It’s too bad only one Pop Art icon found that sort of staying power. If Andy Warhol flatters our coat and tie sensibilities, there is another artist from the same era who challenges them. Working a few miles from the Warhol Factory in her Tribeca studio was Marisol, the first-name-only contemporary of Warhol whose work revels in the sort of shapes menswear enthusiasts try their hardest to avoid. Flitting freely between sculpture and painting, Marisol’s art is a celebration of flatness.
I speak today of a secret vice. Rarely admitted, but relentlessly practiced. “The sin that everybody commits.”* No, not that one. A distinctly modern sin, made for (and perhaps made by) a modern consumer economy: envy.
Deirdre Clemente’s recent article in The Atlantic argues that business casual originated in Silicon Valley as a bottom-up phenomenon (as opposed to a bottoms-up phenomenon, a very different sort of thing).
Today price is another marketing tool. We’re still told to think otherwise, thanks to regular posts and articles that helpfully compare the differences between, say, a $500 and a $2,000 leather jacket. Those articles make price out to be the proxy for quality, with all the differences between the two presumed to indicate lower quality in the cheaper version and higher in the dearer. Price does not mean quality, as those comparisons suggest. And $500 is a huge amount of money for a piece of clothing to almost all of us.
A few weeks ago, I attended the New York Antiquarian Book Fair for the first time. It was one of those days in early March when there still aren’t any buds on the trees, but the sun seems to hint at a warmer future. Walking toward the Armory on 67th street, Park Avenue seemed to be full of dazed New Yorkers wandering the streets after a long hibernation. Bookish types gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Armory in small clumps, as a steady stream of attendees wove in and out of its yawning doors.
How do buildings resist gravity? Or, for that matter, strong winds, weathering, tectonic shudders, and the seasonal heat and ice? The modern answer has two parts: a science of architecture and a craft of building. On one side, years studying drafting, structural theory, conservation science, and computer-aided design. On the other, years learning and refining the techniques of masonry or carpentry, plumbing or fitting.