Sunday, 28 August 2011

Thursday, 25 August 2011

NO COMMENT: Jean Michel Basquiat, 1960 - 1988 New York

Jean Michel Basquiat  New York 
Graffiti paintings 

Jean Michel Basquiat 

Jean Michel Basquiat with Andy Warhol in New York 1982

A story behind a photograph 4: Tony Hedley Spandau Ballet

 Tony Hedley lead singer from Spandau Ballet photographed in his limousine at the Ahoy concert hall in Rotterdam.  The photograph was published in the Dutch Avenue Magazine Summer 1985
photo: Marc T 

Pictures taken by hazard like the Spandau Ballet, Tony Hedley one are often more interesting than commissioned ones.
I was having some good time with my girlfriend and some friends in Rotterdam, The Netherlands,  After dinner we went out for a walk and took with me a light Nikon FM camera with my favorite 21 mm wide angle lens and armed with the classic TRI-X 400 ASA pushed at 1600 . One of our friends, a fashion journalist at the Dutch Avenue Magazine and good friend of the young designers Viktor and Rolf,  told us that something was going on in the Ahoy but he didn't know which band was playing. So we decided to have a look. It was already late and we saw the audience leaving the venue. Instinctively I went to  the backstage entrance situated behind the building.  In vacation or not I was a press photographer always looking for opportunities. Roadies were busy loading the trucks with sound and light equipment. I enter the backstage zone and walked in freely, only technicians were in the building. I saw a black limo and realized that the musicians were still inside.  A Spandau Ballet poster taped on a door gave the clue what was going on. The black limo started to leave the venue and  suddenly I saw good old chap Nigel Spencer,.a well known tour manager. He was screaming as usual  " Hold on a sec Tony".  Hedley opened his window and cockney Nigel told him " Tomorrow's sound check at three, can't do it later, after you have TV... it's a F... festival you know and don't be late or I F...kill you" and the limo disappeared. Before going back inside Nigel turn his head and saw me: ; "What the F... are you doing here, did not see you tonight w'a happen... no more money at The Face?  Come on let's have a drink in my loge...  F.. .shit tomorrow we are in Germany another 8 hours drive from here"...He pushed 1/2 plastic cup  whiskey in my hand and  gave me a big hug.. "I'm leaving now bloke, we are F...late... still a long  road to the next gig, wanna come with me?"
I just told him that I was on holiday with my girlfriend having great fun and that I even didn't know about Spandau being here.
Nigel just told me: " You are a F...lucky man"

Nigel Spencer, a.k.a. Doctor Miracle for having the incredible ability of solving problems in the most unusual and fast way, was a well known  tour manager for a lot of rock bands in the U.K. I met Nigel the first time in  '75 or '76 on the first Sex Pistol gig in Manchester and later  with Bow Wow Wow, Siouxie and The Banshees, Bauhaus and many others and we became very good friends.  He was a fast speaking, strong and skinny truly  London bloke,  he was recognized as a fantastic and effective tour manager.: Nigel was the first tour manager in the London New Wave music scene before joining defenately U2. Nigel lives currently with his first and only wife, also his press assistant,  in New York City. He has interrupted completely with any contacts and with music business in general some 10 years ago. For  more than 20 years he was  intensively touring around the world  with the most prominent New Wave rock bands. Since he moved to New York  I never met him again.

NO COMMENT: Tamara de Lempicka

 " La Dormeuse 1934 "
Tamara de Lempicka 1898 - 1980
was recently sold on auction for 6.571.844 US Dollar

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Masters of Couture: Jacques Fath, The flamboyant seducer of the new fashion.

Once upon a time, there was a man called Jacques Fath, he was obsessed with dresses.

