Sunday, February 23, 2014

Carla Sozzani>10 Corso Como>Book

Unlike her lovable loose cannon of a sister, Franca Sozzani (Italian Vogue editor-in-chief and endlessly quotable un-PC font), Carla Sozzani keeps a relatively low profile. As a former gallerist in Milan, she quietly opened Galleria Carla Sozzani in 1990, which exploded just a year later into the fashion/design concept store — thought to be the first — known by everyone today as 10 Corso Como. It is now a bustling space dedicated to the explorations of culture, literature, culinary art, and music. There is even now a boutique hotel, where many of fashion's cognoscenti stay when in town for Milan Fashion Week, as they are this week.

In May, Rizzoli will publish a monograph of the store, authored by Carla Sozzani herself, called A to Z. And it is exactly that, an A to Z dictionary of her universe, beginning with Azzedine ("Since 1980 I have sat at his long table in the atelier. We eat and talk late into the evenings, speaking of new plans and recalling wonderful times we have shared") and ending with The Little Zen Companion ("With both Eastern and Western poems, parables, haiku, and sayings, it is a serious and evocative way to view life. And each page is delightfully short"). Naturally, as she's hardly the type to be contained in a mere 26 letters, she indulges in multiple meanings for each. Perhaps the sweetest is S, which stands for Sisters ("Like DNA, we will always be joined. Winding around each other—alike and not alike").

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Transgender Models of Barneys' New Catalog

Barneys New York has released its latest catalog, a weighty little publication destined for the mailboxes of the style-minded and the pages of major glossies. But there is something different — and yet increasingly normal — about the catalog for spring. The models sporting the season's finest aren't just a racially diverse bunch, a refreshing sight for the store recently accused of racial profiling. They are also transgender.

"I was so lucky to be able to photograph these transgender men and women for Barneys," - Bruce Weber. "They have more courage than any football player, explorer or astronaut combined.

Working together gave us a chance to visit a new world."

While gay rights have made significant strides of late, perception of those who've undergone gender reassignment remains largely transphobic. News of the horrific fate suffered by Islan Nettles, a transgender young woman and budding fashion designer, and the outrageous failure to prosecute the known assailant continue to resonate through the LGBT community, resulting in a rally last week outside police headquarters.

Which makes these 17 models all the more courageous, so let's meet some of them...

Valentijn de Hingh

Valentijn (a male name in her native Dutch) walked for Maison Martin Margiela and Comme des Garçons some years ago. But when she reached 6'1 (some reports claim 6'3), she was let go by her agency. Nonetheless, Valentijn has been photographed for Candy and Love magazines. Should the Zeitgeist for transgender models prove short-lived, Valentijn is one step ahead, graduating in literature science from the University of Amsterdam.

Arin Andrews & Katie Hill

These two Oklahoma teens transitioned together, but in different directions. Upon completion, they were an item for a while, amassing fans all around the world for their unusual love story. Sadly, they broke up just a few weeks ago, but have pledged to stay friends.

Ryley Pogensky
As he says on Twitter, Ryley is a "tattoo'd gender queer foodie with a love of bourbon and a serious case of Cacoethes Scribendi." When was the last time a fashion model professed, in Latin, an urge to write? Good looks and a brain to boot! For added chic, Ryley's adoptive — and clearly very supportive — grandparents also feature in the catalog.

Gisele Xtravaganza
As the name suggests, Gisele hails from the storied house of Xtravaganza, which recently celebrated 30 years of ballroom vogueing fierceness. Gisele is no newcomer to the spotlight, but this may be her most glamorous appearance yet.

Edie Charles
Born and raised in Greenwich Village, Edie is fairly new to the hormone replacement process, but says she has support from everyone around her, including her parents and her boyfriend, who's getting his PhD in gender studies. The two live in London, where Edie is studying jewelry design at Central Saint Martins and continues to model on the side.

On February 11, Barneys donated 10% of sales from its stores and to the National Center for Transgender Equality and the LGBT Community Center in New York. Both organizations are working with Barneys to create an employee training program on trans-related topics.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Photography>Vikram Bawa>The Yogesh Jashnani Campaign 02

Art> A Triangular Encounter

A Triangular Encounter: Nemai Ghosh, Benodebehari Mukherjee  and Satyajit Ray,
presented by 1x1 Art Gallery

Set of Black and White Photographs

Last year I was sent a set of black and white photographs by Nemai Ghosh (1936), taken during the shooting of The Inner Eye by Satyajit Ray (1921-1992). The documentary was Ray’s homage to the Bengali painter Benodebehari Mukherjee (1904-1980). On examining the set, I was unsure as to what I could say meaningfully about it.  But as I gradually delved into these photographs a story began to unravel. That story was about the taking of these pictures and what they meant to the film-maker and the painter.
Partha Mitter

Benodebehari Mukherjee

Born as he was with weak eyesight, Benodebehari underwent an eye surgery in 1956. The operation was successful but he completely lost his eyesight due to an accident during the period of recovery. Nothing could have been more tragic for an artist at the height of his powers, but he stood up to it with characteristic stoicism.

Nemai Ghosh (b. 8 May 1934) is best known as the photo-biographer of Satyajit Ray. From 1967 to 1992, the year that Satyajit Ray passed away, he photographed every aspect of the maestro at work. Ghosh photographed the great masters Jamini Roy, Ramkinker Baij and Benodebehari Mukherjee over the years 1969 and 1970.


Essay  by
Professor Partha Mitter

Professor Partha Mitter is Research Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on connections between Indian art and national identity and he was recently awarded an AHRB research grant for a collaborative project entitled Modernity and National Identity in Art: India, Japan and Mexico, 1860s-1940s. Professor Mitter has been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and he also lectures around the world, notably Columbia University, Princeton University, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Recent publications include Indian Art (Oxford University Press, 2001); Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850-1922: Occidental Orientations (Cambridge University Press, 1994); Much Maligned Monsters: a History of European Reactions to Indian Art, (University of Chicago Press, 1992).