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    The virtues of Scandinavian design — clean lines, generously applied curves, and a high premium on function — were the winning formula this year at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit. Volvo, virtually the last Scandinavian automaker standing, took the annual Eyes on Design award for both Best Concept Car and Best Use of Color, Graphics, and Materials for its newly unveiled Concept XC Coupe, a preview of the design details of the forthcoming 2015 Volvo XC90 SUV — and the new design language for the brand as a whole.

    That’s not to say that the new two-door, plug-in hybrid sport utility vehicle makes any overt references to the likes of Hans Wegner or other Scandinavian design legends. “We’re not designing furniture or architecture. We have to find our own way, how to design a Scandinavian flavored car,” senior vice president of design Thomas Ingenlath, former head of Volkswagon’s Design Center in Potsdam, Germany, explained in an interview with Autonet. The Concept XC Coupe instead looked at the needs of the contemporary driver, actually taking its cues from Stockholm-based high-tech ski gear manufacturer POC Sports. (“Outdoor activities are an important part of the Swedish lifestyle,” Ingenlath said in a statement. To drive this point home, the coupe arrived in Detroit with a ski box already fixed to its roof.)

    A key feature of XC Coupe is the spacious cargo area in which untold pairs of skis will be stowed, and with its 21-inch wheels, heightened roofline, and elongated hood, the coupe commands a muscular presence. But the car’s easygoing Scandinavian persona is maintained by a lack of sharp corners, an elegantly bow-shaped beltline, and cheerful bursts of orange on the tires and under the body. Illustrating new design signatures that will become standard for every Volvo model going forward, the coupe’s circular logo actually “floats” above a concave grill, flanked by new T-shaped LED headlamps. In the back, the slender taillights take a sculptural turn, resembling bright brushstrokes tracing the outline of the back windshield and into the trunk. Beneath the exterior, the coupe demonstrates Volvo’s “Scalable Product Architecture” (affectionately referred to as SPA), a new approach to engineering lightweight, resilient safety cages designed to accommodate high-tech amenities: sensors, cameras, microprocessors, or rearward-facing radar that trigger a tightening of seatbelts under the threat of collision, for example.

    “Scandinavian design certainly is very clearly defined: purity, elegance,” Ingenlath said. “To deliver on that flair and that feeling of purity and elegance and the beauty of Scandinavian design, one key factor definitely is to, in the background, be very strong in detail execution, quality, and precision. If we get that right, Scandinavian design can shine and be convincing. If you don’t get that right, it can be very pale and poor.”

    While Volvo took Detroit’s “Best” title, ARTINFO found a range of other superlatives gracing the showroom floor. To see our picks for the best-designed exterior, most coveted interior, and more, click the slideshow.

    Best Exterior Design: Porsche 911 Targa

    Feeding our ongoing, “Mad Men”-induced obsession with the mid-century, Porsche re-launched the unmistakably hedonistic curves of its iconic 1965 911 Targa, hoop-shaped roof bar and all, but with an important twist: the formerly manual removable roof panel is now powered by the touch of a button, with opening or closing in 19 seconds. Under the hood, the throwback style boasts two different options: the Targa 4, featuring a 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine of 350 hp, or the Targa 4S, with a 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine of 400 hp.

    Most Coveted Interior: Bentley Continental GT V8 S

    Sporting a leaner, lower profile, the Continental GT V8 S mixes beauty and brawn, as much on the inside as it does on the surface. Its luxuriously spacious interior exudes an opulence in real craft materials — wood (in this case, dark fiddleback eucalyptus), buttery black and beige leather, and lustrous metal detailing — tempered by sporty allusions to the brand’s racing history. The contours and embroidered stripes of the seats offer subtle, racecar-like reminders that you’re inside a car built for speed.

    Most Gadgets: Cadillac ATS Coupe

    The high-tech entertainment amenities alone of this two-door coupe offer the feel of a well-appointed living room, but it’s the particular attentiveness to the driver’s every need that elevates the experience to staying a four-star hotel. There’s the 8-inch LDC touchscreen at the center console that manages Cadillac’s CUE entertainment system, which entails a GPS, Pandora, phone numbers to your favorite restaurant delivery services, a wifi hot spot for up to seven devices at once, Siri Eyes Free for those with an iPhone, and a 12-speaker Bose system that adjusts the volume to the presence of ambient sounds. Taking into account the drawbacks that come with such a large cabin, motorized carriers hand you your seatbelt in order to minimize your reach. On the safety end, the ATS Coupe offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and a display projected onto the windshield in front of the driver as a “heads up” to the threat of collision. Think of your car as an all-encompassing Rosie the Robot.

    Raciest: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept

    For all the subtlety, sophistication, and off-white paint jobs most of the luxury brands have to offer, Infiniti’s new concept, unveiled in a fiery red accented with dark chrome, injects a crowd-pleasing thrill into the auto show. Its aggressively sharp, broad-shouldered frame evokes a Formula One racecar, specifically the Infiniti Red Bull RB9 that three-time World Drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel drove to victory during the 2013 Formula One season. The curving, double air-vented hood and the spoiler stretching across the rear above the fog light packaging do justice to its namesake Eau Rouge, the most famous corner of Belgium’s world-renowned Spa-Francorchamps racetrack. “If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque… a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction,” Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen said in the car’s press release. When mixing Red Bull with Formula One, we couldn’t expect any less.

