Thursday, February 11, 2016


Anri Sala - Answer Me
 featuring  Andre Vidal on saxophone

In February 2016, the New Museum presents a major exhibition of the work of Anri Sala (b. 1974), one of the most acclaimed artists to emerge in recent decades. The exhibition marks the most comprehensive survey of his work in the United States to date.
Highlighting Sala’s continuing interest in how sound and music can engage architecture and history, “Anri Sala: Answer Me” features extensive multichannel audio and video installations that unfold across the Second, Third, and Fourth Floor galleries, composing a symphonic experience specific to the New Museum.

In his early video works from the late 1990s, Sala used documentary strategies to examine life after communism in his native Albania, observing the role of language and memory in narrating social and political histories. Since the early 2000s, his video works have probed the psychological effects of acoustic experiences, embracing both music and sound as languages capable of conjuring up images, rousing nostalgia, and communicating emotions. In subtle visual narratives, Sala often depicts what appear to be fragments of everyday life, and his intimate observations experiment with fiction to double as enigmatic portraits of society.

Since the mid-2000s, Sala’s works have featured musicians in both films and live performances: In films such as Long Sorrow (2005) and Answer Me (2008), musicians intone requiems for the failed histories dormant in the architecture surrounding them. In Le Clash (2010), and Tlatelolco Clash (2011), organ-grinders stroll deserted streets, amplifying a sense of alienation and uncertainty with their unexpected interpretations of a familiar song. The exhibition also includes a recurring live performance entitled 3-2-1 (2011/16), in which saxophonist André Vida improvises alongside musician Jemeel Moondoc’s recorded lamentation in Long Sorrow, expanding on the dynamics of free-jazz in a duet that changes with each recital. Throughout these works, music resounds as both a cathartic release and an incantation that evokes historical chapters that are neither distant nor closed.

In recent works, Sala has interpreted musical compositions in multichannel video and sound installations that emphasize the perception of sound in relation to architectural spaces. This exhibition features a new spatialization of Sala’s The Present Moment (in B-flat) (2014) and The Present Moment (in D) (2014), in which he rearranges Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” [Transfigured Night] (1899) to create the sense that individual notes, abstracted from the composition, travel freely throughout the gallery before accumulating and playing in repetition as if trapped in a spatial impasse. The exhibition also includes the US premiere of Sala’s striking installation “Ravel Ravel Unravel” (2013), first exhibited at the 55th Venice Biennale, where Sala represented France. In Ravel Ravel (2013), two interpretations of Maurice Ravel’s “Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D-major” (1929–30) are projected simultaneously in a semi-anechoic chamber, a space designed to absorb sound. Sala recomposed the tempo of the concerto for each musician so that the two performances progress in and out of sync to produce the perception of musical echoes—a paradoxical experience in a space in which actual echoes are impossible. The dynamics of repetition and reverberation—rhetorical and compositional tropes in Sala’s works—underpin the ideas explored in the exhibition and enrich the historical dialogues embedded throughout the artist’s oeuvre.

Anri Sala was born in 1974 in Tirana, Albania, and lives and works in Berlin. He has exhibited internationally for many years, with solo shows at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2014); the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2012); the Serpentine Gallery, London (2011); the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2009); the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2008); and the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2005); among other venues. Sala has received the Vincent Award (2014), the 10th Benesse Prize (2013), the Absolut Art Award (2011), and the Young Artist Prize at the Venice Biennale (2001). He has taken part in many group exhibitions and biennials, including the 12th Havana Biennial (2015), the Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), the 9th Gwangju Biennial (2012), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), the 2nd Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art (2007), and the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006).

Live performances of 3-2-1 will occur in the Third Floor gallery throughout the run of the exhibition. The first performance of the day begins at 11:30 a.m., with additional performances occurring every hour until the Museum closes.

Every Wednesday throughout the exhibition, Intervista (Finding the Words) (1998) and Nocturnes (1999) will be screened in the New Museum Theater from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director; Margot Norton, Associate Curator; and Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator.

“Anri Sala: Answer Me” is made possible by the lead support of Lonti Ebers and Bruce Flatt and Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation.
Major support is provided by Maria de Jesus Rendeiro and João Oliveira Rendeiro.
Performance support is provided by V-A-C Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Institut Français.
Special thanks to Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery; and Hauser & Wirth.
Additional thanks to Galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Naples; kurimanzutto, Mexico City; and Esther Schipper, Berlin.
The accompanying exhibition publication is made possible, in part, by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

Media partner: Artnet

*    *   *

Rihanna’s First Runway – New York Fashion Week

Officially kicking off this Wednesday, February 10, and running through Thursday, February 18, the Fall 2016 season has already caused quite a commotion. Rihanna has been a front row mainstay for seasons, but this week she’ll present her first collection for Puma on the catwalk. What to expect? We’d venture offbeat styling and sneakers that the fashion set will be instantly coveting.

