October 03, 2013
Courtesy of the Pedro Reyes, Lisson Gallery, London, and Alumnos47 Foundation
Art fans on the East Coast needn’t travel far to see some of the world’s top new art from around the globe. The 2013 Carnegie International (October 5 to March 16)—a multi-part exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh—opens this weekend (October 4–6).
The survey encompasses four distinct components: A showing of new art produced by 35 artists from 19 countries; the Carnegie’s own collection; a smaller exhibit called “The Playground Project,” which delves into postwar playground design; and relationship-building with Pittsburgh itself.
Pulling together the 56th installment of the International, which began in 1896 (one year after the Venice Biennale’s debut), was no small feat. “This is by far the longest I’ve ever worked on any project: Three years of intense collaboration, conversation, epiphanies, mistakes, U-turns, and planning,” says Dan Byers, who curated the event with Tina Kukielski and Daniel Baumann. “The most difficult thing is to keep every decision and action infused with the excitement that we all have for the show and its artists.”
While traditionally the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art is de-installed for the International, this year it will live side-by-side with the exhibition. Look for piece like Stephanie Beroes’s Debt Begins at Twenty, a semi-fictionalized look at the post-punk music scene in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s; nature scenes by Charles Burchfield; and sculptures from the ’60s and ’70s by Paul Thek.
Presented roughly every three years, the International is one not to miss. “Through art we wanted to bring out the passion, humor, conflict and beauty of the everyday,” explains Kukielski, “both in Pittsburgh and beyond. 400 Forbes Ave.; 412-622-3131; cmoa.org.
September 30, 2013
Courtesy of Palacio del Inka
Cusco, Peru’s heady heights have a way of ambushing visitors with altitude sickness, so it is delightful when, upon arriving at Palacio del Inka, cordial staff usher you to a sofa and procure a cup of restorative coca-leaf tea to sip during check-in. Drinking the ancient remedy helps ward off dizziness, but it is just one of the many authentic reminders of Cusco’s glittering past to be found at the lovely hotel.
After a $15 million design revamp, the 203-room Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection property built on once-sacred Incan grounds, is now a grand ode to its city’s golden days. Beyond the simple red-tiled roof and blue-and-white Spanish Colonial façade, the dramatic reception area—with sunlight streaming through the vaulted ceiling and a sleek stone floor—is awash in colonial-era oil paintings.
Historic Cusco is, of course, the gateway to Machu Picchu and the nearby walled fortress of Sacsayhuaman, but when the hiking and ruins-gawking is done, find respite in Palacio del Inka’s intimate, lantern-filled spa. Keep the post-massage bliss going with a ritual that kicks off in the steam room, continues with pummeling jets in the therapy pool and ends in a Jacuzzi.
Wandering the city’s cobblestone streets and bustling plazas leads to the discovery of airy eateries like Greens Organic (135 Calle Santa Catalina Angosta; 51-8/425-4753), where you can unwind over bright-yellow chile trout tiradito. But do spend a night dining at the hotel’s restaurant Inti Raymi, amid a maze of doorways and courtyard sight lines. Vibrant Peruvian produce factors into dishes like aromatic white-truffle-potato soup and sage sauce-drizzled baked pork loin with mashed sweet potatoes. For a nightcap, sip a pisco sour at Rumi Bar, which flaunts an original Incan wall that is more than 500 years old.
The mansion-like Casa de los Cuatro Bustos suites (from $400), with their 13-foot–high ceilings, are worth the upgrade, especially those with balconies that overlook Incan masterpiece Coricancha, the temple of the Sun God. But the standard guestrooms (from $315)—dark wood, maroon hues, leather-wrapped headboards—are just as dreamy. 259 Plazoleta Santo Domingo; 51-1/518-6500; starwoodhotels.com.
September 30, 2013
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental
The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s world-class Oriental Spa is already popular among guests and locals alike, but the hotel’s new, facials-focused Beauty by Mandarin Oriental (opened September 18) takes the property's program to new heights.
The Garden Wing—a colonial-era-inspired section of Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, which is linked to the hotel’s original building and was previously used as accommodations—now houses four beautifully appointed treatment suites. Here, aestheticians perform exclusive, high-technology facials featuring products from !QMS Medicosmetics, an innovative skincare brand by cosmetic surgeon Erich Schulte.
