Report: “Bjork” at MoMA

Posted by The G on March 9, 2015 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.  Various Artists.

Bjork wears Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001)

Bjork wears Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001)

As a big fan of singer/artist Bjork, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Museum of Modern Art would host a “mid-career retrospective” on the Icelandic goddess in 2015.  I will report on the exhibit in a moment because by now, if you’ve seen any press on this exhibit, it has been overwhelmingly negative.  I have to agree, but only because Bjork is such a unique and amazing artist, the exhibit does not do her career much justice, especially to those who use this exhibit to get an education in all things Bjork.  I enjoyed myself, but for a retrospective, so many great possibilities for a wonderful exhibit fell through the cracks.

Partial gallery view of Bjork's singles covers.

Partial gallery view of Bjork’s singles covers.

The show opened to the public on March 8, 2015, so naturally Gail of Worleygig and I checked the show out on the first day.  I cannot say this is how your experience will go, but we got to the museum around 11 o’clock am and our timed ticket to view the exhibit was for 12:45, but you may want to prepare for a longer line, just in case.  The exhibit consists of 3 parts:  1. A screening room with a video for the song “Black Lake,” which has been specially commissioned for this exhibit.  The video is about 10 minutes long and is about Bjork’s breakup with artist Matthew Barney (whose collaborations with Bjork are ignored in the exhibit).  Second (and this is what you need timed tickets for) is “Songlines,” a quasi-immersive experience into each of Bjork’s solo albums, featuring handwritten lyrics, costumes and miscellaneous ephemera from her solo work.  Last, a screening room features all of Bjork’s music videos (though her last album “Biophilia”).

Bjork - All Is Full of Love

Bjork – All Is Full of Love

I guess this is as good as any place to start talking about what the exhibit lacks.  Bjork’s early career is completely ignored – from her childhood singing (she released her first album in 1977, in case you didn’t know) to her beginnings in various Icelandic punk bands (and one of them was called Tippi Tikarrass which translates to “Cork the Bitch’s Ass.”  The public at large should be educated in this!)  Also ignored, the band that put Bjork on the world map in the late 1980s – The Sugarcubes.  Instead, you start with Bjork’s solo album “Debut” (1993).  You walk through a hallway that features running loops of each of Bjork’s tours – packaged in a room that is not conducive to spending lots of time and makes the non-diehard gloss over the amazing performance artist that Bjork is in concert.  You are given a headset and you get to hear a story that has nothing to do with the recording of the music and instead tells you the journey of a girl, whose story may or may not be true, but again taking the focus away from all the rules Bjork was breaking as she embarked on her solo career – working with cutting edge producers, making artistic videos, making singles that had extremely diverse (even if sometimes annoying) remixes, her usage of interesting artwork for her releases and most of all, her carving out a place in the music landscape with her unique lyrics and quirky personality, never selling out by going mainstream and always remaining a true avant-garde artist.

Bjork - Venus as a Boy Lyrics

Bjork – Venus as a Boy Lyrics

Typically each room focuses on one of her solo albums (aside from the remix album “Telegram,” the soundtrack to her collaboration with Matthew Barney “Drawing Restraint 9” her own “Selmasongs” record, which is the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed film she starred in called “Dancer in the Dark” and even the “Army of Me” cover album, where 20 versions of that song which were submitted by fans and the moneys from the project went to 2004 Tsunami victim relief).  The exhibit does not benefit from having the music videos separated from the props on display from each album because as you see the evolution of her videos, you will also hear the evolution of her music.  For the die-hards, we already know this, but to someone discovering the world of Bjork for the first time, they have to dig really deep to get some answers, and Bjork’s music can be extremely challenging at times.  Besides, seeing clips of appropriate videos would at least give the uninitiated a bigger clue into what Bjork is all about, as they are not likely to sit down for 2 hours to watch Bjork’s videos in a separate part of the museum.

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

Some of the most iconic outfits Bjork has worn are on display from a dress made by Alexander McQueen to the infamous Swan Dress, and in fact, the mannequins look eerily like Bjork.  There’s nothing in the exhibit to tell you how she ended up working with these people or how the costumes fit into the theme from the album.  Also absent are sales figures, track lists, several officially released coffee table books about Bjork’s work, awards and any sort of mention of her collaborations with the likes of Thom Yorke of Radiohead or writing the title track for Madonna’s album “Bedtime Stories.”  Even the groundbreaking interactive “Biophilia” app, which was acquired by MoMA, doesn’t even make an appearance!  Whoever curated this exhibit did a huge disservice to Bjork’s career.

