Galleries - May 2011

Completing this whistlestop tour are men in flares, tight t-shirts, striped ponchos and other iconic 1970s pieces at the Barbican Art Gallery (until 22nd May), which emphasise how boundaries have since blurred between men’s and womenswear. As the men perform, gawp, leer and go about their daily lives in the work of performance artist Laurie Anderson, choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Gordon Matta-Clark, the clothes vividly capture the tough street vibe of 1970s recession-hit downtown New York and the burgeoning SoHo art village. Melanie Abrams ery. More ostentatious than the women’s dress, the rich purple velvets, sable furs and fine gold damasks reflect the A-list status of this wealthy male elite who domi- nated the prosperous 16th century Low Countries. Sparkling emerald, ruby and sapphire rings adorn the men’s fingers but are rarely seen on the hands of the women, perhaps to accentuate their superior status. The craze for hat badges which swept across Europe brings a sense of individuality to these characters. By contrast, the men in Helmut Newton’s photographs at Hamil- tons (to 13 May) remain anony- mous in their sharply tailored suits as they play second fiddle to his dominating, statuesque women. Yet despite this and their apparent subservient poses, Newton’s men direct – and control – our gaze to the women in the images. Hossack’s handsome main space on Conway Street where you may just catch Esther Nien- huis and Morten Lassen’s atmos- pheric ‘Autobahn’ show (to 7th) before the start of a gallery artists’ show to the end of the month . . . MEN IN FASHION Hot on the heels of last season’s fashion-related art-fest, the current crop of big shows is equally stylish – with a twist. For mens- wear takes centre stage. Even at the Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 at the Victoria & Albert Museum , a man’s velvet jacket suit à la Oscar Wilde neatly encapsulates its art for art’s sake ideals. The Yohji Yamamoto retrosp- ective also at the V&A shows his revolutionary menswear line for the first time. Launched in 1984, Yamamoto put men in skirts, cre- ated a new, hip business uniform of oversized jacket, wide trousers and t-shirt and gave a masculine twist to even the most feminine fabrics, using delicate black lace for that must-have suit jacket. His exuberant red and purple tartans and strong floral prints shout loudly for attention, unlike the inky black understatement of his women’s collections. Sumptuous menswear also stands out at Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance at the National Gall- Images Left to Right: C laire Curneen at Contemporary Applied Arts Jan Gossaert ‘Portrait of Henry III of Nassau’, about 1520-5, oil on panel, ©Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas at the National Gallery Man’s Aesthetic suit, cotton velvet, 1880-5, © Private Collection Yohji Yamamoto ‘YYS’, Autumn Winter Collection 2009-10 both at the V&A Museum. 11. GALLERIES MAY 11 stylish – with a twist