Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 195 – Savage Beauty and a Bit of Gershwin

A Typical McQueen Creation

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Special K follows the fashion world, so it made sense that she didn’t want to miss the late designer Alexander McQueen’s retrospective Savage Beauty. It was showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during our New York trip. I’m normally not so keen on fashion, so I didn’t expect to be blown away by the exhibit. On Feb 11 2010, McQueen tragically killed himself in his London flat at the age of 40, just days after his mother’s death. He was known for his runway spectacles, outrageous edgy performance art meant to compliment his fashion creations and make a statement. I didn’t even know any of this about him when I followed Special K and Dragon into the first gallery. Despite the crushing crowd, straining to get a glimpse of his works adorning mannequins and on display platforms, I lingered over what I realized were oddly compelling works of art. I couldn’t believe that anyone would collect razor clam shells, strip them, varnish them and then drape them over a woman’s body or make a leather suit with bleached denim attached and taxidermy crocodile heads. I think the pieces that intrigued me the most were his monstrous lobster claw shoes and the endless variety of masks, some playful, some nightmarish, adorning the mannequins’ heads. To me, it is brilliant, ironic, and a little mischievous that these pieces are even called fashion. Instead, each garment tells a story and makes a point, sometimes terrible as illustrated by his collection called Highland Rape. 

Besides seeing this exhibit, we also took Dragon and Fly through Central Park and through an photographic exhibit by the Korean artist Ahae. Walking through the Vanderbilt Hall in the Grand Central Terminal, we saw but a small sample of the many photographs he took over the course of two years from one window where he lives and works in Korea.

And what trip to New York would be complete without a pianist in Washington Square Park playing Gershwin’s iconic Gotham tune Rhapsody in Blue?

Washing Square Park Rhapsody

Playing Gershwin in Washington Square Park (Photo by Ninja)

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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 178 – Artists to Get Excited About

Josephine Baker c1930

Josephine Baker c1930 (From Wikipedia Site)

Image Removed  by Agreement with Art Resource    Alexander Calder’s Wire Sculpture of Josephine Baker IV ca. 1928 Centre Pompidou Photo by Georges Meguerditchian

Ninja and Special K visit the Art Gallery of Ontario for another set of artistic treats.  From the arrow heads of the Native North Americans to the edgy photos of Cindy Sherman, Ninja discovers artists she hadn’t paid much attention to previously or falls in love with all over again.

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Sherman Untitled Movie Still 1#0

Cindy Sherman - Movie Still #10

Exhibits Mentioned:  Arctic Spirit – Kinngait Studios .  Artists Explored : Edward Steichen, Cindy Sherman, Alexander Calder, Josephine Baker , Michael Lewis,   Jeff Wall

Film Still #14 1978 Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman Film Still #14 1978

Film Still - Cindy Sherman  c1978

Film Still - Cindy Sherman c1978

Cindy Sherman - Photographer

Photo by Cindy Sherman

Image Removed  by Agreement with Art Resource –  Alexander Calder’s Wire Sculpture of Jimmy Durante, 1926. Photo courtesy of the Calder Foundation