July 21, 2024

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An Exhibition of UFO Art Lands in Idaho

6 min read

Seen from Paris’s Pont de la Tournelle, the eight-story facade of the landmark restaurant La Tour d’Argent looks about the same as it did when its third-generation owner André Terrail grew up there in the 1980s, deploying toy parachutists into quayside traffic. But the interior is no longer indifferent to the 21st century: Late last month, La Tour d’Argent reopened its doors after a yearlong renovation led by the Paris-based architect Franklin Azzi. “It’s my Tour,” says Terrail, who took over following his father’s death in 2006. “The same, but more exacting, more thoughtful.” The new look draws on the outsize history of the classically French fine-dining institution, which has been serving diners since 1582, taking particular inspiration from the streamlined motifs of its Art Deco era. On the seventh floor, the redesigned restaurant — overseen since 2020 by executive chef Yannick Franques — functions more than ever as a theater. The airy dining room, in shades of indigo and silver, looks onto an open-plan kitchen and an elevated platform where the restaurant’s signature pressed-duck dish is prepared nightly. Upstairs and downstairs are new bars suited to less formal occasions: Le Bar des Maillets d’Argent, an all-day lounge with a fireplace, and Le Toit de la Tour, a rooftop terrace. Given that it has the welcoming air of a boutique hotel, it’s no wonder that the building can now host overnight visitors in a private apartment on the fifth floor, complete with a touch of Scandinavian-style minimalism attributable, in part, to Terrail’s Finnish mother. tourdargent.com.


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The stars of land art, the conceptual art movement that rose to prominence in the 1960s and ’70s, have mostly been men. Think of Robert Smithson, who created “Spiral Jetty” (1970), a 1,500-foot-long coil of basalt rock and earth in Utah’s Great Salt Lake, or Michael Heizer, whose “Double Negative” (1969) is composed of two trenches dug out of the Nevada desert. A new exhibit at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas shifts the focus to the women at the center of the movement: “Groundswell: Women of Land Art” opens next week, highlighting the work of 12 female artists. Among the pieces on view will be the Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta’s “Silueta” series (1973-80), which combines body, performance and landscape in film and photographs of the American sculptor Beverly Buchanan’s “Marsh Ruins” (1981), three rocklike pieces made of concrete and tabby — a combination of oyster shells, sand and water — in Brunswick, Ga. The exhibition’s curator, Leigh Arnold, notes that this group took a “subtler and more poetic” approach than their male counterparts, “expressing their desire to collaborate with nature rather than dominate it.” Take Agnes Denes’s “Wheatfield — A Confrontation,” a two-acre meadow that was planted in a former landfill near Manhattan’s World Trade Center in the spring of 1982 and harvested four months later. As Denes wrote, “It called attention to our misplaced priorities.” In addition to debuting new work by the pioneering public artist Mary Miss and the visual artist Lita Albuquerque, the show will include works reimagined for the Nasher, such as Nancy Holt’s “Pipeline” (1986), a structure of steel piping that Holt created in response to the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. “Groundswell: Women of Land Art” will be on view from Sept. 23 through Jan. 7, 2024, nashersculpturecenter.org.


When the West Texas contemporary art museum Ballroom Marfa held its annual summer party at the Bridgehampton, N.Y., home of co-founder Virginia Lebermann last month, guests were greeted by a long table set in a grove of tulip trees. A dinner of Mexican-inspired dishes by the chef Yann Nury was served on and alongside tableware and décor created by the Mexico City-based fashion designer and artist Carla Fernández in collaboration with Mexican artisans. The collection is now being sold to benefit Ballroom Marfa. A setting for four people includes clay plates in a mottled black finish, speckled ceramic cups, wooden napkin rings inspired by molinillos, or traditional chocolate whisks, ceramic creatures (two insects and 12 snakes) and a piñata mask lantern. Most of these designs can also be purchased separately. “You have this combination of artists, colors, and techniques from different parts of Mexico,” says Fernández. “They can live together, or not.” From $100 for a piñata lantern, ballroommarfa.org.


