Over four hundred members of New York’s glitterati gathered at the iconic Chelsea Hotel to view the artwork of an arguably even more iconic It Girl: Edie Sedgwick.
As industrialized societies and wealthy entities continue wreaking havoc on the earth’s climate and displacing millions of people in a mass migrant crisis, some artists are looking back and paying homage to how humans used to– and still do– live.
On view now at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens through February 26, 2023, “In Praise of Caves: Organic Architecture Projects from Mexico” is the culmination of decades of work by four Mexican artists-architects who explored the natural landscape of caves and created them in the modern context. Taking over the entire first floor of the museum, the exhibition offers a thought-provoking look at how humans live and move today, and how we might experience the future years to come.
The exhibition, with works by Carlos Lazo, Mathias Goeritz, Juan O’Gorman, and Javier Senosiain, questions how humans might reconnect with nature through shelter, bringing forth environments that came forth in Mexico during the 1900s. The Knockturnal was invited to the exhibition’s opening night ceremony on October 18, where art lovers packed into the museum’s first floor and were joined by the last living artist Javier Senosiain, who described his inspiration for such works and how he interacted with his fellow artists and Isamu Noguchi himself.
“To be an originalist, we have to go back to the origin of things,” Senosiain said through a translator, before asking the audience to close their eyes and imagine themselves in the womb at the time of their birth. “We are like astronauts floating in space, in a round shape with no windows, and feel this urge to be pushed through, with the lights shocking us.”
Senosiain explains that psychologists describe the action of being born as a traumatic experience, and explains this is due to the shape of where we find ourselves in.
“If we are born early, we are put in a glass box,” he says. “When we leave the square room, we take the rectangular train to our boxy apartments in New York, where we get pushed into these cradles with boarded sticks.”
“As we continue to grow, we crawl around the apartment, through the rectangular doors, and see the kitchen with boxes and squares on the wall.”
The artist continues down this path of reasoning until the very end. “And when we die, we get put into a box and lowered into a square in the ground.” Because of this, Senosiain puts forth, “we lose three very important aspects of our career: creativity, spontaneity, and freedom.”
Instead, he offers that we should reconsider how humans live on earth and how we interact with our natural landscape— in a not-so-square-ish way. By paying attention to the earth’s natural shelters and more specifically, its shapes, we can ensure humans, in general, will never lose the most important aspects of our lives, all the while helping mitigate the very crises that [some] humans helped create.
“We can return to the earth again,” Senosiain ended. “We can become human again.”
At the very beginning of October, we were invited to the Park Hyatt New York hotel for the latest art collection featuring Jeffrey Okyere-Agyeii, a contemporary abstract artist and bellman at the hotel. “TeRa-NiSeR ToTeMs” is inspired by Okyere-Agyei’s upbringing in Ghana, where totems are a large part of the physical symbology passed down through generations. Ghana is one of many cultures across the world that have totems embedded in their history through artifacts and storytelling. These totems possess spirits of animals, plants, and various other entities associated with their ancestors.
Marking Okyere-Agyei’s third exhibit at the iconic Park Hyatt New York, the collection titled “TeRa-NiSeR ToTeMs,” is inspired by the artist’s upbringing in Ghana, where totems were a large part of the physical symbology he experienced, as passed down through the generations. Ghana’s culture, artifacts, and storytelling, like many across the world, honor totems as important fixtures embedded in their history, and typically possess spirits of animals, plants, and various other entities associated with their ancestors.
“I have always been intrigued by ancient mythical artifacts and have found their relevance to the human story fascinating,” said Okyere-Agyei. “TeRa-NiSeR ToTeMs has become my creative interpretation of one aspect of our human history, modern art, and its spiritual symbology as a way to connect the past to the present. With the use of resin and vibrant color pigments, each piece has a unique mystical reverence about it.”
Last fall, the hotel presented Okyere-Agyei’s “EDIFICE,” an abstract interpretation of New York City’s incredible cityscapes and famous skyline. Prior to that in September 2019, Okyere-Agyei displayed his first Park Hyatt New York exhibit, “Future Art for the Present,” which reflected his love of movement in nature, space, and geometry.
The artist’s current installation began on September 14 and will be commemorated with a launch event in the hotel’s restaurant, The Living Room, on October 6. “TeRa-NiSeR ToTeMs” will be on display at Park Hyatt New York’s ground-level Avenue Gallery and in The Living Room through the end of December 2022.
This Sotheby’s Auction is Your Chance to Acquire Rare Jewelry as Art by Picasso, Calder, Braque, Man Ray, and Many More
A first for the venerable Sotheby’s Auction House, Art as Jewelry as Art is a groundbreaking auction in more ways than one.
