Study No. 7 · Maripola X · Maripol Party + Interview
Not even below-zero temps and black-ice covered sidewalks can keep New Yorkers from packing like super-chic sardines into a little bookshop to meet a legend of the Downtown scene. Last month, Parisian photographer and designer, Maripol, released her latest book, Maripola X (Le Livre Art Publishing), and we attended her party at Bookmarc in the West Village to celebrate. Resembling more of a Mudd Club queue than a stuffy signing, the shop was packed to the rafters with fans and friends of the No-Wave renaissance woman. Maripol was an essential figure in the ‘70s and ‘80s NYC art scene, yet in a rare occurrence, her work seems to become more relevant as time goes on. She’s designed art-to-wear fashion, a much-copied jewelry line (she’s solely responsible for the ‘80s rubber bracelet phenom), and was Madonna’s stylist during all her best phases, in addition to art directing videos for Debbie Harry, Elton John and Cher. She also produced and art-directed the underground film Downtown 81 (starring Jean-Michel Basquiat), but she is best known for her Polaroid photography, which candidly documented that double-decade boom in cool culture better than anything. She was always in the rad place at the right time, and the mixture of her Polaroid SX-70’s blown-out exposure, and her laser-eye for le moment, make everyone she captured immortally sexy.
Maripola X is her most personal book yet; compiled of 69 poems and 173 photos hidden away in a box, that she deemed too risqué or secret. After showing these hidden treasures to a friend who said they were too beautiful not to share, she decided to set them free. With the book’s release, Maripol also dropped her first music EP; poems sung in her deep, Marianne Faithfull-esque voice, backed with beats by Parisian DJ, Léonard Lasry.
Above: A peek at Maripola X. Below: The scene, which included Glenn O’Brien (author, bon vivant, and host of the underground ‘70s talk show, TV Party), poet Max Blagg, couture runway DJ Michel Gaubert, and most likely, the ghosts of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel, and Andy Warhol.
Treasured Maripol books from my library . . . New York Beat (Petit Grand Publishing, 2001), which chronicled the making of the seminal NY ‘80s art film, Downtown 81, and Maripolarama (powerHouse Books, 2005). Maripol and I first met during her signing at L.A.’s Book Soup, where she sweetly invited me to her after-party at The Standard. We danced to No-Wave in the lobby, and talked about vintage clothes. It’s a must-have for any pop-culture or fashion-worshipper’s library . . . loaded with snaps of the day-glo Downtown scene and her designs, which were sold at the celebrated new wave super-store, Fiorucci.
Maripol chats with The Librarian about exciting upcoming projects and events, along with her favorite art monographs, and bookshops.
How did the experience of releasing this book differ from your past releases? Each book is a new venture starting from an idea and plunging into my archives. Once you do one its almost like an art show, you must curate another. As an artist, most important is to relay your vision. This last one is to date the most intimate and the first one with my poetry. Adele [of Le Livre Art Publishing] and I have bonded a lot through the collaboration, and because of the signings with Bookmarc, most def more international . . . starting with Paris, London, New York, and next Los Angeles (end of April), and Tokyo (mid-May 2014).
The book that has inspired you most creatively? Andy Warhol monograph
If your home were ablaze, which five books from your collection would you save? Andy Warhol signed copy of America, Jean-Michel Basquiat monograph, Arthur Rimbaud's Une Saison en Enfer, Journals from Marilyn Monroe, Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu.
Favorite bookshops? OFR and La Hune in Paris, all Bookmarc stores, Clic Gallery, and of course, The Strand on Broadway, NYC!
Any future projects you’re excited to share? Opening of a Polaroid Museum in Vegas, end of april, where I am showing polaroids, an exhibit of Jean-Michel Basquiat in Rio in August with a room of my photographs to describe the New York 80's.
We love your new songs! Can we expect more music from you in the future? Thank you. Yes, I hope so! It’s fun!
Purchase a signed/numbered copy of Maripola X here.