Bjork - Biophilia Era

Bjork – Biophilia Era

The items on display are certainly cool and interesting, and if you are a die-hard, seeing so many infamous Bjork-items are a treat, so I enjoyed the exhibit, as did Gail, a lover of art and not a huge fan of Bjork’s music.  However, there have been many exhibits where I was unfamiliar with the artist on display as I walked into the show and when I left, I felt I had a much better understanding of their work.  With this Bjork show, it is definitely not the case.

Bjork - Volta Era

Bjork – Volta Era

I think you can appreciate this exhibit no matter what your level of Bjork fandom, but if you don’t take the time to dig deep with her work, which many viewers will not, the true artistry of Bjork’s career will not be seen or heard, and that is a tragedy.  Let us know what you think if you go in the comments section.

Bjork” at MoMa runs through June 7, 2015.

Bjork - Volta Era

Bjork – Volta Era

Bjork - Joga Costume

Bjork – Joga Costume

Bjork - Hyperballad Shoes

Bjork – Hyperballad Shoes

Follow us on Instagram or Twitter @According2g.

10 Observations from Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom

Posted by The G on April 7, 2014 under G Reviews | 2 Comments to Read

Photos and words by G.

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga is performing 7 shows at the iconic New York venue Roseland Ballroom shuts its doors for good on April 7, 2014.  I attended her show on April 4, 2014 and before I give you 10 observations from the show, I’d like to reminisce a bit about Roseland.  I’ve seen countless shows at Roseland from Radiohead to Lily Allen to New Order.  The venue housed The Black Party and it was also where I danced on stage with Grace Jones!  Such memories!  Roseland you will be missed and it’s tragic that the rumour is that the building will be turned into condominiums!  But anyway, here are 10 observations from the Lady Gaga show on April 4, 2014.

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

1. Lady Gaga performed for a paltry one hour.  Even new bands that barely have one album out play for longer.  I totally get that these are “warm up” shows for her ArtPop Ball tour, but that is ridiculously short.  Let the rumours start as to why she was unable to play for longer?  Is she on drugs?  Is she getting off drugs?  Is she just lazy?  The show should have been advertised differently if it was going to be that short.  For someone that loves her fans as much as she does, that’s a shitty thing to do to them.  Which brings me to observation number two:

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

2. The VIP package made you pay twice as much as a normal ticket cost for the show.  Though it did get you early entry to the venue (Entry at 5:30 pm.  She went on at 9:15-ish), you did not have a special section to stand in, so if you got there late, you were screwed!  In essence, the “VIP Access” made you have to stand there longer than everyone else and though it was nice that you were given a commemorative bag and poster (with poster tube), they gave it to you when you walked into the venue, so you have to schelp it around all night!  In the mob scene that was the “pit” at Roseland, that was not a nice thing to do to your fans.  However, as Roseland has notoriously bad sight lines, I guess it was either this or not be able to see at all.

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

Lady Gaga at Roseland on April 4, 2014

3. Her voice sounds great.  If the drug rumours are in deed true, it hasn’t affected her voice.  She can genuinely sing!   In fact, you can see a video of “Born This Way” shot by yours truly at this link (which will open in a new window).

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

4. If you tried to sneak up to the front, the Little Monsters will cut you!  Granted, I thought that was kind of awesome because those of us in the front paid our dues for those coveted spots, but still – there ain’t no fury like a Little Monster scorned.  The people standing near me and my friend at the show were total characters – on our left, we had a guy with the best biceps I’ve ever seen arguing with his sister about family business all night and on our right, a woman who literally had brought a drug store with her to the show.  In the course of the evening, the woman drank mini bottles of alcohol which can be found at liquor stores, smoked several joints (she did share though!), had an E-cigarette and snorted coke – and ALL in plain view.  Go on, girl!

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

5. When Gaga addressed the crowd, she used a squeaky Olive Oyl type voice which was ridiculous and annoying.  When you are performing with your pussy out, it’s really hard to buy the “I’m so innocent” act.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

6. 4 of the 11 songs she played featured her sitting down behind the piano.  Also, one of the pianos was stationed in a spot where the over $500 tickets were, and while those people got a little extra value for their ticket price, the rest of the venue could pretty much not see a thing during that section of the show.  When 15 minutes of her 60 minute show are being cockblocked by bad sight lines, that is NOT COOL!

