Saturday, January 30, 2010


If you are in Los Angeles I recommend a visit to TenOverSix, a funky, quality boutique with a great selection of men's and women's clothing as well as accessories and objects and art. If you are not in LA you can check out their online store. A mix of cutting edge labels like Rachel Comey, Vena Cava, as well as their own line, TenOverSix, is combined with choice accessories including jewelry from Aesa and objects for the home such as this great Ursa the Bear toy. It is an open and inviting store to browse through slowly as M and I did over the holidays.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Maison + Objet

I just returned home from an afternoon scouting around the twice annual design salon, Maison + Objet. I hit the fair on Friday when it opened and spent about four hours cruising around to check out the situation. It is an enormous fair that includes heavy hitters like Villeroy & Boch, Le Creuset, Esprit, Alessi and way more, as well as younger, smaller or mid-sized designers featuring everything from textiles to candles to spa to everyday. It was my first time with this fair as it is only for professionals. But the big news is that I am now officially an LLC and on my way to opening an online retail store to be called, Vitrine! Despite the global economic crisis (another possible name), I am starting a boutique online only-with a presence in Europe and the USA, to feature objects for the home and accessories such as scarves, artists books, and paper, by independent designers from around the globe whose approach to their work and design is tactile, thoughtful and smart. Most of the work will be handmade, but not all, and much will take into consideration a sustainable or low-impact approach. Most of the designers will work in a limited edition or small scale production.

In the next few weeks as I make the push to get this baby up and running I will be blogging about it and soon this blog will be filtered into the new website to include features about the designers I will work with as well as other topics from travel/food/culture. For now, some highlights from the show were my engaging and encouraging encounter with Normann Copenhagen, meeting the designers from Adonde?, who I blogged about awhile ago, and gushed around them like they were George Clooney or something, the yummy textiles of Donna Wilson, and the great line of dishes at Hana Blomst. These are just a few of the people I hope to be working with on in a couple months!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Seeing is Believing

"Seeing is believing" is the title of a solo show by mounir fatmi opening tonight at Galerie Hussenot, 5 bis, rue Haudriettes, in the 3rd. This eagerly anticipated exhibition is fatmi's first show with the gallery and his first solo show in Paris in nearly 2 years. "Seeing is believing" continues fatmi's exploration of the connectivity between large social structures such as architecture, religion, politics and art history,as well as the minute relationships found in everyday existence. This is perhaps most evident in a series of prints that line the wall with statements that read, "Minimalism is Capitalist," or "Futurism is Facist." They are semi-joeky but at the same time, imply other readings of classic art historical movements. The visual language of Russian constructivism, such as Malevitch's iconic "Black Square" is referenced in works such as the large square set high up on the wall, built from black VHS cassettes and in the video piece showing censored text of FBI files of interviews with the black panther's that has been reduced to the essential forms of black and white.

In a new piece titled "les assassins," about 80 hookhas are placed in the center of the room, their coils for smoking layed out for viewers to take a puff. The title comes from a historical link tracing the etymology of the word assassin-believed by many to come from the word hasish or Haschichiyoun, the name of people who smoked Hasish which was frequently smoked in the hookhas or the french word, nargile. This translation of the name was made popular in the West during the time of Marco Polo, although other readings exist inlcuding a link to the Assassiyoun, or those loyal to Assas, or the foundation of law. Whatever may be the case, the work is both beautiful and haunting and is purposely placed in view of a photograph from fatmi's latest (still in-progress) project, "Sleep," which spins the famous Andy Warhol film of John Giorno sleeping for 6 hours to show the author Salman Rushdie, a Warholian type personality most famous for once having a fatwa against him, in vulnerable repose and in view of "les assassins."

In all of fatmi's artwork and installations we are at first attracted by the graphic, aesthetic quality, but soon we get drawn into a deeper understanding of his intentions and the subversive nature of the work which always presents various layers of interpretation. The exhibition is on view through February 20.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Paper Goods

Lagom, which means "perfect balance" or "just right" in Swedish, is a design collaborative that emphasizes, as the website says, thinking about the greeting card from a new perspective. Among many things, the group is focused on innovative design approaches but also resources and methods of printing. But the website is more then just greeting cards, it presents a selection of great cards and stationary as well as notebooks, trays, tote bags, wrapping paper and other small, stationary type accessories. It provides a fresh selection from independent designers from Europe-mostly the UK and Scandinavia. They also have a news section outlining some interesting finds and places. Lagom Design seems to have succeeded in striking that perfect balance between smart design and functional, allowing you to spice up your office or home with fun, aesthetic and affordable products.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Travel debacle

Tyler Brule, media and branding genius, and editor of Monocle magazine, gives a weekly column on the back page of the Arts section in the Weekend edition of The Financial Times called, "The Fast Lane." In it, he discusses his own travel experiences, suggestions for certain airlines or routes, cities, hotels and gives tips and suggestions for better service, style, and all around re-branding and updated ideas for an industry that is somehow, ironically, dying. With the latest gem now called, "the underwear bomber" to emerge over the holidays, there was a global sigh of "ughhhhh," now what hell awaits us at the airport. Rather rally or rebel, most of us sat back in passive acceptance at the inevitable further downward spiral of air travel, resigning ourselves (myself) to the truly unacceptable reality of body screening and whatever else the government decides to deem "safe." But Brule's column from this weekend woke me up to the fact that this situation goes beyond the humiliation in the face of strangers and underpaid airport staff, and more profoundly, rights to privacy, which we would all eventually get over, (what else could we do?). This is of course, a political issue, dems vs. republicans, what isn't these days? Obama must appear strong in the face of terrorism to avoid bad press, but this needs to be looked at as an economic issue as well, in this recession, business travellers will avoid the US and plan events in places like Canada or Mexico (Brule's idea for Mexico and I have to say, a good one to help that country), tourism will falter and the US airline industry will decline even more. I get it that there is a gross issue of security that needs to be addressed but the US needs to get their screening and communications in line before subjecting all of us to public strip searches and punishing those who just want to get from a to b.

Friday, January 8, 2010


It is exciting to be in a new decade but the reality is, it's still cold and January with no spring in sight for a few months, and I am off to a slow start on the blogging front. So what to do? I am going to start cooking more and experimenting with my repetoire. New soups and stews and foods that I can reheat the next day as I am on mega budget. Jamie Oliver is my new friend in the form of a cookbook (thanks sis), and last night I made thai green curry. Not bad but I forgot a key ingredient- the coriander seeds. Oops: It was still good.

One food issue I have here in Paris is: where are the beets? By beets, I mean the non-cooked version that still have their leafy greens attached. I have searched all veggie markets in my hood and they all have the pre-cooked type. What is this? I don't get it and it doesn't seem to fit in with the French approach to foods. Maybe I need to hit the Raspail or Bio Batignolles market, but I wish it was not so out of the way. I love beets and the greens for an all around beet meal. Hélas.

Happy New Year.