Art

Half A Night At The Opera

Philadelphia hosts beautiful operas at The Academy of Music and since moving here two years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing top rate productions of La Traviata and Turandot. Last week, I had the opportunity to see The Marriage of Figaro, a beloved screwball comedy by Mozart. I make no claims to be an opera connoisseur. I’m simply a fan. And this was a terrific production with strong lead vocals and a cool set (that’s about the limit of my technical critique). I went with a friend and admittedly bought terrible seats. I spent the bulk of the evening cocking my head to the left to try and read the translation because a giant pole obstructed my view. I could see the first few words alright, but the last two or three words were a problem. I probably should have taken that limited view waiver more seriously.

The real challenge was sitting nearly two hours in tiny seats waiting for the intermission. The Marriage of Figaro is a four act opera but this production only had one 20 minute intermission. An hour in and the audience was already getting restless. By the time the intermission rolled around, we were borderline miserable with sensory overload and stiff knees. We decided to stretch our legs in the hall and I’ll be honest, I wanted to leave and I could sense my friend had also had enough. The thing is, nobody wants to be the first to admit they want to leave the opera halfway through, lest they seem uncultured or ungrateful. What followed was a good five minutes of back and forth “Do you want to leave? I love it, but if you want to go…” Finally the lights flickered signaling the second half was starting and we should return to our seats. Thats when I made the executive decision to get us the hell out of there.

I enjoy the opera, I really do. I love the drama and the period costumes and the romanticism. I delight in seeing the same operas that have entertained kings and queens for centuries. But, I’m only human. And I don’t care how incredible the production or how beloved the story, and how melodic and striking the singing, a person needs a break after 40 minutes. And before you accuse me of being uncultured, I know what Rosebud means.

 

Last Will and Testament

I , Elisa D, being of (somewhat) sound mind and body, declare this to be my Last Will and Testament. I revoke all wills and codicils and any shit written on a napkin or the back of an old Starbucks receipt previously by me.

I appoint my bestie, Molly, as my Personal Representative to administer this Will and make sure that my enemies do not loot the contents of my closet.

I direct my Personal Representative to pay out of my estate whatever I still owe to the bloodsuckers at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Why don’t I just give them my first born while I’m at it?!

I devise, bequeath, and give my Fashion Photography Collection to The Philadelphia Museum of Art, with instructions that they put up a bigass plaque with my name on it and throw a gala to celebrate my generosity and fabulous taste. But to my gay BFF, Ryan, I leave any photos that show a woman’s tits so that he may enjoy the sweet irony. He also gets dibs on anything leather or remotely kinky in my closet.

I give my television and my shitty DVD player from Target to my building’s concierge, Wellington, so that he has something to entertain him now that I’m gone. Just put my stack of DVD’s by the curb and see if anyone wants them. If no one takes my copy of Weekend at Bernie’s, consider that the downfall of society.

I give my squash racket to my personal trainer, William, but hope that he would feel too guilty to ever play again with anyone else because it just would not be the same because I am one of a kind.

I donate my sexy lingerie and corset collection to whichever of my female friends are divorced at the time of my death and need them to woo a new man because let’s face it ladies, you aren’t getting any younger and you need all the help you can get (I kind of have a hunch who all will get divorced but I better keep my mouth shut).

I give my furniture, specifically my cat-pee stained mattress (thanks Blackberry) and a rickety nightstand to my friend Adam because he won’t give a shit that it sucks he just likes taking my things.

And now for the good stuff. I give my Rick Owens runway vest to Ayumi because you totally get the whole Rick Avant Garde thing. Ayumi can also have all my fashion and art books if she can arrange a way to schlep them home.

I give my Alaia dresses to Terry because i was a total ass about not lending them to her after that time she borrowed one and it came back smelling of perfume which I’m legit allergic to.

I give my Chanel thigh high boots to…wait nevermind, I wanna be buried in those bad boys.

