I Just Got the Best Present Ever

Yes -- the best present ever, because when I opened the link Raina sent me I almost stroked out from the insanity of it all. I love art, I love houses, and when the two get together and do the horizontal mambo, they make beautiful, very expensive babies. Just how expensive?  Well, if you sold every organ in your body on the black market, you still couldn't afford any of the art in this house (plus you'd be dead).

I mean, you know you're rich when Warhol's rorschach paintings don't even rate a mention in the listed "pieces of note." And that's just the office.

Or maybe the author simply tired of referencing Warhol 8,567 times, since the home of fabulously wealthy psychiatrist Samantha Boardman and her real estate mogul husband Aby Rosen has more Warhol pieces in it than a museum.

Apparently they are also nonplussed by the proximity of so much fragile cash to two tiny toddlers. According to Boardman, “We have taught the kids how to live with [art]  and how to learn from it, but we have also taught them how to respect it.” That's code for: the nannies steer them around it. Because even the best kid will wait until you turn your back and then drive their Big Wheels into a temptingly towering stack of cardboard boxes... by Andy Warhol.

Still, you have to give the Boardman-Rosens respect for using their superrich powers for good and not evil. They probably could have single handedly bailed out Goldman Sachs, but instead they bought art. Really good art. Francis Bacon is perhaps my favorite painter in the whole universe, and that Damien Hirst sculpture ain't shabby, either. But that's not to say that I would have made exactly the same curatorial choices if I were obscenely wealthy.

William de Kooning + Richard Prince = Yes. The table is gorgeous, too, but that terrarium-as-art thingie confuses me.

Cy Twombly = hell to the yes, but Jeff Koons will never be my favorite artist. I know it's conceptual and all, but it still looks like they decided to hang the kids' pool toy next to one of the greatest painters of all time. The rug, however, gets my seal of approval (as if they need it).

Taxidermy may be out, but Maurizio Cattelan is the original gangsta. Props.

Check out the rest of the Vogue sildeshow, where you will learn that the kids are adorable but perhaps a wee bit spoiled (not judging -- I'd happily move into their life), the library is a hot mess (judging), and outdoor space is at a premium in NYC even for the uber wealthy.

Thanks again to Raina at If the Lampshade Fits for the tip!

Big Pimpin, Sailin Seas

Coming off the heels of my crazy-insane apartment post on Monday, I thought I should continue my fantasy life as an extravagant gazillionaire art collector. As I am writing this post from the very cold, and very dry desert (I'm in Albuquerque this week) I thought it would be appropriate to spice up my daydream with a little warmth and salt water I'm thinking it will go a little something like this: My wealthy CEO husband has just left town on, yet another, last minute "business trip," I clumsily hand off our annoying baby to the nanny and thank God that I've had the good sense to give the pool boy (who bears a striking resemblance to Christian Bale) the afternoon off. We playfully chase each other up the ramp to the yacht that I will most certainly retain after the long and messy divorce. Can you blame me:

Guilty, commissioned by Dakis Joannou, with exterior camouflage by Jeff Koons, Interior Design by Ivana Porfiri

While it is truly devastating that this yacht does not belong to me (I can barely even afford a bath-tub toy that I could paint on my own), I am quite content just knowing that this yacht exists.

Let's take a closer look:

How much radder would Overboard had been if Kurt Russell had been painting this mural rather than customizing a closet?  He could have worn a beret!

The outside stairwell and master suite

Normally I can't stand posters or signs that say things in your home (think:  keep calm and carry on... gross) but this neon "Feelings" sign, seems to spit in the face of all the uplifting mantras that came before it, which really just speaks to my soul.  Plus, it's neon.  Holla!

The main lounge.  Looks like I'll have to expand my staff so that we can keep these floors clean.  I'll get the house manager right on that.

An internal stairwell

I do love how the eerie light interior juxtaposes with the obnoxiously graphic exterior and, despite their differences, the two totally work together.  There's really only one word that can describe this sailing masterpiece:

A mural in the guest bedroom pretty much sums it all up:  WOW

(all photos courtesy of yatzer)

Supersize Me

When Karly and I went to the Round Top antiques fair last month, the most common sentences uttered between us were either, "If only it was a tenth of the price!" or "I just wish it was bigger." At that moment I realized I had developed a severe case of megalomania, although (silly me!) I should have seen it coming a year ago. Sometimes I feel like I'm just stumbling around aimlessly in the world of design, being as I am just a lowly artist type, and it so often happens that I'm a bit slow to catch onto the latest trends. But methinks this one caught me unawares because I mistook it for art. But it's not art. I don't think. Take, for instance, the work of Dutch design duo Studio Job:

studio job

Their dazzling white gold, mosaic-covered, Silver Ware series for Bisazza featured traditional tabletop pieces in monstrous proportions; the teapot alone is six feet tall (photos courtesy of Dezeen and The LA Times).

studio job

Yet, only a few years ago, according to the International Herald Tribune:

Studio Job was condemned by Dutch design critics for its disdain for function and for its self-indulgent symbolism. "It was horrible," recalled [co-designer] Smeets. "We were accused of making bad art by the art world, and bad design by the design world." Today they are being lauded, for exactly the same reasons, as the poster boy and girl of the new expressionism in design.

