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August 3, 2014

A Summer at Hotel Oracle

San Francisco's Fraenkel Gallery Plays Host to Jason Fulford's Phantom Hotel

Before Wes Anderson’s spa town auberge The Grand Budapest Hotel there was Jason Fulford’s equally fictitious Hotel Oracle, made manifest in last year’s eponymous book. This summer, a series taken from the cerebral yet playful photographer's project is exhibited alongside Viviane Sassen in a group show at San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery. Inspired by the symbolism of Greek mythology during a trip to Crete (namely the cave where Zeus was born), the collection zooms in on dreamy objects and quotidian scenes captured in far-flung locations such as the Czech Republic, South Korea and Japan. “A photograph is pretty ambiguous. It changes or is given meaning based on what you put around it, and if you know the story,” explains Fulford, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow. Recounting one of the most extraordinary experiences during his odyssey, he says: “I met a real-life oracle in Bermuda. He had a waterfall you could turn on and off with a switch, underground tunnels, and an impressive track record for predicting the future.” A cult figure in the indie publishing world for books such as Raising Frogs for $ $ $ and The Mushroom Collector, here the East Coast native shares his summer reading list and his favorite (non-fictional) hotel.

What do you think the Ancient Greeks would go for in our modern world? 
Jason Fulford:
The British Museum.

What's your favorite hotel?
JF:
Maybe the Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona. The phones in the rooms are still hardwired down to the front desk, and they are furnished in my fantasy old-fashioned hotel room style––just a bed, desk and dresser. Also the YMCA in Calcutta, India. They play badminton in the lobby.

What is your soundtrack this summer?
JF:
 Gyrate Plus by Pylon
Back Porch Hillbilly Blues by Henry Flynt
Kenwicked by Street Gnar
IV by Jib Kidder
Bend Sinister by The Fall
Double Nickels on the Dime by Minutemen
“Fire / Mission Impossible” by Lizzy Mercier Descloux

And your summer reading list?
JF:
I’m on a “madness” streak, so:

A Schoolboy’s Diary and Other Stories by Robert Walser
The Dalkey Archive by Flann O’Brien
Sanity, Madness and the Family by R.D. Laing and Aaron Esterson
Wittgenstein’s Nephew by Thomas Bernhard
The Inmates by John Cowper Powys
Actual Air by David Berman

Hotel Oracle is on show until August 23 at Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

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Spotlight

Secret Cities: Montreal

The Tastemaking Peart Twins Share Their Guide to the Modern Canadian Mecca

From of-the-moment concept stores to bustling oyster counters, Canada's cultural capital is made ultra-relevant by twins Dexter and Byron Peart, style blog fixtures and founders of the covetable luggage and accessories label WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie. Combining old world quality standards with 21st-century technological savvy, the Peart duo has collaborated with Opening Ceremony, J.Crew and New York’s NoMad Hotel, in addition to representing brands like Acne and Fillipa K. via their creative agencywork that keeps them on the go. "Travel takes people out of their daily routine and allows them to discover, experience and explore," the brothers explain of their attraction to the genre. "It was the lack of luggage for the new, more technological lifestyle that first drew us in." The team is also behind WANT Apothecary, a storefront in Montreal’s historic Golden Square Mile district offering a selection of luggage, menswear and grooming products and modeled after a 19th-century pharmacy. "We are constantly inspired by our environment," the Pearts say of their home base, "and Montreal, a UNESCO City of Design, is a city that geographically and philosophically exists as a hybrid of European and American lifestyle and tastes." Here photographed by Alexi Hobbs, the style-setters reveal the essential corners of their modern metropolis.

