Guy Bourdin: Oedipus Rex & High Heels

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Guy Bourdin - Pentax Calender - 1980

You wouldn't need Freud to tell Guy Bourdin that his unhealthy fetish for redheaded women stems from his mother who abandoned him when he was only a year old. Twisted and contorted like compromised balloon dogs and subordinate porcelain dolls, Bourdin's redheads became the tumescent idols of his sparkling photographic oeuvre.  Something of an antithesis to Helmut Newton - Bourdin was more mercurial, irascible - never once having the semblance of desire to publicly exhibit his work and angrily turning down what must have been multiple book offers. Myths are also quick to to invent Bourdin as something of a sadist - a regular 21st century Marquis de Sade - leading those close to him to take desperate measures to escape him. One of his girlfriends hung herself - her body discovered by Bourdin's 13 year old son. Another attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. A third died in a fall. Another of a drug overdose while in bed watching television. Its the stuff of legend. Once, Bourdin's assistants covered a pair of models with black pearls using a type of glue that interfered with the ability to regulate body temperature - the pearls were feverishly removed and after the models awoke from losing consciousness Bourdin muttered, coldly, "Oh, it would be beautiful to photograph them dead in bed." However, beyond the circumstances of his turbulent life and troubled psyche, Bourdin was a luminary who created indelibly brilliant images that will no doubt have an eternal influence on fashion photography.

Guy Bourdin~Charles Jourdan, Spring 1979

Guy Bourdin - Jourdan Campaign - Spring 1971

Bourdin's only memory of his mother was vague at best: Parisienne, heavy make up, pale skin, and light red hair.  Born in 1928 in Paris, after a year Bourdin was abandoned and forced to live with his grandparents.  Whilst abroad in the French armed forces Bourdin would see an image that would infect his imagination with the insatiable desire to take pictures: a close up of a bell pepper by the photographer Edward Weston. The pepper, no doubt, a twisted, erotic nod to the female form would inspire any artist and at a glance could make a man, for the first time, pine for a legume.

"There is a sum of evil equal to the sum of good, the continuing equilibrium of the world requires that there be as many good people as wicked people." Marquis de Sade

When Bourdin returned from military service in Dakar he sought out the mentorship of Man Ray. Lofty goals for a young artist, but Bourdin was a total freak. Bourdin arrived at Man Ray's doorstep six times. Each time Bourdin was turned away by Man Ray's wife, but on his last try Man Ray opened the door. Bourdin would become his protégé. In the 1950s Bourdin photographed fashion editorials for French Vogue - he was one of their favorite "go to" photographers, but it wasn't until he was with the French shoe company Jourdan that he  would created most his iconic images.

Bourdin's campaigns for Jourdan would invent a style that would drastically change an otherwise stolid landscape of 1950s commercial fashion photography. Bourdin, with his loud colors, violence, murder scenes, and women sprawled out with an akinetic sense of sexual electricity, would change all that, forever.  Guy Bourdin, who died of cancer in 1991, was extremely poor at perserving his own legacy. His estate wasn't even organized until the year 2000. Maybe he believed he didn't deserve it or maybe he didn't believe in a legacy at all. The one thing he did believe in was art - art to the last drop.

Exhibits, although they are becoming much less rare, are sights to behold. Now on view at the Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana in Brazil is a retrospective of Guy Bourdin's work from his early work in the 1950s all the way to 1990.  www.ccmq.com.br

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre

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Guy Bourdin - Lui Magazine

Spirited Away: A Brief History of Haunted Photography

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Jacques Henri Lartigue “Zissou as a ghost Pont-de-l'Arche”, 1905

