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Princess Gloria von Thurn Und Taxis Draws the Chelsea Hotel’s Greats

Princess Gloria.jpg
Photocourtesy of Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis

“It’s very important not to take oneself too seriously,” says Princess Gloria von Thurn Und Taxis just a few days after her art opening at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery.

Dubbed “Come on Darling, Don’t Be Mad,” the exhibit showcases her hand-drawn portraits of the famous faces that have come through the legendary Manhattan hotel. “It’s sort of making fun of myself,” she says of the show’s title. “If you are not really happy about your portrait, don’t worry—this is just the way I see you.”

Long a recreational drawer, Princess TNT of Germany (as she’s commonly known) received the commission for the series—her first ever—back in April. Since then, the autodidact has completed two or three faces a day in preparation. “I’m drawing a person while we speak,” she says during our chat by phone.

Rendered in pastels on 9-by-12-inch pieces of construction paper (“It reminds me of the way we used to draw as children,” she remarks), her depictions of icons like Jimi Hendrix (pictured above), Allen Ginsberg, Robert Mapplethorpe and Edie Sedgwick fall somewhere between the flatness of Alex Katz’s work and the exaggerated realism of a caricature. “My people look very friendly—they are not so mysterious, they are in your face,” she explains. “This is how I am, so I want my portraits to be that, too.”

She is known to patron the arts (works by Thomas Ruff, Anselm Kiefer and Paul McCarthy are all present in her homes), but this series marks her first foray into art as an artist—yet another path the punk-princess-cum-businesswoman-cum-devoted-Catholic has set upon since arriving on the scene in the 1980s in Germany as the young bride of Johannes, 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis.

And while she hopes this is just the beginning of her commissioned pieces for public spaces, exactly where the portraits will end up once the show closes on July 25 is still up for debate. “Ideally I would like to see them in the hotel rooms, because that’s where they belong,” she says.

For now, however, she’s reveling in the triumph of her inaugural show—to which Jeffrey Deitch, Jeff Koons and Calvin Klein all showed up. “It was such a big success,” she says, “we’re thinking about a closing party, too!” Through June 25; 222 W. 23rd St.; e-mail hotelchelsea@nadinejohnson.com to make a viewing appointment; gloriasportrait.com.

Natori Opens a NoLIta Store

Natori Opens a NoLIta Store
Photo by Lia Chang

What Josie Natori, founder and CEO of the lingerie and lifestyle label Natori, began 37 years ago has grown into an icon known around the world for its sophistication and spark. And with the debut of its first New York boutique, which opened June 16 in NoLIta, it adds a new chapter to its storied run.

“This is not really a flagship,” says Josie. “We’re using this as an opportunity to really make more of a lab.”

Originally envisioned as a showcase for Josie by Natori (the younger arm of the full lineup, which includes Josie Natori, Natori and N Natori), the downtown shop turned into a chance to highlight items from the entire brand catalog—and to learn more about its clientele. Featuring rotating themes to keep things fresh, the store will change its assortment of products every few months. Now through mid-July will focus on a summer-lifestyle concept that includes lingerie, ready-to-wear accessories and home accents from the Josie Natori and Natori lines. One-of-a-kind couture caftans, as well as runway pieces from the ready-to-wear collection, punctuate the current offerings, and selections from Josie’s personal antiques collection of 40 years will be on display and for sale, including porcelain, ceramics, textiles and decorative objects.

But beyond the merchandise, the new outpost allows the brand to experiment a bit in an intimate, 1,100-square-foot arena that captures the Natori spirit and keeps one clear objective in mind: “Making it fun and making it a surprise so it’s not stale,” says Josie. “Downtown is just perfect for that. We’ll have fun mixing it all up.” 253 Elizabeth St.; 646-684-4934; natori.com.

Copenhagen’s Noma Restaurant Comes to Japan

Copenhagen’s Noma Restaurant Comes to Japan
Ditte Isager

From January 9 to 31, 2015, chef René Redzepi will close the doors of his highly acclaimed Copenhagen-based restaurant Noma and re-create his kitchen at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo. But those looking to taste his renowned signature cuisine—which has claimed number one on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list four times—won’t find it here.

Long curious to experiment with Japanese culinary traditions, chef Redzepi is cooking up something entirely new: a blend of his celebrated “time and place” food philosophy and traditional Japanese techniques and seasonal ingredients that he’s taken months to explore. (Rice, for instance, is something he has plans to integrate into a dessert, though he has never worked with the grain at Noma).

“René will bring something far beyond the typical pop-up restaurant experience,” explains Tony Costa, general manager at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo. “Typically a pop-up restaurant is an abridged version of the original—but René wants to do something very different.”

As a result, both the kitchen and the decor of the hotel’s Michelin-starred eatery, Signature, will be transformed to take on its own distinct look and feel. That includes singular tabletop elements and other details curated by both the chef and Costa.

