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November 2012

Tick tock: Marcel Wanders for Cosme Decorte

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I've been waiting to report on this beautiful compact since July (!), when PJ at A Touch of Blusher posted about it.  You might remember that Dutch designer Marcel Wanders collaborated with MAC in both 2010 and earlier this year.  This holiday season, Mr. Wanders teamed up with Japanese luxury brand Cosme Decorte, which as far as I can tell, is virtually impossible to get shipped to the States.  It's extremely disappointing because this compact was only available for pre-order by phone at Japanese department stores, and since I lack a contact in Japan I am completely out of luck in getting my hands on it.  Another one that got away!

Anyway, these pictures are taken from the Cosme Decorte website.  I was determined to find the English version of the descriptions, and fortunately I found it at their Facebook page.  However, the print is tiny and you can't enlarge the pictures, so some of the words here are missing because they were too small to read.

Here is the first image and introductory text.

"Inspired by a locket on a necklace where precious memories are held, and pocket watches, the compact case evokes a pleasant sensation of the past.  Coupled with modern stylistic elements, the case is rendered (?) a new beloved treasure.  The sparkling silver case radiates glamour and daintiness, mirroring the allure that is the essence of a beautiful woman.  When the case is open, a sleeping beauty awakens to transform you with her radiance.  She is an artwork in pink beige powder, soft as air, rendering you divine. 'Between dream and reality awakes the true soul of imagination.'"

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The company and Wanders developed a little story for this fairy who will grant you silky soft and smooth skin.  "A beauty lies curled in slumber, a delicate flower waiting to blossom.  She sleeps happily in wait until at last the compact is opened.  She stirs, as she awakens, her beauty radiates from within, dusting an airy well of loveliness upon women everywhere."

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Next is a description of the case itself.  I adore the patterns as well as the engraved Wanders/Decorte names on the sides.  "A hexagon with a flower-like symbol of beauty.  Intricate pattern.  Looking like the fine texture of flawless skin.  The design is a fusion of Cosme Decorte's beauty ideal, which is what the brand has been seeking for as long as forty years, and a symbolic motif of Marcel Wanders, a world renowned artist.  Seen from different angles, shadows over concaves and converses convey different expressions, revealing the life cycle and the vibrancy of skin."

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Finally, there's a summary of the case and powder, the description almost identical to the introduction.  If you look really closely you can make out the faint outline of the fairy within the powder.  "A sparkling silver case, reminding you of a pendant or pocket watch.  Quietly opened, greeting you is an extremely pale pink beige powder.  Take it on a puff and gently skim over the cheeks.  Silky grace and velvet, moisture and gloss.  All the skin wants comes together in a veil, enveloping your skin gently in moisture.  Containing golden (?) powder and pearl powder, it also protects the skin from ultraviolet rays, with a soft touch.  Hold the compact in a portable velvet case in your bag or a purse.  Every time you lift the lid, a fairy appears in a soft air to transform your skin into a vision of beauty and awake the purity of your mind."

Cosme-Decorte-wanders-powder(images from cosmedecorte.com)

I love the idea of this little sprite coming alive and sprinkling her magic skin-perfecting fairy dust when you open the case.  And I think the design of the case is much more representative (not to mention more expensive-looking) of Wanders's work than his collections for MAC.  While I did take a look at some of his designs in writing about those collections, let's take a little refresher course with images that are more relavant to the Cosme Decorte compact.

The use of silver and crisply defined hexagons are reminiscent of the promo ads Wanders created to go with his Christmas collection for Dutch department store De Bijenkorf in 2008.  (According to this article, De Bijenkorf is the "Harrod's of Holland".  As a dedicated shop-aholic, I thought I was familiar with every major department store in the world, but I had never heard of this one!)  Wanders created a collection inspired by his take on the three kings - in his version of the story, there are three queens instead of kings.  The white queen is shown below.

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Fairies have also made an appearance in Wanders's work.  Take, for instance, the "Forest Muses" flock wallpaper he made as part of his recent "Whispers" collection for Graham & Brown.  "Transient and daring they are camouflaged to the naked eye. It is but the soft whispers they breathe that beckon you forward. Darkness breaks and in a moment the fairies emerge dancing through the damask forest. 'Closer, closer”, they whisper “may we dance for you?'”

