L i s a L u k i a n o v a
An exhibition of works by British photographer Cecil Beaton will be held at the General Staff of the Hermitage from 9 December 2020 to 14 March 2021.
Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is among the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century. After the Second World War he became the official photographer of the British Royal Court; in 1964 he was awarded an Academy Award for his work on the film My Fair Lady. In 1972 he was honored with the title of Sir. Over a career spanning more than fifty years, he has created a portrait gallery of great personalities, from Hollywood superstars to bohemian artists, from surrealist figures to a young Elizabeth II. Beaton described his main task in portraiture as staging an apotheosis – an arrangement of a spectacular appearance of a person in high society. The exhibition “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity” presents over 100 portraits taken by Beaton over the years from the photographer’s studio, the V&A, Vogue magazine and Vanity Fair archives. The focus will be on Russian expatriates who have defined fashion culture and posed for Beaton’s portraits.
PurpleHaze team held a short interview with the creators of the exhibition. So, the questions are answered by Julia Napolova, architect and creator of the architectural bureau PSCulture, and the curator of the exhibition “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity”, and researcher at the State Hermitage Museum Daria Panayotti.
Hello Julia and Daria, thank you for taking time for that interview. Let’s start with a first question.Please tell us about the PSCulture Bureau, the projects it is involved in and its creation?
Julia Napolova: PSCulture was founded in 2014. From the beginning, the objectives of the Bureau have been positioned in the field of culture, and since then, the company’s course has not changed. Despite its narrow specialisation, the projects are really diverse: concepts for new museums, design of temporary exhibitions, design of international exhibitions. Each new project gives us a new perspective on the multifaceted nature of the subject we deal with. Following a professional challenge, we have put together a team according to the same principle: everyone at PSCulture has their own unique experience and style. At the moment the bureau is working on projects such as the Regalia of the Moscow Kremlin, the Moscow Planetarium exhibition and the Polytechnic Museum. In 2020, in spite of the pandemic, we opened not only Cecil Beaton in the Hermitage, but also exhibitions about Alexander III in the State Historical Museum and Yesenin in the Literary Museum named after A. Dahl. Dal.
The exhibition “Cecil Beaton. Celebrating Celebrity” was launched at the State Hermitage Museum – a project dedicated to the absolutely legendary twentieth-century photographer. Please share what it was like to organise an international exhibition amidst the pandemic?
Daria Panaiotti: At various stages of the project, the participants were required to show very rare qualities that require great composure: a blind faith that the project will happen and a desperate will to keep working at the same level of mastery; optimism in the face of logistical and other difficulties that at first seem insurmountable; the ability to mobilise quickly and start working at maximum capacity when confirmation finally comes about deadlines and the completion of the various stages of the project.
What exactly fascinated you about Cecil Beaton’s work? And why has he become the central character of this new project? Could the theme of secular photography from the turn of the century be of interest to today’s viewers?
Daria Paniotti: Beaton can be called one of the creators of the culture in which we all live today: the culture of the celebrities, which is based on an avalanche economy of visual images. We all create our public image with selfies on social media today; Cecil Beaton formulated many rules that remain unalterable to this day.
At the same time, it is a special challenge for the curator. The terminology relating to fashion, secularism, and public culture is poorly developed in Russian. Beaton is part of the phenomenon of British culture, which is very difficult to explain and with which it is difficult to draw parallels in Russian culture. I found this task very challenging because it was a very interesting one.
What was your main source of inspiration in the visual design of the exhibition?
Julia Napolova: The main inspiration for us was Beaton himself, his personality and approach to his work. Cecil loved unconventional moves, provocation, irony – but his camera idolised its characters. We have tried to express this contradiction through the selection of materials. Lace, as the main leitmotif of the decoration, is meant to stun the viewer with its luxury and glitter, but these stars are just a background for the real, Hollywood stars hidden behind the shimmering curtain. The texture of the decorative plaster references the velvet of the Royal House, with which Cecil has worked for many years. The perimeter display is maintained in a more austere monochrome frame, emphasising the aesthetic of black and white photography.
Tell us about the organisers of the exhibition and the team. How did it come together?
Daria Paniotti: The Contemporary Art Department team and the Hermitage team, which consists of many professionals in a variety of fields, had a lot of help from colleagues at the British Friends Foundation. I think they were also interested in bringing in such an important name, which for some reason has remained very little known to the Russian public.
Many people say that the Internet will soon replace exhibitions. Aren’t museum exhibitions a thing of the past?