“In this new space we can offer guests high-performance treatments that are separate from the offerings in the spa, so they can enjoy more options in line with their lifestyle aspirations and personal goals,” says Amanda Hyndman, general manager of the hotel. “Results-driven treatments from !QMS in Beauty by Mandarin Oriental and The Spa will remain fully committed to holistic well-being.”
The service menu features no less than nine facials, from a 45-minute deep-cleansing blitz to a 90-minute, ultra-targeted, antiaging skin-renewal ritual called the Pure Oxygen Treatment, which harnesses a concentrate of oxygen to amplify the smoothing and toning qualities of the products used. Beyond facials, body treatments (like the skin-firming Body Definer), manicures and pedicures are available, as well as a full retail section of beauty items that will support at-home maintenance. 48 Oriental Ave.; 66-2/659-9000; mandarinoriental.com.
September 30, 2013
Courtesy of Villa Arcadio Hotel & Resort
Nestled between Milan and Venice, far from the glittering crowds of Amalfi, sits Lake Garda, a retreat so spectacular, one thinks twice about chatting up its riches for fear of spoiling its pristine aura. Its charm lies in the area’s waterfront vistas and its quiet celebration of heritage. The towns are adamantly local; family-run hotels and private palazzos dot the shoreline. The glamour here is found in the distinct absence of glitz.
An ancient convent-turned-boutique hotel offers a slice of Lago di Garda paradise. Villa Arcadio Hotel & Resort (rooms, from $310; 2 Via Palazzina; 39-03/654-2281; hotelvillaarcadio.it) in Salo—with its frescoed walls, terracotta floors, vine-laden terraces and salons—imparts a homey, welcoming air that is at once relaxed and refined. But mamma mia, what a view! Every vantage point offers sweeping panoramas of the lake, mountains and olive groves. Mustering the motivation to venture off the property (and away from its glorious lattes) is a challenge.
When you do leave, rent a Riva boat (complete with a captain) at Arcangeli Centro Nautico (85 Via Pietro da Salo; 39-03/654-3443; arcangelicentronautico.it) and jet around the lake James Bond–style, stopping only for dips in the crystal-clear water. Be sure to visit Pasticceria Vassalli (84/86 Via S. Carlo; pasticceria-vassalli.it), a renowned pastry shop featuring sweets made with citrus fruit grown around Lake Garda, and stock up on local products (leather, honey, olive oil, limoncello) at Salo’s weekend market. For a high-wattage lakeside meal, book a table at the sumptuous Villa Feltrinelli (38–40 Via Rimembranza; 39-03/6579-8000; villafeltrinelli.com) for exquisitely prepared local cuisine.
Northern Italy is known for otherworldly olive oils and wines. A tasting at centuries-old olive-oil producer Azienda Agricola Comincioli (10 Via Roma, Frazione Castello; 39-03/6565-1141; comincioli.it) in Puegnago del Garda offers some of Italy’s brightest flavors. Spa enthusiasts should stop at the mineral springs at 120-year-old Terme di Sirmione (7 Viale Marconi, 39-03/091-6261; termedisirmione.com)—the recently upgraded Aquaria Thermal Wellness Center has a cutting-edge range of heat experiences and body treatments incorporating the famed sulfurous waters.
September 26, 2013
Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Boston
A very special slice of Africa’s artistic heritage has landed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Robert Owen Lehman Collection—the single greatest private holding of works of art from the Benin Kingdom, which was located in present-day Nigeria, dating from the late-15th to the 19th centuries—opened on September 24 as a new permanent gallery.
Joining the MFA’s collection of African art, which began in the 1990s, the 36 works in bronze and ivory include 15 relief plaques depicting rulers, dignitaries and narrative scenes; a variety of bronzes (copper alloy pieces produced and made in a lost wax-casting technique); and two late-15th-century ivory salt cellars from what is currently Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The Benin Kingdom ruled from the 12th to the 19th centuries, when British forces overtook it and removed thousands of pieces from the kingdom’s palace. “Rare” doesn’t begin to describe the museum’s acquisition. “Visitors will have an intimate look at some of the most exquisitely crafted works created by artists in Africa south of the Sahara desert,” says Christraud Geary, the MFA’s Teel senior curator of African and Oceanic art. “Many of the objects haven’t been on view in decades—and never in Boston.” 465 Huntington Ave.; 617-267-9300; mfa.org.
