In my annual January/February quest to see all of the Oscar-nominated films that I missed during the previous twelve months, I watched the Polish film Ida last night. In its quietness and starkness it is remarkably powerful. And the cinematography is both striking and stunning, filmed in black and white in the classic Academy ratio, 1.37:1, no longer often used. Here it is flawless. An absolute work of art.      


Pablo Picasso and Jacqueline Roque circa 1957. Photograph by David Douglas Duncan. Estate of Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2014.

My weekend was made even better by Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style, a terrific exhibition at Pace Gallery’s 25th Street and 57th Street locations. Included are some 140 works created by Picasso that depict his last wife Jacqueline Roque, in addition to over 50 photographs of the couple taken by the celebrated American photojournalist and close friend of the artist, David Douglas Duncan. It is absolutely fantastic to see these works presented together within the context of Duncan’s gorgeous photographs. This show represents the last twenty years of Picasso’s life and career and is the first to focus solely on Jacqueline as, arguably, his most important muse. And many of these pieces have never been on view to the public before now. The paintings in particular seem so personal and so loving — I honestly can’t recall even one in which she is distorted in any way. Quite illuminating!  

Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style is on view through January 10 — this Saturday! — at Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street and 32 East 57th Street, NYC      


The Inspired Home: Nests of Creatives is easily one of my favorite design books of the year. Gorgeously photographed and keenly curated, it presents some very cool spaces of some very cool creators. Standouts for me include all of the inherently modern Danish residences, and the homes of Rogan Gregory and Moby. Such an inspired book, very much befitting its title.  

The Inspired Home: Nests of Creatives by Kim Ficaro and Todd Nickey with photography by Ditte Isager (Rizzoli, 2014)


PABLO PICASSO © David Douglas Duncan, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Austin
I am a very devoted fan of Pablo Picasso and John Richardson and the series of exhibitions that Richardson has curated at Gagosian Gallery, in association with Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, since 2009. Picasso and the Camera is the fifth in this series, following the brilliant Picasso and Françoise Gilot: Paris-Vallauris 1943–1953 presented two years ago. Richardson has curated each of these shows in a distinctly museum-like manner, precisely what makes them so compelling. Picasso and the Camera is no exception, the works were superbly chosen. I was especially drawn to the many personal photographs of the artist himself and those with his family and friends. A most amazing window.

Picasso and the Camera is on view through January 3, 2015 at Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st Street, NYC


Monk with a Camera: The Life and Journey of Nicholas Vreeland opens today at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This fascinating-looking documentary is about Nicholas Vreeland, grandson of Diana Vreeland, who eschewed a life of privilege and glamour in favor of a life of service as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. An Irving Penn-trained photographer, Vreeland’s sublime images of monastic life and life in India preserve, both financially and culturally, the monastery where he lives and studies and the Tibetan community at large. I’m definitely heading to Lincoln Center this weekend.    


I was immediately pulled into Daisy Goodwin’s new novel, The Fortune Hunter, simply by the fact that the young protagonist, Charlotte Baird, is a photographer and photocollagist. But of course its merits extend far beyond this. Set in Victorian England, The Fortune Hunter employs a number of historical figures from the era such as the Queen herself, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) who was also the Queen of Hungary and Captain Bay Middleton, among many others. Goodwin’s historical research for this work is impressive and her storytelling quite captivating. I essentially didn’t want it to end. And if you’ve not read her other novel, The American Heiress (St. Martin’s Press, 2012), you really should. 


Sandro Miller, Arthur Sasse / Albert Einstein Sticking Out His Tongue (1951), 2014

The much-anticipated, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters, opens tomorrow at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago. A collaboration between American photographer Sandro Miller and longtime friend John Malkovich, this exhibition celebrates thirty-five iconic portraits that have influenced Miller’s prolific career. It really is astounding how Malkovich embodies each of the subjects, resembling quite closely and at once, individuals such as Jack Nicholson, Andy Warhol, Bette Davis and Salvador Dalí. And Miller’s recreation of each of these images is simply tremendous. A very good reason to head to Chicago.

Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters is on view through January 31, 2015 



The Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris’s newest museum of contemporary art, finally opened yesterday to the public. Designed by Frank Gehry and over 12 years in the making, the Fondation Louis Vuitton resides at the edge of the Jardin d’Acclimation in the Bois de Boulogne. Assuming the form of a massive vessel, the structure is made of 3,600 glass panels creating 12 sails. And although the design is fully of this century, the tremendous use of glass is a very intentional nod to late 19th-century garden architecture (think Grand Palais). The glass is also, quite clearly, in reverence for the natural beauty that surrounds it. Its inaugural event was rightly Nicolas Ghesquière’s presentation of the Louis Vuitton Spring 2015 collection during Paris Fashion Week. Opening programs include an exhibition of Gehry’s designs (sketches, models) for the Fondation and the construction of the building itself, a selection of works from the FLV collection, and a stellar series of concerts and live performance. Fingers crossed I’ll get there in 2015…


Joan Didion photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, September 1996.

A promising and well-deserved documentary, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, is underway about the life and career of the great Joan Didion. Directed by her nephew, actor and filmmaker Griffin Dunne, and notable documentarian Susanne Rostock, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live is right now in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds in order to complete the film. This momentous documentary is for sure one I know I want to see. You can take a look at the trailer here.