    Designed for Speed and Style: The Best of the Detroit Auto Show
    Volvo Concept XC Coupé

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    Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby Present Men's Collection [VIDEO]

    PARIS — Raf Simons drew nods of approval from the fashion cognoscenti on Wednesday night as he shared the stage with his old chum, the California-based artist Sterling Ruby, for the presentation of their co-branded Fall/Winter ’14 menswear collection, which will be sold under the Raf Simons-Sterling Ruby label.

    A creepy soundtrack of turning helicopter rotor blades and a man laughing flushed into Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” as models stomped down the runway, stepping through padded rectangular cotton sculptures honed from a stars-and-stripes fabric with two tie-shaped strips hanging down. Channeling a distinctly urban aesthetic, the artsy top-heavy collection paired oversized outerwear with skinny black pants, finished with cartoonish two-tone shoes. Rectangular swatches of fabric, tape printed with slogans like “FATHERS,” and cut-out images of shark jaws, planets and starry skies emblazoned classic trenches and camel hair coats, with accents of colored bands on cuffs and hems recalling poncho stripes.

    Surprisingly, there wasn’t a bandana (Ruby's fetish headgear, and one of his art props) in sight, though the artist’s signature bleach stains cropped up as a print on sporty anoraks and parkas.

    It proved a harmonious, covetable, surprisingly wearable effort for the duo who in 2008 collaborated on the design of a (since shuttered) Raf Simons store in Tokyo. Simons, who has been collecting Sterling’s work since the beginning of his career, also used denim bleached by the artist for a capsule of jeans and jackets in 2009, and used four canvases by Sterling to create prints for three dresses and a coat in his debut couture collection as creative director of Christian Dior, presented in July 2012.


    Raf Simons, Sterling Ruby, collaboration, Paris men's fashion week,

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    Given world renowned photographer David LaChapelle’s immersion in the realm of celebrity and pop culture — including his recent starring role in creating the Kardashian family’s most over-the-top Christmas card yet — it is hard not to be partly taken aback by the subject matter in his new exhibition: dramatic shots of oil refineries and gas stations that offer extensive discourse on the precarious state of the planet and the human race.

    “LAND SCAPE,” LaChapelle’s latest show at Chelsea’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, tackles these issues through large-scale chromomeric prints of handcrafted and hauntingly lit manmade sets.   

    “I just had this image in my head of a gas station in the jungle like a little glowing temple,” LaChapelle told ARTINFO several days before the exhibition’s January 17 opening, during an interview at the gallery. “I didn’t know what it meant at the time. I just saw the image and I thought it was beautiful. I told my friend and we started building models out of simple materials like cardboard.”

    It wasn’t until later in the process of building and photographing the gas station models, all of which were shot in Maui, where LaChapelle resides, that he understood what the stations meant for him. They “are quite profound in the sense that they are a symbol of the industrial revolution and the use of fossil fuels, which really completely changed the human trajectory. This is what brought up civilization but it also brought it down,” he said. 

    “We are at a precipice,” he added. “I can’t imagine 20 years from now the world moving as rapidly as it is, the atmosphere changing each year and CO2 levels increasing.” Noting that every culture that has survived has lived sustainably, LaChapelle seems somewhat encouraged by society’s current focus on that concept. But he is cautiously optimistic. “The question now is will we get it in time to make a dent.”

    Following construction of the gas stations, LaChapelle and his team created and photographed scaled models of eerily lit refineries crafted out of recycled materials including soup cans, egg cartons, tea canisters, and hair curlers, as well as  “other by-products of our petroleum-based disposability-obsessed culture,” writes Los Angeles-based critic and curator Shana Nys Dambrot in the introductory essay to the show catalogue. The stations and refineries are “staged as architectural avatars of a planet coping with the stresses of peak-oil — even as the buildings’ dazzling spectacle and retro-future aesthetic distracts from the dangers of their function.”

    LaChapelle described how he sees the refineries as objects of both attraction and repulsion, a sentiment skillfully portrayed in the images. “When you’re a child and you see these refineries at night, you think, ‘Oh how beautiful, like the Emerald City, or Oz.’ And then you see them as a grown up and think, ‘Oh that’s bad, it causes pollution.’” He continued, “Well it’s neither good or bad, it’s what you do with it.”

    The “refinery” portion of the show was created and shot at sites throughout the deserts and coastline of California. The entire series took about three years to create.

    LaChapelle seems pleasantly surprised at how well received his later bodies of work have been, since they mark a departure from the decadent, neon-hued celebrity portraits and elaborately staged magazine shoots that catapulted him to worldwide fame. When he decamped to Maui in the mid-2000s, where he lives on a farm he bought and runs, he thought he wouldn’t be invited back to show at galleries. “I thought I’d burnt that bridge,” he said.

