It was a bright winter morning. I walked on 11th Avenue towards 36th Street, along the construction-site fences, the uncleared sidewalks still covered with snow.
I even saw a tiny bird enthusiastically twittering on top of a blasting signal orange panel.
I thought he was announcing spring, in advance of his kind.
I had never been in this part of the city, and the small industrial buildings, the repair garages, the newly built high-rise condo against the Hell’s Kitchen backdrop in the distance, and the wide-open spaces reminded me of some verses from Apollinaire’s poem Zone.
J’ai vu ce matin une jolie rue dont j’ai oublié le nom
Neuve et propre du soleil elle était le clairon
Les inscriptions des enseignes et des murailles
Les plaques les avis à la façon des perroquets criaillent
J’aime la grâce de cette rue industrielle
Hosfelt Gallery — on the second floor of an automotive parts and car repair shop — is a beautiful, luminous space, with a pure, natural light that seemed the perfect translation of Maria’s spirit.
One hundred or so living models were standing on a 4-story scaffolding structure installed on the golf driving range on the Hudson, wearing the latest Moncler collection.
The futuristic, neo-military opera-style installation reminded me of the aesthetic of some of the Thierry Mugler photographs campaigns from the late 80s.
The coldness was extreme, and only well-equiped Fashion people could stay on the tall balconies to study the models and confront chilly winds blowing from across the river in the New Jersey dark skies.
I was glad to wear my vintage Moncler, and a French ski team hat from Brooklyn Flea market that I had bought the previous weekend to attend the Fashion shows.
This is where I met Ricky, who was freezing, simply wearing a cordoroy jacket and his marine boat captain’s cap.
– This is almost model cruelty, he said, alluding to the Artic endurance test unfolding on the scaffolding.
However, this was to forget the high-tech yet stylish insulation of the Moncler design (you can ski in warmth and still feel like a page from Wallpaper magazine).
– Don’t worry, I told him, these pretty young things feel as hot as if they in a Purple fashion shoot.
Damien Hirst is one of those rare artists who once in a while produces an artwork that gains more instant awe than that of a new Ferrari parked on the street.
And he is one of the few artists today who challenge Money and Power with means that speak at equal level to the most wealthy and powerful.
A master of Vanitas, he always find entertaining ways to remind the viewer of Death, or that diamonds, no matter how many or big, are nothing.
“Judgement Day,” a thirty-foot long gold cabinet filled with 30,000 manufactured diamonds, is an ironic slap in the face of the shallow, while a consolation for the broke.
Ancient Greek philosophers — and more recently, psychedelic gurus — used the same rhetoric to one-up kings and rich merchants, but somehow with less efficiency than an entire shark, or a bull’s head, submerged in formaldehyde solution.
The exhibition is called “End of an Era.” I don’t know if it refers to some political or financial analyses about the end of our era, or if it states that a particular body of Damien’s own work, had come to an end.
Although the opening was on a Saturday, the uptown gallery (limos waiting outside) was buzzing with famous artists and important people.
The only way to know if somebody was less well-known was to see if he was taking pictures of others. Come to think of it, a lot of people were actually taking pictures of each other, like at an entrance of a Fashion show.
Damien was surrounded by people asking for autographs and handing to him various books or objects to be signed. A skateboarder even had a Damien dots new skateboard signed. I couldn’t see if he drew a big skull on it, as he did for some others of his fans.
A simple post-it signed by Damien
It turned out that the only discreet viewer was the real rock star, Mick is in a dark crewneck sweater worn under a navy suit. Why does he looks so cool ? Of course, he has seen it all, even Jean-Luc Godard filming the Rolling Stones recording “Sympathy to the Devil.” But while “One+One” could have been the coolest documentary, JLD got carried away by vanity, French intellectualism, or some girlfriend’s advice, and added all these revolutionary theories sequences that required so much coffee for the viewer.
Unlike Damien’s works.