To create the look of the Zebra Punk Party Dress (which was part of her Spring 2007 Punk collection), Anna Sui combined ripped mesh leggings and armlets, references to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mclaren’s punk fashions of the mid-to-late 1970s. The monochrome zebra print recalls the strict dress color code of the New York clubs that Sui frequented in her youth, such as Max’s Kansas City and CBGB.
Zebra Punk Party Dress is made from Silk chiffon with a nylon petticoat, leggings and sleeves; worn with brass/glass/plastic bracelet by Erickson Beamon for Anna Sui; cowhide boots by Ballin for Anna Sui.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.
“When I think about pinafores and jumpers and compromised purity, it’s actually quite punk. Go further back and it’s all about mod and Twiggy and dolly birds and thousands of school girls like me pouring over magazines, reading articles from the front lines of pop culture.”
Throughout her career, Anna Sui has summoned the youthful spirit of the school girl but was an edge, embracing the complexity of teen-hood. For the fall 1994 Schoolgirl collection, Sui focused on Yves Saint Laurent‘s most iconic designs, which she reinterpreted in high-tech sportswear materials.fall 1994 Schoolgirl collection, Sui focused on Yves Saint Laurent‘s most iconic designs, which she reinterpreted in high-tech sportswear materials.
Saint Laurent was also a superb colorist, as reflected in the collection’s use of bold colors. The sportswear sensibility extended to a series of outfits inspired by cheerleader uniforms, many of which Sui accessorized with pom-pom hats by James Coviello.
Jacket Front and Back Detail
Schoolgirl Collection Installation View: Cheerleader Ensemble (far right) worn with plastic/wool pom-pom hat by James Coviello for Anna Sui; Plastic belt, two necklaces, and bracelets by Erickson Beamon for Anna Sui; fishnet nylon hose and acetate/satin-covered domestic cowhide short boots by Emma Hope for Anna Sui.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.
“I think that, with hindsight, this may have been a moment in my career where my own past and present truly came together, more so that with other collections, which, however much I cherished them, were a carefully stitched-together tapestry of obsessively researched elements. My Grunge collection was more ‘felt’ than it was thought.”
The 1993 Grunge collection secured Anna Sui’s place in the history of fashion. She saw Seattle’s grunge music scene as the major force in the youth culture of that period, and used the layering and mixing typical of its style to great effect, riffing on the youthful sincerity of the movement to produce some of the most influential looks of the nineties.
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble, Detail: Polyester and Cotton Tank and Leggings with Totton Kilt and Shorts
Grunge style sprang out of a Seattle subculture in which a new wave of musicians, including Nirvana fronted by Kurt Cobain, sported a “thrift store” style of dressing that seemed to mirror their novel sound. This “un-fashion” style chimed with the decade’s rejection of the excesses of the 1980s and quickly went from subculture to mass culture. Marc Jacobs, working for Perry Ellis at the time, glamorized this style to create a grunge collect for Sping 1993. Sui’s references to grunge in her own collection, in contrast, are colored with optimism and a “hippie” sensibility. The outfit seen here features a kilt, widely associated with grunge, as well as a flower belt more reminiscent of the sixties or seventies
Lunchbox by Designs from the Deep, Cowhide/Rubber Boots by John Fluevog for Anna Sui
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble (Spring 1993) Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design
The importance of storytelling is clear in Anna Sui’s collections, which conjure an imaginary world of Icelandic princesses, pirates, fairies, Vikings and enchanted animals. Complementing these historical and fantastical figures, her runway shows have featured whimsical, surreal accessories from animal hats to gingerbread handbags.
This dress was inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte and the introduction of the Empire style to France in the early nineteenth century.
Sui gave the gown a punk makeover by cutting it off mid-thigh. She created a series of these dresses in silk chiffon and crepe de Chine printed with hearts, roses, stripes and polka dots. Worn with petticoats and produced in a combination of red, white, and black, they recalled the designs of interior decorator Dorothy Draper, who was known for her dramatic deployment of black and white, as well as the punk clothes worn by members of the New York Dolls. Sui recalls, “Back in the 1970s, if you were part of the rock scene or if you went to clubs like Max’s or CBGB, you only wore red, white or black. Everything was heavily codified.” The French Empire, too, was governed by rigid codes, and this provided the link for Sui’s collection. The Dorothy Draper Pirate ensemble is from Sui’s spring 2007 collection.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC.
