JOHN RICHARDSON

“On February 6, 1954—not quite halfway through my twelve years with Douglas [Cooper]—I turned thirty. Douglas planned a birthday celebration that would also serve as a belated housewarming. But on February 5, the arctic chill that had paralysed much of Europe turned even fiercer, and for the first time in decades Castille was beautifully blanketed with a heavy fall of snow… We put the party off until Easter.

“On Easter Sunday… some of us went to the bullfight… In the course of the corrida, Picasso and Jacqueline [Roque] announced that they and the rest of their group—sixteen in all, including Picasso’s son, Paulo… and Jean Cocteau, plus entourage—would like to dine at Castille; he also announced that he had a present for us… an Ingresque drawing that had obsessed me ever since I first saw it pinned on a wall at Le Fournas: an uncompromisingly frontal image of a naked girl, legs wide apart, seated like an odalisque on a pile of cushions. It had been heavily worked. To create highlights and smudge shadows, Picasso used an eraser—a device he admitted borrowing from Matisse… I was surprised at his giving us something so personal until I realized that the gift must have been made at Jacqueline’s behest. She would have had every reason to want this erotic image removed from the studio wall: it represented one of her rivals, Geneviève Laporte. Characteristically, Picasso brought the drawing in the box that had contained the Dior wrap we had given Jacqueline for Christmas. No less characteristically, he kept the box; he liked to incorporate emballage in his work. As Picasso handed over the drawing, he said, presciently, ‘When you two split up, you’re going to have to cut it in half.’ After we broke up, Douglas simply kept it. Sadly, the drawing disappeared when Castille was burgled some years later. So far as I know, it’s still in the hands of the Mafia.” — John Richardson*

The writer, curator, collector, raconteur, art world insider, and great Picasso biographer John Richardson died in Manhattan this week. Volume IV of A Life of Picasso was nearly complete at the time of its author’s death, and should be published later this year.

*John Richardson, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), 203–204.

Also see John Richardson, “Picasso: The Mediterranean Years,” in Picasso: The Mediterranean Years, 1945–1962 , exh. cat. (London: Gagosian Gallery/New York: Rizzoli, 2010), 11–45.

From top: John Richardson (left) and Pablo Picasso, photograph by André Villers (detail), courtesy Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and ADAGP, Paris; Andy Warhol, John Richardson, courtesy Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Richardson with Nan Kempner at the Met Gala, circa 1980, photograph by Patrick McMullan; Richardson (right) with Boaz Mazor, circa 1975, photograph by Bob Colacello.

MICHAEL RAKOWITZ

Artist and professor Michael Rakowitz—whose work focuses on “singular subjects as literal and symbolic embodiments of the history of Iraq, its diaspora, and the broader Middle East”—recently seceded from the Whitney Biennial in light of the museum’s decision to appoint and defend a tear gas manufacturer as its vice chairman.

Redcat presents Rakowitz’s first Los Angeles exhibition—DISPUTE BETWEEN THE TAMARISK AND THE DATE PALM—in their gallery.

MICHAEL RAKOWITZ—DISPUTE BETWEEN THE TAMARISK AND THE DATE PALM

Through June 2.

Redcat

631 West 2nd Street, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: Michael RakowitzReturn, 2004-ongoing, mixed media installation view, Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the WestMCA Chicago, 2017–18, photograph by Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago; Michael Rakowitz, Minaret, performance, 2001–ongoing, mosque alarm clock, megaphone, image courtesy the artist.

TORBJØRN RØDLAND IN CONVERSATION

“In order to move on from the limitations of endless subjectivity, critical postmodern art reduced complex phenomena to a study of cultural form’s and language. Everything became political. With this analysis as a starting point I’m taking a more integral or inclusive stance. I’m not only interested in how images are being read but also in their magic and how they make us feel, how they move us. Even though photography often starts as observation, my dream is a more immersive engagement. I’m an observer longing for intimacy.” — Torbjørn Rødland*

On the opening day of his exhibition FIFTH HONEYMOON in Sweden, join Rødland at Bonniers Konsthall for a conversation with its director Magnus af Petersens.

