’s Notting Hill as “a place where I go to let my guard down.” And every summer he opens his hammock-filled house on an undisclosed Greek island to friends. “It’s simple, total relaxation,” he says. “No tourists. My neighbors are goats.” He has an apartment in Paris, but like any self-respecting rock star, he prefers to stay at the Park Hyatt when in town. For work, he’s rarely in Florence, where Cavalli was traditionally based. “It was important to turn the page for the company and also send a message that there was change both internally and externally.” So he moved the ateliers to Milan, where he insisted on having his office two doors down from the CEO. “I found that in the past, working in companies where the management and myself were not in the same place, it left a lot of room for misunderstanding or lack of basic dialogue.” Taking over a family house as the first designer not of the blood is inevitably an unforgiving task. “You know, Roberto chased me for this. It was not the fund that now owns Cavalli that initially approached me— it was Roberto and Eva,” he asserts, name-checking the Cavalli matriarch, who served a vital role in the company. “I really am there because there’s a part of the Cavalli language that’s my language as well. And so, even when I do things that are perceived by others as not being typical Cavalli, it’s coming from a place of knowledge and love.” In the game of houses and designers, great expectations are fickle. When it comes to change, you’re often damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Dundas says he didn’t notice, but his debut collection for Cavalli—women’s Spring/Summer 2016, with its skimpy asymmetric dresses and floaty summertime trains covered in lion’s heads—did get his ride off to a bumpy start for some critics, although everyone could agree on an epic denim segment wisely extended by Dundas for Fall/Winter. “I’m very happy with that collection. I thought it was very honest. Maybe that’s why I was so unconcerned with the response to it,” he notes with the pragmatism of a designer who’s worked for enough houses to cultivate it. “I think the biggest challenge, and a unique one for me, was what to keep and what to discard when changes are expected. I had actually been part of creating some of that language that people associate with the brand today, so the challenge was how to change something that’s part of yourself as well.” While Dundas’s first women’s collection for Cavalli largely
July 28, 2016—Hong Kong
No more weird buildings— China’s architectural revolution. Text by Aric Chen
Photographs by Adrian Gaut
Can the use of a single adjective transform an entire country’s built landscape? In China, where the utterances of a sole individual have been known to spark everything from revolutions and famines to the most spectacular economic rise in history, you might be forgiven for thinking yes. When President Xi Jinping, who’s been described as China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping and possibly Mao Tsetung, called for an end to qi-qi guai-guai (“weird”) buildings at an October 2014 symposium on the arts in Beijing, many took it as a smack across architecture’s face. Few countries have built as much, and attracted as many prominent architects, as China in recent years, and even fewer have taken their building sprees to such forward-looking heights. The end of an era seemed nigh. China’s architecture boom of the past decade has transformed the country into a hothouse for experimentation. It has pushed the limits of built form to exhilarating extremes and allowed meaningful ideas to flourish, while also creating shape-shifting icons that have made mega events like the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo seem like mere excuses for producing more. For every CCTV tower, Guangzhou Opera House, and Bird’s Nest stadium attached to a first-name-basis architect— Rem [Koolhaas], Zaha [Hadid], and Jacques [Herzog] and Pierre [de Meuron], respectively—there has been a Harbin Opera House by Ma Yansong (MAD Architects), an OCT Design Museum by Zhu Pei, and a Yaluntzangpu Boat Terminal in Tibet, by Zhang Ke. That is to say, the phenomenon has been comprehensive, reaching into the biggest cities and the remotest corners, giving both established and emerging designers—from China, as well as abroad—a proving ground perhaps unlike any other in the world. That being said, it has also produced some real dogs, to say nothing of too many projects that for social and urbanistic reasons should never have left the drawing board in the first place. Like all great epics, the “weird building” boom has revealed both the best and worst in us: heroic ambition, heady idealism, and untamed creativity, but also hubris, vanity, and shortsighted opportunism.
Document No. 9
A detail shot of the Beijing National Stadium, known as the “Bird’s Nest,” by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron Basel.
“Like all great epics, the ‘weird building’ boom has revealed both the best and worst in us: heroic ambition, heady idealism, and untamed creativity, but also hubris, vanity, and shortsighted opportunism.”
This page: The Beijing National Aquatics Center, also called the “Water Cube,” designed by Australian firm PTW Architects. Opposite left: The Digital Beijing Building by Studio Pei-Zhu. Opposite right: The China Central Television (CCTV) headquarters in Beijing, designed by OMA.
One can imagine then why Xi’s pronouncement provoked both panic and glee, along with many, many questions. Was this the end of a heyday or a return to more sensible “Chinese values?” Was China closing its doors to forward-looking architecture or perhaps just foreign architects with their strange, foreign ideas? Did Xi really toss Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren’s CCTV building, whose cantilevered acrobatics have earned it the Chinese nickname “Big Underpants,” into the no-no bin, as was widely reported? (As it turned out, he didn’t.) More to the point, what, exactly, counts as a “weird building?” “It was so strange,” said a prominent Chinese architect who had been drafted onto a hastily assembled government panel to evaluate building proposals for their oddness. “We were all standing there, trying to figure out how to define ‘weird.’” To begin with, perhaps we should draw a distinction between what we might call High Weird and Low Weird. On this level, proponents of the best experimental architecture—the former—probably don’t have too much to worry about. Not in principle, at least. The Chinese, like humanity since time immemorial, will not lose their hunger for the new—especially at a time when innovation has become a national obsession—as long as the money is there to satisfy it. (Indeed, China’s sputtering economy may be the bigger hitch.) What’s more, the genie is out of the bottle: Experimental architecture is by now too well-established and, in that sense, normal. Besides, it sells; in the aftermath of Xi’s pronouncement, the developer of Chaoyang Park Plaza, a mountain-inspired Beijing complex designed by High Weird architect Ma Yansong, tried to whet buyers’ appetites by announcing the project “could be Beijing’s last [weirdly] shaped landmark building to enter the market in the coming 10 years.” It’s precisely this
anecdote that ensures it probably won’t be. Then there’s the Low Weird: the teapot-, coin-, and fishshaped buildings, and let’s not even get started on the Eiffel Tower and Tudor village replicas, that have populated countless WeirdChinese-Building memes on the internet, and widely cited books like Bianca Bosker’s “Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China.” China, like America, has a flair for kitsch; the two countries have more in common than they’d probably like to admit. But the fact that Tianducheng, the surreal, ersatz Paris built outside the city of Hangzhou, has been such a dismal, unloved failure that it’s rumored to be slated for the wrecking ball before even being completed, offers some hope for good sense. If Xi’s declaration helps to rein in the excesses of Low Weird, then perhaps we’ll have seen the bright side of authoritarianism. But if only things were so simple. Xi, of course, did not draw a distinction between High Weird and Low Weird. In fact, he didn’t elaborate at all. The phrase that caused so much fuss (“No more weird architecture”) was a mere snippet buried in a more than two-hour address that also targeted visual art, music, literature, film, and performance. Neither did Xi single out the CCTV building. The finger pointer, in this case, was the “People’s Daily,” the Communist Party’s paper of record. Never mind that its own new headquarters building, designed by the Chinese architect Zhou Qi, had just been widely ridiculed because, at a certain point in its construction, it looked remarkably like a human phallus. Ah, the confusion. Chinese officialdom is famous for the vagueness of its policies and pronouncements, which purposely leave enough wiggle room so they can be interpreted as circumstances demand.
as ‘weird,’ so all I need to do is tell other local officials that, and they’re OK.” At the same time, while Xi’s authoritarian instincts show shades of Mao, this is not Mao’s China anymore. Despite often self-reinforced appearances, China is not nearly as monolithic as many people think. Decisions are made at all levels, for any number of reasons, and they often contradict edicts from above. As for anti-foreign sentiment, in a post-globalized world where Trump’s America wants to build a physical wall, Brexit has promised a political one, and China has erected a Great Firewall around its internet, nationalism and insularism are on the rise everywhere. And in China, they’ve proven to be as politically expedient and potent as anywhere else. Like everything in China, architecture is political, but it’s porously so. The fact that Chinese nationalism continues to be fanned by a narrative of historical grievance—China’s suffering of a “century of humiliation” at the hands of the foreign powers who semi-colonized parts of the country in the 19th and early 20th centuries—hasn’t stopped cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Tianjin from celebrating buildings from that period as part of their architectural heritage, which they increasingly have done. In the end, one should look past all the rhetoric. The biggest repercussions for weird buildings may simply be pragmatic ones. China has bigger problems than oddly shaped structures, which were probably never the main intended culprit, but rather standins for something else. Indeed, earlier this year, China’s State Council finally gave clarity, somewhat vaguely, to Xi’s vagueness: From now on, it decreed, China would not build any more “bizarre architecture that is not economical, functional, aesthetically pleasing, or environmentally friendly.” Now try parsing that.
Context is everything, and in this case, the context of Xi’s speech is important to note. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has overseen a deep and far-reaching crackdown on corruption that, aside from putting many of his rivals behind bars, has taken aim at some of the more blatant extravagances of recent years as part of an effort to bolster the Party’s credibility and win public support. Targeting ostentatious buildings certainly fits the bill. In the more immediate context, Xi’s address was filled with leftist-nationalistic rhetoric that, very typically, conflated artistic merits with socialist ideals, socialist ideals with Chinese values, and all of it with Communist Party rule. Drawing comparisons in the official media with a seminal series of talks on the arts given by Mao in 1942, Xi railed against commercialism, banality, and vulgarity, while making clear that artists should not “go astray while answering the question of whom to serve”—namely, the people and the Party. Artists should produce works that “disseminate contemporary Chinese values, embody Chinese traditional culture, and reflect Chinese people’s aesthetic pursuit,” he continued. “Socialist culture and art is, in essence, the culture and art of the people.” So is China once again closing its doors to the West? To go by Xi’s words, the answer is kind of, but not really—and once again, here’s the wiggle room: “Chinese art will further develop only when we make foreign things serve China, and bring Chinese and Western arts together via thorough understanding [emphasis added].” What does this mean for weird buildings? Generally speaking, probably not much. At this point, weird is just as Chinese as it is foreign, and it remains in the eye of the beholder. “I think everything is fine,” revealed another of China’s leading High Weird architects. “Beijing officials told me my buildings don’t count
April 1, 2016—Palmyra, Syria
Objects Without Shadows: ISIS’s anthropological destruction strips one of humanity’s most historic regions. Text by Fiona Rose-Greenland
Document No. 9
Photographs by Lorenzo Meloni Artwork by Ali Cherri
Syrian military examine the remains of ISIS destruction at the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, Syria.
