Constantin Brancusi, Self Portrait in Studio, 1923
From the Metropolitan Museum:
The Rumanian artist Constantin Brancusi took up the camera as early as 1905 to interpret and present his sculptures as he alone saw them. His technique was not entirely professional, but his photographs are highly imaginative and are now recognized as characteristic examples of his visionary genius. The bizarre, spectral effect of this studio view is created by harsh light emanating from a floor fixture hidden in the foreground and from a gas jet seen in the upper right, peeking out from behind two of Brancusi’s completed works, Eve (oak, 1921) and Golden Bird (bronze, stone, 1919-22). Surrounded by pedestals and works in progress, Brancusi brandishes a heavy stone hammer and emerges from the darkness-a reborn Prometheus eager to challenge modern gods. Because the exact authorship of the photograph remains uncertain, the wall label also cites Man Ray as a possible picturemaker. Brancusi’s American friend taught the sculptor rudimentary photography and helped build his studio darkroom.
Edgar Degas, The Cup of Tea (Breakfast after Bathing)
Cayce Pollard Units -
CPUs for the meeting, reflected in the window of a Soho specialist in mod paraphernalia, are a fresh Fruit T-shirt, her black Buzz Rickson’s MA-1, anonymous black skirt from a Tulsa thrift, the black leggings she’d worn for Pilates, black Harajuku schoolgirl shoes. Her purse-analog is an envelope of black East German laminate, purchased on eBay if not actual Stasi-issue then well in the ballpark.
She sees her own gray eyes, pale in the glass, and beyond them Ben Sherman shirts and fishtail parkas, cufflinks in the form of the RAF roundel that marked the wings of Spitfires.
CPUs. Cayce Pollard Units. That’s what Damien calls the clothing she wears. CPUs are either black, white, or gray, and ideally seem to have come into this world without human intervention.
What people take for relentless minimalism is a side effect of too much exposure to the reactor-cores of fashion. This has resulted in a remorseless paring-down of what she can and will wear. She is, literally, allergic to fashion. She can only tolerate things that could have been worn, to a general lack of comment, during any year between 1945 and 2000. She’s a design-free zone, a one-woman school of anti whose very austerity periodically threatens to spawn its own cult.