Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The True Artist

Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, 1967, neon and clear glass tubing suspension supports

Monday, January 25, 2021

BEAUTY: Painting--Men of Antiquity, Part Nine

In a continuing series (previous entries seen here), here are, yet again, a lot of handsome-ass men from long ago...


Top to bottom: Alexy Tyranov--Portrait of a Man; Alexy Tyranov--Portrait the artist A. Alexeyev; Charles Osgood--Portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne; Ernest Castelein--Society portrait of a handsome young man; Eugene Delacroix--Portrait of Louis-Auguste Schwiter; Eugene Edward Speicher--Portrait of Clarence J. McCarthy; Giovanni Antonio Guardi--Self portrait; Ilya Repin--Portrait of Andreyev; Jean Frederic Bazille--Portrait of Renoir; Jean-Louis David--Portrait presume de son gaolier; Robert Harris--A man of no account; Soběslav Pinkas--Self portrait; unknown--Portrait of an unknown young man; William Etty--Academic Study Of A Male Nude As A Standard Bearer; Władysław Czachórski--Portrait of Stanisław Czachórski in a masquerade outfit a la van Dyck

Sunday, January 24, 2021

BEAUTY: Clothing--Rick Owens

The incomparable Rick Owens...I feel he is the absolute unofficial king of avant garde fashion. Here are his words for "Gethsemane," his FW '21-'22 collection, which was filmed in front of a 1965 Mustang parked on the seaside in Venice, where he and Michèle Lamy have been quarantining. And it is another outstanding collection...I of course love the thigh-high platform boots, some in a grungy, Oscar the Grouch-type green fur, and many pieces are oversized to present the wearer as a human tank. This was done on purpose, to express Owens' ideas for the collection which takes on the ideas of rage and masculinity. He said, "I thought this morning, Does it feel a little tone deaf because now all of a sudden everything has shifted? Now that it’s all about optimism? But that dark element has not disappeared. And the fact that it came so close, this moral war, is horrifying...I’m always conscious of my own aggression. And the older that I get, I feel like I should have reached a level of serenity that I just haven’t; I get impatient, I get itchy, I snap at people sometimes. Aggression is something that I’m fascinated with because I’m constantly conscious of wrestling with it, personally. And I think that that’s true of every man." 

GETHSEMANE WAS THE GARDEN JESUS PRAYED IN THE NIGHT BEFORE THE CRUCIFIXION; A PLACE OF UNEASY REPOSE AND DISQUIET BEFORE A FINAL RECKONING. WE’RE ALL LIVING A TENSE PERIOD IN HISTORY WAITING FOR A RESOLUTION, BE IT CATASTROPHIC OR RATIONAL, IN A SUSPENSE THAT FEELS ALMOST BIBLICAL IN ITS DRAMA – PRIMITIVE AND PROFANE.

JKTS AND COATS IN LEATHER AND SHEARLING THAT SEAL THE BODY WITH INTEGRATED GLOVES AND ZIP UP OVER THE FACE SPEAK OF PROTECTION AND WITHDRAWAL. HORROR.

SKIN TIGHT LEATHER BODYSUITS UNDERPIN MOST LOOKS, SOME WITH THE TOP PULLED DOWN TO HANG OFF THE HIPS. SHARP, EXAGGERATED SHOULDERS ON TAILORED COATS AND CROPPED BOMBERS MOCK MALE CONSERVATISM CAREENING OFF THE RAILS.

HEAVY RECYCLED CASHMERE SWEATERS TWIST AROUND THE BODY – THEY CAN PULL UP TO DOUBLE OR PEEL DOWN TO TRAIL OFF THE BODY. THE SAME YARNS ARE USED TO KNIT ROOMY BLANKET- SIZED HOODED ROBES. BIBLICAL.

THESE HOODED ROBES ARE REPEATED IN DUVET WHICH ALSO COMES IN CROPPED JKTS PEELING OFF THE TORSO.

TIGHTY-WHITIES WITH PENTAGRAM FLYS ADD MORE UNHINGED MALE ENERGY WHEN WORN WITH THIGH HIGH COWHIDE FUR BOOTS – WITH A PLATFORM HEEL OR A BALLAST SOLE – UNDER COATS MADE FROM RECYCLED PLASTIC WASTE WITH THE SLEEVES RIPPED OFF. HAIRY LEGS, ORGANIC PENTAGRAM UNDERWEAR, AND JUMBO RECYCLED COATS WITH PANDEMIC MASKS – A ROUGH SKETCH OF OUR BARBARIC CONTRADICTORY TIMES.

DRAGGING OVERSIZED JEANS ARE IN 16OZ BLACK WARP/BLACK WEFT/BLACK SELVEDGE DENIM CUSTOM WOVEN FOR US BY YAMAASHI ORIMONO (EST. 1945) ON VINTAGE SAKAMOTO SHUTTLE LOOMS. THIS IS FROM AN ONGOING DRKSHDW CAPSULE MADE IN JAPAN.

