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April 19 2014

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3 posts tagged "Wu-Tang Clan"

Wu-Tang, Aging Artfully

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Wu-Tang

In 2013, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented convergence of hip-hop and art. First there was Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” music-video shoot this summer; then came Kanye West’s experimental Yeezus tour de force; and last night the two communities came together yet again, at NeueHouse in Manhattan, for a panel talk in celebration of the Wu-Tang’s twentieth anniversary, with Clan architect Oliver “Power” Grant and sculptor Tom Sachs. The latter is a longtime Wu disciple, who recalled listening to their records as a kid after Hebrew school in the nineties. Although the two couldn’t possibly be more different—Power was raised in the projects of Staten Island, a.k.a. “Shaolin,” while Sachs grew up in wealthy Westport, Connecticut—they found surprising common ground in “bringing the ruckus.” For example, they were both mischievous as kids. Sachs keyed his father’s BMW to make one of his first statements about consumerism, while Power ultimately decided to assemble and launch Wu-Tang because group leader RZA was locked up in jail and needed bail money, and he was on probation himself. According to Power (it’s worth noting that he never rapped with the group, focusing on business instead), “it was a form of desperation and inspiration” that caused them to “get past the corner” and start creating. Sachs agreed, saying that fear is the only thing that stops people from “creating your own reality and writing your own rules.”

Later in the evening, the conversation turned to consumerism, which remains a particular source of fascination for Sachs and informs many of his most famous works, such as Chanel Guillotine and Prada Deathcamp. Power quickly related: “I think that consumerism dictates what rap is and what it’s going to be, because that’s what it’s been doing.” He continued to discuss the origins of the Wu-Tang phoenix logo (“RZA was like, ‘Yo, I want my shit like Batman.’”) and the brand expansions that he has helped bring about, including Wu Wear clothing, the Wu-Tang video game, and even Wu Nails on Victory Boulevard, in Staten Island, which closed a few years ago. “Wu-Tang is forever going to be culturally relevant,” he said. “Even if we don’t have a record out, our brand is for real. This shit is like Coca-Cola now.”

In addition to their forthcoming album and reunion tour, the Clan’s major news is their Wu-Tang Hybrid Arts initiative, a.k.a. Wu Ha, which features works inspired by the Wu-Tang’s history (during the talk, several artists were live-painting portraits of different members such as Raekwon, ODB, and RZA), including Sachs’ combination ode to Wu-Tang Ladurée macarons. It will be displayed in a larger exhibition that opens at the Japanese American National Museum, in September 2014.

Photo: Benjamin Rosser

Beamon’s Burlesque

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You can’t judge a book by its cover, but often you can judge a bash by the line at the door. At Erickson Beamon’s jewelry presentation at Milk Studios yesterday, 80 people were queued up outside the burlesque-in-Berlin-themed presentation, which drew on styles from the 1920′s and ’30s. But this was less a presentation than a party. The event was styled as a cabaret, complete with a live performance by the Citizens Band and bejeweled models sashaying across the room in drop-waist dresses. Zoë Kravitz, Penn Badgley, Lily Kwong, and Johnny Weir were a few of the many who had made it in to check out the show.

As the tempo increased, Citizens’ Sarah Sophie Flicker—dressed in a velvet corset, feather headdress, and little else—took to the stage, impressing the crowd with her acrobatic high kicks. “If there’s one person in the room that’s a bigger ham than me, it’s Sarah,” said Michelle Harper, who was decked out in one of Beamon’s most elaborate necklaces from last season. “I’m seriously in love with this piece; I want to wear it every day.” Monique Erickson, who is rarely photographed without her trademark crystal headdress, replied, “Well, I do! Honestly, I wear this thing everywhere, literally like the burger joint on the corner.” Around 10 p.m., the crowd shuttled out, bound for more performances at Milk by the likes of Lissy Trullie and Wu-Tang Clan.

Photo: Julian Mackler/BFAnyc.com

Fashion Week, Turned Up To 11

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Every New York fashion week is filled with its fair share of memorable performances, both at shows and at the host of after-parties. This week should be no exception. On Thursday night, the Citizens Band, spearheaded by Karen Elson and Sarah Sophie Flicker, is set to turn Milk Studios into a sexy boudoir for their burlesque-style performance in Erickson Beamon’s “Deca-Dance” presentation. (They will, of course, be wearing Erickson Beamon pieces.) Following the cabaret show, Lissy Trullie, Cleo Le-Tan (sister of designer Olympia Le-Tan), Venus XX, and rap group Wu-Tang Clan are each doing a set at Milk for the MADE and Lexus Launch Event. If that’s not enough to make your night, the Kills’ Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince (a.k.a. Mr. Moss) will be rocking out at the Standard’s Boom Boom Room—we’re told it’s their last performance for a long time before they go back to the studio to work on their next album. On Friday night, the Ting Tings and Santigold (who fronted Alexander Wang’s T ad campaign for Fall ’11) will be on hand to put on a show (Ting Tings) and DJ (Santigold) at The Box for a Glamour party. The following day, Style.com has learned that actress and singer Alia Shawkat, familiar to many from her starring role in the much-missed sitcom Arrested Development, will be singing during Rachel Antonoff’s presentation at Drive In Studios.

Photo: David X. Prutting/BFAnyc.com