Wearing Jacques Fath  1951 

The Chic of Jacques Fath

In the 1950s, a new woman is born out of the idealization of extreme beauty  from fashion architects, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga and Jacques Fath. An era of a complete new style and vision on an industry  that will have an undisputed influence of the later  history in fashion. 
The 1950s is  the time of ultimate perfection, based on precise drawings, precision in line and cut,  and the  most important of all was proportions and the woman as an perfect ideal. It was the end of the hazard of draping and the end of the asymmetrical designs considered as awry.
The story of Jacques Fath is unique because he was the perfect combination of a genius designer, a terrific media user and an extreme lover of women.
Fath was born in Maison-Laffite, France, on September 6th 1912 in a creative family. His paternal great-grandparents Caroline and Theodore-George Fath were fashion illustrator and writer and his grand father Rene-Maurice Fath was a well known landscape painter today purchased by private collectors.

Jacques Fath married in 1939 his muse, top model and wife Genevieve Boucher de la Bruyere.
According to Fath: " Genevieve captured the best of Greta Garbo, Carole Lombard and Marlene Dietrich"

Jacques Fath at work in his studio.

Jacques Fath photographed  with top model Bettina in his studio. 

Fath was a self -taught designer who learned its craft from studying art during museum exhibitions and from fashion books. He was also experimenting and redesigning his sister's dresses, without asking her opinion her restyled her complete wardrobe.
The Saga starts in 1937 working in a small two room salon on La Rue de la Boutie. in 1940 he moved to a larger space in Rue Francois Premier before settling at his fashion house at the famous 39 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie in 1944 just before the Second World War. Among his first models was Lucie Daouphars (1922/1963) a.k.a Lucky, a former welder that later became top house model at Christian Dior and  a tragedy for the Paris fashion scene to loose one of the top models and idol of the New Look at the age of 42 from a long disease. 

Model  "Lucky" Lucie Daouphars  first discovered by J. Fath and later top house model at Christian Dior 

It is in 1939 came the first recognition as a great couturier. Short after his wedding, his wife  Genevieve caused  a sensation at the most important Grande Nuit de Longcchamp, a horse race society event. She was wearing a dress in the extravagant Hollywood style: A little bit of Scarlet, a  little Marlene Dietrich, with a tight-fitting bodice and a sumptuous full skirt tied in a asymmetrical drape. The cape on her shoulders had all the fluttering grace of Sully Prudhomme's Swan...All eyes were on her and on, of course, her Fath dress.
The dress did not escape to Lucien Francois a renowed fashion critic and made an impromptu visit to the young designer. Lucien Francois wrote in Vogue:  
" I understood immediately that this engaging illusionist could dance his way around any blunder, even as he worked, and that he possessed the very rare French ability to have his surroundings conform to his ideals of sumptuousness and harmony. He is inspired. He has a vision. He will succeed". 

In 1941, the Fashion house moved to 48 Av. Pierre 1er de Serbie. During the German occupation France was gloomy and struggling. Impatient  and addicted to style, Fath was determined to reinvent seduction. Using         
rebellious tartan that mocked the German occupiers, he designed myriad tunic dresses and peasant skirts suitable for women riding bicycles; the timing was perfect for this new and sporty style. After the liberation of Paris it was the flamboyant debut of the golden boy of Paris Fashion and the legend began there, and would grow at a breathtaking pace for the next ten years.
The fashion house was a living  temple of creation masterly directed  and orchestrated by Jacques Fath always with humour, never a bad mood, being very polite  and a huge respect for his team and this from the lowest worker until his assistants Hubert de Givenchy, Guy Laroche and Valentino Garavani. He called his seamstresses always by their little name or  'Mes cheries..He never forgot a birthday of  his workers or from their children, the men were invited to restaurant with their wives, and for women a huge bouquet of red roses,  the number of flowers corresponding the age and of course always a glass of Champagne. Workers were allowed to take home  textile leftovers enough to make a dress for their children and Jacques Fath offered wedding dresses to his female workers getting married. .The respect in the fashion house was so that everybody called him "Monsieur Jacques" Jacques Fath had an extreme competent team of more then 500 workers ready to follow their boss until the end.
Already in 1949 the house had 400 seamstresses and had handled 111 million francs' worth in fabrics!!!
The Parisian Paris-Match in 1950 wrote " Fath's story is a love story"

Hubert de Givenchy was an assistant for Jacques Fath .

 Valentino back in Italy after his Parisian period, created his first fashion house inspired by  the house of Jacques Fath.

