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SACM Show Exposes Origins of Museum Booty

It’s a fun theme for an exhibition, “Hunters & Collectors.” And an interesting opportunity to consider the history of collecting itself as an anthropological phenomenon. The age of plundering in the jungles is over, and attitudes toward cultural property and buccaneerism have shifted 180 degrees. Still, you can relive the … Continue reading

Bali High Season: Oazia Opening Party

It was a full moon, with a partial eclipse, and it was also my birthday. July 7. Auspicious, indeed. A well-chosen day for the grand opening of Oazia Spa Villas, a most unusual newcomer on the Bali spa and rental villas scene. The party was themed “white,” although it felt … Continue reading

Housing Art by David Howell

When we made our own house here in Bali, housing art was a primary part of the design program. This priority makes specific demands that call for intelligent solutions, and when they are achieved, the result is far greater than the sum of the parts. The house, the art, and … Continue reading

Making Modernism Rich

What is called “modernism” in architecture can be a bit barren and over-blank. The term colloquially refers to almost anything that’s rigorously rectilinear and mostly unornamented. But it doesn’t have to mean aesthetic impoverishment. Frank Llloyd Wright understood this perfectly.  Case in point, the Bachman-Wilson House (1954) which has been … Continue reading

No Recent Posts on Architecture: wHY?

This blog has been entirely bereft of architecture posts for months. Why the dry spell? I haven’t seen much worth mentioning. The endless insensitive regurgitation of 20th century modernism doesn’t do it. Nor does the egomania of international celebrity architects who rode the wave of wacky overspending that brought us … Continue reading

Arts of Ancient Viet Nam Coming to Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Asia Society, New York, offer an unprecedented exhibition of art from ancient Viet Nam—the first U.S. exhibition to address in depth the historical, geographic and cultural contexts of precolonial Vietnamese art. Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea will expose … Continue reading

Custom Furniture: 90% Perspiration

Last week was spent with two designers from Douglas Durkin Design, Greg Elich and Andrew Horn. They were in Bali to work on a collection of extraordinary custom furniture for a residence in Hawaii. For those of you who might imagine that creating high-end custom furniture is pure glamour, just … Continue reading

Fine Friends: Tribal Art Meets Modern at the Beyeler

A truly outstanding exhibition at a truly outstanding institution. The Beyeler Foundation in Basel offers “Visual Encounters — Africa, Oceania and Modern Art,” through 24 May 2009. The show juxtaposes masterpieces of tribal sculpture with important canvasses of modern masters; van Gogh, Cézanne, Braque, Matisse, Léger, Picasso, Rothko. The result … Continue reading

One for the Archives!

I guess February was a very busy month for me, because I notice there were no posts in February. The blog archives column looks rather sad as a result, with the month of February 2009 not listed at all.  Therefore, I feel obliged to post this post-dated post, just so … Continue reading

Haunted by Gervasoni’s Ghost

We’ve found once again an extraordinary line of furniture that just works. Comfortable, stylish, elegant, confidently irreverant. It’s Gervasoni’s Ghost collection, a semi-spooky, seams-out fog of soft seating. When you have a space containing art and artefacts worthy of attention, you can either go museum-bench rigid with the upholstered pieces, … Continue reading

Does Bali Need a System Reboot?

Is it just me? Or do we have a total system crash here? I wrote the following rather long piece start to finish without stopping, in response to two heartfelt comments on the Jakarta Post reader’s forum. In those comments, the writers were giving voice to their concerns as visitors, about … Continue reading

Island Magic at Minasian Chicago

Has Chicago’s Minasian Oriental Rug Gallery gone flat? In a certain sense, yes – – they’ve hung a fabulous show of Indonesian flatweave textiles rather than their usual rugs. The exhibition, entitled “Island Magic: Court and Tribal Textiles from Indonesia” runs through the 10th of January, and was reviewed in HALI this … Continue reading

Pretty Viscera: Davina Stephens at Ganesha Gallery

Something profound happened at the opening reception for Davina Stephens’ exhibition entitled “This Side of Paradise” (Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort Jimbaran, 18 December).  What happened is perhaps best voiced by considering the contrasts in Davina’s most recent work. On the one hand these are images that could be, and have … Continue reading

Diadem Fit for an Assyrian Queen

I stumbled on this stunning diadem, excavated from a royal tomb at Nimrud in Iraq, where it was discovered near the remains the queen’s skull. Its technical sophistication and fine workmanship are unbelievable. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of gold ornament I have ever seen or heard of. … Continue reading

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