Beyond Our Understanding

Stadium Arcadium (2006). Art direction by Gus Van Sant

 
 

 
 

Storm Thorgerson was asked to design Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Stadium Arcadium cover. Thorgerson provided at least three possible covers for the album, however, his ideas were ultimately rejected and a simple cover featuring yellow “Superman” lettering and a blue background with planets was utilized instead. Thorgerson publicly denounced the chosen artwork, stating:

 

What lay behind the cover behaviour of Red Hot Chilli Peppers was beyond mathematics, certainly beyond our understanding. For the Stadium Arcadium cover they elected to feature the title in ‘superman’ lettering which was already old fashioned in itself, plus some “planetary embroidery” and that was it! It was trite, dull and derivative completely unlike the music, which was colourful, eclectic, imaginative, positive, and endlessly inventive. I am not often inclined to publicly criticise the work of others for I see little purchase in it, but there is, in this instance a vested interest, for the Peppers turned down our offerings in favour of this piece of unadventurous graphics. How could they? And here are three of our suggestions for your curiosity, and for my petulance.

To watch the music video for Dani California, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

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The Son of Man in Popular Culture

The Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973) movie poster

 
 

René Magritte‘s The Son of Man appears in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain, on a wall in the house of Jupiter. The film was produced by Beatles manager Allen Klein of ABKCO Music and Records, after Jodorowsky scored an underground phenomenon with El Topo (The Mole) and the acclaim of both John Lennon and George Harrison (Lennon and Yoko Ono put up production money).

 
 

Robin Williams in Toys (Barry Levinson, 1992).

The set design, costumes, and promotional poster reflect the painting’s style.

 
 

A parody of the painting, with Bart behind the floating apple, can be seen briefly at the start of The Simpsons episode No. 86  Treehouse of Horror IV (1993)

 
 

The painting appears briefly on the video for Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s song Scream , on the “Gallery” section:

 
 

Still from Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s Scream music video (Mark Romanek, 1995)

 
 

The Thomas Crown Affair (John McTiernan, 1999)

 
 

The Son of Man appears several times in the 1999 version of The Thomas Crown Affair, especially in the final robbery scenes when men wearing bowler hats and trench coats carry briefcases throughout the museum to cover Crown’s movements and confuse the security team.

 
 

Stranger Than Fiction (Marc Forster, 2006)

 
 

This is not an Apple, illustration by John Cox, 2007

 
 

In the film Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Zach Helm, 2007), the painting is seen hanging on the wall half finished; at the end of the film Mr Magorium is seen to be painting the rest of it.

 
 

This painting also shows up at the end of the film Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2008). British prisoner Charlie Bronson takes a hostage and turns him into this particular portrait

 
 

 In the movie 500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009), the bowler hat and green apple can be seen in Summer’s apartment

 
 

The cover of the book Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business (2009) has a version of the painting, with a pomegranate

 
 

In Jimmy Liao’s illustrated book Starry Starry Night (2011), the protagonist girl, with the painting illustrated behind her, imitates the painting to express her protest against her parents’ long term fighting.

 
 

In Gary Braunbeck’s novel Keepers (2005), the antagonist figures (the “Keepers” of the title) resemble the nattily-dressed, bowler-hatted figures of Magritte’s painting. Also, in the opening scene of the book, the reference is directly made and explained to this resemblance because of an apple-scented car air freshener printed with the image of the painting hanging in the protagonist’s car.

In Lev Grossman’s 2009 novel The Magicians the antagonist is a man wearing a suit, with his face obscured by a leafed branch suspended in midair.

A Bedtime Love Story

Jeffrey Costello (left), Roberto Tagliapietra, their late cosseted bulldog Sam and model. Photograph by Norman Jean Roy. Published in Vogue, November 2006.

 
  
 
Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra met on the set of Madonna’s Bedtime Story video (Mark Romanek, 1995) and have lived together ever since (they are happily married now). They are a very charming pair of fashion designers who know how to cut, sew, drape and finish a lean, clean, sophisticated dress. Their looks reminds one of Halston’s elegant jersey dresses in the seventies and Madame Grès’ evening gowns.
 
Initially named Let’s Get Conscious, Bedtime Story was written by Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk, Marius De Vries and Nellee Hooper, and co-produced by Nellee Hooper and Madonna. According to the book Björk: Wow and Flutter by Mark Pytlik, she was offered a chance to write a track for Madonna’s upcoming album, Bedtime Stories. The song was the third single of that album.
 
Some scenes were inspired by the 1968 Russian-Armenian film The Color of Pomegranates (Sergei Parajanov, 1968) . It was considered an ultra-artistic video with surrealist references from René Magritte to Remedios Varo and from Leonora Carrington to Frida Kahlo