Jeff Koons on His Spectacular New Installation ‘The Seated Ballerina’

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Images by BFA

Last Friday, Saks Fifth Avenue hosted a reception to celebrate the unveiling of Jeff Koons’ first large-scale stationary inflatable in New York, The Seated Ballerina – a 45-foot high nylon sculpture installed at Rockefeller Center, co-presented by Kiehl’s and the Art Production Fund.

The evening began with a prompt staging of remarks by Kiehl’s President Chris Salgardo: “giving back is not only good for the community, it’s good for your soul.” He then presented a $100,000 check to the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, an organization Koons and Kiehl’s have been involved with since 2011.

Salgardo’s grand gesture earned a significant round of applause from the assembled, which included notables such as Marc Metrick, President of Saks Fifth Avenue; Maura Harty, President & CEO of the ICMEC, Art Production Fund Co-Founders Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen, Fort Gansevoort’s Carolyn Angel and Adam Shopkorn, Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal, musician Betty Who, and Whitney Biennial artist Raul de Nieves.

“There’s so much value in coming together,” said Casey Fremont, Executive Director of the Art Production Fund, “to make a project that’s not only public artwork, but also has a deeper context, which is to raise awareness and support for ICMEC and their child protection efforts.”

Still, the attention centered on The Seated Ballerina, and the bird’s eye view guests were afforded by the outdoor deck at Saks. Although according to Koons the true gift of his giant-sized ballerina, his third Rockefeller Center installation, is the spectacular presence that will strike all those who encounter her delicate beauty in person.

Jeff Koons

“When people look at it they come into contact with their own potential and their own optimism for their future,” said Koons. “I think that’s why people enjoy it.”

In a vernacular cadence convincing enough that he could run for a political office if he so wished, Koons made it clear that his ballerina, “once conceived, in the scale of you and I, for the Antiquity series, is actually a part of a larger conversation at hand.”

“I think the ballerina shares the values I find relevant. I’m always trying to communicate the removal of judgement, or of any form of segregation and hierarchy. She communicates a sense of acceptance and optimism for the future.”

Koons also furthered the evening’s dialogue on the ethereal, saying that the soul of his Seated Ballerina “is quite strong and affirmed in her own kind of power and the essence of her protection.”

And while she still goes nameless, as she slides down our Instagram feeds at the speed of our rolling thumbs, one thing is certain: that regardless of your stature, you can only stay seated for so long.

“It’s a wonderful time for art,” closed Koons.

The Seated Ballerina will be on display through June 2nd bringing awareness to National Missing Children’s Month this May.

Remembering George Michael at the MTV RE:DEFINE Launch Party

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On Thursday night, MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation, with the support of Dallas Contemporary and the Goss-Michael Foundation, (founded by the tragically recently deceased George Michael, along with Kenny Goss) hosted a launch party and auction preview for MTV RE:DEFINE, an annual benefit that raises awareness for HIV & AIDS prevention.

It was a night to be somebody, and not just the somebody the BFA photographer is to stalk for the night; but the person, who in conversation with, proves that the crammed uberPOOL you took to Great Jones Street was at least getting you somewhere in life.

In this case, it was the chance to gather and mingle amongst artists Richard Phillips, Blair Thurman, Jay Miriam, Enoc Perez and Wendy White. Their work was on display for the evening’s private auction, which included more than sixty additional pieces available through an online auction by Paddle8. Guests included art luminaries Casey Spooner, Rachel Libeskind, Maggie Lee, Chloe Wise and Maxine Trowbridge.

This year’s benefit will be held in Dallas on March 24th, and will pay tribute to RE:DEFINE founding partner Michael, who passed away in December from natural causes at just 53.

Ballroom Marfa Honors David Byrne & Jill Soloway With ‘Desert Bohemian’ Gala in New York

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Images by Leandro Justen/BFA

On Monday evening New York’s art community took their seats before an all-female San Antonio mariachi band’s opening act, for a Ballroom Marfa dinner presented by Roberto Cavalli and tributed to both David Byrne and Transparent creator Jill Soloway’s unique achievements in creative thought and actualization.

The tone set by the pop-up aura reader, the boho city chic crowd expressed their own well-articulated commentary on what it might feel like to be a New Yorker right now, a witness to a fledgling union as uncertain as some were about Byrne’s offbeat Pictionary act.

But that’s why it worked.

