Category archives: Art for Progress

  • The 66th annual London Fashion Week kicks off on September 21, and the star to watch at the fashion event of the season is Matty Bovan — fearless designer known for creating 'clashes of textures' that are often spray painted, knitted, and or crocheted.https://www.instagram.com/p/BYipeGXnVVg/?hl=en&taken-by=babbymThe York, England based upstart has worked with Marc Jacobs, and Miu Miu. Bovan is also a former junior designer at Louis Vuitton who won the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award and the LVMH Graduate Prize after graduating Central Saint Martins (CSM) in 2015.Image Credit: The Guardian And it's at Central Saint Martins where Bovan delved into the world of Knitwear: “Being able to create your own fabrics gives you more scope, he tells Artefact about his attraction to knitwear.He adds, "[knitwear] is the foundation of a lot of textiles, "[it] also gives more creative room to the design process.”Image Credit: NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/GETTY IMAGES Since CSM, the designer has ignited the fashion world with vibrant, color- and-texture-rich looks. The Guardian aptly connects Bovan's aesthetic with 'great tradition of wonderfully original English eccentrics that includes Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood and Bodymap.'Image Credit: The Guardian We can't wait to see what you have in store next week, Matty! 
  • The first Dominican film to screen at Sundance (and recently announced as the Dominican Republic’s Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film), Woodpeckers (Carpinteros) is not your typical prison drama. Sure, writer/director José Maria Cabral includes some familiar elements: the new guy initiated into the brutal, dehumanizing ways of the institution; an uneasy alliance formed with the cell block’s bully/fixer. But Woodpeckers, which was filmed on location in the notorious Najayo prison outside of Santo Domingo, is also a love story with a spectacular ending that is Shakespearean in its resolution. With its raw, authentic setting, which includes throngs of actual Najayo inmates, the film has a gritty, documentary feel that really gets under the skin. It’s easy to get caught up in its slowly intensifying narrative.When petty thief Julián (Haitian actor/director Jean Jean, quietly riveting) is incarcerated, he notices his fellow inmates crowded around the prison windows, executing elaborate hand signals. Turns out they’re communicating with inhabitants of the neighboring women’s penitentiary, who signal back from their yard. Through this detailed language, known as “woodpecking,” romantic relationships are formed, as are jealousies and resentments as rivals fight over love interests. (The practice is completely true to life; Cabral spent ninth months visiting Najayo and other prisons, where he got to know the inmates.)When the volatile Manaury (Ramó[...]
  • The future is certainly terrifying. From climate change to our political climate, there is a lot of uncertainty. But one thing is for certain —  robots will take over the world's workforce —  especially in the world of footwear. Talk about a walk-up call! And possibly leading the robotic revolution is the company Grabit, Inc., a materials handling solutions company.The California-based (Nike-backed) robotics startup employs 'electroadhesion' in order to automate the handling of any material. To be exact, the company, applies  'electroadhesion' via 'flat pads of electrodes that, when charged correctly, create an electric field that adheres to nearly any surface,' Bloomberg reports. Grabit’s shoemaking robot at the company’s headquarters in SunnyvalePhoto Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg Unlike using human hands or pliable materials, electroadhesion can offer manufacturers the ability to work around such pesky issues like gripping materials by channeling the same sort of static cling that also makes a balloon stick to your head.Sounds simply genius? That's because it is! 'Electroadhesion has the finesse to handle something as fragile as an egg, as flimsy as soft fabric and as unwieldy as a 50-lb box,' the company says on their website. They also assert that their line of equipment provides a cheaper, faster solutions that uses less power.  And the static electricity that Grabit can yield has the ability to 'make machines work at[...]
  • Co-directed by Valérie Müller and renowned dancer/choreographer Angelin Preljocaj (who are married), Polina is the story of a budding Russian ballerina who forsakes a coveted job with the Bolshoi Ballet to pursue the freedom of contemporary dance. Based on the graphic novel by Bastien Vivès, Polina stars soulful young Russian dancer and first-time actress Anastasia Shevtsova as a girl from a humble background who is chosen to train for a career in ballet. Inspired by contemporary dance, she moves first to France, then Belgium—enduring a series of physical, artistic and romantic setbacks, before finding her true passion in creating her own dances. We can almost feel her physical and psychological release when she finally experiences that fulfillment.Early in the film we see a serious, young Polina (Veronika Zhovnytska) struggling in ballet class under the glowering eye of the demanding Bojinski (Aleksey Guskov), a classic cinematic ballet master. The stifling mood of these vignettes are juxtaposed with scenes of the girl joyfully losing herself in wild improvised dance while walking home from the academy. Later the teenage Polina endures grueling rehearsals under Bojinsky, who harangues her for her inability to express feeling behind the movement, a theme that runs throughout the film. Somehow, though, she perseveres and manages to ace an audition for the Bolshoi in a terrific scene that's shot from overhead. (Another enthralling scene follows Polina’s expressive feet [...]