With only 50 spots at each service, they are bound to fill up fast—which is why reservations can be made beginning at midnight on June 23 when booking the Noma at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo package ($1,455 for two). A small number of spaces will be reserved for dinner and lunch outside of the package deal ($380 a person; noma.dk/japan).

“Consider it a team-building exercise I’ve had in mind for a long time,” says Redzepi. “We are walking the plank, and it feels good.” 2-1-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo; 81-3/3270-8800; mandarinoriental.com/tokyo.

Music and Culture in Québec

Music and Culture in Québec
Festival d’ete de Québec

When it comes to music festivals, bigger isn’t always better. But when a sizable lineup still manages to feel well edited, as it does at the Festival d’été de Québec (July 3–13)—Canada’s largest outdoor music event—everyone wins.

“Diversity defines us and the program reflects it,” says CEO Daniel Gélinas. “Music is everywhere! Our festival is for the trend-setters, the followers, the curious—all of them.”

More than 300 shows featuring a thousand artists will take to ten indoor and outdoor stages throughout downtown Québec City for 11 days. Ambitious? Certainly. But with the historic capital as its backdrop—and a wealth of street performances and activities held throughout the city—the 47-year-old festival has a charming feel that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Lady Gaga, Blondie, Billy Joel, Queens of the Stone Age and ’90s grunge band Soundgarden headline. A tribute show pays homage to French-Canadian singer-songwriter, actor and poet Félix Leclerc, giving a nod to the happening’s hometown; Nigerian guitarist Bombino and Ivory Coast reggae singer Tiken Jah Fakoly represent a global contingent. The John Pizzarelli Quartet jazz troupe will play, as will British blues great John Mayall (both at the Impérial de Québec theater, which is pictured above).

“Staying on top is the most challenging aspect of putting together a festival like [this one],” says programming director Louis Bellavance. “We need to reinvent ourselves constantly in order to stay ahead. It’s all about balance.” We can’t wait to listen. infofestival.com.

A Legendary Reunion on Broadway

black stars of the great white way
Photo courtesy of Lisa Pacino

In October 2011, Chapman Roberts—the vocal arranger of and performer in hit shows such as Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar—gathered together more than 300 African American stage performers and behind-the-scenes professionals for a historic picture. “Nowhere in history did there exist a photo of the black performers of Broadway as a group,” Roberts says, adding that once he had such an accomplished crew assembled he couldn’t let the talent go untapped. “We decided to turn the photo into a live concert and celebrate ourselves and our predecessors.” Two years later, the musical revue Black Stars of the Great White Way debuted as a one-night-only event at New York’s Queensborough Performing Arts Center.

Those who may have missed that special show are in luck. On June 23, Roberts brings his production a step closer to the actual Great White Way (Broadway, that is), with a second one-night performance—The Black Stars of the Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream—at Carnegie Hall. More than just a collection of some of the most phenomenal talent to ever grace the stage, the nearly three-hour show is a tribute to pioneering African American performers (Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong), who helped pave the way for future entertainers.

Returning cast members include Ben Vereen, Hinton Battle and Cleavant Derricks—but the star lineup doesn’t stop there. With help from Live the Dream executive producer Norm Lewis, Roberts has wrangled even more wattage for his second go-round, including Tony Award winners Ben Harney and Obba Babatundé. Other legends like Keith David, André De Shields, Larry Marshall, Savion Glover and Maurice Hines round out the ensemble.

The performance is as much a passing of the torch as a historical recount for a new generation. “Legacy is essential to the survival of any culture,” Roberts says. Plus, the show is absolutely riveting and not to be missed. But if you need further convincing: Who knows when—if ever—such a legendary cast can be assembled again? June 23, 8 p.m.; 212-247-7800; carnegiehall.org.

A Limited-Edition Ai Weiwei Monograph

ai weiwei monograph
Photo credit: © Ai Weiwei (TASCHEN, 2014)

Artist Ai Weiwei has been busy. Just over the past few weeks, his works have been on display at the Brooklyn Museum, the Pérez Art Museum Miami and at Art Basel Hong Kong, and will show up on the island of Alcatraz in the fall. Always moving toward the next project, it would seem China’s most famous contemporary artist has little time to look back.

This summer, however, Hans Werner Holzwarth and Taschen release one of the most comprehensive studies of his work yet: A signed, limited-edition monograph ($1,500) done in collaboration with the artist himself.

“Working on a comprehensive monograph of a living artist is like curating a mega-large retrospective exhibition,” says Holzwarth, who spent about two years with Ai putting the book together. “He has become a household name, and now you need to take a comprehensive look at his work to understand how he got there.”