You could imagine it really: developing a photograph only to discover a ghostly apparition - a mysterious double, a whitish ephemera.  It could be enough to make you believe in ghosts if you knew it wasn't a hoax.  Could the apparition be a long lost relative? Could it actually be a ghost? They must have wondered. During the nascence of photography spirit photography was in vogue. Photography still held on to a sort of magical aura and to use it to communicate with the dead made photography a portal into the afterlife.  It was the 1860s - people had lost loved ones in the Civil War - death was omnipresent and gullibility was at an all time high.  One of the greatest spirit photographers was William H. Mumler. One day he developed a photograph that appeared to show a cousin that had been deceased for twelve years - it was actually a double exposure - and Mumler had inadvertently stumbled on to his calling. Like a vulture Mumler preyed on people's greif. One of Mumler's most famous photographs apparently shows Mary Todd Lincoln with the "ghost" of her husband, Abraham Lincoln. Mumler would eventually be tried in court as fraud.  He was acquitted, but his career was destroyed and he died penniless.  What are left of the spirit photographs today are haunting; some are ridiculous. We know now they weren't actual spirits, but they were symbolic, visual accountings of a zeitgeist - of humanity's willingness to exploit technology for our insatiable, lustful curiosity and material gain.

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Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, "The medium Eva C. with a materialization on her head and a luminous apparition between her hands", May 1912

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Anonymous, "Partial dematerialization of the medium Marguerite Beuttinger", 1920

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Madge Donohoe, "Skotograph", 1930

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Anonymous, "Levitation of the medium Colin Evans, photographed in darkness using infrared, from the front", 1938

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Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, "The medium Stanislawa P: emission and resorption of an ectoplasmic substance through the mouth",  1913

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Anonymous, "The ghost of Bernadette Soubirous", 1890, Albumen silver print

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Thomas Glendenning Hamilton, "Mary M. with umbrella ectoplasm', 25 February 1934

[TODAY in HISTORY] Napoleon Bonaparte Dies in Exile

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This isn't just any history piece - this is the true tale of a great emperor's penis. In 1977 Napoleon Bonaparte's shriveled, severed 1.5 inch penis was sold to urologist John K. Lattimer for three thousand American dollars. It should be noted, for good measure, that Lattimer also owned a pair of Herman Göring's underwear.  I would hate to think that 190 years after my death my shriveled penis would be sitting in a nice wooden box in some stranger's attic, but then again thats never really been my concern.

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Described as looking like "a shriveled eel, a shriveled seahorse and a small shriveled finger" - not my penis, Napoleon's - the anatomical specimen was hesitantly removed by his surgeon Francesco Antommarch in front of seventeen witnesses a day after Napoleon's death 190 years ago today on the island of Saint Helena.  Along with other relics from the French emperor's life his penis has by far had the most enduring legend. Its starts with Abbé Ange Paul Vignali, who had given the last rites to Napoleon on St. Helena, and who brought back from the island roughly forty items belonging to the emperor.  Items included a lock of Napoleon's hair, his famous white breeches, his will along with other various official and non-official documents, silverware, and of course....his penis.

"...his penis has by far had the most enduring legend."

In 1916, descendants of Vignali sold his collection of Napoleonic items, including the penis, to a British rare books firm Maggs Bros which in turn sold the collection for around two thousand dollars in 1924 to Philadelphia bibliophile A.S.W. Rosenbach who had it "enshrined" in an elaborate blue morocco and velvet box. In 1927 he exhibited it, along with the other Vignali relics, in the Museum of French Art in New York. Then in 1977 John K. Lattimer bought the penis at a Parisian auction. What the future has in store for Napoleon Bonaparte's penis no one knows for sure. Just recently, Lattimer's daughter turned down one hundred thousand dollars for the emperor's member. What we do know is that Napoleon Bonaparte, whether a tyrant or great leader, his legend will live on - an icon of military power and political genius.  In honor of the anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte's death Wikicollectors, a community for collectors, have put together a list of the top 5 strangest items of memorabilia relating to the emperor. www.wikicollecting.org

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre

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[Melbourne] Young Hunting Jewelry

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young hunting,la luna,candice agius,hana davies,chris gillies,phoebe higgins

Young Hunting is a unisex jewelry label by Melbourne designer Candice Agius. Each collection is "a philosophical exploration that questions and transcends realms influenced by a thematic thought." Each jewellery piece is limited and formed in Australia from high quality materials. Young Hunting is "for the rare, the intellectual and the unsharing." The new lookbook for the La Luna collection is a unique interactive look at some new pieces.

