Art History’s Best Mustaches: Jeff Koons’s Suspended Wrought Iron “Moustache”
Though our month-long chronicle of art history’s greatest mustaches — in honor of male cancer awareness campaign Movember — has only sporadically ventured outside the genre of portrait paintings, we’d be remiss not to feature a sculpture or two, and we’d be hard pressed to find one more fittingly epic than Jeff Koons’s “Moustache” (2003).
Koons’s suspended ’stache sculpture was made in three editions and one artist’s proof — the mixed media work includes polychromed aluminium faux-inflatable pool toys, the wrought iron whiskers, and two red chains of coated steel — and one version fetched a whopping $1.8 million at Christie’s London in 2009.
The sculpture, which belongs to Koons’s “Popeye” series, has been exhibited at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Oslo’s Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, and Dakis Joannou’s DESTE Foundation in Athens, among others.
“This facial fur, which recalls the strongmen in circuses of old, has since become a central motif in many of his two- and three-dimensional collage works, invoking a range of sources and inspirations,” the Christie’s catalogue text notes. “In it can be perceived one of the earliest and most irreverent acts of appropriation, Marcel Duchamp’s moustachioed ‘Mona Lisa’ from his 1919 work ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’” The latter work, of course, was yesterday’s featured art historical ’stache.
‘The ultimate in wow factor’
by Connie Adair
The owners, who also built their previous home, spent years designing this custom residence “from a very passionate heart” and ideas gathered during their travels around the world, says listing agent Dawna Borg of Re/Max Premier Inc.
Built in 2002, the approximately 10,000-square-foot home is a “European designer/hotel-inspired masterpiece that is perfect for lavish entertaining yet comfortable for daily living,” she says.
“It offers the ultimate in wow factor — stunning architecture, a natural stone exterior, a circular driveway with cobblestone imported from England, and incredible attention to detail.”
The living and dining rooms overlook the French-inspired great room, which has a precast stone wall, built-in bookcases, a two-way gas fireplace and wrought iron accents. “The formal living room was just renovated by HGTV and [the show] will be aired next spring,” Ms. Borg says.
The owners spent years designing this custom residence “from a very passionate heart” and ideas gathered during their travels around the world, says the listing agent.
Vaulted ceilings in the breakfast area, a soundproofed theatre room above the garage and a six-piece ensuite bathroom in the master suite are other highlights of the four-bedroom, nine-bathroom home. The octagonal sunroom/music room enjoys custom windows, a gas fireplace, a domed ceiling and a view of the grounds.
The walk-up lower level has coffered ceilings, limestone floors, etched glass doors, a cedar sauna, a steam shower and a whirlpool.
A pool, a freestanding whirlpool, a cabana, a bar, an outdoor kitchen and four oversized garages are features of the one-acre manicured property in National Estates. The grounds also feature perennial gardens, mature trees, an outdoor shower and 4,000 square feet of interlocking stone patios.
“Location is prime because [National Estates] homes are on full service [water and sewers]. Many of the other estate homes in Vaughan are on septic and well. It is also close to the National Golf Club,” Ms. Borg says.
The location has easy access to highways and the airport and the area has a strong sense of community, she says. National Estates is “where many businesspeople aspire to live. It has excellent public and private schools and amenities, and is a great sports and dance community for children.”
Tarpon commission approves fence at Cycadia Cemetery to block vandals
By Danielle Paquette
The broken granite, later discovered by an angry family, is just another case of cemetery vandalism in a string stretching back to the 1960s, said Tarpon Springs’ director of public works, Paul Smith.
Intruders cloaked by night have nabbed metal vases, bronze plaques, and even a 70-year-old, 75-pound sphere memorializing the cemetery’s founder.
“It has historically been a problem,” Smith said. “The current fence doesn’t discourage people from entering the cemetery, cutting through the cemetery at all hours of the day.”
The city’s discussions about what to do about vandalism in the city cemetery stretch back to the ’60s,too. However, Smith has proposed a permanent solution: a new 6-foot-tall, wrought iron-style picket fence that would cost about $175,000.
The fence would be sleek black, Smith told city commissioners Tuesday, and attach to an automatic gate that opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. It would replace most of the wall that is there now. The cemetery would be visible through the fence.
Smith said that before writing a proposal, he consulted with the family of F. Kettrell Powell, a beloved community leader and permanent cemetery board member who died in 2010.
Powell cared deeply about the cemetery, Smith said. He, too, had wanted to increase security.
“He would’ve loved this — it’s something he envisioned before he passed away,” said Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos. “This is something we’ve been waiting for.”
Commissioners unanimously approved the fence plan and, after permits are obtained from Pinellas County, construction is scheduled to start by February.
The project will be paid for out of the cemetery’s perpetual care fund.
Blacksmithing Into the Future
by Nate Burgos
The renewed interest in blacksmithing toward an “artisanal future,” I was reminded of the persons—women and men—who hammer and shape metal. The color of metal is black when heated. The word “smith” refers to making—in this case, objects of metal. It’s a craft of visceral actions and acoustics: forging, drawing, shrinking, bending, welding, and finishing.
Even the title of the blacksmith’s assistant is coined in a cinematic way: striker. Then there’s the environmental aesthetic: open space, anvil, hammer, tongs, vise, water trough, blast furnace. Ultimately, there is the drama of the raw material itself: wrought iron.
In total, the sights and sounds of blacksmithing constitute a mythic scene—and a romantic one. It’s a world where the metal’s heat is matched by the blacksmith’s heat (a more molten and polished version of “Fifty Shades of Grey”).
Their “primary mission is to raise awareness, teach skills, preserve and advance the craft, and broaden and grow the blacksmithing community.”
Panama City’s charm lies beyond the canal in Casco Viejo neighbourhood
With dilapidated buildings and whimsical art along the streets, Panama City’s Casco Viejo neighbourhood is fascinating to explore.
By Carolyn Ali
Juan Carlos is giving us the hard sell. As our boat approaches the first lock of the Panama Canal, he stands at the bow with his camera in the area roped off for crew members only. Excited passengers press against the barrier, as if a rumour just broke that George Clooney had stepped onto the red carpet. But the attraction isn’t Juan Carlos, or JC, as the tour guide calls himself. It’s our first glimpse of the man-made marvel that is Panama’s star attraction.
“Now is your chance!” JC booms into his microphone. “I will take your photograph in front of the Panama Canal! For only $10, I will give you a photo and a certificate that proves you were really here!” One by one, he leads takers under the white rope to grin for his camera, which he deftly operates with one hand while clutching the microphone in the other. “Remember,” he repeats, “this is your only chance to certify that you visited the canal!”
While I declined certification, it turned out that there were plenty of excellent opportunities for free photos to come. My five-hour boat ride, which transited part of the Panama Canal, provided an unforgettable look at the 20th-century engineering feat. And since I experienced the canal on a day trip from Panama City, rather than as part of a long journey on a traditional cruise ship, I could flee the boat in the afternoon and spend the rest of my vacation on dry land.
The gentrification has a long way to go, however. Walking around Casco Viejo is like walking around a partially completed Hollywood movie set. On one corner, there’s a magnificently restored Spanish mansion with freshly painted walls, brilliant bougainvillea, and exquisite wraparound wrought-iron balconies. On another, there’s a shell of a colonial building with punched-out windows and palm fronds busting through. Next to that is a boarded-up, graffiti-covered residence, and further on, an apartment building with a treacherous wood-plank staircase open to the street and barbed-wire railings on the balcony. It looks like it should be condemned, but children’s voices come ringing from inside, along with the clank of pots and pans.
to be continued