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The New York-based designer Telfar Clemens debuted his fall/winter collection at the grand Palazzo Corsini in Florence, Italy, on Thursday evening with a runway show staged atop a circular table. Among the models who walked in the glitzy presentation, which was attended by Solange Knowles, among other high-profile figures, were the artists and collaborators Wu Tsang and boychild.
Tsang, whose practice spans performance, film, and video, wore a teal shirt and green velour pants in the show, and the performance artist boychild donned a shiny black jacket and billowy pants with padding from the knees down. Other wares presented at the show, which was set to live music by the band Standing on the Corner, included looks adorned with stripes, oversized jackets, and more. Vogue reports that boychild began dancing when the DJ and musician Carrie Stacks started singing and playing the piano.
Clemens told Vogue that his latest collection was inspired, in part, by Italian art. “We kept seeing all these correlations between the clothes that we make and the clothes that people are wearing in these paintings,” he said. “I didn’t want Florence to necessarily be an influence, but it was because we’re just here and seeing all this stuff and living here.”
Since founding Telfar in 2004, Clemens has cultivated an inclusive ethos for his brand. According to CNN, he has designed uniforms for staff of the restaurant chain White Castle and donated proceeds from online sales to fund bail for minors imprisoned on New York’s Rikers Island. Telfar was also behind the so-called “Bushwick Birkin,” a hot-selling handbag that retails between $150 and $257.
Akbar Padamsee, a prolific artist whose oeuvre encompasses painting, photography, sculpture, and film, died on January 6, the Times of India reported. He died of natural causes at 91.
Padamsee was a key figure in the development of modernism in his home country following the 1947 “Partition of India,” which established India and Pakistan as self-governing nations. As a member of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, which included prominent artists like F. N. Souza, Manishi Dey, and S. H. Raza, Padamsee championed a fusion of Indian history and Western movements such as Fauvism, Cubism, and Expressionism. Though he didn’t identify himself as a modernist, he drew on European avant-garde styles, creating Cubism-influenced paintings and abstractions.
Padamsee was born in 1928 to an affluent family from the region of Gujarat, a state on the western coast of India. He displayed an interest in art at a young age, receiving lessons in watercolor painting during high school and later studying fine art at the Sir J. J. School of Art, the oldest art institution in Mumbai. By the time he graduated, in 1951, he had become a member of the newly formed Progressive Artists’ Group and was pushing back against the style pioneered by the Bengal School of Art, which had brought together folk styles and Hindu imagery to help create a sense of Indian nationalism.
The artist moved to Paris after graduation, and international recognition soon followed. In 1952 he was awarded a prize by André Breton, a French critic who was popular among the Surrealists, on behalf of the city’s Journale d’art. His first-ever solo show, at the Galerie Saint Placide, was held a year later. He was featured in the 1959 Tokyo Biennale, and received the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship, one of the highest honors given by the Indian government, in 1962. A fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation in New York followed in 1965, and in 1969 he received a prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship.
When you’ve had a career as distinguished as Paul McCarthy’s, and have built that career on terrific work that often shocks and disgusts its audience, you’ve earned the right to bite the hand that feeds you—or at least nibble on it. In an interview in the current issue of Ursula magazine, which is published by McCarthy’s gallery, Hauser & Wirth, the esteemed Los Angeles artist—whose work is featured on the issue’s cover—is unusually candid when it comes to his feelings about the art industry.
What prompts this turn in the conversation between McCarthy and painter Tala Madani is the mention of the Los Angeles art world of the 1970s. McCarthy reflects on how things have changed, pointing to increased commercialization. “It seems to me this commercialization began to ramp up 10 to 15 years ago,” McCarthy says. “Right now, I feel a bit on the outside. It seems that something else is being defined. It’s controlled by the audience, the collector.” A little further on, he observes, “The art world has become more corporate. It’s part of the spread of global capitalism. It’s an indicator of the future. Money is seductive.”
When the conversation turns to Mike Kelley, a peer of McCarthy’s who took his own life in 2012, McCarthy talks about Kelley’s thinking at the time of his death. “Mike felt that his work had changed because of the art industry,” McCarthy says. “I think it had to do with production and fabrication. I think it was such a moment for him, so tangled, he couldn’t see his way out. He seemed to be in a state of dichotomy, of pure insights and blindness.”
Continuing along the lines of how-things-became-the-way-they-are-today, McCarthy arrives at Reaganomics: “I came [to Los Angeles] with the idea that there was a potential to make fucked-up things actually within the production machine of Hollywood. But that was literally killed. I really feel that Reaganomics killed everything; a fundamental cultural change began to happen in those years in which everything became about profit. The avant-garde culture in America died.”