Artists’ residencies in Las Vegas tend to involve grand theater stages and bizarre ticketed performances, but at the Cosmopolitan hotel, the New York-based multimedia artist Lia Chavez has crafted an altogether different kind of spectacle. As the first in the annual lineup for the hotel’s P3Studio artist-in-residence program, Chavez has set up a surprisingly cerebral take on the notion of nightclubbing.
“I wanted to extract the very best elements of a great nightclub — namely, those encounters with ecstatic abandon — and create an experience all about that aspect,” Chavez explains. Her show, “The Octave of Visible Light: A Meditation Nightclub,” tracks and displays the real-time relationship between visitors’ oscillating brainwaves and corresponding colors and sounds for a mesmerizing spectacle that’s entirely unique to each participant.
Chef Christopher Lee, who helmed the kitchen at Chez Panisse between 1987 and 2003 and helped put Alice Waters’s locavore haven on the map, first immersed himself in Italian salumi-making in 1988. He wanted to cure his own prosciutto for the restaurant, but there was little information available in the US at the time. Under the tutelage of some of Italy’s most renowned curers and butchers, Lee spent the next decade visiting, observing and tasting in order to learn the process and technique behind this centuries-old tradition.
Today, he oversees the in-house salumi program at New York City’s il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, the only restaurant in the city permitted to cure its own meats on-site. “Our model is the flavor of Italy,” says Lee of the dozen or so varieties he offers, including culatello, coppa and, yes, prosciutto.
Read on for 10 of Lee’s favorite butchers, food shops and restaurants in Umbria, Tuscany, Chianti and Emilia-Romagna, where you’ll find terrific salumi—straight from the source—among other delicious local foods.
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)
Twice a year, Lily and Hopie Stockman, the siblings behind the textiles label Block Shop, begin designing a new collection from their home base in Los Angeles before traveling to India to oversee final production. “It’s gleefully low-tech,” remarks Lily of the entirely handmade process. The two-year-old brand, known for its colorful palette of limited-edition printed scarves and textiles, collaborates exclusively with a co-op in Bagru, a small city near Jaipur known for its natural dye processes and craftsmanship in traditional block printing. “We know every printer in our co-op, so we know who prints what scarf,” Lily says, adding that proceeds from sales go back into Bagru’s local community (earlier this year, the sisters sponsored a mobile health care clinic that treated over 200 individuals).
The Stockman sisters gave T an inside look into the making of their Autumn/Winter collection (available online today), a small-run selection of patterns that take equal inspiration from the graphic line drawings of Sol LeWitt and the elaborate landmarks of nearby Jaipur.
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The vegetarian-heavy menu trend in downtown Manhattan is picking up steam, but unlike other food fads, this one doesn’t seem like it will go out of fashion. In March, Bobby Flay opened the Mediterranean-inspired Gato, where the best-selling item is a kale and mushroom paella. In SoHo, stylish diners are flocking to Navy, where Camille Becerra incorporates ingredients sourced from a Pennsylvania farmers’ cooperative into a vegetable- and seafood-based menu that includes charred snow peas with peanuts, chili and basil. Later this fall, Amanda Cohen will move Dirt Candy, her popular meat-free restaurant, to a larger space on the Lower East Side, while Jean-Georges Vongerichten is expected to open his newest spot, a vegan and vegetarian eatery for ABC Home, in early 2015. At Narcissa, in the newly revamped Standard East Village hotel, John Fraser has made vegetables from the hotelier André Balazs’s upstate farm the basis of a fantastic meal. “Chefs aren’t thinking about how to make ‘vegetable’ dishes anymore,” according to Flay. “They’re making interesting, healthier dishes in general, and vegetables have become more a part of that.”
“I love flowers for their liveliness and vitality,” says the Marni designer Consuelo Castiglioni. And it shows: For the past two decades, blossoms have been a significant and recurring component in Castiglioni’s witty, often deeply personal collections. While it remains to be seen whether Castiglioni will send any garden motifs down the runway this Sunday, Marni flower power promises to be in full effect at the nearby Rotonda della Besana in Central Milan, where the brand will host a one-day pop-up flower market open to the public on the same day to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The photographers Dimitri Scheblanov and Jesper Carlsen forged a professional partnership under the moniker of Herring & Herring, a tribute to their shared love of the pickled fish. Under it, they produce provocative and modern images for commercial and editorial clients spanning from Gucci and DeBeers to Vice magazine. Last year the pair created their first issue of Herring & Herring magazine, a text-free monograph devoted to fashion photography, which they published under the title “Fit to Print” and sent out to industry colleagues and friends.
Next month, the duo will release their second issue and first available to the public, “Framed.” Featuring seven different covers, it’s a 100-page compendium of unexpected, humorous, sometimes absurd images of celebrity subjects: Elijah Wood living out a surrealist day in suburban Hollywood, Beyoncé cheekily showing off her curves, Fred Armisen posing as various archetypal characters, including a black-lipsticked goth rocker. The shoots were challenging for some; Kelly Osbourne, for instance, appeared with several other female models, all naked. “The experience went from terrifying to inspirational and gave me a whole new perspective and appreciation for self-confidence,” she wrote later on her blog.