“[Marfa is] a place I love, that makes me sometimes scratch my head,” said Byrne.

So what does New York’s art establishment have to say this moment of uncertainty?

Simple. What it always has said. But now more honest, more direct, more feeling. Life’s for living as art is for life, and what is life without an occasional Monday night margarita (nice to meet you, Casa Dragones), and artist Zoe Leonard’s “I Want a President” manifesto delivered emphatically by Soloway, who shared the honor of the night with Byrne: an inaugural “Off the Grid” Award, designed by Matthew Day Jackson.

“We wanted to honor people who have redefined the idea of what’s possible,” said Fairfax Dorn, Ballroom Marfa’s Co-Founder. “David has done that through music and his own contributions to the visual arts. Jill Soloway has done that through television and directing, and transgender activism. They both in their own independent ways have really pushed the boundary of understanding what it means to be human today.”

The gala opened to a silent auction displayed by Paddle8, featuring the works of Ed Ruscha, Donald Judd, John Baldessari, Billy Al Bengston, Paul McCarthy, Rosy Keyser, Kenny Scharf and Sam Falls. The live auction, led by the charismatic Sara Friedlander of Christie’s, raised over $330,000.

“Fundraising efforts will support artists directly,” Dorn continued. “This event enables us to bring artists to Marfa and to commission new projects and exhibitions.”

One of which includes sound artist Haroon Mirza’s upcoming ‘Stone Circle’ installation, which was previewed in a video, as a part of the evening’s program.

“I think we are going to enter an age of creativity here and I’m honored to be apart of this process,” Dorn concluded. “It’s so important we come together and do not let the arts and culture dissipate or lose hope. Seeing all these people in this room, working with artists who are about the future and how we define and express ourselves is what gives us hope.”

Fairfax Dorn, David Byrne

Fairfax Dorn, David Byrne

Dior Homme Debuts New Sneaker Collection Through The Lens of Larry Clark

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Riffing off the energy of its Spring 2017 men’s collection, the seven sneaker capsule injects an added dose of downtown cool into the brand’s visual DNA. Each one-of-kind style offers a high-low mashup of spirited colorways and design-forward detailing that skates as well as it suits the brand’s razor-sharp ready-to-wear and tailoring.
 
“I always like to blur the lines and create contrasts: the idea here was to play with a classical shape and radical techniques,” said Creative Director Kris Van Assche.
 
The collection’s ethos is even further realized in the form of a one-and-a-half minute short (here below), directed by American visual artist and youth culture icon Larry Clark, to accompany the collection’s release. Starring a youthful ensemble of skaters sporting the sneakers and the Spring 2017 collection, Clark’s energetic and gritty take on high-low street culture once again proves skateboarding’s increasing spotlight in fashion scene isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

London Fashion Week: World Politics at Play

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Photo: Alessandro Garofalo / Indigital.tv

Perhaps the U.S. Presidential Election is as important as people say it is. We are feeling the political tension globally. We have no choice but to hope our time is a breaking point, a moment in history for great change, positive change, for us, for all, for anyone who needs it. “Leader of the Free World” it was called by United States during the Cold War, and it feels like now the world could not be more free from whatever it is we are supposed to strive to be as nations, as people.

In the midst of Post-Brexit, London’s focus was on its people. Christopher Bailey again, nuanced the codes of Burberry and delivered a see-now-buy-now collection that captured the spirit of their history, referencing the Elizabethan era, Virginia Woolf and Princess Diana. Burberry’s fall show wasn’t just one of romantics and political small talk, but a slight of confidence in uncertain times that people could look to, and of course, buy right now.

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Still, London’s greatest asset is its quick-witted pool of emerging design talent, never short of ideas. What felt like an All-American line-up surely transcended any national order. This was a woman that all real women could strive to be. Polished and tender, thoughtful and human; she wore a uniform of tomorrow that was in touch with today. And when we cast our vote in a short six weeks, we should realize it’s not just for our country, but for all women everywhere.

Then you thought, “hey, Hillary Clinton could wear that.”

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(Eudon Choi, Ashley Williams, Mother of Pearl, Anya Hindmarch, Mother of Pearl)

New York Fashion Week Trend Wrapup: There Are No Trends

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Is it even possible not to have trends? Of course not. Shall we remind you of Meryl Streep’s gift to fashion, in the form of a monologue about a cerulean blue sweater? (The Thank You Devil Wears Prada list is neverending.) Truth is: the fashion industry is one part art, one part commerce, and without trends, it would be two parts crazy (if it isn’t already).