  • Looks like Maison du Soir's gorgeous dark floral robe Isabella has already won Fall 2017. The robe has already sold out before its August 30 ship date, and according to Refinery 29, the company's second run set for September 30 shipping has also SOLD OUT. There is now a third run that will be available in November — the time to pre-order the Isabella is NOW!What's lovely and alluring about the Isabella is that it boasts a kimono floor-length style with side seam pockets and a dramatic high low hem.Image Credit: Maison du Soir The luxurious silhouette of the Isabella (also available in ivory, below) harkens back to 1940s-era movies starring eternally elegant screen legends in stylish repose at home.Image Credit: Maison du Soir But if you are ready to hang up that deteriorating pair of medical scrubs you love wearing while watching John Oliver, eating cereal, it might be the right time to invest in an au courant robe.And if you are unsuccessful in reserving an Isabella, fear not! Laura Urbanti offers a solid sender that might please your eye. Enjoy! Laura Urbinati Dressing Gown, $157, order at Yoox. 
  • The feature film debut by director William Oldroyd (with a screenplay by Alice Birch), Lady Macbeth is a stark, violent drama that takes place in a classically sedate setting: rural, 19th-century England. Based on the 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District, by Nikolai Leskov, Oldroyd’s film stars Florence Pugh as Katherine, a young bride who claws her way out of a stifling marriage with a cold, much older husband. The young actress (19 at the time this was filmed) is riveting in a role that demands tremendous effort, physically and emotionally.We first see Katherine at her wedding, wet-eyed and frightened under her veil; that night her glowering husband Alexander (Paul Hilton, darkly Dickensian) orders her to take off her nightgown, then doesn’t touch her. It’s clear this is a loveless, almost perverse match. Expected to stay indoors and play dutiful wife and daughter-in-law, respectively, to Alexander and his even chillier father Boris (Christopher Fairbank), the teen is clearly bored out of her mind, nodding off at dinner and napping constantly. Whatever hopes she may have had for this marriage, they sure aren’t being fulfilled. A resentful maid, Anna (Naomi Ackie), seemingly in thrall to “the master,” roughly brushes Katherine’s hair and yanks tight her corset, adding to the latter's general discomfort.When Alexander and Boris have to leave town, Katherine escapes the dull house to walk out on the moors and the film’s mood changes drastically, bec[...]
  • For over ten years, Art for Progress (AFP) has been providing vital, exciting music & art programs for students in New York City public schools.Why we need your help:* Public arts funding in the U.S. is suffering more than ever in the current political climate.* Many public schools in NYC do not have the funds to hire full time art teachers. AFP provides financial support to schools with budget shortfalls.* AFP teaching artists provide a safe place within the school environment for kids to learn who they want to be, and the results are astonishing!* AFP's programs are customized to achieve the goals of of each partner school, while focusing on the lives and interests of the students .* Students need to explore their creativity.Art for Progress is able to provide these programs through private grants; but a grant that has been sustaining AFP's programs was cut in half this year, and we're asking for your help to make up the difference.AFP currently works with seven schools across the city with plans to expand into new schools next semester, but without your help we may not have the funding to accommodate these programs.Please help us today with a donation and help keep the arts in New York City’s public schools.
