Ryan McGinley’s Yearbook Shut Down an Entire City Block
A Backstage iPad Perspective of Hood By Air’s Latest Fashion Week Show
Taking photos at fashion week sucks. From an objective standpoint, it’s pretty formulaic: you take your fancy DSLR, head to the show early, crouch in the photo pit, and take head-on, head-to-toe portraits of various weenies wearing things. All the while, the guy next to you who works for some other magazine/media company/blog essentially takes the same photo.
So, in the spirit of youthful rebellion (and continuity) we sent out-of-bounds photographer Nick Sethi to document backstage at Hood By Air’s latest showing. And since HBA is known for sending pipe-laden jackets, snowboard boots, and crutches down the runway, he figured it’d be cool if he left his DSLR at home and take his iPad instead. We didn’t disagree.
MOSSLESS: Your images have a transient quality, do you travel a lot for your work?
Suzanna Zak: Taking photos isn’t my main objective for traveling, but the two go hand in hand, like they do for most people. That being said, having a camera in hand has brought me to certain spots that I don’t think I would have had the initiative to end up in otherwise. I guess what I’m mostly talking about here is minor trespassing.
You can read a recent interview between myself and Mossless on the VICE website here.
Jason Polan Is Trying/Failing to Draw Every Person in New York City
Contemporary Art Doesn’t Have to Be Pretentious and Confusing
Ossian Ward is one of Britain’s leading art critics. His new book, Ways of Looking, sounded a little patronizing from the title, given that anyone with eyes should probably have that down already. But reading through, it does provide a very helpful guide to the understanding of contemporary art, which—to me, at least—often seems as aimless as someone standing in a gallery repeatedly turning the lights on and off.
Ossian advises against pretentious art jargon, suggesting the only way to approach contemporary art is with a clear, open mind. Since he seemed so nice and obliging, I decided to ask him some of the embarrassing questions that pop into my mind when I’m in a contemporary art gallery (other than, ‘Where’s the café?’ and, ‘I wonder how much Marina Abramović is going to make from sitting in that chair.’)
VICE: Hi Ossian. So is contemporary art just having the balls to do something either so outrageous that it’s shocking or so banal that it’s shocking?
Contemporary art is not yet a verb, nor does it have balls per se—though I’m sure Tracey Emin would take exception to that—but it does occasionally shout at you from across the room and it can be provocative, challenging and even scary. I have found myself in rooms kitted out to look like murder scenes, brothels, or a terrorist’s stronghold.
I have also tiptoed past various spring-loaded man-traps, risked severe burns at a gallery where I was greeted by a flame from the opposite wall, told not to drink from a fountain supposedly laced with LSD, warned that the tiny globe before me contained a bomb that would explode a hundred years from now… I could go on. Confrontational art is certainly one of the ways that artists aim to grab our attentions nowadays.
Do you ever think that Tate and MoMA are a bit like the Westfields of art galleries, as in there’s just too much stuff?
If only the works were on sale at knock-down prices, with special bargain bins for obscure works of Surrealism. I would like that. But yes, our large art institutions can be bewildering places full of mysterious and exotic objects, which is essentially why I wrote my book.
We shouldn’t fear the complexity, abstraction, or randomness of contemporary art, but embrace them as reflections of our culture. I often invoke Hollywood blockbuster films, theme-park rides and other forms of entertainment as reference points, rather than art historical movements or philosophical theories, as frankly not everyone has that level of interest or experience.
Miami Is Drowning, and the Corals Couldn’t Be Happier
In Miami Beach people shop for produce at two feet above sea level. The setting for this activity is a Whole Foods in South Beach. This particular Whole Foods was built on what is now the lowest inhabitable plot of land in Florida. In the surrounding area, only a few feet higher and resting on dredged-up land that was once deep-blue saltwater, is a sprawling assortment of condos, hotels, schools, parks, and small businesses that withstand flooding that grows worse every year.
The common denominator is that every square inch will, at some point, succumb to the ocean.
One mile south of the Whole Foods is a small strip of the bay known as Government Cut. The waterway was dredged and formed in the early 1900s to allow easier access to the Port of Miami. A century later, the port stands as the 11th-largest shipping-container destination in the United States. Despite the port’s continued success, the dredging ships have returned to dig up more—their gigantic steel claws scooping up chunks of seabed like a sludgy arcade-game prize.
Across the water, on the mainland, stands the deserted but still imposing building that formerly housed the Miami Herald. The half-demolished and dilapidated structure is perched on the edge of Biscayne Bay, at a relatively impressive elevation of five feet.
In 2011, the Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, the parent company of Resorts World Casinos, expressed its intention to build a new casino on the property, even though it is still illegal to operate one in the state of Florida. Fueling the controversy was a rumor that the casino would be accessible only by boat or helicopter, which some people took to confirm suspicions that Genting’s proposal would merely serve as a playground for the rich.
Los Angeles: Come to the 2014 VICE Photo Show
Remember how much you loved the art in this year’s photo issue? Did you rip out pages of the magazine and plaster them on your wall because you just loved them so much you wanted to gaze at them longingly while you lay awake at night?
Now you can experience those photographs all over again… but bigger, not affixed to the wall with duct tape, and not for you to delicately caress after being emotionally overwhelmed by their artistic power (seriously, don’t touch them! They’re expensive!). Tomorrow night, we’re throwing a party to celebrate our 2014 photo issue—and lucky you, you’re invited (yes, you).
Join us at the Superchief Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, where you can experience the art all over again. Check out photos by the likes of Cindy Sherman, Richard Kern, Jaimie Warren,Laurie Simmons, and a lot of other great photographers. Entry is free, and 21-and-over.
Thomas Morton (one of our hosts from VICE on HBO) and Fidlar will be DJing. Oh, and did we mention that the drinks are free?
Want to join the party? RSVP here.