….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
This is not some stupid follow-up to the Tabloid witch-hunt about John Galliano. I was inspired to put this together because the Art world has really taken quite a hit from this so-called Scandal concerning the iconic fashion designer. We are all screaming for some sort of intelligent discussion instead of Populist Pop-Idol style, “Lets cut down the tall poppies by taking a video of him in a drunken rage and use that to Vote him out of the Big “Fashion” Brother household!”
So if you want a populist, simplistic read about this issue, STOP Reading now!
I want to start this discussion with a simple premise: ” I may or may not agree with your views, but I will defend your right to have those views!”
Gorgio Armani: “I’m very, very sorry for him. It’s obviously a difficult time for him. I’m also very sorry that they even videotaped him without him knowing and now that’s all out.”
After that, if anyone wants to throw down the anti-Semitic comments he made, go for it! Have your rant, like John Galliano drunk & high on cocaine, had his rant!
Patricia Field: “People in fashion all they do is go and see John Galliano theater every season. That’s what he gives them. To me, this was the same except it wasn’t in a theater or in a movie. John lives in theater. It’s theater. It’s farce. But people in fashion don’t recognize the farce in it. All of a sudden they don’t know him. But it’s OK when it’s Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’ singing Springtime for Hitler.”
The difference between your rant and Galliano’s rant is that there is no one here to gaod you & video tape you on their mobile phones ! ALL for the sake of getting 20 sec of fame and 35% of a Tabloid brokered deal with a Papparazzi agency! In turn, there is no tabloid dying to use your moment of anger to try to destroy 10 yrs of your life’s work, attack your abilities or talent personally and ultimately get you fired!
Carl Lagerfeld: “I’m furious, if you want to know. I’m furious that it could happen, because the question is no longer even whether he really said it. The image has gone around the world. It’s a horrible image for fashion, because they think that every designer and everything in fashion is like this….This is what makes me crazy in that story….The thing is, we are a business world where, especially today, with the Internet, one has to be more careful than ever, especially if you are a publicly known person. You cannot go in the street and be drunk — there are things you cannot do..”
The opinions expressed within the fashion world are not apologetic when it comes to the Tabloid exploitation. No one supported racism. They are not judging the person. You don’t have to like it, but you might want to think about the insights from insiders before dismissing their opinions because it is not simplistic like in The Sun or the Daily Mail!
Roberto Cavalli: “I think that somebody wants to try to be bad with him. I think la Maison Dior should make to him a big red carpet because he helped Maison Dior to be what it is today. I don’t want to judge anybody, but I love John. John, I am with you.”
John Galliano Revived Dior in the last 10 years! If you don’t like his dresses, don’t buy it. If you don’t like his politics or his drunken rant, then don’t watch the tabloids about him. But if you put down his talent just because you don’t like his politics, then that’s your insecurity about the world, not his talent that should be under the microscope.
As one professional Art-blogger said, “I don’t generally judge artists by their political views although I have always naturally gravitated towards Picasso and the new York artists of the 1930’s because of their anti fascist views. I try to look at the work of Andre Derain, Emil Nolde, Le Corbusier and the Italian Futurists with an open mind despite their leanings and in some cases embracing of fascism. It still bothers me but you are right work should be judged on its merit not the artists political leanings.”
Donatella Versace said in Milan there was no justification for the insults but she doubted Galliano had meant to be racist.
A respected Art journalist & historian suggested,”The arts are the best way to expose society to radical ideas and get people to engage. That is why we need to expose young people to more art at school. It is counterproductive to put down obvious talent manifested in a single piece or body of art just because of the creator’s political views. Yes, Judgment on merits but bother we should, because talent can be abused, even against the artist’s will.”
Suzy Menkes: “While the vile statements seen coming from Mr. Galliano’s drunken lips on the Internet video deserved the nearly-universal condemnation they were receiving, there is pathos in the vision of one of the world’s most famous — and best paid — designers alone, clutching a glass in a bar. The pressure from fast fashion and from the instant Internet age to create new things constantly has worn down other famous names. Marc Jacobs, design director of Louis Vuitton, ended a wild streak in rehab. Calvin Klein famously rambled across a sports pitch and admitted to substance abuse. And the late Yves Saint Laurent spent a lifetime fighting his demons. ”
Art is not a democracy. It is not even egalitarian. It has always been a Hierarchical rule where “Talent” is the only acceptable currency in its elitist meritocracy. It is also an industry worth Trillions of dollars, with the most competitive environment in the world. To even enter the haute couture design world requires extrodinary talent. To be considered a Guru of design requires Genius. This is the Context of the Fashion world Galliano has survived in for the last 20 yrs!
