Arts + Culture

October 15, 2014
By Nicole Schnitzler | Arts + Culture
The 2014 World Monuments Fund Gala & After Party
Courtesy of the Palace Museum / World Monuments Fund

When an organization has spent 50 years preserving cultural, architectural and artistic heritage around the globe, it can take more than 12 months to properly celebrate its achievements. With this spirit in mind, and in celebration of its forthcoming milestone anniversary of 2015, the World Monuments Fund is hosting a pair of events on Wednesday, October 22, that promise to be as lively as the 603 projects the organization has supported since its inception.

The evening begins with the Hadrian Gala at The Pierre. There, performances from The Peter Duchin Orchestra will weave together a cocktail hour, seated dinner and a ceremony honoring this year’s Hadrian Award winners: interior designer Mica Ertegün and contemporary artist Ellsworth Kelly.

The revelry continues at the fourth annual After Party—silent auctions, cocktails, canapés and music by DJ Big Data—at Phillips auction house. Organized by steering and benefit committees and a handful of co-chairs, including tastemakers Vogue editor Mieke ten Have Graham, model Amy Lemons-Sutton and actress Jeanne Marie Tripplehorn, the event guarantees a vibrant, youthful crowd.

“It’s important to involve young people in the ongoing preservation of our historical and architectural sites,” explains Aurora Kessler, a steering committee member of the organization’s Moai Circle, a community of young professionals who share an interest in world heritage conservation. “People have different experiences based on their involvements with various parts of the world, but everyone has a sense of appreciation for great beauty, artistic achievement and cultural relevance.”

Hadrian Gala begins at 7 p.m.; tickets start at $1,500; The Pierre, 2 E. 61st St.; After Party begins at 8:30 p.m.; tickets start at $100; Phillips, 450 Park Ave.;

August 28, 2014
By Gabriella Fuller | Arts + Culture
Artist Marcel Dzama at David Zwirner
Still from Marcel Dzama's Une danse des bouffons (or A Jester's dance), 2013 Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

Last year, the rapper Jay-Z invited what seemed to be half the art world to New York’s Pace Gallery to participate in the music video for his song “Picasso Baby.” Standing out among the famous artists, gallerists, actors and filmmakers was a man wearing a giant Minotaur head. This was artist Marcel Dzama, whose chimerical stunt perfectly reflected his sensibility in its absurdity, its collaborative approach and its deference to previous generations. (The bull’s head was an homage to Picasso’s own spirit animal.)

But Dzama is no clever music-video cameo. Discovered at 24 by David Zwirner, the artist, now 40, is at the center of a fecund community of hipster creatives hawking transformative nostalgia: He’s partnered with Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze, designed album covers for Beck and illustrated a collection by writer Nick Hornby. His insistence on collaboration, amid the soloists of Generation Me, is a throwback to the Dadaist collectives he often quotes. To wit: The invitation for his new show, “Une Danse des Bouffons (A Jester’s Dance),” at Zwirner’s New York gallery (September 9 to October 25), is a hand-addressed vinyl record with music by members of Arcade Fire. The show’s reference-laden centerpiece, the 17-minute film Jester’s Dance, is a meditation on and a reexamination of Dzama’s hero, Marcel Duchamp (see “Marcel Duchamp at the Pompidou”), which also borrows heavily from Picabia and Beuys and stars Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.

By reinterpreting the work of his forebears, Dzama inscribes himself in the art-historical cannon while noting, with touching Canadian modesty, that “like an exquisite corpse drawing, I’m just adding my little footnote to the huge mountain of what they’ve done.” At 525 and 533 W. 19th St.;

August 20, 2014
By Rebecca Milzoff | Arts + Culture

Culture Index: Fall's It Girl
Illustration by André Carrilho

Robyn Davidson’s book Tracks seemed tailor-made for a David Lean–style epic: In 1977, Davidson trekked across 1,700 miles of Australian outback, alone but for the company of four camels and a dog. “It’s a difficult book to adapt,” says director John Curran, who first encountered the story when backpacking through Australia in the early ’80s. “It’s first-person, this woman alone in the desert, with a lot of meditative moments.” He nonetheless tackled the memoir, casting Aussie native Mia Wasikowska as the lead. (The film opens September 19.) “As a character, she’s very quiet and reserved but also very sharp—she’s got that writer’s eye,” Curran says. Wasikowska is not the only star: Curran was particularly pleased with his four camel actors. “After a while, it was like the camels knew they were on camera,” he says with a laugh. “When we said, ‘Action,’ they were real hams.”