    The artist first started showing occasionally in New York back in the 1980s. Later, when he became famous for his magazine work, he maintained a presence in several top galleries. But he felt he lacked credibility in the art world. “I thought I was a novelty act, a celebrity draw, that they weren’t taking me seriously and vice versa.” Nonetheless, he was encouraged by the freedom he was given to explore new subject matter that wasn’t dictated by the fashion world. Indeed, some of his top-selling works at auction have been images from his mid-2000s “Deluge” series, including “Deluge: Museum” (2007), an unsettling image of a flooded museum with Old Masters hanging a few feet above the water line.

    “There is a responsibility there,” he said. “I want to put pictures on the wall that meant something, and had something to say. I can spend much more time thinking about them now. It’s a different chapter in my life.”

    Click on the slideshow to see images from LAND SCAPE.

    Responsible Art: David LaChapelle's "LAND SCAPE"
    David LaChapelle next to "Land Scape: Pacific Sunset" (2013)

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    Performing Arts Pick: "Living Well Is The Best Revenge"

    This week’s Performing Arts pick comes from Calvin Tomkins, who has been writing exquisite profiles of artists for the New Yorker since 1962. “Living Well Is the Best Revenge,” a book that developed out of an early profile, has recently been reissued by the Museum of Modern Art, and expanded with additional information.

    The book chronicles the many lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy, the free-spirited couple who played an integral role in the lives of such famous artists as Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso. Tomkins, as he notes in the introduction, literally stumbled upon the story. One day, as he chased his young daughters into a neighboring yard, he found Gerald Murphy, now and old man, tending to his garden. From there, a burgeoning friendship blossomed. 

    Both coming from wealthy families, the Murphys had the financial means to decamp to Europe, which was then witnessing a moment of artistic brilliance. Expatriate artists had landed in Paris from all over, making the city a global hub of modern art and literature. The Murphys, a little older than most of the artists in their circle, became figureheads of the scene, their vibrant presence adored by all. Gertrude Stein admired them; Man Ray would take their family photographs. To read their life is to read a compacted history of 20th century art. Their impact would be cemented in history by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who based the main characters of his novel “Tender is the Night” on the couple.

    Almost unbelievably, the Murphys also had a hand in the early days of Ballets Russes, where they volunteered to help paint scenery. Later, Gerald would co-write his own ballet that satirized the tabloid nature of Hearts newspapers, with a score by his old friend Cole Porter. 

    The book includes an expanded version of the original profile, along with a prologue that considers the brief painting career of Gerald Murphy. His total output was just 15 paintings, only seven of which have survived, but as Tomkins perceptively notes, the small collection “has come to seem increasingly significant in the history of twentieth century art.”

    In addition to “Living Well Is the Best Revenge,” MoMA will reissue Tomkins’s biography of Marcel Duchamp, first published in 1996, at the end of January.

    "Living Well is the Best Revenge" ($14.95) can be purchaed at the MoMA Store. 

    Sara and Gerald Murphy at a costume ball in Montparnasse, c. 1922.

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    Dealers Dispute Brancusi Bronzes, DIA Told to Raise $100M, and More

    Brancusi Show Revives Row: A long-standing dispute over the authenticity of bronze sculptures cast from Constantin Brancusi’s original plaster molds after the artist’s death is flaring up again thanks to a show of five such objects at Paul Kasmin Gallery that the dealer brokered through a new partnership with Brancusi’s estate. “There is no such thing as a posthumous edition of a Brancusi — there are replicas, which is what these are,” said New York-based dealer and collector Asher Edelman. [WSJ]


    – DIA May Have to Pay For Help: The Detroit Institute of Arts has received a pledge of $330 million from a coalition of charitable organizations looking to safeguard its collection and prop up municipal pension funds, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is trying to broker a deal whereby the state can kick in another $300-400 million. But Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr said in his first meeting with museum officials on Thursday that the institution may have to contribute an additional $100 million of its own over a 20-year span in order to access those funds. Shedding some light on the matter, Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation, said, “At the end of the day, the package has to have a philanthropic component, a state component, and a DIA component, and each one of those has to be substantial.” DIA officials, however, say it’s not possible. “It’s completely unfeasible to do that and continue to raise what we do to cover expenses and what we’ve committed to raise in endowment dollars,” said Annmarie Erickson, DIA’s chief operating officer. “This is a delicate balance. If we can’t secure our financial future, everything will come undone, and that would be a tragedy.” [Detroit Free Press]

    Louvre Sends Another Leonardo to the Lab: Following the extensive and controversial conservation work done on Leonardo da Vinci’s “Saint Anne” by the Louvre, observers are understandably uneasy by the Parisian museum’s decision to send the artist’s dramatic portrait of an unknown woman, “La Belle Ferronière,” away for restoration — including the removal of several layers of yellowing varnish. It’s unclear how the work, which da Vinci painted on a walnut panel sometime between 1495-99, came into François I’s collection, but it was only attributed to da Vinci some 20 years ago. [Le Figaro]

