January 19, 2012
© David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April 1986 / The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Gift of David Hockney
David Hockney—the bespectacled English artist best known for his 1960s-era paintings of sky-blue swimming pools, friends, lovers and Beverly Hills housewives—took up a different subject matter altogether in 2005. He returned to his childhood town of Bridlington, perched seaside in northwest England, and found himself completely seduced by the lush greenery and expansive landscape he had known when he was younger. He set about depicting it, both in intimate watercolor sketches and in monumental, multi-panel paintings. The resulting works—some of which are realistic, others wild with shocks of psychedelic, van Gogh–esque color—are the basis of a new survey of Hockney’s landscapes at the Royal Academy of Art in London, titled “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture.” It illustrates Hockney’s continued stylistic strides, the benefits of studying familiar sights with fresh eyes and, perhaps, that there really is no place like home. January 21 through April 9 at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD; 44-20/7300-5610; royalacademy.uk.org.
January 19, 2012
Courtesy Naples Wine Festival
Oenophiles and philanthropists alike will gather January 27–29 in Naples, Florida, for a seasonal highlight: the 2012 Naples Winter Wine Festival. Attendees will sip rare vintages, feast in style at intimate dinners prepared by world-class chefs (Wolfgang Puck and the festival’s chef de cuisine, Tony Mantuano, are among the 17 participants) and bid at the festival’s live auction, which last year raised $12 million for the Naples Children & Education Foundation. On the auction block this year: a carved 75th-anniversary Chateau Haut-Brion wooden console filled with eight bottles of the vintner’s rarest wines (including a 1935 vintage that has never left the estate’s cellar), a private around-the-world jet tour and the first 2012 Mercedes SLS AG Roadster to be made available in the U.S.
Those in the know will vie for tickets to a special wine tasting and lunch hosted on January 26, before the regular events begin, by the festival’s honored vintner, Prince Robert of Luxembourg. Guests will take part in a side-by-side tasting of five of the finest vintages from France’s Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, followed by a lunch accompanied by two more extremely rare wines. Which, you ask? It’s a surprise—you’ll have to be there to find out.
January 17, 2012
When the 28th annual Sundance Film Festival opens this weekend in Park City, Utah, some of its most anticipated films will chronicle corporate greed, economic plight and, of course, Occupy Wall Street. From Finding North, Tom Colicchio’s documentary about hunger in America, to Queen of Versailles, Lauren Greenfield’s movie about a Florida real estate developer’s failed quest to build a 90,000 square-foot, personal state-side Versailles, to Nicholas Jarecki’s feature film Arbitrage, starring Richard Gere as a troubled hedge fund manager, the official film schedule will stand in stark relief against its unofficial scene: the parties.
According to Christopher Ryan, the talent manager in charge of the Sundance party list, this year’s Sundance will see nearly 100 more events this year than last year. With dozens of new corporate sponsors descending on Park City to create the biggest event spaces in the festival’s history, and venues like STK and Tao opening pop-up spots to rival the real thing, one can only hope the films’ frightening forecast isn’t. We interviewed Chris Ryan to hear his top picks for opening weekend.
How do you come up with the list and who gets it?
First I go through all the films and see who the talent is, then I go to their publicists and find out what events they’re doing for the talent, and then build out a list of that. I send it to select actors, directors, publicists and press and they get great marketing out of it.
How is the 2012 party schedule different than last year’s?
It’s much bigger than last year. Last year there were 270 listings and this year it’s already at 350 and I still haven’t included two lounges on that list. Maybe the economy is recovering, or brands are looking to spend money. It’s not hard to spend $50,000 on an event and get enough filmmakers and media there to make it worth it.
Where did those extra 100 events come from? Who’s new on the scene?
A lot of sponsors who dropped out in recent years have returned, like GenArt came back with the Bertolli Meal Soup Chalet. Sundance’s official sponsors are hosting new events. And the Fender Music Lodge moved to a bigger center. Axe Hair Media Center and Groom Room is all new. And Issey Miyake Sport is new and sponsoring The Supper Club. There are new vendors in the Village at the Lift, like the Miami Board of Tourism. There are also new corporate-sponsored houses on promontory point, like the Sundance Collective, who are all hosting private events and dinners.
Where will all the celebrities be during the day? Where do you go to people watch?
