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A Toast To Moss | Avenue Magazine Column

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STATE OF THE ART column

by Asher Edelman

In his new book Please Do Not Touch (and Other Things You Could Not Do at Moss the Design Store that Changed Design), its namesake and co-owner Murray Moss quotes the Czech architect and designer Bořek Šípek: “The only real justification for the designer to create another chair is if he treats it like a work of art and uses it to express or interrupt the culture of the moment.”

A similar notion started Murray’s successful quest to merge “design” into “art” at MOSS, the design store. It was 1990. The rest is history.

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MOSS literally rubbed shoulders with Art and the Art Audience. Murray opened his “gallery” in SoHo between Metro Pictures and Pace. Their clients would see his “Art” in the windows of MOSS. It was the design store that changed design and how it was labeled. Ever since, great design has ceased to be a stepchild: it’s become great art.

Murray and his partner, Franklin Getchell, have been my close friends for almost 40 years. All I have to say about this extraordinary book and these wonderful “boys” (yes, still boys) is highly colored by that reality. Sadly, there is, within, a chapter about me. I think it is best you skip that chapter. Those pages are grossly exaggerated fiction, not worthy of the authors. So high is that chapter’s unreality that I have commissioned them to write my obituary with the same fictional license. In summary, DO NOT READ the chapter.

Most of you know about MOSS, the design theater, though nominally a store, a university of taste, a fantasy land always in action, serving up tasty morsels for grown-ups. I need not tell you more about MOSS, nor about Murray and Franklin, nor is this a book review. Rather, it’s a small collection of vignettes, and there are infinitely more to be discovered reading Please Do Not Touch.

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MOSS, the acknowledged premium curated design store of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, lighted upon a novel idea: a wedding registry—complete with a proper registrar to tend to the couples. Murray, who had no interest in decanters, was persuaded by the registrar to stock decanters for the lovebirds’ needs. And MOSS became a “decanter center.” Sadly, it seemed a habit of newlyweds to return most of the decanters and most everything else they registered for, too. So the boys invented a new registry model: automatic prereturns of all “registry account” orders and a credit to the bride and groom. The happy couple was informed of the purchase, the purchaser, the credit to the account, and the nature of the “prereturned” gift. Our lovebirds could then choose at leisure items they really liked rather than the ones they registered for. A thank-you note for the original gifts could be sent and MOSS did not have to carry returned inventory, as it never filled any registry orders. This is one of a number of brilliant business decisions made by Murray and Franklin, which resulted in its all-registry business vaporating instantly.

All design stores are focused on weddings—seriously a moment of excess spending for the lovebirds’ nests. MOSS followed in the footsteps of wedding providers with some quite advanced products. A first-rate seller, Gay Marriage Finger Puppets, consisting of two brides, two grooms and a minister, became a most sought-after accessory. Speaking of weddings—another conflict—I am to officiate at the wedding of these two special people. They have refused my offer of a Latin ceremony and insist on English—no costumes either.

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Which does not mean they lack a sense of humor. Did you know the MOSS logo was derived from the Oscar Mayer hot dog logo?

Then, there’s the absurdity inspired by the opening of MOSS in 2006 in Los Angeles. “I don’t know exactly what form of English they’re speaking out there,” Franklin writes, “but it sure isn’t the same as mine. Dude, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with one-syllable words…there are some terrific one-syllable words and some great one-syllable word sentences. Fries with that? Can you spot me? And, of course, Have a nice day.” Or, as Franklin also says, “Life in L.A. Like death, only shorter.”

Please Do Not Touch is full of similar fun and absurdities—a double self-inflicted spoof—but, most of all, it’s the story of Murray and Franklin, my friends, and their design store that changed the face of design.

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Is Stock Market Volatility Good for the Art Market?

We’re about to find out during May’s art fairs and auctions in New York.

Until January, the stock market was on an almost-unbroken bull run for nine years. Now that run appears to be ending and prominent members of the financial community are warning about the possibility of a significant correction, leaving people in the art world wrestling with whether this will affect their sales.

 

A decade ago, during the last financial crisis, the art market responded to the stock market with a lag of about seven months. Bear Stearns collapsed in March 2008, but the May auctions in New York that year set records. Sotheby’s held its largest sale ever; over the course of two weeks, $1.56 billion worth of art changed hands.

