Baku issue 14 winter 2014

Page 1



Katrantzou’s perfect prints

FREE SPIRIT Attitude at altitude 73




CHRISTIE’S v SOTHEBY’S IDRIS KHAN shoots baku museums go crazy

P62 When Art Met Fashion

P74 Mountain Highs

P96 Idris Khan

P110 Home Joys

P128 Runway Success

P146 Shape Shifters






Editor’s letter

inter is a defnite season in my homeland of Azerbaijan. Up in the mountains, which rise as high as the Alps, the snow lies deep – you can ski or snowboard or just hunker down until spring comes. In the city of Baku, on the Caspian Sea, things are rarely as icy as that, but it is a distinct season nonetheless, a time when people dream of the sun while enjoying the cosy warmth indoors. There is a notable tradition of comfort food in Azerbaijan, and when that is combined with Jewish cuisine, the most celebrated comfort food of all, the results (page 110) make you almost crave the cold months. In our fashion shoot (page 74), you can see the mountains beginning to don their cloaks of snow. But this issue of the magazine is not just about life in the countryside. We speak to one of fashion’s brightest stars Mary Katrantzou (page 62), and showcase Baku’s chic new concept store, Emporium, on page 51. Baku magazine, and the city it’s named after, prides itself on its artistry and its originality. We sent artists to capture the essence of four fashion weeks around the world, and the frst results are published here. The year ahead is an important one for the art world – with the Sharjah Biennial (page 41) and Venice Biennale – and for Baku, which will be hosting the frst-ever European Games. We have so much to look forward to this winter and beyond. Now, make the most of this season’s knitwear and wrap up warm. Enjoy! Leyla Aliyeva Editor-in-Chief

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The breakfast of champions at altitude. Pop along to our choice of the exhibitions, art fairs and gigs around the world this winter.


Vanessa Branson, the founder of the Marrakech Biennale, shares her cultural hit list.


She’s revolutionized contemporary art in the Middle East. Meet Hoor Al Qasimi, director of the Sharjah Biennial.


Beautiful and functional, it’s art that you can wear, sit on and take travelling.


Where in the world can you study fne art? Look no further than these exciting schools.

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Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg are a Swedish sound and vision duo with a trippy twist. Sabina Kristensen, the force behind Baku’s coolest concept store, Emporium, speaks to us on opening day.


From the wise investment to the impulse buy, our pick of the must-have lots at this season’s auctions.


It’s been a long time coming, but women are at last calling the shots in the contemporary art world.

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We pin down Mary Katrantzou, star of London Fashion Week, who brings artistry to the red carpet.


Some big cats, like the Caucasian leopard, are severely endangered. That’s when Tom Kaplan and Panthera step in.

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The spending power of the Gulf and East Asia is enticing Western museums like never before. But is it a good thing? The comforts of home cooking from a unique Jewish enclave in the mountains of Azerbaijan. We give you the brightest rising stars of the art world for 2015, as chosen by our own experts on the scene. Part 1 of our specially commissioned series of illustrations of Fashion Weeks round the world.

Baku’s cultural barometer of cutting-edge trends on the international art scene. From the innovative to the fantastical, museum and art gallery buildings stretch our imaginations.
















Toni Crespo, ski maestro of Shahdag, settles in on the slopes. Nachson Mimran on how he seeks the unpredictable in art. If you are adventurous or comfort-loving, Gakh will put a spring in your step. Transport yourself to the fantasy worlds of Baku’s new hot spots. We meet the afcionados perusing the art at FIAC. Reza Hazare draws on the experience of refugees. Shirvanshahs’ Palace, the jewel of Baku’s Old Town.













New-season knitwear from the top down. In the increasingly competitive world of high-end auctions, how do the two major players compare? The British artist depicts Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Centre for us in a series of new photographs.

The eyes of winter watch over you. People, places and parties around the world. Gilles Dyan’s Opera Gallery takes centre stage in Baku.