    Hedge Funder Leaves Collection to Whitney: Hedge fund manager Robert W. Wilson, who committed suicide in December, left his entire art collection save one piece — James Rosenquist’s “The Meteor Hits the Swimmer’s Pillow” — to the Whitney Museum, where he was a board member. [Bloomberg]

    Frick Keeps Its Vermeers in Line: Following the huge success of “Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting From Mauritshuis,” which closes Sunday, the Frick Collection will keep its three Vermeer paintings — “Officer and Laughing Girl,” “Girl Interrupted at Her Music,” and “Mistress and Maid” — installed side-by-side for at least another two months in hopes of sustaining the renewed interest in Dutch Golden Age painting. [NYT]

    New Non-Profit Art Book Publisher: The Artist Book Foundation is a newly formed non-profit co-founded by Gibb Taylor and Leslie Pell van Breen that will publish books and catalogues devoted to artists and exhibitions that would otherwise receive little attention, donating 10 percent of every print run to university, art, and public libraries. [NYT]

    – The Metropolitan Museum has put Swiss Symbolist Ferdinand Hodler’s massive 1898 painting “Der Traum des Hirten” (“The Dream of the Shepherd”) — which it acquired from Christie’s in Zurich last month for $3.25 million — on view in its 19th-century painting galleries. [NYT]

    – The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College has bestowed its 2014 Award for Curatorial Excellence upon Van Abbemuseum director and 2014 Sao Paulo Biennial curator Charles Esche. [Press release]

    – Antique dealers Anthony Barreiro and Ernest Ray Parker have been charged with running a fraudulent business that they claimed loaned money to collectors looking to acquire art, and pocketing some $1.5 million of investors’ money. [KTVU]



    New Yorkers Fete Izhar Patkin and His Mass MoCA Show

    Jewish Heirs Battle Berlin Museums for Nazi Treasure

    Chelsea Dealers Jonathan LeVine and David Nolan Make Moves

    Want to Help Detroit’s Arts Institute and Pension Funds?

    Check our blog IN THE AIR for breaking news throughout the day.

    Constantin Brancusi's "La Muse Endormi"

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    VIDEO: “Girl with the Pearl Earring” Closes at Frick This Weekend
    This weekend is your last chance to catch Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and fourteen other Dutch masterpieces at The Frick.
    It’s been nearly three decades since the “The Girl” has been exhibited in New York and she has been drawing record crowds, including some around-the block lines since the show opened in October.
    The video above is a conversation with Frick curator Margaret Iacono and Emily Gordenker, Director of The Mauritshaus in The Hague, which loaned the works to the Frick during the Dutch museum’s renovation.
    “Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis” runs through Jan. 19, 2014, at the Frick Collection on Fifth Avenue and 70th Street in Manhattan.
    Visitors gather around Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" at The Frick

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    Daniel Radcliffe Heats Up the Tony Race as "The Cripple of Inishmaan"

    As I speculated last summer, Daniel Radcliffe is indeed coming back to Broadway in a revival of Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Innismaan,” which tells the cruel tale of a young man who is improbably carted off to Hollywood from his remote and impoverished Irish village. The dark comedy, set in 1934, premiered at London’s National Theatre in 1996 and has had two 0ff-Broadway productions in New York: in 1998 at the Public Theater and another in 2008 at the Atlantic Theater. 

    This Broadway premiere, directed by Michael Grandage, is an import from London’s West End where it won rave reviews, especially for Radcliffe’s Cripple Billy, an outcast picked on by the villagers until he is spotted by an American director filming a documentary on a neighboring island. Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote that Radcliffe “delivers his finest stage performance to date as a grotesque who fades into the crowd.” That last bit is actually a compliment given that the woebegone Billy is meant to do just that among the town gossips and teasers, although the star quality is apparent enough for an American director to take notice.  

    Radcliffe’s name should lead to healthy ticket sales for the limited engagement at the Cort Theatre from April 12 through July 20. The official opening date, April 20, comes in just under the qualifying wire for Tony nominations, for which Radcliffe will be a strong contender. He’s been overlooked twice: as the damaged young man in the 2008 revival of  “Equus” and, three years later, as the all-singing, all-dancing, all-conniving hero of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” The snubs have bothered his producers far more than the star himself. A good sport, he has appeared as a presenter at the Tonys and run the red carpet with generosity and grace. Nonetheless, he faces tough competition to score a nomination for Leading Actor in Play. Vying for the five slots will be at least a dozen noteworthy performances, including those from such major stars as Daniel Craig (“Betrayal”), Bryan Cranston (“All the Way”), Denzel Washington (“A Raisin in the Sun”), James Franco (“Of Mice and Men”), Mark Rylance (“Twelfth Night” and “Richard III”), and Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan (“Waiting for Godot” and “No Man’s Land” in rep). Still, Radcliffe has a good shot. Cripple Billy may be a loser — even his adoptive spinster aunts can’t help listing his bleak prospects — but the role itself may put the actor in the winner’s circle at last.

