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A New York Hotel Showcasing Australian Aboriginal Art
In the late 18th century, the Tontine Building, on Manhattan’s Wall Street, was a tavern and coffeehouse — and the site of the New York Stock Exchange. Next month, the onetime trading center will reopen as the Wall Street Hotel, a 180-room boutique whose current owners, the Paspaleys, an Australian pearl production family, hope to make it more of a cultural hub. When it came to choosing art for the hotel, they partnered with the APY Art Centre Collective, an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to promoting Australian Aboriginal art. Examples of commissioned works — among them prints of paintings inspired by constellations by Matjangka Norris and layered land- and dreamscapes by Betty Muffler, who favors black and red ocher — appear throughout. After taking a self-guided tour, guests can have a cappuccino or cocktail in the all-day lounge, which is appointed with plush velvet seating, or explore the Financial District by complimentary Vélosophy bike. Rooms from $499, thewallsthotel.com.
The Los Angeles milliner Nick Fouquet was researching cowboy boots and pondering an expansion into footwear when he received a call from Lucchese, the revered Texas boot brand founded in 1883, about collaborating. “It was very serendipitous — a sign,” says Fouquet, who created headpieces for fashion houses Givenchy and Rochas before launching his own line a decade ago. And the partnership made sense: Both brands champion homegrown craftsmanship while aiming to update the idea of Americana. “There are an enormous number of similarities in the anatomy and construction, too. We have band blocks; they have lasts,” says Fouquet, who visited Lucchese’s archives in El Paso and saw lasts made for John Wayne, Gregory Peck and Jane Russell. In the end, the labels gave some classic Lucchese models a ’70s spin, coming up with eight new styles including stacked-heel boots in topstitched leather and tonal suede and snappy two-tone loafers, as well as a handful of printed silk neckerchiefs and (of course) cowboy-inspired hats. And yet, Fouquet promises, “the pieces will be as much at home on the streets of Paris as on a ranch.” Accessories from $240; footwear from $895, nickfouquet.com and lucchese.com.
A Peek Into the Colorful Mind of Niki de Saint Phalle
Nicole Rudick’s illustrated biography of nouveau réalisme artist Niki de Saint Phalle, “What Is Now Known Was Once Only Imagined,” takes its title from a (perhaps intentionally) misquoted snippet of William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” (1790) that appears in one of Saint Phalle’s typically rococo doodles. The line is also the perfect tag for the provocateur’s particular brand of 20th-century aestheticism. “I would spend my life questioning,” she wrote in a 1992 note addressed to her dead mother. “I would fall in love with the question mark.” Such voracious curiosity led to her various autodidactic pursuits as a painter, draftsperson, sculptor — she is probably best known for her Gaudí-inspired installation, “The Tarot Garden,” in Pescia Fiorentina, Tuscany — writer, filmmaker, gardener and perfumer. In her subtitle, Rudick (who has contributed to T) refers to the book as “an (auto)biography,” as it is comprised almost entirely of hundreds of Saint Phalle’s colorful sketches and a trove of her letters, essays and marginalia, in which the artist rhapsodizes on, among other things, adolescent love (she met her future husband, the writer Harry Mathews, at age 11), mental illness and the harlequin fantasies that pervaded her daily life. The result is an intimate scrapbook of the life of one of the century’s most inventive artists. $45, sigliopress.com.
A New Gallery on the Upper East Side
Having cut her teeth at such influential galleries as Paula Cooper and Paul Kasmin, Polina Berlin is now opening her own, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. With a leafy backyard garden and abundant natural light, the 2,000-square-foot space, once the parlor floor of a townhouse, retains its homey feel. And this is fitting since Berlin hopes the gallery will foster close bonds. “The artists in Paula’s program have such admiration for each other and push each other to ignite new ideas,” says Berlin. “It would be very satisfying to have that happen in my space.” The gallery’s inaugural show, titled “Emotional Intelligence” and opening next week, features various riffs on kinship. It includes work by 10 artists, including a painting of three semiabstract nudes by Loie Hollowell and another of a figure holding an umbrella that reads “God is Gorgeous” by Shannon Cartier Lucy. Berlin sees the show as a kind of mission statement. “These artists are so sensitive to how people are treated,” she says. “And if I can in some modest way make the art world better for the people I work with, then I feel the accountability to do that.” “Emotional Intelligence” runs from Feb. 22 to March 26, polinaberlingallery.com.
When it comes to sourcing supplies for small home projects — retiling a backsplash, say, or papering a single wall — it can feel like your options are either Home Depot (practical but not necessarily inspiring) or a brand’s showroom (obscure pricing, too many choices). It’s partly for this reason that Sarah Zames and Colin Stief, of the Brooklyn-based design studio General Assembly, are opening their first store, Assembly Line, in Boerum Hill this week. The warm, light-flooded space is laid out like a home, with inviting living and dining areas, and filled with furniture and fixtures by designers whom Zames and Stief admire — upholstered oak stools by Vonnegut/Kraft, elegant chrome cabinet knobs by Fort Standard Objects — as well as a tightly edited selection of materials for renovations, which includes Calico wallpapers printed with a range of nature-inspired motifs, glossy zellige tiles from Clé and lime wash paints from Bauwerk. Unlike in many showrooms, every item in the store is clearly priced, and Zames and Stief are available for consultations by appointment. A DIYer might easily come in to look at an Elitis fabric sample but leave with a new bedside lamp — like the great options, with globby, hand-formed stone bases, by the Brooklyn maker Hannah Bigeleisen — or a plan to reimagine an entire room. 373 Atlantic Avenue, assemblyline.co.
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