This poster by Peter Savile, who first came to prominence for his designs for Factory Records, was issued to promote Joy Division’s 1979 debut album, Unknown Pleasures. Band member Bernard Sumner found the image, a rendering of successive waves emitted by a pulsar, in an astronomy textbook. Saville reversed the image from black-on-white to white-on-black, conjuring the darker atmospherics of the album’s sound. The Cover Art design has attained an iconic status, particularly of late, going so far as to spawn the term “joyplot,“ which refers to a method of data visualization that involves the layering of successive and comparative histograms.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Too Fast To Live Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC.
Teri Greeves (b. 1970) is a member of the Kiowa Native American tribe, and her culture deeply influences her work. Khoiye-Goo Mah (2004) translates in the Kiowa language as “Kiowa women,” and four Kiowa women are depicted on these sneakers: the artist’s grandmother and mother, both skillful bead workers who taught artist this traditional craft,; her aunt, the first female fancy war dancer in the state of Oklahoma, and spiritual woman, who had the honor of naming the artist.
Artist LJ Roberts offers the following input on the piece: “Converse hi-tops have long been a part of my everyday life. I’ve modified them as a means of personal expression, and for years they have been the surface on which I move and travel. Khoiye-GoodMah integrates matrilineal skill sharing, craft, movement, and Independence. To converse it to communicate, and to also reverse or revert; Greeves’ artwork does this in rich and complex layers.”
Photographed in the Museum of Ats and Design in Manhattan
Paula Douglas, also known as Gretchen Fetchen, was one of the early participants in the San Francisco Acid Test happenings organized by Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters in the mid-1960s. The events were designed as gatherings to promote consciousness expansion and creativity through the use of LSD, which was legal at the time.
Gretchen Fetchen’s Acid Test Dress (1965) and painted Orange Leather Boots reflects the Merry Pranksters’ rejection of norms of appearance through the embracing of exuberant Day-Glo colors. The garment also features a star, together with red, white and blue stripes — symbols of the Merry Pranksters.
Acid Test Dress and Boots Installation View. Photographed as Part of the Counter Couture Exhibit, Up Though August 20th, 2017 at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC
In 1974, Billy Shire was working on a Studded Denim Jacket to advertise his studding business, and decided to enter it into the Levi’s Denim Art Contest. His entry, Welfare (1975), which won the competition, is embellished with eleven pounds of rivets, rhinestone rim sets and oversize upholstery tacks typically used on leather and furniture.
It also incorporates an ashtray and a hotel desk bell, which chimes while the jacket is being worn.
Installation View with Jacket on Far Right
Shire has created stage costumes and street wear for Elton John, as well as members of the bands Chicago and The Doobie Brothers
Theses Photographs were Taken at the Exhibit, Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture on Display Through August 20th, 2017 at the Museum of Arts and Design, Located at 2 Columbus Circle (at 58th Street and 8th Avenue), in NYC.
If the idea of bearing witness to dozens of tiny, semi-clad porcelain figurines that appear to be on the cusp of indulging in a bacchanalian orgy floats your boat, have I a got an art exhibit for you. Chris Antemann’s Forbidden Fruit — up now at the Museum of Arts and Design — celebrates the collaboration between the Oregon-based artist and Meissen, the renowned manufacturer of fine Porcelain.
Detail from Above Photo
In 2011, Antemann was invited to participate in Meissen’s Art Studio Program, where she worked closely with Meissen’s master artisans to create unique pieces and a series of limited editions that strike a perfect balance between her distinctive style and Meissen’s identity. These pieces are arranged in Forbidden Fruit as a grand installation that reinvents and invigorates the great figurative tradition.
Inspired by eighteenth-century porcelain figurines and decorative art, Antemann’s delicate and intricately detailed sculptures are lavishly presented on a central banquet table alongside a selection of stand alone sculptures and a nine-light porcelain chandelier. Her centerpiece, Love Temple (2013), is inspired by Meissen’s great historical model of Johann Joachim Kändler’s monumental Love Temple (1750). Stripping the original design back to its basic forms, added her own figures, ornamentation, and flowers to her five-foot work, as well as a special finial with three musicians to herald the arrival of guests to the banquet of “forbidden fruit” below.
Using the Garden of Eden as her metaphor, Antemann has created a contemporary interpretation of the eighteenth-century banqueting craze by inserting her scantily clad male and female figures.
Posed in intimate and playful vignettes of seduction, Antemann’s figures convey narratives of domesticity, social etiquette, and taboos while making formal references to classic Baroque Meissen figurines. The ceramist invents a new narrative on contemporary morality in a setting that evokes the decadence of François Boucher and Jean-Antoine Watteau.