    (l-r) Danielle Radcliffe, Ingrid Craigie, Gillian Hanna, and Pat Shortt

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    The Takács Quartet to Perform at Carnegie Hall

    The Takács QuartetEdward Dusinberre (Violin), Károly Schranz (Violin), Geraldine Walther (Viola), András Fejér (Cello) — will be returning to Carnegie Hall on Saturday, January 18, for a performance of the work from composer Bela Bartók. The award-winning group, revered for their interpretations of work by Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert, among others, will include odd numbered quartets from the early, middle, and late periods of Bartók’s career.

    Born in 1881, Bartók’s compositional achievements were matched by his work as a musical ethnographer, where he worked to preserve and celebrate the traditions of Hungarian folk music. The quartets performed in the program, especially the first and fifth, display the confluence of high and low musical styles.

    The Takács Quartet was formed in Budapest in 1975, and made its first North American tour in 1982. Soon after, the group moved to the United States, where they were offered the position as quartet-in-residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Gábor Takács-Nagy, a founding member of the group, left in 1993, but that has not stopped the group from continuing their success worldwide, including their critically acclaimed recording of the Beethoven song cycle.

    The Takács Quartet will perform at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, January 18 at 7:30pm.

    Geraldine Walther, Edward Dusinberre, Andás Fejér, and Károly Schranz

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    WEEK IN REVIEW: From Singapore to New York, Our Top Visual Art Stories

    — Charmaine Picard spoke to photographer Carrie Mae Weems about her upcoming Guggenheim retrospective, Mike Kelley, the Obamas, and more.

    — Eileen Kinsella spoke with photographer David LaChapelle about his exhibition of new, environmentally minded photographs.

    — Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop got an early look at the offerings at this year’s Art Stage Singapore fair.

    — Comics artist and current Jewish Museum retrospective subject Art Spiegelman answered the ARTINFO questionnaire.

    — Anna Kats remembered the enigmatic works of architect Madeline Gins, who died this month at age 72.

    — Judd Tully visited the collectors Janine and J. Tomlinson Hill to get a look at their eclectic collection for Art+Auction.

    — Julie Baumgardner was on hand for a celebration in New York of Israeli artist Izhar Patkin’s new exhibition at Mass MoCA.

    — Curator and philosopher Alain de Botton discussed his new book “Art as Therapy,” and art’s ability to heal us.

    — Anna Kats explored the unique architecture of Dover Street Market’s new Manhattan outpost.

    This Week's VIDEOS:


    Sculptures from Aung Ko's "Ko Shwe" series at Art Stage Singapore

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    Performing Arts Week in Review: Awards Season, "King Lear," and More

    — Awards season is in full swing. Graham Fuller looks at the Golden Globe Awards, which aired on January 13, and examines the Oscar nominations, which were announced this week.

    We talk to Angus Jackson, the director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s production of “King Lear,” starring Frank Langella, which runs through February 9.

    — The Sundance Film Festival opened this week, so for the second year in a row we looked at the 10 most “Sundance-y” films at Sundance.

    — Larry Blumenfeld reports from Winter Jazzfest.

    — Patrick Pacheco sits down with actor Ciran Hinds, currently starring on stage in Conor McPherson’s “The Night Alive.”

    — We preview the Takács Quartet, who are performing at Carnegie Hall

    — Graham Fuller reviews“Generation War,” which is currently playing at Film Forum in New York City.

    — Larry Blumenfeld remembers the resonant voices of Roy Campbell and Amiri Baraka, who both passed away last week.

    — Our Performing Arts Pick of the week is the reissue of Calvin Tomkins’s “Living Well Is the Best Revenge,” published by the Museum of Modern Art. The book focuses on the lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy, who were the inspiration for the main characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night.”

    On the blog: new songs from Warpaint, Real Estate, and Dum Dum Girls, and a look at “Further Rituals of Rented Island.”

    Oscar statues are seen at the entrance before the 84th Annual Academy Awards.

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    Dynamically liaising with a distinguished client base of elite private collectors, decision-making art consultants, corporate art consultants, curators, architects, interior designers and decorators, as well as prestigious business, government, diplomatic and social VIPs, AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery pre-eminently affords the acquisitor the extraordinary opportunity to acquire the most carefully curated, Contemporary Masters in the global art market.  Known as "The Most Beautiful Gallery in Chelsea,” AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery is strategically located in the "Heart of Chelsea" the unrivaled, influential global epicenter of the art world. Home to over 200 leading galleries and the Chelsea Museum of Art, Chelsea is the ultimate undisputed international art destination for the informed acquisitor, decision based consultant and accomplished artist. The cachet of Chelsea attracts prominent art visitors worldwide.   In quest of the "creme de la creme" of global contemporary artists, AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery's criteria is to highlight and showcase in a curated museum-caliber ambiance, Contemporary Masters and interpret significant art movements, reflecting diverse trends and mediums including Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Collage, Drawing & Watercolor. Featuring contemporary Representational Figurative art to Abstract work, modern Surrealism to today's Neo Post Impressionism, Portraits to Abstract Expressionism, AMSTERDAM WHITNEY Gallery is the acknowledged definitive global art resource for the informed collector, cognoscenti and professional art consultant. Its museum-curated, influential monthly exhibitions afford the private collector and demanding art professional a stimulating museum forum environment to view outstanding art and acquire the most exciting, innovative talent of the present day art world. 
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  • 01/19/14--06:08: 5 Best Dressed at SAG Awards
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    Anita Kapoor got her first break in television hosting the lifestyle program “Secret Singapore” back in 2003. Since then the Mumbai-born, Singapore-raised travel host has travelled far and wide, working on series like “Exotic Escapades” and “go Asia With Anita Kapoor,” experiencing the best of what Asia’s travel destinations offer. And while she loves venturing out around the region, she also loves to share her passion about the vibrant city she’s been calling home since 1978. BLOUIN Lifestyle asked the vivacious presenter about her favorite places in Singapore:

