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January in Los Angeles. Must be time for punk rock? The Museum of Contemporary Art is showing California Song for a few more weeks, and it's the first West coast solo exhibition of Hedi Slimane's gorgeously stylized black and white portraits.
Designer Hedi Slimane transformed Dior menswear into signature skinny rock-chic suits desired by both men and women, casting the first wave of the retro-metro look that has dominated the last decade. Against the begging of LVMH, he left the fashion industry to continue the work he had done concurrently while toiling away as a brilliant high-end tailor—discovering and photographing artists and musicians of all stripes, and at all moments of their careers. Slimane's popular online photo diary, launched in 2006, bears the fruit of his photographic labors (including recent shots of an all-grown-up Frances Bean Cobain).
Slimane's photographs are a romantic homage to the free spirits that inhabit SoCal's youth culture, from musicians, artists and surfers to pretty young things with tousled hair just so, all captured in L.A.'s less-than-posh urban surrounds. The exhibit is immersed in a soundtrack by the city's finest post-punk shoegazing band, No Age. The first floor is filled with plywood box-frames mounted with photographs and mirrors, which at times reflect your own visage into the exhibitionary architecture. The top floor holds a gigantic light-box cube with black and white images that change every few minutes. Christopher Owens from the band Girls is a prominent face, but we're sure you'll find other recognizable and beautifully less-famous favorites in the series.
Slimane's pictures are great fun, of course—a fashion magazine brought into black and white life, or a wistful turn to a gritty and glamorized existence we might only dream of. They're also an ode to the fantastic creativity, tossed-around stylishness and freewheeling lifestyle that SoCal's urban sprawl, beautiful beaches and 95% annual sunshine produces. It's kind of like a love letter, to all of us Angelenos.
The exhibit closes January 22, but if you miss it and are hankering for more punk-laden aural experiences in the museum, check out the blowout MOCA show featuring X, the Dead Kennedys and the Avengers on January 28.
· Hedi Slimane Diary [Official Site]
· MOCA [Official Site]
· No Age Video for California Song [Official Site]
· MOCA Presents X [Official Site]