But that’s industry talk. You’re not an industry, you’re a person, and you’re free to be crazy, classic, punk, princess, sporty, street – you can be David Bowie one day, and Debbie Harry the next. Or, you can be everything all at once. This season’s NYFW said just that.

So ‘tis the season of America’s new favorite pastime – dress up. And unlike baseball, there are no rules, just ideas. Let your imagination run wild.

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And speaking of no rules, (thanks to the ground made by Urban Outfitters and the ironic hipster tee heydey) yours can literally get away with anything, seriously (or ironically).

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(Coach, Pyer Moss, Jeremy Scott, Baja East, Hood by Air, Jeremy Scott)

BARE BLAZER

A cool alternative to evening wear and a styling trick that can turn a walk of shame into a walk of less shame, there’s never been a better time to go bare beneath your blazer. Just make it a big one!

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(Band of Outsiders, Vera Wang, Alexander Wang, DKNY, Parsons MFA)

WHEN IN WHITE

What do Kanye West and Vera Wang have in common? They rolled out these so-fresh-and-so-clean white sweatshirts. Street with sneakers, or chic, underneath a camel coat; have your pick.

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(Yeezy, DKNY, Vera Wang, Ryan Roche, A Détacher)

MASTER CLASH

You have to know the rules to break them. Or not. But if you really want pull off the “my style is a direct reflection of my lack of ability to regularly do my laundry” look, then check out Man Repeller, because if there are any rules on fashion maximalism, they made them.

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(Proenza, Vivienne Tam, Anna Sui, Parsons MFA)

MOSSY MOSS

Kate: the muse that keeps on giving.

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(Ekhaus Latta, Adam Selman, Baja East, Simon Miller) 

BEST IN SHOW

Proenza Schouler is in the New York fashion spotlight. Our favorite four looks (on our favorite four models) explains why.

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(Natalie Westling, Marjan Jonkman, Grace Hartzel, Kiki Willems)

RED ROSES

Love is in the air, it’s technically spring and you’re cold because you thought to wear a silk slip dress on Valentine’s Day and it’s FREEZING. Instead, skip the date and have them Net-a-Porter you one these rad looks from Coach, Alexander Wang and Altuzarra. Finally, roses can last a season.

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(Coach, Alexander Wang, Altuzarra)

POLISHED METAL

The future is here but that doesn’t mean anything, except for an excuse to brighten the night in these shimmering silvers like it’s 2020? Hey, it’s a whole lot more fun than black.

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(Proenza Schouler, Creature of the Wind, Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Tam, Marchesa)  

WIDE STRIPES

All over, here, done by New York based designer Kaelen Haworth (check her out, seriously), or below the waist, wonderfully executed with simple shirting by Tome and Derek Lam. These hip-swallowing trousers keep you laid back and cool all night; kind of how you would imagine David Bowie to take a cigarette.

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(Tome, Derek Lam, Kaelen)

FASHION MAVERICKS

Let us not forget the beauty of the Parsons MFA show. While some are quick to overlook a student showcase during Fashion Week, even from a school as renowned as Parsons, this is in fact a very special moment for these young designers. Upon graduation, everything changes. As designers, they will have to open their ideas up to a world and industry that is commercially focused, first and foremost. It’s what keeps the dream alive; a dream, that on the occasion, we witness a dynamic group showing; and if you look close enough, you might just find the future no one was able to.

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Saint Laurent: Heat of the Moment

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Move over, Hedi. It’s a new decade. And no, I’m not four years ahead in 2020. It’s the heart of the eighties, actually, and rock n’ roll feels a little different, shoulders are stronger, waists higher than ever, but now in acid wash denim and billowing silks, tube socks claim the ankle­­ – goodbye flares.

Did I mention rock n’ roll? It’s got a beat to keep you moving, and dance that is so so grooving.

But I thought the fashion-­decade talk was over? How else are we going to define last ten years? The next?

Pay no attention. Back to Flock of Seagulls, rebel­-cool moussed­-up hair and an A­-ha moment that defined the angst Raf Simons delivered to us in the form of flare pen suits and gaunt adolescence, in the decades that followed.

Was life like Sims? Not the photographer, the video game. Its feels that way. Especially when every John Hughes character is the perfect cliche, in a world away from our everyday interactions and relationships. But we still dream because dreaming is better than living in a world where dreams don’t come true.

