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In Paris, an Art Deco-Inspired Honduran Florist
A few blocks from Paris’s stately Palais-Royal in the First Arrondissement exists a dramatic enclave of flowers. This eponymous new floral gallery, created by the Honduran (and formerly New York City-based) florist Arturo Arita, is an all-white grotto that enshrines fresh blooms — not mythological deities — in its rocky alcoves. Arita’s shop was designed by the Parisian architect Sophie Dries, whose assignment was to come up with something inspired by the pair’s shared appreciation for the Mannerist-style caves found in Renaissance-era Italian gardens, including those of Villa d’Este in Tivoli and Villa Medici in Rome. There’s also a Barovier & Toso chandelier that looks like a piece of fruit hanging from the vine, a leaf-shaped lamp by André Arbus and a dramatic center table made of a raw-edged slab of Brazilian marble upon which Arita creates his designs. He tends to feature vibrantly hued, sculptural flowers such as Heliconia She Kongs and Protea Venuses along with geometric fronds, placed in contrasting-colored, Art Deco-style vases. The space’s mirrored walls heighten its lushness so much so that you might feel as though you’re in a botanical garden, not the center of Paris. arturoarita.com.
New Yorkers’ Phone Calls Turned Into Poetry
Founded in the aftermath of 9/11, the River to River Festival is an annual celebration of the arts in Lower Manhattan that in the past has included work by Yoko Ono and Pam Tanowitz. The challenges of the present moment led the organizers to rethink how the public can interact with art — and the result is River to River 2020: Four Voices, where projects take on a physical presence that can be viewed in open spaces over time. In “Blessing of the Boats,” the artist Muna Malik asks us to consider what concrete actions can lead us to a better future, write them on an origami boat and place them in a 20-foot maquette of a ship in the Battery’s Belvedere Plaza. The artist Jean Shin has two pieces — “Floating MAiZE” and “The Last Straw” — that repurpose plastic waste to raise questions of belonging and identity. The multidisciplinary artist Mona Chalabi, known for transforming statistical truths into visual narratives, has used census data to condense the city’s sprawling population down to a graphic project called “100 New Yorkers,” which will be displayed on posters and screens around the Oculus building. Finally, the poet Asiya Wadud presents “Echo Exhibit,” in which she and other writers have transformed 15-minute phone calls with residents of Lower Manhattan into poems that are displayed on vinyl posters in storefronts throughout the neighborhood. From over 200 hours of conversations in half a dozen languages — including American Sign Language — Wadud has curated a series of 20 poems, which she calls echoes. “Poems in public spaces create the potential to encounter something new and unexpected,” said Wadud, who teaches poetry at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. All events are free and run through August 30 in various locations in New York City, lmcc.net.
Outside San Francisco, Quince Goes to the Source
As many restaurateurs around the globe wonder when, if ever, they’ll be able to reopen their dining rooms, the husband-and-wife duo Michael and Lindsay Tusk — who run San Francisco’s renowned Quince, among other spots — have come up with a creative solution: bringing diners to the farm. Two farms, in fact: Fresh Run in Bolinas, Calif., and McEvoy Ranch in nearby Marin County, where, each weekend from now through the end of October, they’ll host a rotating series of socially distanced alfresco lunches and dinners across the rolling acreage from which many of their ingredients are sourced. The meals, which are meant to be more casual than those served at their flagship — flat shoes and hats are encouraged — begin with California-inspired aperitifs and passed canapés (such as local halibut tartare and Romano bean salad) before moving onto a hyperlocal, multicourse offering that changes by the week but might include, say, fresh corn with edible farm flowers and Stemple roast beef “grilled from up the road in its own smoked fat,” as the menu explains. The idea isn’t simply to relocate their business but to fully reimagine it, bringing Quince closer to its roots. Fittingly, at the end of each feast, guests will be invited to pick vegetables or berries to take home. For details, pricing and availability, visit quincerestaurant.com.
Ruth Asawa Postage Stamps
Earlier this year, it was announced that 10 works of art by Ruth Asawa — about whom I wrote for T’s online art issue, “True Believers,” which launched last week — would appear on United States postage stamps. Asawa, who was born in Norwalk, Calif., in 1926 and was incarcerated during World War II along with over 100,000 other Japanese-Americans and people of Japanese descent, eventually found her way to Black Mountain College, where she studied with Buckminster Fuller and Josef Albers. A gifted artist, she began creating masterful abstract sculpture work made from wire in 1947. Though she was represented by a well-respected midtown gallery called Peridot in the 1950s and ’60s, Asawa eventually withdrew from the New York City art scene, becoming more engaged with public sculpture, community-based arts education and activism in San Francisco. More recently, Asawa has become the subject of what some might call a rediscovery, so it comes as no surprise that she’s been given the honor of being featured on a postage stamp, alongside other great Americans, such as the artist Ellsworth Kelly, the writer Nella Larsen and the poet Walt Whitman. Designed by Ethel Kessler, the stamps can be preordered now and will be made available Aug. 13. $11 for a sheet of 20 stamps, usps.com.
Write a Digital Love Note to New York City
As New York cautiously reopens its public spaces, a project by the design group Pentagram is offering the city’s residents a digital one in which to both reflect and look forward. Visitors to the web page Dear New York are invited to explore and add to a collection of messages written on virtual sticky notes, each one expressing what its author has missed about the city in recent months or desires for its future. Overseen by Pentagram partner Giorgia Lupi, an authority in data visualization, the project has been an exercise in creating a humanized digital interface that encourages genuine connection. The “crowdsourced love letter,” as Lupi describes it, presents a rich, dynamic world — notes can be precisely positioned on one of a number of randomized backgrounds that depict intimate surface details of everyday New York, from dust-streaked storefront windows to mottled patches of sidewalk. As contributions multiply, Lupi hopes the project will become an engaging emotional record of a city in the midst of social and cultural upheaval — a “monument of a moment in time.” dear-new-york.com.