Plus: getaways to Athens and the Philippines, portraits of queer tenderness and more recommendations from T Magazine.
By Kin Woo
The Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos is known for her ambitious oversize sculptures that frequently elevate everyday objects. Her 2005 Venice Biennale contribution, “A Noiva” (The Bride), was a chandelier made of 14,000 tampons and “Valkyrie Miss Dior,” the imposing, tentacular fabric-wrapped installation that formed the backdrop of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s fall ’23 show for Dior, took over the show space at Paris’s Jardin des Tuileries. Vasconcelos’s newest project is her most ambitious yet: “Wedding Cake,” an almost 40-foot-high three-tiered wedding cake pavilion in pastel shades of pink, green and blue, was installed this spring on the grounds of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England. The whimsical creation is clad in 25,000 ceramic tiles (manufactured in Vasconcelos’s native Lisbon) and adorned with ceramic cherubs, dolphins and a water feature. Commissioned by the collector and arts philanthropist Lord Jacob Rothschild, the “impossible project,” as the artist describes it, has been five years in the making and is the culmination of Vasconcelos’s long-held fascination with the dynamics of weddings: “Weddings are the most important moment in some women’s lives,” she says. “It’s the transition from one identity to another. All transition moments are marked by symbols. This is my way of working through these symbols and asking if they still make sense.” “Wedding Cake” opens June 18, waddesdon.org.uk.
By Gisela Williams
When a typhoon wiped out most of the Philippine island of Siargao at the end of 2021, Bobby Dekeyser, the owner of its Nay Palad Hideaway resort and the founder of the Dedon furniture company, helped relocate residents and fund the rebuilding of their homes. Then he, and the French architect Daniel Pouzet, turned to the storm-battered hotel at the southeastern tip of the island. “We decided to completely rethink Nay Palad’s design,” says Dekeyser. The previous property had 10 villas made mostly of wood and bamboo; the new villas are reinforced with steel and have multiple floors and expansive terraces. Pouzet designed unexpected spaces throughout the public areas. A hidden rooftop lounge bed is accessible by a ladder, a U-shaped communal couch faces the sea and open-air “nests” hang from palm trees. The majority of the furnishings were built on-site by the Philippine artisans that Dekeyser had employed for Dedon. They did, however, hold on to the old resort’s all-inclusive concept, which means everything, from massages to cocktails and activities (including boating excursions and guided surf outings to Cloud 9, the island’s famous break), is included in the daily rate. From $890 per person a night, naypaladhideaway.com.
By Alexa Brazilian
Finding the perfect beach bag can be a lifelong pursuit. Ideally, it should be casual but still tasteful, waterproof but not plastic, not too stiff or too slouchy, and can transition from the chaise longue to the lunch table (and even back into the city) seamlessly. Unable to find something just right for herself, Melissa Morris decided to design a suite of beach-ready totes for her London-based accessories brand, Métier. The new Cala collection offers carryalls in a checkerboard straw weave Morris developed with artisans outside of Florence. “We wanted to elevate the classic raffia bag, which can be heavy and stiff,” says Morris. “Our straw is incredibly lightweight, soft and fine but not totally collapsible, so it holds its shape but also has that perfect slouch.” Available in three styles — a small crossbody and a medium and large rectangle shape — each tote’s exterior is trimmed in a light or dark brown leather with handles braided in a fishtail plait. The interior, featuring Métier’s signature arsenal of perfectly shaped pockets for phones, SPF and other valuables, is constructed from a water-resistant cotton twill, and has a detachable pouch with a crossbody strap that’s “perfect for running to the beach bar to get rosé or sitting down to eat,” says Morris. From $1,250, available for pre-order at métier.com.
By Juan A. Ramírez
In “Eros,” a solo show at SoHo’s Alanna Miller gallery, the artist RF Alvarez locates and expands on the theme of queer tenderness in two expansive, hypermasculine myths: the Greek Odyssey and the American West. The son of Texas cattle ranchers going back seven generations, Alvarez left his hometown, San Antonio, for college on the East Coast in 2007, never thinking he would return to a state that he viewed as hostile to L.G.B.T.Q. communities. When his husband got into medical school in Austin and they moved back to Texas, Alvarez, a graphic designer at the time, found comfort in painting. The 10 works in this exhibition present a reinterpretation of Homer’s famed homecoming. “Dinner with the Phaeacians” (2023) depicts friends gathered cozily around a table, cowboy hats illuminated by candlelight. Other, more intimate works show a couple in bed, their night stand adorned with poppers and PrEP bottles. “There is no place for me in the West,” Alvarez says, “but multitudes can exist.” Fans of Alvarez’s work can also find two of his paintings printed on T-shirts, released by the queer-owned swimsuit brand Sean & Val earlier this year, with proceeds benefiting the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which supports New York City’s queer homeless youth. “Eros” is on view through June 24, alannamiller.com.
By Juliet Izon
While travelers have traditionally skipped a long stay in Athens in favor of Greece’s famed islands, the city has quietly been transforming into a hub for contemporary art. Nowhere is this more apparent than the central neighborhood of Psyrri, home to open-air art galleries and many of Athens’ most sought-after bars and restaurants (Linou Soumpasis & Co., for one, landed in the Michelin Guide last year). This creative spirit inspired the design of the Apollo Palm hotel, a new 48-room boutique property just steps off Platia Koumoundourou. The hotel’s interior designer, Mariette Sans-Rival of Studio Sans-Rival, has a background in set design; Apollo Palm is her firm’s first architectural and interior design project. Within the property’s two buildings, one built in 1930 and one in 1990, Sans-Rival opted for a palette of whites and creams with touches of brass in the guest rooms. She also mirrored these elements in a line of bespoke furniture she created for the hotel. The communal spaces include a garden courtyard with a wine bar, and a rooftop cocktail bar with a view of the Acropolis. A music venue and sound bar called Studio Olala is slated to open in September. Rooms from $170 a night, apollopalmhotel.com.
By Eric Margolis
After World War II, radical artistic experimentation, an upswing in consumerism and social movements against nuclear arms were among the forces that reshaped Japan’s national identity. All are on display in the 73 striking works currently on view at New York’s Poster House, a museum dedicated to poster art. There’s a series of Tadanori Yokoo posters from the ’60s and ’70s in the artist’s signature psychedelic-collage style — including promotions for the Beatles, books by the novelist Yukio Mishima and Suntory whisky — that capture the designer’s efforts to blur the boundaries between commercial and fine art. The curators Erin Schoneveld and Nozomi Naoi, both academics researching Japanese visual culture, selected most of the posters on loan from the private Merrill C. Berman Collection, an enormous trove of art and graphic design. Among the most impactful works are two from the Hiroshima Appeals project, a poster series started by Japanese graphic designers in the 1980s to promote peace: Yūsaku Kamekura’s 1983 burning butterflies poster, an iconic image of antinuclear sentiment and Eiko Ishioka and Charles White III’s 1990 poster of Mickey Mouse covering his eyes. The last room of the exhibition shifts the viewer’s attention to the climate crisis with works by Nagai Kazumasa, part of his 1993 environmentalist “Life” series that is made up of eccentric animal illustrations — in one, a lion’s head with a joyfully extended tongue sits atop a blocky humanoid body — that were later imprinted on Issey Miyake apparel. “Made in Japan: 20th-Century Poster Art” is on view until Sept. 10, posterhouse.org.
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