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    Anita Kapoor
    The Tastemaker: Anita Kapoor’s Singapore
    Anita Kapoor

    Anita Kapoor got her first break in television hosting the lifestyle program “Secret Singapore” back in 2003. Since then the Mumbai-born, Singapore-raised travel host has travelled far and wide, working on series like “Exotic Escapades” and “go Asia With Anita Kapoor,” experiencing the best of what Asia’s travel destinations offer. And while she loves venturing out around the region, she also loves to share her passion about the vibrant city she’s been calling home since 1978. BLOUIN Lifestyle asked the vivacious presenter about her favorite places in Singapore:

    Anita Kapoor
    The TV Travel host is always looking for new adventures
    The bar expanse of The Black Swan

    “I like The Black Swan (19 Cecil Street; +65 8181 3305; for its stunning interiors and smashing cocktails,” Kapoor says, also recommending Lolla (22 Ann Siang Road; +65 6423 1228; for its “gorgeous small plates … top-notch attentiveness” and because “it exudes charm.” Those looking for authentic and consistent old school Singapore fare, should go straight to the Heap Seng Leong Coffee Shop (Blk 10 North Bridge Road; +65 6292 2368).

    The Black Swan Facebook Page
    The bar expanse
    W Hotel

    Singapore Sentosa Cove (21 Ocean Way; +65 6808 7288; is a chic getaway weekend with a gorgeous pool and a great steakhouse, Skirt. In town, Kapoor recommends The Park Royal on Pickering (3 Upper Pickering St, +65 6809 8888;, near Chinatown and Wanderlust (2 Dickson Road; +65 6396 3322; in Little India, two hotels with strong interior designs. This year, she’s looking forward to the opening of Patina Hotel, a new 5-star property that will be located in the restored Capitol Building and Stamford House, located at the junction of Stamford Road and North Bridge Road.

    W Hotel
    One of the rooms of the W Hotel
     Peranakan Museum

    When Kapoor visits a museum she wants the full story, and that is one reason why she likes the Peranakan Museum (39 Armenian St; +65 6332 7591;, which is dedicated to the culture of the Peranakans — descendants of Chinese who generations ago made the Malay Archipelago their home. “It tells the entire Peranakan story and not the mass adulterated version,” she says.

    Peranakan Museum
    The Peranakan Museum
    Fullerton Bay Hotel

    “I love the idea of old school and new school next to each other, but with sensitivity and instinct for space, time, and use. I also love places that are in tandem with human movement,” she says, adding she tends to favour more historic buildings. One of the most successful examples of this old-meet-new approaches is the Fullerton Bay Hotel (80 Collyer Quay; +65 6333 8388;, which she feels “has achieved both water vistas and just-right glamour in parallel with the Art Deco architecture.” 

    For a bit of nostalgia, Kapoor recommends a stroll through the streets of Tiong Bahru neighbourhood which has retained many of its original 1930s buildings. The period design with an emphasis on long horizontal lines with rounded details offers “a gorgeous mix of streamline modern and Straits architecture, now thriving with 21st Century energies,” she notes.

    Fullerton Bay Hotel
    The Clifford restaurant at the Fullerton Bay Hotel
    Elliot Jessop

    “Just one? That's impossible!,” muses Kapoor. “I adore the farmers’ yards of Yio Chu Kang, the messy beauty of Serangoon Gardens, the gorgeous walkability and architecture of Tiong Bahru, the spirit of Joo Chiat, and the holiday vibe and multi-culturalism of the entire East of Singapore!”

    Elliot Jessop
    A heritage Peranakan house in Joo Chiat
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    Rare Macallan M Sets New Record at Sotheby's

    Thanks to an exquisitely designed and beautifully crafted crystal decanter, a rare 6-litre “Imperiale” version of The Macallan M single malt whiskey sold for US$628,000 at the Sotheby’s Finest and Rarest Wines auction in Hong Kong on January 18.

    The price of the whiskey — the result of a collaboration between Fabien Baron, Founder and Creative Director of Baron & Baron, Silvio Denz, President and CEO of Lalique and Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker at The Macallan — is believed to have set a new world record for the most expensive whisky ever sold at auction. The most recent record setter was a bottle of The Macallan 64 years old in Lalique Cire Perdue, which fetched US$460,000, in 2010 in New York.

