In anticipation of an upcoming trip to Tokyo, I checked out Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945 at the Japan Society in midtown Manhattan. The exhibition showcases pre-World War II Japanese modernism through ceramics, sculpture, prints, posters, clothing, jewelry, and glassworks. Many of the pieces on display show the moga (“modern girl”), popular in Japan in the 1920s and 1930s, or sophisticated representations of animals including rabbits, lions, bulls, and peacocks. One of my favorites was a simple bronze bull, designed by Hiramatsu Koshun in the 1930s. The show is on view through June 10 in New York.
Kick-starting the year of celebrations, I was intrigued to visit the V&A’s new exhibition on British design over the last sixty years. Charting the radical shift in innovation, individualism and technology, the show looks at fashion, homeware, music, publishing and art, from the end of austere, post-war Britain to the modern day. Exploring the link between design and consumerism was fascinating: from the modernity of the swinging ‘60s with its pioneering flat-pack furniture and racy mini dresses, to the contemporary, iconic designs of Alexander McQueen, Damien Hirst and Tom Dixon. A definite must see.
One word summarises the much anticipated (and discussed) Damien Hirst retrospective: Fun. From an oversized ash tray to the inevitable spot paintings, passing by the boxed taxidermy black sheep and a hovering beach volley ball, the exhibition is a walk down memory lane of the artists’ greatest hits. The pinnacle: after a crossing a brightly lit room in which live butterflies have been let loose and larva lie on the walls, the visitor is presented with the entire cabinet display from Hirst’s bygone Notting Hill Pharmacy bar.
This weekend, I checked out The Bathroom, a West Village shop that stocks high-end and hard-to-find bath and body products from around the world. Many of the items sold at The Bathroom aren’t available anywhere else in the US, including products from the UK, Italy, France, and Japan. My favorites were the Comme des Garçons candles and colognes, the Musgo Real line from Portugal, and the Italian Proraso brand. Other highlights include beautifully packaged hand soaps and toothpastes, as well as wooden toothbrushes and a wide array of scented candles.