Monday, December 31, 2012


A few years ago, a couple I know started a year-end tradition of leaving the comforts and distractions of their wired lives behind to spend New Year’s Eve in a cabin at Temenos, a retreat in Western Massachusetts.

When this couple got married in October, Temenos’s, 78 acres of woods, trails and a handful of cabins became the site of post-wedding festivities for a small group of friends and family. There is no electricity or running water, but each cabin has a wood stove. The cabin pictured above, built around the tree trunk is where I stayed. While it rained most of the weekend, I was thankful for the mild early autumn temperatures.

I'm posting it as the anti-Times Square this New Year’s Eve.

Wishing a peaceful and wonderful 2013 to all!

There was twig "hardware" throughout.

The lodge has a kitchen with a "Modern Glenwood Home Grand" stove and some books.

Outhouse with a view.

My first purple mushrooms!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Artifact or Fiction?

“Fabricated” souvenirs by Bay Area artists
Last chance to see “As Real As it Gets,” an exhibit organized by consumption connoisseur, Rob Walker that looks at the history of consumer fictions. It’s at Apexart in Tribeca and closes December 22.

The show features fictitious products, made-up brands, and subversive real-world behaviors relating to consumerism. Along with Shawn Wolf’s "Removerinstaller," Matt Brown’s “Bathtub Synth" and “shopdropped”(opposite of shoplifted) products, are the made-up brands found in movies about the dystopian future. But alas, the satire itself has been subverted and the dystopian present and future are already here. Dunder Mifflin Paper, the fictional brand of the show The Office is now available for purchase, as is Brawndo, the electrolyte-based water-substitute of Idiocracy (both are represented in the show). 

 The line between fact and fiction has been so effectively blurred, that it’s hard to imagine what the future of consumer satire, as a genre, will be going forward. Clear, “fashion” eyeglasses sit completely straight-faced on shelves alongside corrective lenses. Half of the packaged remedies by Dana Wyse, like “Feel Relaxed in any Situation” or “Discover Your True Purpose in Life,” have counterpart industries in the real world. Our elevated tolerance for fiction-supplanted reality extended all the way to this year’s presidential race when Mitt Romney’s campaign announced "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." For real!

While the golden age of fake products might seem as vintage as a Wacky Pack, our on-demand-anything-is-possible-DIY-24/7 technology has perhaps introduced a slightly more insidious twist.  Somehow, the realness of the Steve Jobs Novena Prayer Candle and the plastic jars of bubbles, had me scanning my mental gift list. I know I could have crossed off a bunch of names with them, and I was slightly disappointed to learn that they were not for sale. So take a break from reality Christmas shopping and head over to “As Real As it Gets.”

Matt Brown’s “Bathtub Synth" 

Shawn Wolf's "Removerinstaller"

From Dana Wyse's "Jesus Had a Sister Productions"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Merry Mirrors

I don't know what delivery time is from Australia to other parts of the world, but it’s something to keep in mind, since that is where Sandra Eterovic lives and makes her smile-inducing mirrors. Sandra was recently profiled as an Etsy Featured Seller. Although she studied art history in college, the origin of her handmade aesthetic and love of pattern was her parents’ hometown of Pučišća, off the coast of Croatia, where she spent time every summer as a child. You can read more about her background and influences here and visit her shop to see the mirrors and her other handmade treats.

NOTE: Due to faulty code which unknowingly embeds itself when I copy text from MS Word, posts over the past few weeks have not been received by email subscribers nor appeared in RSS feeds. The offending posts have been removed for the time being.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Goodbye Columbus

Tatzu Nishi’s “Discovering Columbus” is one of those unique New York “art” experiences I tend to avoid because of the crowds, but then end up kicking myself for missing. I actually made it over there recently. Turned out, the crowds weren’t so bad and it’s really nice for a change, to not be walking around with self-inflicted welts.

Six-flights up a scaffolding lands you in a temporary living room constructed around the statue, which stands in the center, on the coffee table.

In addition to the big guy, there's plenty to see. Every detail was carefully considered.

The books ...

The art ...

The wallpaper ...

The huge TV tuned to CNN ...

The killer views ...

And the tourists.

The exhibit ended yesterday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Waiting to Unveil

Louis Vuitton

While the window displays of New York City provide year-round, ever-changing eye candy (kind of like nature!), it is, of course, at Christmas, that we are most likely to find ourselves, nose pressed to glass, eyes wide with wonder. That is when fantasy, spectacle, and production are taken to new heights--especially at stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys, where “over-the-top” doesn’t even begin to describe what goes on. So pity the unsuspecting tourist who landed in NYC the week before Thanksgiving only to be met with blank stares from the windows of the city’s retail giants.

Not to worry. By the end of this week, all will be revealed.


Bergdorf Goodman

Ralph Lauren

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bonnie Cashin's Sweater Paintings

American sportswear designer Bonnie Cashin, is probably best known for the iconic bags she designed for Coach leather, from 1962 to 1974. As a pioneer of women’s sportswear, she was all about comfort and ease of movement to support the active lifestyle of the modern woman. Though her medium was clothing and accessories, her output was more art, sculpture, or design, than “fashion.” 

In a piece about her for the 2001 “The Lives They Lived” section of the the New York Times Magazine, Amy Spindler wrote:
Her clothes alone were so colorful that she used them, in open closets and exposed shelves, as her apartment's primary decor. That decor blended beautifully with pieces by the designers of the day she considered her peers, people who didn't make clothes at all -- the Eamses, George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi. She had little patience for the inbred fashion industry, which she felt was devoted to hobbling women with its fussy clothes.

In 1964, she designed cashmere sweaters for Scottish company, Ballantyne of Peebles. These paintings of sweater bodies, are in the archive of her work at UCLA. They could so easily hang on the walls of a modern art museum.

I love these color names.
Above: anthracite and Robin red.
Below: Bursom, seaweed, sundew, and coral

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