Wanders-grahambrown(images from marcelwanders.com)

Here's a closeup so you can see the fairies a little better.

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(image from grahambrown.com)

Overall, I thought this compact was exquisite and unmistakably Wanders.  It's also a good reflection of his most recent work, which I'm finding has a slighter softer feel while still retaining the strong geometric/showy modern Baroque patterns he's known for. 

What do you think of the compact?  And if anyone knows someone in Japan who can pick it up for me, let me know!  ;)


MM Musings, Vol. 6: Going mobile

Makeup Museum (MM) Musings is a series that examines a broad range of museum topics as they relate to the collecting of cosmetics, along with my vision for a "real", physical Makeup Museum.  These posts help me think through how I'd run things if the Museum was an actual organization, as well as examine the ways it's currently functioning.  I also hope that these posts make everyone see that the idea of a museum devoted to cosmetics isn't so crazy after all - it can be done!

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MM Chief Technology Officer Little Ice Lodge Babo hunts for cookie apps.

For the previous installment of MM Musings I discussed virtual exhibitions and museums.  As a continuation of that conversation, I thought for this post in the series that I would again talk about museums going digital - but also mobile.  With the millions of apps out there, it's going to be tough for me to decide what would be most useful to virtual visitors for their mobile devices and how the content would differ from that of the Museum's website (of course, I'd only develop an app after the website has been overhauled). 

There are many obstacles facing museums in launching mobile apps.  A Washington Post article sums them up:  "Progress is hampered by the diversity of often mutually incompatible user devices, software platforms and interfaces. Museums are often thick-walled buildings with imperfect broadband and Internet access. And there are chronic shortages of time, money and staff. Moreover, living artists often restrict online reproduction of their works for fear of unauthorized and commercial replication. And no one knows what visitors need and want in terms of digital enhancements to the museum experience."  I think that last issue will be the most pressing for the Makeup Museum.  While I own an iPhone and have downloaded many apps, I'm really not sure what visitors would want in an app.  I'm assuming that it would mostly involve enhancement of the website's content.  Indeed, the article notes that "There is general agreement that the fundamental task for museums is to expand and enhance digital presentations of their collections." Other than that, it would need to be something that could offer people something besides what's available at the website.

Fortunately for me, there are many trailblazing museums who have embraced the never-unplugged culture created by today's mobile devices and have developed some pretty practical and interesting apps.  I will now explore some categories of museum apps I've found and summarize how they might be relevant to the Makeup Museum.

1. Exhibition info with a twist

Many museums release general information apps to enable visitors to better navigate their collections or special exhibitions.  But this is fairly pedestrian - how can a museum develop an app that's worthy of downloading, instead of (or in addition to) visiting the website for basic information and images?  The Guggenheim in NYC presents a good example.  This museum released an app to accompany its retrospective of Maurizio Catellan, whose works were hung in a confusing jumble in the museum's rotunda.  The app helps viewers to make sense of the exhibition by allowing them "to see the hanging objects from four angles, zoom in and out, and tap individual pieces to read snippets about them."  What makes this app unique is the fact that weirdo extraordinaire John Waters acts as a sort of app narrator, providing an introductory video and standing in for the voice of the artist.  This is a no-brainer for the Makeup Museum - I'd definitely want tons of information to be available via an app, but a way to make it somewhat interesting would be to develop an app that would also allow users to curate their own collections or exhibitions.  In this way they would get all the information about the objects but also be able to put their own spin on the Museum's collection, which is a little interactive as well (we'll get to that soon).

2. Replacing print content

Another way to get people to download a museum app is to provide information that is only available through the app itself.  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art did just that last year, releasing its 2011 annual report exclusively via an iPad app.  Unlike most annual reports, this is not a dry recitation of numbers, although important figures are included - it also features an animated tour of the museum's planned expansion and video interviews with artists and the museum director.  If the Makeup Museum were to finally occupy a physical space, I would definitely copy the idea of releasing an app with a virtual tour of the building.

