Stilettos Meet Matzoh in Maxime Ballesteros’ Provocative Shoot
A black-clad model sprawls out over the minimal décor of Berlin’s Jüdische Mädchenschule, a former Jewish school for girls, in this unorthodox, fashion-infused celebration by French photographer Maxime Ballesteros, just in time for Hanukkah. Behind the Mädchenschule’s large and looming façade hides a center of fine art and finer dining in the German capital’s creative Mitte district, counting among its tenants contemporary galleries like Michael Fuchs and Eigen + Art Lab, as well as the elegant, Weimar era-inspired restaurant Pauly Saal, opened by the unstoppable team behind Berlin’s “it” restaurant, Grill Royal. Mogg & Melzer adds more casual grazing to the mix, bringing New York-style pastrami and brisket—often tragically hard to find in Western Europe—back to their continent of origin. Having graced the pages of i-D, Purple, Monocle and Sleek with his late-night shots of Berlin's art and fashion underbelly, here Ballesteros turns his candid, fetishistic approach towards the classics such as Matzo ball soup and pastrami reuben, in addition to modern takes on Hokkaido pumpkin with wild herbs and North African shakshuka. Meanwhile, his disembodied, stiletto-strapped subject teases the delectable spread into an object of desire. “The idea was to make the food inaccessible,” he says. “When you want something but can't have it, you want it more.”
Brasilia: Oscar Niemeyer's Magnum Opus
Fifty years ago this April, Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, was built from scratch on an empty patch of savannah 500 miles from the coast. The bold, utopian city was envisioned by Rio-born architect Oscar Niemeyer, who has completed over 700 projects in his lifetime and, at 102 years old, continues to work and sketch from his glass penthouse on Copacabana beach. Many of Brasilia's buildings were rendered in concrete, a flexible material that allowed Niemeyer (famously averse to right angles) to create some truly breathtaking, curvaceous shapes, designed to appear as if floating above the ground. The modernist metropolis––now listed as a world UNESCO heritage site––was built in just four years. Niemeyer worked alongside urban planner Lucio Costa, imagining everything from the taxi cabs to the aesthetic of the bus driver’s uniforms. Even the city's shape as viewed from an airplane was taken into consideration—seen from above it resembles a bird spreading its wings across the scorching expanses of the country. These awe-inspiring photographs of the city were taken by Edgar Choueiri, chief scientist and director at Princeton University’s Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab, who was immediately enchanted by Brasilia upon arriving to deliver a talk at its University. Choueiri’s connection to Niemeyer runs deep––he grew up in Tripoli, Lebanon, where Niemeyer’s unfinished structures for the Rachid Karami World Fair have been standing since the 60s. For him, Niemeyer's perfect city represented his childhood dreams of space travel and colonization: "It was almost emotional for me to see his vision in Brasilia. The photographs were a sort of tribute to that connection."
Graphics Pioneer Herbert Matter's Rarely Seen Film Marks Sculptor Alexander Calder's Birth
Surrounded by the hypnotic rhythm of his own sculptures in motion, legendary artist Alexander Calder is shown working in his studio in this clip from visionary photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter’s 1950 film Works of Calder, featuring a soundtrack by John Cage. Renowned for his ability to “sculpt with air,” Calder dedicated his seven-decade career to observing the complex nature of movement, pioneering kinetic sculptures, called mobiles, which prefigured the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists such as Richard Serra, James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson. “Time, space and the actuality of the moment are integral components of Calder’s oeuvre,” explains Alexander S. C. Rower, President of The Calder Foundation. “Perhaps Sartre most aptly described the intuitive nature of his pieces when he compared it to ‘a little hot jazz tune, unique and ephemeral, like the sky, like the morning.’” Premiered at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in January 1951 and virtually unseen since, the film came about after a chance encounter between Calder and multi-Emmy-winning actor Burgess Meredith in a cocktail bar three years earlier. The pair enlisted Matter to adapt his photomontage techniques to moving image, and create the surrealist portrait of the artist and his mobiles under the hazy light of Roxbury, Connecticut.
Works of Calder (1950). Directed and cinematography by Herbert Matter; produced and narrated by Burgess Meredith; music by John Cage. Sponsored by New World Films and Motion Picture Stages. Burgess Meredith and Museum of Modern Art, New York. [20 min., 16mm, color, sound (English)]
The Calder Foundation will present the full-length film, as well as several other historic Calder films, on calder.org beginning in Fall 2012.