Monday, February 28, 2011

Phyllis Galembo: "Maske" revisited

I am truly fond of Phyllis Galembo's work. Galembo is a photographer and professor of Art at the University at Albany, State University of  New York. She has exhibited extensively in museums, most recently Call and Response in collaboration with Nick Cave at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in conjunction with Spoleto Festival USA. Her  work can also be seen in five published books, Aso-ebi: Cloth of the Family, Divine Inspiration from Benin to Bahia, Vodou: Visions and Voices of Haiti, Dressed for Thrills: 100 years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerade and Maske
For over two decades, Phyllis Galembo has documented cultural and religious traditions in Africa and the African Diaspora. Traveling widely throughout western and central Africa, and regularly to Haiti, her subjects are participants in masquerade events - traditional African ceremonies and contemporary fancy dress and carnival - who use costume, body paint and masks  to create mythic characters. Sometimes entertaining and humorous, often dark and frightening, her portraits document and describe the transformation power of the mask.

The exhibition Phyllis Galembo: Maske features recent photographs by the artist , including sixteen large-scale color prints of African and Haitian figures in indigenous masquerade costume. The exhibit also coincides with the release of Galembo's new book, Maske (Boot, 2010).

Exhibition at Steven Kasher Gallery, NY, March 2 - April 2, 2011
Opening reception and book signing, March 2, 6-8 pm

Four Children in Fancy Dress, Nobles Masquerade,
Winneba, Ghana, 2009

Two in Fancy Dress with Pointed Hats, Tumus
Masquerade Group, Winneba Ghana, 2010

Panther, Dodo Masquerade, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 2009

Kambulo and Kapada, Makishi Masquerade, Kaoma, Zambia, 2007

Fancy Dress and Rasta, Nobles Masquerade Group, Winneba, Ghana, 2009

Water Buffalo Devil, Red Indians, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2008

Ghost and Bull, Dodo Masquerade, Bobo-Dioulasso,
Burkina Faso, 2009

Janus Mask, Nkim Village, Nigeria, 2005

Atal Masquerade, Emanghabe Village, Nigeria, 2004

Agbago (Big Horse Who Comes in the Night) Masquerade,
Mountain Cut, Sierra Leon, 2009

Atam Masquerader, Alok Village, Cross River, Nigeria, 2004

All images courtesy of Phyllis Galembo/Steven Kasher Gallery
Phyllis Galembo

This post is also featured on The Huffington Post

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

The exhibition, organized by The Costume Institute, will celebrate the late Alexander McQueen's extraordinary contributions to fashion. From his postgraduate collection of 1992 to his final runway presentation which took place after his death in February 2010, Mr. McQueen challenged and expanded the understanding of fashion beyond utility to a conceptual expression of culture, politics, and identity. His iconic designs constitute the work of an artist whose medium of expression was fashion. Approximately one hundred examples will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, May 4 - July 31, 2011.

"McQueen's work fits easily in the discourse of art. He can be considered no less than a great artist," said Thomas Campbell, director of the museum.

All the images below are from the exhibition catalogue Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011.

Courtesy of Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)
Dress, F/W 2010

Dress, F/W 2010

Ensemble, VOSS, S/S 2001

Dress, VOSS, S/S 2001

Dress, The Horn of Plenty, F/W 2009-10

Dress, No. 13, S/S 1999

Dress, Irere, S/S 2003

Dress, Sarabande, S/S 2007

Ensemble, Plato's Atlantis, S/S 2010

Dress, F/W 2010-11

Ensemble, It's a Jungle Out There, F/W 1997-98

Dress, Widows of Culloden, F/W 2006-07

Photography by Solve Sundsbo

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Postcard Art of Gilbert & George

Gilbert (1943) and George (1942), both art students, met in 1967 at St Martin's School of Art in London  (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design). In 1969, they created their first "singing and living sculptures," making themselves both subjects and objects of their works in a perfect fusion of their art and their everyday life. Gilbert & George then start to appear as "living sculptures" in museums and galleries. The pair are perhaps best know for their large scale photo works. The Pictures dating from 1971 are the first grid-arrangements, which would henceforth become their formal signature. In 1980, their iconography becomes more complex containing endless levels of meanings from symbolic and allegorical to the most unbridled eroticism, to the religious, political and personal.
Since 1972, Gilbert & George have used postcards widely in their art, those dating from the Edwardian period or the First World War until the more modern, mass-produced ones for the tourist trade.

In the Urethra Postcard Pictures, the two artists describe the modern urban world, by tackling subjects in a simple and direct way, like nationalism, patriotism, sexuality, but also the city in which they live and work, London along with its touristic and sexual attractions ....
They created 564 pictures in total, 76 of which are currently on view at Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery-Paris from February 17 to March 19, 2011.

Urethra Postcard Pictures
Bulldog Jack, 2009

Flag Bear, 2009

Tulips, 2009

Mr. Churchill & HM, 2009

Saluting, 2009

Three Bears, 2009

English Massage, 2009

Bridge & Ensign, 2009

Bridge & Pink, 2009

Shadow, 2009

Wheel Hall Bus, 2009

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

London Fashion Week: Mary Katrantzou Fall/Winter 2011

Another beautiful collection from the young designer Mary Katrantzou, a graduate of Central Saint Martins, known for her lampshade dresses with trompe-l'oeil prints of furniture, houses and landscapes. Her fall/winter collection features shaped dresses, flare pants, exquisite knitwear and leggings on silk, satin and velvet with prints inspired by antique porcelain, and Chinese silk screens.

Images via

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jeanloup Sieff, the Eternal Dandy

Jeanloup Sieff (1993-2000) was a great French photographer. He began photographing in the early 1950s, worked as a freelance reporter, leaving aside his brief interest in cinema. He started shooting fashion photography, and in 1958 joined the Magnum Agency. Sieff was a star, one of the first French photographers who made it in America, a winner of several prizes, including the Prize Niepce, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 1981 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1992. He worked for numerous magazines such as Elle, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and also published books including J'aime la danse (1962) and Faites comme si je n'etais pas la (2000).

Jeanloup Sieff had a huge popular appeal, in France and elsewhere. His black-and-white pictures, always exquisitely printed, became his trademark style. Dancers and nudes were two recurring themes in his works. A dandy all his life, early risers in Paris grew used to the longhaired and elegant man driving his stylish vintage English sports car for an early breakfast in the St Germain district.
This exhibition at Moderna Museet-Stockholm features a selection from Sieff's photographic oeuvre, with a special focus on his images portraying dance.

All images courtesy Jeanloup Sieff@The Estate of JeanLoup Sieff, Paris
Yves Saint Laurent, Paris 1971

Catherine Deneuve, Vogue, Paris, 1969

Ballet Paris Opera, 1960

Opera de Paris, 1988
Carolyn Carlson, Paris, 1974

Blanca Li, Paris, 1996

Judy, New york, 1965

Harper's Bazaar, Palm Beach, 1964

Harper's Bazaar, Hollywood, 1962

Courtesy Jeanloup Sieff@The Estate of Jeanloup Sieff, Paris
Jeanloup Sieff exhibition is currently on view February 19 - May 22, 2011