This is Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent; or at least what we took away from the Inez & Vinoodh shot SS17 sneak preview, featuring Anja Rubik in beachy blonde hair and a glittering swimsuit that truly captures the Heat of the Moment.

We hope to see the temperature rise at Paris Fashion Week.

New York Fashion Week’s Best Feature? It’s in New York

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The good thing about New York fashion week is that New York is awesome. Well, sometimes. That’s why we love it. When days go on way too long and rest’s worst enemy is a 2am espresso, we tend to forget that. We’re always one sip away from a new day that begins at the end of the day you just had at your day job. Because we’ve all got jobs. But when did having one become a burden?

They can weigh us down and hold us back from ourselves. We do and we don’t want to be noticed because we don’t want to commit to any perception of ourselves that we are not yet comfortable with. Body image is vital and we protect it as much as we can afford to.

Fashion Week swiftly hit New York this season, as it always does (and left just as quickly). One day there are people going about their business in t-shirts and jeans. The next – the same Downtown streets are met with extreme proportions, eccentric patterns, geometric sunglasses, graphic logos, and for some, another new Gucci bag – does it match? Then it’s back to the (not) usual.

Naturally, the lack of comfort is clear. This is how we put ourselves on the line. We see how far we can go when there’s an occasion to do it.

But the scenes of see-through personas and urbanized Wes Anderson archetypes feels as forced as a conversation with your bank teller. Not to say there is anything wrong with a complex, quirky character on the street; we’re just hoping that’s your personality and not what’s printed on a Vetements hoodie.

The hope is that New York can once again be a place where the euphoria of stepping outside of your comfort zone lasts longer than a week and becomes daily practice.

Or take it from Lou Reed, and “walk on the wild side.”

BlackBook’s Fashion Week Detox

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If you’re like us and spent the week wired on caffeine, little-to-no-sleep, glued to #nyfw, and let’s be honest, over-accessorized, Blackbook is here to help you recover and fall in love with autumn sans fashion all over again. Think Guggenheim, not Gucci.

Maurizio Cattelan’s America

And speaking of Guggenheim, delve deeper into the American commentary that surfaced at NYFW and witness, what NPR reports as an “unprecedented intimacy with a work of art.” Headlining the display is Cattelan’s 18-karat gold depiction of a toilet, “one-percent art for the ninety-nine percent.” Just be prepared for longer-than-usual bathroom lines.

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Kris McKay/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The Queen’s Feast

During Fashion Week it’s hard enough to remember what train to take to your next show, not to mention your last meal, a reasonable explanation for #NYFW madness. But we’re not just telling you to stuff your face this weekend; in fact, here’s where you can find chic cuisine without the scene. If a fashion editor can make it to Roosevelt Island for Yeezy, you can make it to Queens. Check out Eater’s latest list here and make your reservation today!

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Manhattan Music

We loved the music on the runway, but this weekend could use a different soundtrack. Pay tribute to Fashion Week’s old stomping grounds with tickets to see Alan Gilbert (on his farewell season) and the New York Philharmonic play surround sound to Woody Allen’s Manhattan. From Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue ” to Allen’s existential rants on love, life and death, Manhattan never felt so New York. Tickets here.

MANHATTAN, Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, 1979.

The Perfect Getaway

Fall is about adventure, taking new exciting risks, and cultivating the truly unique spirit within. When was the last time you fell in love? If Manhattan is killing your vibe (and dating life), take a chance and invite some new blood upstate to the perfect, “New York I’m so over you, not really, but I need a break, so I can miss you again” getaway. And to avoid any potentially awkward down time, we suggest an itinerary as back-to-back as Fashion Week.

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Hit the trails first thing, with a morning hike through Breakneck Ridge. And when the going gets tough, remind yourself there’s an All-American breakfast waiting for you on the other side, complete with a tall-stack of homemade pancakes and seasonal pumpkin beer at Cold Spring’s favorite: Hudson Hill’s Cafe. It’s time you lived a little.
When you can finally pull yourself away from quaint lineup of antique shops, hop on the train; you’re just a stop away from Dia: Beacon, New York’s most Instagrammable museum. See if you can do it with your phone off.

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When you’re headed back home Sunday evening, you might be a little wiped from the weekend festivities, and totally unprepared for Monday; but just remember, you’re a whole human again.