Art | A Continuous Lean.

Living Vicariously Through Other People’s Junk.

Apr 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Antiques, Art, Books, Brimfield | by ACL Editors

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With her stomping cowboy boots, men’s riding jackets, and worn-in leather vests, Mary Randolph Carter doesn’t dress like any executive we’ve ever met. And yet, since 1988, Carter has been a creative director and executive at Ralph Lauren, following stints as an editor at Self, Mademoiselle, and New York Magazine.

On the Ralph Lauren spectrum, Carter is more RRL than Polo. In fact we’d even take it one step further and say that Carter’s aesthetic is really closer to Polo Country, the now defunct precursor to RRL which was more South, than Southwest. Carter is well-known (possibly even more so than for her association to RL) as a collector of what she calls “junk,” but what would more kindly be described as folksy flea market collectibles. It’s this widely documented collection which has made Carter a legend in her own right, as everyone from The Washington Post, to The New York Times, to The Selby has explored Carter’s massive collection of rusty signs, hand-painted family portraits, curling photographs, yellowing books, Lady of Guadalupe bracelets, and just about every other obscure knick-knack imaginable.





The Art of Eating.

Mar 3rd, 2015 | Categories: Art, History, New York City | by ACL Editors

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Filet Mignon for a buck eighty five, a salad for sixty cents, a baked potato for a quarter, a glass of beer for a dime.

In 1941 you could get a solid meal at the famous Keen’s Steakhouse here in New York for less than three dollars. That in of itself is extraordinary, but what’s even more extraordinary is how the menu looked. Back in the forties, Keen’s menu was a real work of art. The cover of the medieval inspired menu proudly displayed the Keen’s story, each page was bordered by smiling vegetables, and “To-Day’s Selections” were announced by a lute playing minstrel musician. And this was just one menu from one restaurant.

Back in the day, all menus were an art form in their own right. They would often feature hand-drawn figures, ornate scripts, bracketed sections, and frame-worthy covers. These boastful bills of fares were a canvas for creativity, regardless of the quality of the dishes which were listed on their pages. This is somewhat of a flip on today’s culinary trends, as most restaurants today hand out plainspoken menus, yet peddle some truly beautiful dishes. While the menu has become mundane now, we can fortunately still revisit the artistic menus of the past through the New York Public Library’s extensive online archive of menu’s from New York City restaurants. With over seven thousand menus, the archive is a real feast, our only recommendation is that you don’t visit on an empty stomach. Some of our favorites after the jump.





The Caricature and the Impossible Interview.

Oct 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Art, History, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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Tourist traps the world over are littered with self-proclaimed caricaturists, but these shoddy scribblers that churn out cutesy watercolors for a handful of cash are nothing compared to the classics. Over time, the term caricaturist has come to signify an artist that is inferior, one that creates works more for shallow entertainment than for true expression. Caricaturists of the past did paint in a style that largely endures today in the rapid-fire works that hang throughout touristy locales, but back then it was the message that the artist was trying to convey through this aesthetic that really mattered. As Marshall McLuhan would say, the medium has now become the message, and that’s a shame, because it has trivialized the works of great artists like Miguel Covarrubias, who were really saying something through their caricatures.

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Less, But Better | Principles of Good Design.

Sep 4th, 2014 | Categories: Art, Design, History, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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Dieter Rams never needed his own company.

Throughout his career, Rams brought Braun and Vitsoe to the forefront of modern design, becoming a household name in his own right along the way. And he did this without ever having to step out on his own. The German born industrial designer was larger than any one company, and in fact Rams’ legacy is really larger than any single product that he designed throughout his forty year career. Rams’ minimal and practical products were a vital part of post mid-century design, but he saw the tides changing around him during the late seventies. Design was becoming too busy, too muddled, and too overwrought for Rams’ taste, and so he decided to articulate his design philosophy in an attempt to right the ship. Rams began with the question: “is my design good design,” and the “Ten Principles of Good Design” that followed were as straightforward and useful as his inventions. To this day Rams’ ten commandments are a valuable reminder that less is always better.





The Surrealist Style of Salvador Dali.

Aug 17th, 2014 | Categories: Art, Jake Gallagher, Style | by Jake Gallagher

Dali Arriving in New York

Even in his early years, Salvador Dali was a man who belonged to no era. Sure, he’s most often associated with the surrealist movement (a classification that many other surrealist artists would come to contest) but Dali was a character that transcended time. Much like his paintings, Dali’s own appearance reflected a reality that seemed to exist only in his mind. Whether it was britches or balloon legged trousers, open collared polos or cheetah printed pullovers, velvet sport-coats or tennis sweaters, Dali dressed himself just as he would paint a canvas, bringing together disparate styles and silhouettes in a manner that was wholly unique to him. So, curl up your mustache, start tapping into your subconscious and follow along as we track the many outfits and idiosyncrasies of Salvador Dali.

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salvador Dali. 1950





Journeying to Space with Tom Sachs.

Jul 18th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Art, Design, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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Helmet, 2007.

The visor looked like it had been coated in gold tin foil bought from a suburban supermarket. The helmet itself was oddly shaped and each crack was writ large upon the surface. The hardware was exposed. A red band adorned the bottom, one of the few actual references to a true NASA item.

This was Tom Sachs’ vision of a space helmet, a brilliant bricolage work that prioritized artistry rather than function. The scientists at NASA had their flight paths, but Sachs was on his own, navigating through visions of space that existed more in his own mind than in our physical galaxy. And Sachs was just getting started.

Helmet was part of a larger Tom Sachs exhibition titled “Space Program,” which made its debut at New York’s Gagosian Gallery back in the late summer of 2007. The press release that accompanied this show explained that Sachs, like many children of the sixties, was fascinated by the Apollo Space Program. Throughout his life, this interest blossomed into an obsession and in the late nineties Sachs began creating space inspired artworks using his recognizable bricolage technique.

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Andy Warhol and Brooks Brothers.

Jun 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Art, Jake Gallagher, Made in New York, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

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Having clothed all manner of politicians, presidents, actors, and authors over the years, Brooks Brothers’ lifetime client roster reads like a veritable who’s who of American icons, but few names among that list stand out quite like Andy Warhol’s. As the ring leader of New York’s mid-century Pop Art explosion, Warhol does not immediately strike as the standard Brooks Brother’s customer, but throughout his fifty-eight years the artist remained one of the shop’s most dedicated clients, amassing a wardrobe that was almost entirely composed of Brooks Brothers staples.

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