Fifteen years ago, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who was already busy with a full and demanding career as a recitalist, a soloist with orchestras, and chamber music, launched the Silk Road Project, a music collective inspired by the cross-cultural exchange along the ancient Silk Road route. As befits an ensemble that performs music diverse in style and from varied musical traditions, the group includes Western classical instruments—violin, cello, double bass—but also features instruments from throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South Asia, and China: Galician bagpipe; a kamancheh, a Persian fiddle; tabla or Indian drums; and the pipa, an ancient Chinese plucked string instrument, among others. The aim was to foster contemporary music, incorporating varied and established traditions, and that they have.
New York City and Macy’s Herald Square recently unveiled a new Visitor Center, housed inside the world's largest store.
Over the past two years, NYC visitor numbers have broken records, with 52 million in 2012. To help accomodate tourists, one of the city's most-visited (and shopped at) sights, Macy’s Herald Square, has stepped up with partner NYC & Company to unveil a revamped, user-friendly visitor center.
Flanked by curved staircases on either side, the white-tiled mezzanine sits above cosmetic brands like Chanel and Dior. Four touch-screen kiosks resembling giant iPhones allow visitors to plan their next move, with extensive attraction, dining, and nightlife listings. Nine languages are available—including Mandarin and Portuguese—while Google Maps provides step-by-step directions that can be printed on the spot. By Nov. 1st, you'll even be able to purchase attraction tickets (Empire State Building Observatory; Circle Line cruises) directly through the kiosks.
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
While international tourists are shaking their collective fists at the closed gates of National Parks, another faction within the travel industry is grappling with the ugly effects of the government shutdown: witches, warlocks and their looky-loo friends in Salem, Mass.
After all, October is usually an extra-magical time of year for the hometown of the infamous 1692 witch trials. The month-long “Haunted Happenings,” which includes a psychic fair and witchcraft expo, conjures up about $30 million in revenue for the town, according to a recent AP article.
But here's the fly, or frog, in the ointment: Salem’s visitors center—the nerve center for the event—is run by the currently defunct National Park Service.
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.
Since its launch in 2007, the giant duck has swum the shores of Amsterdam, Belgium, Osaka, Sydney, São Paulo and most recently, Hong Kong.
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.
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.
Will “The 50th”—as organizers call Dallas’ upcoming observance of the JFK assassination, 50 years ago this November—be a somber remembrance of a dark day in American history, or another chapter in the city’s long wrestling match with conspiracy theorists?
On paper, the scheduled ceremony has plenty of dignity: according to recent reports, the Dallas Symphony will perform on the morning of the 22nd at Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was shot, followed by readings from the president’s speeches (by Presidential biographer David McCullough), a military flyover and a performance by the U.S. Naval Academy’s Glee Club. Area museums, such as the Sixth Floor Museum (in Dealey Plaza) and the Dallas Museum of Art, will be doing thoughtful exhibits.
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.