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Hellos and Goodbyes
What a whirlwind 2023 has been!
People 17 Jan 2024

Farewell to 2023, Greetings for 2024 

What a whirlwind 2023 has been! As we embark on the fresh canvas of 2024, let’s take a moment to reflect on a mix of notable “Hellos and Goodbyes” that spiced up the worlds of art, fashion, and everything in between over the past year. Ready for the ride?

  1. Pharrell Williams Took the Helm as Creative Director for Men’s Fashion at Louis Vuitton.

Since February 2023, Pharrell Williams has served as Creative Director for menswear at Louis Vuitton, succeeding Virgil Abloh. His unconventional background reflects a trend of talent recognition over industry tradition. Beyond music hits like “Happy,” Pharrell’s impact extends to fashion, seen in collaborations with Chanel, Tiffany, Nike, and Adidas, showcasing his influence on the industry’s cultural vitality.

2. Sharon Stone Makes Debut as Abstract Painter in 2023.

Hollywood star Sharon Stone debuted her first exhibition, “Shedding,” at the Allouche Gallery in Los Angeles this March. While performance had long been her chosen medium, the Academy Award-nominated actor discovered a new passion during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic—painting. Since then, she hasn’t been able to put down the paintbrush, using her art to navigate challenges in both her personal life and professional career.

3. Mary Quant, the pioneer of the miniskirt, has passed away at the age of 93.

The British fashion designer Mary Quant (1930 – 2023) will be remembered and credited for popularizing the sixties mini or the “Above the knee” skirts, developed in sync with the rise of rock and roll and various youth dance trends from the late 1950s. Quant, as a designer, reshaped the fashion landscape. From the miniskirt, and jersey dress to stretchy tights, she not only set trends but also defined the fashion narrative.

4. Karin Hindsbo Appointed Director of Tate Modern.

Exciting news was announced in April as Karin Hindsbo, the head of Norway’s National Museum, was named the new director of Tate Modern in London. Originally from Denmark and residing in Norway since 2012, Hindsbo makes history as the first female director of Tate Modern, succeeding Frances Morris, who served in the role since 2016.

5. Controversy Unleashed as AI-Crafted Image Wins Photography Award, Artist Rejects Honor.

In a 2023 twist, Boris Eldagsen’s AI-generated piece, “The Electrician,” clinched the Creative category at the Sony World Photography Awards. Despite the unconventional victory, Eldagsen declined the accolade, asserting, “AI is not photography.” The move sparked intense discussions on the boundary between technology and traditional art.

6. Connie Butler Assumed Directorship at MoMA PS1.

In a significant move, Connie Butler, who served as Chief Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles since 2013, officially took on the role of Director at MoMA PS1. This appointment marked Ms. Butler’s return to New York, where she had previously held the position of The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings at The Museum of Modern Art from 2006 to 2013. With a rich history at MoMA PS1, Butler had been part of the curatorial team for “Greater New York” in 2010 and had co-organized exhibitions, including “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution” (2008), “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980” (2012), and “Mike Kelley” (2013).

7. Sarah Burton’s Grand Farewell after 26 Years with Alexander McQueen.

After 26 years with Alexander McQueen, including 13 years as creative director, Sarah Burton presented her final Spring/Summer 2024 collection for the brand at Paris Fashion Week this year. The show was set at Le Carreau du Temple, with a single parting message on every seat: “This collection is inspired by female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, the blood-red rose, and Magdalena Abakanowicz, a transgressive and powerfully creative artist who refused ever to compromise her vision. The show is dedicated to the memory of Lee Alexander McQueen, whose wish was always to empower women, and to the passion, talent, and loyalty of my team.”

8. Fotografiska Berlin: A New Hub for Contemporary Photography in 2023.

In a significant development last year, Fotografiska Berlin opened its doors in September as an extension of its existing outposts in Stockholm, Tallinn, and New York City. The grand unveiling took place amid Berlin Art Week, featuring inaugural exhibitions complemented by engaging talks, DJ sets, live music, and a memorable performance by iconic electro-punk musicians. Throughout the past year, Fotografiska Berlin has consistently curated an enriching program, contributing to the cultural and culinary tapestry of Berlin with its restaurant and café.