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Power Is Wonderful - Total Power is Totally Wonderful

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SHE WAS A BITCH, but the camera loved her.  To most of the western world she was the antithesis of the modern American woman of the 1960s: brash, outspoken, and domineering.  Regardless, Madame Nhu, who died only a few days ago, is and always will be an icon of the 20th century. Like a dagger in a sheath ready for murder, Madame Nhu was not at all sartorially oblivious.  With her extremely tight fitting dresses and deep necklines, diamond crucifix necklace, bouffant hair-do and perfect eyebrows, photogs ate her up. She could've been a member of an all girl doo-wop group - one of Phil Spector's protégés.   But beyond the surface, Madame Nhu has always been embroiled in heated political environments and this time it would spill over with incredible vengeance and blood.

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Nhu's life reads like a movie script - with all the right players in all the right places - sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.  Madame Nhu, who was born Tran Le Xuan 1924 to an aristocratic family, would go on to marry Ngo Đinh Nhu, who was the brother and chief adviser to President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam.  After the dissolution of French Indochine, Vietnam was divided into a communist north, ruled by the wiry Marxist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, and a republican South ruled by Emperor Bao Dai,  who would appoint Ngo Dinh as president. The republican south was constantly at war with itself. With corrupt officials, generals - violence constantly threatened the regime. The regime's loudest, most controversial figure was Madame Nhu and everyone was well aware she was the one calling the shots inside the Presidential Palace.  Madame Nhu became a thorn in everyone's side -  a spokeswoman of a corrupted, fat-off-the-land South Vietnam that stood for everything the communist north despised.

As the sixties wore on and a war between two Vietnams intensified, the intrigue was too hard for America to resist. South Vietnam would also became a thorn in America's side in their efforts to squash the communist North.  It was as if Madame Nhu was a symbol, a siren of the trifecta that would bring three worlds together into a bloody conflict that would last nearly a decade.  But all this war was all too familiar to a Vietnam fighting for its independence for close to eighty years; everyone knows practice makes perfect.

On November 1, 1963, while Madame Nhu was is Beverly Hills with her 18 year old daughter, President Diem and Nhu, his brother and her husband, were killed in a supposed American backed assassination in a coup d'état led by a Southern general.  Two sons and an infant daughter were still trapped in Vietnam at the family retreat - Madame Nhu feared the worst.  She later learned they were safe and they joined Madame Nhu in exile in Rome where she lived  until her death at 84 on April 24.  She is survived by two sons and a daughter.  What we have left to illustrate the strange, complicated and miraculous story are the striking images of a young, vivacious Madame Nhu making her stately duties around town as the 'first lady' of the State of Vietnam: shooting a .38 caliber pistol, attending a funeral, and generally looking proud over some invisible horizon, albeit with a hint of fatalistic ambivalence about the unknown future, an ambivalence constantly gripping her heart with what must have been a vice like grip.

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre

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Mein Kulturkampf: Andres Serrano Vs. The Jesus Freaks

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Last Sunday French Christian fundamentalist vandals went on an all out attack on a photograph by artist Andres Serranoat the Je Crois Aux Miracles (I Believe in Miracles) exhibition at the Collection Lambert, a contemporary art museum in Avignon, France. The photograph, Piss Christ, an image of Jesus Christ on the cross submerged in the artist's own urine, was damaged "beyond repair."  Other photographs were damaged and museum guard's lives were threatened.  If this was the middle ages Andre Serrano would undoubtably be burned alive at the stake, or...crucified. Religion and culture has always been an oxymoronic, delicate, and oft times violent affair, but spite begets spite and the holy war against sacrilege in art will always wage, and with no real front lines, as well as mass confusion as to who is the real enemy is, will never be won nor lost.