3.  Interactive

I don't think I've ever downloaded any app that's meant purely for enjoyment rather than information.  However, in the case of the Makeup Museum, I could see coming up with an app that would capture the more playful side of makeup and allow for user interaction with the objects.  Since I'm still massively in awe of the NARS Andy Warhol collection, I'm going to highlight the Andy Warhol Museum's "DIY Pop" app as an example.  According to Art Info, "This app allows users to create a digital silkscreen inspired by Andy Warhol’s classic pieces using their own photos. The app doesn’t simply add blocks of color, but allows users to go through a multi-step process (film positive, underpainting, screening) that sheds light on the actual silk-screening process. Users have a pretty advanced degree of creative control over the image —you can adjust hue, saturation, brightness, and brush size in the underpainting stage to decide if you want to make friends look like Marilyn or Elvis."

In looking at these examples, I think ideally the Makeup Museum would have one of each kind.  It's a bit hard for me to say exactly what would be in store for each of them since I still need to develop a more museum-y website first, and anything related to a physical space would be out since the museum, as of now, doesn't have one.  When the time comes though, I will be armed and ready thanks to both these examples and this blog devoted to the subject run by the American Alliance of Museums.

What would you like to see in a Makeup Museum app?

Fit for a goddess: A holiday odyssey with Clarins

Clarins really upped their game this season in terms of packaging.  This beautiful highlighting powder, from their Odyssey collection, is presented in a gold case with delicate, engraved details.

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The powder inside features the same design.  I'm amazed at the level of intricacy.

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With flash:

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The collection contains several other pieces with the same motif, including this deluxe makeup palette:

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(image from salonskincare.co.uk)

And this eye shadow quad:

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I did a little digging about the inspiration behind the collection.  As the name and Grecian garb-clad model would suggest, ancient Greece played a part in the development of the design.

Clarins-odyssey-model
(images from facebook.com)  

Apparently the motif is the "original Odyssey emblem of ancient Greece".  I searched high and low but couldn't find any information on this symbol, or even anything that suggested it actually existed.  I will say, however, that the lavish gold and elaborate pattern is certainly reminiscent of ancient Greek jewelry.  Take a gander at this necklace and earrings, all from about 300 B.C.:

Greek necklace

Greek-earrings

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(images from metmuseum.org)

In that sense, Clarins captured the more extravagant, opulent side of ancient Greek culture.  While I would have liked to see a more concrete explanation for the motif, it's not as vague as some previous Clarins collections.  And the level of detail is on par with more high-end brands, so all in all I'm pleased with this.

Did you/will you be partaking in the Odyssey collection?


Curator's Corner, 11/24/2012

CC logoHello!  Is everyone sufficiently stuffed and overspent from the one-two punch of Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping?  I know I am.  Nevertheless I'm excited the holiday season is officially here.

- MAC introduced a super exclusive Grey Friday lipstick and nail polish for Black Friday.  I was intrigued by the stock photos, and after seeing real-life pictures of the lipstick I knew I had to have it.  I also knew I'd have to be very quick to order online, with MAC's tendency to sell out.  So I told my dear husband to remind me at midnight on Thanksgiving to place the order.  Well, come midnight we both forgot and I was completely passed out in a food/prosecco coma, but around 1:30am the husband remembered!  He apparently tried to wake me up, but I was unresponsive so he went ahead and placed the order himself.  Now that's love.  :D  Can't wait to get it!  It's a good thing he ordered too, because by 8am on Friday it was sold out.

- In other beauty news, Makeup Minute provided a very interesting history of an old beauty implement known as a strigil.

- Design Crush brought my attention to Much-Loved, a photo series capturing well-worn plushies!  I wish I had known about it - I have two that are so old and falling apart they can only be honorary Museum staff members.  I would have loved to have them photographed.

- Gawker asks the age-old question of what one would buy for someone who lives to remember the '90s (*cough like me cough cough*).  A good gift:  this '90s edition of Trivial Pursuit.

- Now that it's the holiday season, I went a little crazy ordering stationery from Hello! Lucky, but in my defense they were offering 20% off and free shipping.   Here are a few highlights from my order.

I simply can't resist those sock monkeys!

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I love how the little fish next to the penguin on the card on the right is just sitting there chilling out with his hot cocoa.

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Here's a pretty holiday scene and another one of my favorite things - anthropomorphic food.  Awesome.

HL_xmas(images from hellolucky.com)

- It seems everyone is getting into the holiday spirit.  You may know the Museum has a Domo who is one of the security guards.  He was very jealous when he saw this picture of some of his buddies at local store Atomic Books.

