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Doc on Chinese Activist-Artist Opens Human Rights Watch Film Festival in NYC

The 23rd annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival kicked off Friday night with the New York premiere of journalist and first-time director Alison Klayman’s documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Intriguing as much as it is troubling, the film—which won audiences over at Sundance this year—looks at the life of the artist and political activist who pushes China to grapple with its own social and political shortcomings, and challenges the government’s capricious, heavy-handed approach to silencing political dissent.

For the next two weeks Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater will be festival HQ, hosting a series of new films (14 New York debuts), panel discussions with experts and filmmakers, and an exhibition by South African photographer Brent Stirton, which investigates rights abuses committed against residents living near Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine.

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History Colorado Center Opens in Denver

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Late last month Denver’s newest museum, the History Colorado Center opened the first phase of its three-tiered reveal to the 90,000 visitors they expect in their first year.  Designed to share 10,000 years worth of stories and artifacts about the state and its people, at the same time the museum successfully looks forward to the future with high-tech exhibits and a hands-on experience for a new generation of museum-goers,  bringing history to life, and having fun in the process. Night at the Museum anyone?  Well, maybe not quite.

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The Barnes Foundation Opens its New Philadelphia Home

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The new campus of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia represents, simply put, a game changer for what a museum can be, the experience of art, and role architecture plays in both. It is also a game changer for Philadelphia, at a moment of splendid cultural renaissance.

When it opens to the public on Saturday, May 19th, visitors will find the celebrated collection displayed in a series of galleries that preserve the scale, proportion, and configuration of the original institution in Lower Merion (located in suburban Philadelphia), but now placed in a larger setting that invites contemplation and offers many pleasures.

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Video Exclusive: GloboMaestro Goes to Il Buco Alimentari

Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: New Yorkers—and Travel + Leisure staff—are abuzz over Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. While getting a reservation may be tough in the wake of its recent three-star rating by the New York Times, we recommend putting this new Nolita restaurant fast earning a reputation for its earthy, if-I-can’t-be-in-Italy-this-is-the-next-best-thing on your must-try list. Specialties include housemade salumi and lusty dishes such as spaghetti alla bottarga; fresh ricotta with roasted beets, white grapefruit and pistachios; and slow-roasted short rib panini with gorgonzola and onion agrodolce. T+L’s own Kate Appleton had this to say about her lunch there last week: "I went in a group, so we sampled widely, and the decadent small plates just kept coming. Even seemingly simple, familiar stuff like the ricotta wowed me, and then there was the rabbit—my new favorite fried food."

Thanks to our video partner GloboMaestro, Carry On readers can have a vicarious taste of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. Join Laura Cooper Brown from The Bowery Hotel as she introduces us to Downtown New York’s hottest table.

Video courtesy of GloboMaestro

Damien Hirst Exhibit Opens Today...In a City Near You?

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The prolific YBA artist, Damien Hirst, is continuing his successful career at being…well, prolific. Today, the Gagosian Gallery opens "The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011" in all of their 11 locations. That's 3 in New York, 2 in London, 1 in Paris, Rome, Beverly Hills, Athens, Hong Kong and Geneva. If this is still not enough Damien Hirst for you, the gallery is offering people to take on "The Complete Spot Challenge." Register at their website, jet to all 11 locations, and you'll get a personally signed Spot Print from the man himself. While you're in New York, stay at Le Parker Meridien or the Gramercy Park Hotel, where you'll find his work on their walls. In London, spend the night at 45 Park Lane and eat in the lobby, at Wolfgang Puck's CUT. There, you'll be greeted by even more of his pieces. Hong Kong? No problem. W Hotel, Hong Kong often exhibits his art in their lobby as well. Just make sure you bring some extra cash. A Damien Hirst doesn't come cheap.

Where: Gagosian Gallery (Worldwide)
When: Opens January 12, 2012 (Closing dates vary)
More Information: gagosian.com

Joe Harper is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Credit: © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2011. Photography by Prudence Cuming Associates

More Hotels That Lean?! Bella Sky Comwell Opens in Copenhagen

201110-b-bella-2jpgYou 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.

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Gaultier Exhibit Opens in Dallas

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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!

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Hottest New Art Exhibits + Openings

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Check out the latest openings and exhibits across the world’s cultural map, from New York to the Netherlands.

New York City: After an extensive renovation, the New-York Historical Society (212/873-3400) will show off its upgraded digs—complete with a new children’s history museum and Stephen Starr restaurant.

Washington, D.C.: As part of a project that included a three-part HBO documentary and a book, photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s “Black List” portraits are now showing at the National Portrait Gallery (through April 22).

Bentonville, Arkansas: Until recently, the small town was best known as Walmart’s home base. But that’s all changing with the Moshe Safdie–designed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (479/418-5700). Walmart heiress Alice Walton donated much of the collection.

Denver: The Clyfford Still Museum (pictured) will feature almost all of the enigmatic artist’s works.

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OPENING: Crystal Bridges Museum Showcases American Art

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One of the most highly anticipated cultural events of the fall in the United States is the opening (Friday, November 11, 2011) of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Designed by Massachusetts-based architect Moshe Safdie (whose Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, inaugurated in October, continues to gain accolades for its design and acoustics), the building is set in a forest ravine, among 120 acres of park and gardens and consists of nine pavilions over and alongside of two ponds.

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Hotels That Lean?! Capital Gate Looms Over Abu Dhabi

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We live in a daredevil age of architecture. Out of the fog of dreams rise colossal structures that twist, outsize, and undulate to the extreme. Among these freewheeling feats stands the tilting high-rise hotel—and its crowning glory opens this fall.

The silvery spire of Hyatt Capital Gate (doubles from $650) slices the sky above Abu Dhabi’s sultry cityscape at a sharp 18 degree angle—four times greater than Pisa’s slouching bell tower. “There was an opportunity to do something very powerful,” says Chris Jones, principal architect with RMJM, "to create a new gateway to the city."

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