Nocturnal Animals: Part 2 The Movie Set

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Set designer Shane Valentino along with the movie director Tom Ford chose a stunning Malibu house designed by Scott Mitchell. The house was used as the home of Susan and her husband, Hutton. “One of the directives we had in terms of Susan’s world was that it wanted to feel very hard and cold,” he says. “A good way to do that is to look for lots of glass, concrete, or hard materials.”

Art was also a major component to the design of Susan’s home. Valentino used a mix of modern and contemporary art throughout the house.

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Valentino reworked the interior design of the house to include darker furnishings which you can see in the 2 pictures above.“A lot of it is almost a mirror of some sort of Tom’s life and his world that he lives in,” he says. “The chaise lounge, the settees, and the armchairs that are there are part of his aesthetic. We went to a lot of high-end design places like JF Chen to find particular pieces.” Below I’ve put 2 pictures of the original house before the changes were temporarily made for the movie! It has the complete opposite ambiance of the dark and mysterious movie set… here the house is light and airy which is beautiful but somehow I’m in love with the changes made by Valentino!

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Anyways back to the set design

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I love this photograph from Richard Misrach’s Desert Cantos series that was hung in the entryway. It’s  from Tom Ford’s private collection. Not sure if I would use or put this photograph in a home, but  I think that this particular movie it was a brilliant choice by Valentino, especially with Susan’s hair colour against it! And most importantly I feel that landscape was the perfect hint for us of what was expected to come in the movie….  and sort of set the mood for us!

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Another art piece that caught my eye was that beautiful painting by Mark Bradford that hangs above Susan’s bed. I haven’t seen his work in person before but after I saw this I put him on my lists of artists to check out!… I just love it… In fact, I love everything in this room… Everything chosen complements each other without feeling matchy …like how the black marble table top complements the painting…. I love how all the wood walls complement the black and white in the room… I could go on and on about this room but I’ll stop and instead share a picture of the original bedroom just in case you were wondering about it!.

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So what do you think?  Which house do you prefer?  The dark and mysterious one? Or the bright and airy one?

Book of the Week: Masterpiece Paintings

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I haven’t been consistent with posting about books! In fact, I haven’t been consistent with this blog at all…. I try to blog whenever I can or whenever I find something worth blogging about …. like for example this book! I think if you get only one book about art this year then this should be it! The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings… This book celebrates the greatest and most iconic paintings in The Met Museum collection. I found it very useful and think it’s an ideal introduction to the beautiful masterworks of The Met.

Maria Callas The Exhibition

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The Exhibition is the first major exhibition dedicated to the greatest soprano of all time Maria Callas. Curated by Massimiliano Capella, the presentation marks the 40th anniversary of the death La Divina. It includes costumes and props jewelry, Private clothes, especially those by Biki, the Milanese stylist who fashioned the ‘Callas look’ during the Milan years, as well as several opera costumes; there are personal treasures and stage jewellery; hats, wigs and glasses; telegrams, letters, newspaper articles and photographs illustrating the successes, the scandals, and her loves.

The exhibition is on display until September 18, 2016, in Verona and will soon begin its international tour, from Athens to New York, from Paris to Mexico City…. I don’t have information about the international tour yet but I’ll add it at the bottom of this post as soon as I find some!

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The Curator Massimiliano Capella has used 2200 mannequins and has divided the exhibition into fourteen sections starting with America and Greece and ends in a small dark room with a video of Callas’s ashes being scattered on the Aegean Sea.

Here’s a quick background of her life for those of you who are interested:

I’m going to start from her “Milan years” because to me that’s where she rose and gave her greatest performances and, of course, it was at La Scala where she recorded many of the EMI recordings. On 17 September 1947 Callas had auditioned for La Scala with Casta Diva and O Patria mia, but the Artistic Director, Mario Labroca, didn’t think she was suitable. However, a substitution for Renata Tebaldi on 12 April 1950 in Aida launched a relationship that would continue for more than a decade. Between 1950 and 1962 she would sing 23 different operas, appearing on the Milanese stage 181 times.

Although critics and public were mostly enthusiastic about her vocal performances between 1947 and 1953, comments about her physical aspect were less favourable. Although she was quite tall at 1.73 meters (5’ 8”) she weighed almost 100 kilos (220 lbs); quite a large girl. In 1952 a tactless critic wrote, “It was impossible to distinguish between the elephants’ feet and those of Aida.”

So between the summer of 1952 and the spring of 1954, she lost 35 kilos, and in doing so – with the help of Biki – transformed herself into a style icon. Many of her outfits are reunited for the Callas exhibition. (The iconic portrait by Jerry Tiffany in New York for EMI in 1958 demonstrates how the transformation was complete).