“By April 2008, we knew that the seams [of the stock market] were coming apart,” says Asher Edelman, a financier-turned-art dealer who founded the company ArtAssure Ltd. “Everyone who was buying and interested in art was thinking, ‘Oh, this is kind of a safe thing to do,’ and they didn’t pay attention to what was happening in the market.”
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By the time the November auctions rolled around, Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy, the stock and bond markets had plummeted, and the art market had imploded.

A third of the lots at Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art evening sale went unsold. Christie’s evening sale in the same category fared even worse, with 44 percent of its lots going unsold; its total, $146.7 million, was nearly $100 million below the auction’s low estimate of $240.7 million.

The question now is: Should collectors, dealers, auction houses, curators, and everyone else who relies on the art market’s continued success, be worried?

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The market’s bull run has been sputtering just as New York is poised for record-setting art fairs (Frieze, Tefaf New York) and auctions, which include the week-long, possibly billion-dollar Rockefeller sale starting at Christie’s on May 8 and Sotheby’s May 14 Impressionist and modern art sale, in which a painting by Modigliani is carrying an estimate of $150 million.

Realizing Gains

“In my experience, when the market goes up and down, up and down, that’s good for art,” says Christophe Van de Weghe, a New York dealer who will be exhibiting at Tefaf New York next week. “Over the last 30 years, volatility has been very good for us dealers, because that’s when people want to buy a hard asset.” Art, like gold, ostensibly represents a financial safe haven during turbulent times.

Indeed, Van de Weghe says, it’s a double-plus: One group of collectors leaves the market in order to realize gains, has cash sitting around, and then puts it back into art.

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An additional group, specifically hedge fund managers (many of them Van de Weghe clients) will spend even more on art, “because they tell me that they make more money when there’s volatility in the market,” he says.

Since the market peaked in January, (the Dow is since down about 7 percent), “we’ve been selling more,” he says. “The art market has been very bullish.”

The art that Van de Weghe is bringing to Tefaf reflects that optimism: His booth will have a 1961 painting by Cy Twombly that he expects to fetch from $4 million to $5 million; a 60-inch by 60-inch painting by Keith Haring for $3.5 million; and, among other works, two paintings by Pablo Picasso, estimated, respectively, at $4.5 million and $2.85 million.

Short-Term Liquidity

Other observers have a less positive take.

“I would have given you a different answer three years ago,” says ArtAssure’s Edelman, “and that answer would have been, from observation, that roughly six months from when the stock market gives up its bull run, the art market gives up its bull run, too.”

Not because people lack the money to buy art, he adds. “Anyone who had $100 million in May 2008 still probably had $80 million that November,” he says. “These markets are driven much more by psychology than they are by economic factors.”

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Edelman’s no longer so sure about a direct correlation. Despite record gains in the stock market, he says, “the last three years have been a substantially down art market in everything but the night sales at auction.” While this sentiment is debatable—some insist that the middle of the market is doing fine—his point is that night sales are a market unto themselves.

This dim view of the current art market darkens even further if U.S. equities falter, he says. “I do not believe that when money comes out of the stock market, it goes into the art market. … [Investors] tend to run for safety and short-term liquidity.”

Art could be considered a liquid investment only if sellers were willing to get 60 percent to 70 percent of what they had paid retail, Edelman says.

“I know people like to think that [they can sell art whenever they want], because they try to make a case that the art market is safe and hard,” he says. “But I can tell you, sitting here, that it ain’t easy to sell a piece of art if you’re not putting it at auction at a reduced price.”

A Middle Ground

Other dealers such as Marc Payot, a partner and vice president of Hauser and Wirth, occupy something of a comfortable middle ground in which one man’s credit crunch is another’s opportunity.

When a slumping stock market impacts art collectors whose businesses are more exposed to volatility, he says, “that’s a moment where access to certain pieces is possible. So if you know you want a specific [artwork], a moment where the market is softer is a great time to be active.”

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Payot points to the very moment that the art market crashed in 2008-2009. “It was a panic,” he says, “but then it turned out to be a fantastic year for us, because of the opportunities for access to works.” Anyone still in the position to buy was able to jump at the material that others needed to sell (or at least thought they did).

“Art is never good for a short term [investment],” he says. “And it’s never good to sell art in the short term if you have to—but then, that’s true for everything, including real estate.”