Army men survey historic pillars near the site of the April 1, 2016 terrorist attack.
As of February 2015, the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has deliberately destroyed over 100 museums, archaeological sites, and historic monuments, plus dozens more shrines and mosques of the Shia, Sufi, and Yazidi people. Cultural destruction has become a cornerstone of the group’s reign of terror, leaving many people asking what will be left of art—classical, Islamic, and contemporary—after the war. ISIS did not invent cultural destruction, of course. Many of us can recall the dreadful sight of the Taliban blowing up the monumental, over 1,500-year-old Buddha statues in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan valley in March 2001. The deliberate and public destruction of art and cultural works was also a fixture of Nazi Germany, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the Khmer Rouge totalitarian dictatorship in Cambodia. Each of these episodes was devastating and hateful in particular ways that keyed into the prevailing political platform of violent repression. If there is a signature move within ISIS’s own program of cultural destruction, it is this totalizing erasure from artwork and image to idea and memory.
For ISIS, it is not enough to blow up statues or loot archaeological sites for profit. Concomitant with the physical destruction are acts that effect ontological destruction. By this I mean that the basic structures of meaning that imbue a statue or painting or shrine with symbolic valence are wiped out. Consider this: When ISIS overran the Syrian city of Tadmur in May 2015, it seized the majestic ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits adjacent to Tadmur. Palmyra was once a leading city in the Eastern Roman Empire, and was known for its well-preserved buildings and artworks from that era. Ahead of the ISIS takeover, the former director of antiquities at Palmyra, Khalid al-Asaad, took measures to protect the valuable pieces in the local museum. When ISIS arrested and tortured him, al-Asaad refused to reveal the pieces’ whereabouts. On August 18, 2015, ISIS decapitated al-Asaad in Palmyra’s public square and humiliated his body with a placard accusing him of propagating idolatry and participating in “infidel” scholarly activity. Al-Asaad was in his early 80s. What he represented for ISIS was a specific form of knowledge about the past that had to be controlled and, if total control proved
Image by Lorenzo Meloni / Magnum Photos.
A statue lies defaced by ISIS in a field of planted mines.
impossible, eliminated. Scholars have also been murdered in the Iraqi sector of the Islamic State, and ISIS shut down the renowned department of archaeology at Mosul University by October 2014. Along with destroying knowledge about ancient history and its cultures, ISIS methodically dismantles ethnic minority communities within its midst. The Iraqi Yazidi population endured horrific persecution with the ISIS takeover of their home region in 2014. Mass executions, rape, and enslavement have gone handin-hand with the destruction of Yazidi homes, markets, and places of worship. This, too, is ontological violence: When there are no people left to speak of their culture and no culture left to speak of, the people and its culture become incomprehensible. To fight back, archaeologists, human rights workers, and NGOs are documenting the destruction and planning for the recovery and repair of ancient artworks. In June of 2016 in Berlin, UNESCO and the German Federal Foreign Office convened a meeting of 230 Syrian and international experts to announce a cooperative damage assessment project in Syrian zones recaptured from ISIS by the Syrian government. The event signaled shared
transnational concern for the future of the regionâ€™s cultural past. It also suggested the magnitude and complexity of the destruction. Because while the Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS introduced new forms of cultural violence, archaeological looting and the deliberate destruction of ancient monuments were, in fact, endemic here for much of the 20th century. Syria is roughly the size of Missouri in terms of its pre-war national territory, and it contains 4,500 registered archaeological sites (and perhaps many more that have not yet been recorded). Those sites contain artworks and artifacts from some 5,000 years of human inhabitation, including such important civilizations as the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, and Romans. This is the Fertile Crescent, the culturally rich zone that gave rise to some of Western civilizationâ€™s most notable milestones: the invention of written language, money, the domestication of crops, and the rise of complex urban societies. The clay tablets of the Sumerians, with the distinctive wedge-shaped strokes of cuneiform, give us some of the earliest examples of documented communication. Most archaeological sites in Syria have traces
Ali Cherri, “Fragments,” 2016. Archaeological artifacts, taxidermied bird, light table, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Imane Farès, Paris.
of more than one ethnic group, making them rich repositories of vibrant cultural diversity. It was this very symbolism that Saddam Hussein and Hafez al-Assad, former dictators of Iraq and Syria respectively, exploited in their political propaganda. Meanwhile, the artifact deposits that are so valuable for historians and archaeologists are equally valuable to participants in the antiquities trade, where ancient Near Eastern goods are in high demand. It is this tragic love affair with ancient art that Ali Cherri responds to in his work. In “A Taxonomy of Fallacies: The Life of Dead Objects,” which just completed its show at the Sursock Museum in Beirut, the artist offers critical commentary on the dispersal of cultural heritage through the unregulated art market. The work comprised two installations: “Petrified,” a video exploring archaeological and museological spaces, and “Fragments,” in which Cherri uses a simple light box to display artifacts that he found through online dealers. The images presented here showcase the artist’s interest in the interplay among scientific archaeology, commodification, and histories of violence. The objects are a jumble of past places, peoples, materials, themes, genres, and authenticities, and because they are suspended
over the stark white light with no labels they are without provenance. This aspect of the show is one of its especially striking achievements. Cherri’s intention, he writes, was to present the objects “once dead and buried, then undead and thus unburied, displayed under a clean light…[as] a spectacle of continuouslyand-forever dead.” As spectacle, it is hard to look and hard to look away. The clinical whiteness of the light box is unforgiving of flaws—the breakages, repairs, and losses that accrue through the centuries. This manner of illumination strips the objects of their shadows and metaphorically suggests that they have no instantiated histories. Having obliterated the past, the light box provides a superficial regrouping of the objects on the basis of their entwined commercial destinies. What links them now is the artist, Cherri, in the guise of the collector. It is his wunderkammer spilled from the cabinet and laid bare on the table. Two objects stand out: the taxidermied bird and the wooden tau-tau from the Toraja people of the Celebes Islands. The bird is frozen in flight, perhaps spreading its wings protectively over the little pieces next to it (but perhaps, too, spooked by so many
“When there are no people left to speak of their culture and no culture left to speak of, the people and its culture become incomprehensible.”
unquiet artifacts). The tau-tau once held vigil at the tomb of a Toraja man, woman, or child, and now stares steadily at the viewer as if to say, “These things here, too, are dead.” The rest of the objects—the Cuchimilco figurine from northern Peru, the Hellenistic statue fragment, and the Egyptian statuette—share in the fate of decontextualization. Each of these pieces asks a series of questions: How did it arrive to its Western point of sale? What were the historical, political, and economic pathways that took it from its original context to points afar? And what do such pathways reveal about our own complicity in the objects’ cultural life (and subsequent death)? These are challenging questions, and yet by asking them with artwork Cherri renews hope for the future of the past. The artist’s counterpoint to destruction is creation, and in contending with issues of looting and violence he enlists all of us in an ongoing narrative of historical and material change. There is a form of deliberate tenderness in each of his works, an acknowledgment of the devastating beauty of the ancient pieces and a reprieve, however brief, from the tumult of war and political change and a global appetite for artifacts.
August 9, 2016â€”New York
Future Formats: How visionary nonprofit Electronic Arts Intermix propelled video art in a pre-YouTube, pre-internet era. Text and interviews by Tina Rivers Ryan
Document No. 9
Portraits by Alice Oâ€™Malley
From left to right: EAI’s Technical Director Jon Dieringer wears t-shirt by T by Alexander Wang. Jeans by A.P.C. Sneakers by Adidas. Executive Director Lori Zippay wears dress by Agnès B. Distribution Manager Karl McCool wears shirt by Simon Miller. Jeans by Levi’s. Director of Distribution Rebecca Cleman wears own t-shirt and shoes. Skirt by Boss. Photographed at the shared space with the Dia Center for the Arts in New York.
