Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Ball

The annual Life Ball held in Vienna is not only the largest AIDS charity event in Europe but one of the largest charity events of any kind in the entire world. Each year, celebrities such as Sharon Stone, Elton John and Neil Tennant join politicians such as Bill Clinton and a plethora of party-goers for concerts by performers such as Katy Perry and Nina Hagen, fashion shows by internationally famous designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Calvin Klein--and dancing. Lots of dancing.

This year's Life Ball takes place on May 21st. And to promote that, photographers Susanne Stemmer and Markus Morianz collaborated on a series of images based on this year's theme: "Spread the Wings of Tolerance," based on figures from Greek, Roman and Christian mythology. I see Zeus disguised as an eagle whisking Ganymede away, Icarus falling, Nike, Mercury, and Archangels Michael and Gabriel. These sumptuous images are a feast...


Monday, March 28, 2011

Fellini's Vatican Fashion Show

In preparation for my upcoming return to Italy, I have dusted off my copy of "Fellini's Roma" and am swooning--again--over the bizarre and truly terrifying Vatican Fashion Show that comes out of nowhere in this surreal travelogue.


BEAUTY: Interior and Architecture--Studio Guilherme Torres

I am normally not in the habit of posting minimalist architecture. While white cubes and concrete planes are interesting and pleasing to see and to ponder, regular readers of this blog will recognize that I am not really a minimalist. I am slightly more of a Tony Duquette-Kelly Wearstler-more-is-more kind of guy. Truth be told, I occupy a zone somewhere in between these two poles. But the OM House by Studio Guilherme Torres--as well as the Glass Pavilion from an earlier post here--seem to be exceptions. While the Glass Pavilion is noteworthy simply for its extensive use of glass and sprawling size (and its lineage to Mies van der Rohe), the OM House, located in Londrino, Brazil, is noteworthy for the warmth and earthiness it exudes. Far from a white, sterile or clinical contemporary minimalist space, Studio Guilherme Torres has managed to make this large and mostly empty house feel cozy. The choice of natural materials helps achieve this feeling as does the views of palm and bamboo trees through the glass curtain walls. Nearly all minimalist homes have a "Zen" sense to them, at least for me, but the OM House feels more "Zen" than usual for a spare, clean interior. Perhaps the materials and greenery recall a more authentic and organic Zen (Japanese) experience. I do however, have to make a humorous observation: in this spectacularly modernist masterpiece, an anachronistic Princess telephone with a cord is wall-mounted in the kitchen (seventh picture down)... how did that happen?


BEAUTY: Art--Kelly Louise Judd

Kelly Louise Judd shows her dark, Victorian-inspired artowrk on a website obliquely yet fittingly titled "Swan Bones Theater." Her paintings bring to mind visions of the Brothers Grimm, Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" and the Black Forest-filled Brothers Quay film "Institute Benjamenta." Judd also works in soft sculpture to bring her gently ominous visions to life; her enchanting anthropomorphic figures are clothed in voluminous Victorian dresses, just like the subjects in her paintings.

Top to bottom: Lead Us, Lantern; Forest Sleep; Why The Willow Weeps; Perched; The Mockingbird and the Hare; Edwardine, two views; Wilhelmine, two views; Odila 


BEAUTY: Interior--Amy Lau

After I posted here about L.A. designer Jeff Andrews' masterful 2010 Showtime House room based on the Showtime series "Dexter," I came across these pictures on Amy Lau's website of her "Dexter" room for the 2008 Showtime House. It's fun to see two very different and equally perfect takes on the show and the character played by Michael C. Hall; and it proves that there is no "right" answer in Interior Design, just expressions and interpretations.

First, Lau wrapped the ceiling, table, and floor in plastic, just like Dexter does before he chops up a victim. The clean white room (referencing the clinical and forensic work Dexter does as a blood spatter analyst) is an excellent backdrop for the slashes of red in her design. The red is intensified because it is the only color in the otherwise sterile space.

Blood references continue in the table setting. Stemware by Thomas Fuchs looks as if veins are running down the stem of each glass. Chargers and plates are cutsom made by Choplet. The flatware by Steve Butcher is from a line called
Dismantled Flatware--each piece has been amputated or drilled. And if you drink all of your wine during dinner,
you can help yourself to refills from the array of wine in test tubes in the centerpiece.

The art over the fireplace is by Nava Lubelski. The pierced and torn canvas, titled "Day Dreams,"
is stitched with red thread and splashed with red ink. Stephen Antonson's white candlesticks look like human vertebrae.

More art. On the wall over the credenza: the many pieces of Jane D'Arensbouirg's glass sculpture "Veins,"
inspired by cross sections of the human brain and the circulatory system. On the credenza:
Dustin Yellin's resin cubes in which are suspended the image of a human skull.

The chandelier over the dining table is Gregoire Abrial's "Drink Another," made from wine glasses
dipped in white latex and strung with wood, light bulbs, cables, wires, wax rope and ribbon.

On a mirror framed with human vertebrae by Stephen Antonson is a reference
to the string method Dexter uses to investigate crime scenes.

At the benefit dinner, guests enjoy sushi served on meat cleavers!


Friday, March 25, 2011

What Richard Saw Today

Richard Haines is a marvelous artist. He sketches fashion--and by extension, people--for clothing companies and runway shows. I envy the talent he has to see a shape and capture it in a quick pencil stroke. I have done quick sketches of people and faces before and this inspires me to do it again. I would love to sit in a public place with a sketchbook and capture head shapes, face shapes, tilts of chins, arm placements, postures... I think I will do that soon...

Visit his blog "What I Saw Today" to see more of his gorgeous sketches.

BEAUTY: Men--Sleeping Angels

Ssshhhh... don't wake them. They're such angels when they're sleeping.

Make something...anything!