THE RAMONES WERE ALWAYS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BANDS – LOUD AND DUMB CAN ALSO BE CONCISE AND ELEGANT... THEY HAD THE WHOLE PACKAGE – THE RIGHT ATTITUDE, THE RIGHT CHORDS, THE RIGHT HIP BONES, THE RIGHT GRAPHICS, THE RIGHT HAIR, AND THE RIGHT SHOES – CONVERSE. YEARS AGO, I DID MY OWN DUMBER AND LOUDER VERSION OF THESE SNEAKERS AND THIS SEASON CONVERSE AGREED TO GRAFT MY CRUDE VERSION ONTO THEIR ORIGINAL AND MUTATE THEIR SIGNATURE TOE CAP. THE TONGUE IS EXTENDED AND THE LABEL AND LICENSE PLATES ARE ALTERED TO REFLECT THE DRKSHDW COLLABORATION.

THE SOUNDTRACK IS AN EXCLUSIVE EXTENDED REMIX OF ‘HELLRAP’ BY GHOSTEMANE THAT SPEAKS TO THE MALE SUPPRESSED RAGE ON EVERY SIDE OF THE MORAL DIVIDE..




BEAUTY: Clothing--ERL

Newish brand ERL is pretty much a one-man operation, headed by Eli Russell Linnetz. Born and raised in Venice, California, he is a multi-talented screen and voice actor, director, photographer, and stage designer who studied screenwriting and costume design at the University of Southern California. In 2016, he directed Kanye West’s “Fade” video, starring Teyona Taylor. By the following year, he was photographing a campaign for Comme des Garçons perfumes. He subsequently directed several music Videos for West and photographed celebrities like Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez. 

Only in its third season, ERL sports a specific Californian vibe and while the clothing in this collection might not be revolutionary or singularly artistic, it is this exact vibe that tickles me. A sort of 1970s/1980s daydream of California surfer/ski boys in underwear and long johns, it feels like an homage to gay porn from that period (if anyone dares, Google "The Summer of Scott Noll").

Titled "The Final Frontier," his Fall-Winter 21-22 collection riffs on the Space Age, the shaggy/Glam ’70s, and a tiny bit of the gaudy ’80s with some Liberace-like eveningwear. He collaborated with French sportswear and equipment brand Salomon for a few ski-inspired pieces, but I especially love the fluffy, furry shearling that is made from...wait for it...a newly invented corn-fiber material so it is completely sustainable and vegan!


https://www.elirusselllinnetz.com/erl

BEAUTY: Clothing--JW Anderson

Jonathan Anderson, of his eponymous brand JW Anderson, has been effected by the pandemic, like many of us. During quarantine/lockdown/stay-at-home/shelter-in-place, many have had time, for the first time in a while, to think, take stock, reassess, realize, and hopefully understand. As he says, he and his team were playing with new ideas within gender, within fabrication, and how collections are shown--the ideas of experimentation, simplicity, reduction, and handmade craft.

And this genderless Fall Winter 21-22 collection for Paris Fashion Week (it seems odd to call it Paris Fashion Week when it is all digital and could happen anywhere), photographed by legendary fine art and fashion photographer Juergen Teller, shows all that. Mohair sweater dresses with integrated nylon belts, unusual dyed shearling tabards, silver hand screened onto English wool, hand crocheted radishes stitched onto mohair sweaters, and incredibly wide cut trousers. A harder sell is going to be the jersey dress with balloon sleeves for men...not so much because of any cross-dressing phobia but simply because of the shapeless nature of the body..it just doesn't seem that flattering. But I do appreciate the vegetable imagery, the felted shapes on sweater tops, and the wonderful swollen chain detail on the loafers shown with a head of broccoflower!



Thursday, January 21, 2021

Reasons To Be Optimistic About The Vaccine

We explain why the vaccine news is better than you may think.

by David Leonhardt
January 18, 2021 for New York Times

‘We’re underselling the vaccine’
Early in the pandemic, many health experts — in the U.S. and around the world — decided that the public could not be trusted to hear the truth about masks. Instead, the experts spread a misleading message, discouraging the use of masks.

Their motivation was mostly good. It sprung from a concern that people would rush to buy high-grade medical masks, leaving too few for doctors and nurses. The experts were also unsure how much ordinary masks would help.

But the message was still a mistake.

It confused people. (If masks weren’t effective, why did doctors and nurses need them?) It delayed the widespread use of masks (even though there was good reason to believe they could help). And it damaged the credibility of public health experts.

“When people feel as though they may not be getting the full truth from the authorities, snake-oil sellers and price gougers have an easier time,” the sociologist Zeynep Tufekci wrote early last year.

Now a version of the mask story is repeating itself — this time involving the vaccines. Once again, the experts don’t seem to trust the public to hear the full truth.

This issue is important and complex enough that I’m going to make today’s newsletter a bit longer than usual. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to email me at themorning@nytimes.com.

