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A New Level of Upcycling

One of the most famous monuments to the notion of trash-to-treasure, the Watts Towers, located in South Central Los Angeles, recently received the great news that the James Irvine Foundation is coming to the Towers’ rescue with much needed renovation funding.

Looks like an elderly man in Madrid, Justo Martinez (aka Don Justo), has taken a page from Watts Towers designer/builder, the eccentric Sam Rodia, and has managed to single-handedly build a cathedral from salvaged materials and his own money.  Great article here at

–The Editors

“Moving Image” at the Armory Show

In New York for the Armory Show (March 3rd through the 6th)?  Add an exciting, brand-new video-art fair to your itinerary.  Organized by the Winkleman Gallery (with P-P-O-W), you’ll find Moving Image in the Waterfront Tunnel event space, between 27th and 28th Streets in Chelsea; it’s also convenient to the Independent fair.  Artists whose work will be exhibited, both nationally and internationally renowned, include David Wojnarowicz, Corban Walker, Said Atabekov, Janet Biggs, plus many more.

–The Editors

Foodie Destination: Austin

Since we took you to San Antonio this issue, let’s make a sidetrip to “Weird” Austin.  As long as you’re there for the music scene, you’ve got to eat, right?  Here are a just a few of the many downtown venues you get to choose from:

Wink: Consistent winner of critical praise, Wink has been at the forefront of Austin’s sustainable/local food movement for several years now.  And their translation of sustainable/local is delicious!  Menu changes daily, of course, but they are one of the few restaurants we’ve seen that proudly list their vendors (and it’s a long list) along with the day’s entrees.

Péché: We’re not huge absinthe fans ourselves (tastes too much like a cross between Nyquil and Ouzo), but this self-described absinthe bar, whose specialty is pre-prohibition cocktails, is definitely worth the sidetrip.  We love the food dished out by young chef Jason Dodge — upscale Americana — and the emphasis on the learned mixology of the bartenders (they traveled abroad to bring back true recipes) provides a vibe that is not only fun, but feels like you’re getting away with something.  Don’t miss the fried quail legs, or the citrus-dusted salmon.

Chez Nous: This issue, we’re all about Paris — so we found you a cozy little French bistro that will take you straight to the City of Light via downtown Austin.  Founded over 25 years ago by three friends from Paris, it’s now a fond favorite of locals and critics alike.  So when the craving hits for authentic escargot or confit duck leg, you now have a place to indulge it — in Texas.

–The Editors

Bright Young Things at Selfridges

If you’re in London, be sure to window shop at Selfridges before February 28th.  The “best department store in the world” decided to turn over their window dressing jobs (temporarily) to a group of hip, hot designers, the Bright Young Things, who count among their number Alex Noble.  (You  may recognize his work if you are familiar with bright, young entertainer Lady Gaga.)  Anyway, it’s as over-the-top as you might imagine, and a great way to get people window shopping in London on a cold winter’s day.

–The Editors

A Toast to St. Valentine

In honor of the day, and in anticipation of our spring ARTExpress destination — Portland, Oregon — check out the beautiful Valentine’s Day Chocolate Manhattan, detailed recipe courtesy of the folks at The Meadow.  We love the tasty stuff that The Meadow sells: specialty chocolates, salts, bitters, syrups and much more — and look forward to taking one of their classes, such as Himalayan salt block cooking.

In the meantime, Happy Indulgence Day!

–The Editors

In Hotel News…

Toronto: February 16th will see a brand-new Ritz-Carlton open in Canada.  Over 450 original artworks by Canadian artists were chosen for the walls and public spaces — and 5,000 bottles of wine are ready to toast the opening!

Istanbul: EDITION opened on February 8th, located in the heart of downtown.  We’d like to opt for the 2,800 sq. foot penthouse.  But we’ll settle for a drink in the bar, next to the 30-foot aquarium.  The place is so still so new, we’ll forgive the very truncated info. available on their website.  For now.

Shanghai: Hyatt is building another one of its upscale Andaz boutique hotels; this one in the famed Chinese entertainment district in the downtown area.  Although the press notice we received says it will be the first Andaz in Asia, there is already one in Delhi.  (Which, last we checked…)

New York: Although it’s not a new hotel, Our Valentine’s Day recommendation if you’re in the Big Apple is the Library Hotel.  Even if we weren’t bibliophiles — there are sixty rooms on ten floors and each floor is dedicated to a classification of the Dewey Decimal System — we’d still love it.  Special love-day weekend packages  range from “The Cupid’s Pink Romance Turndown,” which we find very sweet, with champagne and truffles; to “The Erotica Package,” which, uh, we’ll let you ask.  But even if you check in on your own, you’ll at least have plenty of literary companions.  There are thousands of books found throughout, and it’s only a block away from the New York Public Library (the hotel’s inspiration).

–The Editors

Florida, Here We Come

If you’re looking out the window at snow drifts right now (as this writer is) the pull of tropical climes is indeed strong.  Even stronger, considering that Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg is now offering up all kinds of art temptations, in addition to warm weather.

First, celebrate Tampa Museum of Art’s March mega-exhibition of works by Degas — including sculpture, paintings and drawings (March 12-June 19).  Next, check out the brand new Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg: over 20,000 square feet of all things Dali, housing the largest collection outside of Spain. We look forward to standing outside and watching the sun change the many hues of the Glass Enigma — a massive glass wave that graces the front of the building, designed by Yann Weymouth — who assisted with the Louvre’s Glass Pyramid.  Dali would surely approve.

Finally, before you leave St. Petersburg, don’t miss the fabulous Chihuly Collection, set in its own 10,000 square foot space designed by Albert Alfonso, and presented by the nearby Morean Arts Center, well worth its own visit.

See you there — don’t forget the sunscreen.

–The Editors

The World of Art, Bit by Bit

There’s much ballyhoo surrounding Google’s release last week of the internet giant’s Art Project.  It allows for extreme, up-close examination of some of the world’s biggest art treasures housed in 17 European and U.S.  museums (heavy hitters such as MoMA, the Met, the Uffizi, the Tate Modern, etc.).  Are there plans, though, to include contemporary work?  Currently, out of this vast showcase, there is but one example of postwar art — we plead with Google — if you’re adding more, bring us newer stuff!

But, for now, it’s still fascinating . . . and for those of us currently snowbound, the added whiz-bang of “walking” through the halls (via Google’s Street View program) allowing us a mini-vacation that we could not otherwise take — well, it’s extra fun.

We also see it as a great tool when planning a REAL tour, so we can experience art as it was meant to be, i.e. “in the flesh.”

–The Editors

Happy Chinese New Year

Albrecht Dürer's "Young Hare"

From ARTExpress!

Place Your Super Bowl Bets!

This year, there is some interesting wagering going on around the Super Bowl — involving the art world —  centered, of course, in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

In a good natured (we assume) bet between the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Art Museum, each institution is putting up a well-loved Impressionist painting (for a three-month loan, not ownership!) on the chance that their hometown team (Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers) will win.  For Carnegie, it’s Renoir’s Bathers with Crab on the line; Milwaukee, meanwhile, is risking Boating on the Yerres by Gustave Caillebotte.

Go team!

The Editors

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