Archive for February, 2015

Sculpture | Robots à la Fonssagrives

Friday, February 27th, 2015

SLS, 2012
46 x 21in / 117 x 53cm
Bronze



Mia Fonssagrives-Solow: Robots
Kasher Potamkin
New York City | USA
Until 4 April 2015



KA, 2009
36 x 16in / 91 x 41cm
Aluminium


CQ2, 2014
16 x 10in / 91 x 25cm
Bronze


Rhodes, 2012
24 x 12in / 61 x 30in
Aluminium


The words SOLD OUT shout proudly from beneath a picture of a cute silver robot ring on the Gagosian’s on-line shopping page. The rings are from an edition made in 2010 by sculptor and jewellery designer, Mia Fonssagrives-Solow. If you’re interested in seeing something more substantial, over twenty of her bronze and aluminium sculptures of robots, fembots and aliens that she created over the last seven years, are being exhibited for the first time in Mia Fonssagrives-Solow: Robots at New York’s Kasher Potamkin gallery.

Should the surname Fonssagrives sound familiar – born Lisa Bernstone in 1911, Mia’s mother was a Swede, who studied painting, sculpture and dancing in Berlin, before moving to Paris, where she met and married Fernand Fonssagrives and became a model. Before the couple moved to the United States in 1939, she had already achieved international modelling stardom and was recognisable from the covers of magazines such as Town & Country, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. Working with fashion photographers including George Hoyningen-Huene, Man Ray, Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld and Richard Avedon, it was reported that she was the ‘highest paid, highest praised, high fashion model in the business.’ Meanwhile, Fernand became a fashion photographer himself, whose career also took off to the point where he was, reportedly, the highest paid photographer in New York. But, sadly, by 1950 things had gone awry between the golden couple and they divorced. Shortly after Lisa married another very famous photographer, Irving Penn. ‘She was the inspiration and subject of some of Penn’s greatest photographs,’ said Alexander Liberman, editorial director of Condé Nast , which publishes Vogue. In later life, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn would become a fashion designer and also a sculptor, producing unremarkable, semi- abstract, figurative work in marble, bronze and fibreglass, and represented by the Marlborough Gallery in New York.

Growing up on the farm the family bought at Huntington on Long Island, Mia was nevertheless constantly immersed in her parents’ world of fashion and art. She says that Penn proved irresistible. Ultimately, she considered him to be her second father. But as she grew and was sent to a progressive, mixed-sex senior school in the city, she struggled, caused trouble, and after being banned from one class, ended up doing woodwork instead. The processes of working with wood, the odours of the freshly cut raw material, the glues, and the resinous finishes, all left a strong impression on her that would influence her future creativity. After attending New York’s famous design school, Parsons, Mia and a friend decided to move to Paris to create a fashion collection together. Things were going remarkably well, but after a time Mia had become restless. However, a timely stroke of luck got them a contract to design clothes for a new Woody Allen film, What’s New Pussycat? (1965) that was filmed in Paris, and they went on to great success designing for Hollywood stars and other films, including the James Bond classic, Thunderball. Ten years later, Mia gave it all up to refine her woodworking skills, afterwards becoming a sculptor and jewellery-maker. She was later to marry self made New York property developer Sheldon Solow, who, according to Forbes magazine has a current net worth of $3.6 billion.

Her sculptures have graced Asprey and the windows of Cartier and Bergdorf Goodman, but not everyone would refer to Mia Fonssagrives-Solow’s robots – ranging in height from young child size to small adult – as high art. However, in an art world dominated by ’serious’ work that a lot is written about and sells for ever-increasing amounts of ’serious’ money, sculpture that is capable of putting a smile on the otherwise mean-mouthed face of a ’serious’ critic is not too bad a thing.

