Category Archives: Fashion

The Naked Man at the Met Gala (Mildly NSFW — Brief Nudity)

“Art Is Anything You Can Get Away With”

That quotation is frequently attributed to Andy Warhol, and it certainly sounds like something he would have said, but it was Marshall “The Medium Is the Message” McLuhan who actually coined the phrase.

Sometimes, for some artists, Art Is Anything…whether you get away with it or not.  Take Russian artist/provocateur Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich, for instance.

Here he is doing a performance piece called Os Caquis (The Persimmons), outside the School of Visual Arts in Rio de Janeiro in 2015.


That’s Pavlov-Andreevich, sitting naked on a tall plywood chair at the entrance to the museum. His assistant is offering very soft persimmons to the visitors, who are invited to throw them at the artist.

The goal?

“By the end of the performance the artist and the podium will all be covered in the orange pulp from the more or less successful attempts of the visitors to hit the artist.”

Ah! That explains it!

And then there’s Fyodor’s Performance Carousel-II, a hard-to-describe collaborative performative installation he orchestrated last year in Vienna.

This is all leading up to what happened last Monday night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Background

The Met Gala is the big annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. It’s an evening packed with celebrities—this year’s honorary chairs were Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams—and with the very, very rich.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour—the presumed model for the “Miranda Priestly” character in The Devil Wears Prada—is a trustee of the Met, and oversees the annual 700-person guest list. Those not on the list can buy individual tickets to the Gala for $25,000.

It was only $15,000 until 2014. They raised the price to keep out the riffraff.


Enter Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich

Fyodor’s most famous—maybe notorious is a more appropriate word—performance piece is called Foundling. Over the past two years, he’s staged it, uninvited, at art-related events in Venice, Moscow, London, and São Paulo. On Monday, 1 May 2017, he completed the five-part performance art project at the Met Gala in New York.

Foundling is easy to describe:  Fyodor gets completely undressed and curls up inside a clear plastic box. He’s tall, and it’s a tight fit. The box is then sealed and transported to the event du jour. The artist’s assistants deposit the box, and the naked artist within, at the selected site.

Here’s how it went down in New York:


The Aftermath

Despite the fact that the Gala attendees and staff shown in the video were amused rather than disturbed or offended, Pavlov-Andreevich was arrested on a bunch of bogus misdemeanor charges, including  public lewdness, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct.

So much for New York’s celebrated reputation for sophistication and tolerance for eccentricity—the police were never called in at any of the previous four performances of Foundling, and Fyodor has never been arrested anywhere else.

The box remains in police custody. “If anyone cares about the box’ fate, it’s under arrest as well,” Pavlov wrote on Facebook.

Free Fyodor!  And free the box, too!  

Je suis Pavlov-Andreevich!


All photos and videos came from the artist’s website, linked above. It’s well worth a visit.

Odds and Ends at Mocenigo Palazzo

In what seems like a familiar story, Palazzo Mocenigo was the home of a branch of the powerful Mocenigo family—seven family members became doges—for more than 300 years. The line died out in the mid-20th century, and the palace was willed to the city on the death of the last Mocenigo widow, with the stipulation that it become an art gallery to complement Museo Correr.

Today the museum is the home of the Study Centre for the History of Textiles and Costumes.* It also houses a mixture of partially restored period rooms, with their contents largely drawn from other Venice museums, and a small but fascinating section devoted to the history of perfume in Venice’s society and commerce.

A reconstruction of a perfumer’s workshop.

From the costume collection.

Remember the door that I plotted to steal from Ca’ Rezzonico? These waistcoats are worthy of that door.

I’ve decided that once I smuggle the door past customs and install it at home, I’m going to establish a detailed dress code for anyone who uses it. Vests like these will be required; if you think you can enter wearing your ratty black Ramones t-shirt, forget about it.


Murano, of course, like the picture at the top of the posting. They’ve been making chandeliers like this for centuries, but the design looks absolutely contemporary


*You can see some beautiful examples from the collection on the Mocenigo Palazzo’s page at the Google Arts and Culture site.

What the Well-Dressed Venetian Will Wear

Back at Piazza San Marco, I found a captivating shop called Venice Land, which offers Carnevale costumes and masks for sale or rent. This is the stuff of dreams.

Expensive dreams, though. While you can buy little plastic Carnevale masks for a few euros on any street in Venice, serious goods like these are another story entirely. For beautiful work like the objects in these pictures, costume rental is in the hundreds, and sale is in the thousands.

Ghost in the Shell — New Trailer

This is getting more and more exciting. Loving these trailers!

I’ve never had any great interest in superhero movies based on comic books “graphic novels”. Never read Marvel comics as a kid, and have absolutely no interest in exploring “the Marvel Universe” or catching up on 50 years of Marvel mythology. I’ve tried to watch a few of the films, but I’ve always gotten bored and bailed by the 15 minute mark. They’re just not my thing.

But if you think of manga as comic books/graphic novels, which they are, that may be about to change. Ghost in the Shell, which has provided the source material for five animated movies and three TV series, was originally published as a manga series. I posted a bit about the new, live-action film version a few months ago, when the first trailer was released.

The movie will be released in the US and the UK on 31 March 2017.

Ghost in the Shell — Official Trailer

Someone—I think he was the head of an advertising agency—once pointed out that the best things on television were the commercials, because they were what really mattered. The only reason EvilCorp was “proud to sponsor this week’s episode of Law and Order: SUX” was to sell a product. That meant that far more thought and creativity went into the ads than into the show itself.

I think the same thing applies to movie trailers. They’re often better than the movie they’re trying to sell.

This trailer for Ghost in the Shell is certainly a gorgeous stunner, in any number of ways. It leaves you—at least, it leaves meneeding to see the movie, in a theatre, in IMAX 3D.

Maybe it will be really good. It stars fanboy favourite Scarlett Johansson, fresh from the clever and enjoyable, Lucy, and Michael Pitt plays the Bad Guy. Ghost in the Shell also comes with a huge fan base: Wikipedia lists five films, three books, three TV series, and four video games based on Ghost in the Shell since the original manga was serialized in 1989. This is the first full live-action version.

And how can you go wrong with Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” on the soundtrack?

Ghost in the Shell opens in the US on 31 March 31 2017.

And, in line with that, another echo from the 80s:

Winners of the UK Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition

royals

Congratulations to the Windsors, an extended family living in government housing in London SW, who have won the 2017 Greater London Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition.


Look a little closer.

The picture is from Madame Tussaud’s in London, and is vaguely related to raising awareness for the Save the Children Fund.

Socks, US Presidents, and a Little Blackadder

Except for that brief period that made up my adolescent rebellion phase, which lasted a mere 25 years or so, I’ve always been a conservative dresser. The Uniform—khakis, a solid coloured shirt with one of those little polo player logos, Velcro trainers, and black socks—never changed. But a few years ago, I had a life-changing epiphany: (a) I was in a rut, and (b) I was old enough and secure enough to wear whatever I damn well pleased.

The black socks had to go.

My admiration for the first President Bush increased considerably when I later learned that he’d come to the same conclusion.

So here’s a glimpse of How We Live Today:

[Insert chorus of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” here.]

But this posting isn’t about the contents of my sock drawer, fascinating though that topic may be. I’m just using it as an excuse to post a scene from the third series of Blackadder, one of my all-time favourite comedies. That series is set during the Regency, and this time around, Blackadder is a scheming butler to the dim-witted Prince Regent, played by Hugh Laurie.

Enjoy.