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

7. Performing in your panties and grabbing your crotch is all the rage!

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

8. Gaga looked bloated.  I’m not trying to start any blasphemous rumours, but as we all know, if you really break your hip, the recovery time is around a year and a half, not 4 months.  Just sayin’.

Lady Gaga Roseland Merch

Lady Gaga Roseland Merch

9. The Merch. – “Lady Fucking Gaga” T-shirts and cups.  Enough said.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

10. She lives for the applause.

As I got to the end of my list, I realized it sounds like I am complaining.  To some extent, I am complaining because I see A LOT of live entertainment, and I look at everything objectively (though I am completely grateful for the experience).    I feel it’s the job of the performer to make me leave with a smile on my face.  Gaga definitely did that and she puts on a good show (despite this one being criminally short) but in some ways the joy I felt was overshadowed by a bunch of douchey moves that her team concocted to torture her fans that have little or no basis in comparison to know the difference.

What was your experience like?  Tell us in the comments section.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

The setlist was:

Born This Way (acoustic) / Black Jesus – Amen Fashion / Monster / Bad Romance / Sexxx Dreams / Dope / You and I / Poker Face (acoustic) / Just Dance / Applause.

Encore:

G.U.Y.

Must See: Jean Paul Gaultier at Brooklyn Museum

Posted by The G on December 4, 2013 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.  Art by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier

After I saw Alexander McQueen’s “Savage Beauty” exhibit at the Met a few years ago, I was convinced that I saw the best fashion exhibit I would probably ever see.  I was wrong!   The Brooklyn Museum has an insanely cool exhibit by designer Jean Paul Gaultier entitled: “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier:
From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” and if you like fashion, you cannot miss this exhibit.  First off, the presentation of the outfits is great.  Each of the seven main rooms has a different theme, from the streets of Paris to his cinematic influences and over 140 outfits are on display.  As an added bonus, if you are a Madonna fan, sketches, rare photos and iconic outfits (such as the cone bra bustier) are on display.

Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour outfits

Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour outfits

The exhibit also does something unique (which will be emulated in exhibits to come) whereby the mannequins have facial projections to make the exhibit even more interactive.

Interactive!

Interactive!

The photos you are seeing here are a tiny portion of the exquisite outfits that are on display, and of course, you cannot see the detail that was crafted into each garment.

Gaultier!

Gaultier!

Clearly, it’s not wise to compare the work of two designers who drew from different inspirations, but McQueen’s “Savage Beauty” exhibit kept coming to mind (possibly because of the breadth of the costumes and the various thematic rooms) and whereas I had a very creepy feeling in the McQueen exhibit (that foreshadowed his suicide), whereas Gaultier’s exhibit is much more colorful and lively.

Kylie Minogue!

Kylie Minogue!

Don’t worry if you are not a Madonna fan – outfits worn by Kylie Minogue, Mylene Farmer, Depeche Mode, Nirvana and Cameo (yes, Cameo!) are represented in this show.

Remember this outfit that caused a commotion when Madonna wore it?

Remember this outfit that caused a commotion when Madonna wore it?

In the photo below, the mannequins were on a revolving platform that gave the illusion that you were watching a live fashion show.  Very well done!

Gaultier

Gaultier

And presented without comment – more amazing images from this must see show!

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier

Unseen Polaroids of Madonna and Gaultier circa 1990

Unseen Polaroids of Madonna and Gaultier circa 1990

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier

And last but not least…

 

Gaultier --- The Merch!

Gaultier — The Merch!

There is also a fantastic coffee table book of the exhibit that I looked through, so if you cannot make it out to the Brooklyn Museum before February 23, 2014, you should definitely think about getting it.

Final Day: Liberace’s Costumes on Display at Time Warner Center

Posted by The G on May 27, 2013 under Artsy Fartsy | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Michael Douglas as Liberace and Liberace as Liberace

Michael Douglas as Liberace and Liberace as Liberace

If you are a fan of Liberace and you live in New York, you’d better head over to the Time Warner Center today to see the final day of a bunch of Liberace’s costumes on display to coincide with the new HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra,” about the flamboyant singer’s life.

Liberace's Piano

Liberace’s Piano

Please excuse the glare on these photos.  The costumes were under glass and it was really sunny when I took a trip to see this exhibit.

 

a costume worn by Liberace

a costume worn by Liberace

Liberace's Rings

Liberace’s Rings

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...