Andrea Codrington Lippke was an editor at Phaidon Press for 15 years. She writes on design and the visual arts and teaches at Yale.
Age of Adz concert, Sufjan Stevens, Brooklyn (top image)
Fans expecting the soft-spoken, banjo-strumming style of Sufjan Stevens were sure to be surprised by this show. Instead of crooning, Stevens conjured up the spirits (and stagecraft) of Parliament Funkadelic, the Residents and schizophrenic “outsider” artist Royal Robertson. Dressed variously in neon gaffer tape, angel wings, a metallic polyhedron and balloons (yes, balloons), Stevens and his outsized team put on an incredible freakshow whose musical experimentation was matched in intensity by the visuals.
Leviathan, Grand Palais, Paris, Anish Kapoor
Stepping out of the bright Parisian morning and into the dark red throb of Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan was very like reverse birth, or as my husband observed, viewing the world through a sperm’s-eye view. After adequately exploring the tensile wonders of Kapoor’s womb-with-a-view, we stationed ourselves just in front of the revolving doors and secretly filmed people’s expressions as they entered: disoriented, dumbstruck or just dwarfed by the powerful enclosure.
credit Dave Morgan, Courtesy the Artist
Tree of Life, Terrence Malick
Taken strictly as a narrative film, Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life has its flaws; as a cinematic meditation on innocence and experience, humanity and divinity, though, it is a bold, Blakeian gobsmack. (I, for one, am hoping that Malick’s inclusion of the corny dinosaur scenes is tantamount to Persian weavers who design-in flaws because only Allah is perfect, though somehow I doubt it.) A six-hour director’s cut is reputedly in the works, which is sure to enrage and entice in equal measure.
credit Cottonwood Pictures/The Kobal Collection
Arquiste Perfume Line, Carlos Huber
As an enthusiast for all things perfumed and a fan of historical evocation, think of my joy upon discovering Arquiste, a line of perfume meant to conjure pivotal moments of the past. Missed the minutes leading up to Pushkin’s fateful duel? Try “Aleksandr”. Longing to see trade of Spain’s Infanta Maria Theresa to Louis XIV for political peace? Dab a little Infanta en Flor behind each ear. Creator Carlos Huber is an architect and preservationist who creates olfactory experiences instead of physical structures.
credit Courtesy of Arquiste
Beyond the North Wind, Palazzo Bolani, Venice, Anton Ginzburg
Artist Anton Ginzburg went on a search for the imaginary land of Hyperborea, the place “beyond the north wind” in his installation at the Venice Biennale. Tracing a journey through the Pacific Northwest, St Petersburg and the White Sea, Ginzburg staged a dramatic red cloud of smoke that appears throughout an accompanying film and photo series. In one breathtaking sequence, the artist is first followed and then overtaken by the scarlet fog while walking on the frozen Neva in St Petersburg.
credit Courtesy of the Artist
Deus Ex Machina Custom Motorcycles, Canggu, Bali
As if Bali itself weren’t temptation enough to give up big-city living, there’s Deus Ex Machina, a temple of leisure-time temptation in the middle of a rice paddy that designs and sells custom motorcycles and surfboards. Though an offshoot of the Australian cult brand, this Indonesian outpost takes local bikes like Honda Tigers and Yamaha Scorpios and strips them before rebuilding them into unique rides that bolt along Bali’s bumpy roads. Most of them,
of course, come with a side-mounted surf rack.
credit Deus X Machina Shop
Andrea Codrington Lippke