So caught between art and design -- or let's say concept and function -- Studio Job occupies a nether region of functionless and lack of concept, wrapped up in a shiny package with a (very) high price tag.

But what's the difference between Studio Job's giant spoon:

studio job

And Claes Oldenburg's giant spoon (photo from Minneapolis Sculpture Garden):

claes oldenburg

No, I don't think the only difference is the cherry on top, but seriously no one disputes Oldenburg's status as a "real" artist. Is it only because he thought of making things that are usually small really big first? (This sculpture was made in the mid 80's, but he started making gigantical sculptures in the 60's.) And he's certainly not the only artist to make giant sculptures. Take the always colorful artist Jeff Koons, for example (via If It's Hip, It's Here):

jeff koons

I'm extremely distracted by the gorgeous background, but how is this giant balloon dog different from, say, designer Jaime Hayon's giant creepy doll thing (other than the difference in zeros on the respective price tags. Hint: artist Jeff Koons' is exponentially more expensive):

jaime hayon

Both sculptures are big and shiny, but could we say that Jeff Koons' includes some kind of cultural critique of society, whereas Jaime Hayon's does not? Maybe. I'd be interested to hear some of you super smart readers argue either side of that point.

What is it about epic proportions on everyday objects that make them so interesting, anyway?

robber duckie

Is there anyone who is not transfixed by this ridiculously ginormous rubber duckie? I didn't think so. And no, it's not photoshopped.

The design world definitely seems to have picked up on the "Bigger is Better" aspect of our culture, because big is REALLY BIG right now.

marcel wanders

Marcel Wanders certainly looks pleased with his gargantuan "table" lamps. Of course, there's no table in the world they could fit on... except maybe one of the silver "tea platters" by Studio Job, featured near the top of the post.

Perhaps he was just trying to one-up Philipe Starck's design for the Parris Landing Condominiums?

philipe starck

Whatever the case, a relatively scaled down megalomania is wending its way through the homes of middle class consumers everywhere, as evidenced by this popular pad on Apartment Therapy:

apartment therapy

How much do you love that giant screwdriver on the left??? It looks dangerous, which I am quite sure is the appeal for me. And check out the Mini-Me version of Starck's giant light bulb. The surge of supersized objects doesn't end there, though:

anglepoise lamps

Even the typically refined anglepoise lamp -- designed in the 40's with smaller scaled homes in mind -- has been pumped up by massive steroid injections. Unlike a scintillating six foot tall teapot, this lamp could fit right in to today's McMansions. (photo on left via Desire to Inspire, photo on right via Apartment Therapy)

Another example of Design/Art's (Des'Art?) trickle down economics:

giant fork

Giant fork sculpture in Missouri via some guy's Myspace evolves into giant fork wallpaper from Anthroplogie (pictures via Apartment Therapy):

anthroplogie wallpaper

Becomes giant fork in Mads Lauritzen's surrealist photograph. Because improper proportions are surreal.

mads lauritzen

For some reason giant cutlery is really popular right now, and that brings back painful memories of those huge wooden forks and spoons that everyone's Mom had on the kitchen wall. Whatever you do people, please don't go there.

I have to admit that I like some of the more practical supersized designs. There's a big difference between Studio Jobs's giant golden coffeepot dumping a stylized brown river of what I can only hope is coffee:

studio job

And these nifty giant golden hand chairs seen in the sweetly elfin Jonathan Adler and adorably scathing Simon Doonan's house, which was featured in Met Home:

jonathan adler

By the way, I'm sure Adler got his chairs from super chic antiques dealer Todd Merrill, but I've seen them in hideous colors for as little as $30 on Craigslist and Ebay. Gold spray paint anyone? Or white, even?

Whew, I'm tired from thinking so much today, and I really hope I haven't worn you out too much to discuss exciting things like: art versus design, or the decline of western civilization, or whether all design will simply grind to a halt in the face of a deepening recession. Is megalomania bound to shrink in direct proportion to our shrinking economy?

In case the real question you want to answer is, "Why do I have to read this crap? I'm not in school anymore," I have a present for you:

supersized bunny

It's a super cute, supersized bunny! And if you like it, you won't click on this link to find out what happened to it.