Xmas domos
(image from atomicbooks.tumblr.com)

Now he wants a reindeer/Santa costume too!

What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish this year?  Have you started your holiday shopping?  Did you have any Black Friday mishaps?


Friday Fun...every day of the week

Happy Black Friday!  Instead of braving the shopping crowds today I'm staying in and doing a quick post on these delightful Juicy Tubes (lip glosses) from Lancôme.  They were released back in the summer and I'm only just seeing them now, since, for whatever reason, Lancôme did not deem the U.S. worthy of receiving them.  Hmph. 

The Once Upon A Week collection features seven Juicy Tubes, each named for a day of the week with a unique illustration.  From fruit to teddy bears to butterflies to clouds, these are guaranteed to perk you up on any day.

Once-upon-a-week-Lancome(image from public.fr)

I think the playful patterns lend themselves well to the product.  Juicy Tubes are sheer, scented, high-shine lip glosses, so if Lancôme is going to put fun designs on any of their items it should be Juicy Tubes.

They are still available at one website, but it's Australian and the prices are steep - $30 each, whereas in the States Juicy Tubes sell for $18.  So I don't think I'll be picking them up right now, unfortunately.  Sure, I could just get one or two, but you know a collector like me won't be happy unless she has all seven!

Which one is your favorite?  And are you doing any shopping today?


NARS Andy Warhol Giveaway winner!

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(Thanks to the husband for the awesome "Babo Warhol" pic)

Thank you all for entering the Makeup Museum's NARS Andy Warhol giveaway!   Museum Education Specialist Cookie Dream Babo is very excited to announce the winner.

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YAY!  Congratulations to Emily S.!  This is very exciting!

Oh no...

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"Oooh, shiny silver square cookies...these must be special for the holidays!"

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I had to explain to him that those weren't cookies before he could sink his teeth into them.  He was extremely disappointed and to soothe himself, decided to take a nap. 

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Emily, once I pry out your prize from his little wings and paws I will mail it!!

Thanks again to everyone who entered!


Here's your 15 minutes: NARS and Andy Warhol, part 2

The Andy Warhol for NARS collection is positively enormous!  Here is part 2, the Silver Factory Holiday collection.  (Click here for part 1 and to read about the background on the collaboration.)

The ad copy: "In a new makeup gifting collection for department and specialty stores, NARS captures the spirit of Warhol’s Silver Factory. The edgy energy of the Screen Tests, the intense color of the silkscreens, and the cool of Warhol’s superstars –underground icons and downtown divas who amazed audiences just by beingthemselves. For Andy the factory characters were like a full spectrum palette – personality as color."

Let's start with the eyeshadow palettes, which feature variations on Warhol's Self-Portrait of 1967.  Like the Flower palettes, each has with a unique quote inscribed on the mirror and a "Get the Look" card. 

Self-Portrait Palette #1:

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With flash:

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Get the Look card, which shows a close-up of Edie Sedgwick (the Flower palettes used Debbie Harry):

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Self-Portrait Palette #2:

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With flash:

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Get the Look card:

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Self-Portrait #3:

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With flash:

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Get the Look:

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Each palette also came with a booklet, with different content than the ones for the Flowers palettes.  (The one shown below is slightly bigger than the ones included with the Self-Portrait palettes - this bigger version is included with the Beautiful Darling and Photobooth gift sets.)

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Getting back to the self-portraits, here is one of the original 1967 silkscreens.  Like Warhol's earlier Flowers, the image is based on a photo (this time, taken by Rudolph Burkhardt) and was hung in blocks of 4 or more.

Warhol-self-portrait
(image from tate.org.uk)

