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13-10-2011
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W November 2011 : Nicki Minaj by Francesco Vezzoli & Sui He by Max Vadukul


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13-10-2011
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I absolutely Love it. This is a really bold cover for them, and without a doubt one of the most interesting mainstream fashion magazine covers I've seen in a long time. When you compare it to last year's Kim K cover for the art issue, it's even more remarkable.

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13-10-2011
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I know what they're trying to say, but I don't want to see an Asian woman being abducted or mugged on the cover of a magazine, because in plain terms, that's what it looks like.

And I was so excited when I saw her name.

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13-10-2011
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Sui He on the cover of W? That must be the most random thing ever. I'm still so excited for her though and so glad it's not Nicki Minaj. Also this is the first model cover for W since Linda's November 2009 cover, no?

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13-10-2011
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Whoa, as much as I respect W for this and think it's wonderful for He Sui, I'm still shocked that W did end up going with a China-born model for this cover. Ai Weiwei isn't exactly the most popular figure in China right now, and I would've thought that association with him would not be the most positive thing for any Chinese model, even if W is mainly distributed overseas...hmm. Interesting.

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One of the photos created in a collaboration with the artist Ai Weiwei, from W Magazine.

Quote:
In an unusual collaboration with W magazine, Mr. Ai created a story line for a series of photos that were shot on location in New York by the photographer Max Vadukul as Mr. Ai looked on, art directing via Skype on a laptop computer. The photos will appear in the November issue, W’s sixth annual one devoted to art. They depict a woman, dressed in the requisite designer outfit, being captured, handcuffed and hooded on the street by two menacing figures and taken to a grim institution — a disused part of Rikers — where they watch her shower.

The scenes are reminiscent of photos Mr. Ai took of the Tompkins Square riots in the 1980s, when he lived in New York, which he used as inspiration for the project. They also unavoidably refer to his own confinement, which China’s government has forbidden him from discussing.

“It’s a very astute way of communicating with the world outside of China,” said Melissa Chiu, director of Asia Society Museum, which organized an exhibition of Mr. Ai’s New York-era photos this summer. “I think that what it does is signal that he is prepared to continue his art practice and continue his statements that really can be related to his political activism.”

Mr. Ai did not respond to a request to answer questions about the work; since August, when he published an essay critical of social conditions in Beijing in Newsweek, he has been under even greater pressure to avoid interviews. But Diane Solway, the W senior editor who helped oversee the project, explained how it came together. The magazine typically makes commissions for its art issues — Richard Prince and the sculptor Maurizio Cattelan have participated in the past — and, at the suggestion of W’s editor, Stefano Tonchi, it approached Mr. Ai to do the cover not long after he was released from detention.

“He really, really liked the idea,” said Ms. Solway, who reached Mr. Ai through connections in the art world. “We left it open to him to create an original work and then we didn’t hear from him for a little bit, so we thought it wasn’t happening.”

Out of the blue, Mr. Ai emerged, with not only a cover idea but also a detailed schema for five photos, using his Tompkins Square images as a reference for the mood he wanted to create. In late August, when the W editors, Mr. Vadukul and Mr. Ai discussed the project over Skype, they realized that he could use the same technology to monitor the proceedings in real time.

“Two days later we were at Rikers, shooting,” Ms. Solway said. Mr. Vadukul would set up a shot and look to Mr. Ai for approval. “We could see him on the screen, scrolling through the images,” Ms. Solway said. “What was so interesting was his attention to every detail. There was this big shower in Rikers — we thought it looked very dingy, but he said the grout was way too clean and graphic.”

During a break, Ms. Solway even took Mr. Ai — or rather, his disembodied self, on the open laptop — on a tour of Rikers. “It was very surreal,” she said.

For Mr. Vadukul, a leading photographer for Rolling Stone, the challenge was in translating Mr. Ai’s aesthetic for W’s fashion readership. (A nude Kim Kardashian was on the cover of the art issue last year; Brad Pitt’s photos of Angelina Jolie appeared in 2008.) Though Mr. Ai specified that he wanted street clothes, in the cover photo, shot in Flushing, Queens, the model is wearing an outfit by Alexander Wang. Mr. Vadukul made some suggestions — like shooting in black and white, which he said Mr. Ai agreed with — but he was mindful that he was there to execute another person’s vision.

“This is his story,” Mr. Vadukul said. “For me, the excitement has been, firstly, to have the chance to collaborate with an artist of his stature, then to hear him actually give a very strong direction.” He added: “If anybody ever asks me what’s the most incredible thing you’ve ever done in editorial, I will say this assignment.”

As for the effect that the photos will have on Mr. Ai’s status in Beijing, Ms. Chiu, of Asia Society, noted that “the audience for W magazine is mainly in the West.” But Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch in Washington, cautioned that it was difficult to know how the Chinese government would respond.

“Its conduct is often the very definition of arbitrariness,” she said. (After he was detained, Mr. Ai was charged with tax evasion, a rare offense in China.) Mr. Ai’s popularity in the West — he maintains an English-language Twitter account — and his currency within the art market may unnerve Chinese authorities.

“This is part of what particularly rankles the government about him, is that not only does he have international standing, he has standing in a community that is not very well known to them,” Ms. Richardson said. “It’s hard to know when the hammer will come down.”

Mr. Ai was not paid for his work with W, Ms. Solway said, and betrayed no nervousness about it, though she presumed that he was under surveillance as they worked together. She added that he was in fine spirits throughout the shoot.

“He has a very good sense of humor,” she said. “He said to me, without humor there is no work.”
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13-10-2011
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not really liking the cover, and glad that they put an asian model on cover (not Nicki Minaj) but this is so much better than their previous year cover with Kim K (which is still giving me a nightmare)

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13-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerrouge View Post
I know what they're trying to say, but I don't want to see an Asian woman being abducted or mugged on the cover of a magazine, because in plain terms, that's what it looks like.

And I was so excited when I saw her name.

Yeah, but this is the art issue, so, in my opinion, it's not fair to look at it "in plain terms".

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13-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faith Akiyama View Post
Whoa, as much as I respect W for this and think it's wonderful for He Sui, I'm still shocked that W did end up going with a China-born model for this cover. Ai Weiwei isn't exactly the most popular figure in China right now, and I would've thought that association with him would not be the most positive thing for any Chinese model, even if W is mainly distributed overseas...hmm. Interesting.
EXACTLY!!! Faith you just took the words out of my mouth.

I hope this cover would not do any harm for Sui He's modeling career in China at all!

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13-10-2011
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^I actually recall a rumor circulating that none of the agencies would agree to giving a Chinese model for the cover (Even though it's a W cover and a huge deal). Now I know why...this is intriguing but very controversial for sure.


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13-10-2011
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Wow, I'm super happy for Sui He. So nice to see her getting such a major cover already. That being said, I agree that the cover is not very good and I find the whole concept questionable, too.

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13-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KINGofVERSAILLES View Post
Yeah, but this is the art issue, so, in my opinion, it's not fair to look at it "in plain terms".
But a lot of people will not be aware of the situation the shot makes reference to, or the concept of an art issue. What they will perceive is a woman being assaulted in some way, in plain view, on the front of a product on sale in stores.

I don't mind the theme of the editorial, but I do question the wisdom of choosing that shot for the cover, when it might not be interpreted in the way the magazine hopes.

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13-10-2011
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wow, sui he, this girl is becoming a star so quick. great for her.

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13-10-2011
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Wow, I'm surprised, this is so unpredictable. Although I don't really like the cover, I can't wait to see the editorial
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13-10-2011
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so happy for the model cover!! specially an asian model!!

well done


is it in 3d?

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