Visual Arts & Culture: Hi and Lo

Almodóvar: Man of La Mancha

The Age
Melbourne, 1994, 2,100 words; adapted extracts
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When I interviewed Pedro Almodóvar what most impressed me was his encyclopaedic knowledge and his openness about trickier aspects of work and life. Curiously, many themes that we touched upon emerged in his later films. 

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Guggenheim: Bilbao Places its Bets

The European Magazine
London, 1997, 1,900 words; extracts
Versión en español | Versione italiana
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Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum was an unprecedented project in Spain. Its creation sparked a long debate about cultural politics and investment. The depth of architect Frank Gehry's involvement signalled that something thought-provoking was under way, but there was much scepticism in Spain. Gehry explained the project to me as a mix of dialogue and risky experiment.

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In a Room in Paris: Fashion Forecasting

Sunday Telegraph Magazine
London, 1988, 2,300 words; extracts
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Fashion forecasting wasn’t a well-known business when Promostyl let me into their think-tank in Paris in the 1980s. Their working process – a kind of street semiology – was pioneering at the time and became the focus of this article. Trend-forecasting multiplied worldwide over the next two decades, but Promostyl remains preeminent. In 2007 I added a conversation with Rikke Rosbaek, who's worked in fashion forecasting and film in London, New York and Los Angeles.

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The Osborne Bull: Advertising As Art

El Mundo / el Dominical, Madrid, and The European
London, 1994 (2,300 words)
Versión en español
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When I was a child the Osborne bulls seemed to form part of the Spanish landscape. Their silhouettes, black against the deep blue sky, added drama and mystery to long hot journeys in the back of a car. In the mid-1990s, EU laws on advertising hoardings and road safety threatened the bulls' existence; El Mundo then commissioned this essay following a shorter piece I'd published in The European.

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Women Bullfighters

Marie Claire
London & Istanbul, 1992 / 2013, 3,500 words; adapted extracts
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The confrontation of bull and matador becomes something else again when the matador is a woman. Everyone, I discovered while writing this article, had problems with women facing the bull: the male matadors, the anti-bullfighting lobby and women themselves. Twenty years later nothing has changed. Matador Cristina Sánchez, portrayed in this article, received critical acclaim and commercial success, but in 1999, at the age of just 27, finding herself excluded from some programmes by male bullfighters, she retired. Working with photographer Cristina García Rodero was, as ever, a privilege and pleasure.

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