Good hangout spots during the day will be the Fender Music Lodge, where live music will play all day long and there will be Chopin Vodka and Monster Energy drinks, and the Miami Oasis at the Village, where there will Patron drinks. The Element Electronics Apres Ski House and the Axe Media Center will also be full of celebrities.
Which evening events have the hottest tickets so far?
The exclusive cast dinner parties are all really good, like the Supper Suite at the Montage on Friday night. The HBO party on Sunday night at the LIVEstyle Film Lounge will be a hard one to get into. The 7 for All Mankind party at the Bertolli Meal Soup Chalet is always really good too. Then after-hours at the new STK space, Hyde and Goodnight Gansevoort will be the toughest places to go. Then, the TAO space is really cool because they use the lift parking lot and redecorate it to look like Tao Vegas. Most of the celebrities will be around the Village at the Lift or the Supper Clubs that Issey Myake Sport is hosting. Then Bing has some pretty good acts performing in their space on Main Street. They just added a third floor so it will be one of the bigger venues.
Photo © Brandon Perlman
January 12, 2012
Courtesy Red Cross West Palm Beach
Interior design lovers are gearing up for the opening of West Palm Beach’s 36th Annual American Red Cross Designers’ Show House, one of the region’s most hotly anticipated events in home design. Located in an expansive, Southern-style mansion—the oldest original home in the historic Old Northwood neighborhood—the Show House gathers the best of the best designers, both nearby and national, for a showcase to benefit the localRed Cross. The event runs from January 19 to February 18, but for those looking to get a sneak peek before it opens to the public, there is the preview party on January 18, where socialites, philanthropists and designers will have the opportunity to browse over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. redcross-pbc.org
January 12, 2012
As any serious car collector can tell you, the place to be in January is Scottsdale, Arizona. Every year the city plays host to the Barrett-Jackson auction—the highlight of the winter auto circuit—where thousands of people gather to see and bid on a treasure trove of historic vehicles. Among last year’s sales: a controversial 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance said to have carried John F. Kennedy’s casket from the Bethesda Naval Hospital to the U.S. Capitol and Sylvester Stallone’s 1956 Ford F-100 pickup.
This year’s auction, running January 15–22, will have its own headliners. Among the not-to-be-missed? A red 1954 Desoto Adventurer II Coupe that originally belonged to King Mohammed V of Morocco and a 1928 Daimler P.1.50 Vee Front Royal Limousine, the largest British car ever built. barrett-jackson.com
January 12, 2012
Courtesy Museum of Islamic Art
Qatar, the tiny, extraordinarily well-off Gulf nation, has been making headlines for its support of the Arab Spring (financially and otherwise). But in the art world, members of Qatar’s ambitious and culture-savvy royal family have been news-makers for years, snapping up seven-figure masterpieces at auction and funding a series of impressive new museums in its ever-bourgeoning capital, Doha.
The rollout of these cultural monuments has been steady, starting with the I.M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in 2008 and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in 2010 (the country has also broken ground on an ambitious Jean Nouvel–designed national museum slated to open in 2013). The latest addition to Doha’s ever-growing portfolio opened to the public just last week. The MIA Park, a crescent-shaped promenade built up from the water that’s located adjacent to Pei’s stunning museum, is designed as a local destination, where arts-happy Qataris can gather for concerts, performances, picnics, zen-nature breaks and films.
Anchoring the structure is a massive new sculpture by Richard Serra, his tallest to date and his first installation in the Middle East. The towering piece is made from Serra’s signature cor-ten steel, which has a patina that changes over time. The piece is called 7 (a mystical number in the Islamic tradition that appears frequently in both Islamic practice and Islamic art). It comprises seven steel plates, each 80 feet tall, and tapers toward the top, forming a seven-sided skylight. As is the case with most of Serra’s work, what’s happening underneath the sculpture is just as critical as the piece itself. Serra worked with a team of structural engineers and marine biologists to create an advanced underwater counterweight to ensure that the work, which clocks in at 735 tons, will stand tall—and buoyant—for many generations to come. MIA Park, Doha, Qatar; mia.org.qa/english.
January 12, 2012
© Damien Hirst/ Science Ltd, 2012
Photography Prudence Cuming Associates
The idea is simple enough: monochromatic canvases dotted with orderly rows of perfectly round, glossy-painted spots. But like Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and Technicolor Marilyn prints, Damien Hirst’s spot paintings are so stark, so strange, so consistent and so instantly recognizable that they function as stand-ins for the artist himself: big, bold, graphic signatures that program our brains to think —chant with me now—“Hirst, Hirst, Hirst.” You’ve got to hand it to the guy. Warhol needed movie stars and a pantry cabinet to stir up this sort of effect on canvas. Hirst needs hardly anything at all.