September 26, 2013
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a speck of a town in the northwest corner of the state, shoulders the Tennessee River and, though pretty, wouldn’t necessarily be notable except for one thing: its sound. That so-called Muscle Shoals sound—a soulful, down-and-dirty style that is as enigmatic as it is irresistible—fuels Muscle Shoals, a documentary chronicling the town’s musical heritage.
Some of the best-known songs from the ’60s and ’70s were recorded in the area, mostly at the pioneering Fame Studio by its founder, Rick Hall (pictured here with soul singer Clarence Carter). A complicated character who operated with near-legendary tenacity, Hall attracted the likes of Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett and Bob Seger. (The recording-session anecdotes are priceless.) All were drawn to the Muscle Shoals mystique; Fame’s house band, The Swampers; and the promise of producing revolutionary music.
Keith Richards, Steve Winwood, Gregg Allman, and others weigh in with stories that give new context to songs like “I’ll Take You There” (the Staple Singers), “Respect” (Franklin) and “Brown Sugar” (the Rolling Stones). Music lovers will hang on every word (and note). And while Muscle Shoals tries to unearth why the tiny town had such a pull, it ultimately proves that some things are simply best left a mystery. On demand, on iTunes and in theaters September 27; magpictures.com/muscleshoals.
September 26, 2013
Courtesy of L'Auberge de Sedona
Sedona, Arizona, is known for its creative art community, spiritual seekers and, above all, majestic red rocks. But over the past decade it has added to its appeal with a rise in boutique wineries.
The town is located in the Verde Valley, a region that—thanks to its soil (rocky, mineral-rich) and higher elevation (conducive to more complex flavors)—is ideal grape-growing territory. And though the area is in the early stages of its evolution, it is swiftly making a name. “Although we are relatively new to the wine industry, we are the fifth most Googled growing region in the country,” says David Crans, restaurant general manager at L’Auberge de Sedona (rooms from $225; 301 L’Auberge Ln.; 928-282-1661; lauberge.com), a resort with Sedona’s most extensive wine menu. “As this is such a young industry in the Verde Valley, there is much debate still as to what will be the signature varietals.”
In 2011, L’Auberge de Sedona finished a $25 million renovation, which included its Veranda Bar. Overlooking lush Oak Creek, with seating next to a granite bar inside and a fire pit outside, Veranda features Arizona varietals and blends that fill a full page of its 24-page wine list. Try the award-winning Malvasia Bianca, which pairs well with the Mediterranean-style dishes on the bar menu.
Wine lovers can also celebrate the burgeoning region with the lively annual Sedona Winefest (September 29–30; sedonawinefest.com). In its fifth year, the gathering is timed to the grape harvest and features more than 60 wines along with live music, food and art exhibitions.
Or ride down the Verde River in an inflatable kayak to a wine tasting on the Classic Water to Wine tour, led by Sedona Adventure Tours (877-673-3661; sedonaadventuretours.com). A guide takes guests down the gentle river, lined with sweeping willows and cottonwoods, and stops at the Tuscan-style farmhouse of Alcantara Vineyards (3445 S. Grapevine Way, Cottonwood; 929-649-8463; alcantaravineyard.com) after an hour of paddling. Relax and taste the offerings there before taking a shuttle back to the launch site.
September 23, 2013
Courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger
For some, shoes have a magnetic pull that is nearly impossible to resist—a fact that makes collaborations like the first between fashion titan Tommy Hilfiger and footwear designer George Esquivel all the more compelling. “The fact that two American designers came together to create something simply for the love of it is what makes this so special,” says Esquivel.
The four styles ($399 each)—a loafer and a brogue for both men and women (the women's brogue is pictured above)—are handmade in California, where Esquivel has been designing shoes from a studio in Orange County for a decade. Just 900 of the limited-edition pairs will be made, each requiring more than 100 steps and featuring hand-punched perforations, hand-appliquéd logos and individually polished soles and heels.
