Books August 11, 2010 By Jeanette Wyche

Images courtesy of AT Verlag

Images courtesy of AT Verlag

chinesetemple title1 The Chinese Temple Kitchen
Many of us would assume that life in a Buddhist monastery, void of worldly temptations and daily distractions, isn’t exactly rich with culinary temptation. However, a glance at international food photographer Jan-Peter Westermann’s new cookbook, The Chinese Temple Kitchen, proves this picture a false one. The Chinese Temple Kitchen came out this past May from German publisher AT Verlag. A food-inspired travelog of Westermann’s journey to Buddhist monasteries throughout China, the book includes over 100 centuries of recipes, accompanied by appetizing photographs of their results.
     In the Buddhist tradition, the dishes Westermann cites are all vegetarian, and although they may look complex, the recipes all use easily-acquired ingredients and are simply prepared. The ingredients are chosen for their nourishing, detoxifying effects, to slow the aging process and ultimately prolong life – perhaps only to be able to take part in such exquisite meals for longer.

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Design, Greenspace June 15, 2010 By Jeanette Wyche

Images courtesy of (Click to Enlarge)

Images courtesy of (Click to Enlarge)

wasara title WasaraSophistication and sustainability are not words commonly associated with disposable dishware. But the Japan-based company Wasara has developed a product that takes the mind far away from the uninspired aesthetics of family barbecues and children’s birthday parties — not to mention, the nagging guilt over environmental waste — conjured up by your everyday paper plate.
     Wasara’s collection achieves the critical goals of modern design with a product that offers style, function, and sustainability. The sleek, all-white pieces transform into veritable works of art when stacked on top of each other. The collection includes a variety of plates, bowls, cups, and mugs. The multiple forms accentuate each individual food item, emphasizing the significance of each part of a meal. The unusual curvature and soft, natural texture allow for the plates to rest comfortably in one’s hand, bringing an ease to socializing while enjoying a meal.
     The collection’s noteworthiness, however, does not solely stem from its outward appearance. The dishware is made from reed pulp, bamboo, and bagasse — a byproduct of the sugarcane industry. Reed and bamboo are both quickly-regenerating natural resources; the manufacture of Wasara tableware thus avoids the ecological impact of traditional, wood-based paper manufacturing. Bagasse, which often is discarded, is recycled. The resulting tableware is completely biodegradeable. Once discarded, Wasara simply returns to nature.

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Art May 28, 2010 By Jeanette Wyche

filler76 Aki Sasamoto

Photography courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art

Photography courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art (Click images to enlarge)

filler76 Aki Sasamotosasamoto title Aki SasamotoIn mathematics, a strange attractor occurs when a “trajectory of a graph seems to be attracted to certain point(s)/line(s)/plane(s) in a seemingly unpredictable manner,” explains Aki Sasamoto. Strange Attractors, her show in the Whitney Biennial, explores the question of whether one can experience this mathematical phenomenon in everyday life. How do we end up in certain places? Why are we drawn to certain things? Sasamoto asks, “Can I feel that math through my life?”
     During her performance, Sasamoto talks about her current fascinations — hemorrhoids, psychics, and doughnuts — as well as seemingly real-life experiences, such as ominous encounters with a series of psychics. As she speaks, she roams about her large, found-object installation, echoing the mathematical phenomenon that obsesses her.
     Observing Sasamoto’s performance is akin to running into a stranger who volunteers inappropriate personal information — intense discomfort arises as the artist describes, for example, her most recent hemorrhoid. In the case of the stranger, however, it’s relatively easy to excuse oneself; with Sasamoto, listeners feel compelled to linger in order to see where her trajectory will lead her.
     The specificity of the dates and times of her performances at the Biennial echo the mathematical theme: Sasamoto performs at 4pm only on dates that have a 6 or 9. Anyone interested in the mathematics of randomness has until the exhibit closes on May 30 to join Sasamoto on her occasionally discomfiting — yet often enlightening — exploration of this obscure mathematical principle.

