Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Proenza Schouler: some contemporary art references
Being backstage and seeing the Proenza Schouler show at NYFW was one of of the most beautiful and thought provoking experiences I can remember. 5 Beekman place, once a spectacular example of 19th century architecture now decrepit from 40 years of abandonment was the choice location for the Proenza boys. Shrouded in scaffolding the building looked more like a construction site. The interior was dark and tomblike. The walls they said reminded them of the Gerard Richter's abstracted photographs which they sited as influence for the collection. All the pieces were worked or abstracted - craft is the PS signature after all. But the Richter-like abstraction process (patch-working, splicing and crocheting with leather) was of less interest to me than the actual photographs. The screen printed pictures- a field of succulents, a crowded pool, a mass of people, reminded me immediately of the work of Andreas Gursky.
Gursky is one of my favorite artists. He presents mass culture in his large format photographs of 99 cent stores, factories and crowds where a head is merely a dot. His pictures seem both loud and quiet as though the chaos of the crowd has been silenced by the photograph. Jack and Lazaro were said to have found the images on Tumblr. I think the images and pictures of people on tumblr are mass, infinite and anonymous much like the people in Gursky images. The clothing Proenza makes is the opposite of those adjectives. I would like to hear the boys speak about this collection with more detail- there are bigger metaphorical references in the collection than they're admitting to.
*I've created side by sides: the top two are Richter and the bottom two are Gursky