NEW YORK: MINIMUM-MAXIMUM

I went to New York for the third time in a year this October half term – the first time was for a college tour last October and then I was there again with friends in the summer. I always love discovering new things to do and places to go, so the Whitney was a pleasant surprise (along with my much-anticipated Judd Foundation visit of course!) on this particular trip, and I finally managed to walk the High Line too. In the summer, it was undoubtedly our dinner at Traif in Williamsburg that made the holiday, but this time the NYC itinerary was specifically art-focussed, and hence there was rather a lot of traipsing around galleries and museums.

What we didn’t expect to see at the Guggenheim was a congregation of transportation boxes ready to be levered open for a new exhibition. I thought this was in fact far more visually exiting than a full-blown show (and particularly refreshing after a moderate bout of art overload towards the end of the week). The way the clean architectural lines interacted with this jumbled cluster was certainly intriguing. I spent time wandering and listening to Kraftwerk, and the title of their 2005 album Minimum-Maximum seemed apt in conveying the juxtaposition of Minimalist sculptures at the MoMA with details from  rapturous Reniassance masterpieces at the Met.

Posted in Architecture, Art, Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

MK V&A

Ten years (!) of Meadham Kirchhoff were celebrated at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Friday night, with four consecutive catwalk shows reliving Ed’s and Ben’s favourite pieces from their archives as part of ‘Fashion in Motion’. Whole looks that I had never before seen in the flesh swept down the mosaic floor of the Raphael gallery. Admittedly most items were from the last three years or so, but everything was mixed and matched, and a few older pieces made public reappearances. A black embroidered Spring-Summer 2013 jacket was coupled with gold and silver-encrusted black trousers and boots from the Autumn-Winter 2009  collection.

It felt particularly special to see Edward’s prized glitter t-shirts, for example, [I found one on eBay earlier this year, but it disappeared almost immediately...] and the incredibly rare Madonna jacket shown above that my friend almost bought last year, of which I think only two were made in all. The show was open to everybody and tickets were free – it was just a case of reserving them quickly. It was split into four movements, the first starting with monochrome looks punctuated by small elements of colour, such as the yellow teddy bag from Autumn-Winter 2012. Models swiftly lined up in formation, and then marched off just as quickly in the vein of Autumn-Winter 2011.

This was followed by some of their more lurid creations, which trailed spontaneous tinsel or were ornamented with intricate Spring-Summer 2011 tiaras. Despite the limited set – boards printed with previous invitation designs, that folded or moved out of the way for the next scene – there was still the sense that this was a very Meadham Kirchhoff event, with gorgeous, attitude-stricken models recreating very fashion moments. I certainly felt rather emotional, and so proud to know Ed and Ben. It’s only a matter of time before some major Parisian house cunningly swoops in and projects their world onto an atelier with seemingly endless resources and expertise. After all, Alexander McQueen rolled the ‘Fashion in Motion’ series into action back in 1999…

Posted in Fashion | Tagged , | 1 Comment

JUDD FOUNDATION

There is nothing to describe the impressions I was left with, after wandering around Donald Judd’s recently restored and re-opened former home and studio on Spring Street, New York. Photographs were absolutely not permitted on this mid-October private tour, and even using those available online now feels a shame – they venture nowhere close to being there in reality, staring in the face of a patchwork of red hues that make up an Ad Reinhardt painting, or laying a finger on a tea stain atop the dining table.

Judd considered every aspect of his living, and this space, scrupulously curated with a preciousness unrivalled by any small independent gallery exhibition, testifies to an incredible modern design mentality that few, if any, have since lived up to. I was researching for an essay, but all facts became irrelevant as soon as I found myself confronted with these expanses of floorboards and windows. In a public setting, mounted on illuminated white walls, Judd’s sculptures often have an atmosphere of sterility and expressionlessness. Yet here, integrated into domestic scenery with limited artificial light and homely, absorptive surroundings, I saw these works in an entirely new light, moulding vast rooms in their entirety, rather than being conducted uncompromisingly by their surroundings.

The transition of walking from a tourist-packed street into the tranquility of the still ground floor (or first in American terms) was almost relieving, and for a moment I could sympathise with Judd’s own motives for eventually moving to the isolation of Marfa,  Texas, pained by SoHo’s rapidly energising scene. He is undoubtedly one of my favourite artists, and this visit only extended my admiration for his work, and my understanding of his methods. What is so special about 101 Spring Street is the intimacy of the space, and the ability for one to scrutinise the details Judd cared about so much, particularly without a large crowd of fellow visitors. A novel New York highlight, which should be booked a couple of months in advance to avoid disappointment.

[All art copyright Judd Foundation, c/o Judd Foundation Archive, Carl Andre, Ad Reinhardt, John Chamberlain and Stephen Flavin; licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photographs copyright of their respective owners - hover over images for details.]

Posted in Architecture, Art, Design, Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment