Ryan McNamara Remix

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My first foray into styling an artist in his surround, Ryan McNamara graciously allowed me to shoot him within his show Gently Used at Mary Boone Gallery. I became enamored with Ryan after seeing his performance piece at Art Basel, MEEM 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About the Internet. A rare moment where I was completely taken out of my head and entranced by the isolated movements that were happening around me. Here at Mary Boone he has again enhanced the idea of slippage between audience and performer by activating the viewer experience in a play on the unexpected. We delve deeper with him here.

The internet has changed our behavior in many ways including our brain function which has rewired itself to adapt to the mode of the internet, ultimately shortening our attention span. In your recent performance MEEM 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About the Internet you explore our current condition, mimicking the way information is transmitted, while simulating our A.D.D. by physically moving the audience around the theatre, disrupting continuity and providing multiple sources of stimulation. Can you talk a little about your thoughts on the internet and its psychological impact on the viewer? How does this influence the ways you interact with an audience?

RM: I think it may be a misconception, or just some pop sociology, that states that our “attention spans”—which is indeed a term that we take for granted—have gotten shorter. When I was growing up, there was a lot of noise on morning news programs and in magazines about the MTV generation and how their “attention spans” were being massacred by mass media. But they were talking about me, a person who was glued to MTV for hours and hours. It was one-directional attention, though. Now the call for attention has been dispersed. It’s multidirectional. But I’m still paying attention.

Do you have a different set of expectations of the audience when the venue is a gallery space and the exhibition consists of static objects?

RM: I don’t expect anything of the audience. I’m just happy they showed up.

I read that you often have no more than a few weeks to prepare a performance piece. With a scheduled gallery exhibition time lines change. How does your creative process differ when you have more time?

RM: Having the luxury of time obviously has its perks, namely more sleep. But there is a certain surge that accompanies a short lead time. It doesn’t give my anxiety a chance to pilfer my energy away from creating. Actually, who am I kidding. I live in a constant state of anxiety no matter what.

Is there a big difference between performance and object making for you?

RM: For my show at Mary Boone, I treated the props, stills and ephemera from past projects as raw material to create new work. One of the biggest lies in contemporary art is this idea that performance is ephemeral. I had this idea that while the props and costumes were sitting inactive in bins, they desired to create their own performances. They don’t pay attention to the distinction between my different performances, so there are props from one performance that are overlaid with images from another. I looked at the images and props and costumes as raw materials, attempting to see them with fresh eyes, as if I’m excavating a site.

In your past gallery exhibitions the viewer was involved in the production of the show or expected to participate in the exhibition in some way. How did you approach this show?

RM: I wanted to create a situation in which the pieces felt like they were performing as “art works.” I thought this may bring to the viewers’ minds the ways in which they are performing “audience.”

When I first walked into Mary Boone everything was very still. Every sculpture, collage and painting was placed carefully within the gallery. Then all of a sudden the lighting changed. The stage lights, which I hadn’t noticed up until that moment, flashed sporadically casting subtle shadows that moved quickly across the wall. It gave an eerie feeling of another presence in the room. Then I noticed pieces of cyber technology incorporated into the work, and I realize that perhaps I was the one being watched. There is something a little bit sinister about all of this. Can you talk about that?

RM: I timed the light movements to be subtle, perhaps the viewer only sees them out of the corner of her eye. Not actually registering what happened, just that the sense of movement in what seemed to be a static room. In a way it mirrors the history of these objects; the ghosts of performances past. The spotlight is never fixed.

The moving lights and shadows also had the effect of heightening my senses; I heard the ambient noise coming from the gallery office: ringing telephones, muted voices, foot steps etc. I was hearing what was “off stage”. The whole gallery had become a setting like a fun house in a carnival. I wondered if you had intentionally incorporated what was off stage into the work on stage. The ambient noise felt like it was part of the exhibition. Was this intentional? Or just a great side effect of the experience?

RM: As John Cage’s 4’33” taught us, the coughs and rustling of the audience are as much a part of the piece as the music. I’m interested in gestures that make you aware of the specificity of the space you are inhabiting. The sparseness of the gallery heightens this—all audio and visual shifts are magnified.

In the past you’ve talked about the nature of performance being subversive. While an artist is performing there is an inadvertent transfer of power from the institution to the artist. The artist has complete control over what will happen and in that moment the institution becomes passive and anything can occur. I love that idea. It creates a great deal of suspense. In your current exhibition there are many elements that get upended, in some cases literally, like the billowing mass of body suits bolstering a plinth, turning the sculpture/plinth relationship on its head. You invert the nature of the Art/Viewer relationship in the show as well, where the viewer eventually realizes she is being watched, or is on stage as much as the Art itself. Do you think of yourself as a subversive artist?

RM: I’ve had a lot of conversations recently about what it would mean to be a subversive artist today. Institutions have rapidly decreased the delay between the birth of a counterculture and when they consume it, so much so that it seems silly to even use the term “counterculture” anymore. So how does someone subvert something that is welcoming her with open arms? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like a lot of institutions.

Overall there is something vulnerable about this exhibition, especially about the sculptures that are contorted, splayed, and suspended. They are anthropomorphic forms that seem to lack physical control. Although the work is also laced with humor and surprise, at its core it feels like you are exploring the idea of power or perhaps a lack of power. Is this fair to say?

RM: It reminds me of performance. As the performer, you have the power in the situation—the audience is submissive to your actions. But the performer’s craving of approval and appreciation upends that power dynamic. In the same way these pieces crave your approval.

Hagahi sweatshirt, Christopher Kane pants, Christopher Kane sneakers

Mary Boone Gallery, Ryan McNamara, Gently Used

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Individual Existence

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Olivier Mosset’s paintings have an indelible relationship to space and time. Here at Koenig & Clinton Mosset continues his quest to draw attention to paintings for what they are asserting the space around them and one’s current state of being. Mosset’s work stands out in the history of painting in that the personality of the artist is beside the point, a painting must exist for itself. This view directly contradicts an art world which searches for a signature style and demands to know who’s who in order to assign credit and therefore value. That said, artists as the ultimate representation of a unique self are essential to society as a whole in order to create a certain striving for individualism. As a counterpoint to Mosset’s work is a new designer who I see as a visionary establishing her own unique existence, balancing timeless forms with unexpected moments and materials. In CF. Goldman’s new Fall 2015 collection she looks to the artists themselves, here Alexander Calder, the shape of his smocks and his love for monochromes. An interpretation which I always strive for that isn’t literal, but captures the essence of a creation or feeling. Bringing us back to the idea of Mosset’s paintings, of being confronted with the reality of the work/ourselves in order to assimilate something entirely new into being.

CF. Goldman dress & snoods, Paul Andrew boots

Koenig & Clinton, Olivier Mosset

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Samantha Jozic, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Anonymous Existence

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CF. Goldman tinsel dress, Paul Andrew boots

Koenig & Clinton, Olivier Mosset

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Samantha Jozic, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Lyrical Texture

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The first exhibit of the year that struck me was this, a group show of work by Jo Baer, Anne Neukamp and Diane Simpson at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. A dazzling palate of muted colors, geometric forms and brilliant textures are melodic together in one room. The common conceptual thread is that each artist begins with specific references which are then transformed into the realm of abstraction. Anne Neukamp’s paintings vibrate between graphic symbols reminiscent of branding or iconography to elemental planes of spatial allusion. Diane Simpson’s sculptures speak especially to me, perhaps because her strongest influences come from the worlds of applied arts, architecture and clothing structure. Her works are crisp and mesmerizing evoking the source of initial inspiration as seen in Underskirt (1986) yet skewing and reassembling into a new intricate construction. These works present the perfect pairing for my clean and modern array of J.Crew accessories. Sophisticated and versatile ring, cuffs and earrings evoke the glistening forms in Anne Neukamp’s paintings while the soft romantic structure of my white Downing Hobo Bag and white Roxie pumps stand poised in alignment with Simpson’s elegant sculpture. My J.Crew Collection fresh mesh look speaks for itself in this environ. I could take these pieces anywhere and in that vein so can you. As I love a good contest, Instagram how you wear and pair your favorite J.Crew accessories with the hashtag #accessoryfix and #jcrewcontest for a chance to capture the attention of style icon and J.Crew creative director, Jenna Lyons and she will pick and treat her three favorites to a J.Crew shopping spree.

J.Crew Collection Top, Vest & Shorts, J.Crew ring, cuffs & earrings, J.Crew Downing Hobo Bag, J.Crew Roxie pumps

Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Jo Baer, Anne Neukamp, Diane Simpson

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Dana Bosco, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Pure Visuals

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To escape from the outside world and give way to Matthew Chambers’ floral portals is a moment of bliss. Void of the traditional theoretical framework universally accepted to uphold a painting, this new body of work on view at Zach Feuer seems detached from itself. A beautiful and elusive thing for one to achieve. Instead of seeking to uncover the myth of meaning or making Chambers allows the viewer to enter the work purely on a surface level much like the mantra that drops you into a meditation. It is this state that one could argue allows you to bring in meaning without inhibition, for me it was a pairing inspired by sheer prettiness. This free flowing Rachel Comey dress is a hint of exotic escapism pushed further with the signature flavor of these Charlotte Olympia Frida Kahlo inspired sandals and a Cosma De Marinis blooming mesh headpiece. I’m caught for a moment then released to fly away.

Rachel Comey dress, Charlotte Olympia sandals, Cosma De Marinis headpiece

Zach Feuer, Matthew Chambers

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Dana Bosco, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Raw Reflection

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Noriyuki Haraguchi’s works on view at Fergus McCaffrey strike on multiple chords. Haraguchi was part of the Japanese art movement Mono-ha which took place in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. His works are distinctly materials- or experience-centered characteristic of the Mono-ha school of thought which focused on the presence of raw material. Haraguchi’s Oil Pool sculpture perfectly situated on the second floor of the gallery encapsulates this ideology. The piece, containing dark glossy machine oil, draws you in close enough to command reflection amongst that which envelops you, the cities all consuming fabric and the minimal architecture or clear head space that I aspire to. A pairing made for the designers of Tome who have a self described emotional response to their fabric. Tome is a line that encapsulates my personal style, elegant and minimal with an eccentric use of materials such as this satin wrapped top and metallic brocade play on a pencil skirt. Here lies all that demonstrates the transcendental aesthetic potential of labor and material.

Tome wrap top & skirt, Gianvito Rossi sandals

Fergus McCaffrey, Noriyuki Haraguchi

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Dana Bosco, Photographs by Jason Gringler

Memphis Moment

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An exuberant splash of postmodern manifestos culminate here in the works of Milan-based collective, The Memphis Group. Started by the Italian architect Ettore Sottsass in 1981, Memphis was a reaction to the principles of modernism historically characterized by Mies van der Rohe’s doctrine ‘less is more’. The show of statement furniture now on view at Koenig & Clinton clearly proclaims that ‘less is a bore’. Bright colors and contradictory materials provide surprisingly delightful sensory overload. The furniture is a confection of styles from ancient Egyptian to California Funk to 1950s suburbia, it is spirited and shameless. Hence my french twist beehive updo and avocado taffeta Rosie Assoulin gown. My feeling is that eccentric elegance is making a comeback and I for one am thrilled.