At Tefaf, Hauser & Wirth will have have a booth featuring work by three artists—Louise Bourgeois, Philip Guston, and Eva Hesse—with prices ranging from $100,000, for a Bourgeois work on paper, to $5.5 million, for a figurative painting by Guston. At Frieze, the gallery will have a booth with a thematic collection of works from the 1980s, titled “Stop Making Sense.” Its centerpiece will be a massive sculpture by Bruce Nauman from 1980 that Payot says is priced at “over $8 million.”

For better or for worse, Payot hasn’t seen much of a change since January. “Maybe it’s a little early to say,” he says, “but we haven’t really felt any major impact from [stock] market volatility.”

“Listen,” says Van de Weghe, the New York dealer. “All I can tell you is that if there’s a correction, I want to be owning a Picasso.”

Art

Is Stock Market Volatility Good for the Art Market? – Bloomberg

Edelman’s no longer so sure about a direct correlation. Despite record gains in the stock market, he says, “the last three years have been a substantially down art market in everything but the night sales at auction.” While this sentiment is debatable—some insist that the middle of the market is doing fine—his point is that night sales are a market unto themselves.

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Avenue Magazine Column

Caveat Emptor

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Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, master of the 15th and early 16th centuries, recently resurfaced as a 21st-century bonanza. Salvator Mundi, a secondary early Renaissance painting by the master, repainted extensively in our century, sold for $450 million to a buyer bidding for the quaint little fortress of Abu Dhabi. It’s to be put on permanent display in its not-so-quaint (nor little) Western art museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, in perhaps the most stupendous example of ego-driven activity in the history of the art market. More than art, this new Louvre displays most of all the need to pay more than one’s neighbor for freshly minted contemporary art.

Mundi, contemporary by virtue of its restoration, has been sufficiently repainted to be classified a 21st-century masterpiece. Or perhaps its status derives from the price paid by a secondary Gulf state for a secondary rendition of Jesus “attributed” to the greatest artist of his time (and the greatest restorers of ours).

Now, that’s a market!

Thus, the reigning top echelon of the art world, the ego-driven sector where the 1 percent (sovereign division) and the 1 percent (wealthy division) raise their hands to show their mine’s-bigger importance, becomes the laughingstock of serious art connoisseurs. Not only because of the excessive pricing, but also because much of what they buy isn’t even first-rate. Well, okay, it’s not first-rate art but it is first-rate marketing.

Wealth is not typically a product of stupidity, nor do its possessors wish to be viewed as fools. But when mockery reveals yesterday’s ego-driven one-upmanship as today’s buffoonery, some of the less-stupid actors start getting the point.

The ego market is the art market we read about. Clearly, it’s been going up, but in the last few years the broader art market has been going down and suffering a secret liquidity crisis. The buffoon-driven market is sure to fall, too, and soon.

The sources of capital for high profile purchases are drying up. Mega-wealthy Chinese collectors openly admit they will no longer raise their paddles at Western art auctions. Money export controls and fear of government retribution have made public displays of ostentation serious no-nos in the People’s Republic.

Russian sanctions current and future, a stumbling economy, and increased scrutiny of money laundering have all but ended high-profile Russky art buying, too. In fact, Roman Abramovich, the biggest Russian buyer of Western contemporary art, and considered a close collaborator of Putin, has checked out of the market along with most of his oligarch comrades.

The professional speculators pulling the strings of the buffoons are savvy. They lead the market—they don’t follow it. The Warhol-Basquiat-Wool-Prince cabal have been selling on balance for quite a while, counting on dupes outnumbering sellers to ensure their continued profits. Unlike auction houses, dealers have had neither the liquidity nor the bad sense to allow participation in the battles of the buffoons—and they will not start now.

Then, there are the genuine collectors. One of our wealthiest hedge fund managers, who is also a great collector, committed to art but savvy as to markets, has been a constant seller in the last year or so. If I were to bet on anyone being right on the market, he’s my man.

The top of the art market is due for a serious correction, and a drying up of liquidity not dissimilar to its 1989–1995 crisis, when art prices grew by more than 150 percent before sharply declining, setting off several years of stagnation that left dealers and auction houses staggering. The market as a whole has been down for at least three years. One missing bidder saying no might move the market to calamity. A night of guarantees hit can turn the whole upper market on its bottom.

Factor buy-ins at auction and the poor performance of private secondary market sales into the art indexes, and one sees a continuous downward trend. But it will take a market crisis of duration to bring the markets back. Over 50 percent of the world’s galleries are said to lose money. The gallery-closing velocity increases markedly month by month. And the real storm has yet to begin.

