Friday, May 28, 2010

Last Call: Kate Gilmore at the 2010 Whitney Biennial

Double Dutch, 2004. A piece in which Gilmore jumped rope on a perforated platform in stilettos.

This weekend is beautiful. It's crisp, it's sunny, it's three days long, and BBQ's are smokin' everywhere. I know that, but if you haven't seen Kate Gilmore's piece in the 2010 Biennial, I want you to ignore everything I just mentioned and get your ass to The Whitney before the exhibit dismantles and disappears. Go inside for a while (you can eat burgers later) and sit with Ms. Gilmore's projected image as it struggles, bashes, and bangs it's way to the top of a four walled column while decked in a red polka-dot dress in Standing Here, 2010. It's a great piece, one that reignited my interest in this endurance artist who sets herself to tough tasks for the sake of getting through them and leaving a record. In fact, the piece--and especially it's interesting choice of wardrobe--prompted me to get in touch with Ms. Gilmore and find out more about the role of clothing in her work. In an email conversation a little while back she graciously answered my sartorial questions:

With Open Arms, 2005. Gilmore dons a special something for a torrent of tomatoes.

I want to wear it. (IWTWI): I had an inkling when I saw Standing Here, 2010 at the Biennial that the red dress you wore was quite planned and intentional. However, I was still surprised to catch a video of you on the Whitney site showing a Christmas-time Loehmann's shopping trip with paint swatches in hand. How important is what you wear to your work? Are the decisions made for aesthetic purposes, or are your clothing choices about communicating ideas?

Kate Gilmore (KG): I think it is a combination. It is very important that there is a female character carrying out these actions (thus, the clothing), but the type and colors of the dresses and shoes are really aesthetic and formal decisions.

IWTWI: Do you choose the clothing you are going to wear as you are initially creating a piece? Or, is that a decision made later in your process?

KG: Definitely later. I think about the sculpture first and then i figure out what outfit would either go best or contrast, both in terms of the aesthetic quality of the dress and in the type of person it might convey.

IWTWI: Considering the physicality of your work, do you make any clothing choices for your performances based on safety or protection?

KG: Well, the shoes can actually help me with the activity. I can hook a heel, bash a wall with it, etc. So, for the piece at the Whitney, I knew I needed a heavy, strong high heel. I made a bit of a mistake with the dress at the Whitney because it was too long--I had to keep pulling it up to get my legs up to kick and climb. So, the things I wear can be tools and hindrances.

IWTWI: Do you keep the clothes from your pieces as artifacts of the work?

KG: Yes! Sometimes I like them so much that if they aren't ruined, I will still wear them.

IWTWI: Have you sustained any injuries from your work? It looks so brutal in some cases.

KG: Luckily not. The pieces are made so that I can be successful in my endeavors. They are built around my body and my capabilities. That said, sometimes I think I am stronger or more agile than I am and I have to adapt on the spot.

IWTWI: Do you follow fashion at all? Have any favorite designers or style icons?

I really don't follow fashion that much. However, I do follow people who follow fashion. For instance a character like Leigh Bowery is someone I have looked to both as an individual who dealt with fashion in an interesting way, but also someone who took it to an extreme where it became something more than just clothing.

IWTWI: High heels: Sexy accessory or sharp weapon?

KG: Both...

Standing Still, 2010. Kate's smashing feat now showing at the Whitney Biennial 2010.

Thank you so much to Kate Gilmore for taking the time to answer these questions, and even more for her work which is inspiring.

All images from

One Leg At A Time.

"A police officer stood guard as a woman caught wearing pants changed into a government-issued skirt at a checkpoint in Indonesia. The authorities in the Islamic country's Aceh province have distributed 20,000 long skirts and prohibited shops from selling revealing clothing."

(New York Times Lens Blog)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Le Sigh.

Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard's film version of Truffaut's story about a suave sociopath and his amour du jour, a beautiful American played by the pixiest of pixies, Ms. Jean Seberg, turns 50 this year. You are invited to it's birthday bash run from May 28th to June 10th at Film Forum.

Until then you can use it's amazing trailer as the most chic French vocab lesson you have ever had:


Monday, May 24, 2010

Spin Shine.