In 1952 she made her debut at the Royal Opera House in London as Norma. London would later be the place of her last appearance in a complete opera, in 1965, and one of the dates of her final concert tour with Giuseppe di Stefano in 1973. But London was to also be the setting for a famous… infamous encounter.

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In 1959, when Callas was one of the core members of the international jet set, a party was held at London’s Dorchester Hotel after the opening of Medea at Covent Garden on 17 June 1959. The event was held at London’s Dorchester Hotel after the opening of Medea at Covent Garden on 17 June 1959. The event was hosted by Aristotle Onassis. the picture above was taken at the event!!!! The next month Callas and her husband were already guests aboard his yacht Christina and the fatal relationship began.

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Her relationship with Onassis ended in 1968 when he left her for Jacqueline Kennedy.

In 1969 she did interpret one of her opera characters again for Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film of Medea; though on this occasion she wasn’t required to sing. Piero Tosi’s magnificent costume for the film is part of the exhibition, so is the favourite black leather jacket that Callas wore during this period. Various documents on show illustrate the intimate nature of the friendship between the director and his leading lady.

The final rooms contain some of her hats, bags, shoes, turbans and other accessories which Biki so carefully labelled in the early years to help her young protégé coordinate the right hat with the right gown. Biki continued to dress her when she lived in Paris, as well as Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Hérmes and Alexander for her wigs.

In the early ‘70s she appeared at Juilliard for the legendary workshops, directed I Vespri Siciliani together with Di Stefano in Turin, and Di Stefano convinced her to join him on an around-the-world concert tour which finished in 1974.

27 November 1973: Maria Callas gives a farewell concert at the Royal Festival Hall.

In 1975, Onassis died in a Paris hospital, a few months later Pasolini’s murdered body was found on the beach at Ostia near Rome, and the following year saw the death of another friend and mentor Luchino Visconti, who once said that he’d only started directing opera because of Callas.

She died of a heart attack on 16 September 1977. She was 53.

A Unique Home Office!

I love this home office by Stephane Chambard Agency in Toronto Canada… I just love how they design homes, and I think that the way they display art is an art in itself!… I always hate it when I see a beautiful painting or photograph not displayed in the right place or the right way!….. I think in some cases how you display your art is almost as important as the art piece itself!!! For example that Her Chair by casamania and the hands on the wall aren’t art, but they work so well with the art displayed… they almost … complete it?!!

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How nice would it be to enter your office or home office and just let loose … and be yourself!… I know that this office space isn’t for everyone … I must admit it isn’t even for me!! But I loved how unique it is, and I’m pretty sure that it perfectly reflects its owner!

Hermès Window Display by Frank Plant

This post has been sitting in my draft box waiting for me to remember it since January!! I can’t believe that I totally forgot about it!!

 Hermès always manages to create beautiful window displays. This year they have commissioned the sculptor Frank Plant to design their windows… I loved it so much that I thought it is worth posting even if its so late!!

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Better late than never right?

Herb and Dorothy Vogel

f53945b695088ec7474dc688431aa6f9Herbert Vogel (August 16, 1922 – July 22, 2012) and Dorothy Vogel (born 1935),

My Husband and I love watching documentaries and one of our favorites is the award-winning Herb and Dorothy by Megumi Sasaki. We love it so much that we have been watching it at least twice a year ever since it came out!!!

This documentary tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary couple with modest means, Herb, a postal clerk, and Dorothy, a librarian, who together managed to build one of the most important collections of Minimalist and Conceptual art.

Spending all of Herb’s salary for art, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, the Vogels amassed over 5,000 works of art. In 1992, the Vogels donated their collection, estimated at several million dollars, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

At the core of this film is a love story that celebrates not only the couple’s passion for art but also their dedication to each other. It is through their loving partnership that the viewer experiences their remarkable story. I’m sure that most of you out there have seen it already but if you haven’t yet please do…. its a must!!!

I’m planning to watch the “part 2” of this documentary soon … the 2nd one is called HERB & DOROTHY 50X50. This one focuses on the final chapter of the Vogel’s extraordinary life and their gift to their country, raising various questions on art, and what it takes to support art in today’s society.

In 2008, legendary art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel made an announcement that stunned the art world. The Vogels launched a national gift project with the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington DC that would constitute one of the largest gifts in the history of American art: to give a total of 2,500 artworks to museums in all fifty states.