*   *   *

Art cures 20th century's broken dreams -Anri Sala: Answer Me review –New Museum, New York

Anri Sala, Le Clash, 2010 (still). Photograph: © Anri Sala/Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery; Hauser & Wirth; Johnen Galerie, Berlin; and kurimanzutto, Mexico City

This is a cunning and occasionally glorious retrospective from one of the most important artists in Europe, exploring communism through video and music.
If America’s enervating presidential election has sapped any remaining esteem you had for politicians, might I suggest booking the next flight to Tirana? For the last two and a half years, the west Balkan nation of Albania has been governed not by some philistine crusader promising divinely inspired corporate tax cuts, but by a bona fide artist: the painter-turned-prime-minister Edi Rama, elected in a landslide in 2013.
Anri Sala, Answer Me, 2008 (still): ‘Dreams in which politics and aesthetics informed one another and then collapsed into ruin.’ Photograph: © Anri Sala/Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery; Hauser & Wirth; Johnen Galerie, Berlin; Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich; and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

Rama came to prominence a decade ago, when as mayor of Tirana he ordered the dilapidated communist-era towers of the capital repainted in wild colors – chevrons of red and yellow, zigzagging blue and green stripes. The painted facades are hopelessly inadequate to repair the crumbling architectural legacy of the last century. But after a previous century of politicians brought a city to decay, surely an artist at least deserves a shot.

Rama spent much of the 1990s in Paris, where he lived with another Albanian: Anri Sala, a documentary film-maker turned video artist. “This is more an avant garde of democratization,” he tells Sala in his 2003 film Dammi i Colori, a nighttime escapade through the Albanian capital and its parti-coloured apartment blocks. It’s this seductive tour of Tirana, a midnight reverie of past and present, by which Sala eases us into the grand, busted dreams of the 20th century: modernist dreams, communist dreams, dreams in which politics and aesthetics informed one another and then collapsed into ruin. And Rama’s proposition – that (abstract) art might be your best bet for courage after the failure of the communist dream – ripples throughout all the works that constitute Anri Sala: Answer Me, a cunning, musical, and occasionally glorious retrospective of one of the most important artists in Europe, east or west.

Anri Sala, Tlatelolco Clash, 2011 (still): a Mexican street performer plays the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go? Photograph: © Anri Sala/Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; and Hauser & Wirth

Sala was born in 1974, when an isolated Albania was under the thumb of the pitiless, paranoid dictator Enver Hoxha. He shot to prominence with his first film, the documentary Intervista (1998), made while he was still a student in France. (It’s not properly included in this show, but the curators have at least decided to screen Intervista once a week in the New Museum’s theater.) Sala comes across footage of his mother speaking at a conference of the Party of Labour of Albania in the late 1970s, but the audio is lost. His mother can’t remember what she had said. So Sala takes the footage to a school for the deaf, where the students read her lips and help the artist subtitle the interview. It turns out she was just spouting party-line claptrap about young people’s allegiance to Marxism-Leninism, which Sala’s mother can hardly believe. Her voice, her language, was not her own.

With Intervista and Dammi i Colori (the latter’s Italian title, literally Give Me the Colors, is borrowed from an aria in Tosca), Sala established himself as one of the shrewdest artistic interrogators of the legacy of communism, on both personal and urban planes. But after his film with Rama, Sala stepped back from his engagement with Albania and began to make more poetic, plangent films and videos – looking obliquely at recent European history, and making heavy use of music.

Four of these later video works are presented here in a single gallery, on a half-hour loop, and you’ll want to watch them all, although the sound is occasionally tinny in the New Museum’s hostile building. The best is Long Sorrow (2005), shot at a massive housing estate in west Berlin, in which a free jazz saxophonist on the roof plays an improvised dirge to the drab buildings below: a eulogy for modernism, and for the hopes that artists and architects could transform our lives. Answer Me (2008), filmed in a cold war listening station, depicts a woman struggling to speak to a man, who responds only with cacophonous drumming.

Almost all the last century’s aesthetic dreams came to grief. Utopian tower blocks rotted into periurban ghettoes; modernist painting, delusionally imagined as an accelerator of revolution, has become an asset class for a global crew of financiers and rentiers. Rama’s painting of the facades of Tirana appears almost a parody of modernist urban planning, a charming but woefully insufficient aesthetic bandage for one of Europe’s poorest capitals. But music, that most abstract of all art forms, seems to hold for Sala some little bit of hope. As words are replaced by sound in Sala’s later works, music ends up both reflecting the sorry history of 20th-century Europe – and also offering a possible means of redemption.

The newest pair of videos here, both entitled The Present Moment, feature a string sextet playing Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. Sala has modified the score: in one video the musicians only play the note B-flat, in the other only D. (He originally showed the work in Munich’s Haus der Kunst, which was initially built as a Nazi show palace; Sala’s work served as a stinging rebuke to the Nazis’ designation of Schoenberg as a degenerate composer.) The two modified sextets are projected simultaneously, and Schoenberg’s late Romantic score devolves into a dissonant muddle. And yet the profound concentration on the musicians’ faces, their anxious attempts to play this deformed opus, bespeaks an abiding faith that art might yet live after the dreams of transformation we ascribed to it have died.

