Archive for January, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Vial Things

Simon Costin

Simon CostinSimon Costin

Simon Costin (British, b. 1963). “Incubus” Necklace, 1987. Silver, copper, Baroque pearls, and glass vials filled with samples of human sperm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mr. Simon Costin, 2006 (2006.364a, b).

The “Incubus” necklace is perhaps Simon Costin’s most notorious piece. When it was first displayed in a London gallery in 1987, the design was impounded by the police, and the artist was threatened with prosecution. Read more »

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hip in the Ancien Regime

French Dress

French Dress

French Dress (Robe à la Française), ca. 1765. Pale blue silk satin with hammered silver floral brocade and silver bobbin lace trim. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 2001 (2001.472a, b).

This court gown is said to have come from descendants of one of Queen Marie Antoinette’s Austrian ladies-in-waiting. Read more »

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Arch Support

Manolo Blahnik

Manolo Blahnik (Spanish, b. 1942). “Bhutan” Shoe, spring/summer 2006. Black leather with white synthetic thread topstitching and brass hardware. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Manolo Blahnik, 2006 (2006.512.6).

To have an entire category of apparel—in this case, high-fashion shoes—known by one’s given name is a fashion creator’s transfiguration. Read more »

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Claws for Alarm

Simon Costin

Simon Costin (British, b. 1963). “Memento Mori” Necklace, 1986. Black synthetic tulle with jet-bead and rock-crystal embroidery, two bird claws, carved black wood beads, and three rabbit skulls with hematite eyes. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Alfred Z. Solomon-Janet A. Sloane Endowment Fund, 2006 (2006.354a–c).

Simon Costin’s work reflects his interest in decadent literature of the late nineteenth century. His use of taxidermy, seemingly retrieved from some obsessional collector’s cabinet, and his incorporation of materials evocative of the late Victorian cult of mourning are poised between poetic morbidity and necromantic glamour. Read more »

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