The designers’ relationship isn’t new. Esquivel, a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award nominee in 2009, joined the CFDA’s Americans in Paris program two years later. Hilfiger, a program mentor for four years, knew instantly that he wanted to work with him. A shoe Esquivel produced for Hilfiger’s Fall 2013 show at New York Fashion Week ultimately turned into the capsule collection. 681 Fifth Ave., New York; 212-223-1824; 157 N. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles; 310-247-1475; tommy.com.
September 23, 2013
Couretsy of Dallas Contemporary
Opened on September 21, the exhibit “Where Wild Won’t Break,” at the Dallas Contemporary, put the work of Faile—a Brooklyn-based twosome known for influential street-art collaborations—on display. Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller met nearly 20 years ago and have been working together since 1999, creating everything from large-scale paintings to sculptures to multimedia installations.
Though McNeil and Miller are predominantly known as part of the street-art genre, they have eked out a niche with their dynamic visual imagery to change its perception—which, thanks to fellow artists like Retna and Shepard Fairey and shows like 2011’s “Art in the Streets” at L.A.’s MoCA, has morphed drastically over the past few years.
Going southwest to Dallas was a bit outside Faile’s urban comfort zone of New York, but it also provided a great deal of inspiration. “The theme for the show was greatly inspired by Texas and the idea of the West and westerns,” they say. “Americana and quilt making were also influential, as they are ongoing themes in our work.”
The images created ultimately played out in many different directions. “Faile draws images from our collective visual culture and finds meaning in the clutter of pictures and illustrations,” says Pedro Alonzo, adjunct curator at Dallas Contemporary. “In doing so, they have developed an impressive body of work based on the creation of a unique vocabulary of icons.”
Considering their myriad examinations of mass culture, do McNeil and Miller have a favorite piece in the exhibition? “Between the two of us there were a few specific images that were favorites,” says the pair. “ Almost Midnight, Where the Hammer Drops and Werewolves of Laredo.” Giddyup, indeed. Through December 22; 161 Glass St.; 214-821-2522; dallascontemporary.org.
September 23, 2013
Couretsy of Range Rover
In a remote, mountainous spot in Wales called the Brecon Beacons, a miles-long stretch of public road runs through a military training ground. At its gate you are advised to stay on the asphalt at all times due to the risk of unexploded ordnance. Behind the wheel of the new 2014 Range Rover Sport ($63,495–$93,295; landroverusa.com)—a vehicle capable of handling any challenging terrain, Welsh or otherwise—the admonition is a bit frustrating. (All the more so since the hundreds of sheep that dot the surrounding landscape seem heedless of any danger.) Testament to the Range Rover’s quiet cabin interior, we didn’t hear the rifle shots from the firing range until we rolled down the windows.
Our foray into Wales began across the English border in Cheltenham—in the center of the Cotswolds—at the charming Ellenborough Park hotel and spa (Southern Rd.; 44-12/4254-5454; ellenboroughpark.com), a centuries-old estate that opened as a hotel in 2011. While Cheltenham is a busy town, our crossing into central Wales revealed a remote and rural landscape. The 2014 Sport, which seats five (plus two more in third-row seating if in a pinch), turned the daylong drive into a comfortable excursion. We climbed hills and gently descended the steepest grades thanks to a Terrain Response 2 system that automatically adjusts to varying road conditions, even when the track is submerged. Once in Wales, we fortified with tea and delicious Welsh cakes at The Bell at Skenfrith (Monmouthshire; 44-16/0075-0235; skenfrith.co.uk), a lovely inn where all the food is locally sourced.
You can choose from a supercharged V-6 or V-8 engine, but in general the bold-looking Sport is faster and more agile than its predecessor, due in large part to an all-aluminum chassis that shaves 813 pounds from the total weight. It made for a quick ride back to Cheltenham and the superb Montpellier Chapter hotel (Bayshill Rd., Montpellier; 44-12/4252-7788; themontpellierchapterhotel.com), where some ground-floor rooms have a “00” designation—fitting since actor Daniel Craig (aka James Bond in last year’s Skyfall) was employed to help introduce the car at its New York debut earlier this year.