All photos courtesy Kasher Potamkin



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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due must be borne by the source supplier



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Exhibition | The Architecture of Fashion

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Tour LVMH, Manhattan, New York,
by Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, 1995 > 1999

Photo © Atelier Christian de Portzamparc



Archimode
Six architects for fashion
Villa Noailles
Hyères | France
22 February > 22 March 2015




Mobile Art by Zaha Hadid Architects for Chanel 2008
Top, in Hong Kong, above, in New York
Photos © François Lacour



The Mobile Art Chanel Contemporary Art Container – to give it its full title – Karl Lagerfeld and Zaha Hadid’s touring pavilion, was conceived in 2007 when the design magazine Wallpaper* got the unlikely couple together for a photo shoot. Making its first appearance in Hong Kong in March 2008, the travelling pavilion, showcasing the work of twenty leading international artists, each inspired by Chanel’s quilted 2.55 bag, visited Tokyo and New York before it was given a permanent home in 2011 at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris – designed, incidentally, by another famous architect, Jean Nouvel.

Beneath the heading, ‘Chanel, Hugo Boss, Rick Owens: Fashion’s Latest Muse Is Architecture’, in summer 2014, writer Nick Remsen explained on the vogue.com website, ‘There’s a certain modishness – and beauty – in the urban blueprint, its pylons and crosswalks and anterooms rife for creative repurposing. I wasn’t particularly surprised, then, to see Karl Lagerfeld close his Emirati resort 2015 show via looks embellished with motifs of the world’s tallest building, the local Burj Khalifa [830m to tip].’ Soon afterwards, Lagerfeld showed Chanel’s fall 2014 couture collection, citing building materials, including concrete, as a inspiration, ‘Le Corbusier goes to Versailles!’ he told Vogue’s Hamish Bowles.

Remarkable and unique as it was, and remains, Mobile Art was not the first instance of a relationship between architecture and fashion, a phenomenon which dates as far back as the first decades of the 20th century – if not further – when opinionated, pioneering, Viennese functionalist architect, Adolf Loos (1870 > 1933), asserted that the naked woman is unattractive to man, and told the world that women dress and ornament themselves to appeal to man’s sickly sensuality. Fervent anti-ornamentalist, Loos, in his book Why a man should be well-dressed, didn’t confine his critical interest in fashion to women. The list of built works attributed to him includes an office building, several villas and houses, a café, a bar, and between 1910 and 1913 he designed the men’s haberdashery Kníže’s second floor, and later its shop front. Oddly, illustrating his story with amusing images of badly-dressed architects and their buildings, Hadley Freeman explained on The Guardian website, in 2008, that architects as a group ‘are just as style-conscious as fashion designers.’ On the other hand, in an interview on the Dezeen site last year, world-renowned Australian industrial designer Marc Newson, who has dabbled in architecture – Azzedine Alaia Boutique, Paris, 2006 – Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney, 2007 – said, ‘Most industrial designers don’t have a clue about fashion… There’s never very successful crossovers, creatively.’ Putting the problem down to the ‘terrible snobbery’ between the two industries, Newson summed up by saying that the fashion industry was faster, more efficient and more in tune with contemporary culture than design and architecture.

Kris Van Assche Boutique, Paris, by Ciguë, 2013
Photo © Maris Mezulis



In London, Casablanca-born Joseph Ettedgui, who, with his family, established the Joseph brand and retail chain in 1972, achieved success through his ability to spot up-and-coming talent, working with many young designers and architects before they became famous. In the early years, well before the brand was sold and went global, Kenzo Takada, Margaret Howell, Katharine Hamnett, John Galliano and Azzedine Alaïa produced collections of clothes for Joseph, while Norman Foster, Eva Jiricná and Andrée Putman designed the company’s shops and restaurants.

Between 1993 and 1995, British architect John Pawson built the Calvin Klein Collections Store in New York, followed closely by the flagship Jigsaw Store in London. As Archie Juinio observed on the vogue.it website, ‘Since the ‘90s important changes have taking place in the business strategies for fashion: big groups have bought prestigious fashion houses, while flagship stores have acquired an essential importance in marketing strategies. In this scenario, the architect is called upon and assumes a key role: he or she has to translate their ideas into tangible forms, underlining the brand’s values.’

