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Patents: The Zipper

Unzip the Kink with Collage Artist Trey Wright

“My favorite zippered item is a pair of black leather boots—they’re a bit too 70s porno style for day wear, but I love the loud, screeching sound the industrial zippers make,” says Texan visual artist Trey Wright who created today’s pop serenade to the almighty zipper. Whether you’re looking to conceal, reveal, or quite simply, seal, the zipper has been an undeniably practical, and sometimes decorative, part of our everyday for over a century. Patented on August 29, 1893 by American inventor Whitcomb L. Judson, the “clasp locker” was the precursor to the modern zipper, which made its first appearance in 1913, when Swedish engineer Gideon Sundback, improved upon the original design. Then in 1934, Japan’s Tadao Yoshida launched YKK to become a billionaire fastening-magnate, all from the dependable zip. “I wanted to capture the ease of a zipper,” says Wright, who also discovered its musical charms while on set. “The sound of the zipper and the act of zipping something can be quite entertaining, sexy and funny.”

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    The Art of Dinner

    Mr. Chow is Grilled by Jackson Boxer as He Rekindles the Flame of His Artistic Passion

    A long-distance phone call connects London restaurateurs young and old as Brunswick House co-founder Jackson Boxer talks to Chinese gastronomic patriarch Michael Chow in today’s stop-motion animation by Texan photographer and artist Trey Wright. The bespectacled face of glamorous Chinese cuisine took up a residency in Hong Kong, returning to art after a 50-year sabbatical with Recipe For a Painter at Pearl Lam Galleries, his first solo exhibition. With encouragement from dealer and curator Jeffrey Deitch and inspired by Chinese, European and American art movements, Chow started on a series of large-scale, mixed-media collages under his birth name, ‘Zhou Yinghua.’ In the same vein as his groundbreaking Mr. Chow restaurants—the first of which he opened in Knightsbridge in 1960s West London—the culinary legend’s artwork is linked to his complex relationship with China, which he left for England at the age of 13 to escape Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Below, the after-dinner conversation continues with Boxer, who recently co-founded east London destination Rita’s, quizzing Chow on his crossover from food to art.

    Jackson Boxer: I’ve always been fascinated with mise en place and mise on scene—the directorial creation of how the restaurant runs. Can you tell us about your father’s background in Beijing Opera?

    Michael Chow: My father wrote many operas and performed many different characters on stage for over 65 years with the interruption of the Cultural Revolution. I continue to have that passion and I treat a restaurant as theater, or a long-running musical. I’m trying to be as creative as possible with them.

    JB: As a successful restaurateur re-approaching the canvas after 50 years, is your art simpatico with your restaurants?

    Chinese cuisine was something I could get hold of as a cultural medium and that I could communicate with the West. Cuisine has a tendency towards art, however it is a craft and the job of the craftsman is to repeat exactness every time. Painting on the other hand is the opposite, it shouldn’t be the same: it is an expressionist process.

    JB: What is it that made you feel comfortable making art again?

    I felt suppressed like a pressure cooker until Jeffrey Deitch came along and saw my work, and really encouraged me. These things that have happened over the last 22 months have been incredible. I know I’m old but I am full of energy: I still have lots to say and problems to solve within painting.

    Recipe For a Painter runs through March 8 at Pearl Lam, Hong Kong.

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    The Interiors of Wes Anderson

    Design Bible Apartamento Roams Through the World of the Hollywood Auteur

    “You could compare Wes Anderson to an interior decorator,” says Apartamento’s Editor-in-Chief Marco Velardi of today’s enchanting series, taken from the bi-annual title’s latest issue. With the director and screenwriter’s private house strictly off limits, the magazine traces the meticulously considered art of set design in his filmography: miniature brownstone apartments, nostalgic color schemes and embroidered and elaborate costumes. “I always say that a picture of someone’s home tells you a lot more about that person than any portrait possibly can,” muses Nacho Alegre, director and co-founder of Apartamento. “I imagine in a movie the time you have to describe a character is limited, so using the interiors to do so probably becomes something of a necessity.” An intricate visual language has become Anderson’s trademark; in his hands, set design becomes both a storytelling device and character trope, from his shot-on-a-shoestring debut, Bottle Rocket, to his latest saccharine fantasia, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Velardi adds: “Ultimately, if you look at his work there are a lot of interiors, with very peculiar and very precise work on the spaces and what people wear; Wes is passionate about every single detail, and that’s why it’s fascinating for us.” 

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