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In our exciting special edition of LOVE, LOVE 16.5 ‘LOVE BY MERT ALAS’, supported by Marc Jacobs, Madonna stars alongside her son Rocco in his first ever modelling assignment. LOVE 16.5 launches on the 19th September 2016 during London Fashion Week.
With no hair or makeup, Mert captures a 10-page reportage of Madonna at his house in Hampstead in the early hours, ‘Madonna 2:00AM by Mert Alas’.
Madonna tells Murray Healy in the accompanying interview with LOVE 16.5 how “acceptance by the establishment equals death” and says: “I don’t consider myself a pop act, I consider myself an artist. And it’s an artist’s responsibility to be revolutionary in our work. It’s our responsibility, our duty and our privilege.”
On the burden of fame, she says: “I was already famous before social media, so for me fame isn’t the burden. Fame is the manifestation or the by-product of my work, and that was two decades before social media. Now to me the burden is people are more focused on fame than actually doing the work or being an artist. Now it’s easy to become famous. What isn’t easy is to develop and grow as an artist without being distracted or consumed with fame.”
Madonna also tells LOVE 16.5: “I like Instagram because it’s like keeping a diary and every day I get to share different aspects of my personality, my life, and what inspires me, what infuriates me, or what causes I want to fight for. It allows me to be mysterious, ironic, provocative or proud. I get to use it as a platform to bring attention to people or issues that I think are important. It allows me to be the curator of my life.”
In LOVE 16.5, Mert, who shortly after shooting Madonna, embarked on a project exploring the idea of the voyeuristic essence of the camera for a 70-page photographic portfolio. It resulted in him shooting beautiful men in Berlin, LA and London. Rocco was photographed in the final stage of the project in London.
Michael Musto recounted a few of his most notorious encounters with Madonna for the latest issue of Village Voice:
In the early 1980s, I found myself on a double bill with a rising singer I’d never heard of; her name was Madonna. My Motown cover band had equal billing, but that clearly eluded Madonna’s team, who saw the downtown club gig as a showcase for her and her alone. Madonna sound-checked with such elaborate precision that my band never got to do so; by the time she was obsessively through with the mic, the doors were opening to the public and we were fucked. What’s more, after our performance, Madonna’s manager didn’t want us greeting guests in the joint dressing room, because the apparently demure Madge was getting ready for her set and didn’t want to change in front of strangers. I demanded my rights, while thinking, “This creature isn’t going anywhere.” I should have realized then that it was just this kind of aggressive tunnel vision that would rocket her to the pantheon.
Madonna was suddenly everywhere on the club scene, but her first single, the 1982 ditty “Everybody,” was so insistently whiny, I still wasn’t convinced she had a snowball’s chance. But she made it, with artfully done videos, rampant sexuality, and an ability to charm people’s pants off with feisty frankness. She even tried Hollywood, bombing out with stuff like the screwball comedy Who’s That Girl? while never letting people see her sweat. By 1987, I was hooked, so I went to see Madonna promote the movie outside a theater in Times Square, where she told the assembled throngs, “Shut up, so I can talk.” The steely determination was impressive.
She struck up a sensational gal-pal relationship with lesbian comic Sandra Bernhard, indulging in all sorts of innuendo that got the media and public panting. The two stars were at the center of 1989’s “Don’t Bungle the Jungle” — a BAM benefit for the Brazilian rainforest — where their sardonic antics upstaged ecological issues. After Madonna rattled off some rainforest facts, Sandra moaned, “Who the fuck do you think you are, Tracy Chapman?” “No,” replied Madonna. “I’m not working at a convenience store. But I do like to sneak off to a 7-Eleven at night for some jawbreakers.” “The bitch is cold,” Sandra interjected. “Funky cold Medina.” They launched into a version of “I Got You Babe,” and the comic sang, “I know we don’t have a cock, but at least I’m sure of all the things we got.” “Don’t believe the stories,” urged Madonna as the show wound down. “Believe the stories,” implored Sandra.
When I interviewed Sandra for my Voice column, she claimed their lesbian shenanigans were just shtick and people should relax about it. “I mean, God, you know, Madonna is a raging lesbian!” she said, eyes rolling. “I mean why don’t they take it really literally!” But when Madonna was spotted wildly making out with Sandra’s ex-girlfriend Ingrid Casares, I took the denials with a grain of potpourri.
We have worked on an extra special issue of Love, 16.5 featuring Madonna, Rocco and a cast of boys seen within a 70 page portfolio ‘Angels of Concrete’ all photographed by Mert Alas. This very special edition, supported by Marc Jacobs will be on sale during London Fashion Week. thelovemagazine via Instagram
Madonna is on the cover of today’s issue of Metro in the UK!