August 9, 2016—New York
A bearded African-American man looks at us through his computer’s webcam. He’s decked out in a white t-shirt, a necklace with a gold pharaoh medallion, and a flat-brimmed baseball hat with the Muppet character Animal on it—a parody of the sartorial style of “urban” youth circa 2011. As he typically announces at the start of each of his “ART THOUGHTZ” videos, he’s “your boy, Hennessy Youngman,” a stage name that blends the preferred booze of rappers everywhere with the Borscht Belt comedy of Henny Youngman. With hysterical precision, “Youngman,” aka the artist Jayson Scott Musson, drops some satirical knowledge about art for his internet audience. In this episode, “Beuys-Z,” our affable tutor explains why Joseph Beuys is the Jay Z of the art world—and he’s absolutely right (in a nutshell: they’re both self-mythologizers). Although Musson’s videos were posted for all to see on YouTube and weren’t necessarily conceived as art projects, they’re examples of contemporary video art at its finest; with deft humor they prove that video’s democratic format can render complex questions about art and information accessible, even fun. The “ART THOUGHTZ” videos soon caught the attention of the staff at Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), the oldest existing nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting video art. Like a museum, EAI is responsible for conserving, sharing, and supporting scholarship on its holdings of more than 3,500 videos, which date back to video art’s very beginnings in the 60s—and now include Musson’s YouTube performances, too. EAI was established in 1971 by gallerist Howard Wise, who mounted a groundbreaking survey of “TV as a Creative Medium” at his New York gallery in 1969. Having come into existence before “video art” was a coherent practice, EAI continues to define and redefine its terms. To that end, as part of the celebrations for its 40th anniversary in the summer of 2011, it hosted the evening program “Future Formats: Video in a New Decade.” The audience was treated to the work of Musson, alongside videos by other artists working at the horizon where video art meets new media technologies, including Ryan Trecartin (another internetspawned art star) and the digital animator Takeshi Murata. As EAI explains, these artists responded to ongoing “economic, political, social, technological and biological” transformations, including the expansion of the territory of moving images. Produced within the context of these changing conditions, the works screened that night were said to “offer a glimpse of where artists may take the medium in the coming decade as they harness new technologies and consider their complex implications.” Little has changed between 2011 and 2016: The world is still turbulent, the moving image is still evolving, and artists are still redefining the use of video as an artistic medium. For its 45th anniversary this year, EAI examined video art’s shifting conditions of production, represented by the history of videos in “Edited at EAI.” Founded a year after the organization began, EAI’s editing facility was one of the first to give artists access to complex video editing for a modest fee. (EAI’s distribution service, which generated income for video artists by renting their tapes to institutions like museums, libraries, and schools, was founded in 1973; its Preservation Program began in 1986.) Like much of EAI’s programming, “Edited at EAI” pointed in two directions at the same time: not only backward, toward the history of video art, but also
Kalup Linzy, “Conversations wit de Churen Iv: Play Wit de Churen,” 2005.
KALUP LINZY: This [past] summer I began experimenting with 360 Virtual Reality for upcoming projects and to incorporate it into my class at the School of Visual Arts in New York. The medium is new to me and it feels like I am starting over in a sense, but it also feels familiar: it is based on everything I’ve learned before. The disadvantage of media art is always having to keep up with the latest technological inventions and upgrades. It can be pricey and potentially handicap you. VR is new, so not everyone has advanced enough technology to experience it. However, the industry is behind it, and at some point it will be a part of the norm. I create each video for a certain context. Some are intended for television and projection screens in a museum or gallery. Others are intended for the web. The reason I prefer the variety of contexts is because whichever you choose, the work is viewed through the historical lens of that space. It is my hope that the work be presented within that flow, even if the content might be challenging for some. In museum and gallery exhibitions, I prefer my work to be seen alongside all types of artistic media. The experience should still be about the visual relationships between the works, even if my work is on a screen. Kalup Linzy’s videos will be screened at AiOP: Art in Odd Places in Orlando, Florida, this November.
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.
Artist Cheryl Donegan wears top and skirt by Kenzo. Shoes by Nicholas Kirkwood. Artist C. Spencer Yeh wears t-shirt by Calvin Klein. Jacket by Alexander Wang. Jeans by Leviâ€™s.
August 9, 2016—New York
forward, toward a future in which new formats shape and reflect the conditions (economic, material, and social) under which video art is made, distributed, watched, and preserved. Unlike the more unitary and stable mediums of painting and
sculpture, “video art” is actually an umbrella term for multiple moving-image systems, typically utilizing the magnetic or electronic encoding of information on a physical tape or in a digital file. It encompasses works shown on broadcast television; singlechannel videos, shown on a single monitor or as a single projection; and multi-channel sculptures or environments, around or through which the viewer moves. (Some of the more radical of these environments are made of closed-circuit “feedback” systems, emphasizing the immediacy that was thought to distinguish televisual media from other forms of art or communication.) Although most video art is designed to be viewed in one of these formats, technically, the digital videos produced today are mediumagnostic, in the sense that they can theoretically be viewed in a variety of situations, such as on a cell phone, computer, or tablet screen. And whereas video images formerly originated from either optical recording devices or analog electronic synthesizers, now they can also be generated digitally, whether by using animation software like After Effects or by recording within the world of a video game (a genre known as machinima). While the technologies of video art are varied, its emergence as an artistic medium is usually tied to the introduction of Sony’s Portapak in the mid-60s, at a time when broadcast television had fully saturated American culture. Compared with making an independent film, recording a video was both less time-consuming and less expensive: Instead of having to pay and wait for film to be processed, video artists could almost simultaneously record and play back their footage on a monitor. This attracted post-minimalist artists like Bruce Nauman, who turned to the medium to document performances in their studios, giving rise to the first canon of video art. At the same time, young media activists seized upon the relative portability of video, using their cameras to produce documentaries on everything ranging from political protests to the secret world of advertising. These works are also archived by EAI, although they are not always included in histories of video art. Another mode of video art emerged from a technophilic interest in the electronic modulation of video images. Unlike the laborious process of editing film by hand, increasingly sophisticated editing machines allowed artists to dissolve, wipe, enlarge, crop, copy, and change the colors of images with only the turn of a few knobs. This sophisticated video processing required access to large, expensive equipment, leading to collaborations between artists and local TV stations or arts organizations, like EAI. The Fluxus artist Nam June Paik—who is often credited as the “godfather” of video art, though others certainly share the title—installed TV sets as sculpture in 1963, and recorded a Portapak video in 1965; but he also co-invented a video synthesizer in 1969, reflecting the importance of image processing in video’s early days.
In the 80s, as computers expanded out of the ivory tower of military and industrial research and into offices and homes everywhere, computing became an increasingly graphic, as opposed to a textbased, medium. From the mouse to the graphics card, innovations in hardware made possible the revolution of Microsoft’s Windows, one of the first primarily graphic software platforms. A surge in programs for creating and editing graphic content soon followed, from MS Paint (included in Windows 1.0) to Adobe Photoshop for Macs, and the computer became a powerhouse for the creation of commercial visual media. Some enterprising video artists—Lynn
“This new generation brings the history of video art full circle, marrying the DIY spirit of the Portapak to the dynamism of early institutional video editing.”
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.
Cheryl Donegan, “Craft,” 1994.
CHERYL DONEGAN: I started out using a video camera, recording directly onto VHS. Back in the days of electronic tape, the big worry was losing generations through the copying process. I was terrified of the equipment and had terrible luck learning to edit in the “insert or assemble” editing suite. I swore I wouldn’t learn this technology, while dreaming of a simple, drag-and-drop way to edit video. When Final Cut Pro finally came around, I taught myself to use it. Even though digital editing opened up a freer range of editing options, I am still attracted to the DIY spirit that first led me to video. Even with advances in technology, I’ve been more stimulated by the visual artifacts of the distribution of imagery. Commercial galleries have not been the most useful way to distribute video. But EAI excels at it: they protect videos physically and distribute them in ways that are important, like video festivals and public screenings. All my videos are also on ubuweb.com, albeit in small, condensed flash files, that look terrible when projected. But that is not the point—they are to be looked at on a laptop or in a classroom, by the adjunct, or young artist, or someone looking for the type of video content not found on Hulu or Netflix. The audience is out there…and to resist it on some arcane copyright grounds is to risk losing out on eyeballs in an attention-based economy. A retrospective of Cheryl Donegan’s works was shown at the New Museum earlier this year. In 2015, she began creating video art on her Vine channel YourPlasticBag.
Dara Birnbaum, “Fire!/Henrix,” 1982.
DARA BIRNBAUM: I began my professional relationship with EAI around 1980. Hardly anyone wanted to handle video in those days, but Howard Wise took a leap of faith, showing and supporting the distribution of video with heart. Video was about seeing in the moment—immediate playback—mostly a more rough-and-tumble art. It is harder to make relevant, or exceptional, video/ media art work now, in our technologically-saturated society. There is such a proliferation of the moving image that it has become an overabundance. How does one create meaning when contemporary society has reached a point of exhaustion through saturation? Given today’s nearly uncontrollable distribution, I try to exert any control I can still exercise. One strategy is that I have chosen to adhere mostly to media installation artwork for the past 25 years. These installations, by their very nature, demand a chosen time and space for reflection; thus they are usually relegated to (the somewhat classical) sanctity of museums and institutional spaces. Our public television channels are mostly no longer are able to present the degree of experimentation in the media arts and video as they did in the 70s, 80s, and into the ’90s. Special screenings, as at festivals, can still be carved out; otherwise, distributors, such as EAI, provide effective access to institutions such as schools and museums. However, truly public programming needs to reemerge in our culture. Dara Birnbaum is an internationally recognized pioneer of video art. Her latest projects include the sixchannel video and sound installation “Psalm 29(30),” 2016, which was shown at La Galerie Marian Goodman, Paris, this past spring. 273
C. Spencer Yeh, “Edition Inkjet 2003 Promo,” 2003.
When Howard Wise closed his gallery in 1970 to open EAI, he explained that he was committing himself to supporting artists whose work was transcending the confines of the traditional art gallery: Video art, he suggested, was bigger than the art world. Yet he hardly could have anticipated the art world today, which is enthralled with video artists, from Kalup Linzy to Cory Arcangel and Rashaad Newsome to Hito Steyerl. Following the precedent set by the rise of photography as a fine art, many of these artists edition their videos, turning them into unique objects or installations in order to transform an inherently reproducible piece into a scarce commodity with an inflated price. This is not without some justification: for example, the resolution of HD video encourages higher production values, and costs. But Wise’s utopian vision of video art as something that should be accessible (not least because it lacks the historical baggage of the other arts) lives on through the increasing number of artists, like Cheryl Donegan, that insist on having it both ways, editioning their works for sale even as they also put them online for all to view for free. It also lives on through EAI, which collaborates with groups like High Line Art on programming in public spaces and allows free use of its screening room. Digitizing its videos has given EAI even more ways to share its collection, from creating an online preview service for researchers to developing an “Educational Streaming Service” that will transform its archive into a “digital textbook.” As Zippay explains, EAI “was founded to support radical art that largely fell outside of the paramaters of the commercial gallery and commerical television system,” and “continues to occupy an ‘alternative space’ in relation to the art world and also to the larger digital culture; we’re neither a traditional gallery that represents unique objects, nor an online platform for open access to video, although we embody and confound elements of both.” What will it mean to make video art in the future? How will it be produced and distributed, and under what conditions will it be viewed? Will it continue to be distinguished, however precariously, from other forms of video? What is to be gained and to be lost if video art is fully absorbed by the art world, or, conversely, if it dissolves into the ever-increasing stream of moving images? EAI’s collection began with a set of single-channel analog artists’ tapes, and now encompasses not only the YouTube performances of Hennessy Youngman, but also the glitch aesthetics of Net Art pioneers JODI and the sonic compositions of C. Spencer Yeh. Described by Zippay as a “living archive” that “honors the past while embracing the new,” EAI ensures that as video art continues to evolve, its future formats will emerge in dialogue with its present, and its history.
