Yellow Part Two

Olafur Eliasson The Weather Project 2003
Ólafur Elíasson, The Weather Project, 2003; installation view, Tate Modern, London, 2003; photo by Andrew Dunkley & Markus Leith

This is a continuation of Yellow Part One.

My latest obsession with the colour yellow continues in Netflix’ latest season of Abstract: The Art of Design. This series dives deep into the creative process of well, creative people. Episode one features Icelandic-Danish artist Ólafur Elíasson. Elíasson is a joy to watch; his immersive installations mesmerize, even from the perspective of my tiny tv. Their massive scale and innovation must be astonishing to witness in person. Imagine my delight to see the sunny yellow colour play a central figure in some of Eliasson’s most famous work. About halfway through the yellow sunflower pops back into my consciousness and onto the screen – and as Eliasson’s second arc – with Little Sun.

Olafur Eliasson Little Sun
Ólafur Elíasson with his design, Little Sun, photo by Tomas Gislason

Little Sun started with an Eliasson and his team’s idea to bring affordable, clean energy solutions to the 1.2 billion people in the world who don’t have access to an electrical grid. It became a social business spreading clean, affordable solar energy around the globe. It’s a work of art that works in life.

This high quality, portable solar lamp is the perfect accessory for the garden, patio and weekend camping trip. But adorable practicality isn’t why I really love it. For every Little Sun sold, one goes to their partners in rural Africa, where they train local sales agents and bring solar energy to those who need it most. Unfortunately, supporting this social enterprise from Canada is challenging – the website only ships to the U.S. and the only local retailer listed is the Royal Ontario Museum, who claims to never have stocked the item in the first place. I’d like to buy Little Suns for friends and family this Christmas, so I’ll keep you posted of my search.

A Fashionable Art Tour

As summer wanes to an end, it begs the question – what did you do?  Where did you go?  And how you will spend the next few weeks? The summer of 2013 was blessed with an endless array of fashion exhibits.   Major cultural institutions around the world put fashion front and center.  What’s your pleasure?  Designer retrospective?  High end costume jewelry?  Queer fashion?  If you happen to be in any of these cities before the end of September, you’re in luck. 

CHICAGO

Friends of mine recently stumbled upon the Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at The Art Institute of Chicago.  This internationally acclaimed exhibit lets you stroll through late 1800’s when Paris was the style capitol of the world. 
 
The exhibit’s description expands on the state of affairs in Paris: “In the second half of the 19th century, the modern fashion industry was born: designers like Charles Frederick Worth were transforming how clothing was made and marketed, department stores were on the rise, and fashion magazines were beginning to proliferate.”
 
Luscious life-size figure paintings by Monet, Renoir or Tissot are juxtaposed alongside the period costumes, and in some cases the actual clothing, that inspired them.  Through September 29.
 

TORONTO
The Design Exchange states the Christian Louboutin exhibit celebrates “20 years of design, artistry and magic.”  And if you need to ask, what’s magic got to do with it?  Then you don’t know Loubs.  Undoubtedly, if you love shoes you remember your first pair of red soles.  I hit the opening night (wearing my pink Loubouties, right) back in June and loved it, so this particular show comes personally recommended.

You can check out photos from an event FGI Toronto hosted at the DX just after the exhibit’s opening, but time is ticking.  You only have until September 15 to see the master’s magic before poof! – it’s gone.  Fret not Toronto, there’s more star power coming: if you like the intersection of music and fashion, then mark your calendar; the AGO opens David Bowie is on September 25.


NEW YORK

There’s a reason why the Museum at FIT fancies itself the Most Fashionable Museum in New York City. Because it’s the most fashionable museum in New York City.  Right now you can take in RetroSpective, an exhibit exploring the historical connections to contemporary fashion.  See what influenced McQueen, Balenciaga and Schiaparelli (through November 16). 
 
If you time your trip right, you can also catch A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk (September 13 – January 4, 2014).  It is a remarkable undertaking to honor the contributions to fashion made by the LGBTQ community over 300 years.  FIT is the first museum to do so.  (Fashionable and socially conscious, go FIT!)
 
Meanwhile, for accessories fans, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design hosts the Collection of Barbara Berger.  Don’t know Barbara?  She is the daughter of an American diamond merchant and a hoarder of the most lovely kind.  Berger (still alive) has amassed one of the largest and finest collections of couture jewelry in the world.  Over 450 pieces of her 4,000 personal collection of “bijoux de couture” will be on display.  A portion of the exhibit closes September 22. 



LITTLE ROCK

photo by Getty Images
If you happen to find yourself in Little Rock, Arkansas — and who am I to suggest you wouldn’t? — by all means check out the Oscar de la Renta retrospective American Icon at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.  Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta moved to the States in the 1960’s where he quickly became a legend for his ready-to-wear designs.  He has been a favorite of Mrs. Clinton, particularly during her First Lady years.  Nothing personal Arkansas, but I pray this exhibit travels north for easier viewing.  Through December 1.


BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…

LOS ANGELES
Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes (need we say more?!) is on at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Through September 8. 

SEATTLE
Also through September 8, Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at the Seattle Art Museum.
 
LONDON (UK)
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980’s explores the relationship between catwalk and clubwear and how experimental designers of the day like Betty Jackson, Wendy Dagworthy and John Galliano helped reinvent British fashion. Through February 2014 at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
 
PARIS
The Mona Bismarck Center for Art and Culture features an exhibit curated by American Vogue contributing editor, Andre Leon Talley called The Little Black Dress.  Through September 22.