Trump and his coterie have no interest in art. Donald prefers the big, fake Renoir hanging in his apartment to the real deal in the Art Institute of Chicago. Cuts in federal spending for the arts, the adverse effects of the new tax bill and the plain old bad taste of our leader and his gnomes have already begun to injure the art world.

Trump is in good company, at least. Crooks, fraudsters, fakers, defaulters, forgers, and criminals abound. To quote Judge Charles Edward Ramos of the N.Y. State Supreme Court in the case of Sotheby’s v. Shagalov: “I have never seen an industry more ripe with fraud and misconduct than the art business. To say there’s such a thing as artistic ethics is an oxymoron. Most of the cases I’ve had involving art dealers involve fraud outright, just plain old fraud.”

At my art advisory company, we receive more and more inquiries as to the efficacy of transactions and the honesty and ethics of dealers. The feds and local constabulary are onto the bad art crowd. The media is hungry for these stories. This is not a short-term plus for the market but, instead, a long-term cleanup that will bring transparency and disclosure and a rebirth for markets, collectors, connoisseurs and art lovers.

 

Read More at Avenue Magazine

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Breaking News

April 1, 2018

The end buyer of Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, whose regime was criticized for the purchase, quickly traded the work to Mohammed Bin Zayed, defecto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, for a large yacht. A great idea for some of the other players in the “ego-market”. Just think one can trade for large houses in the Hamptons, Aspen, Palm Beach or even a simple apartment on the 100th floor of a NYC 57th street condominium. Finally, a rational reason for buying modest works of art at immodest prices. Does this foretell the next bull market, probably not!

How did this remarkable event transpire? It seems that both Mohammed Bin Salman and Mohammed Bin Zayed were concerned that their enemy, the Qatar royal family, headed by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, would be the buyer of “Salvator Mundi”. As the rulers of Saudi and Abu Dhabi did not discuss the matter between themselves, they ended up bidding against each other rather than against Qatar. The Al Thanis had actually been offered the painting a year earlier for 80 million but decided against purchasing the work – could it have been the extent of the restoration? The Saudis and Abu Dhabis, while trying to enforce sanctions imposed on Qatar actually bought “Salvator Mundi” for 450 million. “Wealth is not typically a product of stupidity…” This case, an exception? Perhaps mockery and the humor of “Salvator Mundi” purchase will remind the more intelligent players in the ego directed market of its risks.

A.E.

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Trump to Impose Stiff Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

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Dear All,

We are witnessing the beginning of the end of America’s participation in international trade. The buoyant economy we have experienced since 2010 will shortly come to an abrupt halt with cost and price increases throughout the system and incomes in decline – An economic catastrophe in the making.

Asher Edelman

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WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Thursday that he will impose stiff and sweeping tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum as he moved to fulfill a key campaign promise to get tough on foreign competitors.

Mr. Trump said he would formally sign the trade measures next week and promised they would be in effect “for a long period of time.” The trade measures would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. It is unclear whether those would apply to all imports or be targeted toward specific countries, like China, which have been flooding the United States with cheap metals.

The announcement capped a frenetic and chaotic morning inside the White House as Mr. Trump summoned more than a dozen executives from the steel and aluminum industry to the White House, raising expectations that he would announce his long-promised tariffs. However, the legal review of the trade measure was not yet complete and, as of Thursday morning, White House advisers were still discussing various scenarios for tariff levels and which countries could be included, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Advisers have been bitterly divided over how to proceed on the tariffs, including whether to impose them broadly on all steel and aluminum imports or whether to tailor them more narrowly to target specific countries like China. Imposing tough sanctions would fulfill one of the president’s key campaign promises but could tip off trade wars around the globe as other countries seek to retaliate against the United States.

Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, had been lobbying for months alongside others, including Defense Secretary James Mattis and Rob Porter, the staff secretary who recently resigned under pressure from the White House, to kill, postpone, or at least narrow the scope of the measures, people familiar with the discussions said.

But in recent weeks, a group of White House advisers who advocate a tougher posture on trade has been in ascendance, including Robert Lighthizer, the country’s top trade negotiator, and Peter Navarro, a trade skeptic who had been sidelined but is now in line for a promotion.

