Posts by: Phaedra Brucato, Senior Art & Music Editor

 


I have a strong inclination toward jewelry that is pregnant with austerity.  There is something to be said for a statement piece that is immediately more commanding than the sum of its surrounding outfit, and the concrete jewelry cast by Bergner Schmidt undeniably fills this role.

These pieces exude a presence that is on par with the great minimalist works of Robert Morris or the tilted arcs of Richard Serra.  The bodies wearing these pieces seem to be practically molded to the concrete, controlled by the pithy secrets whispered by their anatomy.  It’s clear these are pieces that turn cogs one rarely exercises in the realm of fashion.  The question then arises: is the jewelry or the human form the true sculpture to be appreciated?

GET IT HERE.

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P.L.U.R. (peace love unity and respect) are the four pillars of raver culture.  This acronym is frequently featured on the brightly colored ‘Kandi’ jewelry that so often adorn the limbs of these ecstatic dancers.  Now, I’m not saying you should walk out of work right this second and buy super baggy neon pants and furry ears to wear around on the daily, but there is something magnetic about the colors featured in this culture, and Blandine Bardeau, the French jewelry designer has very succinctly captured this fluorescence in her pieces.  These are by no means understated, in fact, they are outright loud, yet they carry a beauty that evokes Zulu tribal jewelry, Native American beadwork, and most notably the aforementioned London rave scene.

Blandine Bardeau graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009, and in addition to her jewelry she actively pursues illustration.  In both mediums she deals with the fantastic, allowing for a graceful touch of the absurd in all of her work.  Despite her newcomer status, she has already designed and put together jewelry for a Selfridges storefront, had her jewelry featured in many music videos, and has pieces that can be purchased in stores all over the world.

GET IT HERE.


I don’t know about you, but I find numbers stiff, rigid, stuck in the interminable grasp of tradition, each digit signifying aging, death, and destruction. They make reading a clock an utter chore, droll forms leering back at you, forcing you to linger on how much time you just wasted.  Ick.

So I searched for an alternative… a clock unlike all other clocks.  I found just that in the above, a clever take on the age-old device, courtesy of the London-based Paula Collective.

Introduce yourself to the Solid Ho Clock, a time-telling device that employs shapes to do the job of numbers.  The clock begins with a tetrahedron, and ends with a dodecahedron.  This is for the geometrically minded, the artists, the unabashed aesthetes.

GET IT HERE.

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Don’t miss Samson Gallery’s current show by Mark Cooper, titled “More is More”.

The exhibit is an apotheosis of decades of work, spanning every tangible medium imaginable.  Walking in, the senses are hit as if by a freight train, each fragment of the work puncturing a different visceral moment of recognition.  Cooper works with sculpture, paint, and paper primarily, but his antic shapes are maggots in doll’s clothes, playful yet completely and compellingly unsettling.

There is something grossly honest about this work, like the first time a child looks at you in earnest and asks why people have to die.  The show runs through December 10th.

MARC COOPER
‘More is More’
Samson Gallery
450 Harrison Avenue / 29 Thayer Street
Boston, MA 02118
T | (617) 357-7177

 

This bracelet evokes a post-apocalyptic city licked by neon flames, that or the jewelry all the bombshells in Tron wanted to be wearing but couldn’t afford.  The delicate form of the feathers offsets the futuristic angles and hard edges in the bracelet; thus creating a simple yet interesting contrast that could be worn day into night.

This cuff is a total conversation piece, and it could even function as a Rorschach test of sorts – if your new friend/suitor/business partner doesn’t see something exotic in the bracelet, they probably won’t be worth your precious time. Just saying.

GET IT HERE.

P.S. You should also check out the Noir blog


On November 1st, as part of the DANCE/DRAW exhibition at the ICA in Boston, Paul Chan and William Forsythe will be speaking in conversation with ICA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth.  The talk will explore the junction of performance and art, focusing on 21st century artists that have branched out from their specific medium.  The DANCE/DRAW show, which opened October 7th, is an interesting mélange of works in and of itself.  Here Molesworth is attempting to examine how the body leaves traces after movement, exploring performance, performance art, and more traditional physical arts, and how the interplay between these different dimensions of art has formed something a little more complex when one compares the corporeal verses the ethereal.

William Forsythe is a brilliant contemporary choreographer and dancer, known for being one of the first to re-envision classical ballet choreography, deconstructing said choreography’s structures and forms in extremely groundbreaking ways.  He is also acutely engaged in other forms of art-making, particular performance and multimedia work.

Paul Chan is a contemporary art genius out of New York, and truly embraces the contemporary interdisciplinarity of art-making, working primarily in multimedia but never limiting himself to one medium.  His work has been in many exhibitions worldwide, including solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London and the New Museum in New York.  He is represented by Greene Neftali gallery in Manhattan.

Find out more about the talk and exhibition at the ICA’s website.


If you aren’t going crazy putting the finishing touches on your Halloween costume, get out tonight, the 25th, for a show of chthonian proportions.

Think Tank bistrotheque in Cambridge will be hosting a coven of musicians known for their dark attributes and luciferian aesthetics.  Five Witchhouse artists will be gathering to blow your mind with the lugubrious, trance-driven beats that we love them for.  Headlining will be RITUALZ, otherwise known as †‡†, making his first appearance in the US.  This is going to be an exciting night, and with visuals by ctrl.alt.design, you can expect the aural to be perfectly complemented by the imaged.

