The Barnes Foundation—a collection of works by Post-Impressionist masters such as Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse that Albert C. Barnes amassed between 1912 and 1952—is celebrating the first anniversary of its move to a new space on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Marking the occasion is a new contemporary exhibition called “Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture on the Wall” (through September 2) that includes Kelly’s landmark work, Sculpture for a Large Wall (pictured here). The massive painting, which measures 65 feet wide by more than 11 feet tall, was originally commissioned for the Philadelphia Transportation Building in the 1950s and is returning to the city for the first time since 1988.
“It has been a tremendous honor to work with an artist of his caliber,” says Judith F. Dolkart, the foundation’s chief curator. “Ellsworth’s interest in line, form and color echo elements that were critical to Albert C. Barnes’s aesthetic theories and display practice.” In addition to Sculpture for a Large Wall, seven of Kelly’s other works will also be displayed.
Reflecting on the museum’s first year in its new location, Dolkart seems pleased. The foundation brought in more than 300,000 visitors, many of whom were experiencing the collection for the first time. And those who were already well acquainted with the Barnes Foundation got to see the works in a new light, literally, thanks to a state-of-the-art system that illuminates the pieces in all their detailed glory. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.; 215-278-7200; barnesfoundation.org.
Opening today, Baz Luhrmann’s movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby is perhaps the most highly anticipated movie of the summer, if a bit of a guilty pleasure. And in the wake of a swell of projects and promotions inspired by the film (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan), we’ve selected a few of the most note-worthy spin-offs.
A Suite Worthy of Fitzgerald Slated to open today in conjunction with the movie’s release, the new 700-square-foot Fitzgerald Suite on the 18th floor of New York’s Plaza Hotel is an homage to the glamorous Art Deco decor that defined the Jazz Age. (See our slideshow of more Art Deco hotels here.) The Fitzgeralds, who were frequent Plaza patrons, would likely feel at home in this suite, designed by costume designer Catherine Martin complete with period-inspired pieces like 1920s Odeon glass-fringe chandeliers, a Mayfair steamer desk and cast-iron Brooklyn Bridge bookends. The walls fit the theme, too, with Douglas Kirkland portraits of the new film’s cast and 1920s photographs from Vogue and Vanity Fair. Should you need to brush up on your Gatsby knowledge, the bookshelves are stocked with the complete collection of Fitzgerald’s work. Rates start at $2,795; 768 Fifth Ave.; 212-546-5219; theplazany.com.
A Slice of Literary History Amid a slew of Fitzgerald-themed publications debuting this spring, Therese Anne Fowler’s Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (St. Martin’s Press, April 2013) stands out. The fictionalized first-person narrative is told from the point of view of Zelda Fitzgerald and based on newspaper clippings, photos, diary entries and letters. Fowler chips away at the misconceived depiction of Zelda as a mentally insane wife who drove Fitzgerald to alcoholism, a portrayal perpetuated by her husband’s friend and literary contemporary, Ernest Hemingway. Z navigates the Fitzgeralds’ tumultuous and oft-chronicled relationship, redefining our interpretations of Zelda, who set the stage for modern-day celebrity as one of history’s most notorious women. macmillan.com.
A Charleston Dance Lesson Claridge’s, the ever-elegant hotel in the heart of London's Mayfair, honors the glitz and glamour of the Jazz Age with high-energy, 90-minute dance classes ($195) in its historic ballroom. Taught by the Bee’s Knees—a London-based dance team that specializes in performing and teaching the Charleston—aspiring dancers will learn the toes-in, heels-out dance craze that swept the nation in the 1920s. For added flair, the hotel provides Gatsby-style accessories (pearls, elbow-length gloves, sequined headbands) and each lesson concludes with a flapper-style cocktail of crème de cassis, strawberries and Champagne, created in honor of the ballroom, which opened in 1929. 49 Brook St.; 44-20/7201-1618; claridges.co.uk.
Over the centuries, the likes of firefighters, doctors and crusaders have donned the Maltese cross—originally worn by the Knights of Malta, a religious order on the eponymous island—as a symbol of protection. Today, thanks to Jennifer Creel and Chris Mack, co-creators of the jewelry and accessories label Creel-Mack, the cross is also a fashion statement.