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Andres Serrano is undoubtably a "shock artist" and his images are bound to illicit a response; whether good or bad depends on the viewer. Serrano's photograph Blood and Semen III - the title speaks for itself - was used by Metallica for their 1996 album Load. Is it disgusting, beautiful or both?  Serrano, who was born in 1950 in New York City, is half Honduran, half Afro-Cuban, and interestingly was raised a strict Roman Catholic. Serrano did not start making art seriously until he was 28 years old and has since exhibited globally with multiple career retrospectives.  Serrano's art has had many close calls, but never as violent as last Sunday's attack.

If tens of thousands of years of human civilization haven't proved that we are a depraved species fighting back desperately our primordial urges, we have a long way to go.  In the 1990s Andres Serrano was a pivotal figure in the culture wars that waged between conservative America and the National Endowment of Arts as to whether tax payer money should be allocated to support artists like Serrano. But it begs the question: who are the real radicals and when does this brand of blatant censorship infringe on freedom of expression?

In Andres Serrano's case he can rest assure that as long as he keeps dipping figures of Jesus Christ in jars of  his own urine the mob will always be at his door with pitchforks. But, in the case of those that can appreciate the aesthetic and visceral significance of Serrano's art, amen to you.  After three days of forced closure, despite repeated death threats, Piss Christ is miraculously on view again, albeit severely damaged.

Je Crois Aux Miracles exhibition is on view at the Collection Lambert in Avignon, until May 8th - ww.collectionlambert.com

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre

Ecce Homo, 1988

[BOOKS] PATRICK HOELCK'S POLAROID HOTEL

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LOS ANGELES - OHWOW and Leadapron are to host a book release and book signing event for Patrick Hoelck's Polaroid Hotel.

Press, flash, picture. Simple. Then wait. And wait. And wait some more. The anticipation to see what you have captured is a thrill that has been lost with modern technology. In a world full of instant there have been unfortunate casualties. Polaroid instant film was almost one of them. It's not just the nostalgia that makes Polaroids alluring. It's the unpredictability. You never know if you're going to end up with a masterpiece or a disaster but it really doesn't matter, it's yours.

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In Polaroid Hotel, Hoelck pays tribute to the art of Polaroid photography with a book of images that capture intimate moments of his life and career throughout 17 years, showing that just because Polaroid has aged it hasn't lost its appeal.

Patrick Hoelck is an American contemporary photographer and director. This is Hoelck's second publication following his first book Tar, that is now out of print and considered a classic. Hoelck has shot major editorial, fashion and advertising campaigns and recently made his feature film directorial debut with Mercy, winning Best Director and Best Film in the Savannah Film Festival amongst other honors.

The book release and signing will be on the evening of Thursday, April 21, 2011 at OHWOW Gallery. www.oh-wow.com

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[UTTERLY TRANSPARENT] Manuela Dack Autumn/Winter 2011

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Manuela Dack has released a her new Autumn/Winter collection - which was designed to be layered and seasonally transitional.  Moreover, the "layering of sheer fabrics and embellishment over leather, wool and raw silk stay true to the designers aesthetic of subtle modern chic, while showcasing the attention to detail."

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Always focusing on luxury and quality Manuela Dack juxtaposes feminine fabrics such as chiffon with harder masculine materials that include leather and metal, creating beautifully constructed and experimental pieces. While at the same time pursuing and developing new technology and materials such as scented print (as featured in W magazine), which is due to feature in an exclusive line of hand printed basics unveiling later this spring.

Her graduate collection from Middlesex University looked at ritualistic scarring and marking of the skin, referencing the designers fascination with different cultures interpretations of beauty. A collection from which signature details and pieces arose.