Bring a pack of friends, take your most evil costume ideas for a test drive, and dance with your head down clutching a stiff cocktail.  Check out the event and read more about the artists HERE.


Outside of Seoul, Korea, lies a house that is unique from the typical buildings you would see dotting the Korean landscape. Built by the Finnish architect Sami Rintala, The Element House winks down at visitors from atop a forest park in the city of Anyang, and operates as a secular temple paying homage to each of the four elements: water, fire, earth and air.  A cavernous cube that supports its four elemental limbs is the anchor for this man-made sanctuary, and each separate room highlights one of the aforementioned elements.

The park lies in a river valley that has long been a treasured Buddhist retreat.  Colored concrete forms a bed for incense, and guests may feel free to rest in the building, enjoy lunch, or just sit and clear the mind while contemplating the scenery.

The Elements House is a rumination on how a building could stand in as the polar opposite of the corybantic dynamism of a city such as Seoul.  Its purpose?  To remind us that beauty can most easily be found in nature, and that silence of the mind is as powerful as thought.

The HYÈRES FESTIVAL is a competition that takes place each spring in the south of France at the Villa Noailles.  The very selective and prestigious competition has two categories: fashion and photography.  Young designers and photographers proffer to the public their work, which is then examined by a highly-esteemed jury.

This year that jury is a veritable roster of fashion’s most notable names. In the designer category: London-based wunderkind Christopher Kane, Proenza Schouler’s Lazaro Hernandez & Jack McCollough and Tim Blanks of Style.com. In the photography category:  Tom Watt of Artreview and Jason Evans and Magdalene Keaney of Fashion Space. Intimidated yet?

This is a fantastic opportunity to shine if you think you have the talent.  Not sure? I’ve devised an easy litmus test:
a. Have the gods and goddesses on Mt. Olympus appeared to you in visions and donned your new collection?
b. Have you awoke from sleepwalking hanging off the edge of a building clutching your Canon 60D in a divinely inspired attempt to photograph the brilliant light of dawn against a crumbling facade?

If you answered yes to either you should apply.

This is how Viktor & Rolf got their big break, after all, among other terrifically notable designers and photographers. Applications are due December 5th, so start your sketching and snapping ASAP.

DETAILS HERE.


The new video collaboration between filmmaker Harmony Korine and Proenza Schouler is a doozy. After the brilliant film Act Da Fool, which showcased Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2010 RTW collection, I was overwhelmed with anticipation for this year’s creative iteration, titled Snowballs.  The video was premiered (quite fittingly) at Silencio, a club in Paris designed completely by David Lynch.

Observing Act Da Fool in juxtaposition with Snowballs, I would venture to say that if you give Korine an inch he is wont to take a mile.

The first film stirred up some controversy, with arguments focused on the misrepresentation of urban culture. One must realize that Korine’s whole oeuvre focuses on groups that often go unnoticed.  His portraits of these individuals come from a completely different angle than we are generally used to, and therefore arouse distain and controversy among many critics.

With that introduction, lets delve into Snowballs – the most alien portrayal of fashion I’ve witnessed.  The video’s protagonists are two young females decked out in selections from Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2011 RTW line, juxtaposed against an assortment of cheap store-bought ‘Indian’ headdresses, plastic bags as shoes, and other passing accoutrements as costume.  Styled by Pop magazine’s Vanessa Reid, the pairings point to society’s nascent obsession with Native American cultures, and are rightly spliced with a heavy dose of the derelict.

The two protagonists move through this dystopian space in a puckish manner, dancing in backyard forts, and wandering down deserted Nashville streets, where manufactured homes dot the landscape to form a decidedly lackluster setting for gorgeous clothes. It’s an unsettling narrative, to say the least, wherein a nasally sing-song voiceover vaguely references issues of American Indian oppression.

As the film proceeds, it explores a decidedly Lynchian aura, causing an inexplicable feeling that forced me to the edge of my seat multiple times.  The sets become blanketed in darkness, with characters losing layers of clothing as day turns to night.  At one point a male character enters the narrative, ranting prophetically, as if possessed.

Snowballs does not have the same evocative, dreamlike qualities of Act Da Fool; you can’t let it take you away like a magic carpet.  But Snowballs is effective in that it incites a strong curiosity: what is the true context of these clothes, and what is their origin in terms of influences?  Proenza Schouler said they looked at many Native American textiles for inspiration, yet the wearers of the clothing are far removed from those influences.  We are trained to critique the conceptual within art, the aesthetic within fashion, but the true beauty of Snowballs is that Korine invites us to do both, giving the fashion a space within which to live and breathe, and indirectly imbuing the clothes with a meaning beyond artifice.

 

The skies are darkening and the sharpened, menacing shapes of this necklace are luring depressive dressing habits back out from my inner psyche.

Bevel jewelry takes inspiration from the mytho-historical narratives of the ancient Guatemalan document Popul Vuh.  That means there is a silly yet still entertaining little backstory behind every piece, this particular one involving a sacrificed head hanging from a tree that spit onto the hand of Xquic, a daughter of a lord, impregnating her with the Hero Twins.  Talk about one fanciful Immaculate Conception.  The “thistles” on the necklace are representative of the 7 heads that were hanging on this tree during the time Xquic visited the tree.   Kind of a darling story that balances creepiness with heroicism.  Perfect fodder for daydreams and nightsweats.

GET IT HERE.

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