I give my Chanel clothes, hats, fingerless gloves, and headbands to my BFF and Personal Representative, Molly, because she will either totally appreciate them or she will sell them in her store and totally appreciate the cash.

I give my Fendi and Dior clothes to my sister, Laura, even though her skinny ass will have to have them taken in several sizes. And i give my fur jacket and scarf collection to Ayumi. Wear them well, my friend. Wear them well.

As for any expensive jewelry my future husband is going to buy for me whether he likes it or not, I leave it all to my mom. Actually, my mom has dibs and first right of refusal on basically everything because I owe her gabillions of dollars.

To my friends I left nothing to, please know that does not mean I didn’t love you. I probably just didn’t love you enough to leave you any of my super cool stuff.

Also, I authorize Molly to pull the plug on me should I ever be hospitalized and no longer able to online shop. Please do not give my future husband plug pulling ability, as surely I will make him crazy and he will pull the plug on me for nothing short of a hangnail.

I know that Jews have closed caskets at their funerals, but if I’m having a good hair day feel free to give people just a peak.

Thank you and Peace Out.

The Beautiful Emilia

The artist poses with his newly installed painting.

The artist poses with his newly installed painting.

Last week, my friend Ronco Ortiz had a painting installed at the Nicklaus Children’s West Kendall Outpatient Center in Miami, Florida. The piece, titled “Emilia Standing Tall” is “dedicated to all the children of this beautiful world.” Ronco’s message with this piece: “It’s important to protect and love our future generations. Children are angels and we have to love them and protect them.” Congratulations Ronco Ortiz on this beautiful and inspirational piece!

 

 

The Rothschilds Take over the MFA

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The Boston Museum of Fine Arts presents Restoring a Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures, on view through June 21, 2015. The museum is exhibiting 186 heirlooms from the Baron and Baroness Alphonse and Clarice de Rothschild of Vienna, donated by their heirs. Much of the jewelry, books, and artwork on display was stolen by the Nazis during WW2 and subsequently recovered in Austrian salt mines with the help of the “Monuments Men,” but the Baroness de Rothschild was forced to give a large portion of the works to the Austrian government. The exhibit details the Rothschild heirs’ long, frustrating fight to reclaim their treasures from the Austrian government and finally bring them to the United States in 1999.

I encourage you to read Hannah Rothschild’s article for Harpers Bazaar UK, The Art of War. Decades after the war, many families are still fighting to reclaim their Nazi looted artwork from museums in Europe

 

Megan Hess Fashion Illustrations

Megan Hess in NYC

Megan Hess in NYC

Lace Chanel by Megan Hess

Lace Chanel by Megan Hess

Megan Hess is an Australian graphic designer and illustrator whose clients include Chanel, Dior. Laduree, Vogue, and Cartier. She is best known for designing the book cover for Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell. On her website, meganhess.com, you can purchase signed and numbered limited edition prints, like the one above that I bought, called “Lace Chanel.” You can also shop for books, illustrated trays and pillows, and even a selection of scarves and kaftans. I can’t wait to have my print framed and hung on my wall!

Emerging Talent

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When I was in Miami last week, I met up with my dear friend and gifted painter, Ronco Ortiz. Hailing from an artistic family in Puerto Rico, Ronco Ortiz was a bit of a nomad before settling in Miami and finally releasing his creativity onto canvas. His works, always powerful and thought-provoking, are often politically charged and emotional. On the surface, Ronco is extremely charming, handsome, and laid back—in fact, I don’t think I’ve met a happier person. Yet in studying some of his paintings, I get the sense he is complicated and perhaps a bit frustrated by the world around him. He seems relieved that he has found a means to express his darker, more thoughtful side, and looking at his skillful work you would never guess he’s only been painting for two years.