C. SPENCER YEH: I’d known about EAI for a long time, and it’s really flattering to be chosen for their collection and considered alongside some really great work, both known and lesser-known. Certain moves or materials in my works—appropriation of popular culture, for example— may too easily be read as coming from a more ornamental motivation. Through my affiliation with EAI, my work enters into a dialogue with EAI’s collection of works; it also benefits from the people at EAI working to keep video art going, which includes advocating for the work, trying to find contexts and opportunities to exhibit it, advising on artist decisions, etc. The thing about YouTube (or any of these sites or apps) is—it’s a platform, a dialogue, that’s ultimately owned and controlled by a company. Not making a judgment here, just keeping that in mind. You have to draw a line somewhere I suppose, and do what you can to control the frame. I think the online distribution model EAI has been trying out is a step—rather than using someone else’s public-facing platform, they are making their own. I see other institutions offering limited-time online exhibitions of moving-image works—it’s a step, but chances are most people don’t have their own black box to view the work in, and I really don’t like watching stuff on a laptop. C. Spencer Yeh has performed his sonic compositions at venues including the Walker Art Center, The Stone NYC, and The Kitchen.
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.
Hershman Leeson comes to mind—were early adopters of this new technology; many were also interested in emerging cable and satellite networks. But it wasn’t until the introduction of userfriendly “prosumer” software in the early 2000s—along with the remodeling of the “white cube” of the art gallery into the “black box” of cinema—that a critical mass of artists working with digital video emerged. This new generation brings the history of video art full circle, marrying the DIY spirit of the Portapak to the dynamism of early institutional video editing. At the same time, the rise of digital distribution platforms, from websites like Vimeo to apps like Vine, fulfills the most radical promise of early video art: to overturn the one-way communication of mainstream film and television and make moving images radically democratic, and even interactive. “Now a new generation is creating media works that engage critical issues around the mutability of identity and representation in the digital world,” as Lori Zippay, EAI’s executive director, observes.
August 9, 2016—New York
EAI Founder Howard Wise and Operations Engineer John Trayna in EAI’s Video Editing Facility, 1972. Photo by Davidson Gigliotti.
Document No. 9
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PIPILOTTI RIST DARA BIRNBAUM ROE ETHRIDGE SIMON DENNY DONALD JUDD MATT LAMBERT ZOE LEONARD
278 292 306 318 328 334 344
Instant Diamonds of the Innocent Collection Between Skin and Sky Artwork Pipilotti Rist
All images © Pipilotti Rist, 2016. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Luhring Augustine.
Introduction by Lynne Tillman
Human beings can be unpredictable, but also, completely, an-
noyingly predictable. Mostly, people meet expectations. Few play havoc with what’s expected of them, so life gets lived inside the parameters of established social and cultural behaviors. Maybe people don’t have the will or the time to invent each day: to reinvent their days, day by day. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a different route to work, or eat at a different restaurant. It’s not that dreary, really. Artists are remarkable if and when they can reinvent the wheel, rolling it along charged and unfamiliar visual and intellectual routes, to supply other ways of seeing. Through the best artists’ work—their concepts, imaginations, and senses within their conjured products—people see the unfamiliar, accomplished by artists making the ordinary extraordinary. In her art, Pipilotti Rist has changed water into wine and the other way around. She re-conceives the visual world, shifting the ground, and like a human generator, energizes objects with novel sensations. Rist negotiates with and employs various media to transmit and transform feelings into objects and objects into feelings. Her capacity to fabricate emotion through actions and gestures configures new relationships to the material world. Hers is an entirely contemporary aesthetic. In what will be a more than 40-year long project, “Innocent Collection,” especially, Rist responds to our time, in which we, in the West, particularly in the US, waste much more than we use. Poignantly titled, the work is a refashioning of the discarded—I’ll call it “refugee” material—such as plastic containers, wrappers, and what is meant to be recycled. Instead, Rist’s recycling has turned it into art, and, in doing so, Rist responds to a persistent, singular question that has forever plagued art history: What is beauty? In one of the seven photographs here, a plastic soda bottle, held on a horizontal, captures a cloud. Rist has bottled a cloud like a sailing ship once was—a wonder, which, in earlier centuries, children gazed at with awe. Rist has adopted that concept, but with uncanny vision, renews it, making magic with the “refugee.” The discarded objects in her “Innocent Collection” do reflect on “others,” on the unwanted—human refugees, also. Who and what is wanted, and why? What is kept, and what is thrown away? Rist shows us beauty in unexpected forms and in strange places. She calls the plastic pieces in her collection “instant diamonds.” “Diamonds in the rough,” I think. But here is beauty, Rist seems to say, look how it dances before your eyes.
Document No. 9
Photography by and with Lisa Rastl, Pipilotti Rist, and Thomas Rhyner. With lots of thanks to Lynne Tillman and Document Journal.
The Yavapai-Apache Creation Story Artwork Dara Birnbaum Foreword by Barbara London
Document No. 9
Condensed “Oral History of the Yavapai-Apache” by Mike Harrison and John Williams
Dara Birnbaum I grew up in a household of tinkerers, ham radio operators, and scientist-inventors. Normal was the hum of otherworldly static and the smell of overflowing molten plastic. Fascinated by anything new, my family raced over to the Guggenheim Museum in 1959 to see its inaugural exhibition. We proceeded up the ramp and scratched our heads, baffled more by Jackson Pollock and abstract expressionism than by Frank Lloyd Wright’s anomalous spiral building that crash-landed on Fifth Avenue. This childhood conundrum led to a lifetime in search of uncharted terrain. What art could be and how ideas crystalize became a lifelong analysis. When we met, I felt an immediate kinship with Dara Birnbaum. Rock music and pop art opened our generation up to extended time and expansive vistas we tried to claim. Meanwhile, the US space program landed a man on the moon. Journalists eulogized DuPont and other manufacturers’ newfangled designs for better living. Technology insinuated a glowing future for all. Affordable analog electronics infiltrated the consumer market as we became sickened by the Vietnam War. Our generation demonstrated, recorded, and exchanged cheap audiocassettes with favorite playlists. My curatorial career began at the Museum of Modern Art in the early 70s, when international phone calls were expensive. New York City was bankrupt, the art world small, no one had money, yet energy and ideas soared. I gravitated towards video; the yet-tobe-defined, inexpensive hot potato drew me in. Artists approached the new consumer video tools from a range of disciplines. Many women gravitated to the newly wide-open field, attracted by portable video’s clean slate and lack of old-boys network. Advocates edited on the fly and operated out of nothingness. In the beginning, artists considered television the enemy. They were barred from the high-end domain of commercial broadcasting, with its two hundred pound cameras locked onto enormous tripods in television studios, operated exclusively by card-carrying union engineers. On the other hand, broadcasters, with their entrenched technical regulations, considered artists’ grainy black and white videos made with portable cameras junk. With the new video tools, many women artists investigated their identities, defying the romantic notions of beauty disseminated by advertising and the consort roles offered by movies and soap operas often in interdisciplinary projects, characterized by vitality and candor, that formed alternatives to and a critique of male-dominated modes of art production. Many like Birnbaum did their own editing, either facilitated by low-cost post-production studios available at the time or through studios in colleges, such as the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. As the categories of Miss and Mrs. were torn apart, so were those of traditional art practice, reception, and circulation. Toward the end of the 70s, early video’s revolutionary newness was petering out and the equipment and technology were changing: graininess gave way to more clarity and editing became more precise. At MoMA, we were trying to document the medium’s early steps, and to do so we needed the direct participation of the artists. In 1978, we launched “Video Viewpoints,” a forum for artists to talk about and show their work. A brilliant artist and speaker, Birnbaum discussed her work in a program entitled “Pop-Pop-Video: Reinvesting in the American TV-Image” on October 20, 1981. With the arrival of MTV that year, she was one of the first who considered television one of the roots of video art, putting broadcast programs under the microscope for formal analysis. (In a few years she was joined by a younger generation of artists—Cheryl Donegan and Kristin Lucas to name a few.) As one of the first video artists to both appropriate and deconstruct television material—which was then not available or allowed to
“When we met, I felt an immediate kinship with Dara Birnbaum. Rock music and pop art opened our generation up to extended time and expansive vistas we tried to claim.”
be used—Birnbaum deconstructed the popular show “Wonder Woman,” in “Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman,” (1978–79), revealing it as a male invention, with a businesslike heroine becoming a scantily clad super-hero as a chorus sings, “Shake thy wonder maker.” Birnbaum designed her 1981 “Video Viewpoints” program notes with stills and pull quotes that echoed her work’s critique of the power of mass media images, and the result, with its slogans and bold style, had an affinity with the work of her then-colleagues Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer. The world has changed so inexorably that technology is close to being a user’s co-equal partner. The center is drifting away from New York, London, and Tokyo, away from galleries towards sales at art fairs and on the internet. At the other end of scale, the young generation that grew up with media is going way out on a limb to take heterodox positions. As a continuously engaged artist—mostly exploring media and sound installation work—along with being a teacher, Birnbaum never lets any of today’s generation off the hook. They can be expected to appear out of left field with creative breakthroughs made through experimentation on a laptop at home or in novel shared workspaces that combine art, technology, social utilities, and science. I am still engaged in my ongoing quest. I want to better understand how artists are using tools, especially at a time when ideas and content matter more than material formats. As always, Birnbaum is integral to my ongoing investigation.
