You can’t live in Primrose Hill unless you’re a super high achiever, based on the caliber of speakers featured in the neighborhood’s lecture series. WOW! I book a ticket to the Philip Glass/Laurie Anderson concert at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival after picking up a program guide at the Colchester train station; I visit Westbourne for a reunion with my former intern, Marie. The neighborhood looks gritty as hell but is apparently trendy these days; Marie and her partner, Oliver, have founded a sprawling social enterprise called Goldfinger Factory. The main nut of it is a B2B carpentry operation which employs local craftspeople to make premium custom furniture plus a retail operation selling upcycled recycled furniture and a restaurant in Westbourne Grove, all of the same name. (Oh yeah, they’re also operating an incubator!) The long-term intention is to train and employ local people to custom-make upcycled furniture on a large scale basis. Marie interned for me at Shanghai Tang three years running so I’m not surprised at all — just impressed by the ambitious scale of her business. We eat gorgeous Italian food in the cafe so I can experience as much of Goldfinger Factory as possible during the scant hour I’m in Westbourne Grove. I then hop in a cab to meet up with a friend at Photo London, an overwhelming, confused affair which leaves me feeling like the photography industry is in a deep existential malaise. What accounts for my dissatisfaction with the fair? There was no curation, it was nakedly commercial and all different species of photography were jumbled together; I join up with a friend who brings me to a jewelry event, my first one in many, many months. It feels weird to be attending such a youthful and patently superficial event where making selfies with the designer, Ara Vartanian, is more important than inspecting the cutting-edge diamond jewels; so glad that I don’t have to host events like that any more, because that was my life before; the bank of photographers and we wait for a VIP to exit from a black car, in a moment of Instagram bated breath; alas, it’s “only” Suzy Menkes, meaning that no flash bulbs went off and there was zero fanfare; just to be clear, Menkes is a god for me and I’d be happy to intern for her any day; the best way not to lose an umbrella is to take a photo of the one you’re using on the day and to make it the screensaver of your smartphone for as long as you’re carrying it — and in danger of losing it; my friend takes me to Hunan, one of the best restaurants in London, in any category or cuisine. They serve an endless menu of Chinese dishes, tapas style. Unless you ask them to stop, they won’t. At course sixteen, Ming says, “Don’t go all white on me. You’re not allowed to stop eating.”
Artist Konstantin Bessmertny explains why the best artists are rich ones, citing Damien Hirst, for example. Mainly, rich artists are more likely to be pure in their artistic motives when they don’t have to worry about money. And, when they themselves are patrons or clients, they are more likely to make high-quality aesthetic choices. This clip is an outtake from a series of videos by me about Bessmertny’s exhibition at the Macao Museum of Art and is a tiny sampling of the artist’s extremely unorthodox and, sometimes, controversial views.
Day 2 in Amsterdam: Tulipmania was a bubble, just like China real estate; instead of tulips, we now have manias about gym shoes and handbags; I like Amsterdam because there’s no culture of conspicuous consumption; I’ve successfully avoided all global chain stores — so far; I take the train to Delft; the train is incredible: every city worth seeing is on the same rail line; tulip fields on the way to Delft; it’s shitty weather; the Oude Kerke (old church); Delft is adorable, especially since there are no H&Ms or Zaras; lunching in Delft at De Waag as John explains his Mooie IPA; the old city gate; after 4 hours, we end the day at The Dylan, over cocktails, including their namesake cocktail created in honor of both Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan; I didn’t record as many stories as I would have liked because it bugs the crap out of John; although Amsterdam has no sights of spectacular, defining aestheticism, the overall quality of everything is really high; consequently, there are few mainland Chinese tourists.
This vlog documents my first visit to an antiques fair in the UK with John. The reasons I loved rummaging around there highlight the problems with today’s consumerism and shopping experiences.
Sighted during a recent visit to the Hong Kong campus of SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design), these handbag artworks by recent graduate, artist Jameid Ferrin, more than caught my eye: they stopped me in my tracks because they were an ironic and highly effective commentary on the excesses of consumer culture.
Daily vlog diary: Felled by jetlag; changing my style of posting Instagram stories to Mark Suster’s Snapstorms style – a single continuous thoughtstream; but I’m still going to make random, silly, personal story posts – of course! The joys of trawling dealer antique shows; my finds there à la Antiques Roadshow; antiquing is similar to museum-going in today’s day and age – consumerism and material culture prior to plastic and mold injection manufacturing.
Daily vlog diary: Sick as a dog today; the focal point of Hong Kong lifestyle is shopping malls; spending money to look like you’re in tatters; thousands of domestic helpers have to squat on the streets, both literally and figuratively, every weekend and public holiday in Hong Kong.