Rosie Assoulin dress, Alice & Olivia heels

Koenig & Clinton, The Memphis Group

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Samantha Dametta, Photographs by Jason Gringler

Transcending Materiality

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Sam Moyer’s exhibition at The M Building presented by Rachel Uffner Gallery and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen is a sanctuary of space and materiality. Raw and honest, Moyer pairs found slabs of marble with their ink dyed fabric soulmate. Once combined, each surface becomes something greater than itself and an elevating balance is achieved. What results are subjective surfaces in which to bring your own meaning. In keeping with these material illusions, is my pleated faux leather look from the Swedish minimal line Rodebjer, paired with these leopard high top Superga’s for a pattern kick. Femme and timeless Superga has me, as do these works. This exhibit was a #feelings favorite as was Ryan Mcnamara’s MEEM 4 MIAMI: A Story Ballet About the Internet, no words.

Rodebjer pleated skirt & top, Superga leopard high tops

Rachel Uffner Gallery & Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Sam Moyer

Photographs by Jason Gringler

Eccentric Futurism

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To me Frank Stella’s works have a sound, the buzz of a vigor that characterizes the vast body of his work. He is a chameleon that is constantly reinventing himself, from minimal paintings to maximal sculpture, the latter of which is now on show at Marianne Boesky Gallery. The show pairs Stella’s bright and shiny new work against the raw jagged metal of older works from the 90s. Upon entering the gallery one is met with a work from his “K Series” explosive in every detail with the heart of the star bleeding brightly hued coils. The main gallery holds the crescendo, Stella’s Puffed Star II stands poised with commanding elegance. Adding more points to the star is this mirror look by Gareth Pugh, paired with avocado tights for just the right amount of eccentric futurism. A reflection of the exuberant spirit that swirls around me.

Gareth Pugh mirrored dress, Fogal avocado tights, Chanel patent leather boots

Marianne Boesky Gallery, Frank Stella Sculpture

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Photographs by Tylor Hou

The Art Basel Rainbow

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If Miami were a painting, maybe it would be a Chris Martin, glimmering with layers of glitter and grit. As I love that work, the beautiful dichotomy, Miami holds a special place for me. There is something so alluring about the art deco architecture, the spirit of a place that at moments feels trapped in time. Throw in Art Basel, the myriad of exhibitions and events surrounding it and a collaboration with a classic, cool sneakers brand and I am now flirting with my personal heaven. With a rainbow array of Superga’s in tow, this years Art Basel, brimming with optimism, color and texture seemed the perfect pairing. For part one of my Basel recap here is a taste of all the visual candy that surrounded me. Beginning at the architectural gem PAMM for the lush layers and intense chroma of the Beatriz Milhazes retrospective, a compositional dream against the dripping rosettes and graphic lattice of my Chanel Cruise 2015 look, finished with a laid back hot pink punch from my Superga’s. The next visual feast came in the form of Mark Flood’s richly patterned lace paintings at The Rubell Family Collection. Exquisitely detailed and enticing like the most elaborately decorated cake, the work paired perfectly with my favorite pair of lace Superga’s and an orange sherbet colored floral jacquard set by Thakoon. A run through Art Basel and Untitled revealed such shiny surfaces as this rainbow resin Markus Linnenbrink, a stunning Sterling Ruby sculpture, and electric Mary Weatherford. My quest for color and texture ended amidst a series of whimsical paintings by Jose Lerma at David Castillo Gallery their eccentricity lending towards some blue snakeskin. For everything in between see my #artandsole Superega takeover series and more to come on my two favorite Art Basel moments that left an effect on me.

Above left: Max Estrella, Markus Linnenbrink x silver glitter Superga’s

Above right: Perez Art Museum Miami, Beatriz Milhazes:Jardim Botânico x hot pink Superga’s, Chanel Cruise 2015

Lower right: David Castillo Gallery, Jose Lerma, Guaynabichean Odyssey x blue snakeskin Superga’s

Lower left: The Rubell Family Collection, Mark Flood x white lace Superga’s, Thakoon crop top, Thakoon skirt

Photographs by Jason Gringler