Thursday, March 24, 2011


I was so thrilled when my husband spotted, on, an image of a Prada store in Marfa, Texas (the home of Donald Judd's museum, The Chinati Foundation).  The image was in a section about odd roadside attractions in the US.  I knew immediately it must be installtion art.  There is NOTHING in Marfa other than the Judd museum.  And there is NOTHING close by.  Not even remotely close by.  This just had to be art.  So I had to look it up. 

And yes, I was in fact correct...Prada had not declared Marfa the new up-and-coming hip getaway of the rich and famous worthy of a store.  The artistic team of Elmgreen and Dragset (Danish and Norwegian respectively) had created the store as permanently installed sculpture in 2005.  They call it a pop architectural land art project.  Very fitting, I must say. 

Interesting tid bits about the piece include:
- its cost at $80,000 (despite the fact it is constructed mainly of adobe brick and mdf)
- its door is nonfunctional
- the stock inside the store includes 14 right foot Prada shoes and six handbags without bottoms
- the building will never be maintained, and the artists plan to let it decay over time  (however, they were not willing to let it go three days after it was completed when a group of (likely) young hoodlums broke in, stole all the items inside the store, and spray painted the word "Dumb" throughout the interior.  The store was quickly repaired and additional security cameras were installed...even inside the prada bags with no bottoms.

While I failed to see much connection between Donald Judd and this piece at first, in fact there seems to be.  The artists chose Prada in particular becuase of the minimal style of displays and overall store layout & design, which does in a way, mimic Judd's uber-minimal artwork.  I can see it much more clearly from the below vantage point:

Prada Store by Elmgreen and Dragset:

The Chinati Foundation with works by Judd:

I must say that despite the fact this is somewhat silly, it is also quite witty and just plain fun.  And honestly, these days, that is, in my opinion, the most successful contemporary art.  Just fun.  Read more here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


In light of the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I thought I would share some images of the amazing architecture that has been produced by the Japanese.  The simplicity and grace of these structures speak for themselves. 

Kumamoto Castle:

Matsumoto Castle:

Nijo Castle in Kyoto (one of the few I have been lucky enough to visit):

Shofukuji Hall:

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The Victorian era is such an odd time period for antique furniture.  Many find the furniture horrid and ugly, while others love it.  And really, the interest in the period only seems to be growing, but it still has a LONG way to go in the respect and price departments when compared to Chippendale or Federal furniture (or pretty much ANY other time period). 

I was recently researching a set of Renaissance Revivial furniture for a client, and was really quite amazed at the vast difference in prices paid for such Victorian furniture.

There were many ebay sofas and chairs going for next to nothing, even several pieces for only a hundred dollars.  And then the more reasonably but still very low priced sets like these ($1300 for the set):

To a set sold at Sotheby's for $4375:

And a top-end set sold at Christies for $13,800:

And while I must agree with many that such furniture might not be the most beautiful ever produced, there really is a certain charm about these pieces.  And as everyone knows, I do enjoy reupholstering old furniture, and think such pieces would be so amazing redone.

And after browsing on 1st dibs a bit, I realized I was not the only one that felt they could revive such revival furniture by reupholstering and refinishing.  And WOW, the prices just skyrocket!

Check out this one (which is not a reproduction, it is a true Victorian chair that has been painted and reupholstered) listed at $3,600 for the one chair:

Or this fancy guy (also a true Victorian) for $2,800 which has been upholstered in black patent leather:

Thinking outside the box a bit with such furniture changes the game entirely and can create really contemporary fun furniture.  However, I can imagine we will one day look back on such alterations to this furniture with utter horror....just as we do now when looking back 100 years ago to our grandparents who refinished all their New England 17th century antiques!  I guess we never change...

Friday, March 4, 2011


If you are an Antiques Roadshow groupie you likely have heard about Leslie & Leigh Keno's first line of furniture for Theodore Alexander. The furniture is exquisitely simple and elegant, and not (thank god) straight copies of early American furniture. While some are surprised by the styles, I am not. The craftsmanship, beautiful woods, and attention to detail both men find so attractive in early American furniture is very apparent in these pieces. And frankly, having been taught by both at Sotheby's, I know the little secret that both in fact enjoy 20th century furniture quite a bit. Not the standard mid-century Eames type stuff, but instead the sensual Italians, in particular, Carlo Mollino. And the connection between Mollino and the Keno line is obvious. So in my mind, their line is perfect; inspired by the 18th century, sampling from the mid-20th, and looking to creating the next family heirlooms their grandkids can find on Antiques Roadshow one day.
While the line has been covered quite a bit by the design mags like Traditional Home and Interior Design, I have not seen too much on the blogosphere. So here are some samples:

And Mollino?  Anyone agree?



Hey, they even rhyme!  Check out the full line here.