The 21st century hasn’t seen much adventuring spirit thus far, but at this time 100 years ago, we had more than our share. The British expeditions to Antarctica are the perfect example, setting comparatively meager resources against one of the most inhospitable environments on earth. There’s Shackleton’s, of course, but a new book from Assouline details one of the lesser-known expeditions: the Terra Nova, led by Robert Falcon Scott. And as of today, you can pick up a waterproof edition, in case you decide to take it on a few adventures of your own.
Iran has produced some pretty fascinating contradictions in the past 50 years, and we’re only starting to work through them. But a good coffee table book never hurts.
Life as a Visitor, which arrives this month from Assouline, takes a look at the more than twenty exotic spots through the eyes of Iranian ex-pat Angella M. Nazarian, and comes away with something between a travelogue and a memoir. That means vignettes on cultural alienation share space with memories of the best sunbathing spots in Postino.
Both of which should come in handy next time you’re abroad.
For those of us without fabulous wealth, it’s hard to appreciate the psychic brutality at work in the art collection game. High profile collectors aren’t usually aesthetes or intellectuals; they’re corporate raiders and law partners. They play for keeps, which is why the auction system ends up being so lucrative. The goal is to put together a collection that will command respect, and whoever ends up with the best stuff wins.
Luckily, the aesthetes at Assouline are stepping in to lend a hand. They’ve just put out The Impossible Collection, a guide to the 100 most valuable works of art in the world. It says what they are, why they matter, and where you can find each and every one. The book itself will set you back 500 dollars, but the value of the art is incalculable. Still, it’s nice to have a goal.
Students of American style should take note: the upper class isn’t quite as old as you’d think. Only a few centuries ago, even New York was a rugged frontier town, with an upper-crust populated by shysters and remittance men. Brooklyn was still farmland and Wall Street still had a wall around it. The clothes may have been dirtier, but we’re sure you could pick up a few things.
Since it opened as a museum a year ago, Philip Johnson's famous 1949 Glass House in New Canaan, CT has been flooded by both seekers after architectural wisdom and design junkies in general—so much so in fact, that all tours for the rest of 2008 are already sold out.