David LaChapelle’s Dystopian Fantasy: In His Own Words

“LAND SCAPE,” David LaChapelle’s new show opening tomorrow at Paul Kasmin Gallery, finds the photographer flirting with his inner Thomas Demand. It features a series of slickly produced compositions, all of which appear to be lurid industrial scenes (perhaps snapped along one of New Jersey’s more toxic arteries). In reality, they’re all constructed models, cobbled together out of simple materials. “In a conflicted manner, the photographs in the series present the future: a dystopian terrain that is at once enticing and fearsome, familiar and foreign,” he says. I asked LaChapelle to share a bit of the behind-the-scenes process for two of the new works.

LaChapelle1     Land Scape Emerald City, 2013. C-print, 72 x 91 3/8 inches, edition of 3.
“For Land Scape Emerald City, we assembled tea canisters, egg cartons, spray paint canisters, and other found materials around an elaborately handcrafted cardboard scale model. After completion,  I photographed the model in the studio and in a remote desert location. I photographed Land Scape Emerald City, in such a way that it creates a luminescent shine from this site of oil production. The glow beckons the viewer, but it also repels. Upon further contemplation the viewer realizes the imperfect system inherent in oil production: something seemingly beautiful is in fact terribly flawed.”

LaChapelle2        Land Scape Luna Park, 2013. C-print, 72 x 108 inches, edition of 3.
“In Luna Park, cans, lightbulbs, bottles, straws, and other materials were sourced to put together the miniature world of this Refinery. I preserved the found items and the viewers ability to identify these objects, turning looking at the photograph into an opportunity to decode the tableau. The night scene employs candy-colored hues, referencing the Luna Park of Coney Island. Enticing with its pinks, purples, and blue ethereal light, but equally loaded with the unmusical implications of the sites purpose.”

“LAND SCAPE” is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery from January 17 through March 1.

Main image: Land Scape Kings Dominion, 2013. All images courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.


12 Must-See Fashion Exhibits for 2012

If you’re still kicking yourself for missing the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty retrospective, there are twelve ways to fill your fashion exhibit void this year. MTV FORA has put together a solid list of displays across the globe, and it features everything from the Azzedine Alaïa exhibit in Holland (one displayed creation pictured) to the highly-anticipated Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs tribute in Paris. See the roundup—which includes three events that you can catch right here in New York—after the jump.

1. Christian Louboutin at the Design Museum, London (March 28 – July 1, 2012)

2. Azzedine Alaïa at the Groninger Museum, Holland (December 11, 2011 – May 6, 2012)

3. Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada at the Met, New York (May 10 – August 19, 2012)

4. Coco Chanel at the Mint Museum Randolph, North Carolina (May 21, 2011 – February 26, 2012)

5. Jean Paul Gaultier at the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas (November 13, 2011 – February 12, 2012)

6. James Bond Style at The Barbican, London (April 2012) 

7. Fashion, A-Z at the FIT Museum, New York (November 29, 2011 – May 8, 2012)

8. Diana Vreeland at the Fortuny Museum, Italy (March 2012)

9. Yves Saint Laurent at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado (March 25 – July 8, 2012)

10. Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs at Les Arts Decoratifs, Paris (March 9 – September 16, 2012)

11. 50 Years of CFDA at the FIT Museum, New York (February 10 – April 17, 2012)

12. David LaChapelle at the Seoul Art Center, North Korea (November 22, 2011 – February 26, 2012)

Why Don’t You Go As A Louis Vuitton Bag?

In case you didn’t get your fill of Halloween festivities this past weekend, since the ghoulish night falls on a Thursday the costumes and candies last almost two weeks this year. If you’re still searching for dress-up inspiration or need another transformational persona to add to your roster, look to the sittings and parties that are more fantasy than fashion. Photographers like Miles Aldridge, Steven Klein, and David LaChapelle have your back.


Why don’t you go as a Louis Vuitton bag? Grab a stencil and some body confidence and get to work. Lil’ Kim photographed by David LaChapelle.

image-3You could always go as the creepy, pure girl. Steven Klein photographs Kate Moss as Good Kate for W.


