Saturday, June 16, 2012

Issey Miyake in San Francisco

and Steve Job's Black Turtlenecks....

Architects take their inspiration from everyday life. We interpret popular culture, spot trends in color and materials and, if we are any good at all, absorb the shards of whatever is good about our world.

For me personally, just in my course of travel, or work - whatever, some things just stop me dead in my tracks.

As a teen seeing Kevin Roche's new Oakland Museum for the first time was one of those moments. I literally walked to a quiet place and just tried to process it all. The realization that space could be crafted like color or music left me stunned. The same thing happened at the former VC Morris' art glass shop on Maiden Lane in San Francisco. This tiny Frank Lloyd Wright gem from 1940 was clearly his dry run for his eventual design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. I remember walking in and sensing something profound.

While most of my posts are about the places I visit as I go about my life and work, I thought I'd share some photos from a very special exhibit. One that changed me.

It was the "Bodyworks" exhibition by Issey Miyake in San Francisco nearly 30 years ago at the original Museum of Modern Art. My apologies. In those days I photographed everything using an old German Kodak Retina. In more skilled hands that fine camera could have delivered better photographs.

Masterworks in Pleats

Born in Hiroshima in 1938 Miyake, when this show was staged, was reaching his creative zenith. He would withdraw from day-to-day management of his studio to pursue research activities a little more than a decade later.

Even today these garments of feathers, wetsuit material, wires and fanned pleats appear both timeless and futuristic.

Yet these pieces clearly whisper of Miyake's heritage; coming of age creatively as post war Japan emerged on the world stage as an industrial powerhouse.

This exhibit was astounding in 1984. It was simply decades ahead of its time. It literally took my breath away.




All Displayed in a Nearly Perfect Venue

History Referenced

I'm not sure if it came about as a result of this exhibition, but the timing of this show parallels the point where Miyake and computer maker Steve Jobs met. A meeting that resulted in Miyake making him a seemingly endless supply of those trademark black turtlenecks.

It doesn't seem possible to me now, but this exhibit was staged at a time before my children were born.

They are now creative adults themselves.

Time is as elusive as a breeze.

Roadboy's Travels © 2012

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw this exhibit in San Francisco in 1984 and it quite literally changed me. An amazing exhibit. I wonder where it is now. I would love to see it again. I had the poster for the show for years and years but lost track of it. Issey is truly an artist.