And Six Other Cultural To-Dos

9/4–14: The Toronto International Film Festival, the unofficial start of awards season, kicks off.

9/7: The fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire premieres today. Will Nucky survive?

9/10–13: Pianist Leif Oves Andsnes plays Beethoven’s first concerto at the San Francisco Symphony.

9/21: Yan Pei-Ming and Bertrand Lavier present new artworks at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles, France.

9/24: Malian songstress Rokia Traoré performs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.

9/27–12/14: London’s Royal Academy of Arts presents the first major retrospective of German painter Anselm Kiefer.

—By Julian Sancton

August 15, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Arts + Culture, Philanthropy

BAM's 24-Hour Movie-Marathon
Photo courtesy of E. Kaufman Harvey

Film buffs, get your popcorn ready. On September 5, 2014, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is hosting its first-ever 24-Hour Movie Marathon at the Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St.; 718-636-4100;, benefiting its arts-education programs that service more than 200 schools and reach over 30,000 students, teachers and parents each year. Starting at 8 p.m., participants will watch a full day’s worth of films back to back, interspersed with breaks for yoga, massages, coffee, wine and food (from Parker Red and Ted & Honey). Here, Stephanie Hughley, BAM’s vice president of education and humanities, and Matthew Bregman, vice president of development, discuss the inaugural event.

Tell us how this idea came to be. 
Matthew Bregman: Because our work is all about encouraging young artists, we wanted to raise money in a creative way, and a movie marathon seemed a really fun way to approach fundraising. That’s part of the message, too—engaging in fundraising doesn’t have to be serious and dull. It can be fun.

Talk about the films you’ll show. How were they curated?
Stephanie Hughley: As the event is a fundraiser for our arts-education programs, we immediately thought a back-to-school theme would be really fun—and there are so many great school-themed films, like Clueless and Dazed and Confused. The special guests who are joining us throughout the event [including celebrities like actor Taylor Schilling and world-champion rock climber Sasha DiGiulian] will be introducing some of the films, so we’ve left room to add their favorites, too.

Any major goals for this fundraiser?
MB: Beyond raising money, we want people to really enjoy themselves and come away from the event feeling even more connected to BAM and more enthusiastic about engaging in this kind of community-building project in the future.

Participants must raise a minimum of $250 through CrowdRise. To register or give support, visit Donations accepted through October 5.

July 22, 2014
By Robert Khederian | Art, Arts + Culture

Bottega Veneta Photographs Culture in Shanghai
Photo courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta may be best known for its sumptuous woven leather goods, but the Italian label is quickly establishing itself among art connoisseurs. Five art exhibitions have already been produced by the brand out of the second-floor gallery space of its Yifeng Galleria boutique in Shanghai, and earlier this summer it unveiled its sixth: A collection of photography by seven artists entitled “Pleasures of the Imagination.”

“I’m delighted with the latest exhibition and hope our clients find it inspiring,” says Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier. “Photography is one of my passions, so I’m particularly pleased with how well these exhibitions have been received by everyone who has visited.”

Following shows that have examined the art of the portrait, objects of everyday life and China’s heritage, “Pleasures of the Imagination” investigates how the seven participating artists interpret modern Chinese life and culture. And while Bottega Veneta ultimately hopes to foster the next generation of artists, it also seems to be strategically differentiating itself from its contemporaries. The shopping experience offered in Shanghai, coupled with a chance to peruse a culturally relevant compilation of esteemed local talent, demonstrates the brand’s understanding of a discerning customer that appreciates quality, craftsmanship and creativity in art as well as fashion.

“Our clients have high expectations and our goal is not to just meet those expectations, but to surpass them,” says president and CEO Marco Bizzarri. “I think we have managed to give them something they truly do not get anywhere else, but most importantly, something they appreciate on a personal level.”

While we’re hoping plans for stateside shows are in the works, it’s hard not to be excited by this thoughtfully holistic interpretation of luxury shopping. Through September; 86-21/5306-7650;

July 08, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Arts + Culture

Folk Art Takes Over Santa Fe
© Jim Arndt

The only one of its kind in the world, the International Folk Art Market—held on storied Museum Hill in Santa Fe (July 11–13), surrounded by views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains—is a riot of color, craft and, perhaps most importantly, opportunity. This year upwards of 150 artists from 60 countries will converge on the art-centric Southwestern city, drawing in nearly 25,000 visitors to peruse carvings, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, sculpture, textiles, basketry and more.