Creel-Mack’s made-to-order Maltese cuffs come in either 14-karat white gold ($600, pictured here) or yellow gold, with pavé crystals. “It’s great for everyday and traveling,” says Creel. “It’s always a real conversation piece.” And while the classically elegant cuffs might not protect you from imminent danger, wearing one will certainly keep you out of the realm of ordinary. creel-mack.com
While fried chicken and grits aren’t the first foods that come to mind when one thinks of California cuisine, Brad Johnson, owner of the month-old restaurant Willie Jane, said the decision to start a farm-to-table Southern eatery in Los Angeles was an easy one. “The first venue that I opened in L.A. was a nightclub called the Roxbury, on Sunset Boulevard,” says Johnson. “And one of the most popular items on our menu was fried chicken.”
The restaurant is Johnson’s second venture with chef Govind Armstrong and is named after Johnson’s aunt, who turned 100 years old last month and is his oldest living relative. Many dishes on Armstong’s menu are inspired by Willie Jane’s family recipes, albeit updated for West Coast diners. California quail is paired with cornmeal dumplings and collard greens and rainbow trout is served with peanut-and-black-eyed-pea hummus and Brussels-sprout coleslaw.
Johnson isn’t exaggerating when he says the restaurant is farm-to-table. He is planting a 4,000-square-foot vegetable and herb garden in a vacant lot behind the property, meaning fresh vegetables will have a very short trip from the plot to your plate. But most of all, Johnson wants to retain the authenticity that Southerners are known for. “We want to be warm and welcoming so that people feel the embrace of a cool L.A. neighborhood,” he says. “But not too cool—we’re still in the hospitality business.” 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310-392-2425; williejane.com.
New York’s Textile Arts Center, which has supported the city’s fiber artists and designers since 2009, is throwing a benefit called a “Night of Color” on April 26 at the center’s Greenwich Village location. The event is designed to bolster awareness about the use of natural dyes while also raising raise money for “Sewing Seeds,” an educational initiative run by volunteers that holds free classes, workshops and readings and sponsors an artist in residence and a natural-dye community garden.
“Natural dye is important in the same way that eating organic or locally-produced food is important,” says studio manager Isa Rodrigues. “Synthetic dye is pretty toxic to the environment, to the user, and to the artist.” In keeping with this ethos, tonight’s event will feature displays curated by Frank Traynor, naturally dyed cocktails, and an interactive performance by Study NY x Cat Lauigan of Cave Collective, in which a limited-edition line of garments and accessories will be naturally dyed in real time and available for purchase. All proceeds will benefit the project’s summer programming, which is always free and open to the public. Tickets, $20; 26 West 8 St.; 646-225-6554; textileartscenter.com.
Those still mourning the death of El Bulli restaurant—the famed Catalonia-based eatery by chef Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler that captivated the world with its cutting-edge gastronomy before shuttering in 2011—can take a piece of the restaurant home at Sotheby’s El Bulli auction in New York on April 26.
The offerings include a set of El Bulli knives (opening bid: $1,000), a selection of Baroque metal trays (opening bid: $150) and four chef jackets signed by Adrià (opening bid: $1,000 each), as well as thousands of premium vintage bottles from the restaurant’s wine cellar, many of which are signed by Adrià and Soler. The highlight of the auction will be the chance to bid on a dinner with the chef himself (opening bid: $5,000) at Tickets restaurant in Barcelona.
“Each of the pieces has a special importance,” says Adrià. “They mean a lot to the history of El Bulli and to me personally.”
The New York auction comes on the heels of a sister event in Hong Kong, which took place on April 3 and raised more than $1.8 million for the El Bulli Foundation, a project that is transforming the original restaurant space into a permanent collection focused on creativity, cuisine and history, as well as funding Bullipedia, an archive of culinary record.
As for those exquisite bottles of wine up for grabs, one would think it would be tough to part with them. But Adrià says it is gratifying to see the sale of the cellar make an exciting venture like the El Bulli Foundation a reality. “Besides,” he explains, “I know they have fallen into the hands of people who love the world of wine, gastronomy and El Bulli.” April 26; 1334 York Ave.; 212-606-7000; sothebys.com.
