Rare and Intimate Works Celebrate the Master of Pop’s Extraordinary Range
Andy Warhol turns his inimitable vision towards still lives, nudes and headshots of 1970s and 80s fashion elite in this selection of images from the James Hedges Collection. Although photographs often formed the basis of the pop artist’s work—he famously referred to his ever-present camera as his “date” at social events—the full gamut of his personal snapshots is seldom shown, though these may be some of his most representative works. The collection, acquired over the past decade, will open to the public in London’s Mayfair neighborhood next week, revealing images that have been rarely viewed since the artist’s death. The exhibition promises a solid mash-up: a roll call of international stars, New York society figures and Factory darlings rendered in Polaroids interspersed with surprising reportage-style 8x10’s snapped with a point-and-shoot, plus photo-booth strips and travel shots. In honor of this historic showcase, the Hedges collection asked Interview Editor-at-Large Christopher Bollen to pen an essay. He writes aptly that Warhol “knew that a camera could celebrate the famous and also preserve the simple, silent corners of the world where a real interaction could be made.”
Andy Warhol Photography runs from February 11 through March 1 at Privatus, London.
Photographer Stefan Heinrichs Reveals the Characters Behind the Extraordinary Sport
Players, spectators, staff and pachyderms pause amid the action at the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament in a new film by Stefan Heinrichs. The annual competition held in the royal town of Hua Hin, Thailand, sees teams sponsored by the likes of Mercedes Benz and Audemars Piguet going head to head eight feet above ground to raise money for elephant rehabilitation, conservation and related charities. Each animal carries two people on its back during a match: a polo player wielding an extra long cane mallet, and a mahout or professional elephant rider to guide him. The scene off the pitch is all the more surreal, as international sports stars and European royals rub shoulders with Buddhist monks and transgender beauty queens. Filmed in black and white, Heinrich’s work captures the event’s quieter moments in a sequence of moving portraits, a signature technique the Berlin-based photographer has honed in projects for the likes of Mykita and Moncler. Heinrichs cites the Kru Ba Yai—elephant spirit men who open the proceedings by blessing the animals—as a highlight of filming this year’s tournament at the Anantara Resort on Thailand’s gulf coast. “They’re so connected to the elephants,” he notes of the ancient tradition. “But people don’t learn the practice anymore. These four men are the only ones who can still talk to them.”
STATS FROM THE SET
42—all of whom receive a medical check-up as part of the tournament.
Number of male elephants
Number of teams
Longest polo stick
Two seven-minute chukkas, or halves.
Money raised to date
$600,000 for the Thai Elephant Conservation Center and other charities.
Average elephant weight
Total weight of elephants
Total weight of food consumed by the elephants
Staple food (elephants)
Bananas and pineapples.
Staple food (photographer)
Bananas and pineapples—plus lots of water, and the occasional pla neung see-ew (steamed fish with soy sauce).
Average age of elephant players
17 years and 6 months.
Average age of human players
52 years and 6 months.
The Parisian Graphic Design Duo Celebrate Twenty Years of Visual Alchemy
An illustrated duck on a Björk album cover, a typeface dedicated to Carine Roitfeld and bit-character humanoids populating a deconsecrated chapel feature in this series from two of the most acclaimed creatives of their generation, Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak, better known as M/M (Paris). Since crossing paths at Paris's Les Arts Décoratifs school, the pair have worked as graphic designers and art directors on distinctive fashion, art and music projects incorporating unconventional typography, print, illustration, photography, film, objects and interior design. Envisioning their commissions as “conversations,” M/M (Paris) have collaborated with the likes of photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and Mert and Marcus, and designers Riccardo Tisci, Nicolas Ghesquière and Yohji Yamamoto. Invited by Thames & Hudson to produce a monograph of their oeuvre some 12 years ago, the pair have finally collated their trailblazing imagery into a definitive 528-page softback, designed by Graphic Thought Facility, that includes dialogue with close collaborators alongside hundreds of illustrations. “You can't design a book for your own work because it becomes too self-centered,” explains Amzalag. “It was important for us to put ourselves in the position that we have put so many others in—what it feels like to put our work in the hands of someone else.” Ahead of their 20th anniversary, M/M reveal the secrets behind their innovations.
On establishing collaborations…
Michael: Most of our relationships have happened organically. Riccardo Tisci came to the studio to buy some of our posters as he really liked our work. I lived near Nicolas Ghesquière before he was working at Balenciaga. A friend introduced us to Yohji Yamamoto. We met Inez and Vinoodh at an A.P.C. party in Paris and clicked straight away.
On translating an artist's message…
Mathias: We think of all of our collaborators as artists. They all have something they want to communicate visually. Each collaboration is about understanding an individual and working out how to communicate their world, in a graphic sense. The work we've done for Björk is a succession of portraits—she's a transformative character.
On their love of alphabets…
Mathias: We have always thought of our work as a series of signs and from the beginning we decided that we wanted to create our own “language” so people would immediately be able to recognize our work. Our own typefaces allow us to create our own language; each letter carries meaning. Our own alphabets form part of our collection of tools.
On their working dynamic...
Michael: Oliver Zahm came up with the perfect metaphor for our working relationship. He said one is the bone, the other is the muscle. To me, it's the most accurate description of how we work.
M to M of M/M (Paris) is published by Thames & Hudson in October. Their exhibition Carpetalogue, 1992-2012 runs at Gallery Libby Sellers from October 10–December 15, 2012.