Before she dedicated herself to the pursuit of stricter, modernist design and architectural ideals – which owed much to Loos and his many followers across Europe – Eileen Gray had designed the art deco front of her Paris furniture and home accessories shop, Jean Desert, in 1922, where wealthy avant-garde patrons Elsa Schiaparelli, and Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, keen to experience a different kind of living, would congregate. The Noailles would commission architect Robert Mallet-Stephens to design their modernist Villa Noailles in Hyères, the venue for the forthcoming Archimode: Six architects for fashion exhibition, which includes, among others, Zaha Hadid’s Mobile Art for Chanel, Prada Transformer by Rem Koolhaas OMA in Séoul, and the Tour LVMH building by Christian de Portzamparc in New York. It also features work by less well-known contemporary architects, Diplomates, who designed the Boutique Damir Doma, as well as Ciguë’s Boutique Isabel Marant and Boutique Kris Van Assche.

Photos courtesy Villa Noailles



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Design | Lino (Murano Maestro) Tagliapietra

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Coronato, Murano, 2000
Estimate $10,000 > $15,000
Sculptural vessel in blown
and battuto glass
36 x 12 ins / 91.4 x 30.5 cm



Lino Tagliapietra
Modern Ceramics and Glass
Rago Arts and Auction Center
Lambertville, New Jersey, USA
Exhibition until 13th February 2015
Sale 14th February 2015



A long way from the island of Murano in the beautiful Venetian Lagoon, Lambertville can be found, as it says on the Rago website, ’midway between Philadelphia and New York City.’ In the production of fine glass objects, Murano has led the world since the 14th century. Lambertville was a thriving 19th century factory town where great quantities of a diverse range of goods – from underwear to rubber bands – were made in vast quantities. But while Murano continued to develop or refine a wide range of glass-making technologies that include crystalline glass, enamelled glass (smalto), gold-threaded glass (aventurine), multicoloured glass (millefiori), and milk glass (lattimo), in Lambertville, which had previously grown up around a once important crossing on the Delaware river, by the 1970s, commerce had waned considerably. Unsurprisingly, its quality so consistently high, Murano’s art glass and glass figurines, glass chandeliers, wine stoppers and hundreds of thousands of tourist souvenirs found their way to every corner of the world. In the meantime, once Lambertville’s factories disappeared and the town was cleaned up, its fortunes improved to such an extent that it also became a tourist destination.

Test Piece, Murano, 1984
Blown glass vase
9 x 6 ins / 22.8 x 15.2 cm



Venetian glass artist, Lino Tagliapietra was born in Murano in 1934 and, when little more than a boy, was sent to work in the island’s glass factories. Aged 21, he was granted the title Maestro (Master glass blower) and made fine items for some of the most prestigious glassworks on the island. At the Venice Biennales, which he regularly attended, Tagliapietra was fascinated by the work of Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly. In the 1960s, with supreme technical and aesthetic standards that earned him significant commercial success, he started to create his own modern artistic forms. Renowned American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly (b 1941) visited Murano in 1968, where he taught Tagliapietra the techniques he had developed, which Tagliapietra passed on to the other maestri. In return Tagliapietra taught Chihuly, the Venetians’ glassworkers secrets.


Bilbao, Murano, 2001
(Shown from three angles)
Sculptural vessel in blown
and battuto glass
23.5 x 13 in / 59.6 x 33 cm



Tagliapietra’s material of choice is effetre glass, or F3 – an abbreviated form of fratelli tre, ‘three brothers’ – is a variety of soda-lime glass. This type of material is usually used for making lamps, and is worked by using a torch to melt and shape it at 945°C. It is considered a medium-soft glass and is popular because of its wide colour range and the ease with which it is moulded and shaped. Genuine glass of this type is made by the Effetre International Company on Murano, where Tagliapieta was artistic and technical director from 1976 to 1989. But teaching has defined the artist, who first visited the United States in 1979. He has since led workshops and taught in glass programmes around the world, but especially in America – the Haystack School of Crafts, Deer Isle ME, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood WA, Rhode Island School of Design RI, MIT Glass Lab, Cambridge MA – but also at the Toyama Art School, Toyama, Japan, and the University of Sydney, Australia, and in many more education establishments. He set up on his own in 1990 and dedicated himself to creating unique pieces, which soon became sought after, and many of which are now in the permanent collections of some of the most eminent museums in the world, including, among many others, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland. He is also represented in numerous galleries and private collections. In 2009, the Museum of Tacoma dedicated a major travelling retrospective exhibition to Tagliapietra’s work, which was also hosted by other American museums including: The Smithsonian, Washington DC, and the Palm Springs Art Museum, California.