The departure of Mr. Porter, who organized weekly trade meetings and coordinated the trade advisers, and the breakdown of the typical trade advisory process has helped create a chaotic situation in which those opposing factions are no longer kept in check. The situation had descended into utter chaos and an all-out war between various trade factions, people close to the White House said.

“Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter Thursday morning. “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!”

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The White House has come to the brink of announcing these measures several times in the past eight months, including last June. In recent days, the president appears to have grown impatient for action. In the past few days, supporters of the tariffs have also begun airing televised ads during programs that Mr. Trump has been known to watch.

But foreign governments, multinational companies and the Pentagon have continued to lobby against the measure, arguing that the proposed tariffs could disrupt economic and security ties.

Mr. Trump’s announcement came on the same day that senior administration officials are scheduled to meet with China’s top economic adviser, Liu He. The White House has been eager to clamp down on Chinese imports and has several trade measures underway.

The investigation, which was launched under an obscure measure of the trade law called Section 232, has focused on whether imports were compromising American national security by degrading the industrial base. In a report released to the public in February, the Commerce Department concluded that imports were a national security threat.

The Trump administration has already issued tariffs — it imposed restrictions on foreign washing machines and solar panels in January — but trade analysts said the announcement on steel and aluminum could be the broadest and most significant measure yet from an administration that has vowed to take a substantially different tack on trade.

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Armed to the milk teeth: America’s gun-toting kids

Dear Friends,

Perhaps this Guardian Article will drive home the insanity of the N.R.A, weapon production and promotion in America today.

Asher Edelman

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 11.35.24 AMAvailable in bright blues and hot pinks, rifles for kids sell in their thousands in America. They look like toys – but they’re lethal. An-Sofie Kesteleyn travelled to photograph this juvenile army

 

by 

In May last year, a two-year-old girl was shot dead by her five-year-old brother with a small rifle made specifically for children. The accidental shooting happened in Cumberland County, Kentucky, when the boy was playing with a gun purchased from a company in Pennsylvania called Keystone Sporting Arms, which, in 2008, produced around 80,000 rifles for children. The guns, which sell under the model names Cricket and Chipmunk, were originally advertised on a “Kid’s Corner” on the company’s website (it has since been removed), which showed children firing them at rifle ranges and on hunting trips. The guns are produced in bright blue, pink and rainbow colours and marketed like toys, under the tag line “My First Rifle”.

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When the photographer An-Sofie Kesteleyn read about the story in De Volkskrant, the Dutch newspaper she works for, she began making plans for a trip to the American south. “I wanted to go and search for these families who bought guns as presents for their young children,” she says. “I began by visiting a rifle range in Ohio, where children are taught to shoot, then travelled down through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. What I found was that there are loads of children out there in America with their own guns, but not that many parents who are happy to have their kids’ portraits taken with those guns.”

Kesteleyn’s series, My Little Rifle, consists of only 15 portraits, but they provide a powerful and disturbing glimpse of a much bigger gun culture. Last year, the series was chosen for the World Press Photo’s prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass.

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“I went to gun shops and shooting ranges just talking to people,” Kesteleyn explains. “What I came away with was the sense that there was a lot of fear and paranoia among the adults, and that fear was handed down to the children along with the guns. The children have childlike imaginations and the usual childhood fears – zombies, monsters and wild beasts. They are not born with these adult fears; they are infected with them.”

Kesteleyn photographed the children in their bedrooms, amid dolls’ houses and soft toys. Most of them hold the guns casually, but some strike a tough-looking adult pose. Alongside the portraits, Kesteleyn has included drawings the children made of the things they most feared: spidery outlines of werewolves and wild animals. “My biggest fear is a bear,” wrote Benjamin, aged seven, “because if you get in their territory, they will chase you for a long time.” Eight-year-old Abby wrote: “What I am freaked out by is seeing a dinosaur.”

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On her journey, Kesteleyn encountered “mostly ordinary families who loved their kids and trained them to use the guns safely and responsibly”. Nevertheless, she remained bemused and disturbed. “The adults talked about protection all the time. They believe that you have to have guns to protect yourself from the other bad people out there with guns who want to do you harm.”

Some encounters have lingered in her head. “I remember this very young girl who was really tired and worn out after her shooting practice, and that just seemed very sad somehow.” At another girl’s eighth birthday party, which was held at the local shooting range, Kesteleyn even tried out the child’s new pink rifle. “They do feel like toys,” she says, “and the bullets are really small – but they can kill another child.”

