Friday, August 15, 2008

The Life of Lee Miller

I know that the city is abuzz with excitement over the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the MOMA, and rightfully so.  However, the best thing that came out of my recent visit to the Museum was stumbling upon The Life of Lee Miller.

While some of Miller’s work has registered on my radar in the past, I had no idea just what a broad range of subjects her works touched on.

In the Lee Miller retrospective at the SFMOMA, museum-goers are treated to a multi-course visual feast that follows Miller’s career through her early days as a model...

... to a stint as a surrealist photographer in Europe where she cozied up with Picasso and Man Ray...

(Lee Miller,Charlie Chaplin, Paris, 1931© Lee Miller Archives, England. [above])

(Marie-Berte, Max Ernst, Lee Miller & Man Ray [above])

... continuing through to her more shocking photojournalist work, including this self-portrait of Miller bathing in Hitler’s bathtub shortly after the fall of The Third Reich…

...and on to her eventual settling down to a life on a small country farm.  I could delve more into the fascinating story of Miller’s life, but truly, half of the fun of going to an exhibit is in leading your own tour through a body of work, so on that note, I'll bid you adieu...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Home sweet Home

While I generally prefer to write about restaurants that I have a personal relationship with, i.e.  that I have eaten at,  I couldn’t help but share my latest gustatory/design find.  Located in Via Tortona, the Milan neighborhood known for its discerning aesthetic, Home is the brainchild of owner Monica Bagnari, designer Luca Rossire and architect Riccardo Salvi.  But Home is more than an evocative restaurant name; this epicurial sanctuary is also the personal residence of Bagnari, who converts it back into her home every night once the doors are closed to the public.

Each April, the Via Tortona neighborhood hosts the Salone del Mobile Internazional – one of the world's largest design trade fairs. In consideration of the project's unique location, Rossire and Salvi offered a number of top furnishing companies a partnership in the restaurant in exchange for donated goods, an opportunity they were wise to jump on.  As you can see, the result is a striking space where designers and gourmands alike would feel right at Home.

Midwest Side-- Sonnenzimmer

Of the many artistic talents to have blossomed in the Windy City (Frank Lloyd Wright, Ernest Hemingway), there are but few I have personally chatted about vegetarian cooking with, most notably Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi of Sonnenzimmer Studio in Chicago.  Whit and I met them several weeks back, and amongst a sea of felt-applique pillows (nothing against felt-applique pillows) and cheeky canvas totes (and who doesn't love a cheeky tote?), I was immediately drawn to their graphic design collaborations.  Sonnenzimmer's subdued use of color and non-representational style made them really stand out.  With their mastery of geometric imagery,  these two visionaires seamlessly blend both mod and  futuristic/technological influences in a very subtle and yet striking way.

Their gig posters were really captivating in their design and simplicity, and seemed to really represent the underground Chicago music scene they help to promote: confident, stylish, a little stark, and ultimately, very cool.