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PICASSO AND MARIE-THÉRÈSE: Crazy Love

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"You have an interesting face. I would like to do your portrait. I have a feeling we will do great things together." - Pablo Picasso

In 1927, on a street in Paris, Picasso encountered the unassuming girl, just shy of eighteen years old, who would become his lover and one of modern art’s most famous muses. “I am Picasso” he announced. The name meant nothing to Marie-Thérèse so he took her to a bookshop to show her a monograph of his paintings and asked if he could see her again. Flattered and curious, she agreed, and thus began a secret love affair that would establish Marie-Thérèse as the primary inspiration for Picasso’s most daring aesthetic experiments in the decade to come.

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More than any other woman that Picasso desired and painted, Marie-Thérèse, with her statuesque body and strong, pure profile, fueled his imagination with a luminous dream of youth. Although her first appearances in his work were veiled references with her initials forming spare linear compositions, such as in the earliest work in the exhibition, Guitare à la main blanche (1927), the arrival of the blond goddess’s likeness in his art announced a new love in his life. In portrayals, Picasso would stretch her robust athletic form to new extremes, metamorphosing her in endlessly inventive ways. She became the catalyst for some of his most exceptional work, from groundbreaking paintings to an inspired return to sculpture in the 1930s, according her an almost mythic stature and earning her immortality as an art historical subject. Yet her true identity remained a secret from even Picasso’s closest friends. Even after Marie-Thérèse bore their daughter Maya in 1935, Picasso would continue to divide his time between his professional life as the most famous artist in the world, and his secret family life, spending Thursdays and weekends with her and Maya and amassing a trove of love letters and snapshots exchanged while they were apart.

Following the critical and popular success of Picasso: Mosqueteros in New York in 2009 and Picasso: The Mediterranean Years in London in 2010, Gagosian Gallery in New York is pleased to present the next chapter in an ongoing exploration of Picasso’s principal themes. Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’amour Fou brings together the paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints inspired by one of Picasso’s most ideal models and enduring passions. The exhibition is curated by the eminent Picasso biographer, John Richardson, together with Marie-Thérèse’s granddaughter, art historian Diana Widmaier Picasso, who is currently preparing a catalogue raisonné of Picasso’s sculptures.

"....I have a feeling we will do

great things together."

The exhibition spans the years 1927 to 1940 and includes several works never before seen in the United States. The curators have assembled the group of more than eighty works to show a rarely articulated range of Marie-Thérèse’s influence within Picasso’s imagery, beyond recent headline-grabbing portraits. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with a new biographical essay by John Richardson, and Diana Widmaier Picasso’s revelatory essay exploring Picasso’s portraiture, which includes dozens of never before published photographs of Marie-Thérèse from the family archives. Elizabeth Cowling, Professor Emeritus of History of Art at Edinburgh University and co-curator of the historic exhibition “Matisse Picasso” (2002-03), has contributed an essay that examines the dissemination of images of Picasso’s sculptures through the art journals of the period.

To show Picasso’s work in a downtown contemporary art gallery creates a context that evokes the original challenges that his art presented in his own time while celebrating its enduring significance in our own. Under the direction of Valentina Castellani and installed in a dynamic transformation of the 21st Street gallery by architect Annabelle Selldorf, this unprecedented exhibition of the period will reveal Picasso’s secret muse and his l'amour fou Marie-Thérèse in a dramatic new light. www.gagosian.com

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Last Full Measure: A Collection of Civil War Photographs

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One hundred and fifty years ago yesterday America began a war with itself.  Over half a million would die. It was the bloodiest war in American history.  It was a war that defined our nation -  proof that goodness could triumph over oppression and evil - that common sense and justice would always prevail. We were a young, united union of proud, idealistic, and powerful Americans in the throes of a world wide industrial revolution. The first musket shots rang out on April 12th 1861.  Abraham Lincoln had just become president. All the Northern States had already abolished slavery. Lincoln planned to do the same and much more down South where slavery was still mostly legal. In response, the Southern cotton growing states succeeded and created The Confederacy, seeking independence from the United States.  The Civil War was not only a quagmire of differing political views - it was a fight for the protection of the old way and cheap labor - slavery. It was a fight born from stubbornness, refusal and also fear.  After fours years, famous battles were fought, entire cities were razed, states were won and lost, and in the end the North had won and the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, freeing all the slaves.  Now, one hundred fifty years later, we look back with intense curiosity at the thousands upon thousands of ambrotype and tintype photographs of the men who fought that fateful, hard-won battle.