The Guardian

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Rose Hartman, the “Relentless” Photographer of Studio 54 Excess, Refuses to Slow Down

Rose Hartman - Donna Karan's 5 easy pieces

)tis Mass, who directed a documentary about her in 2016, called her “incomparable.” Asher Edelman, whose gallery in his ever-ascending East 70th Street townhouse is now exhibiting her work, dubbed her “infamous.”

But what adjective would Rose Hartman use to describe herself? “Relentless.”

The octogenarian photographer, who captured Bianca Jagger atop a horse at Studio 54 and Lou Reed chatting with Andy Warhol, cannot be stopped, not even by a recent ankle injury that’s put her in physical therapy. In addition to the Edelman exhibit, recently extended through February 28, she is currently working to secure a museum show, getting ready for an auction of her work in Paris in early March, and preparing a new book, tentatively titled Rose Hartman: In Pursuit of Style.

Where she finds that style these days, however, isn’t in the models and stars who once inspired her. “Lately I’ve been shooting windows,” she says from the floor of her studio apartment while adjusting the Velcro strap on an elastic ankle brace. “I’m calling the series ‘Femme Fatales.’ These windows to me equal total fantasy. The window wants to draw you, the passerby, into the shop. The lighting, the clothing, the objects—window displays are definitely an art.”

With this new series, a fantasy world devoid of flesh, blood, sweat, and tears, it’s easy to infer that Hartman is looking to recapture a particularly excessive fabulousness rarely seen on living contemporary mortals; an over-the-top, peacocked bedazzlement immortalized in her first book, 1980’s Birds of Paradise: An Intimate View of the New York Fashion World.

Hartman is vocal about her disappointment in the current crop of “It girls” and next-gen catwalkers. “Models nowadays are so boring. I can’t believe it,” she says. How can they be more super, you dare ask? “I think they have to have what is known as a personality.”

Is “Femme Fatales” an anthropological lament for larger-than-life glam, now confined, if not within the frames on her wall or in coffee-table books, than to sterile glass boxes? “We’d have to call a psychoanalyst, but I think you have a point,” she says.

The Edelman exhibit, featuring roughly two dozen of Hartman’s most iconic images, allows a glimpse through Hartman’s lens at the upper echelons of fashion, film, art, and music, in all their striking, candid glamour during the heyday of Studio 54.

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“It was a beyond fascinating time, almost impossible to describe,” says Hartman from inside her charming West Village apartment, where a visit is sure to include a last-minute plea to fix a distressed bedside lamp or a wobbly, pre-war doorknob. Though Rose can wax on rather poetically about her time elbowing her way into Studio and dancing the night away, she’d rather point a frustratingly ignorant millennial visitor towards Ian Schrager’s recently released, hardcover tome, Studio 54 (Rizzoli), which conveniently lounges within arm’s reach and paints a rather lucid picture of Studio’s past, present, and future significance. Hartman has a dozen images in the book, she’ll have you know (especially as you’re lingering anywhere else within its confines), alongside many other great photographers. Bob Colacello, who wrote the book’s forward, once called Hartman’s close-to-transcendent image of Bianca Jagger the venue’s most defining image.

Hartman’s ankle injury (a screw came loose from a previous surgery) didn’t keep her from strolling by Bergdorf’s or Saks Fifth Avenue over the holidays, or swimming laps at her local Equinox. But it’s temporarily slowed her down, a frustrating reality for a person whose will, mind, and eye are as sharp as ever. “I used to walk all day, whether in Paris or London,” she says. “I was never someone who just liked to sit in a café. I liked to peer into an alley or window and watch the people go by. Now I have to do a lot less of it and it’s very difficult for me.”

The injury resulted in an upcoming auction and joint exhibit of more than 250 of Hartman’s images at Paris’s esteemed Hôtel Drouot being pushed back to March. By then she hopes to be able to traverse the City of Lights in sensible New York City gear and visit her favorite museum, the European Museum of Photography in the Marais, also her dream exhibition space. “Every time I’m in Paris I go to that museum,“ says Hartman with the earnest pride of a well-seasoned aesthete and a humble pilgrim’s relentless determination. “I would describe it as a more intimate museum as opposed to the Louvre, which I would never walk into. I cannot bear to be surrounded by 10,000 people who know nothing about art searching for the Mona Lisa.

by Kurt McVey at Vanity Fair