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4 posts tagged "Milk Gallery"

Madonna Was Alphabet City’s Cinderella


Richard Corman Madonna

“These are pictures that I’ve had sitting around in my archives for thirty years—I’ve never really felt like they were relevant until now,” explained New York-based photographer Richard Corman. He’s talking about the series of shoots he did with Madonna back in 1983, when he was “just a guy who was running around with Keith Haring and Basquiat” and the original Material Girl was “kind of a deity downtown, on her own block.”

Tonight at Milk Studios, Corman will unveil Madonna NYC83—an exhibition consisting of images he took of a young Madonna in her Alphabet City flat (“The neighborhood was absolutely a ghetto back then”), glamming it up for the camera as a modern-day Cinderella in “this incredible vintage dress she probably bought for four dollars,” or posing on her roof in ripped-up denim and a boom box in hand.

“Ironically, I met her through my mother, of all places,” recalled Corman. “She had been casting The Last Temptation of Christ with Martin Scorsese, and she called me and said, ‘Look. This woman walked in and she is an absolute original.’ I called Madonna twenty minutes later.”

Richard Corman Madonna

What transpired were five or six shoots, all in a brief period of time, that capture the moment just before Madonna hit it big. “I think she was beginning to develop an image,” said Corman. “But she had that thing that iconic people in front of the camera have: It isn’t necessarily about beauty; it’s just a charisma.”

So why does he feel these images are so resonant now? “Because everybody that I see walking down the street reminds me of the ’80s—whether I’m walking into Opening Ceremony or VFiles or Urban Outfitters,” exclaimed Corman. “These are the sweaters, this is the denim. I mean, the way she did her hair with the dark hair and the blond streaks—people are going in to have this done. Those cat-eyes and that red mouth. And her absolute beauty and jewelry. Everything about her style,” he explained. “But it’s her attitude that feels now. She was always fearless and provocative. There were no boundaries with her, and she had this wonderfully ruthless ambition to make it in the boldest way. And the other thing that makes [the photos] relevant is that she’s more than relevant today. She’s as hot now as she’s ever been.”

Madonna NYC83 will run through December 15 at Milk Gallery.

Richard Corman Madonna

Photos: Richard Corman

Mega Watts


Photographer Ben Watts (pictured, left) knows how to throw a party—and last night was no exception. Despite the threat of thunderstorms, a line of guests snaked around the block from Milk Gallery for his latest project, the Ben Watts’ Mix Tape exhibit co-hosted by HTC and MADE Fashion Week. The exhibition, which features Watts’ signature sun-drenched shots of Montauk surfers and beach-bound models, drew a packed audience including sister Naomi Watts (pictured), Liev Schreiber, Alessandra Ambrosio (pictured, below), DJ Chelsea Leyland, and Emilie de Ravin. “Today it’s all about instant gratification,” said Watts, who created the techno-hued collages using his phone and his new “WattsUpPhoto” app, which launched last week. “I used to use Polaroids, but we’re living in a digital world—I like to share what I do with as many people as possible.” When partygoers started snapping their own pics of the work, Watts quipped, “When I see people using their phones creatively, it makes me smile.”

Among the crowd favorites? Surfboards flaunting life-size shots of barely-clad beauties including Behati Prinsloo, Chanel Iman, and Dree Hemingway (pictured, below)—the latter of whom revealed her personal mantra for fashion week. “The less serious you are about it, the better,” she demurred. “Fashion is all about having fun.” To that end, around 10 p.m., Hemingway and her boyfriend, The Fat Radish’s Phil Winser, decamped to the Standard Hotel for the celebratory dinner, where André Balazs, Sean Avery, Andy Cohen, Constance Jablonski, and Waris Ahluwalia fêted the photographer.

As for Watts’ sister Naomi, who has been filming in London and flew in for the occasion, runway shows were far from her mind. “I had no idea it was fashion week,” admitted the Diana star to Has playing the style-savvy Princess of Wales crept into the Aussie actress’ personal wardrobe? “The double-breasted, shoulder-padded suit has been featuring heavily in my life, but it’s really not my thing. I don’t think I’ll be bringing that one back.”

Photos: David X. Prutting /

The Audience Takes Center Stage


Tomorrow night, Shipley & Halmos’ Jeff Halmos and Sam Shipley will unveil a new book, Everyone Must Be Announced, by their longtime friend, the photographer Aaron Stern, at New York’s Milk Gallery. The idea for the the tome, produced under their S&H Publishers imprint, first came about roughly eight months ago when the designers, both avid music fans, came across Stern’s photo blog and noticed his unusual vantage point. The 100-page book, curated by Shipley, Halmos, and Stern, documents Sonic Youth, Beach House, and Grizzly Bear concerts, among others, but there are only a few images of actual performers and most are not entirely visible. Instead, the images depict the crowds, the trash left behind, and the emotion that comes with seeing a live show. “Everyone who goes to see live music takes something away,” Halmos told “Whether it’s incredible lighting or the fans going crazy, not only the crowd feeds off it, but the band does as well. With this book, we wanted to put the focus on the experience of seeing live music rather than the band itself.” Added Stern: “When you hear a song or verse that has meaning, I think the stress of everyday life fades away for a few minutes.”

Everyone Must Be Announced, $50, is available on The corresponding exhibition and book signing is Wednesday at Milk Gallery, 450 W. 15th St., NYC, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Photos: Aaron Stern

Off The Runway And Into The Orphanage


When Behati Prinsloo and Coco Rocha go traveling together, the same thing tends to happen: “We always goof around,” Prinsloo told last night at Milk Studios, “and there’s always some video that ends up on YouTube, and I’m like: ‘Nooooo!’”

Today, true to form, Rocha posted a YouTube video of their latest trip—but this time, Prinsloo is all for it. The 23-minute film, by Rocha’s husband, James Conran, and viewable here, documents the visit the two models recently paid to Haiti. It was an effort to spread the word about the deprivation that remains there almost two years after the country’s catastrophic earthquake, and to spread love, too: Rocha arrived at an orphanage bearing soccer balls, art supplies, and letters from Canadian and American students that she’d collected and painstakingly translated herself. “I mean, I know French, but I don’t know if it was perfect French. I did it with help from Google,” Rocha said.

The film screened at Milk Gallery last night, to a crowd that included Zac Posen, Hilary Rhoda, and Karlie Kloss; black-and-white photos taken by Prinsloo (who said she’s plenty busy at the moment with Victoria’s Secret work) were up for silent auction, with proceeds going toward the orphan nonprofit LakayPAM. “What really stuck out was how kids never stop smiling,” the Namibian-born model said. “Even though there’s disaster around them and they’re orphans, they are still just light and happiness.”

Photo: Leandro Justen /