Daria Paniotti: It was very important for us to bring exactly vintage prints to the exhibition; nothing can replace the materiality of an art object and a historical object. We’ll see what the long-term effects of the pandemonium will be. Before it, the example of Sweden’s Fotografiska, an ultra-popular museum that actually takes vivid photography from the pages of creative content aggregator sites into physical space, offering a cultural experience of encountering art, a kind of accessible form of high-end consumption, shows that museums cannot replace the Internet.
What is the portrait of your target audience? In your opinion, what and how can you draw the audience’s attention and interest these days?
Daria Panayotti: The Hermitage is one of the main museums in the country, so we always have a task to work with the widest audience. We have tried to select works and compose texts accompanying the exhibition in such a way that it should also attract people, who actually came to see their favourite impressionists and to look at their works.
How do you think the art world will be in 5-10 years?
Daria Paniotti: I think there will certainly be fewer blockbuster exhibitions, and museums will work more with their collections, discovering new things and rethinking old ones. This trend, even before the pandemic, began to be set when MoMA was reorganised. Museums, even the largest ones, will turn to local, urban audiences. Curators will have to look into the eyes of their audience and learn to apply the good old laws of rhetoric, whereas before it was accepted that the curator would create meanings in cooperation with art, while the spectator was often excluded from this dialogue. In Russia, this means that the language of art talk will change in a major way; it will become more transparent, more accessible, and in big cities, it will have to be done without simplifying the content. In my opinion, a very noble task!
What are the three components of a successful exhibition? What is the best way to attract the attention of a person interested in art nowadays?
Daria Paniotti: I think this will vary greatly from country to country. The content of the exhibition needs to resonate with certain social attitudes (strangely, one of the most popular pieces in Cecil Beaton’s exhibition was a portrait of Aldous Huxley; it is a rich source of thoughts! For the Russian viewer, an introductory text which sets the modus vivendi of the art perception is very important (even if it has to be intuitive, rather than intellectual – it had better be spelled out). And, of course, the very organisation of the exhibition must „draw“ you in; it is clear that just displaying the objects in the showcases is not enough; you have to create an environment that will entice the visitor to stay longer, to extend the physical and social experience of going to a museum.
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Dress Toni Maticevski Mono-earring Area; Headpeace Area shirt Bershka
shirt Nina Ricci Skirt Parosh
Velvet Coat vintage; earring AQUA; Headpeace Area, shirt Bershka
Headpeace Area, shirt Bershka, Shoes JW Anderson
Velvet Coat vintage, earring AQUA;
Shoes JW Anderson, Velvet Coat vintage, earring AQUA; Nina Ricci shirt
You’re an art dealer, gallerist? Managed to summarize the 2020 art year in the end of December or just going to do that? Then you would be pleased to hear. According to the Artsy Gallery Insights 2021 Report, social media has become galleries third best sales channel, pushing art fairs to the sixth place. Actually, it’s a wonderful situation. Just in 2019 digital activities of the galleries like its website, online marketplace, and social media accounts couldn’t enter the top three, taking the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions in the list respectively, while now two of them do. Digitalization works, and as we’ll see, not exclusively in the case of art galleries. Discover other findings, initiatives, and curious art projects of the week in the Digest below.
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Have an appetite for art? Check new videos by Uffizi Galleries
‘Uffizi da mangiare’ (Uffizi on a dish) is a new series of videos and a brilliant in-house PR campaign launched by the world-famous galleries. Started on January 17, the project features Florentine chiefs presenting refined recipes, which, for its part, were inspired by the masterpieces from the Uffizi immense collection. The videos are expected to be posted in Italian every Sunday on the Facebook account of the Uffizi Galleries (indeed, the culinary language is multinational and commonly understood). Last week Fabio Picchi, head of Cibrèo Firenze restaurant, gave an online-workshop on how to cook fish and lobsters in Giacomo Ceruti’s style. Yes, just like in the ‘Ragazzo con la cesta di pesci e di aragoste’ painting (1736) by the old master.
Surprisingly or not, the Uffizi Galleries ran no social media before the pandemic. Today, the digital audience of the institution reaches 88,000 followers on Facebook and 591,000 followers on Instagram, which turned out to be a watermark for Italian museums. The Uffizi’s director Eike Schmidt is full of hope about the new project. ‘As families cook and eat these dishes, the art will be the natural conversation topic,’ she shares. Six episodes of the series are already ready for consumption, while another dozen are being prepared. In the future chiefs from other districts like France, Spain, and Britain may also be invited to cooperate. It’s the project success that might tell the trajectory of the ‘Uffizi da mangiare’ .