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Art May 25, 2010 By Jeanette Wyche

filler67 Eirik Johnson

Photography by Eirik Johnson. Courtesy of Aperture Press (Click images to enlarge)

Photography by Eirik Johnson. Courtesy of Aperture Press (Click images to enlarge)

eirikjohnson title Eirik JohnsonAs a Seattle native, the photographer Eirik Johnson has been a life-long witness to the detrimental environmental effects of the logging and fishing industries in the Pacific Northwest. Sawdust Mountain, Johnson’s collection of photographs published by Aperture, is a simple, honest, and melancholy book which looks at the precariously intertwined relationships between these industries, the people who rely on them, and the way in which such machinations affect the natural world.
     Sawdust Mountain makes painfully clear the fragility of these industries’ dependence on natural resources while also evoking a sense of nostalgia for a fast-disappearing way of life. Viewed as a whole, the collection of photographs unveils the devastating uncertainty of the region’s future. Ultimately, these pictures make clear that fishing and logging are, at best, perilously sustainable. In this way, although Sawdust Mountain focuses on the Pacific Northwest, it speaks to global environmental issues.

Sawdust Mountain is on view through June 10 at Aperture Gallery in New York; the book is available at

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Fashion May 20, 2010 By Jeanette Wyche

Photography courtesy of Annie Havlicek

Avril Top and Mimi Skirt. Photography courtesy of Annie Havlicek

AnnieHavlicek title Annie HavlicekAnnie Havlicek, the wunderkind designer whose senior work as a student at Parsons was featured in the windows of Saks 5th Avenue, delivers for her spring/summer 2010 collection her interpretations of two Renoir paintings, Bal du Moulin de la Galette and Le Dejeuner des Canotiers — both works that depict young people gaily enjoying a summer’s day outdoors. Havlicek matches the light mood of the paintings with sheer, loose-fitting blouses, flowing silk dresses, and spots of lace, playing all the while with a coquettish femininity.
     She complicates the collection by adding to the overtly femme pieces a few preppy, masculine touches — structured shorts, skirts, and jackets as well as smartly tailored pants which reach to just below the knee. Havlicek coyly refers back to her source of inspiration by topping off the collection with a straw boater hat. With this collection and a newly established boutique, Havlicek confirms all early signs that she is a true talent and will make her mark on the fashion world.

Annie, Havlicek’s first boutique opened this past Saturday at 154 Orchard St. in the Lower East Side.

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Fashion May 18, 2010 By Jeanette Wyche

Art Direction Sasha Rainbow Photography Jenni Porkka Make up  Afton R Set Design Vincent Olivieri

Art Direction Sasha Rainbow Photography Jenni Porkka Make up Afton R Set Design Vincent Olivieri

SimonEkrelius title Simon EkreliusFrom Simon Ekrelius, a designer who worked in couture almost exclusively until 2006, comes “Stardust”, an autumn/winter 2010 collection made up of spellbinding oppositions. According to Ekrelius, the collection is the story of a stargazing space goddess who believes the stars to be more like diamonds than glowing balls of light: Ingrid Bergman in a futuristic Casablanca escaping on a UFO, rather than an airplane, at the end. But the basis of the design is rooted in the past: Le Courbusier’s Phillips Pavilon, constructed for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, inspired the silhouette of the entire collection.
     The end result is highly structured shoulders on fitted dresses, jackets, a one-piece jumpsuit, and multifaceted skirts that jut away from the body creating a diamond-like shape similar to the stars that surround Ekrelius’s imagined space goddess. His detailed construction gives the collection a strong, authoritative presence, but paired with organza and silk the collection retains a distinct femininity.
     The prints for “Stardust” complete the Stargazer story — brightness bursting through darkness, streaks of grays and yellows against dark backdrops. In this, Ekrelius successfully binds future to past; couture with ready-to-wear.

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