April 10th, 2008

Chris Keeley

Mr. Teller works with just one assistant, and he uses a Contax G2 camera with an onboard flash.)

A GOOD SPORT A Juergen Teller photograph for a Marc Jacobs ad. The feet and legs belong to Victoria Beckham. 

April 10, 2008

When Is a Fashion Ad Not a Fashion Ad?

MANY people look to fashion advertisements as eagerly as they do the layouts, and a perusal of the spring issues finds chalk-striped vamps at Dior, discoing Amazons at D&G, hipsters at Burberry and cloud-borne nymphs at Lanvin. Emerging from all this dreamy splendor, like an uninvited guest, her sharp elbows out, is the figure of Victoria Beckham.

Ms. Beckham, the former Spice Girl whose marriage to the soccer star David Beckham stirred the British press to the point of obsession until the couple moved to America, is not a conventionally beautiful woman, but, to judge by Juergen Teller’s pictures of her for Marc Jacobs’s ads, she is a good sport. Instead of looking like a glamorous celebrity, she has been rendered as an abstraction, a living doll. In the most disquieting image, we see only her bare, high-heeled legs flopping over the side of a shopping bag Mr. Jacobs had specially made to hold her.

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Chris Keeley

The photographs, from the late 1950s, show performers at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus, a bas

April 10, 2008
Arts, Briefly

Lawsuit Ended Arbus Auction, Lawyer Says

A lawyer for the owner of a group of rare, early prints by the photographer Diane Arbus said on Wednesday that the auction house Phillips de Pury canceled the sale because of concerns about a recent lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was duped out of the prints. Peter R. Stern, the lawyer for the prints’ owner, Bob Langmuir, a Philadelphia book dealer and collector, said the auction house told him that a private sale of the photos — estimated to be worth up to several hundred thousand dollars — was still a possibility. Phillips officials have not returned calls seeking an explanation for the cancellation of the auction, which was to be held on Tuesday. The photographs, from the late 1950s, show performers at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus, a basement freak show on 42nd Street in Manhattan, where Arbus honed her stark signature style. Mr. Langmuir was sued in federal court in Brooklyn by another collector, Bayo Ogunsanya, who claimed he was unaware of the value of the photographs when he sold them to Mr. Langmuir for $3,500 in 2003. Mr. Stern has argued in court that Mr. Ogunsanya’s lawsuit is frivolous.