Expertly assembled by Sotheby’s Artist Jewelry Specialist and Head of Sale Tiffany Dubin, Art as Jewelry as Art focuses on an emerging class of increasingly in-demand works: precious and rare examples of experimentation and exploration by some of the world’s most celebrated artists. Dubin’s conceptually-forward understanding of art celebrates these artists as they explore new mediums, scales, materials, and application. Many of these unique pieces allow collectors to wear the art.
Rife with conceptual integrity and craftsmanship, there are some 150 thoughtfully chosen works of art in the sale, many of which can be worn as adornment or exhibited as part of a collection. Despite being made up of over a century of work, the intent of this sale is very modern, where today’s collectors are seeking more interactive, more unique, and more personal works of art.
For Ms. Dubin, “The focus of artists and their jewelry was on three elements: ensuring that it is limited or unique; that the piece is emblematic of the artist’s oeuvre; and that it is representative of the time during which it was made.”
Among the highlights are Alexander Calder’s coils of hammered metal- presented as headbands, broaches and bracelets- which feel as if they’re an electric current fizzling with energy. These works have a rich provenance; closely associated with the Guggenheim family and once worn by Jeanne Moreau.
Claude Lalanne’s expression of personal style was through decorative flora and fauna, and that is deeply apparent in these works of jewelry as art. High achievements here include a series of creations taking advantage of an orchid-influenced motif. According to the catalogue, “[Lalanne] conceptualized these bronze works as gilded fossils to be worn and appreciated into perpetuity”. A highlight is a bold and poetic handbag. In a similar vein, a work by Andrew Grima (a favorite designer of the United Kingdom Royal Family) offers a remarkably accurate execution of a leaf as a broach with a diamond representing a dew drop.
As for contemporary artists, work is well-represented. Particularly special is Michele Oka Doner’s set of two “Talisman” necklaces, informed by her scholarly understanding and emotional connection to the primitive and abstract. At once a work of engineering and instinct, the layering of stones and wire creates a spiritually charged work.
The venue was an intimate all white space, with a non-traditional flow including two nooks for press. This also made the audience feel like they were apart of the show instead of onlookers. The bare runway allowed viewers to experience every color, texture, accessory and mood of each piece. Some audience favorites and runway highlights were; the pink high waisted cargo gown skirt, the white lace shirt dress, the lazer-cut confection dresses, and the multi beaded lace bodice crepe gown. The accessories were refined, subtle statement pieces and embellishments that complemented and highlighted each look. Every element of a timeless, elegant allure was observed in “Hotelito” . There were beaded sequined party looks, and flirty feminine summer cut outs. Plunging necklines, thigh high splits, and off the shoulder gowns serving just the right amount of skin. Greatness was in all aspects of this line especially in the thoughtful details!
Hall is so much more than an accomplished designer from Detroit. Kevin Hall is a mentor and teacher in his own right. His contributions to the fashion world extend beyond carefully curated, well sewn fabric. Providing the community with business, education, and mentorship opportunities for costume, and fashion designers. Kevin Hall is a fashion evolutionist! “Hotelito” is the perfect example of his passion, and gift to inspire and balance the bold, and dynamic, with hybrid fits draped in sexy, sophistication!
Last Saturday evening during a busy and eventful Hamptons weekend, the Southampton Arts Center held a party and at that time art lovers came to celebrate and toast three beloved local artists – Deborah Buck, Hal Buckner, and Elizabeth Strong-Cuevas – with the opening of their latest exhibition, Figures Transformed.
SAC Founding Co-Chair, Simone Levinson, told the crowded room, “Our mission has always been to build a community for the talented artists and art enthusiasts of New York’s East End. As I look around and see all of you here, it is a testament to what we do year-round. Thank you to our artists for inspiring us and to all of you for being part of our community. We’re very excited to have this exhibition as the perfect backdrop for our upcoming 2022 SummerFest! Before we’ve even sent out the invitations, we’ve raised over $500,000 and sold over 400 tickets! THAT is community.”
If you are interested in checking this exhibit for yourself, it is available until September 24, the multimedia exhibition displays works that use the figure as central imagery. Deborah Buck uses anthropomorphic and imaginary figures to create an other-worldly environment that beckons us to partake in a world beyond ours.
Hal Buckner utilizes the female figure to empower, celebrate, and alter the art historical canon. Strong-Cuevas focuses on the figure’s head as a representation of the whole, exploring inner consciousness, outer space and communication through space and time. The show is curated by Christina Mossaides Strassfield and sponsored by Sylvia Hemingway and Lana Jokel.
On September 1st the Southampton Arts Center will have their SummerFest event and at that time they will be honoring Helena and Rob Vahradian.