Leyla Aliyeva Darius Sanai Daren Ellis Maria Webster Abbie Vora Laura Archer Francesca Peak


Simon de Pury


Mary Fellowes





Jarrett Gregory Dylan Jones Emin Mammadov Hervé Mikaeloff Kenny Schachter Claire Wrathall

Nick Hall Arijana Zeric Andrew Lindesay Emma Storey

Tamilla Akhmedova Hannah Pawlby Khayyam Abdinov +994 50 286 8661; Matanet Bagieva

Albert Read Nicholas Coleridge

BAKU magazine has taken all reasonable efforts to trace the copyright owners of all works and images and obtain permissions for the works and images reproduced in this magazine. In the event that any of the untraceable copyright owners come forward after publication, BAKU magazine will endeavour to rectify the position accordingly. BAKU magazine is distributed globally by COMAG Specialist, Tavistock Works, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7QX; tel +44 1895 433800. © 2014/2015 The Condé Nast Publications Ltd. BAKU magazine is published quarterly by The Condé Nast Publications Ltd, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU; tel +44 20 7499 9080; fax +44 20 7493 1469. Colour origination by CLX Europe Media Solutions Ltd. Printed by Taylor Bloxham Limited, Leicester. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. 28 Baku.

Contributors MARK C. O’FLAHERTY

is a writer and photographer for some of the world’s most infuential publications. What planet would you be? If I was a planet, I would be… Kashyyyk, the forested home world of the Wookiees in Star Wars. Your two favourite hashtags? #newyork and #london. Winter is a time for… Châteauneuf-du-Pape, cassoulet, cashmere and the Caribbean. What’s your all-time favourite weird-shaped museum (p146)? Oscar Niemeyer’s Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro.



is assistant fashion editor of the Guardian in London. What planet would you be? I would like to think I was Jupiter. I love the gases. Your two favourite hashtags? #arsenal and #mansbestfriend. Winter is a time for… Sofas, mulled wine and my favourite Richard Nicoll jumper. What makes Mary Katrantzou such a stand-out designer (p62)? Her astonishing attention to detail. Her dresses are like works of art.

is a photographer who lives on a farm in Rena, eastern Norway. What planet would you be? Saturn, I love the sound of its name. Your two favourite hashtags? #nicesmile and #nicelight. Winter is a time for… Firewood, shuffing snow, cross-country skiing. What was the most memorable thing you saw while shooting this issue’s fashion story (p74)? The shepherds and their animals on those steep mountainsides. It was spectacular!


is an artist based in London who draws on literature, history, art, music and religion in multilayered works. What planet would you be? Earth – the only planet I know well enough to want to be. Your two favourite hashtags? I’ve never used one… is that bad? Winter is a time for… Getting cosy with my children and working in the studio. How did the Heydar Aliyev Centre work with your artistic style (p96)? It is predominantly black and white and, well, I only make black and white work… perfect!

is a Japanese art director, illustrator and artist. What planet would you be? Pluto, the heavenly body that symbolizes the 20th century. Your two favourite hashtags? #coexistence and #vintage. Winter is a time for… Sublimation of creativity and facing oneself again. Tokyo Fashion Week (p128) inspired you as an artist because… I was reminded that people have infnite possibilities. I believe that imagination will change the future.

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writes about the art market for The Art Newspaper and the Financial Times. What planet would you be? Venus, the planet of women and love. The world needs more feminine infuence and more love. Your two favourite hashtags? #artmarket and #art. Winter is a time for… Brrr – lentil soup! Which new museum are you most looking forward to visiting and why (p104)? The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town (due to open in 2017) designed by Thomas Heatherwick.



Morning Glory

This lavish spread is a typical start to the day for shepherds in the highaltitude Kalbajar region – in Nagorno-Karabakh, west Azerbaijan. Dishes include a doughy walnut and honey cake called chonbe (meaning ‘charcoal’, as it’s baked in a coal oven); and a delectable porridge of milled corn, best eaten with thick mulberry syrup, which is also added to yogurt. Jams are taken with strong tea, or spread on warm tandir bread. Other accompaniments include wild celery, sheep’s cheese and freshly ground salt from grey salt rocks.



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( Sketches


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Art|Basel Basel|June|18–21|2015


( cultuRe FIx




Where London What This major exhibition looks at the legacy of pop art, with 250 works by 110 artists from the UK, USA, Eastern Europe, Taiwan and China. It looks at the mass media approach of Western pop art in relation to Eastern movements such as political pop and cynical realism. Marc Quinn, Keith Haring (Elvis Presley, 1981, pictured) and Ai Weiwei all feature, as does Azerbaijani artist Aidan Salakhova. 35 Baku.

Where Dubai What Art Dubai continues to stake its claim as the preeminent art fair between Paris and Hong Kong, geographically and spiritually. Check out the ‘Marker’ section.


Where Sharjah What More than 50 artists will present work under the theme ‘The past, the present, the possible’ in the most important biennial outside of Venice.


Where London What Venues across London celebrate Azerbaijani culture through food, mugham music and art events, such as Alexander Kremer’s photography exhibition (pictured).


