“In a manner, the bench is the apotheosis of urban life, the city’s most democratic place and a forum from which to watch life happen. In a commercialised public arena in which we have become recognised as consumers and customers rather than citizens, the bench remains an unalloyed public good.” Edwin Heathcote, FT
This excellent essay by FT architecture critic, Edwin Heathcote looks at the role of street furniture – public seating, streetlights, newsstands and post boxes – in a fast-changing urban landscape. Populating the city’s liminal spaces like familiar friends, I always loved the newspaper dispensers in New York (do they still exist?) and the green metal chairs in Paris’s Jardin des Tuileries.
Like silent supporting actors in oh-so-many classic movies, they’re not just essential street kit for locals, they also serve as perfect photo props for tourists. Here’s a favourite photo of James Lee Byars’ The Golden Sphere surrounded by the essential green chairs (top) (more…)
A name to look out for in the 2020s: Amoako Boafo. This Vienna-based Ghanaian painter came to my attention during Art Basel Miami, when his work kept pinging up on Instagram.
His portraits have a really magnetic, visceral power, using fingers to paint directly onto the canvas. While the effect is in your face and graphic, I like the attention to fashion detail, it’s got a bit of Alex Katz and Elizabeth Peyton flavour in that respect. In 2020, Boafo will have a solo show at Mariane Ibrahim in Chicago and I’m sure his influence will be far reaching. (more…)
I love how art, architecture, retail and technology are commingling these days. Last Friday I went on a mad (and at times quite trippy) [AR]T walk with Apple to promote its new art-based ‘Today at Apple’ augmented reality experiences in some of its bigger city stores. (more…)
One of my favourite writing gigs last year was the profile of architect Spencer Fung for new men’s biannual, Wattswhat magazine. I visited Fung’s beautiful studio in West London (in fact, it’s ten minutes from my house! #winning), where he showed me his collection of natural curiosities and explained how nature and art inform his practice. (more…)