Anri Sala, 3-2-1, 2011/16. Live performance featuring André Vida on saxophone responding to Long Sorrow. Photograph: © Anri Sala/Courtesy of the artist

I remain unconvinced by Sala’s occasional sculptures – notably his motorized snare drums that play themselves, which to me seem like souvenirs of his major music-backed films rather than fully formed artworks. (There are also some unremarkable works on paper in the show; some were done in collaboration with Rama, who has a penchant for doodling on printouts of his prime ministerial Outlook calendar.) But on the whole this retrospective affirms Sala’s unrivaled capacity to excavate the sullied dreams of modernism, and to imagine a future on the ruins of the recent past.

In his masterpiece Ravel Ravel Unravel, first seen at the Venice Biennale in 2013, two pianists play Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D Major, composed for the Jewish pianist Paul Wittgenstein (the brother of the philosopher Ludwig), who fled Austria just before the Anschluss. The two renditions are slightly, deliberately out of sync, and Ravel’s concerto sounds curiously rowdy; on a third screen a DJ tries to mix the two together, with only some success. Tempo itself has lost its meaning; time has been disjointed, history is a collection of shards. But the DJ keeps spinning her records, and scratches a new concerto.

Anri Sala, Unravel, 2013 (still): a DJ scratches together two performances of Ravel. Photograph: © Anri Sala/Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery; and Hauser & Wirth

*     *     *

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Johnny Depp-Style Evolution

2015 - With his girlfriend Amber Heard



Mid 1990 - with Kate Moss



2004 - with Vanessa Paradise







2015 - with Amber Heard

*   *   *

The History of No.5 Chanel and Coco Mademoiselle

Chanel No.5 was the first perfume launched by Coco Chanel. The formula for the fragrance was compounded by Russian-French chemist and perfumer Ernest Beaux. It’s a floral-aldehydic feminine fine fragrance. It was released 5 May, 1921, to select clientele in Chanel rue Cambon boutique.
It is traditionally that fragrance worn by women had adhered to two basic categories: respectable women favored the pure essence of a single garden flower, and sexually provocative perfumes heavy with animal musk or jasmine. Chanel felt the time was right for the debut of a scent that would epitomize the flapper and would speak to the liberated spirit of the 1920s.

Meaning of No.5

Chanel was handed over to the care of nuns, at the age of twelve, and for the next six years spent a stark disciplined existence in a convent orphanage, Aubazine, founded by Cistercians in the twelfth century. From her earliest days there, the number five had potent associations for her. In 1920, when presented with small glass vials containing sample scent compositions numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24 for her assessment, she chose the fifth vial.

Chanel: ” I present my dress collections on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year and so we will let this sample number five keep the name it has already, it will being good luck.”

The Bottle

For the bottle Chanel envisioned a design that would be an antidote for the over-elaborate, precious fussiness of the crystal fragrance bottles then in fashion popularized by Lalique and Baccarat. Her bottle would be “pure transparency… an invisible bottle”. The bottle design was inspired by the rectangular beveled lines of the Charvet toiletry bottles. The first bottle produced in 1919, differed from the Chanel No.5 bottle today. The original container had small, delicate rounded shoulders and was sold only in  Chanel boutiques to select clients.


The official launch place and date of Chanel No.5 was in her rue Cambon boutique in the fifth month of the year, on the fifth day of the month: 5 May 1921.


In the eraly 1940s, “Parfums Chanel” took a contrary track and actually decreased advertising. In 1939 and 1940, ads  had been significant.


The glamour of Chanel No.5, in the 1950s, was reignited by the celebrity of Marylin Monroe. In a 1954 interview, when asked what she wore to bed, the movie star provocatively responded: “five drops of Chanel No.5“.


The glossy magazines, the high-fashion bibles such as Vogue and Bazaar, presented Chanel No.5 as the required accessory to every woman’s femininity.

1970s and 1980s

For the first time in its long history it ran the risk of being labeled as mass market and passe. The fragrance was removed from drug stores and similar outlets. Outside advertising agencies were dropped. The remaking was re-imagined by Jacques Helleu, the artistic director for “Parfums Chanel”. He chose french actress Catherine Deneuve for the new face of Chanel. Television commercials were inventive mini-films with production values of surreal fantasy and seduction.


Carole Bouquet was the face of Chanel No.5 during this decade.

2000 to today

Nicole Kidman in 2003 was enlisted to represent the fragrance. In 2012 Brad Pitt was the first male who advertise Chanel No.5 in the history of the fragrance. In 2014 , Luhrmann collaborated with Chanel, creating a second “mini-film”, advertising campaign for No.5, this time with Gisele Bundchen and Michiel Huisman.

Coco Mademoiselle, perfume from the Chanel collection, was introduced in 2001 for the younger Chanel fans. The perfume was created by Jacques Polge, the nose of Chanel since 1978. Chanel in 2007 launched a new advertising  film starring current spokesmodel Keira Knightley as Coco Chanel. The film was directed by Joe Wright. Joss Stone (soul singer) re-recorded Nat King Cole’s 1965 “L-O-V-E” for the short film.

Coco Mademoiselle

*    *    *