"The Best Art In The World"
New York's Hood by Air and South African photographer Pieter Hugo strike a pose at Art Basel Miami Beach.
By PETRA MASON, DEC 2016
MIAMI: December 2, MoMA PS1 and artist Jacolby Satterwhite hosted the unveiling of New York fashion label Hood by Air and South African photographer Pieter Hugo’s capsule collection of floor length long, straight jacket inspired t-shirts. Post-Basel, some say that fateful Friday’s high fashion baptism was Art Basel Miami Beach 2016’s most transgressive moment.
Out of misty smoke machine clouds on what was a softly tropical night, a non-gender conforming street preacher, the writer and activist Grace Dunham manically paced an elevated platform over the pool. Dunham delivered a twisted sermon to the well heeled crowd, some of whom turned away:
“Raise your hands if you think you’ve worked hard for what you have,” “Do you think you deserve what you have? You don’t deserve what you have!” “If people don’t have a house, let them stay in your house. Dissolve your inherited wealth! Dissolve your inherited wealth!”
By midnight Brooklyn-based R&B singer Ian Isiah, who had earlier chanted 'The Lord is My Shepherd' and 'Hood by Air' invited us all to 'find a spot' poolside. Perched at piano, gold grills glinting and pin straight red hair, Isiah sang: 'Don't you fuck with my energy...don't you fuck with my energy....”
As a grim procession of street and Instagram cast local models sporting Hugo images trudged through the water, rapper Princess Nokia marched out mashing Isiah's lyrics into one of her own raps, then bewitching us with her song ‘Brujas’ (Spanish for witches) before disrobing to join HBA designer Shayne Oliver and the rest of the kids, and the clothes, in the water.
The seven piece PH & HBA capsule collection originated from the book project of the same name, earlier this year. HBA stylist Carlos Nazario and Hugo were shooting a Paul Smith editorial in Kingston, Jamaica. According to the Hugo, they ‘piggy backed, pooling resources’ and street cast a diverse crew of models including porn stars, body builders, and a few of Jamaica’s LGBT “gully queens’ who typically only come out at night and are technically homeless. To this day, on the deeply conservative island homosexuality is outlawed. Casting LGBT models ruffled some feathers, but the models seemed pretty thrilled, got paid, got clothes and never had to put-out. Now they're forever flamboyantly on display on floor length long sleeve shirts that read 'Galvanize Jamaica'. WM
Cultural historian and publisher. Beefcake 100% Rare, All Natural is her first Universe title, Bettie Page Queen of Curves and Bunny Yeager's Darkroom are her Rizzoli titles. Mason edited Fall 2015 Skira/Rizzoli's Imperfect Utopia.