Much has been written about Warhol's self-portraits, and while I can't cover everything, I can tell you how two themes are identical to those found in Flowers.  1.  As with Flowers, Warhol's Self-Portrait upends an art historical tradition - in this case, that of the brooding, intellectual self-portrait of the artist, while in Flowers it was the still-life - through the use of psychedelic colors and a rather theatrical pose that was not meant to convey the "real" Warhol.  "Warhol has taken this mainstay of the history of art and has resurrected it with the colors and the patterns and even the media of the modern world. By taking a photograph of himself as his subject matter, he has not only carried on the tradition, but has also attacked it, assaulting it with the sheer force of innovation. The screenprint process itself adds a twist, as Warhol has deliberately excluded himself as much as possible from the creation of his likeness. To what extent, then, is this a self-portrait? Warhol is perversely celebrating his connection to the piece while advertising his own detachment from it. Meanwhile, the mad colors, which completely avoid any attempt at realism, and the simple, almost cut-out fields in which they have been applied, work visually on an aesthetic and expressionistic level yet show his irreverence towards the painstaking oils of hallowed forebears such as Rembrandt and Cézanne. This is the ultimate Pop self-portrait, at once iconic and iconoclastic...Here, even his appearance as an intellectual appears almost theatrical. This is a self-conscious pose, echoing Rodin's Le Penseur. Warhol is deliberately casting himself in a new light, presenting himself as some manner of artistic svengali...He is not only editing how he is perceived, but is deliberately playing with his image. There is a strange tension between Warhol presenting himself as the thinker, as the lynchpin of the avant garde, and at the same time self-consciously striking a pose. This pantomime level shows an artist unwilling to take even his own position too seriously.  Rather than present us with the 'true' Andy Warhol, he has instead edited, omitted, posed and colored his image in search of something that he has controlled - his 'good picture'. Ironically it is through this playfulness that we begin to detect the true likeness of the artist himself."(source)

2.  Once again, the notion of death winds its way through Warhol's work, although it's not explicitly depicted.  "Throughout the history of art, the main role that the self-portrait has played is not the celebration of the artist, but a testimony to the artist's achievements. Whenever a self-portrait is created, no one can help but ask which will last longer, the artist or the artwork?... However much an artist believes in the durability of their work, or of the lasting nature of their influence, the reality of death is more apparent in a self-portrait, literally staring them in the face. This makes the dark colors of Self-Portrait and Warhol's pensive look all the more appropriate. It is not so much his fame, or his arrival, that the artist appears to be contemplating, but instead death." (source)

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(image from sfmoma.org)

Next we have the Beautiful Darling Gift Set, which includes Candy Darling nail polish, Femme Fatale eyeshadow duo, and Woman in Revolt lip gloss.  "Candy was the ultimate blonde bombshell. She was Andy’s greatest actress, even though she was a man. She said 'You must always be yourself no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality.' She thought beauty was a duty and worked harder at it than anyone."  Both the outer box and the silver pouch feature a still from Beautiful Darling, a 2010 documentary on Candy (her life was cut tragically short by cancer at the age of 29).

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Born in Long Island as James "Jimmy" Slattery, Candy Darling met Warhol in 1967.  They immediately connected due to their lifelong fascination with Hollywood.  Warhol casted her in several of his films, which used Candy's ultra-glamourous presence and acting ability to their full potential.   Says one biographer, "Blessed with good looks and loads of acting talent, through force of will Candy Darling became the incarnation of the old-school Hollywood stars that both the young boys Jimmy Slattery and Andrew Warhola had adored. Although one of Candy’s most prominent characteristics, besides her beauty, was her sharp wit and comedic skill as an actress, this, unlike so many drag acts, was no send-up of femininity, not even an act, beyond the sense in which each of us, in constructing a persona, puts on an act. This probably accounts for Candy’s enduring mystique and appeal.  The fact of being a male impersonating a woman, a movie star, was audacious (even illegal) in itself, yet Candy’s own behavior, unlike that of so many members of Warhol’s troupe, was not flamboyant, but rather demure and ladylike, ultimately increasing her magnetism."  

Onto another one of Warhol's superstars:  Edie Sedgwick.  According to NARS, "Edie Sedgwick was the sixties It Girl, with the biggest eyes, the shortest skirt and the longest legs. For Edie life was a non-stop performance. Edie and Andy were silverhaired lookalikes. Andy said 'she had more problems than anybody I ever met,' but she was his muse and if Andy were a girl he would have been Edie."  The Edie gift set is packaged in a film canister and includes Film Star lipstick, Edie eye shadow, Carpates eye liner, and a blush duo.  The canister shows a still from her Screen Test of 1965 (Warhol invited many people sit for film portraits but named them Screen Tests).

