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A New York hotel exhibiting Australian Aboriginal art
In the late 18th century, the Tontine Building on Manhattan’s Wall Street was a tavern and cafe – and the site of the New York Stock Exchange. Next month the former mall will reopen as the Wall Street Hotel, a 180-room boutique whose current owners, the Paspaleys, an Australian pearl-farming family, hope to make more of a cultural hub. When it came to choosing the art for the hotel, they partnered with the APY Art Center Collective, an Aboriginal-led organization dedicated to promoting Australian Aboriginal art. Examples of commissioned work – including etchings of constellation-inspired paintings by Matjangka Norris and layered, dreamlike earthscapes by Betty Muffler, who favors black and red ocher – appear everywhere. After taking a self-guided tour, you can grab a cappuccino or cocktail in the all-day lounge, which is decked out with plush velor seats, or explore the financial district on a free Vélosophy bike. Rooms starting at $499, thewallsthotel.com.
Los Angeles milliner Nick Fouquet was researching cowboy boots and considering expanding into footwear when he received a call from Lucchese, the famous Texas boot brand founded in 1883, about a ‘a collaboration. “It was very fortuitous – a sign,” says Fouquet, who designed headpieces for fashion houses Givenchy and Rochas before launching his own line a decade ago. And the partnership made sense: both brands champion local craftsmanship while aiming to update the idea of Americana. “There are also a huge number of similarities in anatomy and build. We have band blocks; they have shapes,” says Fouquet, who visited the Lucchese archives in El Paso and saw shapes made for John Wayne, Gregory Peck and Jane Russell. Ultimately, the labels gave some classic Lucchese designs a ’70s twist, offering eight new styles, including stacked-heel boots in stitched leather and tonal suede and bright two-tone loafers, as well as handful of printed silk scarves and (of course) cowboy-inspired hats. And yet, promises Fouquet, “the pieces will be as comfortable on the streets of Paris as on a ranch”. Accessories from $240; shoes from $895, nickfouquet.com and lucchese.com.
A glimpse into the colorful mind of Niki de Saint Phalle
Nicole Rudick’s illustrated biography of new realism artist Niki de Saint Phalle, “What is now known was only once imagined”, takes its title from a (perhaps intentionally) misquoted excerpt from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” by William Blake (1790) which appears in one of Saint Phalle’s typically rococo doodles. The line is also the perfect label for the provocateur’s particular brand of 20th century aesthetics. “I would spend my life questioning myself,” she wrote in a 1992 note to her late mother. “I would fall in love with the question mark.” Such voracious curiosity led her to various self-taught activities as a painter, draftsman, sculptor – she is probably best known for her Gaudí-inspired installation, “The Tarot Garden”, in Pescia Fiorentina, Tuscany – writer, filmmaker , gardener and perfumer. In its subtitle, Rudick (who contributed to T) refers to the book as “an (auto)biography”, as it is composed almost entirely of hundreds of colored sketches of Saint Phalle and a treasury of his letters, essays and marginal notes, in which the artist raves about, among other things, teenage love (she met her future husband, the writer Harry Mathews, at age 11), mental illnesses and the harlequin fantasies that have invaded his daily life. The result is an intimate scrapbook of the life of one of the century’s most inventive artists. $45, sigliopress.com.
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A new gallery on the Upper East Side
After having cut her teeth in galleries as influential as Paula Cooper and Paul Kasmin, Polina Berlin is now opening her own, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. With a leafy back garden and abundant natural light, the 2,000 square foot space, once the living room of a townhouse, retains its cozy atmosphere. And that’s good since Berlin hopes that the gallery will foster close ties. “The artists in Paula’s program have such admiration for each other and push each other to spark new ideas,” Berlin says. “It would be very satisfying to have that happen in my space.” The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, titled “Emotional Intelligence” and opening next week, features various riffs on kinship. It includes works by 10 artists, including a painting of three semi-abstract nudes by Loie Hollowell and another of a figure holding an umbrella that reads “God is Gorgeous” by Shannon Cartier Lucy. Berlin sees the show as a sort of mission statement. “These artists are so sensitive to how people are treated,” she says. “And if I can, in some small way, improve the art world for the people I work with, then I feel responsible for doing so.” “Emotional Intelligence” runs from February 22 to March 26, polinaberlingallery.com.
When it comes to finding supplies for small household projects — redoing a backsplash, for example, or wallpapering a single wall — you may feel like your options are either Home Depot (handy but not necessarily inspiring) or a brand’s showroom (obscure prices, too many choices). Partly for this reason, Sarah Zames and Colin Stief of Brooklyn-based design studio General Assembly are opening their first store, Assembly Line, in Boerum Hill this week. The warm, light-filled space is laid out like a home, with inviting living and dining areas, and filled with furniture and accessories from designers Zames and Stief admire – upholstered oak stools by Vonnegut/Kraft , elegant chrome cabinet knobs from Fort Standard Objects – plus a careful selection of materials for the renovations, which includes Calico wallpapers printed with a range of nature-inspired patterns, gleaming zellige tiles from Clé and Bauwerk lime paints. Unlike many showrooms, each item in the store is clearly priced, and Zames and Stief are available for consultations by appointment. A do-it-yourselfer can easily walk in to look at an Elitis fabric swatch but walk away with a new bedside lamp — like the excellent options, with hand-formed globby stone bases, by Brooklyn fabricator Hannah Bigeleisen — or a plan to reinvent an entire room. 373 Atlantic Avenue, assemblyline.co.
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