Now Showing at Jack Spade
Jack Spade is the store that's most like what you'd want your living room to be. It's got nice, comfily-fucked-up modernist furniture, good books, cool art, kooky collectibles, and crazy shit happening. It certainly did the other night, when I went down to 56 Greene Street for the opening of its motorcycle helmet show. Andy Spade runs the Jack store kind of like a gallery (and a library and a crash pad). There are three sort-of shows going on there concurrently. The motorcycle helmet one is a collection of vintage sixties motorcycle helmets, many metal-flake, all evocative of the Easy Rider-Wild Angels-Born Losers era of incipient compulsory-safety measures.
I had a drink or two before I heard the story, but apparently these helmets have something to do with a famous motorcycle tournament involving hot dogs. The idea was that bike riders, together with old ladies, competed in a hot-dog-biting competition. Each team had to ride by, and the old lady on the back, who was allowed to support herself by standing on the pegs or on the driver of the m.c., would take a bite of a stationary hot dog as they drove by. The winner was the mama who took the biggest bite out of the dog while underway.
The second exhibition is a collection of nine hats formerly owned by Marlon Brando. This collection was owned by Ricky Clifton, the interior design artist and famous bohemian personality, until it was sold to Jack Spade. Apparently the hats are available to the public. Warning: Marlon had a big head.
Thirdly, there's a fantastic show of drawings-on-blackboard by design maven and modernism connoisseur/retailer Steven Sclaroff. The concept is radical stores for children, such as Lane Bryant Baby ("Lane Bryant" is what my grandma called the fat-lady store), Agent Provocateur Enfant, and more. Hilarious.
There was a nice opening for the motorcycle helmet show, even better than a conventional gallery opening because of the small, freshly-grilled burgers and the wine and beer choices. And there was a crowd of distinguished bohemians on hand. For example (below, left to right), Shawn Mortensen, whose extraordinary new book of photographs, Out of Mind, was just released by Harry Abrams; Rachel Williams, a reformed supermodel soon to receive a masters degree in landscape architecture from Columbia University; and Jim Walrod, the notorious interior designer and raconteur:
Mr. Mortensen, just returned from Ethiopia, was wearing a Russian Army tank commander's helmet with his Ethiopian silver jewelry and the boiled-wool valenki boots he discovered on this very "web log."
Here's the globe-trotting photographer again, with decorator-to-the-artists Ricky Clifton wearing a polka-dot railroad engineer cap which was never owned by Marlon Brando.