That’s how Irish folk-rock star Declan O’Rourke characterizes his foray into music. How else to explain the circumstances behind the acquisition of his first guitar, gifted to him by a priest as a ten-year-old boy in Melbourne, Australia?
It’s been a faith-driven journey from there to here, another string-picker on the Dublin open-mic circuit to opener for cult-band Snow Patrol and the legendary Bob Dylan. On October 8th, O’Rourke celebrated his first U.S. release with the album “Mag Pai Zai”, which, along with records “Since Kyabram” (2004) and “Big Bad Beautiful World”(2007), has been a mainstay on the Top Ten charts across the pond. The latest ballads stay true to O’Rourke’s classic, crooning sound, yet unfurl with a newfangled sense of self-assuredness.
If you’re on the hunt for a thought-provoking dip into the Surreal, you can’t miss Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary exhibit at the MoMA (running through January 12, 2014). Curated by Anne Umland, the exhibit covers what the famed Belgian painter described as the most defining period of his career from 1926-1938.
The exhibit features many of his most acclaimed works including “Le Trahison Des Images” (pictured) wherein he notoriously paired his painting of a pipe with the beautifully scripted words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”). After you absorb the whimsically provocative contradictions in his narrated paintings, check out “Les Amants” to peek at his popular portrait of two lovers kissing.
This week, the culturati makes its annual pilgrimage to Regent’s Park for the 11th Frieze London (Oct. 17-20), with pieces from 152 contemporary galleries from around the globe plus specially commissioned performances, pop-up restaurants, and let’s not forget the party scene. In an unprecedented partnership, British fashion house Alexander McQueen is a sponsor this time around; artworks curated by local gallerist Sadie Coles will be displayed at the brand’s London stores throughout the fair.
Of course, there’s also the second edition of Frieze Masters, the historically minded spin-off, and a full schedule of satellites. Among this year’s standouts, in collaboration with Tanzanian architect David Adjaye, Somerset House has unveiled 1:54 (through Oct. 20), the world's very first contemporary African art fair. Founded by Touria El Glaoui, daughter of Moroccan painter Hassan El Glaoui, it’s a platform for more than 70 artists—from DRC painter Chéri Samba (see La Vraie Carte du Monde, above) to Benin’s Romuald Hazoumé, with his colorful tribal-inspired “masks” made from discarded jerricans, and Gonçalo Mabunda, who turns AK47s and rocket launchers deactivated after Mozambique’s civil war into whimsical, Modernist thrones.
Thanks to dramatic transformations, these five world-class museums are casting a whole new light on their collections.
Amsterdam: After a 10-year renovation, a grand atrium now greets visitors to the Rijksmuseum(pictured). More than 8,000 objects, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals, have been rearranged as a historical survey. —Raul Barreneche
Honolulu: The extraordinary story of how Pacific Islanders developed their diverse cultures is told—with canoes, costumes, musical instruments, and more—in the renovated Pacific Hall, debuting this month at the Bishop Museum. —Peter Webster
New York City: Housed in a pavilion built for the 1939 World’s Fair, the Queens Museum reopens in November at twice its original size. One of the first shows, “The People’s UN,” nods to the building’s former role as host to the General Assembly.—Peter Webster
Mexico City: The Museo Jumex, displaying artists both Mexican (Gabriel Orozco; Carlos Amorales) and global (Olafur Eliasson; Tacita Dean), expands into David Chipperfield’s sawtooth-roofed building in November. —Raul Barreneche
Cleveland: Come December, the Cleveland Museum of Artwill unveil the last of three wings by Rafael Viñoly, showing works that range from Chinese bronzes to Impressionist paintings. —Peter Webster
Move over penguins, there’s a new bird in Steel Town.
Currently floating down the Allegheny River is a 40-foot-tall (and 30-foot-wide) inflatable yellow duck. An art installation that simply goes by “The Rubber Duck,” created by Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman.
The international sensation has debuted stateside as part of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. The festival is a four-week long series of dance, music, theater, performance and visual arts, presented by international artists making their U.S. debuts.