On January 12, a sizable chunk of the artist’s spotted oeuvre will go on view at all 11 Gagosian Gallery outposts worldwide (three in New York, two in London and others in Beverly Hills, Hong Kong, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Rome). The show, which runs through February 18, marks the first time that mega-dealer Larry Gagosian has handed over his entire empire (50,000 square feet) to a single artist, never mind a single body of work. It’s hardly a selling exhibition, as the vast majority of the approximately 300 paintings included are on loan from various private collections and museums. And, like many of Gagosian’s large-scale, loan-heavy exhibitions, “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011” could have very well had a place in any museum—if only there were one big enough to house it.
The market for Hirst’s work has been quiet lately (though certainly still active—two works cleared the $1 million mark at auction in November). And with a major, possibly career-affirming Tate Modern retrospective opening in April, the artist seems to be grappling with his legacy. The spot-painting exhibit is a run-up of sorts to the Tate show and, per the gallery, was Hirst’s idea. There is something admittedly poetic about reuniting these inherently related works from their homes all over the world. They become not only stand-ins for the artist but globalization itself—and, in that regard, are far more handsome than the logo of any other international brand.
Read “Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings” from Departures’ Jan/Feb 2012 issue.
January 05, 2012
Courtesy Norma Kamali.
Something strange happened during New York Fashion Week—at the presentation of Norma Kamali’s spring 2012 collection this past September, the industry’s most frozen-faced elite looked on, and (crack) smiled. Having been given 3-D glasses at the door—in Kamali’s iconic cat-eye shape, of course—editors marveled at the giant projection of a 3-D fashion show, featuring her “dancehall girls” shimmying and twirling right off the screen to the sultry singing of Imelda May. The result was pure delight, the energy in the room almost ebullient. People were having (gasp) fun at a fashion show.
Kamali, who says she has “always felt like an outsider” and therefore feels “comfortable on that edge,” gave up traditional runway shows long ago: “I really felt that there are so many new ways to tell a story,” she explains. “Not this sour girl walking down the runway looking very unlike anybody that you would ever want to be—whether they’re beautiful or not—it’s just uncomfortable how unnecessary it seems when you look at it.” Instead, she opts for mini fashion films, which the very democratic designer makes available online. The 3-D campaign is no exception, Kamali fans can receive free glasses here, as well as shop in 3-D on her website. Before buying a dress, you can see the way it moves right before your nose, without leaving the comfort of your chair.
Related: Read about Norma Kamali in Departures' January/February 2012 issue.
January 05, 2012
Courtesy Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton doesn’t just carry your luggage; the fashion house also tells you where to take it. In the label’s newest collection of City Guides ($33 each), follow L.V. through 40 cities’ vintage boutiques and gourmet feasts, hidden gardens and ancient trattorias. For the 2012 edition, journalists and authors travel along the Pearl River Delta, visiting expansive casinos and novel galleries in Hong Kong and Macau, and introduce travelers to the unexpected luxuries of five new European cities, including Birmingham and Zagreb. Each softback booklet features the wisdom of a local legend (think Sharon Corr’s Dublin) and playful illustrations from Cuban artist Ruben Toledo. After spending the past 14 years inking the City Guides’ lush artwork, Toledo’s drawings are memorialized in a 100-postcard retrospective ($78) he describes as a “treasure box of memories” —and a perfect chronicle of your travels. louisvuitton.com.
January 05, 2012
Courtesy Stella McCartney.
High-minded meets high fashion in Stella McCartney’s new snake-inspired designs. Her new python-print tote bag and flat sandal are handmade by Kenyan women from recycled African-tent canvases. The items support the Ethical Fashion Programme (a joint venture between the World Trade Organization and the United Nations), which connects international fashion houses and distributors with disadvantaged African communities to develop a sustainable livelihood for thousands of women living in extreme poverty. It’s not lifelong-vegetarian Stella McCartney’s first foray into charity work—her past projects have included MeatFree Monday and the PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity and Rights—but it’s certainly newsworthy. As for the rest of us, a look that’s both fashionable and virtuous? Yes, please. Large tote bag $330; flat sandal $300; available at Stella McCartney stores; stellamccartney.com.