Tuesday, November 3, 2009


To our surprise, Grace Jones, teamed up with now deceased and legendary artist Keith Haring back in the 80's to paint Jones' body in a manner in which only Haring famously can. We're not sure of the specific occasion for their working together, we're certain it is, of course, fashion related. But like Jones, the results are one of a kind and provocative. Discovering this Jones/Haring collabo brought a smile to our faces being that we're fans of Haring's work and that we delve into his work on certain album projects during the 1980's in StereoTyped. Haring, like Jones during the disco era in the late 70's, was a familiar face on the growing downtown music, nightclub and art scene in NYC in the early 1980's. we're talking the Mudd Club (also know as Club Mudd), The Roxy (as seen in the film BEAT STREET), Danceteria (the spot RUN DMC let loose in for their music video for their classic jam "Rock Box"), etc.

During this same time he was spreading his distinctive style of art and graffiti throughout NYC and running close with those important participants and practitioners responsible for the development of the 80's Rap music and Hip-Hop scene (which included graffiti making its way out of the South Bronx and migrating downtown into the art gallery world). Haring's work was spotted by Malcolm McLaren and with graphic designer Nick Egan, Keith Haring's visual art was displayed prominently in the album packaging for McLaren's 1982 album DUCK ROCK which featured the club and street hit "Buffalo Gals" featuring Deejays/Emcees the Word's Famous Supreme Team.


Remaining on the Grace Jones tip for a few moments more, we discovered this interesting piece of info on the design of the cover for her album "Island Life" over at the UK's The Guardian online.

From The Guardian:

The arabesque that Grace Jones is executing in this 1978 photograph/artistic creation may be graceful, but it is also impossible. "What I'm interested is the illusion of reality," says the photographer and art director Jean-Paul Goude, who was to be Jones's Pygmalion, transforming her from hard-partying model to an androgynous fantasy image and international superstar. "And unless you are extraordinarily supple, you cannot do this arabesque. The main point is that Grace couldn't do it, and that's the basis of my entire work: creating a credible illusion."
A look through So Far So Goude, which collects the highlights of Goude's idiosyncratic 30-year career, reveals how much he has been inspired by the idea of an impossible image of womanhood. Goude's approach was to prove ultimately frustrating as far as Jones was concerned.
She had gained a certain amount of fame from modelling and performing in gay discos when Goude met and fell in love with her, and decided that she needed a more dramatic image. He photographed Jones in a variety of positions that were combined in a montage to make it possible to show her in profile and full frontal simultaneously. The anatomically unlikely arabesque was the end result. Accompanying an article by Nik Cohn in New York magazine, Goude's photographs were to launch Jones as an icon. Then he let his imagination run free, creating images of her with an imaginary male twin and multiplying her into an army of clones.
"Initially, she was flattered by all of my attention," says Goude on his former muse and lover. "And she's no dope - Grace is an opportunist and she knew my vision was good for her career. Initially, she let herself be taken over, but then she suspected that I had only fallen in love with her image." Was that true? "Of course it was! That's the story of my life."

You can learn more about the design of "Island Life" at The Guardian.


Outside of being a model, Grace Jones brought the Funk (in more ways than one) with her music albums in the late 70's and early 80's. If anyone possessed and expressed a form of "unforgettable Blackness", well, that 'anyone" was Jones.