Primarily known as a designer of custom clothing for Rock Stars, Michael Houghton has taken his love of All Things Rock into the fine art world with a series of works on canvas known simply as “The Smoking Series.” Featuring large scale canvases (36” x 36”) adorned with appropriated, iconic images of Rock legends such as Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, you’ll notice that each has one thing in common: a smoldering cigarette. Whether perched between pouting lips or dangling from fingertips, everybody’s got one. The texture of each canvas suggests a layering technique, and Houghton explained to me that he uses a method similar to that used in hanging wallpaper: where he will apply paste to the image first so that it can be stretched across the canvas. Once the image is dry he can add surface adornments such as colorful paint and glitter accents. The finished images very much capture the spirit of Rock that seemed to die at the end the ’70s. A moment of silence please.
One of my favorites is an purple-glitter covered image of the late Steve Marriott of Humble Pie and The Small Faces who, coincidentally, died in a home fire caused by a cigarette. Sometimes, life’s lessons are tough ones.
Houghton seems to move The Smoking Series from venue to venue depending on which space offers his collection a home (recently it was on exhibit at Bread) and right now you can see it at the corner storefront space at 19 Kenmare Street, between Elizabeth and Bowery. This is definitely a “Pop Up” gallery situation and Michael admitted that while he hopes to get another week in the space, realistically the show will possibly be at this location only until Wednesday May 11th, so stop by while you can!
Leslie Buck, the man who invented the iconic “We Are Happy To Serve You” coffee cup, also known as the Anthora, has passed away at the age of 87. There is a nice little story about Buck and his life in the NY Times at this link. RIP Iconic Coffee Cup Man!
Here is a statement from Sex Pistols’ guitarist Steve Jones about Malcolm McLaren, who passed away on April 8th at age 64 from cancer.
“I was upset when I heard the news, as I’ve always had a soft spot for Malcolm. I knew him since I was 17 before The Pistols formed — I used to drive him around in Vivienne Westwood’s car to the tailors in London in the days of the Let It Rock clothing store. Malcolm was definitely the Brian Epstein of punk — without him it wouldn’t have happened the way it did. I stayed friends with him throughout the years despite some of our differences. He came on Jonesy’s Jukebox a couple of years ago, and that’s a good memory. But my fondest memory of Malcolm, and I loved the guy, was his birthday gift to me when I turned 21 — he got me a hooker and some heroin.”
Joan, Roger, Don and Betty in their Barbie-fied State (Click to Image Enlarge)
This news is mind-blowing on so many levels, I can hardly think where to begin, but basically what’s happening is that Mattel Toys has officially licensed characters from the best TV show ever in the Universe of all time, Mad Men to become limited-edition, collectible Barbie and Ken dolls. You can read all about the Mad Men Barbies at This Link, but first I would like to point out my personal-favorite few sentences of the entire article:
“The pairing of Barbie and Mad Men is more interesting than the typical licensing agreement, because of their shared history. Barbie was introduced in March 1959, and the first episode of Mad Men is set in March 1960.
“Mad Men represents so beautifully the universe that created Barbie,” said Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, “because the series is about the selling of the American consumer society.” The personification of Betty Draper as Barbie is particularly resonant, Mr. Thompson said, because she represents “the wife who lives in her dream house whose soul is eaten away.”
So awesome. The dolls will retail for $74.95 each.
A very good activity to plan for a rainy day in NYC is to go to a museum. Whether it’s the Whitney (aka the “Whip Me”), The Guggenheim (The Guggy) The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) or some other place where we can get in for free with our badges from our day jobs, Geoffrey and I like to do the museum thing every few weeks. Because art is awesome. Since our last trip to MOMA, which was I believe to see the James Ensor exhibit back in July, they’ve installed the mind-blowing, skull crushing, eyeball exploding No Discipline design exhibit by Israeli designer Ron Arad and it just fucking will not stop rocking. You should see the furniture this guy designs; it is just crazy great. I wanted to own all of it, but the Chickpad is, sadly, at maximum capacity for new furniture at this time.
Geoffrey Was In Love With this Chandelier
Plus, I’m probably short the several millions of dollars required to own any of his stuff – not that it wouldn’t be 100% worth it. Because it would. Holy mother of god, I have a background in Interior Design and my jaw was on the floor the whole time we were walking through the exhibit. I will definitely go again before No Discipline closes on October 19, 2009. In the meantime, I will be dreaming about that furniture.