    Named for Roman emperor Constantine, The Macallan M featured engraved autographs of Baron, Denz and Dalgarno, and featured a decanter that was one of four specially crafted by Lalique. Each decanter took 17 craftsmen, including two with the prestigious title, “Meilleur Ouvrier de France”, more than 50 hours to complete. Two of the four bottles will be archived by The Macallan, while a private collector in Asia has snapped up the last one.

    “This new world record at US$628,000 highlights the uniqueness of the decanter and the remarkable quality of The Macallan single malt. Its creation is a tremendous achievement due to the unprecedented size, weight and completely new shape. This exceptional figure underscores the interest and value of such extraordinary decanters,” said Lalique’s Denz in a statement.

    According to a statement by Sotheby’s, all net sale proceeds from The Macallan M will be donated to a host of local charities in Hong Kong.

    The Macallan M

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    Ferrari Sets New Auction Record in Arizona

    The year’s revved up to a good start for RM Auctions, which raked in $45.5 million in sales over two days at its 15th annual Phoenix, Arizona sale on January 18.

    The results represent a new high for the international auction house, and set an impressive benchmark for the entire Arizona auction week. The sale was headlined by the top-selling 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider, with coachwork by Scaglietti, which fetched $8.8 million, making it the most valuable car ever sold in Arizona auction week history.

    The second-highest lot, a 1961 Porsche 718 RS 61 Spyder, sold for $2.75 million, while the third, a beautifully restored 1963 Ferrari 250 GT/L 'Lusso’, went for $2.45 million.

    Racing with the big boys was a 1930 Duesenberg Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ Convertible Coupe, offered for public sale for the first time since new, which sold for $2,200,000.

    1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider

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    Hollywood is continuing its love affair with period costumes, going by the nominees for best costume design at the 2014 Academy Awards.

    Catherine Martin, who won the award in 2001 for her work in “Moulin Rouge," has been nominated this time for the Prada-dominated wardrobe of "The Great Gatsby," the Baz Luhrman epic that is set in the Roaring 20s. Michael Wilkinson gets a nod for the 1970s-set "American Hustle"; William Chang Suk Ping for Wong Kar Wai's 1930s Southern China-set "The Grandmaster"; Michael O’Connor (who previously won in the category for 2008’s “The Duchess”) for the Ralph Fiennes-directed, 19th century Charles Dickens biopic "The Invisible Woman"; and Patricia Norris for "12 Years a Slave," a movie based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup.

    Who will go home with Oscar this year? We'll let you be the judge of that, with this slideshow of the nominees' work. 

    Oscar Noms for Best Costume Celebrate Good Ol' Times
    Amy Adams in "American Hustle."

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  • 01/20/14--03:29: Front Row at Atelier Versace
  • English

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    A number of museum quality, blue-chip works from artists like Frank Auerbach, Sigmar Polke and Frank Auerbach will lead the Contemporary Art Evening Auctionat Sotheby’s in London next month. The standout offering is a 1994 painting by Gerhard Richter. “Wand (Wall)” could set a new record with a presale estimate in excess of $25 million. The piece was kept by the artist in his personal collection for more than 15 years. Other star lots include an Andy Warhol“Mao” from 1973 and Cy Twombly’s 1964 “Untitled (Rome).”

    Blouin ARTINFO’s Judd Tully toured an exhibition of the highlights with Sotheby’s London Head of Contemporary Art Alex Branczik

    VIDEO: Sotheby's Previews Contemporary Sale
    Sotheby's Contemporary Sale

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    Olympia Scarry and Neville Wakefield Join Forces in Switzerland

    This winter the resort village of Gstaad, Switzerland, becomes an unlikely spot on the art world map, thanks to Neville Wakefield and Olympia Scarry’s newest curatorial project.

    Wakefield, who has curated for MOMA PS1, Frieze Projects, Nike, and Playboy, among others, and Scarry, a successful artist focused on sculpture, have not collaborated on such an undertaking before. Taking a cue from sprawling, scavenger hunt–style expositions like Documenta in Kassel, Germany, or the Contour Biennial in Mechelen, Belgium, Elevation 1049, named for Gstaad’s height in meters above sea level, will see the installation of commissioned works by 22 Swiss artists—in garages, on frozen lakes, and in cable cars trundling up to the village’s adjacent glacier. (The project’s emphasis on cold and its material properties also recalls the 2004 “Snow Show,” curated by Lance Fung in Lapland.) “For me, Gstaad carried all the clichés and baggage of the jet set—but when you go there, it does still seem like a village,” Wakefield says. “It still smells of cow shit.”

    It’s Scarry who has the most direct connection to the town: Her grandfather, beloved children’s book author Richard, lived there for years, and Olympia spent her final two years of high school in the snowy hamlet. Wakefield, who was born on the Isles of Scilly in the U.K., brings a secondary point of view to the Swiss-centric project, which is fitting, considering the odd in-between space in which he sees Gstaad operating. “It’s really a global village, both extremely local and extremely international,” he says. “As much of Switzerland exists outside
 the country as in it.” That’s reflected in the impressive roster of artists involved with Elevation 1049; some, like Valentin Carron and Sylvie Fleury, still reside in Switzerland, while others are based in Iceland, China, Arizona, and Paris.