I don’t know about the white people. I don’t know who they are, where they come from. We people don’t come from nowhere across the ocean. We were raised right here in this country. We come out at Sedona, the middle of the world. This is our home.
out. The bird came back with a little weed. So the water was gone. There at Sedona, there is a high place. When the water went dry, the log hit the high place...The girl came out from the log…. She is the first woman on earth...Kamalapukwi lived in a cave in Sedona. She was all alone. One morning she ran all the way over to Mingus Mountain and she lay down there before the sun came up. The sun comes up and hits her insides. After that she went to the cave where the water drips all the time. She lay down there and the water came down and hit her. This made her a baby. A little girl. When this girl came of age, Kamalapuk said to her, “Daughter, they did that and you come up. You go over there and do like I did so we have other people.” The girl said, “all right.” She went up to Mingus Mountain and lay down there. But the sun did not hit her. Then her mother said, “Run down over there
My grandmother used to tell me stories. She told me how we got raised in Sedona…. My people are from Montezuma Well or “the bottomless lake.” After some time there was a flood. People do something wrong, and the rain comes. There are only two of them that come out from the flood. A girl and the woodpecker. When the flood starts, people put that girl in a hollow cottonwood log. They put food into that log for her. Put a small hole in it. The woodpecker made that hole in the log. The people who put her in there, they said, “Don’t use the food right away. The flood will raise you. You will hit the sky...If you lay still, you will get out in the end.” My grandmother thinks she laid in there 40 days and 40 nights. After some time, the water went down. The girl sent the bird
All photos courtesy Dara Birnbaum, taken 2015-2016 in Sedona, Arizona. “Oral History of the Yavapai” by Mike Harrison and John Williams, edited by Sigrid Khera and Carolina C. Butler © 2012 by Carolina C. Butler. Text reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press and The Red Rock Review.
where the water drips, at the cave in Sedona.” The water came, but he saw it was his own daughter so he stopped the water halfway... The next morning, before the sun came up, the girl lay there and the old woman on top of her. When the sun comes out, the old woman quickly move to the side and she hits the girl... She got pregnant and when she got the little baby it was a boy, Skarakaamche. When the boy was still a baby, a bald eagle killed his mother. All that was left was the old lady and the little boy. The two journey together…. Later Skarakaamche decides he is lonely and makes a man out of mud. He blows into its mouth four times and sings a Blackroot song. The fourth time he blows into its mouth it comes alive, gets up and kicks its legs. He later takes a rib out of the man and makes a woman... Sakarakaamche then goes to his father but leaves behind
the man and the woman he made. They stay in Sedona, down below Oak Creek Canyon...The God told the man, “Anything here you can take. Take Anything! The one tree in the middle, don’t touch that.” While the man is out looking for deer the woman sees the bush and the berries on it and thinks it looks good. A snake in the bush asks her where she is going. He convinces her to eat of the fruit so she can see everything. She saves some for the man. After eating it they realize they have no clothes on. When God comes back and sees what they have done he sends them away and this is how all the people spread out. As told by John Williams and Sigrid Khera and condensed by Pamela Williams. Further condensed by Dara Birnbaum (NYC, 2016).
Amazing Grace Photographs Roe Ethridge in Collaboration with Fendi
Document No. 9
Metal sunglasses by Fendi.
This page: Botanical garden mink fur coat by Fendi.
Opposite: Green wool silk shorts and yellow shearling bag by Fendi.
Yellow shearling fur bag by Fendi.
Blue shearling fur coat by Fendi.
This page: Blue shearling fur coat by Fendi.
Opposite: Multicolor fox fur bag by Fendi.
This page above: Black (worn on arms) and white calf leather gaiters by Fendi. This page below: Multicolor fox fur bag and white calf leather mules by Fendi.
Opposite page: Blue shearling fur coat by Fendi. Model Grace Hartzel at Next. Photo Assistant Josef Bull.
June 22, 2016—London
Artist Simon Denny speaks of research and his ever-expanding practice with curator Matt Williams. Artwork by Simon Denny
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, and WIELS. In between, he managed to find time to represent New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and present the exhibition “Secret Power.” His latest project, “Blockchain Visionaries,” premiered at the Berlin Biennale and will be re-configured at Petzel Gallery in New York this fall as “Blockchain Future States.”
I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Simon Denny since 2008, when I invited him to participate in a group show titled “Display with Sound” at the now defunct International Project Space in Birmingham [United Kingdom]. His practice was on the cusp of a new direction: Less overtly driven by formal concerns than earlier work, it felt stimulated by a more researchbased approach. This was evident in the exhibition “Deep Sea Vaudeo” at Galerie Buchholz in Cologne, which illustrated the technological evolution of the television from cathode ray to the LED screens via aquariums. His ongoing research into television as an artists’ medium and a channel for distribution coincided with the end of the UK digital switchover from analog television in 2012 and an exhibition that I was in the midst of curating entitled “Remote Control” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Without hesitation, I invited Simon to participate and co-curate part of the exhibition. His artistic contribution featured an obsolete analog television transmitter that dominated the lower gallery, which was re-imagined as an image-based work for the 2013 Venice Biennale exhibition “The Encyclopedic Palace.” Since then, he has presented solo exhibitions at a wealth of internationally respected institutions including Kunstverein München, mumok, Portikus, Museum of Modern Art PS1,
Document No. 9
Matt Williams—It probably feels like a lifetime ago for you— given the number of major exhibitions that you have produced since the Venice Biennale in 2015—but your solo presentation “Secret Power” for New Zealand felt like a substantial departure from past exhibitions. The ambition, the intensity of the research, and production involved to present such a comprehensive, allencompassing body of work on such a grand scale must have been incredibly demanding. Especially given that it existed over two sites, Marco Polo Airport and the Marciana Library, and comprehensively illustrated a timeline of symbols and images through history to reveal a sophisticated codex. What sparked your interest to develop such a substantial body of work? Simon Denny—A strong driver for the development of the exhibition was the parallel between the subject of the show—which was, nominally, the imagery found in the [Edward] Snowden NSA
“Blockchain company postage stamp design: Digital Asset [with Linda Kantchev].” Photograph by Nick Ash.
Text by Matt Williams
“Bitcoin can be seen as something that, while it distrusts the existing global monetary system, it doesn’t want to replace it with a reassertion of nationalism.” slide leaks—and its potential venues. One, an airport, a place where information is kind of obscured, where you cross borders and have to show your passport and information about who you are and where you’ve been and where you come from. (And this information is used to determine whether you are appropriate to pass through or not.) And the other, this amazing renaissance library, the Marciana Library, with its ornately decorated interior full of imagery intended to depict the value of knowledge. This imagery has been legible to different people at different times in different ways, but is maybe now only legible in the way that it was first rendered to historians. Some of the paintings in the library share similar visual themes to the material in the slides. I wanted to gesture towards a sense of continuity of images over different epochs that visualize the value of data and therefore contain political content in them. Both are produced within a very different nation state’s organizational framework at very different times, but when presented beside each other—monumentalized as kind of connected art— you get a sense of some kind of timeless code or a secret power emerging from the imagery, somehow mapping knowledge. Matt—The familiar and playful aspect of the visual imagery is subtly manipulative in the way that it operates successfully on a superficial level, while also illustrating complex systems of information. Simon—When I’m developing a project, I often aim to make things that are complex and obscure and fun and engaging; an experience that people can have beyond just seeing data. For “Secret Power,” I looked extensively to frame the complex imagery of David Darchicourt, an art director at the NSA from 2001-2012, and possibly the author of a lot of the Snowden slide imagery. He was the senior designer, and created lots of visuals for different departments there. I focused on work that he had put online as a kind of portfolio, showing his skills and aligning it with the Snowden material, which was not clearly authored, to create a comparison as a starting point. [I thought] about him as a heroic author [or] artist figure at the center of this amazing, crazy image production that happens in the NSA. Using the figure of Darchicourt in a place like the library—which is treated with reverence because it contains so many masterpieces—also lends an important tone to the material. For example, the first European world map to include Japan sits alongside commissions from Darchicourt and images ripped from his website, which are monumentalized in scale and material. It was an opportunity to reframe the NSA slides and to look at them from a more playful perspective than from what one gets from established news sources, which can seem dry. Matt—I recollect walking up the steps to the library and
how impressive it was visually upon entering. I felt privileged to be allowed access, it was incredibly theatrical and implied a cinematic narrative, akin to something you might find in a Hollywood movie about the Illuminati or a similar faceless, Big Brother-style organization. The objects and visual information alluded to an alternative, parallel history and the political machinations that drive it. Does bringing together this kind of complexity involve a team? Simon—At the time, I really got into learning while making, and learning through making. I kind of worked that into the process more intensely, into my artistic method. Of course, when you’re learning all the time—and not an expert yourself on a topic you are making an exhibition about—you rely on the people around who are knowledgeable about these topics. Now, pretty much every show I make involves a number of people, from logistics to researching and crafts. This project that I just finished for the Berlin Biennale, which will travel to Petzel in New York in a different form, is about Bitcoin and blockchain technology and where that’s leading governance at the moment, and also involved many people. A number of partners were required to unpack and make accessible what can seem like quite confusing technology. I collaborated with an advertising company to make an explanatory video. I also collaborated with a postage stamp designer, and learned about the processes involved in successfully creating something with illustrative significance within a very small amount of space. I wanted to condense the audience’s experience of my work—which is usually through a large, immersive installation—into something the size of a stamp. Matt—The transition from “Secret Power,” which was predominantly about the language of codification, to “Blockchain Visionaries,” which is about transparency, was, I can imagine, a challenging change of direction. The ethos of blockchain feels radical in the sense that it basically undermines established institutions and financial protocols that society has been operating under for hundreds of years. Particularly if it is successfully implemented and accepted, the impact that it has on financial structures and society could be seismic. Simon—Totally. Interestingly, the UK’s Brexit situation resonates with this project, because it’s about imagining a different governance system based on a new way to share, keep, and trust information. The basic idea of blockchain is that it replaces the trusting third party elite to oversee an exchange or event. It starts with digital money, from the idea that if I gave you an amount of money in the past, we needed a bank to tell us that that transaction happened. Now, it can be in this code, which is indestructible and distributed across the entire network of people using it. The assumption then is that this idea can also be applied to other things you need trusted verification for: a vote, or some kind of issuance of a certificate or a contract. These things that generally rely on elected elites to verify can be transferred to a blockchainbased network. This technology makes the possibility of exiting a traditional state system and having some sort of alternative via a global crowd or a localized closed system a real possibility. A scalable exit could be enabled by this technology and thinking. It feels incredibly poignant, especially at this time in history when many countries are fighting what feels like an ideological war in the sense that people are either pulling back towards nationalism or accelerating global capitalism. Matt—What felt apparent during the Brexit campaign was the level of distrust and apathy towards politics and politicians in general. Retrospectively, it felt like a protest vote by the working classes or “losers” of globalism, because of an overwhelming sense of isolation and disconnection from the central governing base. Or, to put it bluntly: What had neo-liberal economic and
This page: “Blockchain company postage stamp design: 21Inc [with LindaKantchev].” Next spread: “Blockchain company postage stamp design whiteboard: Ethereum [with Linda Kantchev].” Photograph by Nick Ash.