This came sixteen years after the Vogels had transferred their entire collection to NGA, the majority as a gift, making headlines in 1992. During those years at the NGA, the collection had grown to nearly 5,000 pieces, too large for any one museum to contain. As a solution, a national gift project titled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for the Fifty States was conceived. Though their collection was now worth millions of dollars, the couple did not sell a single piece, instead of giving fifty works to one museum in every state.

On July 22, 2012, Dorothy declared their collection closed after the passing of her husband Herb. Dorothy works to create a living tribute to their partnership, the collection they created together, and the overwhelmingly positive legacy they have left on the American art world for generations to come.

Can you imagine? On two lower middle-income government paychecks? and living in a rent-controlled small one bedroom apartment in Manhattan? They have collected almost 5,000 pieces of art, most by major artists….Oh, and Btw where do you think they stored their valuable collection before it was all donated? All their collection was stored in their tiny little apartment… under their bed! In the bathroom … every nook was stuffed with art…. they barely had a place to sit!! they had 2 chairs that they left for them to sit on and haven’t seen their sofa in years before all that art was sorted out!

They donated about half of it to the National Gallery of Art, and the other half (in 50 piece increments) to museums in all 50 states!!!

How incredible were those two?

Featured artists include Will Barnet, Robert Barry, Lynda Benglis, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Chuck Close, Sylvia Plimack, Lucio Pozzi, James Siena, Pat Steir, Richard Tuttle, and Lawrence Weiner.

The Art of Mixing 101

This apartment in Beirut belongs to Nabil Dada…. What I love about this place is that it has that museum feels about it without being sterile!….Everything is so carefully curated. The furniture and art have obviously been collected over time and with a lot of thought… I can’t imagine the memories and stories that each piece carries with it!

I’m so in love with this place…. It is by far the closest place I have seen (on the net) to my personal taste and style!

I love the armchair above, the style is very MCM yet the fabric is very medieval? classic? I love the Taccia table lamp on the far end corner!

I like how those 2 sphinx are floating above this small reflective water feature…. everything feels very well thought of….

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Do you recognize that sofa? It’s Zaha Hadid (may she RIP) love that sofa … I kind of have mixed emotions about where it’s placed, though!…but it could just be the angle where the picture has been taken from?

Can you see the corner to the far right of the picture? Doesn’t it look cozy? I love that there are those little cozy corners around the apartment. I think that having those cozy corners helped to give the place a homier feel and sort of balanced it more!

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I guess he adds more dining chairs when needed … I can’t blame him for not wanting to cover that Ron Arad dining table with chairs, though…. its just so beautiful!

It is not easy to mix the old with the new, the oriental with the baroque with Egyptian sphinx! And yet Dada has mixed them all… He has mastered the art of mixing to a perfection…. Wish it was as easy as he made it look like!

I have seen more picture of this apartment in magazines but couldn’t really find many online… I will add another post about this place if I do come across more pictures 😉

Pictures via taken from their website 

The Land of Giants

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The Land of Giants is a proposal by Choi + Shine Architects to transform your average electrical towers into beautiful human figures with the idea of brightening up the ugly utilities that stretch across Iceland’s volcanic landscape. The plan was for the figures to stand at 150 ft tall as well as being configured to respond to their environment with appropriate gestures. The figures could resemble a person climbing when the electrical lines ascend a hill or crouch for increased strength or strain under the weight of the wires. The figures can also be arranged into different forms such as walking in the same direction, kneeling, or head bowed at a town to create a sense of place through deliberate expression. What do you think of these modern caryatids walking along the landscape while quietly transporting electricity across different terrains and weather conditions? I personally think that it’s a brilliant idea and wish that it would be done here in Oman!… A girl can dream, right?

Carpet Interiors by Farid Rasulov

I have a confession to make!!! I have been obsessing over the Farid Rasulov installations for a while now!!! His installations are not minimal at all and very unlike me to like right?…. Well….I don’t what’s come over me… but I really am considering converting one of the rooms in my house into something inspired by him?

 The thing with Rasulov’s installations is that you’re surrounded by the familiar (chairs, tables and well rugs, rugs, and more rugs) and yet there’s something wonderfully off!! Something a bit crazy yet magical about the space. If I decide to devote a space like this in my house I will have to be a hundred percent committed or otherwise it just wouldn’t work!!!! As you can see below Rasulov took simple everyday interiors and covered every inch (and I mean every single inch) in traditional Azerbaijan carpet patterns, from floor to ceiling, from doors to bookshelves, right down to the individual books. Look at the details of the accessories like the flower arrangements, the plants and the chandeliers… The only point of contrast in his works are the minimal all-white sculptures of living creatures, like dogs, lions, birds etc that he places within.….

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So? What do you think? Should I convert one room in my minimal home into a piece of art instead of putting art in it?