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.
An Art Magazine Featuring Beyoncé, Kelly Osbourne and Other Stars Like You’ve Never Seen Them BeforeFriday, August 29th, 2014
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.
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.
This past Saturday, the Steven Alan Home Shop in TriBeCa served up a sweet deal: complimentary cold-brew green tea blends from the Brooklyn- and Japan-based purveyor Tea Wing, and cookies and tea cakes from Burrow bakery for anyone browsing the store’s wares.
Having (iced) afternoon tea at the store wasn’t completely out of left field (the Home Shop stocks Tea Wing’s products year-round), but it was the first time Steven Alan had invited Kurokawa to fill the space with her unique treats, like lemon and hazelnut tea cakes. Although she’s best known for her custom portrait cookies — uncanny facial renderings in the form of palm-sized iced shortbread cookies that can be ordered online — Burrow’s founder and sole baker Ayako Kurokawa lends the same artfulness to her many other confections.
Squats, push-ups, lunges, sit-ups: these are the physical drills most of us have been familiar with since elementary school gym class. And according to Will Torres — the personal trainer behind Willspace whose clientele includes Calvin Klein, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Andy Cohen and the model Ashley Smith — they’re the basis to achieving your ideal body. That may sound like an overly simplistic notion, especially in this era of hybridized fitness routines, but at Torres’s intimate West Village studio, it’s the focus on precision and consistency that render these timeless workouts effective. “There’s no point in progressing to a new exercise if you haven’t perfected fundamental movements like hinging and torque,” Torres says. “And you don’t need a lot of equipment.”