social policies done for them? Simon—That was also my sense of some of the essential issues in Brexit. And the ideas behind the invention of Bitcoin and the blockchain ledger resonate with these sentiments. The notion that one doesn’t need a small group of people at the top overseeing the fairness of the system as a whole is something that really motivated this technology. It’s a technological vision of the network—or the people—owning the means of governance, and its distributed structure being immutable. It’s interesting, though, because in a way, Bitcoin can be seen as something that, while it distrusts the existing global monetary system, it doesn’t want to replace it with a reassertion of nationalism—like Brexit or populist campaigners like Trump. It, instead, looks for a post-national-state globalism that is more inclusive by design than the existing system. Matt—How did this content manifest in your presentation for the Berlin Biennale? What were some of the ways you managed to foreground these issues about sovereignty when often they are only in the background of perceptions of Bitcoin and blockchain? Simon—Like with my pavilion in Venice, the site of the exhibition had a significant impact on the way I framed the content. I was lucky to work with the curators, DIS, closely in the selection, and we found this management school, which is actually housed in a former GDR communist state council headquarters. It’s filled with these amazing communist mural masterpieces. We managed to get access to this empty room with this giant mural of a dove flying over industry from the communist period—literally an engine for liberalism inside the architectural shell of communism. Ideologies compared across time. The illustrative language of the communist murals also suggested to me that using a format that was inherently illustrative as the keystone to the exhibition would be a good thing. And that is where I arrived at the idea of making stamps. Postage stamps are at once physical currency; they’re real money, they’re issued by a state, they carry state-defined imagery, and they stand for a kind of trusted network of distribution—the postage system. When you give your post in, you trust that the state will deliver it to the right place and it’s a safe network. All the important issues around blockchain were paralleled in stamps somehow. I also knew a designer, Linda Kantchev, who had made some stamps for the German post and grew up in the GDR, so she was knowledgeable about communist imagery and illustrative techniques that make a good contemporary stamp. The idea was to create special stamps for these blockchain companies that would describe their vision for a new world based on encrypted networks. The more I looked into these companies and their various takes on blockchain, the more I also realized that at the base of blockchain is a kind of classical economic liberalism on steroids. The imagery we created to describe this techno-liberalism also was a fantastic contrast to the ominous communist murals in the building. Both are kind of inspiring images that are supposed to carry essences of wonder, dreams of a technologically-enabled world that is owned by everybody on the network. Matt—Highlighting the parallels between communist ideology and blockchain through the physical architecture and imagery of the presentation in Berlin feels pertinent. But given the demise of communist governance, I’m guessing that the comparison with blockchain has also attracted criticism? Simon—The critics of blockchain say technologists are kind of building a “1984” scenario, where the computers are supposed to be taking care of us and trust is given to machines over people. Of course, computers can be hacked, which is scary and raises questions about supposedly infallible systems. I think the tension
between the utopic vision behind blockchain and the more complicated reality of how things progress gives the topic and, hopefully, the work a kind of window into the sublime. Matt—The New York iteration of the exhibition will manifest as a series of board games. What was the significance of that as a medium? Simon—Without the communist building and murals that frame the Berlin presentation, I needed to find a format for the exhibition that foregrounded the sovereignty issues more clearly than just the postage stamps alone. I think this kind of struggle and competition for mastering blockchain felt a lot like a kind of land-grab. I have made a lot of work based on the structure of gaming computers, and my research on the beginnings of the founder myth of Bitcoin had led to the fact that part of that myth is based on Pokémon characters. Also, one of the companies I was looking at—Ethereum—likely lifted their logo from Magic: The Gathering card games. Gaming was kind of everywhere in the blockchain landscape. I made some board games as part of the Venice pavilion also—actually copies of the former NSA designer’s creations for educational game manufacturers—and thought they were a great format for diagrammatic explorations of content. My work often takes a kind of sculptural infographic format, and I thought the board game Risk would be a great way of bringing all this material together. So, along with the stamps, I’ve made Risk editions and a global map to represent the various worldviews the three blockchain companies I am working on are based on. The exhibition will be at the Petzel Gallery in Chelsea, a stone’s throw from Wall Street, which is pertinent because, ironically, a lot of the speculation around the technology comes from banks and financial institutions. They are seeing the potential in blockchain as a method of streamlining. If blockchain means that you don’t need people to verify information, then it makes a lot of settlement jobs in banking redundant. Large commercial banks can half their staff based on this technology if it really works. They’re building private blockchains that can be applied to existing currency and scrap the idea of alternate currency like Bitcoin, and just use the technology for streamlining.
Portfolio Portfolio TK 4
Date, 2016â€”New York
Previous spread: “Blockchain company postage stamp design whiteboard: Ethereum [with Linda Kantchev].” This page: “Blockchain company postage stamp design whiteboard: 21Inc [with Linda Kantchev].” Photograph by Nick Ash.
â€œBlockchain company postage stamp design whiteboard: Digital Asset [with Linda Kantchev].â€? Photograph by Nick Ash.
Thoughts on Paper: Donald Judd on longtime friend and collaborator Dan Flavin in an exclusive text. Introduction by Caitlin Murray
Document No. 9
Donald Judd wrote for a variety of reasons: first for hire, writing
reviews for “Arts Magazine” from 1959 to 1965, and then later for personal necessity, writing in a note from December 7, 1986, “Primarily I’m writing for the same reasons as I make art; from uneasiness at not doing it, because I like to write, and because I want something to read, as Barnett Newman said he painted so as to have something to look at.” Intended not just for himself, Judd’s essays also reflect his commitment to the work of other artists and thinkers, as can be seen in this 1969 essay on Dan Flavin’s work. Judd believed that everyone deserved possession of their own history, writing being a way to preserve, protect, and correct history, because, as Judd knew, “a true account is all you have of the past.” Judd and Flavin developed a friendship after meeting at an artist’s cooperative gallery in Brooklyn in 1962. Judd wrote “Aspects of Flavin’s Work” for the catalogue of Flavin’s 1969 retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. When the institution hosted a retrospective of Judd’s work in 1975, Flavin gave the opening speech. As their mutual friend artist John Wesley has said of their friendship, the two “became ‘Judd and Flavin’ for a while. The two names were together.” Judd permanently installed pieces by Flavin at his home in New York, 101 Spring Street, and at La Mansana de Chinati/The Block, his home in Marfa, Texas. Judd’s first drafts were always handwritten and then later transcribed by others, as he did not type. Collected in the forthcoming book “Donald Judd Writings,” which debuts this fall, are both published and unpublished pieces, including hundreds of Judd’s notes, written for personal necessity but made public “for the record,” as Judd wrote. Made possible through the transcription of handwritten and typed writings from the Judd Foundation Archives, these essays, notes, and letters are documents of the artist’s reflections on art, architecture, politics, the environment, knowledge, on what is known, not known, and yet to be discovered. In this previously unpublished typed manuscript Judd’s corrections in pen are apparent. Whereas Judd’s early reviews underwent little revision, his later, longer essays often underwent many drafts, both handwritten and typed. Caitlin Murray is the co-editor of “Donald Judd Writings.” Co-published by Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books, it is available November 2016.
Donald Judd Text © Judd Foundation. Images © Judd Foundation.
Donald Judd Text © Judd Foundation. Images © Judd Foundation.