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In the third and latest issue of Tools magazine — an annual French publication with a niche but cultish following in the arts and design world — umbrellas and striped bistro napkins are folded and unfolded, as are camping tents, camera bellows, paper lanterns, corrugated cardboard boxes and ostrich-feather fans. This year’s theme, “To Fold,” follows “To Mold” (2021) and “To Weave” (2022), all studies of a simple technique common to both industry and daily life. The concept makes for a magazine with the methodical single-mindedness of a trade publication and the aesthetic sensibility of an exquisite reference book, steeped in pop-bright hues set against grainy archival still lifes. Everyday objects star on the covers and in improbable extended photo essays on subjects like ruffled bed skirts and rubber shoe soles. The Paris-based artistic director Clémentine Berry, who runs the creative studio Twice, founded the magazine as a personal outlet for her design practice and as a way to highlight overlooked craftspeople. “We place so much importance on the intellect and on higher studies, but there are plenty of people who have a unique savoir-faire because they worked for 10 years in a factory,” says Berry, who populated this issue of Tools with people who fold for all reasons, from the owner of a dry cleaner to the master fabric pleaters of Ateliers Lognon (who often work on haute couture pieces for fashion brands like Chanel) and the French military officers responsible for refolding used parachute canopies. The 250-page bilingual magazine, its contents only available in print, typically sells out in a matter of weeks, but there’s always the next volume to look forward to, including 2024’s “To Cut.” Available on Sept. 14, in English and French, tools-magazine.org.


Covet This

In the 43 years since George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg founded their design studio, they’ve become accustomed to working within the constraints of briefs for clients like New York department store Bergdorf Goodman. When it came to the duo’s latest endeavor, however, they were able to let their imaginations run wild. “Our motive was to express our creativity,” says Pushelberg of Memento, a collection of seven hand-knotted rugs produced in collaboration with the Milan-based company CC-Tapis. “It was very freeing,” adds Yabu. The pair began by considering the concept of “impossible architectures,” the artwork of Giorgio di Chirico and the fantastical structures that sprang into existence for Montreal’s Expo 67, among other inspirations. Each one of the resulting rugs plays with color, shadow and texture to create representations of these conceptual building blocks. A number of rugs break free of the standard quadrilateral configuration, spilling into free-form shapes that call to mind a Brutalist MC Escher creation. Made by Tibetan artisans in CC-Tapis’s Nepalese atelier, each rug features the weaver’s signature emblazoned along the perimeter of its binding, adding a personal touch to the handmade piece. Rugs from the Memento collection are available at cc-tapis.com and are on view by appointment only at Yabu Pushelberg in New York City from Sept. 18 through Sept. 28, press@yabupushelberg.com.

In 2019, Courtney Gilbert, the curator at the Sun Valley Museum of Art in Ketchum, Idaho, started to notice a flurry of news articles about UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomena), as NASA terms UFOs. Then, during the pandemic, Gilbert says, there was a big uptick in sightings, particularly in her home state. “At one point Idaho was the state where the most encounters were reported,” she notes. Less interested in aliens than in what motivated her fellow humans to seek other signs of life, Gilbert commissioned the Chicago-based artist Deb Sokolow, known for her semi-fictitious drawings and artist books, and the Seattle-based painter Cable Griffith to create works for an exhibition, “Sightings,” which opens Sept. 14. Those pieces will be shown alongside work by other artists such as Esther Pearl Watson, who — inspired by her father, who once attempted to build a flying saucer — often paints UFOs hovering over scenes of American life, and Karla Knight, who makes paintings and drawings of what she describes as extraterrestrial symbols or diagrams. Artist talks and astrophotography workshops will also be offered Sept. 14-16. “Sightings” will be on view through Dec. 2, svmoa.org.


From T’s Instagram



2023-09-14 13:00:32

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