Bad Kate is an option as well. Here, Moss plays the demon. Pearlescent teeth, mounds of accessories, and horns should do the trick.

image-5Toss the conical bras and lace gloves and try for a different Madonna. Alana Zimmer photographed by Miles Aldridge. For her sickly look, grab the Moroccan oil and some lavender blush.

image-3Always an option: grab a couture Margiela mask and go as Kanye West.

image-4 If pretty is more your thing, go as Natalie Vodianova’s Alice as shot by Annie Leibovitz. A blue dress, some maryjanes, a headband, and a smattering of small furniture should call the adventure to mind.

image-5Reference more than a few historical figures by going as David LaChapelle’s rendering of Amanda Lepore as Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe.

image-6…Or as David LaChapelle’s Amanda Lepore as Andy Warhol’s Liz Taylor.

image-7The ultimate surrealist costume inspiration, courtesy of Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and Baron Alexis de Redé at their Surrealist Ball in 1972.

A Brief History of David LaChapelle’s Music Videos

Famed fashion photographer David LaChapelle does more than snap pictures for advertising campaigns and pal around with the world’s most glamorous trans woman. LaChapelle has a very solid resume as a music video director.

The latest example of LaChapelle’s work is the just-released video for Florence and the Machine’s “Spectrum,” a sexy, dramatic, sparkly take on the powerful song.

But it’s been a long road getting there. From early ‘90s videos for artists like Penny Ford (we didn’t know either) through long-lasting collaborations with icons like Elton John and Christina Aguilera, LaChapelle has spent years making music videos—and some of them are pretty great. Here’s a look back at five favorites.

Amy Winehouse – "Tears Dry On Their Own"

Gwen Stefani feat. Eve – "Rich Girl"

Macy Gray – "She Ain’t Right For You"

The Vines – "Outtathaway"

The Dandy Warhols – "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth"

David LaChapelle’s ‘Earth Laughs in Flowers’ Hits NYC

Depending on where you’re coming from, you may know David LaChapelle best for his music videos (Elton John, Gwen Stefani, Blink 182), his movies (Rize, Krumped), or his ad campaigns (Tommy Hilfiger, Burger King). But he remains a photographer first and foremost, which is why he’s just opened up a new exhibition in the gallery space at Fred Torres Collaborations, who are now representing him in New York. Called Earth Laughs In Flowers, it’s a series of ten large-scale photographs that were first shown at the Kestnergesellschaft Museum in Hanover.

There’s an explanatory artistic statement, for those of you who dig those things: "In Earth Laughs In Flowers David LaChapelle appropriates the traditional Baroque still life painting in order to explore contemporary vanity, vice, the transience of earthly possessions and, ultimately, the fragility of humanity. Expectations of the still life are satisfied through the inclusion of symbolic objects such as fruit, flowers and skulls, but also upended by the insertion of everyday items such as cell phones, cigarette butts, balloons, Barbies, and a Starbuck’s iced coffee cup." (Art talk!)

If you want to check it out, the show opened last night and is running through March 24 at 527 W. 29th St.. That’s right next to Chelsea Park, where you can secretly drink a few MD 20/20s beforehand if that’s your protocol before going to any gallery. (I know it’s mine.)

Image copyright David LaChapelle, Courtesy of Fred Torres Collaborations, New York.

Courtney Love Stole David LaChapelle’s Car

Courtney Love, who is now 46 and out of excuses to do this kind of thing, carjacked photographer David LaChapelle’s SUV from New York’s SoHo House on Monday night. She sped off to director Brett Ratner’s house, promising to return and collect LaChapelle, but she ended up hanging out at Ratner’s till near dawn while the “fuming” LaChapelle had no idea where his car was.

According to Page Six‘s source, “LaChapelle was freaking out, saying Courtney had taken his car. He was frantically trying to reach her and his driver on the phone to find out where the hell they were.” Apparently “the fun started” when Love and LaChapelle were at SoHo House, devising ways to get Ratner to come meet them. Presumably the conversation went something like this:

LaChapelle: LOL, maybe we should go kidnap him in my car!

Love: (slips away to the parking lot)

I feel for David LaChapelle in this situation — it sucks to get played by a friend! — but he was really asking for it, allowing Courtney Love to go anywhere near his vehicle. Plus, aren’t you people too old to be coming up with wacky schemes to force your friend to come out drinking with you?

The story was confirmed by a SoHo House rep and a “sleepy” Ratner. No word on the current whereabouts of David LaChapelle’s car.