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(images from barneys.com)

Edie met Warhol in 1965, and was only part of his world for a little over a year.  Based on what I've read about her, she seems to have been a lost soul.  There was a family history of mental illness, which she developed herself early in life.  She turned to heavy drug use and ultimately died of an overdose at 28.  If I can play armchair psychologist for a minute, I think she gravitated towards Warhol because she was looking for a way for people to pay attention to her and make her feel special, along with wanting to become a full-blown celebrity.  I also got the feeling she was a huge phony, as she came from significant wealth but pretended to be a struggling actress, yet simultaneously bragged about how much money her family had.  When someone better (in her eyes) came along to fulfill her needs with the promise to make her a star - in this case, Bob Dylan - she abruptly left the Factory and stopped speaking with Warhol.  She never did become a celebrity either through acting or modeling; the highest level of notoriety she achieved was socialite, and an erratic, drug-addicted one at that.  Reading about her life made me feel fairly sad. 

Let's go to something slightly more upbeat!

The biggest (and most expensive) set in the collection is the Silver Factory set.  "Andy listed his occupation as ‘Factory Owner.’ He called his silver-foiled studio ‘The Factory’ because for him art was work, and it took a team to make it. His ‘superstars’ surrounded him there, but he said he was hanging around them."  The set includes the Multiple (highlighter/blush) in Silver Factory, eye shadow trio, lipstick in Chelsea Girls, blush, eye liner, eye shadow brush and blush brush. 

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(images from barneys.com)

Ah, The Factory.  How can I explain?  In a nutshell, it was a warehouse-sized space that Warhol used as a studio beginning in 1964, but was also used for some serious partying - a "non-stop freak out, a long burst of sex, drugs, rock and roll, art, and pop culture."   Decorated by Warhol's friend and in-house photographer Billy Name, the Factory was covered entirely in silver paint, fractured mirrors and tin foil, even the elevator.  "Warhol assembled a menagerie of adult film performers, drag queens, socialites, drug addicts, musicians, and free-thinkers that became known as the 'Warhol Superstars' to help him. These 'art-workers' helped him create his paintings, starred in his films, and basically developed the atmosphere for which the Factory became legendary." (source)

Warhol-factory(image from basisdesign.com)

According to one account, the first series of art works Warhol created there were packages for food and other grocery store items.   "The first works created at the Factory were a series of food boxes. Andy was fascinated by the shelves of foodstuffs in supermarkets and the repetitive, machine-like effect they created... He wanted to duplicate the effect but soon discovered that the cardboard surface was not feasible. I located a carpenter in the East Sixties, and Andy hired him out to build plywood boxes that we would then paint and screen, to create the illusion of the real thing... The brand names chosen consisted of two versions of Brillo, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and Mott's Apple Sauce. We obtained cardboard-box samples of each of these products wither from a grocery store or, in the case of the Brillo box, directly from the manufacturer... We were able to get at least two sides done in a day. A hundred or more were produced in a period of a month. They were literally three-dimensional photographs of the actual products."

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(image from fleisher.org)

The Factory eventually had three different locations between its inception and 1984, and was constantly buzzing with work on movies, photos, and silkscreens.  As former Velvet Underground member John Cale said, "It wasn't called the Factory for nothing. It was where the assembly line for the silkscreens happened. While one person was making a silkscreen, somebody else would be filming a screen test.  Every day something new."  

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(image from caronparis.tumblr.com)

There is far too much to discuss when it comes to the projects and other things that transpired at the Factory over the years, so I'll just say this - I would love to have been a fly on the wall at any given party there!

Rounding out the collection is the Photobooth gift set (which you can still enter to win!).  It includes nail polishes in Back Room (black), Soup Can (tomato red), Chelsea Girls (beige), and Silver Factory (light metallic silver).  The box features Warhol's 1963 shots from a Times Square photobooth. 

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He was commissioned to make a silkscreen painting out of these pictures for Detroit art collector Florence Barron.  The original price was $1,600 (roughly $11,000 today).  It fetched $38.4 million at a 2011 Christie's auction.