Franca Sozzani: “I am against and I condemn any kind of racism or any behavior that shows disrespect toward any religion. But I would like to say that I’m just as disgusted by these people who saw what state John was in and took advantage of the situation by trading on his name and notoriety. It’s obvious that this was a bit inauthentic in the sense that if you are truly fighting with someone, you don’t have time to pick up a mobile phone, turn on the video GIGGLING and mockingly film what he is saying. Exploiting someone’s notoriety to have your own moment of fame is one of the most disgraceful and disloyal things one can do. Any famous person is open to attack or insult, and it’s difficult to defend him when, as in this case, the news goes around the world.”
Galliano issue has turned into a witch-hunt e.g. putting his gown worn by N.Kidman on the worst dressed at the Oscar list based on his alleged hate crime. Why the judgement by Media? Last checked however flawed, France still have a criminal system in place. What’s more it worries me that in a long angry rant about cheap shoes, ugliness, bad manners & bad breath.. etc… in the official transcript, the one sentence that the Tabloid media seized on was “I love Hitler”. I think to myself, “Hang on 1 sec, does any society have the right to start policing thoughts inside a person’s head to this level of invasiveness?”
That, to me, is more fascist than e.g. if Galliano designed a Farcical Tribute to Hitler collection.
Bridget Foley: “”The fashion world is in shock over the news of John Galliano, his dismissal from Dior and the inexplicable behavior that prompted it. The sadness equals the shock. With everyone together for collections in a twist of timing, there’s the aura of a wake after a sudden death. May this not offend those who love Alexander McQueen, but I feel not unlike I did last year when I learned the news of Lee’s death: One of our rare geniuses, a man of unique and irreplaceable talent, has destroyed his career. Coming on the front-end of the New York shows, McQueen’s death cast a dark shadow over the entire season; Galliano’s career crash casts a pall over Paris.”
Galliano obviously has a substance abuse problem. But what I find even more shocking is that on a day-to-day basis you can hear people making homophobic comments (while completely sober) and nobody bats an eyelash. It is amazing how quickly gay bashing of Galliano occurred in the popular media in the Tabloids.
Some people feel that the fashion world is a lot more complex than that and there are more important issues in the world than a drunk in a bar. The Fashion, Art & Design world has always sent out permissive mixed-messages about its business orientation and its socio-political pluralism.
So should we now close down Chanel because she sewed for Nazies during WWII? Do we also smash-up a few Picasso because he was misogynist? Should all Elvis album be destroyed in Obama’s USA because he was racist against blacks? Leonard Bernstein deserved to be blacklisted under McCarthyism because he was “Red”? Lets burn some books while we are at it…and Hmm…suddenly, this world looks a lot more “Fascist” in the name of Thought Policing (disguised as Moral indignation)! I’m not going to buy into that. You have a right to feel disgusted. Galliano has a right to say things that may or may not disgust you. I have a right to decide I’d rather look at 10 yrs of his work instead of 20 sec of a footage taken by a tourist in a Paris café generated by Tabloid press! Should we start a “black lists” now?”
Besides, there is just one major flaw in all this “media” about the sacking of Galliano. Dior needs a talented designer. John Galliano does not need Dior to be recognised as an artistic superstar of Haute couture. By firing him, Dior loses more than Galliano. He was the rising star responsible for the resurrection of Dior.
Well, here’s a dilemma before us all. Do we do “Art” by X-factor. take a vote on your mobile phone and call in the hotline and vote “Galliano” out of the big brother household! 😛 …or….look at his design separate from personal opinions and decide,”Is this a credible piece of work? The mob would say,” Lets vote him out, we know what we like and what we don’t like.” Then again, there are people who take the argument about Artistic freedom very seriously. There are so many artists with unpopular views, do we start to form a lynch mob and destroy the merit of their work based on a “popularity contest”?
Do we have to like the politics or the personality of an artists before we are allowed to appreciate his art?