“I always find something new that I have never heard of,” says Keith Recker, a member of the market’s board of directors. “Last year it was cotton ikats from East Timor that knocked me flat. The year before it was the entrancing indigo fabrics of Malian designer Aboubakar Fofana.”

This year look out for the largest group (13) of Haitian artists ever to assemble to display work in the United States, sharing pieces that incorporate elements of voodoo, politics, family life, social challenges and the island’s natural beauty. But the expertly juried show goes beyond showcasing items. During the past decade (this month marks its 11th anniversary), 90 percent of its $19 million in sales has gone to its artists, who often contribute to their home communities by building structures like schools, houses, health clinics and clean-water wells.

While an appearance at the market can earn a participant a year’s living or more, and it works with entities like the Clinton Global Initiative, UNESCO and the Aspen Institute to further its mission, the core of the event centers on the stories of its artists—reminders of just how rich the genre really is.

“Every piece of folk art I’ve ever seen carries the touch of its makers,” says Recker. “There’s an intimacy in each piece, an embedded narrative of tradition and time, of talent and determination.” 505-992-7600;

June 25, 2014
By Janelle Zara | Arts + Culture

Postcard from the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale
Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia

History lessons, almost as a rule, tend to be on the dry side—unless, of course, they’re dispensed by Rem Koolhaas, the Pritzker prize–winning Dutch architect and polemicist known for never following the rules. Under his direction, “Fundamentals,” the newest edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale (through November 23;, which opened June 7, looks at the past hundred years of architecture’s global evolution in ways that are provocative, inspiring and almost never boring.

The main event takes place in Venice’s historic Giardini, where Napoléon Bonaparte’s former garden now houses 30 national pavilions, architectural marvels in which the 65 participating countries set up their shows. As a departure from Biennales past, which have highlighted glitzy, unrelated showcases of recent starchitectural achievements, Koolhaas prompted the exhibitors to look inward at the effects of globalization on national identity. Here are a few of the most stimulating standouts to catch this year.

  • Russia welcomes visitors with Day-Glo versions of the classic jet-age flight attendant—women decked out in pink and purple standing at the entrance to “Fair Enough” (pictured above), a darkly satirical trade show selling off farcical pieces of Russia’s architectural history, like vacation packages, metro stations, artist El Lissitzky and more.
  • The United States pavilion, led by a team of New York architects, academics and designers, hosts “OfficeUS,” a functioning architecture firm complete with receptionist, desks, MakerBot 3-D printers and fellows busily researching the past and present of their industry to produce a weekly design relating to an issue in American history. The results will be published in a series of four books at the Biennale’s end. They are happy to talk but by appointment only.
  • Korea puts on the best show and was rewarded for it with this year’s Golden Lion award for best pavilion. “Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula” is a profound look at both the North and South and how differences in economy and ideology can manifest in buildings. Although photographs of Pyongyang and Seoul show two separate histories with various architectural styles, the two cities share a search for national identity in the midst of rapid urbanization and foreign influence.
  • In the center of the main event is Koolhaas’s own pavilion, called “Elements of Architecture,” an exhibition that zooms in on the overlooked essentials of erecting a building: the floor, the walls, the ceiling…the toilet. An entire gallery, in fact, questions our cultural transformation through the lens of the loo, from using the stone-carved ancient Roman commode to the electronic bidet, under a very compelling premise: “The toilet is the most fundamental zone of interaction—on the most intimate level—between humans and architecture,” reads the exhibition’s wall text.
June 23, 2014
By Scott Rothkopf | Art, Arts + Culture, Museums

Jeff Koons
Collection of the artist. ©Jeff Koons.

Scott Rothkopf, curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art's survey of the artist, opening June 27.

