What do Yoruba costumes, Cindy Sherman, and giant sculptural sunglasses have in common? They’re all part of a new installation put together by fashion designer Duro Olowu (he doesn’t use the term curated). It all started with his mother.
A cafe in Paris, 1925. Suddenly, a little guy with a monocle jumps up at his table, crying “Follow me.” A “prime collection of zanies” leap to their feet, dashing out without paying for their coffee.
Out in the streets of Paris, the monocled guy—–like the Pied Piper———-leads the rest. “Solemnfaced,” they march, “executing a number of idiotic maneuvers.” All the while, they’re chanting: Dada, Dada, Dada.”
It’s been called another Versailles. Or the Disneyland of the future. It’s Inhotim——-a huge art complex and botanical park in southeastern Brazil. Privately owned, it’s got international art star installations and 12,000 varieties of palm trees. Miguel Rio Branco has his own pavilion there.
Rio Branco is a Brazilian photographer whose work, though stunning, is usually too seamy for me. Among his favorite subjects are prostitutes —————not exactly Disney. He describes the essence of his work this way: “… being in paradise, yet having something absolutely terrible taking place.”
I like putting things together that you wouldn’t think of putting together, which is why I’m a collage artist.
So here’s a new series in which I’ll pair two artist/creators whose work, though unrelated, is similar————like, say, Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Tony Bennett singing “The Lady Is a Tramp” with Lady Gaga as the Lady.
Imagine these scents put together: cabbage, tobacco, roses, and green tea. If collage means, as Wangechi Mutu said, “to embrace…discord with ease,” such a clash of scents qualifies.
Now free associate. A restaurant in Paris. A secret garden. Gauloises. A beautiful Chinese girl. There’s the beginning of a narrative:
During World War II, a man joins the French Resistance. Soon he must quit his job as a waiter at Le Petit Chou to hide out in an abandoned rose garden. Late at night. Liang Sha (hostess at Chou) brings him Gauloises, until …
Machismo in reverse. In the early ’60’s, Lil Picard had been using women’s cosmetics as primary materials in her collages and assemblages. In 1968, she exhibited the burnt neckties at a show called “Destruction in Art.”
Critic Lucy Lippard wrote, ” “In 1967, using (perhaps not coincidentally) her husband’s real silk neckties, Picard began to burn things.” The ties were shown a few years later at Lajeski Gallery in New York with an added performance element: Picard used matches and irons to singe gallery-goers’ neckties.
Architecture is inevitably collage. A building is “pasted” into an existing mix—a streetscape in the city or natural landscape in the country. The architect considers how the new “piece” will fit the rest of the composition. So it’s not surprising that lots of architects have made collages.