Chris Antemann’s Forbidden Fruit will be on Exhibit Through February 5, 2017 at the Museum of Arts and Design, Located at 2 Columbus circle (58th Street) in NYC.
Coral Forest, Installation View (All Photos By Gail)
Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Crochet Coral Reef (2005–present), an ongoing project by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim and their Los Angeles–based organization, the Institute For Figuring. Mixing crocheted yarn with plastic trash, the work fuses mathematics, marine biology, feminist art practices, and craft to produce large-scale coralline landscapes, both beautiful and blighted. At once figurative, collaborative, worldly, and dispersed, the Crochet Coral Reef offers a tender response to the dual calamities facing marine life: climate change and plastic trash.
With 2016 being the hottest year on record, living reefs everywhere are under stress. Into these arenas of color huge areas of whiteness now intrude; bleaching events signal that corals are sick and dying. In 2005, in response to devastation of the Great Barrier Reef in their native Australia, the Wertheims began to crochet a simulation of healthy and ailing reefs.
Detail from the Photo Above
Using the algorithmic codes of crochet, the sisters produce crenellated forms that are representations of hyperbolic geometry, which is also manifest in the undulating structures of corals, kelps, and other reef organisms. The Wertheims and their collaborators, a core group of worldwide Crochet Reefers, fabricate an ever-evolving artificial ecology.
Coral Reef Crocheted in Part from Plastic Dry Cleaning Bags
Coral Reef Crocheted in Part from Recycled Plastic Toys
Detail From the Photo Above
This exhibition consists of three main “habitats.” A giant Coral Forest and a collection of miniature Pod Worlds represent the diversity of living corals through the varying textures, colors, and forms of crocheted yarn and beads. A Bleached Reef and a brand new Toxic Reef serve as invocations of dying corals, while The Midden—four years’ worth of the Wertheims’ own domestic plastic trash—constitutes a deeply personal response to the issue of plastic waste in the oceans, including human-made phenomena such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Branched Anemone Garden
Toxic Reef and Bleached Reef, Installation View
Often called the Rainforests of the Sea, coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. They occupy less that a tenth of one percent of the world’s ocean area, yet are home to at least a quarter of all marine species. Reefs are vulnerable to many threats, such as destructive fishing techniques, pollution and tourism, as well as the global effects of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels and the raising of livestock are two of the major contributors to an increasing level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which ultimately leads to the acidifcation and warming of ocean waters.
Bleached Reef, Detail
When reefs are stressed, a phenomenon known as “Bleaching” may occur. Photosynthetic algae — which live symbiotically within coral colonies — leave, thus depriving corals of both their color and a major food source. The Bleached Reef seen here is a crochet invocation of such ailing corals, reflected in the contrast between the still saturated red and pink areas and the soft white yearn of bleached portions.
Pod World — Plastic Fantastic Too
Pod World — Beaded Baroque
Pod World — Red and White
In 2006, Margaret and Christine Wertheim began to crochet household plastic into a Toxic Reef, which they have since developed into plastic and coral sculptures seen in the Coral Forest section this exhibit. The initial use of plastic, such as video and audio tape, tinsel and zip ties, in their artwork evolved into an awareness of the artists’ own plastic consumption. From 2007 to 2011 the Wereheim;s collected their domestic plastic trash, includign bottoles, take out containers, and disposable shopping bags.
The Midden, Detail
The Midden, seen suspended in a fishing net from the ceiling of the exhibit’s front gallery, is a record of the family’s personal waste, with a stunning visual realization of the disposability of contemporary consumption. The work was inspired by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast area located in the northern Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, where millions of tons of plastic trash accumulates in a giant ocean gyre. Other such gyres dot the globe, ad these ghastly legacies human consumption are having detrimental effects on biological, ecological and economic systems.
Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas is an important exhibit that is appropriate for the entire family. Not only will you see many beautiful crocheted sculptures, but you will learn something, while having your eyes opened to serious ecological issues that require our involvement and action right now.
Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas By Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring will be on Exhibit Through January 22, 2017 at the Museum of Art and Design Located at 2 Columbus Cicle (59th Street at 8th Avenue) in NYC. This Exhibit represents a unique presentation of the Crochet Coral Reef that focuses on climate change and ocean health, is curated by Assistant Curator Samantha De Tillio for the Museum of Arts and Design.