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The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs, now on view in Washington D.C., is a collection from the Liljenquist Family Collection.  It includes stunning Civil War-era ambrotype and tintype photographs, associating the "human faces, often startlingly young, with statistics on both sides in this wrenching conflict. This exhibition features portraits of enlisted men in uniform—both Union and Confederate—and serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the war by displaying images of 360 Union soldiers in uniform—one for every thousand who died—and 52 rare images of Confederate soldiers—one for every five thousand casualties."

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Tom Liljenquist and his sons, life long inhabitants of Virginia, had become obsessed with the Civil War after finding bits of shells, artillery, and bullets around their home. In 2010 they donated what had become the Liljenquist Family Collection of ambrotype and tintypes to the Library Congress for posterity. This exhibition is on view until August 13, 2011 at the Library of Congress. www.myloc.gov

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre Images Courtesy of the Library of Congress

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NOBUYOSHI ARAKI, It Was Once a Paradise

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It Was Once a Paradise, Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki’s new series of photographs, shown as 40 diptychs, is a bi-polar collision of the id and superego. In his new, as-yet-unseen series, which will be shown later this month at Reflex Art Gallery in Amsterdam,  Araki “addresses the complex relationship between loss and desire, which translates as despair and hope, separation and symbiosis, the internal and the other.” Nobuyoshi Araki, who is now 71 and has published over 400 books of photography, has had a life long fascination with sex & death in his work.

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In his new series, Araki’s diptychs are a contrast of two independent, but mutual worlds. On one side are black and white photographs of close-ups of his Tokyo balcony, a place that was once his own private world shared with his late wife and cats - a sanctuary  now overrun with the despairing, assemblage of toy monsters and dinosaurs - symbolic of a certain infestation of deep melancholy and, seemingly, a realization of mortality. On the other side of the diptych is a color image of a beautiful, nude women, intricately tied up - adumbrative of the eternal, erotic, technicolor Oz of sexual desire.  In Japan, Kinbaku, or ’the beauty of tight binding’ is the intricate art of bondage of which Araki is somewhat of a master.  It can be concluded though, that a true elucidation of the meaning of Araki’s photographic oeuvre is not entirely attainable - which is a testament to their beauty and vast psychological complexity. Araki is, after all, an artist. Nobuyoshi Araki, It Was Once a Paradise will be on view from April 23 till July 16 2011 at the Alex Daniels - Reflex Gallery in Amsterdam. There will also be a book published in conjunction with the exhibit. www.reflexamsterdam.com

Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre

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DAVID BENJAMIN SHERRY: Form Forming Formation

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Touched by the Hand of God

David Benjamin Sherry, whose solo show is opening at OHWOW gallery on April 30th in Los Angeles, is a photographer on the rise, and maybe acid. Sherry's brilliant photographic machinations include strikingly prismatic still lives, tableau vivants, all with electric colors, and as a testament to the electricity of his images, all are analog C-Prints - which means he uses film.

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Spectral Red, Give Me Head Till I'm Dead

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Making Sure White Sand Dunes Stain

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Manorathadayaks

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Self Portrait as the Born Feeling Begins

The upcoming exhibition, Form Forming Formation, is a solo presentation of David Benjamin Sherry’s photographic work that studies "concepts of geometry, science, color, materiality, and the course of change." David Benjamin Sherry: Form Forming Formation is on view April 30 - May 27, 2011 at OHWOW gallery in Los Angeles. www.oh-wow.com

The Lake and Stars S/S 2011

Named after a Victorian euphemism for a woman’s skill in the bedroom, The Lake and Stars intimates balance provocation and humor, intelligence and sensuality, for a new vision of feminine style.