Jeff Koons and I began talking about putting on a show in 2010. The Whitney knew it was going to be moving downtown, and we were thinking about ways to celebrate its departure from the Breuer building. An unprecedented Jeff Koons retrospective felt like an exciting grand finale. It allowed for something we’ve never done before: give a single artist the building. People are often shocked that Jeff has never had a major museum show in New York. But once we started working on the exhibit, it was clear why that might be. The works are very fragile—and very expensive. We’re talking about large porcelain objects that could break, shiny metal surfaces that attract fingerprints. To do the show required a tremendous amount of logistical collaboration. People are aware of Jeff as the center of hype about the marketplace, about artists as celebrities, about industrial fabrication. But that has obscured the fact that he’s made some of the great works of art in the last half century. The scandal of his reception is central to the way that he’s pushed the limits for so many artists today. I hope the exhibition will allow people to marvel at the variety of subjects, materials and scales that his art comprises. “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” is on view through October 19; 945 Madison Ave., New York;

March 31, 2014
By Departures Dispatch | Arts + Culture

Ailey II
Photo by Eduardo Patino, NYC .

Three can’t-miss cultural happenings this week.

  • Ailey II, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s showcase of up-and-coming dancers and choreographers, wows audiences with the same reason-defying physicality that its older sibling displays. The troupe kicks off its 40th anniversary season with three new works and standing favorites (David Adrian Freeland Jr. and Gentry Isaiah George are pictured here in Streams), one by AAADT artistic director Robert Battle, at Ailey Citigroup Theater. April 2–13; 405 W. 55th St.; 866-811-4111; —Ingrid Skjong
  • The 19th Biennale of Sydney (You Imagine What You Desire) kicked off last week with site-specific works in six locations by more than 60 contemporary artists from around the world. One highlight: Bianca Hester’s impromptu performance events (involving, say, “solar objects” and Hula-Hoops) on Cockatoo Island. Through June 9; —Christine Ajudua
  • On April 1, London’s Barbican will present Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor?, with artists like Damon Albarn and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke reinterpreting tunes by William Onyeabor, Nigeria’s mysterious 1970s electro-funk pioneer. (The show hits the Brooklyn Academy of Music next month [May 2–3;].) After half a decade spent tracking him down, David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label released a widely acclaimed reissue of Onyeabor’s songs last year. Now, his music will be performed live for the first time ever. Silk St.; —C.A.
March 06, 2014
By Departures Dispatch | Arts + Culture

The Culture Index
Courtesy of the Robert Mallary Estate and The Box, LA

Five can't-miss cultural happenings this week.

  • Between The Armory Show (March 6–9; Piers 92 & 94, 12th Ave. at 55th St.; and countless satellite fairs—we like the Independent (March 6–9; 548 W. 22nd St.; (Robert Mallary's Campbell's Soup Can Collage, 1980 is pictured above)—the art world is about to converge in New York. Don’t miss the 2014 Whitney Biennial (March 7 to May 25; 945 Madison Ave.;, the last to take place at the Madison Avenue museum before it moves downtown next spring. —Christina Ajudua
  • Known for staging theatrical, immersive screenings in abandoned locations, Secret Cinema is now bringing Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel to life in London at an undisclosed location. Viewers are treated as guests—there’s a check-in process and a dress code—and transported to a grand hotel in the fictional state of Zubrowka, circa 1932. Tickets start at $90; —C.A.
  • Hot on the heels of its inaugural performances in a gorgeously restored 1929 theater in Los Angeles (which attracted lines around the block), Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project heads to his native country with a varied program of modern works, notably Justin Peck’s much lauded Murder Ballads, at the Théâtre du Châtelet. March 5–9; tickets start at $20; 2 Rue Edouard Colonne; 33-1/40-28-28-28; —Rebecca Milzoff
  • The Metropolitan Opera’s inventive—so inventive, some have called it “revisionist”—staging of Borodin’s Prince Igor, based on a 12th-century epic poem, has earned raves for the bold way in which it dismantled, reconstructed and, in some cases, even filled in the unfinished masterpiece. If you made a mental note to get tickets as soon as you read those reviews, let us make it easy and give you a deadline: The opera’s last performance is March 8. Tickets start at $100; Lincoln Center Plaza; 212-362-6000; —Julian Sancton
  • The Abu Dhabi Festival ( kicks off three weeks of performances by top American artists—including Herbie Hancock (March 21), Renée Fleming (March 23) and the American Ballet Theater (March 29). Much like the announced outposts of the Louvre and the Guggenheim (opening in 2015 and 2017, respectively), the impressive lineup reflects the emirate’s unabashed ambition to become a cultural capital to rival any other city in the world. Tickets start at $35; —J.S.