‘Ridiculously encouraging’ 
Right now, public discussion of the vaccines is full of warnings about their limitations: They’re not 100 percent effective. Even vaccinated people may be able to spread the virus. And people shouldn’t change their behavior once they get their shots.

These warnings have a basis in truth, just as it’s true that masks are imperfect. But the sum total of the warnings is misleading, as I heard from multiple doctors and epidemiologists last week.

“It’s driving me a little bit crazy,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown School of Public Health, told me.

“We’re underselling the vaccine,” Dr. Aaron Richterman, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, said.

“It’s going to save your life — that’s where the emphasis has to be right now,” Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine said.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are “essentially 100 percent effective against serious disease,” Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said. “It’s ridiculously encouraging.”

The details
Here’s my best attempt at summarizing what we know:

*The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — the only two approved in the U.S. — are among the best vaccines ever created, with effectiveness rates of about 95 percent after two doses. That’s on par with the vaccines for chickenpox and measles. And a vaccine doesn’t even need to be so effective to reduce cases sharply and crush a pandemic.

*If anything, the 95 percent number understates the effectiveness, because it counts anyone who came down with a mild case of Covid-19 as a failure. But turning Covid into a typical flu — as the vaccines evidently did for most of the remaining 5 percent — is actually a success. Of the 32,000 people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine in a research trial, do you want to guess how many contracted a severe Covid case? One.

*Although no rigorous study has yet analyzed whether vaccinated people can spread the virus, it would be surprising if they did. “If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!” Dr. Paul Sax of Harvard has written in The New England Journal of Medicine. (And, no, exclamation points are not common in medical journals.) On Twitter, Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California, San Francisco, argued: “Please be assured that YOU ARE SAFE after vaccine from what matters — disease and spreading.”

*The risks for vaccinated people are still not zero, because almost nothing in the real world is zero risk. A tiny percentage of people may have allergic reactions. And I’ll be eager to see what the studies on post-vaccination spread eventually show. But the evidence so far suggests that the vaccines are akin to a cure.

Offit told me we should be greeting them with the same enthusiasm that greeted the polio vaccine: “It should be this rallying cry.”

The costs of negativity
Why are many experts conveying a more negative message?

Again, their motivations are mostly good. As academic researchers, they are instinctively cautious, prone to emphasizing any uncertainty. Many may also be nervous that vaccinated people will stop wearing masks and social distancing, which in turn could cause unvaccinated people to stop as well. If that happens, deaths would soar even higher.

But the best way to persuade people to behave safely usually involves telling them the truth. “Not being completely open because you want to achieve some sort of behavioral public health goal — people will see through that eventually,” Richterman said. The current approach also feeds anti-vaccine skepticism and conspiracy theories.

After asking Richterman and others what a better public message might sound like, I was left thinking about something like this:

We should immediately be more aggressive about mask-wearing and social distancing because of the new virus variants. We should vaccinate people as rapidly as possible — which will require approving other Covid vaccines when the data justifies it.

People who have received both of their vaccine shots, and have waited until they take effect, will be able to do things that unvaccinated people cannot — like having meals together and hugging their grandchildren. But until the pandemic is defeated, all Americans should wear masks in public, help unvaccinated people stay safe and contribute to a shared national project of saving every possible life.


Link to original article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/18/briefing/donald-trump-pardon-phil-spector-coronavirus-deaths.html

Monday, January 18, 2021

MLK Day 2021

BEAUTY: Clothing--Prada and Raf Simons

For this FW '21-'22 collection during Milano Moda Uomo, two titans of fashion collaborated: Mrs. Prada worked with Raf Simons, the first time the pair have co-created a collection. And true to my prediction, the pair showed a COVID-quarantine inspired collection but instead of day pajamas, the pair decided to explore that old garment, the long john. In a post-show Zoom press conference, Prada and Simons said the collection was intended to work on an emotional level and not a narrative level. "We started talking very early on about what kind of piece could represent something very close to the body, literally being almost a representation of the body. We were looking for something that could be maybe a symbolic piece for all these kinds of feelings that we feel right now."

And the long john is a piece of clothing that evokes all sorts of feelings: it can be perceived as an infantilized garment like a child's onesie or romper, it can be seen as an Old West cowboy macho reference ("Sexual cowboy," as Simons put it! while Prada said her reference was "rock n' roll"), it is something that completely reveals the body in its outline but cocoons it as the same time. Warmth and comfort at the heart. I think that is the COVID response. They showed long johns of mohair, fine gauge knit, and Shetland wool, in patterns reminiscent of Art Deco or 70s English wallpaper, worn alone or as a foundation garment worn under shirts, trousers, suits, and outer coats. The video here presents a show of the garments in a Rem Koolhaas-OMA-designed set of fur-lined rooms (more comfort and warmth) for ten minutes, and the next thirty minutes are a wonderful, informative Q&A session with Prada and Simons and a FaceTime gathering of fashion students from around the world.