Scraper Bikes are cooler than you. It doesn't really matter how cool you are, they are just cooler than you. Once you get over that, you should watch this docu-vid and see what I mean:

See? Those spokes shine with a higher purpose. Not only do they look all blingy and fresh, but those bikes also save lives. In order to maintain membership of The Original Scraper Bike Team you have to pass muster with your wheels, learn to obey the single file ride rule, and maintain a 3.0 GPA in school. I approve whole-heartedly. Inner City good will and glam have never gone together quite so well. Here's some more shots of kids' custom wheels:

I wonder if I can apply for an absentee membership?I found directions on how to Scrape my bike on the Internets. Wait, I don't have a bike...yet! To be continued.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blame is Game.

Master Blame.

Judy Blame is a stylist/designer/fashion legend worthy of some space in your brain. I hate to make an ass out of you and me and assume that you don't know Mr. Blame, but he's more of the behind the seams type here in the states than he ought to be. His career was born in the '80s in London. Working with a group of like-minded rabble rousers who went by the name of Buffalo Boys, Blame helped pioneer a look that encompassed hard, soft, masculine, and feminine (think combat boots and lace on boy toy-era beefcakes). The look leaked to pop culture and made a pro-stylist of Blame.

He's worked with musicians like Neneh Cherry, Bjork, and Boy George, contributed to ID and added his accessory design skills to haute houses like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, and, most recently, Comme des Garcons. I appreciate his pile-it-on aesthetic and love his repurposed materials (toy soldiers? Yes, please.) You want some of the Blame too? His current work can be found in CdG boutiques and online via dobedo.

Yummy/crazy/colorful. Like a bag of Halloween candy for your wardrobe.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Melissa.

My new Vivienne Westwood for Anglomania Three Strap Flats. Yay.

I've waxed plenty poetic about my plastic footwear obsession, Melissa Shoes. Made of the Brazilian company's signature Melflex material, they are uber-comfortable, weather resiliant, urban all-terrain shoes. A friend who does business in Brazil brought me back a pair after my very first ones broke after two straight spring/summer seasons of near-daily city wear. My first pair was a flukey find on the shelves of Old Navy for $19.99, and my second pair was a gift of my angel of a friend, so I had no idea the company's goods usually go for $80 and up and aren't so easy to find in The States. I've been dreaming of them more lately now that it's sockless season, and I think someone up there was listening because last night in my daily email update from The Cut, there was news of joy...a Melissa Shoes sample sale in Chelsea! Thank you Fashion Fairies!

The sale was phenomenal and got me to part with $140 of my hard typed/filed/envelopes licked/phones answered/earned money for three pairs of awesomeness. There were plenty of styles and sizes, and prices ranged from $20 to $150 (originals from $40 to $300). There were deep discounts on great collabos from guest designers Zaha Hadid, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexandre Herchcovich.

My new plastic Flatastics.

I can't say enough about how well these shoes wear and how good of a buy they are. I'm sure the sale will be stormed as the weekend comes, but you still have a few days of weekday-worker free shopping left. The sale is on through May 22nd at 520 West 27th street, from noon til 8. Go, buy, love.

Common Goods: Prom(ise me you won't ask to see my dress).

'Tis the season for posing in front of a backdrop with fake flowers in pedestal vases. Teens everywhere are booking limos, shore houses, and boat cruises. They are also spending way too much to have their hair piled on top of their head and makeup spackled on their faces, but it's all in the name of tradition, a rite of passage that shouldn't be missed. Culling prom photos from Flickr made me realize just how unfortunate many prom dresses are, so I don't have to feel bad about my own--ahem--turquoise zebra print chiffon number with matching turquoise everything (eyeliner, shawl, shoes). Yeesh. Looking back on it, I should have kept that dress on for the post-prom Seaside Heights festivities. Would have been perfect Jersey Shore wear. Here, take a look at some other peoples' prom shots because I'm not showing you mine.

It's official, in my next life I'm coming back as a girl who gets to go to prom in the early '60s.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Twinkle Twinkle.

My newest favorite redhead (move over Angela Chase!) is Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine and her newest video for the band's latest single Cosmic Love is, by virtue of the Transitive Property, my favorite newest video.

