Echo Returns

Staying out late, NY art burst, Anthony Bourdain, Mexican design shops and more

Incredibly, I stayed out till 2am on Saturday.

Last year, my partner Kyle started a regular Zoom event called Saturday Night Weirds, an experimental get-together that allowed our group of friends to be expressive and creative during quarantine. Using a random emoji as a creative prompt (e.g. 🛢, 🦄, 🏝 ) participants would interpret what the object means to them and then present to the group. The outputs were varied, ranging from Keynote presentations, dance performances, experimental videos, and once, someone was abducted by the government. Or maybe it was aliens? Things got weird.

As we approached the holidays last year, Weirds wound down, and most people were rather adjusted to the feeling of quarantine life. But now, with our group of friends fully vaccinated, and as I mentioned last week, a yearning for that intimacy between friends and family growing strong, we did our very first Saturday Night Weirds IRL. It was a small group of friends, every one of them characters in their own right, interpreting their meanings of 🌻. I gave a retrospective of the work of Azuma Makoto, an incredible Japanese artists who takes flowers and encases them in ice, drops them to the bottom of the ocean, and launched these delicate blooms into space.

The drinks flowed (Kyle made an amazing hibiscus and tequila cocktail inspired by Rick Martinez’s recipe) and that feeling of old friends being together once again made the night flow like water down stones. I had assumed we’d wrap up around 11pm, but we kept talking. And for the first time in nearly a year and half, we found the joy of one another’s company once again.

It’s been nearly 3 years since my last trip to New York and the slew of amazing art events and exhibits currently happening there has me wanting to visit again. It feels like there was a bottled up energy that manifested into this incredible burst of creative energy. I’m sure there are many things going on but here are three things that really caught my interest.

Little Island →
Man, I’ve seen so many hot takes on this place. Heatherwick Studio, designers of the tragic, Instagram selfie dumpster fire AKA The Vessel, are the visionaries behind what I would say is one of the most joyful pieces of “land art” I’ve seen since perhaps the building of The High Line. The critique I see often is “but what is it for?” And to that I’ve been thinking about a quote I saw recently by Isamu Noguchi, “useless architecture, useful sculpture.” The whole point is to experience the space and see how it changes your perspective. Being present is the point. If you’ve visited let me know what you thought!

Yayoi Kusama: Cosmic Nature
Combining two of my favorite things, Yayoi Kusama and plants, the New York Botanical Garden has a fantastic exhibit of Kusama’s works spread across the sites 250 acres. Her works have never looked more at home!

Re:Growth, a Celebration of Art, Riverside Park and the New York Spirit →
I’m a big fan of Desert X and the idea of public art works for all to enjoy so it’s exciting to see a similar manifestation happening in New York with Re:Growth. The works are spread up and down the Hudson River, scattered between 58th and 157th street. I feel like this would be such a beautiful way to spend a Sunday morning.

✖ — There are a handful of curated imagery sites I visit, mostly Tumblr’s haphazardly filled with beautiful JPGs, with one that stands out from the rest… Searchsystem™. The site recently went through a substantial update, gaining new features like light or dark modes, changing the scale of images on the site, a clever search system, as well as its own bespoke typeface, Searchsystem™ Pro Mono.

✖ — Watching the trailer for Roadrunner, A Film About Anthony Bourdain, I became immediately emotional. The feature will cover the life and legacy of Anthony Bourdain using footage from the past and interviews with those who knew him best. Honestly, I feel like I’ll be smiling while quietly weeping under a blanket as I watch this, the guy was such an amazing person.

✖ — I’ve previously written about Andy and their collection of shiny, feel-great-to-use apps, especially their weather app, which remains a consistent widget on home screen. Now the team has created a Chroma update for the app which looks like something Felipe Pantone would make if he made a weather app. It’s a gorgeous new look that’s incredibly beautiful to play with.

✖ — A Roman boutique drowning in green onyx. Something I’ve never seen before and the creative duo Giada Forte and Robert Vattilana have done a magnificent job of making their client’s store look magical. I hadn’t really thought of onyx as a material for walls and floors, and when it’s paired with brass like it is here, the effect is stunning.

✖ — Margaret Howell, fashion designer renowned for her timeless, simplistic forms, released a beautiful video to mark the 50th anniversary of the brand. The film highlights the many aspects of life in Japan and their appeal to Margaret since her first visit in 1983. I love this line she has, which I feel resonates with my personal beliefs, “Simplicity in life is the guiding principle though it may be the hardest thing to achieve."

✖ — I recently discovered that Christoph Niemann has a number of lovely prints for sale on his website. I’m very attracted to his inky, surrealistic takes on cityscapes and bouquets of colorful flowers and the natural world.

✖ — A partnership of Libia Moreno and Enrique Arellano, Utilitario Mexicano is a Mexico City based design shop with an extremely impressive collection of objects. Like, I’m going to be real with you here. Since you read this newsletter you have amazing taste and you’re going to want to buy 80% of the things they have. The objects are so beautiful and unique and I am very tempted to buy a black, short-sleeve jumpsuit from them and it will be my summer look.

✖ — When I grow up I want to be Barbara Jakobson. Wendy Goodman recently featured Barbara, an 88 year old art collector with the most insane collection of art, and includes such charming details as an outline of Frank Stella’s 1971 Felsztyn III, which once hung in her home but was sold by Jakobson at her 2005 Christie’s auction. She also has a bar made by Tom Sachs made from Con Ed barricades?!?! What a dream.

The Trend Report™ by my partner, Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick, is a sharp and insightful look at everything going on in the world, arriving every Saturday to your inbox. Highly recommended, obviously.

The Fox Is Black Radio is a 3 hour playlist I keep updated with new music I’m listening to and loving. Don’t let the cover fool you either, this mix is nothing but fresh. Put it on shuffle and enjoy.