Sally Lyndley is a fashion nerd currently holding positions as Fashion Editor At Large for Love Magazine and as Editor-in-Chief of her new fashion website, ForThoseWhoNotice.com.
How did you first get interested in contemporary art?
When I moved to New York, my boyfriend at the time and I were really poor so we would go cruise the galleries on our days off, because it was free and something to do that seemed mildly cultured. I started to fall in love at Gagosian. Richard Prince blows my mind, his Cowboy series is one my all time favorites. I’m saving my pennies for one of those bad boys. Then I discovered Jeff Koons and then the Dan Flavins and the Donald Judds of the world, and it was game over. When I went to Dia Beacon for the first time, the Richard Serra sculptures made me cry. Ridiculous but true. I stayed in the Gerard Richter mirrors room for like an hour. I am now a nerd for that kinda art. My first major job in NYC was for KCD, and I would spend weeks researching artists for ideas and figuring out who we could get to do some special collaborations for some of our fashion clients. I discovered and became educated about contemporary artists then. I was able to work with James Turrell on a project. I was in heaven. Still obsessed with the Roden Crater but I don’t think he’ll ever open it.
The general perception is that art steals from fashion but does fashion ever give anything back to art?
I think fashion steals from art!! The law firm, Sheppard Mullin, that represents me has these bi-annual mixers that are part cocktail party, part seminar twice a year for the fashion division, and I use to go for shits and giggles or free drinks and to try and meet lawyers who work on fashion investing, etc. Well, last time I went they had a whole talk, given by my buddy Ted Max, about the copyrighting problems of art inside of fashion. Ted spoke about the Mondrian dress that YSL did in 1965 and how that was blatantly a copyright issue, or knock off of Piet Mondrian’s work. And before that Elsa Schiaparelli was always riffing on what her buddies were doing, the Surrealist, the Dada movement. Basically this big badass lawyer was putting the smack down on all of these major designers for ripping on art. I was highly entertained. I don’t think it stops any fashion people from being “inspired” by art. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I know so many fashion designers who depend heavily on art for inspiration: Marc Jacobs, Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons, the list goes on and on. Traditionally, fashion, art and music have all kinda inspired each other as far as I can tell. You get these amazing movements of artists, musicians and fashion designers that are all part of the same posse who end up doing revolutionary work together and as individuals. On this new site I am doing, ForThoseWhoNotice.com, we break down all of the inspiration behind the collections and the magazine shoots to look at where the ideas come from… 9 times out of 10 it’s art. As far as fashion giving anything back to art, I think Marc Jacobs collaborations with artists like Takashi Marukami, Richard Prince and now Yayoi Kusama for Louis Vuitton is hopefully good for spreading the word about these great artists. And most fashion magazines, Vogue, etc., tend to do an art issue every year. And a lot of the wealthier designers, photographers and other fashion folks, collect art. Fashion works inside of aesthetic, whether it be what’s in your wardrobe or what’s on your walls. So it seems natural that fashion and art sit so closely together, and take from one another. I love that art’s distribution is so exclusive, sometimes I wish fashion was more like that but I guess that’s the point of couture.
Tell us about an artwork you live with.
I have a “Monkey Train” print by Jeff Koons in my home library/workspace. Reminds me that humans are 98% the same DNA as monkeys. And when I get all riled up, it always makes me laugh because it is so stupid looking. That’s what I love about Koons, his work is so silly, just have to laugh at it. Can’t take it seriously. People don’t know what to think of it. So it’s funny to watch like my dad’s reaction. He just kinda shakes his head and mumbles, “whatever floats your boat”. I also have a huge square beach towel that’s printed with an Elizabeth Peyton charcoal sketch of Sid Vicious. It was created for a charity project. It’s hanging in my living room and people are kinda weirded out by that one too. I love it because it reminds me of how much of a punk I am. My roots growing up in suburbia are totally punk rock; I was obsessed with the Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious in “Sid & Nancy.” And I listened to all of the American punk bands growing up, like Black Flag, Fugazi and Dead Kennedys. I love how Peyton puts this classical kinda spin on her portraiture. She paints a lot of my heroes. I always like oxymoronic things, and classical takes on punk are always a recurring theme for me whether it is art, fashion or music. I also have this sculpture in my bedroom that I found in a chocolate shop in Portland by a local artist there. It’s a life size, rusted porcelain sculpture of a human heart. I love finding little pieces like that in a random city, sometimes makes it more special to me.
Have you ever got something off the Exhibition A site?
I bought the Rene Ricard “But You Said You Love Me” print. Love it. It’s in my bedroom; goes so well with the rusted heart sculpture. Scary thing for new boyfriends to see but whatever. My dry sense of humor, I guess. I also purchased one of the first prints you guys did, Hannah Liden’s “Blown Out Candles (Graphite)” for a friend for Christmas. I think art like this makes for great gifts, if you know someone’s taste. Some people won’t buy themselves art. I also want “Unknown Pleasures” and the print of the handrails coming out of a lit swimming pool that are up on the site right now (Ed: Dike Blair’s “Pool”). Oh, and the other Rene Ricard print you guys have (Ed: “Untitled: ‘Then Love Takes Us…’”). I met him years ago at Zac Posen’s studio and whoa, what a character. Yes, I am obsessed with Exhibition A.
An upcoming or recent show you’re excited about?
Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney (July 12th–September 30th, 2012). Kinda obsessed with her. She’s like an old Japanese punk. And Michael Clark at the Whitney (March 14th-April 8th). I have also been crashing these weird little art shows that people do in their houses in North County San Diego, the small sleepy surfer towns. There’s a lot of crap, but every once in a while you’ll find something totally awesome. The last treasure I found was a Dutch Masters style portrait of Bill Murray from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The price tag said “one zillion dollars.” I finagled the seller into giving it to me for $50. Obviously, I am not a super serious collector, I just like what I like, whatever means something to me. As my dad says “Whatever floats your boat.”
Artist quote or words to live by?
“I have no motif, only motivation. I believe that motivation is the real thing, the natural thing, and that the motif is old-fashioned, even reactionary (as stupid as the question about the Meaning of Life).” Notes, 1985 Gerhard Richter or “There’s probably more in the American tradition than people give the place credit for.” Donald Judd