Hubert de Givenchy about  Jacques Fath: 
" It was in summer 1947, in the middle of work Jacques decided as usual to go to the swimming pool. He asked Valentino and me to join him and we took a bottle of Champagne. We biked crossing Paris to the pool. At the entrance the pool guardian, who knows Jacques, asked what about those two gentlemen: "are they working for you Monsieur Jacques" and Jacques answered: Oh Yes, but remember them well, one day they will be very very well known and  than you will call them also monsieur".

Jacques Fath was a master in making dazzling displays inspired by classic painters like Fragonard, Watteau and we cannot ignore his magnificent presentation White and Red Ball on June 15, 1951. The location is the Chateau de Corbeville in the countryside outside Paris. The scenery is recreating an 18th century masterpieces like Gilles and l'Indifferent from Watteau and a stunning painting from Princess Troubetzkoi posing as the Marquise de Pompadour for La Tour. Each guest must interpret his or her own interpretation of a costume for a 18th century white ball with ruby accessories. More than four hundred  guests attending the ball, one of the years foremost social events, arrive one after the other at the Chateau, whose gardens are attributed to Le Notre, the garden architect from Versailles.

Lady Alexandra in a early Jacques Fath evening dress. 1948.

Fath knew how to entertain, with superb style and flash. He had an inmate sense of showmanship, of disguise, of extravagance. he was magnificent. he liked to give themed balls, where he would bring to life the decor and splendor of times past, setting the stage for a minuet  or a Charleston. The diners at his home were frequently bringing together his favorites clients and notorious personalities from the fashion world.

 At home with Jacques Fath.  Bettina Ballard editor in chief French Vogue 1951, Duchesse de Brissac and countess de Rozenberg invited for diner.

At his Carnaval at Rio Ball, eight hundred guests danced the night away to the music of twenty-eight musicians and two singers,  especially flown in from Brazil. Ginger Rogers  came to the event an Pierre Balmain and Jean Desses were performing a square dance with Jacques Fath.

Orson Wells and Carole Lombard at J. Fath Carnaval de Rio party.

From disparate worlds of the cabaret, stage, and screen; Paris, Hollywood, and the Far East; diplomacy, finance, high society, the arts, couture and the press mingled with notorious guests like the Vicomtesse de Noailles, Fath's muse and ambassador, Princess Troubetzkoi, the Baroness de l'Espee, the Marquise de Ravanel, the Princess of Polignac and many others... never wanted to miss a Jacques Fath party.

Jacques Fath and his wife dressed as Asian king and Queen.

Jeromine Savignon writes in her book Jacques Fath:"Heroes die young and leave behind that which made them immortal-the invincible memories of their stunning legends, their unending quests for truth and beauty, as well as their wounds". Jacques Fath suffered from leukemia.
In August 1954 Marlene Dietrich buys two dresses from Jacques Fath,. His last collection was a symphony in gray. He worked on it with the same passion, but with several interruption to receive blood transfusions. When the curtain fell down and the applause ceased, he sat down with his models and told them "That was my last collection".
A few weeks later Jacques Fath was in the American Hospital of Paris and asked his friend Suzanne Luling, who was the heart and soul of Dior. Suzanne Luling wrote in her journal:
" He was in bed, very pale, very weak, wearing a warm shirt. When he saw me, he just started to cry, softly. I represented life, movement, couture, everything he was about to lose. He said; " You know, we live so hard..." I knew what kind of sacrifice this life, this profession, demanded from those who chose it. 
"But Jacques, if we live that hard, it's because we are strong, no?"
He smiled and was quiet. I asked him again; " You are strong, aren't you? " yes of course..."
I kissed him good-bye and left.
Jacques Fath died not long after.

Jacques Fath created the myth of hyper-femininity and perfected the silhouette so that "even the invisible was visible" He made the vamp fashionable-the pushed-up seductiveness, the chic and sensual arrogance, so Parisian. He was an undisputed master of couture who had an marked a period in fashion history. He was and still is source of inspiration for the next coming young generation of designers. 

Jacques Fath ensemble 1952. 