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I had a bit of trouble characterizing his style and influences because his work transcends a single category and he has experimented with both pop and surrealism; Ronco’s work takes cues from the modern masters Basquiat, Warhol, and Picasso and from contemporary graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash. He writes about his own work:

“…I wish to awaken the conscience, imagination, and the soul of the ones that look at my paintings. My work is simply a reflection of my imagination, my mind, my wishes, frustrations, and my daily living. I’m raw, I don’t ask for forgiveness when it comes to expressing myself.”

If you are in the Miami area, you can meet Ronco Ortiz on May 7, 2015, at 7pm at Raw, where he is the featured artist in their Sensory show. Please visit rawartists.org for more information.

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You can contact Ronco Ortiz at dortizsalva@gmail.com

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Nelson’s Surrealist World

Amber Nelson poses next to her three piece series, Fall of Man.

Amber Nelson poses next to her three piece series, Fall of Man.

In the series, Fall of Man, currently on display at Jordan Faye Contemporary, Nelson uses surrealism to illustrate man’s journey, with references to creation and forbidden fruit. I know Nelson by her first name, Amber. I met Amber when she was an art consultant for Renaissance Fine Arts Gallery. These days, Amber uses Nelson as her professional name for gender ambiguity because the art world historically places more value on male artists. When we met up at Jordan Faye, Amber challenged me: “Name ten female artists.” Predictably, I failed, but had no problem naming ten male artists. Point taken. Nelson, it is.

Fall of Man is a three piece series but Nelson admits splitting it up would give the buyers a “unique connection,” as each piece tells part of the same story. Balancing Act depicts a man in heaven with a green apple on his head, representing original sin. The man must jump as part of his journey, as depicted in Far From the Tree. In the final piece, Conundrum, the man reaches Earth and means to go home, but a beautiful woman distracts him. According to Nelson, the most time consuming and difficult part of her process is sanding the wood panels she uses as a canvas.

When she isn’t painting, Nelson pursues her Masters degree and works as a graphic and web designer for private clients. She’s an advocate for female artists and encouraged me to expand my own collection to include female painters and photographers.

Thrive Show

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The Thrive show at Jordan Faye Contemporary in downtown Baltimore showcased some of Baltimore’s most promising young talents. Owner and curator, Jordan Faye, created the Thrive program to encourage and nurture young artists and enrich the Baltimore arts scene. Jordan is an artist in her own right and has curated several shows in Baltimore and New York City.

Once by Katelyn Jurney

Once by Katelyn Jurney

Mermaid by Katelyn Jurney

Mermaid by Katelyn Jurney

I met up with artist, photgrapher, musician, and all around renaissance man, Brent Taylor, whose pop work was on display. Brent’s work critiques the health industry and our pill popping culture. He uses oil on canvas and, in the spirit of Jeff Koons, prescription bottles and empty gel capsules to convey his message.

Works by Brent Taylor

Works by Brent Taylor

Prescription by Brent Taylor

Prescription by Brent Taylor

Close up of Prescription by Brent Taylor

Close up of Prescription by Brent Taylor

Additional works by Brent Taylor:

Swerve by Brent Taylor

Swerve by Brent Taylor

Goblin by Brent Taylor

Goblin by Brent Taylor

 

Andrew Yang Custom Doll

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Andrew Yang is a brilliant, young artist based in New York City who designs custom rag dolls dressed in ready to wear designs. He designed dolls for Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington at VOGUE magazine as well as entire window displays with puppets for Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Barneys New York. Each of Andrew Yang’s dolls have fine details which give them individual personalities. He says, “By creating the characters of my dolls, I am able to create unique works of art that everyone can find beauty in, and find themselves in as well. It is like giving the dolls a soul.”

Several months ago, I contacted Andrew Yang and asked him to design a custom doll  that looks like me and captures my personality. He dressed my doll in a tweed suit and leather boots from the Chanel 2013 winter runway. I couldn’t be happier with my doll!

Please check out andrew-yang.com to see more gorgeous dolls and learn about Andrew Yang’s id.ollogy project.

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