The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Monday, November 29, 2010

Everyone wants a piece of Kate Moss. A kitten heel short of most modern glamazons, Moss has been one of the most in-demand fashion models for two decades — and one of the most talked about. Now there’s a bit more of her to go around. For the past year and a half, Moss has been collaborating with James Danziger, of Danziger Projects, on curating a portfolio of 11 images of her by 11 of her favorite photographers. The result, a limited edition of 30 portfolios designed by Ruth Ansel and priced from $75,000 each (the figure is expected to go up as the series sells out), is being exhibited for the first time at the Pulse art fair in Miami Dec. 2 to 5. The images, by a stellar lineup of fashion and art world luminaries, including Chuck Close, Juergen Teller and Annie Leibovitz, showcase not only Moss’s preternatural beauty but also her undeniable versatility. The Moment recently phoned Moss at her country home in England.

Hello, is Kate there?

Hello, love. It’s me, Kate.

Hi, there. Thank you for doing this — I know it’s getting late there.

Yeah, it is late; I’m sorry. The bloody traffic was a nightmare — bumper to bumper for about three hours with the kids in the back screaming, “I need the toilet.”

Ha. I was e-mailing James Danziger about your project and he mentioned that he sees you more as an artist’s muse than a model, and I was wondering how you feel about a comment like that.

Flattered, I suppose. But I’ve worked with a lot of artists — Lucian Freud, Marc Quinn, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Jake and Dinos Chapman. I did an issue for British Vogue about 10 years ago and worked with a lot of artists and through that I became friends with some of them. A lot of them, really. And, you know, we’d see each other out, hang out at parties and what have you, and over the years they’d ask me to do odd projects.

So it’s a comment that does hold true; it’s not drawing too long a bow.

No, I guess not, and remember I did a thing with W a while back and it was with all different American artists like Chuck Close, Tom Sachs, Richard Prince, Alex Katz. So yeah, I’ve worked a lot with both sides — art and fashion.

I know it’s a bit creepy talking about oneself, but what do you think makes you such an icon — that’s such a naff word, sorry — or what quality do you have that makes people respond to you the way they do, both artists and the general public?

I guess I’m adaptable. I don’t know, I kind of go with whatever they want. I don’t see myself as one thing. You know, I turn up at work and they can kind of do what they want with me, really [laughs]. It’s not like there is one look that I specifically do — I’ve done a lot of different things.

You don’t have your go-to Blue Steel look.

No, I don’t, but I’m sure I can do it [laughs].

One of the reasons I think you are so adaptable and malleable is that you very rarely talk. You’re like Garbo. Is that a conscious decision so that people can project whatever fantasies on you?

No, I just hate it. When I used to do interviews a long time ago, I used to get very ill just worrying about them before they came out. I just didn’t like it. When I first started out I did press because I wasn’t really aware that they would write something really horrible but then they did, and I was like: “Oh no, I don’t want to go back there. I don’t really want to open up myself to that kind of criticism.” And I think that a lot of the time you walk in a room they already know what they want to write about you, so it doesn’t matter what you’re like. But sometimes I will do it if I like the person or the project.

I’m sure you get approached to do a million things. Why did you say yes to this one?

I don’t even know how long ago that was, but I did a book called “Kate” with Phil Bicker, who used to be the art director at the Face, and we showed it at James Danziger’s gallery. But I actually met him before that. When I was about 20, I went into his gallery and bought some Larry Clark photos. James came over to my place the other day to show me the portfolio and he saw the Larry Clark prints on my wall. I reminded him about our first meeting, but he had no recollection of it.

Is there one picture in the portfolio that has a special resonance for you?

I think probably the Mario Sorrenti print, the first black-and-white one in the series. Even though I wasn’t that na├»ve at the time, I really look it. I was in a relationship with him at the time and it was a very intense period of my life — it was my growing-up stage. I think I was 18 or something. I’d left London and went to New York and everything started to happen.

Trust you to pick the one photo I am not able to run.

Really? Why not?

We’re not allowed to show nipple at The New York Times.

Oh, my goodness. But it’s only a tiny bit.

From The New York Times, by Horacio Silva, November 24, 2010.