Stellato glass vase,
Marseilles, 1991
12 x 6.5 x 3 ins /
30.5 x 16.5 x 7.6 cm



Aged sixteen, David Rago began dealing in American decorative ceramics at a flea market in his home state of New Jersey. Over the years, his business grew and grew, so that today, with two partners, one of whom is his wife Suzanne Perrault, he oversees Lambertville’s prestigious Rago Arts and Auction Center, dealing exclusively in 20th and 21st century antiques and collectibles. Suzanne, who is in charge of contemporary glass at Rago, and David have both visited Murano, but have yet to enjoy the pleasure of hosting Lino Tagliapietra in Lambertville. However his work has often been sold there, and on Saturday afternoon, the Modern Ceramics and Glass auction, features six of the Maestro’s key pieces.



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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due must be borne by the source supplier



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Photography | Arthur Elgort’s Big Picture Show

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Linda Evangelista, Dominica, 1990.

AE: ‘Linda was a great model. She did whatever it took to get the job done.’



Arthur Elgort
The Big Picture
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Milan | Italy
6th February > 6th April



In her book Grace, A Memoir (Chatto & Windus, 2012), Grace Coddington, creative director of American Vogue since 1986, described how for his first job for her at British Vogue in 1971, photographer Arthur Elgort sent a group of girls and boys, dressed in the designer Kenzo’s startlingly bright clothes, running through Paris’s Jardin des Tuileries. It was the point at which Elgort’s own career would take off. ‘His pioneering spirit has led us up the snowy mountains of North America, across rivers in China, through India on elephant back, on safari with big game, and home on the range with gangs of cowboys,’ Coddington wrote in her introduction to the monograph, Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture (Steidl 2014).

Elgort would quickly became established as one of the best known and most emulated photographers. With freely moving models, natural light, and a reportage approach, he was a breath of fresh air in fashion photography. His young, pretty models wore less make-up and were casual and lively in front of the camera, moving about freely in outdoor locations. The risks he took with his pictures changed the industry.



Pigeon coop, Brooklyn, New York, 1997

AE: ‘I’ve always liked the immediacy of photography. Either you get the shot or you don’t… Have some fun, and move on to the next subject with no fuss…’



Apollonia, British Vogue, 1971

AE: ’When my career was just beginning I noticed that most of the magazines had plenty of studio photographers – All I saw were models standing still. So I decided to do something else… I took my models out on the streets of New York, Paris, or wherever I was…’



Charlotte Rampling, Paris, 1984

AE: ’I have always liked a girl that was comfortable in front of the camera,
whether she was jumping or posing, smiling or frowning, sitting on a couch or on an elephant in Nepal…’



Kate Moss in Nepal, British Vogue, 1993

AE: ’When I first saw Kate I thought, ‘She’s not very tall and doesn’t seem that special.’ But it didn’t matter. She is incredibly photogenic. Every picture was perfect – she just did it so naturally.’



Azzedine Alaïa and Naomi Campbell, 1987

AE: ’Some of my best pictures were taken when I wasn’t ‘working’ – models getting ready, people on the street, the little moments in between shots… It’s those real moments that can’t be faked.’



Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture at Galleria Carla Sozzani encompasses five decades of Arthur Elgort’s photographic work on French, Italian, British, and American Vogue – magazines for which he continues to work today – as well as about 80 of his personal pictures. He has shot important advertising campaigns for prestigious fashion houses including Chanel, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent. His work is exhibited in the permanent collections of the International Center of Photography in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. Elgort has also directed two films, Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story (1992), and the documentary Colorado Cowboy (1993), which won the award for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994. In 2011 Elgort received the Board of Directors’ Special Tribute Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

All images courtesy Galleria Carla Sozzani, © Arthur Elgort.
All quotes by the photographer from the monograph Arthur Elgort: The Big Picture, Steidl 2014



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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due must be borne by the source supplier



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