David Salle is a painter and stage designer. His most recent book is How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art. An exhibition of his paintings will be on view at the Skarstedt Gallery, New York City, September 14–October 28. (September 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Clothes That Don’t Need You

Clothes/Not Clothes: War/Peace, from ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, May 4–September 4, 2017
What kind of artist is Rei Kawakubo? Let’s call her a combinatory formalist. She is unusually adept at combining the many disparate influences that course through her designs into unlikely, arresting, contrapuntal compositions. She is first of all a creator of images—of pictures liberated from their original settings, and in this she belongs with the Pictures Generation, that group of mediacentric artists who were among her first devotees. Fashion is the place where the associative, imagistic mind can run riot with impunity; it’s a postmodernist playground.