Morning Links: David La Chapelle Is Suing Rihanna, Man Is Still Smarter Than Machine

● David LaChapelle is not happy with Rihanna’s new “S&M” video, which he believes borrows heavily from his own photos. A side-by-side comparison of the images makes it clear that this is about more than candy-colored sex. [Reuters] ● Say what you will, but we refuse to believe that the King and Queen, Jay and Bey, are anything other than meant to be. [MediaTakeOut] ● Paramount is cutting a second version of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, to be released in a few weeks so that we can all go see it again. Which is totally cool, though, because we saved our 3D glasses. [NYM]

● Rosanne Barr is headed to the farm — a fully-functional, 40-acre macadamia and live stock farm, to be exact — for an upcoming Lifetime reality show. Paris Hilton was a pioneer of this celebrity back-to-the-land genre, and it’s unclear what that meant for her, but we wish Rosanne all the best. [Deadline] ● Last night on Jeopardy!, two of the show’s contestants, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, faced off against Watson, a really big computer. Watson did well, but didn’t know the answer to a question about Harry Potter. In knock-down, drag-out, man-versus-machine battles, at least we’ve got that. [NYT] ● Miley Cyrus is growing up, and it’s nice to see that she’s seeking out role models to help. “I want to be Snooki, I love her,” she told Access Hollywood, “I’m obsessed, I follow wer around….because I love her and I’m inspired by her.” Tell us: exactly how sharp are those pangs of regret, Billy Ray? [Hollywood Gossip]

Art Basel: Cartier Dreams, Forbes Yacht Party, Caviar & Grace Jones

Recession schmession. At the Art Basel events in Miami, the champagne is still flowing like Fiji water. From the rumor that UBS would not tone down their annual dinner and gala — even amid scandal speculation — to the abundance of caviar on hors d’ouvre trays, it all smells like decadence to me. Cartier hosted a preview of “Diamonds, Gold and Dreams,” an approximately seven-minute film by David Lynch projected inside the Cartier Dome in the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. The transfixing film features cascading diamonds and Cartier jewels on 180 degrees of ceiling projection with an equally mesmerizing score. It played once every hour, leaving partygoers hungry for more. The Dome, built specifically for this event and film, took two weeks to construct and will be disassembled directly after Basel.


Kelly Klein and Andre Balazs hosted a book signing at the Raleigh hotel for Klein’s new book, Horse, where Palm Beach socialites and Miami transplants such as Fabian Basabe had the opportunity to purchase the monstrous collection of equestrian-inspired photographs. Luckily, the option to ship was available. None of the Basel-savvy would really want to tote that around.


The Forbes family threw their annual gala aboard the Highlander, the legendary Forbes yacht. Among attendees were Ivana Trump, and Kipton Cronkite of KiptonArt. Ivana stole the show and caused a decent amount of excitement among the fairly reserved crowd.


Photog Patrick McMullan recruited a posse of young ladies here — myself included — and zipped us off to the Versace mansion for a cocktail toasting Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia and the jewelry collection bearing his name.


The Euro-intensive crowd was stereotypically Versace … big jewels, big money, and big cosmetic enhancements. The most expensive piece on display around the perimeter of the Versace courtyard was a double emerald ring with a retail value of $2.3 million. Pocket change.


Although caviar was in abundance, they did run out of Veuve at an early hour. I speculate that the party’s organizers cut costs on the musical entertainment: Violin players appeared to serenade the crowd from an upper-level balcony, but after taking a closer look, I realized that they were not actually touching the strings of their musical instruments, just swaying with the beat of pre-recorded pop music.

Patrick’s posse eventually disbanded and headed to the Audi fete for Grace Jones at the Florida Room of the Delano. Grace rocked the house, and the smoky space seemed to bob in unison to her hits “La Vie en Rose” and “Libertango.” The music legend attracted celebs such as Benicio del Toro, Kirsten Dunst, David LaChapelle and an Olsen. Once the open bar closed, the Basel crowd flocked in and settled into the Miami hotspot for a long night of dazzle and broken champagne flutes.

A Design-Conscious Breakdown of America’s Breakdown

By way of these fantastic folks, GOOD Magazine brings us a nifty, albeit horrific, itemization of the long-term costs of war that would make the most apolitical design-savvy aesthete pause as it’s not nearly as visceral as David LaChapelle’s “Auguries of Innocence”. Remember this video when Biden and Palin are squaring off tomorrow evening.