We’ve discovered a new—and very fabulous—set of bath amenities to pilfer. This fall, Peninsula Hotels will introduce a custom collection of soaps, shampoos, and lotions conceived by Oscar de la Renta into hotel guestrooms worldwide. The scent—a citrus, aromatic floral musk, with notes of mandarin, bergamot, freesia, and cedar—was developed with Firmenich, while the amenity line was produced by Gilchrist & Soames. T+L talked travel with Mr. De la Renta at the Peninsula New York’s 25thanniversary gala.
Q: Tell us about the amenity line. Why now, and why Peninsula?
A: I’ve been approached several times to do a product line for a hotel, but when this project came about, I was unbelievably intrigued. I have fond memories of the Peninsula Hong Kong and my experience there, taking the tram to the top of The Peak, and eating at the floating restaurants in Aberdeen. They kept pouring, pouring on the food!
Anna Wintour. Vera Wang. Tina Turner. The client list of interior designer Stephen Sills reads like a who’s who of the style world. Since the 1980’s, Sills—one of Elle Décor’s Top 25 Designers—has decorated everything from a penthouse on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue to a modern mountain retreat in Aspen. (Back in the day, he also worked on hotels, including London’s Connaught Hotel and the St. Regis in New York.) As for his own Bedford, New York country house? Karl Lagerfeld has called it the “chicest house in America.” His latest book, Stephen Sills: Decoration (Rizzoli), which celebrates 16 design projects, hits shelves this month. Here, Sills shares some inspiration, advice on navigating antiques markets, and more.
Twenty years ago last Friday I arrived at Travel + Leisure. I had been the editor in chief of House & Garden; a book editor at Clarkson Potter; and, fresh out of college, an assistant and then a reader in the fiction department of The New Yorker. I thought of myself as reasonably well traveled, though outside of what I’d read and edited, the closest I had come to South America was Mexico and the Caribbean, and to Asia, Hawaii. The world I entered in the summer of 1993 extended far beyond these boundaries to places that remain tagged in my memory for qualities that were then entirely new to me. My mental notes from a trip to Hong Kong in the fall of that year still remain: East-meets-West glamour; bamboo scaffolding; crossing Victoria Harbour on the Star Ferry. From Auckland, New Zealand: green-lipped mussels for lunch on Queen Street; Waiheke Island sheep; grass; New Age shops. And so on, from Botswana (sandstorm; hippos) to Japan (textiles; ceramics; lacquerware), and from Buenos Aires to Tromsø in Norway’s Arctic Circle.
In New York City, incredible feats of architecture and design are all around us (like the New Museum, above)…if only we’d look up from our cell phones to notice while walking down the street.
Well, New Yorkers now have reason to stop and look around, as this week ushers in the beginning of Archtober, a month-long, citywide celebration of architecture and design organized by the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture.
Now in its third year, Archtober offers over 150 curated programs, ranging from exhibits and walking tours to panels and workshops, and draws some of the biggest names in the industry—David Rockwell, MoMa’s Paola Antonelli, Jonathan Adler, Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, and more.
When Greek-American filmmaker Chrysovalantis Stamelos took his first trip to Turkey in 2008, he was immediately besotted with Istanbul’s minarets, markets and countless layers of multicultural history. “I went knowing a lot about the Greek community’s past there,” Stamelos admitted, referring to grisly incidents like The Great Fire of Smyrna (present-day Izmir, a lively port city on the western peninsula of Anatolia), a monstrous blaze that prompted the systematic evacuation of Greek residents, circa 1922. “But it felt like home to me,” he continued, adding that he eventually moved from New York City to Izmir—permanently—approximately three years ago.
“Hello Anatolia,” Stamelos’s latest documentary, co-produced with Paras Chaudhari (the two launched their Queens-based production company, Crescent Street Films, in 2005) shadows Stamelos as he rediscovers the birthplace of his ancestors. “I couldn’t shake off the stories I grew up with…of old Smyrna and Asia Minor,” Stamelos recalled. Equal parts vibrant travelogue and poignant self-discovery, the film is a thoughtful blend of interviews, neighborhood exploration and artistic immersion.