To start this article with the soliloquy reference, or not to start this article with the soliloquy reference, that is the question.
And because I lack total self control, I just did. But I urge you to think about what comes to mind when you think of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For starers, THEE aforementioned soliloquy. The ghost, the haunting familial betrayal. No matter how “different” the thousands of productions of Hamlet may seem, we have yet to see a production that truly is different – in feel, tone, structure, the list goes on…until James Ijames’ Fat Ham.
Fat Ham (which won the Pulitzer Prize in drama this year) completely reimagines a Hamlet, without putting the play or complex characters in a box. The writing is ever so poignant and approach to adaptation is modern, fresh, queer, and Black and almost Freudian in certain ways – as the show feels so familiar, but so eerily and distinctly different from the original text material from centuries ago. One of the themes that becomes clear throughout the 95 minute show is that nothing is concrete and everything “kind of” still a work in progress – and that’s totally okay!
Set at a summer barbecue in current day, this co-production between The Public Theatre and the National Black Theatre (Directed by Saheem Ali, of Merry Wives) goes here, there, and everywhere while exploring themes of queerness, bravery, and questioning societal expectations. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with Marcel Spears, who plays “Juicy”, our Hamlet-esque character.
TK: We have seen so many productions attempt a “new and fresh” approach to contemporary Shakespeare, but Fat Ham feels SO different for a multitude of reasons – off the top of my head, the Black and queer stories, the layered motifs and themes, but also as different as James Ijames Pulitzer Prize winning work may be, it feels true to Shakespeare’s original work and that’s remarkable. Can you tell us a bit about your approach for mastering that fine line?
MS: I have always had a unique relationship and approach to Shakespeare mostly because when I was first introduced to the work I felt so outside of it; As a young Black actor I always felt like Shakespeare was so inaccessible, I didn’t see very many actors that looked like me doing the work locally, it wasn’t until I started formal acting training that I was able to realize that Shakespeare is full of big messy emotions, and dirty jokes, it’s just as raw and ugly and wonderfully relatable as the world we live in today. It’s for everybody. I respect the structure of the language, but I dive into the work like I do anything else; with and abundance of curiosity and empathy.
TK: Juicy is such a complex, yet relatable character. I was rooting for Juicy throughout the play, even when the unthinkable happens – my heart sank, but I still was on Juicy’s journey and that could not have happened without your remarkable ability to breathe life into the character, flaws and all. Do you feel that you are similar and/or different to Juicy in certain ways – if so, how?
MS: I always put a little of myself into the characters I play, I try to find some common threads to ground the performance. Juicy loves his mom, he’s a southern boy etc. The work of an actor early in the process is to find your characters “why” and I think that was the trickiest part for me. Juicy in someways is absolutely fearless, but in the play he kept making choices that were so different from what Marcel would do. Finding JUICY’S “why” was a lot of fun for me.
TK: And a follow up to that, what is one major takeaway that you have learned about yourself from playing Juicy? Juicy has softened me up a little.
MS: I grew up in New Orleans, it’s a beautiful city, but it’s a tough city. I was always encouraged as a young man to be strong. Because I’m Black, because I’m poor, because I am me; I was to expect the world will treat me coldly and to meet that reality with unwavering force. As much as I have matured I still held on to pieces of that upbringing. Juicy helped to shatter most of that and caused me to reflect and redefine, what can be considered strength.
TK: What was your first reaction to reading the play for the first time? Specifically the scene between Juicy & Larry. (I don’t want to spoil so I’m not getting into great detail)
MS: When I first read this play I just knew I wanted to be apart of it. I hadn’t seen anything like it, I knew it was special. Specifically that scene between Juicy and Larry which is the scene I auditioned with is one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever seen or read in all of tv/film/ and theater. I think that’s all I can say without giving it away but it’s beautiful.
TK: You all look like you’re having a BLAST on that stage, but you really trust each other to go there with these characters – can you tell me a bit about your dynamic with your castmates? Also, how do you not crack up during the karaoke scenes or Tio’s gingerbread man monologue at the end?
MS: This cast has gotten very close very quickly, in theater actors learn to make fast friends, to build chemistry as a company for the purpose of telling a story, but I think early on our director Saheem Ali was so adamant about creating a space for deep and vulnerable work it also created a very tight bond. We genuinely enjoy each others company, and we have fun together, you can see that on stage. And the truth is Chris’ as Tio isn’t the scene that is most likely to crack everyone up, that charge goes to Benja playing Rabby, she breaks everyone, I think she enjoys it.
TK: What is the main thing you would like audiences to take away from Fat Ham?
