Silvia Prada: The New Modern Hair

Vintage Coiffes Inspire the Artist’s Playful New Investigation Into Masculinity in LA

From the side-swept “executive contour” to the manicured pin-curls of the “Alexander,” New York-based illustrator Silvia Prada’s renderings of men’s hairstyles remind us how a cut can communicate authority, sex appeal and identity—all with a proper dose of humor and glam. The Spanish-born artist has created a series of smooth graphite renderings of crops popular with gentlemen from the 1950s to the 70s, resulting in a taxonomy of silhouettes that emphasizes the thoughtfulness and care with which men have cultivated their image over the decades. “I really enjoy the idea of an alpha male who is secure, masculine and clean-cut—and who knows how to carry his hair,” says Prada, whose father was a well-known hairdresser in León and who grew up surrounded by barbershop imagery. “Hair within context of identity is something quite primal, especially with men,” she explains. “It provides cues to character traits—even when they’re naked.” The New Modern Hair debuts today at LA’s Pacific Design Center, adding to an exhibition list that already includes shows at Deitch Projects in Manhattan and MoCA Shanghai. Paired with backdrops of abstract patterns and shapes that recall the modernist-inflected style of the Bauhaus or the graphic punch of 1980s pop abstraction, as well as some inspirational photographs and objects donated by creative friends such as the artist Robert Knoke and filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, Prada’s images suggest a visual language of aspiration that goes beyond the salon. 

Silvia Prada’s The New Modern Hair will be on view at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles until February 26. 

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  • ON REPLAY
    ON REPLAY

    Battle Box

    Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja Instigates a Dark Fusion of Music, Art and Discourse in His Newest Project

    Frozen roses collide with a dancing rooster in today’s kaleidoscopic premiere of “Battle Box 001” by Robert Del Naja, known to Massive Attack fans as the band's co-founder, 3D. Featuring haunting vocals from Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, the track ventures into the militant dub territory of the Bristol band’s 90s reign. “We used about 50 different types of roses,” says co-director Dusan Reljin, who created the video's shattering visuals with his wife Hilde. “After dipping each one into liquid nitrogen we blew them up with dynamite and makeup powder. Some of them exploded really nicely and some of them were a complete disaster.” Using a phantom camera to slow the footage down, the result is an otherworldly fantasia reminiscent of animated Rorschach ink blot tests. The untraditional collaboration grew organically out of shared interests between Del Naja and the Norway native Reljin duo. “[Robert] was starting to work on Battle Box, and at the same time we were experimenting with these images, trying to morph things," says Dusan. “We started talking to him about the project and he responded well. We wanted a slightly gritty, home-made feeling to it. That’s the way 3D works with his music, too.” 

    The Vinyl Factory releases “Battle Box 001” today.

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  • MOST SHARED IN ART
    MOST SHARED IN ART

    Thomas Demand: Paper Weight

    The German Artist Talks TMZ and Evil's Kitchen from his LA Studio

    Conceptual artist Thomas Demand discusses how an encounter with a picture on a celebrity gossip website instigated his latest work in today’s film from White Zinfandel magazine, which will celebrate the release of its “Food Fights”-themed issue during this week's NADA Miami Beach fair. Based between Los Angeles and Berlin, Demand is known for building life-sized, three-dimensional paper and cardboard models of spaces, inspired by found images, that he then photographs himself and almost always ultimately destroys. This singular technique is behind his recent “Junior Suite,” a work for which the Munich-born sculptor and photographer recreated Whitney Houston’s insalubrious half-eaten “last meal” in her Beverly Hilton Hotel room as it appeared in an image published on TMZ. The film by Friend & Colleague, a studio founded by Alexei Tylevich with his sister Katya, sees Demand reveal how he visited the hotel and ordered the same food in an attempt to achieve a kind of accuracy within the murky world of trivia and generalization. Since his rise to prominence in the mid-1990s, the artist's innovative work has earned him a mid-career retrospective at MoMA in 2005, as well as major solo shows at London's Serpentine Gallery and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, and past inspirations for his scale copies include a soldier’s snapshot of the kitchen Saddam Hussein used before his capture and the studio of an artist targeted by the Baader-Meinhof gang. “An underlying assumption in my work is that one way we come to understand who we are is through the images that we collect and remember,” he says. Seen through Demand's oeuvre, images as we remember them, much like those intended to sell the most newspapers or get the most clicks online, are in many ways fictional. 

    Thomas Demand is among 30 contributors to the latest issue of White Zinfandel, which will host "De Nada", an amuse-bouche culinary collaboration taking place at Miami's Hotel Deauville this Thursday December 6, 2012.

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