That journey is charted over the book’s 724 pages, which are filled with essays from Uli Sigg, the former Swiss ambassador to China and the artist’s long-time friend; Roger M. Buergel, curator of 2007’s Documenta art event; and a variety of experts on Chinese culture and politics. Exclusive interviews with Ai and myriad previously unseen images—including photos he took in New York, installation shots taken in his workshop and pictures from his studio—round out the display. “With Ai Weiwei, more than with other artists, it is important how things are made,” Holzwarth adds. “We really wanted to glue all the bits and pieces together to show the complete picture.”

As an added touch, each of the 1,000 special-edition copies comes wrapped in a silk scarf based on a detail from Straight, his work that references the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, and every chapter begins with a full-page opener designed by Ai in traditional paper-cut style. “To make an important book like this,” says Holzwarth, “everything has to be specially created out of the artist’s work.”

At least that’s one thing Ai can check off the to-do list. taschen.com.

Q&A: Artist Jamie Zigelbaum at Design Miami/ Basel

 Jamie Zigelbaum Design Miami Basel
Rendering by Carl Albrecht

Jamie Zigelbaum may tell you he's an art-and-design-world outsider, but that is likely to change, thanks to this year's Design Miami/ Basel (June 17–22; Messeplatz 1; 41-61/666-6464; basel2014.designmiami.com).

For its Design Commission, awarded biannually to early-career architects or designers, the fair invited the 36-year-old MIT Media Lab alum to create an immersive, site-specific installation in its 30,000-square-foot, Herzog & de Meuron–designed entrance hall—making it the first (and last) work visitors will see and the largest commission for the fair to date.

The piece, Triangular Series, is composed of 59 tetrahedral, crystalline-like white lights that hang from the room's ceiling, changing in intensity and hue in response to the movements of visitors below. Using complex technologies—including dynamic color-temperature LED lighting (which varies from warm to cool tones), advanced sensors and custom software—Zigelbaum explores the concept of entrainment, a phenomenon in which rhythms created by both living and non-living entities synchronize with one another.

Here, he discusses the work, the nexus of design and technology and the importance of fairs like Basel.

 

Q: What is it about entrainment that fascinates you?
A: Entrainment is a really interesting model for thinking about communication between very different types of things because it's the same phenomenon that will work with organic materials, like the flashing of fireflies, and with inorganic, non-lifelike things, like pendulums and metronomes. So it's this connective, invisible force, which is affecting various systems in very subtle ways, that gives rise to these complicated behaviors.

We've integrated these concepts into the physicality of this piece to create a dialogue between the people in the space and the installation. It is reacting to you and you are reacting to it in ways you don't understand. Those changes in lights are changing your own internal physiology—your heart rate, your breathing pattern. And then your motion in the space is feeding back into the system, changing the rhythm. The lights and the people are in this conversation—before they even know it.

Q: How would you describe the current relationship among art, design and technology?
A: Artists working and engaging with technology in a very authentic and direct way are able to help society process why we should use it. Design is about solving problems, art is asking questions—that's a clichéd answer, but it's fairly true. And technology is science applied. When you have artists working with these things, it allows us to ask why we want them in our lives.

Q: From a visitor's perspective—rather than that of an artist—what do you think is the value of fairs like Design Miami/ Basel?
A: You get to see one slice of the art world, which is the market-driven side. It's this thriving marketplace. A lot of artists are turned off by that, but there's new work being made, being sold—and its able to speak louder. It's a very lively, active environment.

Q: Is there anything you're particularly excited to see or do or experience at this year's Design Miami/ Basel?
A: This will be my third time in Basel and my seventh or eighth experience with Art Basel, including the Miami editions. I really look forward to wandering all the galleries—at Basel, the satellite fairs and museums. There's just so much art and design to see.

The Recipe: Spaghetti with Clams by The Gander

The Recipe: Spaghetti with Clams by The Gander
Jessica Colley

Cravings shift with the seasons, but comfort food always finds a home on the table. Pasta is a consistent crowd-pleaser—especially in the form of a revamped classic.

At The Gander (15 W. 18th St.; 212-229-9500; thegandernyc.com)—a new restaurant, located in New York’s Flatiron District, from chef Jesse Schenker of Recette—the ethos focuses on elevating familiar dishes. Schenker’s take on spaghetti with clams at the restaurant tosses housemade spaghetti with a lobster-clam sauce, three types of clams (razor, geoduck, littleneck), guanciale and braised fennel.

“This dish is one of my favorites on the menu,” says Schenker. “The adapted version here [easy for home cooks] works well using readily available items. It’s a great recipe for summer entertaining—it’s light and briny, and summer is prime season for fresh, succulent clams.”