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(image from vendingtimes.com)

Christie's describes the photobooth series, providing some insight as to this image was chosen for the NARS Silver Factory collection and how it relates to the other "superstars" included:  "Warhol’s decision to make his first self-portrait using a photobooth was a genius act that reflected both his admiration for Marcel Duchamp and the latter’s concept of the 'ready-made' work of art, as well as Warhol’s own oft-stated desire to be a machine. The common dime store 'photomat' clearly conformed with Warhol’s desire to create a new mechanical and democratic art for a massconsumer and mass-media obsessed world. The photobooth’s impersonal lens offered a nonprejudicial and artless image of whatever pose or face the sitter wished to present to it. Behind its closed curtain, anybody could be a 'superstar' of their own making. While Warhol’s earlier use of photography had been restricted to the recycling of previously published media images, his discovery of the coin-operated photobooth gave him a means to generate unique images that at the same time had been made by a public machine that everyone had access to.  Warhol was inspired to use the photobooth after being commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar magazine to provide images for an article in the April 1963 issue...The photobooth was the perfect tool for Warhol’s vision: he loved the photostrip’s seriality, its resemblance to filmstrips; he enjoyed the photobooth’s elimination of the photographer, and along with the silkscreen, its ability to remove Warhol’s art yet another step from the human touch. Within the private domain of the booth, one could act out one’s fantasies as though in front of the bathroom mirror; and he reveled in the sleaze factor - the booths in Times Square were especially disreputable places." (emphasis mine)  For more on his photobooth pictures, check out this book published by Robert Miller Gallery.

So that about wraps it up.  I must say, I am now thoroughly exhausted!  If you're still reading, thank you!  I hope you enjoyed learning about Warhol for this collection as much as I did.  And if you're not too tired to answer questions, which is your favorite piece in the Silver Factory collection and who would you want to hang out most with?  Besides Andy himself, of course, my vote goes to Candy Darling - she seems like she would have been a lot of fun.


Curator's Corner, 11/17/2012

CC logoI hope everyone had a nice pre-Thanksgiving week!  Here are some links.

- Mmm, New York Chocolate Show

- It was also National Guacamole Day this Wednesday.

- In local food news, Sofi's Crepes will be expanding to Fells Point, along with locations in New Jersey and Delaware.  If you haven't been to Sofi's yet you really must go.  Get the Kevin Bacon, it's amazing!!

- In honor of Movember, the Huffington Post gives us the 20 best moustaches in art history.

- A gallery in NYC is presenting a retrospective of Wayne Thiebaud's work.  I love Thiebaud, mostly because he painted pictures of cakes, which makes me happy (and hungry).

- You know what else makes me happy?  Celebrating my birthday (even though I don't like getting older).  I love mermaids and I love Babos, and my husband combined the two into one of the best birthday cards I've ever received. 

Look, it's a Mer-Babo!!

Mer-Babo

And on the back, among the many things he drew was Sailor Babo admiring a Mer-Babina (Babina is a female Babo which has not yet been produced but that we dream of):

Mer-Babina

Too cute!

And if your birthday did not take place this week, don't worry - you can still get some delightful NARS Andy Warhol presents by entering the Makeup Museum's giveaway.  :)


Hey baby, what's your sign?

Well, it's my birthday week.  Yes, I celebrate the entire week!  I feel that the older you get the more you deserve to celebrate.  Since my b-day falls in mid-November, that makes me a Scorpio, and it got me thinking about these gorgeous Estée Lauder Zodiac compacts that I spotted a few months ago.  I like the designs, but I think the nicest thing about these compacts is the corresponding birthstone on each clasp.

Capricorn and Aquarius:

EL-Cap.Aquarius

Pisces and Aries:

EL-Pisces-aries

Taurus and Gemini:

EL-Taurus-Gemini

Cancer and Leo:

EL-Cancer-Leo

Virgo and Libra:

EL-Virgo-Libra

Scorpio and Sagittarius:

EL-Scorpio-Sagittarius(images from esteelauder.com)

Let's take a peek at some art historical references.  Zodiac signs figured prominently in Western medieval art.  Of course, back then depictions of the zodiac signs weren't as closely linked to personality traits as they are now - they usually represented the labor performed in each month (there were many variations depending on the region, however). Here are some of my favorite examples.