Da Vinci wouldn’t believe: a beer company pays homage to college diplomas (and it’s extremely expensive)
$180,000 USD. According to the recent calculations by Natural Light Beer, this is the average cost of four-year college education in America. No, the beer brewing company didn’t go into statistics, but rather decided to hit on arts. The new installation ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ by Natural Light Beer features 2,600 real college diplomas, either hanging from the ceiling or placed in the stack of papers on the floor. The entire work is valued at $470 million USD (just multiply $180,000 by 2,600), which, actually, means two things. First, the installation slightly exceeds the cost of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, the most expensive masterpiece ever sold. Second (and this is the ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ main idea), millions of American college grads are at risk today, because of the student debt crisis raging over the last few years.
The ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ installation is placed at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, but you can also enjoy it remotely, visiting the company website or using an AR lens on Snapchat. Though their choice of the artistic medium might seem unusual, Daniel Blake, Natural Light Beer VP of marketing, gives it a reasonable explanation, drawing a smart analogy between ‘the costs of the art world’ and ‘the sky-high cost of attending a four-year college’. Thus, the company hopes to raise public awareness to the issue of student debt and make people appreciate their college experience (both as a piece of one’s heart and a damage to one’s pocket).
F A S H I O N
Take a look at Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2021 Menswear Collection
Looking back on 2020, I as a PH Arts Editor have noticed an oversight in the magazine’s work. We don’t usually focus on men’s fashion as much as we do on women’s. My gut tells me, it isn’t right, just looking at the growing audience of Purplehaze, which is diverse. So we’re getting better with a brief review of the Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2021 Menswear Collection. The show was presented this week in a video format.
In some sense the Japanese designer stays true to himself, giving preference to the black colour palette, loose cuts, and general rebellious spirit. Yet it’s important to remember that Yamamoto has based his brand’s philosophy on the Japanese principles of wabi-sabi, which are not inherent to the Western world of aesthetics. Wabi-sabi served as a leitmotif for the beloved deconstructivism, that’s another matter. But in the latest collection Yohji Yamamoto decided to go further, adding teenage aggression to the apparel, not to say, westernizing them. Hook-and-eye fastenings, defiant statements, belts with buckles, all these make us immediately think of renegades from the world of fashion like John Galliano or Vivienne Westwood. This is not to say that the designer has no right to experiment (it’s good to have him trying new things), however, in the current Yamamoto’s version that kind of rebel sounds not convincing enough. It’s like East meets West and everybody feels lost. However, for those preferring pretty bold mixtures and despising stereotypes, Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2021 Menswear Collection might be a decent match.
F A S H I O N P H O T O G R A P H Y
Twice as fashionable: Rei Kawakubo’s looks in the images by Paulo Roversi at Dallas Contemporary
Good news for those across the Atlantic: Dallas Contemporary has prepared a fantastic solo show by Paulo Roversi, Italian acclaimed visual artist. While Peter Doroshenko, Dallas Contemporary’s executive director, names Roversi ‘the last of the great European fashion photographers’, his one-man exhibition at DC is unprecedented for the US museum world. It’s the 40-year-long creative relationship between the artist and fashion designer Rei Kawakubo that served as a concept for the show, which Doroshenko and Roversi discussed back in 2019. Although Paulo couldn’t visit Dallas Contemporary during the last year’s quarantine, the exhibition display was paid enough attention to, with video clips of the space being sent to Paris, to Roversi’s home for his approval.
The show is titled ‘Birds’, which is meant to embody the sense of movement so inherent to Paulo Roversi’s photography. ‘His works evoke motion, be it through the camera moving or something smudged on the lens,’ says Doroshenko. Today when the freedom of our physical movement is much in question because of the pandemic, such a concept comes as a relief. The display features over 40 images of Rei Kawakubo’s outfits, both well-known and never disclosed before. Paulo Roversi refers to his collaboration with the Japanese fashion designer and founder of Comme des Garçons as a ‘new inspiring adventure’ and ‘good opportunity to show <his> work together with hers’. It’s worth mentioning that Dallas Contemporary focuses on different aspects of arts, including fashion. DC has already showcased such maitres de la photographie as Juergen Teller, Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, and Peter Lindbergh.
