Max Snow: Ghost of the Pale Horse

The New York Artist Captures the Spirit of Long Island for a Fourth of July Exhibition

“It’s an assemblage of vignettes about metamorphosis, the journey of the spirit from one realm to the next,” explains photographer Max Snow about his first film, made in collaboration with Montauk’s bohemian haven, The Surf Lodge. Snow tapped America’s master composer Philip Glass—an old friend—for an eerie minimalist soundtrack to this meditation on one of the East Coast’s most arresting spots. The New York-based artist regularly plunders mythology to inform his imagery, and here sought to highlight the “original soul of the place” by eliminating any man-made items from the footage, aside from clothes, and cast classic-looking beauty Loulou Robert as his modern siren Hero to an unseen and lost Leander. “She has duende, something that cannot be put into words,” Snow says of his French protagonist who was the muse of Dutch duo Inez & Vinoodh in V magazine’s March 2012 issue. The video arose from his summer-long artist residency and collaboration with the beach-side hotspot, resulting in a capsule collection of men’s clothing and an exhibition to be mounted over Independence Day weekend. Snow is married to stylist-of-the-moment Vanessa Traina and has been building his resumé over the past few years, with exhibitions at Colette in Paris and Marina Gisich in St. Petersburg. How will he celebrate today’s federal holiday? On the South Fork, he says, “blowing shit up,” as per his annual tradition.

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Conversations (8)

  • Sarah310
    For the record I like this artist- I think it's really cool he used Phillip Glass music and even cooler he's friends with him. To use the word metamorphosis in this description and not have the famous work by Glass is a little bizarre. I am tired of the lost and forlorn androgynous looking brunette in his work. I find this too editorialized. What would bring his work depth to me is a woman out of his comfort zone.
  • GLoew
    I find it interesting regardless of it being non-narrative. Who composed the music please?
    • Posted By GLoew
    • August 07, 2013 at 6:51PM
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  • Kodachrome 25
    good try!!! It storyline...a lot of walking around and fast nothing cuts.
  • Kodachrome 25
    good try!!! It storyline...a lot of walking around and fast nothing cuts.
  • Sellés Domínguez
    Great job of execution and management of lights that provide an atmosphere of mystery and melancholy. The author's vision overcomes his interpretation.
  • cris654
    'the journey of the spirit from one realm to the next' gives a pretty bid impression and we expect to see something that moves us at least as much as its caption. This is a fashion shoot. It lacks any emotional truth. Sorry.
  • tride84
    agree 100% with LittleLulu
  • LittleLulu
    Some nice shots, but this really doesn't go anywhere--seems like an ad for something but too long and it doesn't have an authentic feel-- the model thing is soooo overdone. Not the spirit of Long Island I grew up on.
    • Posted By LittleLulu
    • July 04, 2013 at 2:23PM
    • Share Comment:

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    Max Snow: The Lady of Shalott

    The Downtown Artist Takes Inspiration from Victorian Poetry for a Sultry New Series

    White pigeons flutter above the nude silhouettes of model Arizona Muse and French actress Rebecca Dayan in these romantic new photographs from New York-based Max Snow. The monochrome images feature in a solo exhibition and a publication from the Parisian concept store Colette, both named The Lady of Shalott in honor of the 19th century poetic themes that subconsciously infuse them. “I unknowingly referenced a lot of images of artists’ interpretations of the Lady of Shalott before I even came across Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem,” explains Snow, who has previously shown at Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts in New York and Galerie Serieuze Zaken in Amsterdam. “The idea in creating these images was to make people connect to the past—to more mythological or spiritual times.” The artist comes from a storied background, as the brother of the greatly missed art world darling Dash Snow and a member of the famed de Menil clan. He recalls meeting Vogue favorite Muse after she purchased one of his pieces at auction and came back wanting more: “I said, 'How about you pose for one and I’ll give you one for free?'” Dayan, who recently appeared in Jesse & Celeste Forever and From Paris with Love and met Snow through a mutual friend, hadn’t expected her aviary accessories. “I was naked in a tent with birds flying in every direction,” she laughs of the shoot, for which Snow used eating pigeons rescued from a Manhattan slaughterhouse. “We freed them at the end,” she says. “It was such a beautiful moment!” 

    The Lady of Shalott is on view at Colette, Paris, until February 2.

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    Shorts on Sundays: Wildcat

    Kahlil Joseph's Film Meditates on the Origins of an All-Black Rodeo in Oklahoma

    A dreamlike narrative binds cowboy and an angelic specter clad in white in director Kahlil Joseph's exploration of a little-known African-American rodeo subculture. Joseph, who is part of the Los Angeles-based What Matters Most film collective, visited the annual August rodeo in the sparsely populated Oklahoma town of Grayson (previously Wildcat), an event that attracts African-American bull riders, barrel racers and cowgirls from all over the Midwest and southern USA. He set out to celebrate the origins of the rodeo by paying respect to the spirit of Aunt Janet, a member of the family who founded the event, passed away last year and is embodied as the young girl in the film. “Black people are light years more advanced than the ideas and images that circulate would have you believe. The spaces we control and exist are my ground zero for filming, at least so far, and there are opportunities for me to tap into the energy,” says Joseph who has also made films for musicians including Shabazz Palaces and Seu Jorge. “So an all-black town with an all-black rodeo in the American heartland was a kind of vortex or portal through which I could actually show this.” Wildcat is scored by experimental musician Flying Lotus, who has previously collaborated with Joseph on a short to accompany his 2012 album Until the Quiet Comes, which is showing during Sundance London this weekend.

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