TOMS Haiti Artist Collective, Pierre's Sketch Night Men's Classics, $68.00, available exclusively at TOMS.com. Photo courtesy of TOMS
TOMS—the philanthropic shoe company that promises to donate a new pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair purchased—is at it again. The brand’s latest initiative is the Haiti Artist Collective, a line of colorful, one-of-a-kind shoes ($68 a pair) hand-painted by Haitian artists between the ages of 18 and 45 and inspired by traditional Haitian art. The two-part collection launched its first line in March (a second line of styles is scheduled for July), and was created in conjunction with Caribbean Craft, a Port-au-Prince–based organization that supports local artisans. The initiative is intended to drive economic growth on the island of Haiti, which has had one of the world’s highest unemployment rates since 2010, when an earthquake devastated the area. Founder Blake Mycoskie says the crux of the project is the “potential of creating sustainable jobs and highlighting creative talent.” Sounds like a very worthy goal.
For more on the artists behind TOMS new line, click here. Limited-edition collection available at the TOMS Los Angeles flagship, 1344 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310-314-9700; toms.com.
John Lewis Marshall / Image courtesy of Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands, reopens on April 13 after a ten-year, $500 million renovation.
Originally opened in 1885, the four-floor, 128-year-old museum is an ode to masters of the Dutch Golden Age, including Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. Now, after its revamp headed by Spanish design firm Cruz y Ortiz, it is also an exercise in chronology, telling the history of the Netherlands—from the Middle Ages to the 21st century—via 8,000 paintings, prints, silver pieces, tapestries, jewelry, arms and fashion objects spread throughout 80 galleries. Highlights of the upgrade include a glass-covered entrance hall, a stone-and-glass Asian pavilion, a renovated library and a new outdoor museum based on a 1901 design by Pierre Cuypers, the museum’s original architect.
Despite the chronological reorganization of the museum’s collection, one artwork will not be moving. The Night Watch (1642), Rembrandt’s larger-than-life masterpiece, was deemed famous enough to return to its dedicated space at the end of the Gallery of Honor. 1 Museumstraat; 31-20/662-1440; rijksmuseum.nl.
Glimmerglass Festival, the Cooperstown, New York–based summer opera program that draws tens of thousands of fans to its lakeside theater each year, kicks off the season with its spring gala, Glimmerata, on April 10 at the historic Metropolitan Club. The star-studded event will feature performances by vocalists like Eric Owens, Julie and Nathan Gunn, Jay Hunter Morris and Klea Blackhurst. “We have an amazing lineup of talent, including a lot of the great American singers of our time,” says director Francesca Zambello. “They love what we do.”
Guests will have the opportunity to mingle with performers during dinner before moving on to dessert and dancing to music by the Peter Duchin Orchestra. The gala normally raises approximately $500,000 for the nearly 40-year-old opera house—funds that help support the organization’s education initiatives, including the Young Artists Program, its acclaimed apprenticeship course for emerging singers.
This summer’s lineup includes three opera productions (The Flying Dutchman; Passions; King for a Day) , a musical (Camelot) and a host of other concerts and performances. “I try to give the seasons a big, overriding theme,” Zambello explains. “This year is a celebration of the American romantics.”
In conjunction with the theme, the nearby Fenimore Art Museum and Hyde Hall have joined forces to offer their own takes on early American Romanticism. The Fenimore will feature an exhibition of paintings by 19th-century Hudson River School artists, and the Hyde is planning a literary series that celebrates the work of James Fenimore Cooper (Cooperstown’s namesake), Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Tickets start at $1,000; 607-547-0700, ext. 209; glimmerglass.org.
Longchamp’s iconic Roseau bag turns 20 this year, and to celebrate the occasion, Sophie Delafontaine, the label’s creative director and granddaughter of its founder, set out to update the classic. “Our brand’s key words are leather, family, fun, quality and creativity,” she says. “I wanted to design an upgraded version of this emblematic bag, which would be at the same time modern, contemporary and more luxurious.”
The resulting Roseau Héritage bag (from $1,170) is crafted in calfskin leather and includes upgraded versions of the original Roseau’s detailing, such as a heftier bamboo toggle and a larger embossed-leather racehorse trademark insignia. The family-owned brand prides itself on leather craftsmanship, and the Roseau Héritage exemplifies just that—each handcrafted bag requires about 300 operations, from cutting to stitching to mounting gussets on the underside. The bag, which comes in two styles and four shades (brown, terracotta, taupe, sandy), is available at Longchamp stores worldwide. 713 Madison Ave.; 212-223-1500; longchamp.com.
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