P H O T O G R A P H Y
Outcomes for 2020: ‘Favourite Books’ category by LensCulture
Despite all odds, each of us had something to recall from 2020 with a smile on a face. If it isn’t about achievements and personal relations, at least, we all could enjoy reading at home, breaking away from computer screens. Choosing and, still less, recommending a book is a highly subjective matter, yet it’s nice to find out what your friend or someone you treat with respect can’t stop reading. The already familiar to you LensCulture questioned 36 people ‘who know and love photobooks’ on their favorite publications. Take a look and put on your watch list, if it’s not there yet.
Among the respondents are artists, photo editors, curators, publishers, gallery directors, and other folks who have first-hand experience with the medium of photography. In some sense photobooks closely remind novels: they are meant to narrate stories, biographical, historical ones, or mediate experiences like personal diaries do. LensCulture Favourite Photobooks of 2020 digest features all sorts of visual editions, from the reissue of an incredibly important ‘Death in the Making’ by Robert Capa to a fresh and witty (so is the name of the publishing house) book by Olga Bushkova titled ‘How I Tried To Convince My Husband To Have Children’. Each of the critics comprehensively explain their choice, while websites of the publishing houses graciously showcase images from the books so that you can make sure you’re fond of it.
On the cover: ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ installation by Natural Light at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Courtesy of Natural Light Beer company
I r e n R u s s o
How did you get into ART ?
I got into art literally by studying other visual artist’s artwork. I loved what they created, and I wanted to create. So, I learnt and started creating my artworks.
Most times the process takes weeks or months and sometimes it is rapid. I might be sleeping and here comes the idea, the concept, I get up at midnight and I start creating the piece of art and I don’t stop until I finish it.
ALONE WITH MY FASHION! ALONE WITH MYSELF!
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Jacket – Vintage Ralph Lauren / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Shirt – Morgan Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux; Dress – Olivka @olivka.style Turtleneck – Olivka @olivka.style Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Shoes – Hogl Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux
Jacket – Vintage Ralph Lauren / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Shirt – Morgan Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux; Jacket – Inaya @inaya_fashion_brand Turtleneck – Olivka @olivka.style Pants – Vintage Dolce & Gabbana / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Bag – Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Shoes – Hogl Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux
Jacket – Inaya @inaya_fashion_brand Turtleneck – Olivka @olivka.style Pants – Vintage Dolce & Gabbana / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Bag – Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Shoes – Hogl Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux; Hat – Olivka @olivka.style Shirt – Vintage Miu Miu / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Skirt – Vintage Prada / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Glasses – Gucci @gucci /Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Shoes – Hogl Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux
Dress – Olivka @olivka.style Turtleneck – Olivka @olivka.style Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Shoes – Hogl Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux; Jacket – Inaya @inaya_fashion_brand Turtleneck – Olivka @olivka.style Pants – Vintage Dolce & Gabbana / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Bag – Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Shoes – Hogl Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux
Hat – Olivka @olivka.style Shirt – Vintage Miu Miu / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Skirt – Vintage Prada / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Glasses – Gucci @gucci /Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Shoes – Hogl Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux; Jacket – Vintage Ralph Lauren / Second Friend Store @secondfriendstore Shirt – Morgan Glasses – Gucci @gucci / Ochki Boutique @ochki_boutique Jewelry – Vintage / @tsvetasha_vintagebijoux
Yoo-hoo! We’ve barged into 2021, waking up from the New Year holidays nap. I hope you all had a great celebration and a powerful break, getting back to work with your batteries recharged. Who knows what this year holds? Rather than guessing, it’s better to be ready for action, changing the world for the better as far as we can. A few beautiful endeavors that took place on the rise of January might inspire you to move in the right direction.
F A S H I O N
Enjoy Emilio Pucci and Alberta Ferretti 2021 Pre-Fall collections
No sooner had the year begun, that the world’s leading fashion houses jumped into battle. Discover pre-fall campaigns by Emilio Pucci and Alberta Ferretti by the break of the year. One might say, the two brands have something in common: apart from being Italian (obviously) and coming as early birds in 2021, Pucci and Ferretti traditionally emphasize genuine tenderness in their collections. The difference is that Pucci has celebrated girliness during the latest seasons, while Ferretti stays loyal to the concept of mature femininity.
Emilio Pucci models welcome 2021 dressed in a-la-harlequin jumpsuits with sleeves puffed, crop tops, and high-waisted pants, wearing sensual neck-wraps. The choice of colour comes as no surprise this time: pastel shades like rose, peach, gentle lilac, and cream are so in line with the brand’s identity. Alberta Ferretti rather focuses on complex looks, which seem perfectly complete. Overcoats and jackets above sweatshirts, long sleeves, straight slacks, fitted silhouettes — the garments are created for those who want to feel lady-like, no matter what the weather is. The colour palette is still soft, yet more vivid than in the colleague’s campaign: shades of moss, clay, almond, and caramel add ripeness to the look.
