The T-List: Five Things We Recommend This Week
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In Baja California, a restored villa from the 1900s
Located on the Sea of Cortez, in the laid-back coastal town of La Paz, Baja California Sur, is the newly opened Baja Club. Its original structure – an early 20th-century Spanish colonial-style villa – was renovated by the Mexico City-based architect Max von Werz, under the direction of the Grupo Habita hotel brand. The ground floor of the white lacquered brick building now houses a lobby, café and library, but the most striking addition is a concrete spiral staircase, inspired by sculptural free-form designs modernist architects Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier and connects the main house to the new four-story annex of the property. The two wings that make up von Werz’s extension house the 32 rooms and suites of the inn each open onto a private patio. Inside, rooms feature traditional Mexican Talavera ceramics lamps inspired by the work of Luis Barragán; olive terrazzo and speckled alabaster floors; and chairs, in wicker and wood, designed by the Parisian design firm Yellow and produced by contemporary Mexican artist Claudia Fernández. Guests can relax in the hotel’s sauna, jacuzzi or infinity pool. And in the evenings, Greek-inspired dishes are offered at the hotel’s restaurant, an outdoor space under an ivy-covered pergola, while cocktails are served at the rooftop bar. Rooms start at $ 275, bajaclubhotel.com.
Kenny rivero works of art frequently use discarded materials – shards of its own abandoned projects in pieces of plastic that he collected while working as a night porter in one of New York City’s luxury apartment buildings in the early 2000s. The 29 unseen drawings in the exhibition “Kenny Rivero: palm oil, rum, honey, yellow flowersOn display at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Vermont, are no exception: illustrated scenes appear on salvaged record covers and torn book pages, among other makeshift canvases. While recent Rivero broadcasts at the Charles Moffett Gallery in New York and at Hallwalls in Buffalo, New York, exhibited vibrant large-scale paintings, drawing had long been a part of his practice. Growing up in Washington Heights, the Dominican-American artist, now living in the Bronx, “drew on the blank pages of the books of my siblings and my parents,” he says. “It was like a space that no one else was paying attention to – and a space that I could sort of squeeze in.” The Brattleboro Show’s small-scale vignettes, some of which are double-sided and showcase display, have been made for the past 14 years and were not originally intended for display. “They are meant to be held and touched,” says the artist. But even with them behind glass, you can see the intimate nature of Rivero’s work. Its soft marks of graphite and watercolor represent spectral figures – desperate superheroes, folk figures – in moments deprived of melancholy or ruminating, and are accompanied, in many cases, by pieces of writing, song lyrics or dialogues heard. Whether his subject is a character in the act who smiles to reveal a mouth full of tiny teeth, as in “Untitled (Politician)” (2018-20), or a man in a bathing suit with his hands gently resting on his hips (“Bather,” 2016-20), Rivero imbues each drawing with an undeniable tenderness. “Kenny Rivero: Palm Oil, Rum, Honey, Yellow Flowers” is on display until June 13 at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, 10 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, Vermont, brattleboromuseum.org.
Cheerful dishes from a renowned chef
The London based The cookbooks by Anglo-Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi have helped me through many evenings of pandemic-induced discomfort. “Ottolenghi Flavor(2020) is my latest favorite, with recipes like zaatar cacio e pepe and a cucumber salad with tahini and black sesame seeds. So when I heard that Ottolenghi was releasing a tableware collection, I knew it would be both tasteful and daring. The line, which debuted earlier this week, consists of 100 pieces – from tapas and ceramic plates to wine glasses and serving racks – produced by the Belgium-based studio. Serax and designed by Ottolenghi and one of his longtime friends and collaborators, the Italian artist Ivo Bisignano, who divides his time between London and Tel Aviv. The goods come in an assortment of brilliant hues – including cobalt blue, mustard yellow, soft pink and forest green – and have been painted with a series of designs (abstract images of vegetables, smiling faces and the letter “O”, as a tribute to the cook himself) that are sure to bring a sense of joie de vivre to any table. Bisignano used a myriad of techniques – like Japanese ink painting and printmaking with real artichoke and pomegranate halves – when designing the stoneware items in this range. “I was inspired by everything from Picasso’s ceramics to Dalí’s paintings of forks, knives and spoons, ”he says. The result: dishes that perfectly complement those of Ottolenghi. Starting at $ 28, available for pre-order at ottolenghi.co.uk.
A perfume by Byredo inspired by the sky
When Covid-19 forced Stockholm-based Byredo founder Ben Gorham to stay put city early last year, he, like so many other frequent travelers suddenly confined to home and hometown, began to want to travel. After nearly 15 years traveling the world for business meetings and Byredo store openings – Gorham launched his perfume brand in 2006 and has since added soaps, hand creams and candles to its offerings – he wasn’t fantasizing about a tropical escape or even a return to the Orient. London, where makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench resides, her partner in her new business, Byredo Makeup, but from the experience of looking out of an airplane window. “This idea of movement – of being on the road somewhere – is something that I really missed,” Gorham recalls. So, with his latest fragrance, Open Sky, he has set out to capture what he calls “the void that exists between departure and destination” with distinct, yet harmonious, notes coming from afar. Combining a juicy pomelo veiled in hemp leaves with a hint of heady vetiver, woody palo santo and sharp black pepper, the eau de parfum, offered in Byredo’s signature magnetic-stopper glass bottle, will be available online and in select stores starting May 6 for a limited time only. $ 270, byredo.com.
The buildings and gardens that the Mexican architect Luis Barragán realized in the second half of his career, from the 1940s to the end of the 1970s, have in common a monastic impression which tends to inspire a contemplative state in the visitor. When the German artist Robert Janitz began to take an interest in Barragán’s creations three years ago, he responded, in particular, to a feeling of “dematerialization of space in colored light,” he recalls. It is therefore fitting that 10 of his own dynamic works are currently exhibited at Casa Gilardi – the last house Barragán completed, in 1978, in the San Miguel Chapultepec district of Mexico City – for the “Best of All Worlds” show, organized by Gianni Jetzer. Janitz’s polychrome canvases, with broad brush and squeegee marks made of oil, flour and wax, as well as his early work on ceramic tiles and a minimalist composition of fuchsia concrete tiles – arranged alongside the house’s aquamarine indoor pool – demonstrate his own introspection tendency (as a graduate student in Germany he majored in Indology and Comparative Religion and then spent 10 years in meditation before continuing the painting). Set against the bright white, cobalt and lemon yellow walls of the house, the rooms have a fascinating effect. “It’s not an eye-level conversation,” Janitz says of how his work interacts with that of the architect. “I come as a devotee.” It did, however, include a note of challenge. While most of the rooms in the exhibition are as bright as the house itself, Jetzer and Janitz have chosen to hang “Álgebra Sin Color” (2021), a 6½ by 5 foot black and white canvas, on a first – a terrace on the ground floor. “This one is anti-Chucho Reyes,” Janitz laughs, alluding to Barragán’s frequent collaborator and master of color. “The Best of All Worlds” is on view until May 8 at Casa Gilardi, Calle Gral. Antonio, León 82, San Miguel Chapultepec, Mexico City, archivocolectivo.mx.
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