MS: I think the thing I want audiences to walk away from this play with is a sense that Joy is contagious, even in the most difficult circumstances joy is a a radical act of love and kindness. Joy is revolutionary, it is a gift, and it can change your life and the lives of people around you, like it literally changes the world of this play.
We loved sitting down with Marcel as much as we loved watching Marcel light up the stage. With brilliant performances from Nikki Crawford, Chris Herbie Holland, Billy Eugene Jones, Calvin Leon Smith, Adriana Michell, and Benja Kay Thomas – run, don’t walk to catch this hysterical and relatable show.
P.S. – trust me, you will not be disappointed with the musical performances, but let those be a surprise.
Fat Ham is playing at The Public Theatre through July 31, 2022. Learn more about the full cast, creative team, and tickets by visiting https://publictheater.org/productions/season/2122/fat-ham/
Situated between the more suburban hamlet of Bridgehampton and the rugged, cliffy town of Montauk is East Hampton, last in the strand of Hamptons towns. Remarkably, as those places have changed, East Hampton has stood as a rock of resistance, committed to its farm-and-stock legacy- some aspect of high Bohemia in an otherwise summer colony scene.
Vast stands of trees, carpets of moss, tables of ferns, and busts of stray sand contain years of ecological history. The climate offers a calm humidity and the sun is intercepted by ocean mist, providing a glassy warm light making everything in view practically glow. Even to this day, some roads remain unpaved and unkempt in the most organic manner.
All of this in mind and it becomes clear why, in 1975 Jack Lenor Larsen, chose East Hampton to create a microcosm of what he treasured as a world-renowned textile designer. You can watch the PBS “Craft in America: Visionaries” series on Jack Lenor Larsen here. At the 16-acre LongHouse Reserve, there is a deep dive into an organic soul, with every inch of its territory not only preserved, but reconsidered and critically respected. LongHouse Reserve is a remarkable integration of nature, art, and design. Unpredictable, extensive, unlimited in inspiration, its gardens present entire landscapes as an art form.
While awe-inspiring scenes of stillness can define the experience of Longhouse Reserve, the Reserve tends to be bustling with activity on any given day. Under the leadership of interim director Carrie Rebora Barrat, a former deputy director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and former president and CEO of the New York Botanical Garden, Longhouse Reserve has become a dynamic place to be, with all sorts of events take place all through the year.
To this end, Longhouse Reserve has become a meeting place for creative people who appreciate the environment and arts. The events schedule this summer is extremely robust, including a well-received conversation series which has included the likes of Lee Skolnick, Bjorn Amelan (whose work is now on view at LongHouse Reserve), and Michele Oka Doner, whose Florida-based childhood was the fuel for a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world. The talks, situated under a shade tree and near a pond, offer an inspiring sense of clarity and ritual to attendees.
Just this weekend, LongHouse Reserve supporters celebrated with ONWARD, LongHouse Reserve’s annual summer benefit which managed to raise over half a million dollars for the garden. The likes of actor Nathan Lane, sculptor Alice Aycock, fashion executive Fern Mallis came together to support the East Hampton institution with dancing, food, and an opportunity to experience the LongHouse Reserve after hours.
The summer benefit is LongHouse Reserve’s largest event of the year, with all proceeds going towards the mission of teaching living with art in all its forms; including diverse educational outreach, community programming, and maintenance of the grounds.
“Botanical gardens across the country have invested huge resources over the past 10 years only into bringing art to their properties because they recognize that the combination of arts and nature draws more people.”
– Carrie Rebora Barrat
Global travels and art defined Larsen’s legendary practice (with works now in the collections of MoMA and the Louvre, among so many others) and they are fully reflected in the territory of Longhouse Reserve. Today, it includes the house, a tranquil and human-oriented interpretation of an A-frame design, and the extensive grounds filled with roughly 60 contemporary sculptures, a combination of pieces on loan and permanent works, including Buckminster Fuller’s “Fly’s Eye Dome” and Yoko Ono’s giant, monochromatic chess game, “Play It by Trust.” The Pavilion is set at the end of Peters Pond, which accepts the sun with joy and lily pads stage against grand Dale Chihuly works.
The grounds are intentionally divided by privet hedges, offering “rooms” to explore, with some areas featuring human-made art (particularly immersive is the Sol LeWitt sculpture) while others indulge in the beauty of the environment (The Dunes and Grass Garden, for example). Wherever you walk, elements of surprise and amusement are baked into the experience. Less anticipated is the sense of oneness and control in the environment, delightfully rare by today’s standard. And that’s just in the daytime. LongHouse Reserve can be illuminated to provide an entirely new experience by night.
LongHouse Reserve is located at 133 Hands Creek Road, East Hampton NY 11937. Learn more and reserve tickets here.