Love Is Photographs Matt Lambert Fashion Ronald Burton III
Document No. 9
Zach wears t-shirt by Gucci Resort 2017. Desmond wears necklace by Versace. Rebecca wears top by Alexander Wang. All jewelry modelâ€™s own.
Rebecca wears top by Alexander Wang. Leggings by Vaquera. Desmond wears necklace by Versace.
Mika wears bra by Eres. Cardigan by Missoni. Knit underwear by Miu Miu. Earrings and necklaces by Catbird. Additional necklaces by Ariel Gordon and Paige Novick. Gia wears top, pants, and belt by Rodarte.
Daniel wears t-shirt by Saint Laurent. Pants by Burberry September Collection. Earrings model’s own. Necklaces by David Yurman. Tiana wears shirt by Chloé. Bra by Lonely. Underwear by Eres.
August wears sweater by Ermenegildo Zegna. McLayne wears scarf by Charvet.
Zach wears t-shirt by Gucci Resort 2017. Jeans by Saint Laurent. Belt model’s own. Rebecca wears top by Alexander Wang. Leggings by Vaquera. Jewelry model’s own. Desmond wears jeans by Alexander Wang. Underwear and necklace by Versace.
August wears sweater by Ermenegildo Zegna. Underwear by Calvin Klein. McLayne wears pants by Roberto Cavalli. Scarf by Charvet.
Tiana wears shirt by ChloĂŠ. Earring by Efva Attling.
Ysaunny wears shirt by MSGM Resort 2017. Boxers by Miu Miu. Earring by Jennifer Fisher. Dasha wears bra by Fleur Du Mal. Cardigan by Alexander Wang. Models Rebecca Brosnan, Desmond Sam, and Zach Shaw, Mica Levine & Gia Parmusch, Daniel Oh at Red & Tiana Tolstoi at Trump, August Gonet at Fusion & McLayne Ycmat, Dasha Denisenko at Silent & Ysaunny Brito at The Society. Hair Jawara at Bryant Artists for Oribe Haircare. Make up Maud Laceppe at Streeters for NARS Cosmetics. Nails Naomi Yasuda at Streeters. Prop Stylist Lauren Nikrooz at The Magnet Agency. Photo Assistant Ben Taylor. Fashion Assistants Helen Young Loveridge, Terence Brown. Make up Assistant Aya Watanabe. Props Assistants Daniel Orama, Lydia Yemene.
Downtown (for Douglas), 2016 Artwork Zoe Leonard
Images courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.
Introduction by Drew Sawyer
For the last 30 years, the American artist Zoe Leonard has fo-
cused her idiosyncratic gaze on a seemingly disparate collection of subjects, from Niagara Falls and museum displays to trees and fashion shows. Regardless of the topic, her predominantly black-and-white photographs have a unique style that reveals at once an instinctual curiosity and a political purpose—quietly investigating deeper historical and social conditions. In this exclusive portfolio of photographs—an extension of the series “Downtown (for Douglas),” 2016, that the artist produced for Douglas Crimp’s new biography“Before Pictures”— Leonard visited subway stops in downtown Manhattan at which the renowned art critic has lived over the years. Like so much of Leonard’s work, the photographs not only look closely at an everyday subject but also address the role and history of photography itself. The images of nearly deserted subway platforms, tracks, and trains recall a tradition of photographing New York’s underground, most famously carried out by Walker Evans in the late 30s, as well as Eugène Atget’s documents of a disappearing old Paris at the turn of the 20th century. While the locations are based on Crimp’s life, the artist knows them intimately too—she has spent most of her life living in New York City, and her work has often focused on its changing built environment and landscape. Like Crimp, she was also an AIDS activist during the 80s and 90s, when the disease ravaged the city’s artistic and queer communities, leading her to become a member of ACT UP and to co-found the queer feminist collective fierce pussy. In these various ways, Leonard’s photographs have often been about mourning and remembering—a gesture to preserve, as Crimp does with his memoir, what will inevitably be lost.
Document No. 9
DOCUMENTS 1 2 3 4
Document No. 9
TEXT BY ROBERT MONTGOMERY WILLY VANDERPERRE & OLIVIER RIZZO BRUCE WEBER & JOE McKENNA RYAN McGINLEY & SARAH RICHARDSON THEO SION & MAX PEARMAIN
354 356 396 422 460
Document No. 9
Love is the revolutionary energy that religion is only a poor shadow of, that law is the panicked patriarch of/ love is the real temporary light inside us that saves us every day from ourselves/ and saves us forever from religion and law.
Document 1 Photographs Willy Vanderperre Fashion Olivier Rizzo
Kiki wears denim jacket and jeans by Vetements x Leviâ€™s. Jonas wears leather hotpants by Vetements x Schott. Nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
This page: Jonas wears turtleneck and nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017. Polyester lingerie from Tati Paris. Opposite page: Kiki wears cotton jacket by Balenciaga Menâ€™s Spring 2017. Polyester lingerie from Tati Paris.
Kiki wears denim jacket and jeans by Vetements x Leviâ€™s. Jonas wears leather hotpants by Vetements x Schott. Nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
Kiki wears leather apron by Raf Simons / Robert Mapplethorpe Spring 2017. Nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
Jonas wears denim jacket by Vetements x Levi’s. Nylon hat by Prada Men’s Spring 2017.
Kiki wears cotton jacket by Balenciaga Menâ€™s Spring 2017. Jonas wears wool trousers and nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
Kiki wears nylon coat by Prada Resort 2017. Jonas wears nylon pants and nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
Kiki wears nylon coat by Prada Resort 2017. Polyester lingerie from Tati Paris. Jonas wears nylon pants and nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017. Polyester lingerie from Tati Paris.
Kiki wears nylon coat by Prada Resort 2017. Jonas wears nylon pants and nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
This page: Jonas wears cotton coat by Balenciaga Men’s Spring 2017. Polyester turtleneck and nylon hat by Prada Men’s Spring 2017. Opposite page: Kiki wears polyester turtleneck by Prada Men’s Spring 2017. Polyester lingerie from Tati Paris.
Kiki wears denim jacket and denim jeans by Vetements x Leviâ€™s. Jonas wears leather hotpants by Vetements x Schott.
Kiki and Jonas wear polyester lingerie from Tati Paris.
Kiki wears polyester-silk dress by Vetements Spring 2017. Nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 207.
Kiki wears nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
Kiki wears polyester-silk dress by Vetements Spring 2017. Polyester lingerie from Tati Paris. Nylon hat by Prada Menâ€™s Spring 2017.
Kiki wears denim jacket and jeans by Vetements x Leviâ€™s. Jonas wears leather hotpants by Vetements x Schott.
Kiki wears denim jacket and jeans by Vetements x Levi’s. Jonas wears leather hotpants by Vetements x Schott. Models Kiki Willems at IMG, Jonas Glöer at Tomorrow Is Another Day. Hair Gary Gill at Streeters London. Make up Peter Philips at Art + Commerce. Nails Alexandra Falba at Mercenaire. Lighting Romain Dubus. Digital Operator Henri Coutant. Photo Assistants Corentin Thevenet, Mickael Bambi. Fashion Assistants Niccolo Torelli, Hamish Wirgman, Fanny Stranders. Hair Assistants Tom Wright. Make up Assistant Delphine Delain. Production PROD’n and Jill Caytan. Production Assistant Yuk Emmanuelle. Special thanks Stephanie Jaillet and Elisa Allenbach at TripleLutz Paris.
Document 2 Photographs Bruce Weber Fashion Joe McKenna
State Fair The first US state fair was in Syracuse, New York, in 1841 and the second in Detroit, Michigan, in 1849. It is a recreational gathering of the United Statesâ€™ population and is usually held in late summer or early fall. The US has grown from an agricultural society to an industrial one in the course of the 20th century. Modern state fairs have expanded to include carnival games, rides, and music.
Previous Spread: Justin wears t-shirt by Prada. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Sneakers by Gosha Rubchinskiy x Fila. Mitchell wears t-shirt by Prada. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Sneakers by Gosha Rubchinskiy x Fila. Jean wears dress by Gucci Resort 2017. Boots by Paco Rabanne Resort 2017. This Page: Justin wears tank by T by Alexander Wang. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy NYC. Sneakers by Gosha Rubchinskiy x Fila. Jean wears dress by Louis Vuitton Resort 2017. Boots by Paco Rabanne Resort 2017. Mitchell wears t-shirt by T by Alexander Wang. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Sneakers by Gosha Rubchinskiy x Fila.
This page: Jean wears coat by AlaĂŻa. Photograph of Bob Dylan by Elliott Landy.
Opposite: Jean wears shirt, sweater, and skirt by Louis Vuitton Resort 2017.
This page: Mitchell wears tank by Hanes. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Necklace modelâ€™s own.
Opposite: Justin wears tank by T by Alexander Wang. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Sneakers by Gosha Rubchinskiy x Fila.
This page: Jean wears top and earrings by J.W. Anderson Resort 2017.
Opposite: Jean wears dress and earrings by J.W. Anderson Resort 2017.
This Page: Jean wears sweater and
Opposite: Justin wears jeans by A.P.C.
skirt by Paco Rabanne.
Mitchell wears tank by Hanes. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Necklace modelâ€™s own.
Jean wears coat and belt by AlaĂŻa. Mitchell wears tank by Hanes. Jeans by A.P.C. Necklace and bracelet modelâ€™s own.
Justin wears jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Jean wears coat by AlaÃ¯a. Boots by Paco Rabanne Resort 2017.
This page: Jean wears shirt by Alaïa. Mitchell wears necklace model’s own.
Opposite: Jean wears coat and belt by Alaïa.
This page: Jean wears dress by CÃ©line Resort 2017. Boots by Paco Rabanne Resort 2017. Justin wears tank by T by Alexander Wang. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC.
