Kei Kagami is a Japanese architect and designer living in London whose conceptual, avant-garde designs have been referred to as Torture Couture for their integration of mechanical elements and contraptions. What’s closer to the truth is that they are, like the haute couture of a designer like Alexander McQueen, wearable works of art.
Anatomy, biology, ecology and futurism combine in his more surreal designs in which glass tubes, vials and magnifying glasses are used to break the traditional boundaries and tackle themes of transformation, and a garment’s interaction with the wearer. Using an eclectic mix of materials such as silk, lether, metaol, plastic an glass, Kagami’s conceptual pieces are always informed by his study of architecture.
The Anatomy1 Ensemble (2007) was originally featured in the Museum at FIT’s 2008 show, Gothic: Dark Glamour, but it can also currently be seen as part of Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT, on view through April 20th, 2019.
If there were ever an art gallery that offered a fully immersive sensory experience reflective of the art it most expertly represents, that would be Last Rites Gallery. Hitting its stride as the perfect comforting /disquieting mutation of a Victorian Gothic sitting room and an abattoir, Last Rites showcases the best of contemporary Dark Pop, Surrealism and Horror Art like nobody’s business. Brooklyn’s Stephen Romano Gallery certainly mines a similar vein (and we are, of course, huge fans), but there is only one Last Rites. Also: there’s a tattoo parlor in the basement.
Octopus Chandelier by Adam Wallacavage
A while back, Last Rites escaped the impending urban sprawl of its former neighborhood — a windowless loft space in the West 30s (just inches from the West Side Highway) — and moved locations to a Hell’s Kitchen-adjacent street level storefront that transforms the gallery into clearly bisected realms of darkness and light. While the ground floor gallery space is flooded with natural light pouring in from floor to ceiling windows (quite advantageous, for an art gallery), the upstairs bar/lounge and basement level tattoo salon maintain the incredible vibe of fabulously seductive gloom. Let’s take a look.
Skull Wallpaper: Classeh!
Lots of room to relax and drink, blood or whatever.
Keep Out. You don’t have to tell me twice.
Cardboard Prop with Injury
So, the facelift was all for the best, and while a few wrinkles were smoothed over, Last Rites is still quite recognizable as the place we love to see scary art and bring straight friends to freak them out. And there sure is some good art there right now, in the form of William Basso’s exhibit of mixed media assemblages, Mise En Scene. Here are some of our favorite pieces from the show!
Edgar Allan Poe
Of his work, the artist offers, “The characters in my work exists in a distant, half-remembered place, where even Halloween can last forever.” We like it.
Collection of Models Used for The Series
Very Fun! Welcome back Last Rites! For detailed information on William Basso and the works in this exhibit, visit This Link. Or, you know, just go check it out in person.
William Basso’s Mise En Scene will be on Exhibit Through May 16th 2015 at Last Rites Gallery, Located at 325 West 38th Street (Between 8th and 9th Aves) in NYC.
I’m pretty sure I saw this cozy Skull Chair on Modern Urban Living a few years back, but a friend on FaceBook just reminded me that it needed to come back out of hiding. Speaking of hiding, you could totally hide in this thing, as long as claustrophobia wasn’t a problem.
Why not enjoy the comfort of the afterlife today? Through the miracle of modern carpentry you too can have your own earthly piece of heaven. This little gem has a velvet covered thick foam cushion and classic metal spring construction seat. It folds up to a fully shut position. Available in purple, red, or black fabric. Sells for $8,000, plus shipping, from Von Erickson via Etsy.