New and Noteworthy: April 2023
April is my favorite month and not just because it’s my birthday month. Everything is in bloom in New York and Paris and there are some great new exhibitions and shows and films to watch on the days that are rainy.
N.B. I started this post before I left for Paris but was too busy to finish it after I arrived in the City of Light. I’m happy to be getting it in just under the wire now.
I ran out of time before I left for Paris to see Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid that opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on 4 April 2023. I have one of her books and I love her abstract works so I look forward to going when I’m back from Paris.
For more than twenty-five years, Cecily Brown (b. 1969) has transfixed viewers with sumptuous color, bravura brushwork, and complex narratives that relate to some of Western art history’s grandest and oldest themes. After moving to New York from London in the 1990s, she revived painting for a new generation alongside a handful of other artists—many of them also women—at the very moment critics were questioning its import and relevance. The first full-fledged museum survey of Brown’s work in New York since she made the city her home, Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid assembles a select group of some fifty paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, and monotypes from across her career to explore the intertwined themes of still life, memento mori, mirroring, and vanitas—symbolic depictions of human vanity or life’s brevity—that have propelled her dynamic and impactful practice for decades.
It runs through 3 December 2023 so you have time to visit.
Those of you headed to London should check out Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian Forms of Life at the Tate Modern. The Hilma af Klint show at the Guggenheim in New York was spectacular so I’m sure this one will be too.
This is a unique chance to discover the visionary work of Swedish painter Hilma af Klint and experience Dutch painter Piet Mondrian’s influential art in a new light.
Although they never met, af Klint and Mondrian both invented their own languages of abstract art rooted in nature. At the heart of both of their artistic journeys was a shared desire to understand the forces behind life on earth.
Best known for his abstract work, Mondrian in fact began his career – like af Klint – as a landscape painter. Alongside Mondrian’s iconic grids, you will see the rarely exhibited paintings of flowers he continued to create throughout his life. Also on display will be enigmatic works by af Klint in which natural forms become a pathway to abstraction.
Both artists shared an interest in new ideas in spirituality, scientific discovery and philosophy. Af Klint was also a medium, and this exhibition showcases the large-scale, otherworldly masterpieces she believed were commissioned by higher powers.
Visitors will be immersed in these ideas through the vibrant signs, shapes and colours in both artists’ beautiful, complex work.
This seems to follow a new trend of pairing artists who never met together, similar to Monet Mitchell. This show runs from 20 April to 3 September 2023. I’m going to try to see it when I’m in London this summer.
I used to go to MoMA a lot when I first moved to New York but their shows haven’t really excited me in a long time. I might give them another chance with Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time. It runs through 12 August 2023.
“To see takes time,” Georgia O’Keeffe once wrote. Best known for her flower paintings, O’Keeffe (1887-1986) also made extraordinary series of works in charcoal, pencil, watercolor, and pastel. Reuniting works on paper that are often seen individually, along with key paintings, this exhibition offers a rare glimpse of the artist’s working methods and invites us to take time to look.
Every time I see this image for the new exhibition Des Cheveux et des Poils at the Musée Arts Décoratifs, I start silently start singing the song from Hair, the musical. The show that runs from 5 April to 17 September 2023 is all about Hair and Hairs. I had hoped to make it to this exhibition before I don’t think I’ll have time this trip.
The Archives Nationales is one of the most underrated free museums in Paris and one of my favorite places in the city. They have a new exhibition on now, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette et la Révolution.
La famille royale aux Tuileries (1789-1792). It runs from until 3 July after which it will close for their summer holiday and will reopen from 30 August to 6 November 2023.
The National Archives shed new light on the unknown period following the events of 1789. This exhibition brings together a hundred documents, paintings, engravings and several elements of furniture, and offers an immersion in the daily life of the royal family, from his departure from Versailles for the Tuileries to the fall of the monarchy.
For the first time, the content of their coded, encrypted and redacted letters will be revealed to the general public. One of the most fascinating facets of this founding period in the history of France, marked by the end of a reign and the birth of a new world.
I did make it to this exhibition and it’s a wonderful look at this period in French history with artifacts from the period. The larger signage is translated into English.
I look forward to seeing the new film Chevalier which is inspired by the true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, who rises to heights in French society as a composer before an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and her court. It’s in theaters now.
I watched Brooke Shield’s documentary Pretty Baby on Hulu and thought it was strange that it seemed to stop before looking at her later life. It was only later that I realized there was a second episode that didn’t automatically begin after the first episode so make sure you watch both. It was a very thought provoking look at how she was allowed to do things at such a young age that would never be allowed today.
Air is a 2023 American biographical sports drama film directed by Ben Affleck and written by Alex Convery. The film is based on true events about the origin of Air Jordan, a basketball shoe line, of which a Nike employee seeks to strike a business deal with rookie player Michael Jordan. It stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker and Viola Davis as Michael Jordan’s mom. It’s been getting great reviews and I definitely want to see this one too. It will soon air on Amazon Prime too.
I wasn’t blown away by Transatlantic on Netflix which about two Americans and their allies form a scrappy rescue operation in 1940 Marseilles to help artists, writers and other refugees fleeing Europe during WWII, but it’s worth watching if you need another series to binge.
If you ever saw the 1988 film Dead Ringers the psychological thriller film starring Jeremy Irons in a dual role as identical twin gynecologists directed by David Cronenberg, you know it’s a bit creepy. Well, now Rachel Weitz stars as the twins in the modern take on Dead Ringers in the new series on Amazon Prime. The twins in question are Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twins who share everything: Drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes—including pushing the boundaries on medical ethics—in an effort to challenge antiquated practices and bring women’s healthcare to the forefront. Based the first scene I just watched, this is definitely not for the easily offended but from what I saw from the paparazzi photos from filming, it might be great for fashion inspiration.
I ended up cancelling my side trip to Amsterdam because I just didn’t have it in me to brave the crowds for the Vermeer exhibition. I was disappointed though not to have the opportunity to meet Natasja Sadi, the woman behind my favorite Instagram account @cakeatelieramsterdam and the author of the new book A Sweet Floral Life: Romantic Arrangements for Fresh and Sugar Flowers. It was just released this week and if it’s anything like her Instagram photos, it will be a beautiful look flowers and floral arrangements.
I’ve been trying to find the perfect grey sweatshirt to transition to when it’s too warm to wear grey cashmere sweaters and I’ve finally found the one. I prefer one that is thin and not fleece lined which why I love this one. I went down one size so double check the size chart and dimensions.
I have loved the Dries Van Noten Neon Garden Hand Cream and decided to splurge on the Neon Garden Perfume in Paris. If you’ve never been to the store in Paris, it’s an inspiring space for interior design as well as fashion.