I love my calico Fennica 48 drinking jacket right down to it’s beer barrel buttons.
Design authority Jim Walrod wears a deep and wide-ranging understanding of his subject – specifically that pertaining to modernism in furniture, interiors, product design and architecture – lightly.
This is refreshing in a field populated by bloodless experts and humourless know-alls. The founder of important 90s/00s store Form & Function, Walrod – described as “the ultimate design raconteur” by André Balazs and “the furniture pimp” by the Beastie Boys – is above all an enthusiast.
Artist/illustrator Peter Knock pays tribute to the British ‘Situation’ painter Robyn Denny, who has died:
Sad to learn of the death of abstract painter Robyn Denny last Tuesday (May 20). It surprised me that he was, in fact, 83; my image of him is locked into the 60s when he was one of the hip and talented artists to have emerged from the Royal College of Art (where he studied in the 50s).
Great Big Biggest Wide London, Denny’s mural for Austin Reed’s Regent Street store, conveyed classic 1960s new age optimism, and received the ultimate seal of approval as a piece defining of its era when The Beatles asked to be photographed standing in front of it in 1963.
Beat This: A Hip Hop History – Malcolm McLaren taken by Michael Holman to the Zulu Nation in August 1981
Beat This: A Hip Hop History is an hour-long documentary broadcast by BBC in its Arena strand in 1984 and directed by Dick Fontaine (who I interviewed for my Goldie book back in the early 00s).
In one section Malcolm McLaren talks about his August 1981 introduction to Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation in the south Bronx.
This was effected by artist/filmmaker/writer Michael Holman; his often overlooked achievements include actually naming the genre “hip hop” in his East Village Eye column, founding the noise group Gray with Jean-Michel Basquiat (Holman also wrote the 1996 Julian Schnabel-directed biopic), running the world’s first hip-hop club (Negril, on 11th Street), creating the New York City Breakers and making the films and TV shows Catch A Beat, Beat Street and Graffiti Rock.
While interrogating materials for Rethink/Re-Entry – the monograph of artist Derek Boshier I am editing – I’ve come across many delights, including these sketches in the Flowers Gallery archive for one of the most visually striking documents of the post-punk era, CLASH 2nd Songbook.
//Left: Love, 1962, Marisol. Plaster and glass (Coca-Cola bottle), 6 1/4 x 4 1/8 x 8 1/8″, MoMA. Right: From I Get A Kick Out Of You, David Parkinson, Club International, 1975//
A disturbing David Parkinson image from a mid-70s fashion shoot for British porn magazine Club International puts me in mind of the early 60s sculpture Love by the artist Marisol.
Set in a discreet 19th Century neo-classical carriage house in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, The Dark Parade is a meditative installation of assemblages, sculptures and recent photography by David Armstrong.
One visitor who has experienced the immersive show – visits are by appointment with Armstrong’s gallery Casa De Costa – noted the “dark works with an edge of humour and ominous atmosphere” and likens The Dark Parade to “a mix of the memento mori via a hard-on-its-luck antiques store”.
//Left: The Outer Limits, 2010. 8.5 x 12.4 x 8.5in. Right: Untitled, 2014. 24 x 35.25in//
Catch if you can Alistair Sooke’s excellent BBC documentary Pop Go The Women: The Other Story Of Pop Art. Derek Boshier – subject of my next book – is among the interviewees, talking about his contemporary Pauline Boty.
Her work, like the other subjects of the programme, has been neglected in the circumscribed narrative of Pop. In Boshier’s words, Boty is important, not least because she was “an instigator and an enabler” to the male artists who hog the story on both sides of the Atlantic.
The film’s revelation for me is the American Rosalyn Drexler, whose art is identified convincingly by Sooke as “scathing, critical, strong and stern”. Pop Go The Women is available to view on BBC iPlayer for the next five days here.
Derek Boshier: Rethink/Re-Entry is published by Thames & Hudson next spring.
Prior to Jim French launching his homoerotic imprint Colt Studios, the venerable American illustrator and photographer made his bones on Madison Avenue in the 1950s and 60s producing work for such clients as Columbia Records and scarf and handkerchief designer Tammis Keefe.
Now a selection of French’s artworks from this period are going on display in an exhibition at Palm Springs gallery Nat Reed.
I’m intrigued by the photography of Sunny Suits, the American who, like so many illustrious others, flourishes in Paris, so am delighted to present this selection of recent work complete with her descriptions and background text.
The Joujouka festival happens once a year in Morocco, a few hours from Tangier. It’s an incredible experience, to live on the farm with the villagers, to share their lives for a few days. Each night around midnight the musicians play and are excellent!
The folklore of the village is something special and I feel really lucky to have experienced it. Brian Jones and the Beats are to be thanked for sharing the discovery with us I’d say but it’s the music and also the painter Mohamed Hamri that I connect with most.
Champagne Bars and Sex Shops
My first memories of Paris include Pigalle. I used to live in the area and I have wanted to document the champagne bars and the women who work in them for years but before, my French wasn’t good enough and now the bars have almost disappeared. It’s also not exactly my world so I don’t think I have the right to intrude even though it’s only with respect that I see them.
Some of them have become sheesha bars, which I don’t mind because it’s part of the quartier, but red light districts are dying worlds. I see it as them as endangered species, something exotic and necessary. It’s a shame to see them disappear. There should be a smut preservation society.
The photograph ‘Sero’ is of the largest sex shop in Pigalle called Sexodrome. The lights had burned out leaving the sign to read Sero. Ironic for a sex shop sign.
Vince is a journalist and photo critic who was close to Peter Hujar. He knew David Wojnarowicz and many, if not all of the great artists from the Lower East Side that I admire so much. His voice is one of experience as that was his peer group. My friend the artist Paul P and Vince are friends and Paul took me to meet him one day at his place, which is like a shrine! He’s smart and generous and it was a lovely afternoon.
My friend Ariel is a writer here in France, novels and plays. He’s young and accomplished. He’s singing now and I think he’ll be just as successful. His groupies are already in line. He’s got something no doubt. His style is sort of what I call ‘Nu-Française’. He respects the lineage, of literature and now singing, and is a contemporary of it.
Lamine Badian Kouyaté
Lamine is the designer of the French brand Xuly Bët. He’s half Malian half Senegalese and for me totally Parisien. Xuly Bët has its well earned place in fashion history. I don’t think of fashion without thinking of Xuly Bët. His proposition is a mix of street, couture and Africa and I love it. It’s the 25th anniversary of Xuly Bët this year and I’m really honoured to have been able to take his picture. You can see a great Xuly Bët show in the Robert Altman film Prêt-à-Porter.
For French-speakers there is an interview with Ariel Kenig about his book Le Miracle here.
DJHistory has a great interview with Vince Aletti here.
Here is the Xuly Bët site.
Visit Sunny Suits’ site here.