“The people here are very renegade, very do-it-yourself,” Jimmy Moffat says during a recent tour through Red Hook Labs, the 11,000-square-foot photography studio and exhibition space he opened in Brooklyn just last month. Indeed, the industrial, hardscrabble setting seems a fitting one for Moffat, who famously launched the photography agency Art + Commerce in the early 1980s with Anne Kennedy and Leslie Sweeney out of Kennedy’s West Village apartment. “We would move her bed out when we had a meeting and put a little table down,” Moffat recalls. “There was a place called Texarkana downstairs. My friend was the bartender, and he set a dedicated line for me at the bar so I could answer calls there.” (more…)
When 8-year-old Lenox Buringrud, known by the name Yung Lenox, was asked about his first impressions of New York City, during a visit to town last weekend, he responded with appropriate candor: “It’s kinda smelly,” he said. Despite it being the hometown of several of his favorite rap artists — Action Bronson and A$AP Ferg, for example — the city’s trademark characteristics, such as the steady noise and unidentifiable odors, were clearly less impressive for the Seattle-based third grader who had arrived for the premiere of “Live Fast, Draw Yung,” a lighthearted, 16-minute documentary which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival last Friday.
The film, directed by Stacey Lee and Anthony Mathile, highlights Lenox as a then 7-year-old hip-hop portraitist and artist, whose illustrated likenesses of rappers such as Cam’ron, Kool Keith and Raekwon have turned the subjects into fans themselves — thanks to a sizable Instagram following. His work appeared at the Frieze Art Fair last year, and was shown at Lenox’s first solo exhibit in Los Angeles last May.
Even with the increasing attention, Lenox himself remains unfazed by it all, an advantage which his father, Skip Class, jokes has allowed him to keep his “charming and personable” personality. Meaning, he’s about as normal as any other 8-year-old. His trip to the world’s largest Toys “R” Us (“It was tall, but not like normal Toys ‘R’ Us.”), and a sighting of Times Square’s Naked Cowboy (“He had his underwear on.”) both drew shrugs, but naming his favorite moment from the film’s two-day shoot last year elicited his most enthusiastic response: “I got to eat doughnuts!”
Because landscape photography so often means rendering the setting and the subject one in the same, the final images usually offer little room for interpretation. They may be powerful or sweeping, but they’re more about place than personality. What the camera captures is what exists—nature in its purest state. For photographer Fabien Baron, though, the challenge to defy that notion was a siren call.
This past April, Baron traveled with a team of assistants to the western region of Greenland to create his provocative series called Monuments, nine medium-format black-and-white photographs of icebergs that lend an almost unsettling, sinister light to the northern territory’s frozen landscape. Given that Greenland’s local language has four different word roots to express the concept of snow—and four more for ice—an artist’s interpretation seems particularly welcome here. “I really wanted the experience to be different from what people have seen before,” Baron, who is also Interview’s editorial director, explains. He saw his study of the massive icebergs, some as wide as a few city blocks, as more than just environment, but rather as fearsome figures that come alive in his lens. “I wanted to shoot them at night,” he says. “I felt the icebergs looked even more dangerous and more special at night. And I wanted to light them up like monuments.”
What exactly is a feminist sculptor? Wangechi Mutu can tell you. A “homegrown feminist” since childhood (“I considered myself a feminist before I even knew what feminism was.”), her art explores ideas like race, gender, technology, colonialism, and consumption — often through a lens that challenges and deconstructs cultural depictions of women — African women in particular — and the female body. Hoping to achieve a balance of art and activism like her icons before her, from Arundhati Roy to Nina Simone, Mutu reminds us why that message matters, both in art and in life. “Because we assume it’s normal for women to earn less, work harder, be tidier, and demand not as much as a man, to me, it’s important to stand behind feminism as an idea.”
At 42, the Kenyan artist is regarded as one of the most significant African artists of her time. Her beautiful, unsettling, mysterious, powerful, erotic, even scary compositions are pieced together from magazine cut-outs, synthetic materials, beads, strips of leather, and fake hair. Adding even greater depth to these awe-inspiring pieces: the fact that her subjects of focus are typically female figures — strange chimeras bearing human, animal, botanical, serpentine, and machine-like traits.
Her recent show at the Brooklyn Museum, “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” presented a sprawling tour through more than 50 of these works. It was an epic, provocative, multi-medium retrospective; and for anyone who was lucky enough to experience it in person, it’s easy to see why Mutu earned the museum’s distinguished Artist of the Year award.
(Published: November 19, 2014, Refinery29)
Crack pie, compost cookies, cereal-milk-flavored soft serve — six years ago, these hilariously named confections would have been the stuff of fantastical sugar-laden dreams and late-night binges. Today, they’re signature trademarks of Milk Bar, the growing bakery franchise co-owned by David Chang and his pastry chef Christina Tosi. These madcap items are more than just trailblazing baked goods — they’re Tosi’s edible manifestations of what it means to be unapologetic about what you believe in.
Of course, trusting her gut plays heavily into the 32-year-old’s story of finding success as a chef and entrepreneur, most notably when she moved to New York to study pastry at the French Culinary Institute), and again when she joined David Chang’s Momofuku team — taking on a non-cooking job — back before the restaurant franchise was even a shadow of the globally known phenomenon it is today.
When Future Islands appeared on David Letterman’s “Late Show” last month, the blistering performance of “Seasons (Waiting On You)” went viral, amassing more than 1.3 million views on YouTube to date.
“We went out there and did what we do every night on tour,” said William Cashion, the band’s bass and guitar player, during a tour stop in Billings, Mont. “We’ve been at it a long time.”
Fans will get to see for themselves when Future Islands plays Webster Hall on Wednesday. Its following is a growing one, thanks in part to the Letterman performance, a relentless touring schedule (130 to 160 shows a year, said its lead singer, Samuel Herring ) and a new album, titled “Singles.” Since its official formation in 2006, the band has toured almost nonstop, racking up over 800 live shows along the way.
Camille Becerra is no stranger to departures and homecomings. “We actually lived here before,” the chef and food stylist says, waving around her sun-filled TriBeCa loft. “That day the towers went down, we physically left,” she says of Sept. 11, which prompted her to flee with her then six-month-old daughter to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, where they lived for seven years. During that period in her new neighborhood, Becerra opened Paloma, a restaurant housed in a converted parking garage, which she named after her daughter. In 2008 the restaurant burned down, and Becerra returned to her beloved loft in Manhattan.
Tom Scharpling’s long-running program, “The Best Show on WFMU,” had its name for a reason. Until its final broadcast last month, it was the Jersey City-based station’s most popular—a fact that isn’t lost on its successor.
” ‘The Best Show’ is an institution with hard-core fans, and I’m among them,” said the comedian Dave Hill. “Part of me doesn’t want to be that guy that comes in and replaces everyone’s favorite thing.”
He paused for a moment, then added, “but Tuesday, Jan. 7, mark my words, I’m showing up with guns blazing.”
It was Mr. Hill’s natural humor, equal parts self-effacement and sarcastic bravado, that helped him snag the coveted weekly block on WFMU, which broadcasts locally at 91.1 FM and streams online. “The God— Dave Hill Show” begins this week.