Mrs. Genevieve Fath  in evening dress photographed by Louis Dahl-Wolfe in Rue Francois 1er de Serbie, Paris.

Suzy Parker in evening gown 1948.

Bettina photographed by Willy Maywald

Parisian Chic

Bettina Ballard styling models Vogue magazine (March )  1950.

evening dress 1951

one of Jacques Fath last dresses made in 1954.

dress detail

Ballgown 1951

Monday, 15 August 2011

Bomb it All! War and Geurilia for free Art.

"it's all about the freedom to express yourself"
Picture illegally  taken from from London Street Art Anthology, Alex Macnaughton

Over the last few years street art has established itself as an internationally recognized art from. But where can this street-inspired movement go from here? Sebastian Peiter is asking in his book Guerilla Art(2009) a fundamental question about what are the limits of what can be considered as art or not.
Street Art is born  in the early 1960s in downtown New York and The New York Times titled once "New York capital of Graffiti". The movement was a free and anarchist expression form for young artists coming mainly from the suburbs and who didn't have access to the mainstream gallery system. The "conventional" art world was not ready to accept  "the outlaws" artists escaping the rules of  the "Art" business. Taggers and bombers were too free to be captured by the commercial evil.
Since  times have changed and street artists, bombers and taggers are finding their way to the mainstream art business. Keith Harring and  Jean-Michel Basquiat, just to mention  two of  a longer list of contributing artists, were the pioneers  introducing  this wild style art in hype galleries. The in London based artist Bansky, is often chiselled off walls, boarded up and sold on auctions far exceeding the gallery prices. Less lucky artist see their works stripped from the walls and sold on the internet for a lot of of money, but the artist himself don't see one penny. The street artist is considered as a vandal,  often tracked by police and sometimes even put into jail, but the illegal sales of their art is "accepted" by the art business. The phenomena is not new, it is still  interesting to notice  how a sub culture or cult can become a hype culture often disconnected from its original values.
Hip Hop has contributed to the international diffusion of the movement. From New York, to Sao Polo, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Tokio, Moscow  etc... the walls are becoming urban open air spaces for free expression. The walls are contemporary witnesses of social and artistic changes in society. The wall is an ephemeral collective memory of instant expressions. 
Today museums, influenced by the international art business, are offering space to street artists,  contemporary art galleries are organizing worldwide art networks and selling works for terrific amounts of money. Advertisers are using the same "Guerilla" techniques for promoting  their products. In New York  Adidas send every night a "Guerilla-team" for projecting their ads on empty walls or buildings somewhere in the city. Every night another place, another wall, another building and another neighborhood... hypocritically clean and cheap, but  very effective indeed. 
The questions are still remaining and. what about the  free underground spirit of the movement, what about the messages  left on the walls expressing love peace, anger or revolt , What about the free expression itself, Is graffiti still the voice or identities from urban subcultures? Is the commercialization of street art the end of  a true and free expression? 
The real  bombers and taggers are still free minded artists,  they don't care about art and its business  We cannot control or stop them and they will never give up their freedom to express their visions into tags and  into bombing walls...and this is a real freedom  and  the guarantee of having the right on self expression.

 "Smile again" 
photo Marc T

"Free as a cockroach " 
photo Marc T

Street art is reflecting the tensions, conflicts, struggles and the decay of urbanization.
photo Marc T.

 "We don't ask for walls.. we take them"
photo Marc T

 "Arrows on the road are forcing you to take a direction, but arrows on a wall makes you thinking."
photo Marc T

" bombing is pure free art, put it in a museum it will die like a free bird in a cage"
photo Marc T

 "Graffiti is a civil duty, bringing art on city walls without paying for it and without asking money for it"
photo Marc T

"one of my favorites  Marc T"

 'Bombing is a constant act of  peace"
photo Marc T

 "Poetry all over"
photo Marc T

" bombers are gazing the system"
photo Marc T.

"better to bomb a wall than to pee on it"
photo Marc T.

The captions under the photographs are taken from street and graffiti artists all over the world to illustrate the photographs taken in Tel Aviv.