Opposite: Jean wears dress and hat by Gucci Resort 2017.
Jean wears dress by CÃ©line Resort 2017. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC.
Jean wears dress by Céline Resort 2017. Mitchell wears tank by Hanes. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Necklace and bracelet model’s own.
This page: Justin wears tank by T by Alexander Wang. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Jean wears dress by Céline Resort 2017. Mitchell wears tank by Hanes. Jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Necklace and bracelet model’s own. Opposite: Mitchell wears jeans by A.P.C. Hat by Space Cowboy Boots NYC. Necklace model’s own.
Models Jean Campbell at Viva, Justin Petzschke at Soul, Mitchell Slaggert at VNY. Make up Aaron de Mey at Art Partner. Hair Didier Malige. Set Design Dimitri Levas. Photo Assistants Chris Domurat, Jeff Tautrim, Ryan Michael Petrus, Sunny Facer, John Scott. Fashion Assistants Edward Bowleg III, Gerry O’Kane. Make up Assistant Tayler Treadwell. Hair Assistant Rebekah Calo. Production Little Bear Inc., Dawn Boller. Production Assistants Luke Adler, Jason Avery, Chris Butler, Boris McNertney.
Document 3 Photographs Ryan McGinley Fashion Sarah Richardson
Previous Spread: Dilone wears dress by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. Lili wears bra by Cyberdog. Overalls by Rialto Jean Project. Pins by I Still Love You NYC and Early Halloween. Bracelets by Couch UK. Simone wears bodysuit by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. Jewelry model’s
own. Scotty wears dress and gloves by Christopher Kane. Accessories model’s own. Julia wears bodysuit by Xuly.Bët. Earrings by Alexis Bittar. Ian wears t-shirt by Vetements. Jeans by Levi’s. Belt by Couch UK. Bobbie wears top from Spark Pretty. Earrings model’s own.
This page: Julia wears top by Junya Watanabe. Vintage dress (worn underneath) from Spark Pretty. Earring by Alexis Bittar. Bracelets by Couch UK.
Scotty wears corset top and jacket by Hood by Air. Hot pants and boots modelâ€™s own. Avi wears vintage top from Spark Pretty. Pants by CĂŠline.
Simone wears tank from stylist’s archive. Custom jacket by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. Hat by Couch UK. Necklace model’s own.
Simone wears bodysuit by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. Jewelry model’s own. Socks by We Love Colors. Sneakers by Nike. Dilone wears dress by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. Tights by We Love Colors. Sneakers by Converse. Lili wears bra by Cyberdog. Overalls by Rialto Jean Project. Pins by I Still Love You NYC and Early Halloween. Bracelets by Couch UK.
Socks by Ozone. Sandals by Birkenstock. Back: Ian wears t-shirt by Vetements. Jeans by Levi’s. Belt by Couch UK. Boots model’s own. Scotty wears dress and gloves by Christopher Kane. Accessories and boots model’s own. Willy wears dress by Balenciaga. Vintage necklace from Spark Pretty. Socks by We Love Colors. Sandals by Birkenstock.
Lida wears Noki BranDalion 1988 bib custom built by DrNoki4SarahRichardson. T-shirt by Bitsch Kitsch. Jeans by Gucci. Jewelry model’s own. Sneakers by Converse. Julia wears bodysuit by Xuly.Bët. Earrings by Alexis Bittar. Sneakers by Converse. Bobbie wears vintage top from Spark Pretty. Jeans and earrings model’s own. Boots by Marc Jacobs.
Julia wears dress by Balenciaga.
Scotty wears vintage jacket by Moschino Cheap and Chic. Vintage ruff from New York Vintage. Headdress modelâ€™s own.
Harry wears jacket by Vetements. Vintage necklace from Spark Pretty. Tights by Hue. Boots modelâ€™s own. Scotty wears all clothing and accessories modelâ€™s own. Vintage pin on underwear from Early Halloween.
This page: Willy wears dress, bodysuit and leggings by Junya Watanabe. Socks by Ozone. Opposite: Ian wears t-shirt by Vetements. Necklace modelâ€™s own.
This page: Harry wears dress by Marc Jacobs. Hat by Coach UK. Gloves and boots modelâ€™s own. Tights by Hue. Opposite: Lida wears top by J.W.Anderson.
This page: Bobbie wears vintage top from Spark Pretty. Jeans and earrings model’s own. Boots by Marc Jacobs.
Opposite: Bobbie wears clothing model’s own. Jewelry by Alexis Bittar. Boots by Marc Jacobs.
This page: Bobbie wears all clothing model’s own Opposite: Harry wears dress by Chloé. Boots model’s own. Robot Moon Juice wears leotard model’s own. Jacket by Scooter LaForge. Earrings by Alexis Bittar. Socks by Ozone. Boots model’s own.
Dilone wears dress by Louis Vuitton. Earrings by I Still Love You NYC. Tights by We Love Colors.
Ian wears pants by Dior Homme. Bracelets and belt by Couch UK. Necklace modelâ€™s own.
Lida wears vintage t-shirt from Cherry Vintage. Cardigan by Roberto Cavalli. Willy wears vintage t-shirt from Metropolis. Jacket by Roberto Cavalli.
Scotty wears dress by Christopher Kane. Choker modelâ€™s own.
Robot Moon Juice wears hoodie and hat by Alexander Wang. Vintage backpack from Spark Pretty.
Ian wears pants and boots by Dior Homme. Bracelets and belt by Couch UK. Necklace modelâ€™s own.
Simone wears dress by Louis Vuitton. Necklaces from stylistâ€™s archive. Bobbie wears vintage top from Spark Pretty. Jeans and earrings modelâ€™s own. Boots by Marc Jacobs.
Scotty wears dress and gloves by Christopher Kane. Choker modelâ€™s own.
Robot Moon Juice wears all clothing and accessories modelâ€™s own.
Willy wears top and glasses by Balenciaga.
This page: Ian wears top by Lanvin. Opposite: Harry wears jacket by Vetements. Vintage necklace from Spark Pretty.
Dilone wears top, pants and belt by Vetements. Cap and jewelry by Couch UK.
From left to right: Ian wears pants and boots by Dior Homme. Necklace model’s own. Bracelets and belt by Couch UK. Lili wears sweater and pants by Balenciaga. Sneakers by Converse. Simone wears top model’s own. Pants by Prada. Socks by Hue. Sneakers by Converse. Bobbie wears clothing model’s own. Jewelry by Alexis Bittar. Boots by Marc Jacobs.
Models Dilone at DNA, Ian Weglarz at Fusion Models, Willy Morsch at IMG, Simone Thompson at The Lions, Julia Cumming at Marilyn, Lida Fox at Next, Lili Sumner at Next, Avi, Bobbie, Harry Charlesworth, Robot Moon Juice, and Scotty Sussman. Hair Recine at The Wall Group for Rodin. Make up Dick Page at Jed Root for Shiseido. Lighting Sam Nixon. Digital Operator Travis Drennen. Photo Assistants Jared Christiansen, Jason Acton. Fashion Assistants Sue-Wen Quek, Michael Beshara. Post-production 232 Studio. Special thanks Mia, Addis, Rikki Barney, Alycen Case, and Eve Dimova.
Document 4 Photographs Theo Sion Fashion Max Pearmain
Previous spread: Vintage leotard and leggings from stylistâ€™s archive (used throughout). Shirt by Saint Laurent. Necklace by Alexander McQueen (used throughout). Legwarmers (worn on arms) by Arabesque Dancewear (used throughout). Socks by Pantherella (used throughout). Shoes by G.H. Bass (used throughout).
This page: Pants by Louis Vuitton. Harness from stylistâ€™s archive. Opposite page: Shirt by HermĂ¨s. Pants by Louis Vuitton. Belt by Saint Laurent (used throughout).
This page: Pants by MSGM.
Opposite page: Vintage leotard from stylistâ€™s archive. Shirt by Pieter.
This page: Shirt by Wales Bonner. Pants by Dior Homme. Harness from stylistâ€™s archive. Opposite page: Vintage vest from stylistâ€™s archive.
This page: Pants by Dior Homme.
Opposite page: Leotard by Arabesque Dancewear (used throughout). Shirt by Ports 1961. Pants by 3.1 Phillip Lim.
This page: Shirt by Prada. Pants by Salvatore Ferragamo. Opposite page: Shirt by Philipp Plein. Pants by Joseph.
Opposite page: Shirt by Salvatore Ferragamo. Jeans by Saint Laurent. Harness from stylistâ€™s archive.
This page: Harness and Natalie Portman badge from stylistâ€™s archive.
Opposite page: Shirt by Ermenegildo Zegna. Pants by Coach.
This page: Vintage vest from stylistâ€™s archive. Pants by Dior Homme.
Opposite page: Shirt by McQ. Pants by Dunhill.
This page: Pants by MSGM.
This page: Shirt and pants by Valentino. Harness from stylistâ€™s archive. Opposite page: Pants by Burberry September Collection. Harness from stylistâ€™s archive.
Model Aaron Lewins at Models1. Hair Luke Hersheson at Art + Commerce. Make up Lauren Parsons at Premier. Photo Assistants Peter Carter, Albi Gualtieri. Fashion Assistants Laura Vartiainen, Youngjin Kim, and Frederic Huether. Hair Assistant Sean Nother. Production Ciara Smith at REP.
September 14, 2016â€”London
Charlotte Rampling photographed by Juergen Teller leaving his studio.
Document No. 9
HERMÃˆS BY NATURE
From Naples to Beijing, this special issue of Document is dedicated to the people and places around the world that have impacted culture as...
Published on Dec 6, 2016
From Naples to Beijing, this special issue of Document is dedicated to the people and places around the world that have impacted culture as...