At Home With Elliott Erwitt

The Everyday Absurdist's Upper West Side Apartment Reveals a Seriously Playful Life in Photo

“The only essential thing to have if you’re going to be a reasonable photographer is a visual sense—the rest you can learn,” expounds Elliott Erwitt in this new short that takes a peek into the photographer’s effervescent career. Born in Paris to parents of Russian origin, his family moved to the United States in 1939, which meant that Erwitt was able to meet the leading lights behind the camera in New York in the early 1950s, including Robert Capa and Edward Steichen. Upon joining the seminal cooperative photo agency Magnum, Erwitt developed his signature, surrealist penchant for storytelling, even in the documentary medium. The resulting body of images distilled the uncanny in both mundane and celebrity culture. Director Hudson Lines, who has also worked on a series of videos at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut, gained access to Erwitt’s Upper West Side apartment to trawl through the photographer’s extensive archives and discover what he holds dear—and what he holds in contempt. The new film is set to screen this week at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London as part of the POINT conference, devoted to exploring the theme of Authenticity. 

The POINT 01 Authenticity Conference takes place this May 2-3 at the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD.

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  • On Replay
    On Replay

    Takeru Kobayashi: Hunger

    Five Days of Food, Part Two: The World Champion Eater Devours Grapes in Artist Item Idem's Dionysian New Short

    A conceptual artist, a film director, a competitive eating champion with four Guinness World Records and 25 bunches of grapes collide in Item Idem’s experimental film Hunger. The Paris-born, New York-based artist Cyril Duval teamed up with fashion film director CyCy Sanders to direct this faux-cinematic trailer conceived for new-to-the-scene food magazine White Zinfandel starring Japan’s infamously voracious competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi. Beginning with a rapid montage of Kobayashi's greatest triumphs devouring such American classics as hotdogs and bowls of spaghetti, the work parodies the high-octane feel of American sports television, piggy-backing on Hollywood themes found in campaigns for blockbusters like Gladiator and The Hunger Games. As Kobayashi devours clusters of grapes while reclining in a tunic and laurel wreath, the Greco-Roman-inspired scene typifies the notorious pop sensibility of Item Idem, who has exhibited at Design Miami and collaborated with the likes of Comme des Garçons, Bernard Willhelm and Colette. “I had been toying with the idea of using him as my muse for quite some time,” says Duval of the eating legend. “Kobayashi exists as a superstar in his own parallel world and I wanted to bring his stature as a celebrity athlete into different spheres.”

    Kobayashi's World Records 

    August 26, 2012: Hot Dogs
    World Record: 110 hot dogs (without buns) in 10 minutes at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York.

    March 25, 2011: Spaghetti
    Guinness World Record: 100g (3.53oz) in 45 seconds at the Lo Show Dei Record, Milan. 

    August 29, 2010: Hamburgers
    Guinness World Record: 10 hamburgers in three minutes on the set of Bikkuri Chojin 100 Special #4 (Fuji TV), New York. 

    March 8, 2010: Meatballs
    Guinness World Record: 29 meatballs in one minute on the set of Bikkuri Chojin 100 Special #3 (Fuji TV), New York. 

    The third issue of White Zinfandel, “Food Fights”, will be launched at NADA Miami on 6 December.

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  • MOST SHARED IN ART
    MOST SHARED IN ART

    Art Basel Miami: KAWS

    Directors Jauretsi and Crystal Moselle Ask Artists at the 2010 Art Fair About Life

    A graffiti kid who started out climbing New York's billboards in the middle of the night, Brian Donnelly, a.k.a. KAWS, now garners comparisons to Takashi Murakami and Keith Haring, and his collectors include Lance Armstrong and Pharrell Williams. The artist's often candy-colored paintings and sculptures wink at pop culture, appropriating characters such as The Simpsons, The Smurfs, the Michelin Man and SpongeBob into a fantastical, offbeat world. Original Fake, the company founded by KAWS in the 90s and based out of Tokyo’s Aoyama district, releases his vinyl toys and clothing line, securing an avid fan base in Asia; recently a 16-foot sculpture featuring a pirate skull on the body of Mickey Mouse was erected in Hong Kong's Harbour City. The new career-spanning monograph KAWSwhich he will be signing in the OHWOW bookstore at Miami's Standard Hotel on Friday December 3—brings the elements of his one-man empire together: "Seeing the book has given me perspective on everything I've done until now," he says. "I can now mentally move on to the next thing.” Directors Jauretsi and Crystal Moselle caught up with the 35-year-old in his Brooklyn studio as he was shipping paintings to Miami's Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin for this year’s Art Basel Miami 2010. His current shows at Galerie Perrotin, Paris, and the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut, run through December 23 and January 2, 2011, respectively. 


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