Reopening this month is Austin’s Commodore Perry Estate, an Italian Renaissance Revival mansion secluded within the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Both a 54-room hotel and private club by Auberge Resorts, the Commodore was originally built in 1928 by the architect Hal Thompson as the country residence of the Texan businessman Edgar Perry. The Italianate mansion’s original rooms, with picturesque accompanying Juliet balconies, have been transformed by the designer Ken Fulk into signature suites with walls in shades of pink, celadon and sunshine yellow and furnishings in velvet and faux fur. Hand-painted murals by the artist Deborah Phillips are offset by midcentury pieces sourced by Fulk from over two years’ worth of shopping trips to the state’s famous Round Top Antiques Fair. While Perry may have sold the estate in 1944 with the regret that it was “a great place to throw a party but too big to live in,” Fulk’s vision gives the mansion a second life as a place to gather — perhaps for dinner at the Commodore’s Lutie’s Garden Restaurant, with a menu filled with produce grown nearby — or merely spend a decadent afternoon strolling the estate, which spans 10 acres and includes a 50-foot swimming pool. Rates start at $525 per night, aubergeresorts.com.
Robert Longo’s Cinematic Musings
I’ve looked at a lot of digital exhibitions from art institutions in the last few months, and my response has almost unanimously been: I wish I could see this in person. One of the more satisfying examples of this kind of presentation — for me, at least — is “Robert Longo: Quarantine Films,” on the website of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. It functions as both a watch list and a kind of autobiography, interspersing examples of Longo’s work alongside his thoughts on various classics of cinema and how they’ve influenced him. (Longo made one deeply flawed but rather criminally underrated film himself in 1995: “Johnny Mnemonic,” with Keanu Reeves as the star and a screenplay by William Gibson.) Writing about Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film “Taxi Driver,” he reminisces about moving to New York and driving a cab to support himself. In a riff about Jean-Luc Godard’s “Contempt” (1963), which Longo describes as “a film about making a film,” he concludes that “sometimes beautiful is all art needs to be.” He even makes a fairly convincing case for 2019’s “Joker” — a film I walked out of — as a useful parable about the importance of gun control. Longo is an artist with a style you might call apocalyptic. He makes achingly beautiful paintings out of ugly things, whether a mushroom cloud, a businessman who appears to be falling through the air or a militarized police force, shrouded in tear gas and backlit by the golden arches of a McDonald’s sign. His work is scarily relevant in 2020. “Robert Longo: Quarantine Films” is live now on garagemca.org.
Sandals for summer are no more groundbreaking than florals for spring, and yet donning the right pair can still be an opportunity for self-expression, one that can dress up an ordinary denim skirt or a cotton voile dress. This summer, opt for sandals embellished with crystals to add a sense of decadence. René Caovilla has brightened an otherwise ordinary kitten-heeled thong, while By Far has reinvented the mule, laying the over-foot strap with a grid of thinly cut rhinestones. The French jewelry designer Justine Clenquet has joined in with her debut footwear line — launched this month, in step with her brand’s 10th anniversary — which features vintage-inspired silhouettes adorned with Swarovski rhinestones and disco-like glitter. For those looking for slightly more subtle options, both Gianvito Rossi and Roger Vivier offer styles that can easily transition from a long walk in the park to an intimate dinner, making stepping around just a little more sparkly and fun.
Colorful Handblown Glassware for Gathering
In March, as New York City went into lockdown, the creative community working at UrbanGlass — a nonprofit organization that provides glassblowing studio space, exhibitions and classes for artists and designers in Downtown Brooklyn — faced an uncertain future. Glassblowing is impossible to do at home, and since glassblowers work in proximity to one another and often share tools, reopening the studio — even with social distancing protocols in place — is a tricky proposition. In a show of hope and resolve, three artists — Susan Spiranovich and Adam Holtzinger, the founders of the design company Keep, along with Anders Rydstedt — decided to team up on a project called Re:Gather, the results of which will be made and shipped as soon as the artists are able to return to a studio. Their first product, Cupples, is a series of simple and elegant glasses offered in five colors, including blush, aqua and amber, and features an interlocking design — a glass band wrapped around half the cups corresponds to an equivalent cutout in the other half — that illustrates the need for social connection. “We recognized a shared sense of loss for in-person collaboration that is essential to our work,” says Rydstedt. The name Re:Gather may seem self-explanatory, but it is also a reference to the glassblowing process itself, during which the material is gathered or collected on the end of a blowpipe. Finally, Cupples is meant to remind us of the comforts of sharing a meal with one another, with the hope that we will be able to do so in the near future. $200 for a set of two, keepbrooklyn.com.
This is a momentous year for the Irish-born, Scotland-based jeweler Grainne Morton: She’s celebrating her 50th birthday, as well as her 25th anniversary making her fastidiously eclectic jewelry that has found a fan-base of avid collectors around the world. Morton had originally planned to mark her double milestone with a large celebration in a castle just outside of Edinburgh. But the lockdown meant downshifting plans, and in the quiet of the last few months, she and her team have instead been hard at work, making unique pieces of jewelry that feel like the rarest of finds — 10 of which will be released this Friday. “My parents had an antique shop where they lived in Northern Ireland,” Morton explained to me. “They would come visit me in Scotland and spend all week trawling the antique shops here. In order to spend time with them, I would come with, and I started collecting.” Morton is fond of mixing mother-of-pearl, moonstones and other gems with found cameos, antique buttons and vintage glass. Everything is made by hand, sometimes taking weeks to complete, as the individual components are first set in silver and then soldered together into playful compositions, often set on a cross or dripping from an anchor piece. As we’re thinking more consciously about who and what we surround ourselves with right now, Morton is creating more than just a beautiful object but a sense of permanence amid the ephemeral world around her. Available July 10, grainnemorton.co.uk.
From T’s Instagram