    Some of these artists plan to focus on unconventional locations, or on Gstaad’s unique history. Peter Fischli is restaging a 1983 work he made with the late David Weiss, sited in a village garage. “It’s an installation with an air
 of the hobbyist gone wrong,” Wakefield says. “You can’t
 tell what’s being made, what’s real, and what’s fake. There’s something that looks like a motor, but there’s also a polyurethane crocodile.” Christian Marclay’s contribution plays on Gstaad’s unlikely status as the go-to backdrop for Bollywood films and will string together clips from that pantheon. Christoph Büchel has expressed his fascination with the architecture of a
trailer park located a very short distance from the village center, a ramshackle assortment of permanent dwellings that has its own view of the Gstaad Palace. Ugo Rondinone is placing colored rocks in streams; Claudia Comte is making a painting that will be installed beneath the surface of the local hockey rink.

    Stills from Christian Marclay’s work-in- progress for Elevation 1049

    Many of the proposed works will speak to the climate, topography, and natural conditions of Gstaad from January 27 through March 8. “The weather, which is obviously unreliable, will be the biggest challenge,” Wakefield admits, noting the tenuousness of a proposed ice-and-snow sculpture by Thomas Hirschhorn. Olaf Breuning wants to create an interactive piece that involves winter sport: “It started from a conversation about skiers and first tracks and how they’re effectively a drawing made on the slopes,” Wakefield says. “It developed into an idea that is much more democratic and participatory, where you basically produce
an action painting using these pigment-laden sleds.” Scarry’s own contribution to Elevation 1049 is a sculpture that she plans
 to site on top of a fairly remote lake. Her piece will be a facsimile of the poles used to mark the boundaries of construction sites
 in Switzerland—in her rendition, the poles will be gilded by 
local craftsmen, and the whole structure will slowly slip into the lake as the ice on its surface melts. That’s the plan, provided winter temperatures play along.

    “My original interest in the art world came through Robert Smithson and land art, the idea of non-sites,” Wakefield says.

    “A lot of the pieces work
 with the weather, and that’s the point—they’ll melt, or decompose, or deteriorate,” adds Scarry.

    “That’s what’s interesting,” Wakefield explains. “It’s art as process rather than end product. We’ve seen enough product. Putting a bit of entropy in the mix is not going to be bad.”

    Olympia Scarry and Neville Wakefield

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    Famed Chef Ferran Adrià's Notes on Creativity at The Drawing Center

    Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, of El Bulli fame, may be known as the maestro in the kitchen bar none, but it is his drawings that are getting their turn in the limelight, thanks to an exhibition opening January 25 at The Drawing Center in New York, “Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity.”

    “Drawing is one of the only cross-disciplinary mediums that engineers, architects, writers, artists and typographers employ,” Brett Littman, executive director of The Drawing Center, told BLOUIN Lifestyle. “Everyone can draw something — a line, a diagram, a flowchart — so there’s a kind of universality that I’m extremely interested in, [through the work of] Ferran as an individual. He’s had to come up with a new way of thinking about food to allow him that level of creativity on consistent basis. He developed a visualization technique to get outside the confines of nouvelle cuisine and uses an almost infinite algorithm of ways to combine and create new recipes.”

    Littman first broached the idea for an exhibition with Adrià in 2011 and was met with unexpected, unbridled enthusiasm, he said. He made four trips to Barcelona over one and a half years, during which he worked closely with the chef in his archives, poring over thousands of notebooks and documents. The result: a showcase of 586 exhibits providing insight into how Adrià translates ideas to reality from mind to paper to plate.

    Both the style and quality of the chef's artwork, which range from black-and-white diagrams to watercolor impressions — will certainly surprise as much as his molecular gastronomy has delighted diners.

    As Littman puts it: “It’s not about wonderful drawings of the food; rather, it might be a diagram of ideas, documenting where and how food is placed. Actually, many of the drawings are rather child-like, as if they were some sort of paleontological study, like what cavemen did to cook meat. No other chef would’ve done this as a means of understanding what he does.”

    In fact, what Littman found most fascinating in El Bulli’s archives was the “Bullipedia,” which started listing from the 1980s every single product, tool, and plate that would form the system used at El Bulli, the Michelin three-star restaurant in Spain that was ranked for five years running the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine, until it shut its doors in 2011. The exhibition also explains the “Map of Culinary Process: Decoding the Genome of Cuisine”— the exhaustive classification of foods that Adrià has spent the last three years developing.

    According to Littman, the exhibition will travel to MOCA Cleveland in Sept 2014, then on to Minneapolis Institute of Arts in late 2015 and thereafter a museum in Maastricht in 2016.

    Click here for a slideshow of some highlights in the exhibition, on at The Drawing Center from January 25 to February 28.

    Ferran Adrià's Plating Diagram, ca. 2000-2004

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