Last night I attended the opening of Helmut Lang’s first New York art show. You will remember that in 2004 he stopped being a fashion designer and re-invented himself as an artist. What I found so interesting is that the art is not so different in essence to the clothes he used to make, that is, minimalist, monochromatic and often made from rubber. Apparently, the material is from found objects scavenged out of the ocean around Mr Lang’s home in The Hamptons.
Their inspiration is anyone’s guess, totem poles? penises? You can be the judge. What I do know is tout le art world and a quite a few fashionistas were there including the erstwhile designer’s muse and my personal favorite model from the 1980s/90s, Cordula Reyer, not to mention everyone’s favorite fashion editor, Grace Coddington. It was quite a party.
Stacked one on top of another, they suggest totem poles or penises.
“I have always been interested in materials and in transforming them,” he said in fluent, German-accented English. “When I was making clothes, we sometimes used recycled stuff — we made clothes from older clothes.” The difference, he explained, is that as a fashion designer, he was “building around a body” and now he is building the body itself.
“Helmut Lang: Sculptures” will be on display at 24 Washington Square North from May 5 through June 15.
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