The show includes the presentation of the artist’s film Between Fork and Ladder.

TORBJØRN RØDLAND and MAGNUS AF PETERSENS IN CONVERSATION

Wednesday, March 13, from 6 pm to 8 pm.

TORBJØRN RØDLAND—FIFTH HONEYMOON

March 13 through June 2.

Bonniers Konsthall

Torsgatan 19, Stockholm.

*Rødland to Magnus af Petersens.

From top: Torbjørn Rødland, Anchor, 2017; Torbjørn Rødland, Baby, 2017; Torbjørn Rødland, The Man in the Moon is a Miss, 2016–2018. Images courtesy the artist and the David Kordansky Gallery.

RICK OWENS — WINTER 2020

Of all the Parisian designers, RICK OWENS is certainly the one who best captures the essence of the city. For Fall/Winter 2019/2020, he dedicates his prêt-à-porter collection to Larry Legaspi. “Larry who? Never heard of him!” That’s okay, and this is why we love Rick, a great mentor who told us, “Larry was the man responsible for the silver and black space-sleaze looks of LaBelle and Kiss in the 1970s.”

Rick is a man who strongly relates to history. Sixteen years ago, when he moved from Los Angeles to Paris, he located his atelier and boutique—perversely—in the historic, highly refined neighborhood between place Bourbon and the Palais Royal. Charles James—America’s first couturier—had a great influence on Rick, who shamelessly admits he “knocked off [James’] cocoon coat, and reinterpreted it in raw-seamed shearling, nutria, and duvet.” (This season Rick wrote the preface to Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape, a contemporary reading of the twentieth-century couturier, edited by Homer Layne and Dorothea Mink.)

Rick is a great innovator who likes to reinvent himself by mixing past and futuristic imagination in present time. This fall and winter, his women will follow a graver, more solemn path. At Palais de Tokyo, the room is troubled, almost opaque, punctured by single points of light emitting from the high-ceiling. The atmosphere is raw like in a temple, keeping the audience alert. One by one, enigmatic figures pass in a slow march, one that welcomes questions and doubts: goddesses draped whole à la Fortuny; hybrid women in subtle yet vivid-colored leather overalls; half-naked girls wearing razor-cut, high-shouldered, raw silk jackets. The rhythm is slow but steady, and this procession gives a feeling of change, of a weird mutation. Thankfully the warm voice on the soundtrack—Michèle Lamy, Rick’s beautiful wife and the love of his life—restores confidence. This binding relationship shared publicly reinforces the trust we feel in Rick’s fashion.

Rick is a wizard who reminds us that with love and dedication, we can find beauty in a fragmented and sometimes unwelcoming world.

Photos © 2019 OwensCorp, France

ISAAC JULIEN’S LESSONS OF THE HOUR

Isaac Julien’s LESSONS OF THE HOUR—FREDERICK DOUGLASS is a ten-screen film installation—shot in 35mm and 4K digital—exploring the life and work of the American orator and abolitionist.

The exhibition includes original tintype portraits, color photographs, found archival images, and an assemblage of black and white analog photographs related to Julien’s film Who Killed Colin Roach? (1983).

The film’s score was composed by Paul Gladstone Reid.

ISAAC JULIEN

LESSONS OF THE HOUR—FREDERICK DOUGLASS

Through April 13.

Metro Pictures

519 West 24th Street, New York City.

Through May 12.

University of Rochester

Memorial Art Gallery

500 University Avenue, Rochester.

From top: Isaac JulienLessons of the Hour (still), 2019, courtesy the artist, Metro Pictures, New York, and Victoria Miro, London and Venice; Rob Ball, stills and tintype photographs for Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien (2).