Arts + Culture
“It’s only by seeing the totality of a man’s life that you can get a measure of it,” or so the painter Clyfford Still told the New York Times in 1971. Four decades later, the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver—which opened in November—offers visitors as close to a total view of the pioneering Abstract Expressionist’s life as he could have possibly wanted. Actually, he insisted on it.
Famously imperious, egoistic, and cantankerous, Still was one of American art’s great mid-century mavericks, known for his raw, abstract paintings from the forties and fifties, featuring jagged fields and fissures in earthy, fiery tones that manage to feel both primal and transcendent. The artist exhibited his work infrequently, and he only sold or donated 150 or so of the roughly 2,500 pieces he created. When Still died, in 1980, he stipulated that nothing in his estate could be sold or given away. The art, all of it packed into his widow’s house in Maryland, had to go to a city that would agree to build a museum with the sole purpose of preserving and showing his work—and only his work.
Peeling plaster and an unstable foundation are things of the past at the Bolshoi Theater, which recently reopened in Moscow after a painstaking six-year renovation. A major player in the rise of Russia’s dance tradition, the 19th-century, 1,750-seat Bolshoi—which, appropriately, translates as “grand”—is once again fit for a czar. (The word also applies to the project’s price tag—in excess of $600 million.) No expense was spared to recapture its former splendor (embroidered silk from the foyers was rewoven thread by thread) or to enhance the theater with up-to-the-minute stage technology. This month, don’t miss choreographer Yuri Grigorovich’s The Nutcracker (Dec. 27, 29–31). 1 Teatralnaya Ploshchad; 7-495/250-7317.
Photo Courtesy of the Bolshoi Theater/Damir Yusupov
You can build a neighborhood from scratch, but that alone can't give it heart. Luckily for Copenhagen, a flashy tilting hotel is transforming a day-stroll district to a destination with a pulse. Rising from the southern flatlands on land reclaimed by the sea, the 3XN-designed Bella Sky Comwell Hotel (doubles from $420) has fast become a centerpiece for Ørestad City, a master-planned enclave founded nearly two decades ago.
Media mogul, philanthropist and former Miss South Africa shares her holiday season must-dos in Cape Town.
Climb Aboard a Sunset Cruise
Bassie loves the sea, so when she’s in Cape Town, a boat ride at dusk is her idea of a great way to celebrate. “A sunset cruise around the V&A Harbour through MK Exotic Tours is a must if you are here with a group of friends,” she says.
$428 for up to 12 guests (includes drinks and snacks); 27-21-552-0247
Attend a Tree Lighting
“For a truly special treat, where you get to make a difference and have some fun, go to the Tree of Lights Ceremony at St. Luke’s Hospice in Kenilworth,” Kumalo says. On Dec. 4, a local dignitary will switch on the LED decorations adorning a massive Norfolk Pine. You can sponsor a light with an $8 donation, which goes towards the care of terminally ill patients. The evening is also filled with pipe bands, carols and food stalls selling. Tip: Take cues from Capetonians and arrive early (starting at 4pm) with your own snacks to enjoy on the lawn. 27-21-797-5335
“Hong Kong is a busy, busy place. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person to say that. There’s been this massive rush to modernize all over the city, but here in the Sheung Wan district, things seem to slow down. Walking around, you’ll come across loads of graffiti by local street artists and contemporary art galleries like Cat Street (222 Hollywood Rd.; 852/2291-0006). And then nearby on Upper Lascar Row, you’ll see these old Chinese dudes selling antique jade carvings and Buddha heads. There are still high-rise buildings, but they’re generally older, with Man Mo Temple (124-126 Hollywood Rd.; 852/2540-0350) in the middle of them all. It’s a cool mix.” —Thomas Mauritsen,
Interviewed by Christine Ajudua
Photo by Philipp Engelhorn
New York City sparkles during the holidays but this year it dazzles as never before! Just around the corner from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, on display at Christie’s auction house are the jewels, fashion, paintings, and memorabilia that were owned by film star Elizabeth Taylor. And what an assemblage of bling and color. Here, among almost 300 remarkable pieces of jewelry are 80 iconic diamonds, gemstones, legacy jewels, including the 33.19-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (once known as the Krupp diamond), the legendary pearl La Pérégrina (that belonged to the Spanish royal family), and a spectacular group of emeralds and diamonds—ring, necklace, bracelet, earrings—acquired by Richard Burton and Taylor from Bulgari in Rome around the time they made the movie Cleopatra (1963). Serious jewels.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 1-4) inaugurates new collaborations with the Bass Museum of Art and the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, which promise to transform the cultural land- and soundscape of South Beach – extending beyond the Miami Beach Convention Center (ABMB’s venue), where more than 260 top galleries from across the globe showcase 2,000 modern and contemporary artists. There’s an admission charge for the fair (not to mention the price of the art), but plenty outdoors is free. Here's our what-not-to miss guide, plus recommendations for last-minute hotel booking.
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m a big India buff. So when I was heading to San Francisco a few weeks ago and looking for new things to do, my friend and former T+L colleague Aarti clued me in to an exhibition at the Asian Art Museum that she knew I wouldn’t want to miss. It must have been fate, because “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts” had opened just days before my arrival.
It might come as a surprise to some that the first exhibition devoted to an appraisal of the career of Jean Paul Gaultier should take place in Dallas, but Dallas is a stylish town (the headquarters of Neiman Marcus) and one of only two U.S. venues for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.
The show, which just opened at the Dallas Museum of Art (through February 12; dma.org), presents 35 years of chic from the enfant terrible of Paris couture in an innovative—sometimes startling—display that includes 30 mannequins with animated faces and voices, including Gaultier himself, provided by audio-visual projection. Fashion comes alive!
Anne Manson, widely admired as a conductor of operatic repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to Philip Glass, leads the cast and orchestra of the Juilliard School in New York in the American premiere of “Kommilitonen!” She speaks to T+L about the unusual work, commissioned jointly by the Royal Academy of Music in London and Julliard.
Q: Peter Maxwell Davies, 77-years-old and considered the dean of British composers (he also holds the royal appointment as Master of the Queen’s music), wrote the score and David Pountney provided the libretto and has staged the work in London and now in New York. What is the work about?
A: It is about students, facing crucial issues at turning points in history: the black student James Meredith who in 1962 fought racial prejudice to enroll in the segregated University of Mississippi; a brother and sister in Munich who joined the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany; and two Chinese students, who swept up in the Cultural Revolution, are compelled to denounce their parents. “Kommilitonen” is German for “fellow students,” by the way.