Streamlined lingerie and swimwear find a place among more traditional lingerie essentials, for creative pairings that revive the classic and redefine the seductive. Designed to stand alone or in complement to other clothes, the pieces themselves embody a broader view of lingerie as fashion expression, rather than costume. Their clean lines and assertive detailing describe unique stylistic characters all their own, making them as personal as they are diverse, and as accessible as they are luxurious. They are intimates meant to be seen—reflecting, as a fashion statement, on the open and sophisticated tastes of their wearer.

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For Spring 2011, designers Nikki Dekker and Maayan Zilberman took last season’s idea of “fetish” and explored it as a means of “ritual”. Inspired by the ‘80s New Age approach to spirituality and well-being, and today’s resurgence of communal living and cult practices, the team created their own “family” environment to stage various rituals. Playing with the notion that lingerie can be a key player in the ritual of romance, the new slideshow album, photographed by Tom Hines, offers tongue-in cheek advice on how to stay grounded and how not to take it all too seriously.

BVLGARI: THE ART OF JEWELLRY MAKING

Snake bracelet in gold and polychrome enamel, diamond eyes, ca. 1965

Slightly more demure and underrated, glimmering in the shadows of Cartier, the house of Bulgari – the 127 year old jewelry company – is taking new approaches and readapting vintage styles that have made them adored by so many of the glitterati: from hollywood to the royal palaces of Europe. By far their most elegant pieces are from the famous Serpenti collection.

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Snake watch-bracelet in gold and polychrome enamel, sapphire eyes, ca. 1965

Snake watch-bracelet in gold and polychrome enamel, sapphire eyes, ca. 1965

Snake belt in gold and white enamel, sapphire eyes, ca. 1970

Vist the Bulgari to see an small online retrospective of Bulgari jewellry - there will also be an exhibit at this summer's Art Basel in Switzerland. en.bulgari.com

Henry Leutwyler's Sacred Artifacts of Pop

Gold Beretta Elvis
Gold Beretta Elvis

Elvis Presley's Gold Beretta Henry Leutwyler's Artifacts series instantly turns this photographer into a brilliant archeologist of pop culture; carefully, methodically recording the contents for posterity.   There's Elvis' gold Beretta, Bob Dylans's harmonica, the pistol that took John Lennon's life and most famously Michael Jackson's glove. Neverland Lost, a portrait of Michael Jackson, an exhibit at Foley Gallery in New York explores a series of photographs Leutwyler captured at Jackson's Neverland Ranch a year before the singer died.

Elvis Presley's Wallet Bob Dylan's Harmonica Andy Warhols's Paintbrush The gun that killed John Lennon

Bruce Davidson's Rebellious Teenagers

Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson 1959, New York City, Coney Island, 1959.

Bruce Davidson, unlike other photographers before him, embedded himself in the world of his subjects for extended periods he even joined a circus in 1958 in order to get the right pictures the results of which formed themselves into series of powerful photo-essays. Brooklyn Gang' and East 100th Street' are perhaps his two most famous, and are the results of months and months living with both a gang of youths on Coney Island, and the inhabitants of a run-down tenement block in Harlem, New York. Through a combination of familiarity and his own visual poetry, Davidson brought these, and other subjects, to life in the many books and exhibitions that resulted from these projects.  Opening in May 2011, an exhibition in London will focus on several of these key photo-essays, namely, The Circus, Brooklyn Gang, Civil Rights Movement, East 100th Street, England/Scotland/Wales - 1960, and Central Park. www.chrisbeetlesfinephotographs.com

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Bruce Davidson, Kiss, 1959.

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Bruce Davidson 1959, New York City, Coney Island, 1959.

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Bruce Davidson 1959, New York City, Coney Island, 1959.

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Bruce Davidson 1959, New York City, Coney Island, 1959.

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Bruce Davidson 1959, New York City, Coney Island, 1959.

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Bruce Davidson 1959, New York City, Coney Island, 1959.