Did you catch the "Fireflies on the Water" inspired vibe, and the trendy glowdress? I did. Both Yayoi Kusama and Katy Perry would be proud.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Found in the Translation.

Remember the first day of your Intro to Women's Studies course where the gender neutral professor told you that the distinction between the categories of "male" and "female" was blurrier than you thought? Well, it seems that that textbook lesson is becoming more and more of a case study in the City (and elsewhere across the country).

Contestants, fans, and clubbers.

It's seemed for a while now that the transgendered population is louder, prouder, and more visible in my everyday life as a New Yorker. My City mag of choice New York Magazine (The Approval Matrix=the bestest) confirms my trans hunch with a great new mini-article about the FTM (female to male)/transman scene. The article spends some time with a few biological women who have transitioned into more masculine physiques by altering their physical appearances with hormones rather than surgery. Of course, as a fashion dork, my fascination lay less in their anatomical changes and more in their aesthetics. The idea of passing as a man is an interesting issue of dress. It usually involves markers of men that women don't naturally sport--like facial hair, biceps, sailor tattoos, and A-shirts with flannels.

The contest's announcement, featuring a Marlboro Transman.

Know that the movement is about much more than clothes, it's about living comfortably in a human body. But, I think a lot of fashion is about this same struggle of identity. Strip us down and we all have about the same stuff, but give us a closet to rifle through and we will start showing you who we think we are and how we want you to treat us.


So many people say they don't think about what they wear or about how they dress, yet it defines so much of who we are and where we belong and what we are saying about ourselves. The trans community is probably the most radically dressed population of all--they take even more risks than the heavily pierced, studded, goth kids people point at and call freaks. The trans community is playing with your sense of common categorization, of what we've all learned and taken for granted about being a man 0r a woman and therefore about being human in a culture that only recognizes the two. They call into question peoples' indoctrinated knowledge and open up new possibilities. New is scary to most. It takes bravery to do new.

sHe's got talent.

And then sometimes brave takes a backseat to fun, fabulousness, and other things that start with an F. There's a lot of anti-labeling sentiment in the queer community. It's a move towards less politics and more living, less protesting and more...pageants. Yep, you heard me.

The Mr. Transman 2010 pageant was held the tail end of April and crowned the scene's new monarch.

The contestants.

The Pageant's Crown Prince, Kit, in his evening wear.

Mr. Kit, who showed up for the eveningwear competition in footie pajamas, took the crown and the latex, um, "scepter". He beat out PBR swigging beatboxers, wrestlers, band leaders, and a few figurative baton twirlers. The competition was stiff, but ultimately the pageant was more about flirty fun for an emerging scene just looking to get some and live life. If that's not the human condition, I don't know what is.

All photos by Maro Hagopian for The Village Voice.

I Will Survive.

Oh readers, if ever I disappear on you again know it isn't out of lack of love for you, fashion, art, or you again. In fact, I love you more than you can even know, and, well, we all know how I feel about fashion. Let's get this party re-started, shall we? To kick off the festivities, here's a little Gloria Gaynor via my hot tub time machine (I don't even know what that means):

Truer words have never been disco-dance-skated to.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Look, But Don't Take.

Artist Lauren Nassef is one of those poetically gifted artists who knows just how many lines to use in her work. Her drawings are detailed, but spare, but evocative. They've got personality, identity-- and for a scandalous time last year, they suffered identity theft.

An online "artist" took Lauren's drawings off the web and claimed them as her own. She sold the forged drawings and even won a major competition with them. The matter has since been resolved, but gave me pause. The internet makes a pretty easy game of cut-n-copy. It takes some seriously compromised integrity to steal someone's work on such a big level, but this case also shows just how simple it can be if one were so inclined. Caution artists, and warning fakers: Feast your eyes on Nassef's beautiful work, but don't get any plagiaristic ideas. Just enjoy the simple, gorgeous graphics. I love so many, so I'm posting many.

See, they make you covetous too, don't they? That's ok. You can get some through Lauren's site (where she posts a drawing a day!!) or through her Etsy shop.

All art © 2007-2010-infinity Lauren Nassef / (see that?)