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.
Graphic designer Jessica Walsh’s name is associated with a few very obvious words: talented (she’s won accolades from the Art Directors Club, Print magazine, SPD, and other major industry organizations); Sagmeister (her partner at design firm Sagmeister & Walsh); and nudity (her shocking photo announcing her position as partner at Sagmeister & Walsh).
Adding to that list, one might consider including “surreal,” as Walsh’s curiosity toward the idea has been formative in her childhood, her dreams, and her work. Though she doesn’t consider herself a surrealist by trade, she does find inspiration in the wonder-filled world of the surreal, from classic examples like Alice in Wonderland to contemporary exhibitions at the Whitney.
For Grammy-nominated musician and activist Kenna, storytelling isn’t just a form of art—it’s an almost involuntary form of existing. Sometimes he’s the voyeuristic outsider looking in on supposed narrative, and other times he’s the main character, surmounting challenges and writing the next chapter as he goes—but always sharing. Earlier this year, he led a group of friends and fellow performers on his second climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for his global clean water initiative. Not surprisingly, every picture tells a story…