Australian agencies call to stop making models’ measurements public
Pursuing the very interesting topic of body positivity (to which we at Purplehaze devoted the entire print issue to be released in early March), here is the news that perfectly fills in the gap. Australian community of modeling agencies has called to stop publishing measurements of the mannequins in public profiles. New-Zealand N Management run by the veteran model Ngahuia Williams has already tried ceasing the practice, which they find irrelevant and stressful to date.
The initiative seems to have resonated with many representatives from the world of vogue. Fashion commentator and former editor of Fashion Quarterly Sally-Ann Mullin claims including measurements is a common thing for the industry, which aspires models to fit a ‘cookie cutter standard of beauty’. Models have also welcomed the N Management’s statement, commenting they hoped agents would stop disclosing their data for all to see. However, the challenge that might occur is that the clients will have to require fittings, which might come as extra work for them. At the same time, removing online measurements can not only reduce pressure put on mannequins, but also contribute to a greater diversity representation. ‘No longer is it acceptable to showcase one type of beauty in any way,’ says Mullin, urging other modeling agencies to follow the N Management’s suit.
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Actress Cate Blanchett to try her hand at art collecting
It would be an exaggeration to say that Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett is far from the world of arts: the 2019 exhibition ‘Manifesto: Art x Agency’ and ‘The Four Temperaments‘ video installation (2020) with her participation is an excellent contrario reasoning. This is not to mention some of the films the actress starred in like The Aviator (2004), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Blue Jasmine (2013), and Carol (2015), which may be deemed art themselves. Yet Cate Blanchett has no previous experience in gallery management. Well, a start of the year is a perfect time for new plans and ideas.
Blanchett’s new gallery space is located at her remote estate in southeastern England, in the place where an oast house once stood. The future gallery visitors might enjoy the views, thanks to the gorgeous nature of East Sussex, which can be perfectly seen from the construction windows. As for the choice of the artists, the actress hit the ten ring here as well. Among others, her collection features works by Guan Wei, Paula Rego, Howard Hodgkin, Bill Hammond, Zhang Huan and Tim Maguire. The documentation for the newly-minted enterprise was ready in October, 2020. Looking forward to the gallery opening! Wish it would be as beautiful and successful as its owner’s career.
Rihanna embellishes new cover of Essence Magazine shot by artist Lorna Simpson
Essence Magazine wouldn’t dream of such a cover in its 50-year history. The January/February issue of the periodical features Barbados-born singer and businesswoman Rihanna both on its cover and inside, on the 12 pages of the portfolio. The shooting has been performed by Lorna Simpson, American photographer and multimedia artist who became famous in the 1980-1990s, primarily for her photo-text installations and collages.
Essence works by Simpson consist of photos of Rihanna placed within the background of the source materials from the artist’s archive. Balancing between fantasy and photographic realism, they feature the legendary singer as she is (at least, in the eyes of the author) — graceful, charismatic, and extremely powerful. This collaboration is another part of the ongoing project by Lorna Simpson, which aims at reinterpreting images of Black women. Working with the celebrity, Simpson meets her self-interest, too — her daughter, Zora, who is an actress and a model, wrote an essay on that occasion expressing gratitude to Rihanna for the positive influence her art had on Simpson Jr. maturation. The essay is included in the Essence January/February issue as well.
Soho after dark through the lens of photographer Joshua K. Jackson
Invigorated by the beginning of the new year, we still have to face some restrictions, to everyone’s great sadness. We still don’t feel safe enough to live our old lives, roaming aimlessly at the streets, seeing tons of people, and just hanging out in bars because… you know the reason. Yet there is a remedy — arts can rescue people from the blues filling their hearts with nice nostalgia (some types of arts, of course).
British photographer Joshua K. Jackson focuses on capturing city life. Three years ago he started his Soho series photographing the fluorescent-lit streets of London after dark. ‘Sleepless in Soho’ (2020) is a photobook immortalizing the mood of how it feels like to be awake in the heart of the city past midnight. Alluring lights of the places, which make one think of romance, taboos, and just comfort, illuminate the maze of empty streets and lanes. Diurnal busy life tires London, but the second wind comes with the night. Jackson finished his project in December 2019, just before COVID-19 broke out. Like he knew we were going to miss that very soon.
On the cover: ‘Sleepless in Soho’ (2020) by Joshua K. Jackson. Courtesy of the Artist