9. Simone Rocha Named Next Guest Designer for Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture.

Exciting news unfolded in September as Simone Rocha stepped into the spotlight as the latest guest couturier for Jean Paul Gaultier. She is set to unveil a unique collection during Paris Couture Week in January 2024. Rocha follows in the footsteps of esteemed designers such as Julien Dossena, Haider Ackermann, Olivier Rousteing, Glenn Martens, and Chitose Abe, who have all brought their unique touch to Gaultier’s iconic legacy. This innovative approach, initiated by Gaultier after his retirement in 2020, invites different designers to interpret his vast and eclectic oeuvre amassed over a remarkable 50-year career.

10. Seán McGirr Appointed as New Creative Director of Alexander McQueen.

In early October of this year, Seán McGirr was appointed as the new creative director of Alexander McQueen, succeeding Sarah Burton. Notably, McGirr holds the distinction of being the first designer at the house who has never worked with the founder, Lee McQueen.

11. Robert Irwin, the artist of light and space, has passed away at the age of 95. 

Robert Irwin (1928–2023), a pivotal figure in American art and a pioneer of the California Light and Space movement, left us in October of this year. He will be remembered for changing the relationship between the viewer and artwork through his experimental art incorporating landscape design and architecture, resulting in site-specific projects.

12. Mariët Westermann first woman to lead the Guggenheim Museum Group.

This November, Mariët Westermann was announced as the new director and chief executive of the Guggenheim Museum and Foundation’s museum group. She is the first woman to lead the group since its establishment in 1959. Westermann will officially begin her role on June 1, 2024, overseeing operations at the foundation, the New York Museum, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

13. Documenta’s Curatorial Team Stepped Down Amidst Anti-Semitism Allegations.

In a regrettable October 2023 development following the Israel-Hamas Conflict, the committee responsible for selecting a new artistic director at Documenta resigned over accusations of antisemitism. Leading the way, Lichtenberg Ettinger and Ranjit Hoskote chose to resign, prompting the rest of the team to follow suit in a show of solidarity. In response to anti-Semitism incidents during Documenta 15, the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse called for a review led by Prof. Dr. Nicole Deitelhoff. The analysis initiated a comprehensive organizational development report for Documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH and its committee structures, starting in May 2023. The findings are now available.

Reflecting on the past year, let’s hope for a peaceful 2024, both in global affairs and the diverse world of art.

14. Jezebel’s Resilience: Defying Closure After 16 Years of Active Feminist Influence.

In a testament to resilience and the potential for new beginnings, the online feminist publication Jezebel, faced with the threat of closure after 16 years of activity, has made a remarkable comeback. The jeopardy arose when G/O Media announced layoffs and early closure in November 2023, prompting Jezebel’s writers to strike back. However, hope was restored as the publication found a new owner in Paste Media, marking a revival for the brand. Jezebel, which began as part of the Gawker empire in 2007, has endured several ownership changes over the years.

15. Farewell to Antwerp’s Zeno X Gallery.

In a noteworthy turn of events, Antwerp’s esteemed Zeno X Gallery, one of Belgium’s most vital art spaces, bid adieu on December 23, 2023, after an illustrious 42-year run. The gallery, which had showcased the works of renowned artists like Luc Tuymans, Marlene Dumas, Mark Manders, and Cristof Yvoré, closed its doors. Co-founders Frank Demaegd and Eliane Breynaert shared in a social media statement that the decision was influenced by health concerns arising from the stress and pressures of gallery management.

As of January 2024, the gallery is permanently closed, operating behind closed doors. The closure marks the end of an era for Zeno X Gallery, leaving a void in Belgium’s art scene.

16. Skinny Jeans: The Eternal Trend 🔥 #StyleLegacy.

If you’re a fan of the form-fitting and close-to-the-body look, here’s some good news for you. Contrary to speculation, skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere, according to the 2024 fashion trends. With a fashion journey spanning back and forth since 1960, skinny jeans are making a triumphant return, albeit with a refreshed twist. While they may not be the exact skinny jeans you remember, the 2024 version is set to bring back this timeless style, offering a sleek and body-hugging appearance for those who appreciate its enduring charm.

Text by Maria Nitulescu

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