Hotel Gault 
Superb boutique hotel in a majestic building conveniently located in Old Montreal, yet discreetly tucked away on a quiet side street, away from the hustle and bustle.
449, rue Sainte-Hélène, Montréal, QC, H2Y 2K9; Tel: 514-904-1616

Les Touilleurs
We never thought we could get excited about cooking utensils until this fantastic specialty kitchen boutique opened. We have since replaced everything in our kitchen. 
152, avenue Laurier Ouest, Montréal, QC, H2T 2N7; Tel: 514-278-0008

Joe Beef
The lobster spaghetti is epic.
2491, rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, QC, H3J 1N6; Tel: 514-313-6049

Couleurs
This is our favorite haunt in Montreal for collecting mid-century antiques. The owners Andre and Lambert have a keen eye and have tastefully curated this shop, where you will find collectibles worthy of the set of Mad Men.
3901, rue St-Denis, Montréal, QC, H2W 2M4; Tel: 514-282-4141

Liverpool House
The restaurant brings a unique Cape Cod feeling to Montreal's Little Burgundy quarter. The amazing old world wines and fresh oysters are not to be missed. 
2501, rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, QC, H3J 1N6; Tel: 514-313-6049

The Canadian Centre for Architecture
This museum's incredibly curated exhibitions have featured Mies van der Rohe in America and John Soane.
1920, rue Baile, Montréal, QC, H3H 2S6; Tel: 514-939-7026

C2-MTL (New City Gas)
Revered Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil partnered up with design agency Sid Lee in 2012 to create an annual symposium, Commerce + Creativity. Arianna Huffington, Francis Ford Coppola and Google's Robert Wong spoke at the inaugural session, which was a huge success. We suspect the Spring 2013 edition will be one not to be missed.
172, rue Dalhousie, Montréal, QC, H3C 2L1; Tel 514-879-1166

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Spotlight

Maripol: Polaroid Queen

On Set with the Fashion Icon Shooting Document Journal's Issue One

Legendary French photographer, stylist and art director Maripol feeds her Polaroid obsession with an intimate shoot for the inaugural issue of new fashion biannual Document Journal, captured in this behind the scenes video and extracts from her editorial. Given a SX-70 camera in 1977 by her then boyfriend, photographer Edo Bertoglio, as a Christmas present, Maripol immortalized the vibrant downtown art and social scenes of New York in the early 1980s with her instant portraits of friends like Madonna, Debbie Harry and Grace Jones. “People aren't threatened by a Polaroid. For me it became an obsessional object,” she explains. “I used to take photos of everything––a piece of jewelry I made, if I was on holiday, or if I saw a beautiful Manhattan building.” Nick Vogelson, who founded Document Journal with James Valeri, worked with Maripol daily for eight months sorting through her archives to piece together the Maripol: Little Red Riding Hood monograph. “She's a visionary,” says Vogelson, who art directed the book with his Townhouse Creative agency partner Anton Aparin. “One day we'd discover a sketch by Jean-Michel Basquiat or a portrait by Keith Haring, the next day it was an immigration endorsement letter from Andy Warhol.” Launching tonight at the Marc Jacobs bookstore, Bookmarc, as part of Fashion’s Night Out, Document Journal’s debut issue features contributions from New York art-punk aristos Glenn O’Brien, Rene Ricard and Justin Bond, leading photographers like Collier Schorr, David Armstrong and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, and Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears. Ahead of tonight’s launch, where she will be taking Polaroids of guests, Maripol muses on celebrity and sexiness.

Were you conscious of the rise of celebrity?
No, I lived the Studio 54 days and could just walk into the Factory. In those days nobody had a PR or an agent to justify the whole principle of celebrity. The most accessible people were those like Jackie Kennedy, who I met, or you would go into a bathroom at a party and Mick Jagger would try to pick you up. There were a lot of great people, but I knew these people at the beginning of their careers and I always remember them as the person that they were then. For me, I don’t see the celebrity thing; people are people.

Who has been your favorite subject to photograph on Polaroid?
I never really took a lot of photographs of the same person, but I would say Madonna.

Is there anyone living or dead that you want to photograph?
As a matter of fact, I want to start shooting artists before they die. We are living in such a youth-oriented society, I am sorry that I didn’t take a portrait of Rauschenberg or artists in their 80s.

Was there a concept behind the Document Journal shoot?
There was no concept behind it, just the pure idea of fashion. I think models respond well to me as a woman. If you think about it, there are still very few female fashion photographers. I think the extension of a camera is a sexual symbol for man. It is a very powerful tool. A lot of male photographers are really drooling over these young girls and I think it must be very difficult for those girls. With me, there was nothing sexual, and what I can get is sexiness without being sexual. There is a difference. It’s because I am a woman and I want to have something feminine and affectionate.

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