Spaghetti with Clams
SERVES 4

1 lb spaghetti
16 oz clam juice
8 oz heavy cream
½ leek, chopped
½ Spanish onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed whole
20 littleneck clams, in shells
1 ½ cups dry white wine, such as a neutral Pinot Grigio
2 fennel bulbs, diced
2 cups dry vermouth
Pinch of fennel seeds

Cook pasta according to directions on box. Meanwhile, heat clam juice in a pan over high heat and cook for about 20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally—making sure it doesn’t burn—until juice is reduced by half. Add the cream and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until viscous. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in another pan over high heat and add the leek, onion, garlic and clams. Add white wine and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leek, onion, garlic and clams, set aside in a bowl and reserve liquid in a separate bowl. Add 2 tbsps butter to the pan and add fennel, vermouth and fennel seeds. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, and reduce until sticky, about 40 minutes. Add pasta, clams and sauce to the pan with fennel, toss and serve.

The Ideal London Apartment

The Ideal London Apartment
Jumeirah Living

Home rentals are an attractive option for a traveling family—that is, when the property matches the images shown on the Internet. After experiencing a recent bait and switch in Provence, where the “villa” I was supposed to inhabit turned out to be a dilapidated farmhouse, I began defaulting to the predictability of a hotel. But while making plans for a spring break in London, I heard about the two-year-old Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living, which has packaged the idea of a prime apartment rental with the benefits of a five-star hotel. The rewards of a rental without the risk—in Mayfair, no less? I booked on the spot.

Both the location (perched at the corner of Mount Street and Park Lane) and the lineage (the house is the former 19th-century residence of Robert Grosvenor and the Dukes of Westminster) lend instant prestige to the property. But once inside, the vibe is decidedly low-key and modern. Interior-design powerhouse Anouska Hempel revamped the edifice from top to bottom with schemes that play to the building’s heritage and contemporary personality.

To wit: The lobby’s atrium is sleek and open, with strategically placed original artwork inviting guests to venture further inside. In the middle, where a grand staircase once stood, the hotel restaurant basks in the glow of a seven-story ceiling studded with a dramatic high-tech chandelier.

But the rooms are what really wow. (Grosvenor’s 130 apartments range from studios to the five-bedroom, nearly 5,000-square-foot penthouse.) Our spacious, state-of-the-art two-bedroom, two-bath unit—complete with a phenomenal view of Hyde Park—featured amenities like flatscreen televisions, electronic shades, multiple temperature controls, multi-setting lighting (excellent for makeup application), a washer and a dryer and a full kitchen. Triple-paned windows blocked the din of London traffic. The bathrooms, often a musty affair in London, were bright and had excellent water pressure. Complete living and dining areas allowed my family to eat in and relax comfortably after a busy day.

Service is stellar but understated (i.e., no hovering). The hotel scored us challenging dinner reservations, an emergency hair appointment and various tickets, but when the concierge personally trotted out to procure decongestants for my hideous cold, I knew I was someplace special. The illness is already forgotten, but the experience will be treasured. Rooms start at $830; corner of Mount St. and Park Ln.; 44-20/7518-4444; jumeirah.com.

A Human Sculpture Gallery at Art Basel

A Human Sculpture Gallery at Art Basel
Courtesy of RUHRTRIENNALE 2012-14; © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.
All rights reserved. Pro Litteris, Zurich

“I’m not the type of curator who likes to put things in frames or on pedestals,” says Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1 and chief curator at large at the Museum of Modern Art.

The statement could apply to any number of projects he’s had a hand in (consider last year’s “A Lot of Sorrow” by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, in which the band The National played its song “Sorrow” continuously for six hours), but it serves as the perfect introduction to his latest work: “14 Rooms.” Created in collaboration with Hans-Ulrich Obrist—codirector of exhibitions and programs and director of international projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London—the exhibit opens June 14 for a run at this year’s Art Basel (June 19–22).

The work, first curated by the pair in 2011 for the Manchester International Festival as “11 Rooms,” invites 14 international artists to engage a room using actors as their primary “material.” Combining instruction art (explicit directions from artists to individuals on how to install their works) with performance art to create a series of immersive and intimate experiences, the exhibit showcases labor, performance, reinterpretation, dance or acting. The works in turn take on the proportions of a living sculpture gallery, with possibilities for spectator interaction and participation.

This year’s artists include Damien Hirst (whose piece is pictured above), Marina Abramovic, Tino Sehgal, Yoko Ono, Bruce Nauman and John Baldessari, who showcase pieces involving an endless chain of bartered goods, a group of dancers rotating in a chain and a person who floats mysteriously in midair.

“Normally exhibitions have a very limited lifespan—they come, they go, they are disbanded,” says Obrist. “Our exhibition, however, functions differently. It can continue to exist indefinitely in the form of instructions. Someone could easily revive ‘14 Rooms’ in a hundred years. It has only just begun.” June 14–22; Messeplatz 10; 41-58/200-2020; artbasel.com/en/Basel.

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