Stained glass windows at Chartres Cathedral - this picture shows Scorpio (in the middle), Sagittarius (upper right), the month of December (upper left), Libra (lower left):

Picture 1

Leo (middle), Virgo (upper right), Cancer (lower right):

Picture 2

Capricorn:

Picture 3
(images from medart.pitt.edu)

Roundels at Canterbury Cathedral:

Canterbury-Roundels

Cancer:

Canterbury-Cancer

Libra:

Canterbury-Libra
(images from paradoxplace.com)

February (typically represented by warming by the fire) and July (wheat threshing) month pages from Les Très Riches Heures de Duc de Berry, an illuminated manuscript:

Les_Très_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry_février

Les_Très_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry_juillet(images from en.wikipedia.org)

At roughly the same time, zodiac signs were gaining popularity in Egyptian, Syrian and Iranian art.  Both these regions as well as those in the West based their illustrations on ancient Greek astrology. 

Here's an inkwell and flask, both from Iran:

Met-Iranian-inkwell

Met-Iranian-flask
(images from metmuseum.org)

So that concludes this altogether too-brief survey of zodiac signs in medieval art.  Which one was your favorite?  Do you like your zodiac sign?  Will you be snapping up one of these Estée Lauder compacts in honor of your birthday?

P.S. Speaking of birthdays and presents, be sure to enter to win some NARS Andy Warhol treats!


For the Francophiles (and city mice), continued: Catrice Big City Life

As with Stila's various Travel Palettes and Cargo's eye shadows, not to mention countless other collections dedicated to invididual cities, Catrice's fall 2012 collection, Big City Life, pays homage to three major metropolises (metropoli?):  Paris, Shanghai and San Francisco.  I found the sketches of the cities on each to be quite lovely - a blend between photographic and illustrative styles.  

Each city has its own eye and cheek palette, along with a matching nail polish.

Catrice-paris

Catrice-paris-inside

San Francisco:

Catrice-sanfran

Catrice-sanfran-inside

Shanghai:

Catrice-shanghai

Catrice-Shanghai-inside

Interestingly, Catrice put out a collection last year with the same title, which included New York, Berlin, Sydney and London.

Catrice-nyc

Catrice-nyc2

Catrice-berlin

Catrice-berlin2

Catrice-sydney

Catrice-sydney2

Catrice-london

Catrice-london2
(images from catrice.eu)

Cities have captured the imagination of artists for hundreds of years.  Makeup makes a perfect vehicle for representing urban spaces as well - not just in the packaging design but in the colors selected.  Starting in the late 19th century, cities were perceived not just as the locus of commerce and work, but as centers of style, culture, sophistication and excitement.  It's a notion that prevails today, as we see in the ad copy for both the 2012 and 2011 collections.

"Always with a finger on the pulse of the times. The big cities Paris, San Francisco and Shanghai are sure to captivate you - they set trends as the fashion on their streets offers the inspiration for new looks on the international catwalks around the world. CATRICE has captured this big city flair in unique make-up palettes to go with each city’s chic style – the Limited Edition 'Big City Life' by CATRICE reflects the most exciting facets of these vibrant metropoles."

"Sydney, Berlin, London, New York – each metropolis stands out for its own personal charm and style. Trends are born on the streets of these fabulous cities! This passion for life has been interpreted four times – and captured in the most breathtaking make-up palettes of the season: the Limited Edition “Big City Life” by CATRICE gives every city its own look. So when the big city calls, we can experience it and capture its style from October to November 2011...The Ultimate Nail Lacquer, which is available separately, offers great coverage, durability and irresistible shine as well as eye-catching color – the pulse of each city. And thanks to the extra-broad brush, smooth application without streaks is even possible during a taxi ride to exciting places!"

Marketing people aren't dumb - city-themed makeup collections, especially ones that contains items dedicated to particular cities, will always appeal to consumers no matter where they live.  By infusing a makeup item with a certain city's vibe, whether through illustrations of the city itself or through the shades chosen, people using the makeup will feel as though they've actually experienced the city in some small way.  They become, just for a short while, one of the inhabitants.  That's incredibly powerful for those of us who don't travel much or who fantasize about being a trendsetting big-city dweller.   And for those customers already living in a big town, a cosmetics collection devoted to it is tempting simply because of the familiarity (sort of like how I enjoy watching The Wire despite the downright depressing content - it's interesting to recognize various landmarks).

But perhaps the best part of city-themed collections is that they make excellent fodder for future museum exhibitions.  Ones for Paris and NYC are in the works.  ;)

(Thanks to Rouge Deluxe for the heads up on this collection.)