  • What better way to push your latest collection than by casually featuring it throughout an entire music video.Photo: Urban Daddy That's just what Raf Simons- helmed Calvin Klein did in a collaboration with Brit indie band The XX, featuring A-list teen stars Paris Jackson, Millie Bobby Brown, Ashton Sanders ('Moonlight'), and designer Raf Simons' go-to muse Lulu. Talk about an ideal off-runway opportunity that perfectly provides an outsider's edge to the iconic mass All-American label!The mini-film within a traditional music video, set in Los Angeles, plays out like a sendup to mad-cap teen movies of the past like 'American Graffiti' or 'Dazed and Confused' — a day in the life of teens, beautiful and bored, looking for love and adventure. However in this instance, the kids are playing hooky from school, and the kids wind up in two architectural treasures — Lloyd Wright’s Sowden house and John Lautner’s Rainbow House. (Check out the video at the bottom of this post)But the triumph in this video is the fact that mostly every stitch of clothing in the mini-movie is from yet-to-be-released Fall 2017 collection from Calvin Klein. Simons, recent CFDA award winner for both best Menswear and Womenswear Designer of the Year, served as artistic director for the video -- directed by Alasdair McLellan.According to The XX, this is the third video that McLellan shot for the band, and Simons provided the creative concept. It's also a 'love letter to Los Angeles, a city clo[...]
  • The 28th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival takes place this year from Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 18. With 21 feature documentaries and panel discussions that showcase the courage and resilience of activism in these challenging times, the event seems more relevant than ever. The festival is co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center, and all screenings are followed by discussions with filmmakers, their subjects, Human Rights Watch researchers and special guests.Several films address the worsening refugee crisis and migration, including opening night presentation Nowhere to Hide, directed by Zaradasht Ahmed. Using a camera given to him by the filmmaker, Iraqi nurse Nori Sharif documents the catastrophic events surrounding his family as war and ISIS devastate their region.The need for change in U.S. law enforcement and the justice system is another festival theme, represented by films including Erik Ljung’s The Blood Is at the Doorstep, about a fatal shooting by Milwaukee police, and Peter Nicks’s The Force, about the long troubled Oakland Police Department. One of the films addressing the changing face of journalism and how we get our information, closing night’s Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, directed by Brian Knappenberger, explores the recent Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker case and others.The Resistance Saga, a daylong special event, includes a trilogy of films by Pamela Yates on the plight of the Mayan people of[...]
  • Who would've pegged the Dutchess of Cambridge to be a sneakerhead — well not exactly — but she does love a particular pair of Superga trainers, and the internet is loving it! Whether it's on the cover of British GQ, shopping, or attending London Marathon, Kate seems to be wearing cute white sneakers everywhere she goes.https://twitter.com/BritishGQ/status/869155795337973761?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.etonline.com%2Fnews%2F218547_prince_william_candid_about_mom_princess_diana_nearly_20_years_after_death%2FAnd as we've reported before the "Kate Effect" is real, and if she likes your brand it will sell like hotcakes.Case in point: a Nordstrom reviewer writes: " Kate Middleton-approved...I've been searching for the perfect walking shoe for an upcoming trip to Europe...I can say they are equally comfortable and stylish." Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images According to Daily Mail, the Superga 2750 Cotu Classic trainers were first spotted on Kate in October 2016.  The same exact shoes have also been spotted on celebs like Alexa Chung, Karlie Kloss and Emma Watson — however it's Kate who has made the biggest impact on the Italian footwear.'Superga has seen the sales figures for this style double since Kate has been stepping out wearing them repeatedly,' says a rep. The their sales have DOUBLED, increasing 100% thanks to the princess.And don't worry. Despite the sharp jump in sales, the sneakers are available.'As they are Superga's most pop[...]
  • The Asian-American experience in popular culture has been an interesting and sometimes troubling one. Where other minorities have made great, often vocal, strides in advancing their place in the pop culture firmament—music, movies, TV, comic books—Asians have not always been as successful. Bad Rap, directed by Salima Koroma and produced by Jaeki Cho, is an enlightening look at the careers of four Asian-American rappers—Dumbfoundead (Jonathan Park), Awkwafina (Nora Lum), Rekstizzy (David Lee) and Lyricks (Richard Lee)—as they struggle with prejudice and their own cultural expectations in a genre created and dominated by African-American artists. (Of course, white artists don't exactly command the field either, but Eminem is shown as the obvious example of major success.)The film opens with scenes of Dumbfoundead--the best known and longest performing of the four—onstage in front of an excited crowd, as the others praise his talent and 2011 song “Are We There Yet?,” which specifically addressed the experience of his Korean immigrant family. He interviews that he hates being called “an Asian rapper,” yet admits to also embracing that identity. Ultimately though, “I’m American,” he says, a sentiment that is echoed by others throughout the film.Bad Rap delves into hip hop history, starting with 1980s West Coast Filipino rappers who were heroes in the Asian community around the time that NWA and Ice Cube first became popular. We hear from rap pioneer MC Jin, who app[...]