Italian brand Gucci has mounted a significant exhibition in Shanghai that demonstrates its artistic direction.

My favourite image from Glen Luchford’s fall-winter 2015 campaign for Gucci features a model named Tessa Bruinsma standing on the edge of a railway track. She is wearing a metallic dress covered in alternating copper and brown zigzags, a skirt that cascades into pleats, a blue chiffon scarf, and roseate fur cuffs. Behind her, a zooming train jolts the picture from upper bohemian longueur into urban monumentalism. The dress, in a triumph owing to Ms Bruinsma’s stoicism or, perhaps, Mr Luchford’s retouching, seems immovable, even as a gust of wind wreathes her face in chestnut coloured hair. She’s holding one of creative director Alessandro Michele’s new Dionysus bags—Dionysus is the Greek god of “ritual madness and religious ecstasy,” though the ancients also entrusted matters of fertility to his whim. Funny that. The dress is both seminal and editorially rampant: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and L’Officiel have all shot it, as have more independent publications.

Mr Luchford is one of select artists featured in the new Gucci “No Longer/Not Yet” Exhibition at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, a curative collaboration between Mr Michele and Katie Grand, editor-in-chief of British magazine LOVE. They seek to “contemplate the concept of contemporary/untimely” by summoning the genius of artists who can embody and disentangle themselves from “now,” which Ms Grand herself exalts to almost spiritual glamour with pert imagery that makes aesthetics sweat.

The participating artists include: Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fei, whose installation confronts socioeconomic woes (she dares you witness other people’s wealth as keenly as their weather—there’s a chicken involved); American sculptor Rachel Feinstein, whose grotesqueries employing clockwork and weaponry hark back to Arcimboldo; American Neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, who, according to LOVE, “[hijacks] the promotional structures that dominate the modern urban landscape”; sound designers Steve Mackey and John Gosling, who have created an original soundtrack for each installation; British photographer Nigel Shafran, who documents Mr Michele’s creative process (inside glass cases rest his accessories, grisly autopsies of high chic); the Chinese Op artist Li Shurui, whose work might tempt you to spill your brain; and British illustrator and artist Unskilled Worker (her real name is Helen Downie), whose art speaks of whimsy and hubris, like a child who doesn’t use theirs all too often.


No Longer / Not Yet is on display at Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China.