Where Mexico City What More than 40,000 art fans fock to Mexico for one of the most creative events of the year. Latin American art old and new meets work from more than 100 galleries, and with four new additions to the curatorial team for this year’s fair, expect the unexpected.


Where Los Angeles What The frst major retrospective of the French artist is held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Spanning more than 20 years of his career, the exhibition features Huyghe’s playful flms and installations, created to challenge the boundaries between fact and fction.



Where Baku What Sabina Shikhlinskaya takes inspiration from Erich Fromm’s book To Have or To Be?, a social critique, and presents installations of light and video in the Museum of Modern Art. 36 Baku.

Where Frankfurt What More than 2,000sq m of new space has opened in the city’s fnancial district. The inaugural exhibition, ‘Boom She Boom’ (until 14 June 2015), shows off the museum’s substantial collection of work by female artists, in contrast to the male-dominated city outside.


Where Singapore, Australia and New Zealand What What started life as a series of gigs in a Melbourne bar has turned into one of the most popular events in Australia. The city-hopping festival returns with a line-up full of fresh international talent, including FKA Twigs, Banks and Little Dragon.


( cultuRe FIx



The founder of the Marrakech Biennale reveals what’s on her cultural winter wish list.




2. The Chichester Festival Theatre, West Sussex, UK I have homes in London and Chichester so I like to support local art initiatives such as this one, a registered charity that I’ve backed for a long time. The auditorium is intimate enough that you feel part of the set and every seat has a great view. Forthcoming productions include the world premiere of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (19-28 February), The King’s Speech (5-14 February) and performances by the Moscow City Ballet (6-11 January).

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex, UK

Home to one of the UK’s most signifcant collections of modern British art, Pallant House Gallery is set in a listed Queen Anne townhouse with an award-winning contemporary extension. The exhibitions, which are world-class, change regularly so there is always something new to see. I love the gallery’s sense of light and space.


Beirut, Lebanon

I’ve always wanted to visit Beirut – it seems to me to be a capital full of charm and contradictions, and I’m particularly interested in the way it is dedicating itself to art and culture. I would like to explore MACAM (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum), a new institution for Lebanese art that’s housed in two renovated factories overlooking the Mediterranean.


Vanessa Branson




4. The Mohammed VI Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Rabat, Morocco

This is the frst major museum to be built in Morocco since the country gained independence from France in 1956 and the frst contemporary art museum in the country. It opened in October and showcases modern and contemporary works by Moroccan artists, encouraging a new age of cultural democratization.

‘The Scottsboro Boys’, Garrick Theatre, London, UK

I can’t wait to see this intelligent musical about a notorious episode of racial injustice. The story is about a famous episode in American history, in 1931, when nine black men were falsely accused and then convicted of raping two white women. The clever twist is that the musical is presented as a minstrel show, a popular 19th-century form of light entertainment, using slapstick comedy and dance to portray stereotypes about AfricanAmerican culture.


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was the only woman, and I was the youngest by a long way. I really felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously.” The woman’s voice, tinged with a hint of south London, is calm as she recalls her story. “They just wanted to carry on doing the same things they had always been doing. They kept on voting for the same things again and again and I was being outvoted. I felt like I really needed to fght to stand up for my position.” Hoor Al Qasimi is talking about the time she joined the board of the art event she now runs, and the panel of older men ranged against her who resisted every suggestion. “To tell you how much older they were: this happened 10 years ago, and two of them have since passed away…” It’s a tale of trying to overcome an entrenched male sense of privilege, something that will be familiar to professional women across the globe and in every industry. But Hoor Al Qasimi is no ordinary art curator and the event she is talking about is no ordinary show. Sheikha Hoor, as she is widely known, is talking about her travails in creating the modern incarnation of the Sharjah Biennial, widely recognized as the most infuential art biennial after Venice, in a world that is swimming with biannual shows. Al Qasimi is the daughter of the Emir of Sharjah, one of the emirates that make up the UAE and an oil-rich neighbour of swanky Dubai. But unlike the more

Sketches (

Hoor Al Qasimi, director of the Sharjah Biennial, brings a challenging intellect and imagination to the contemporary art world. Darius Sanai meets the Sheikha who is quietly changing how the art world perceives the Middle East.


Making Her Mark



1. Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi. Works at Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013: (2) Liu Wei’s ‘Merely a Mistake II’ (2009-13); (3) Thilo Frank’s ‘Infnite Rock’ (2013) commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation; and (4) ‘We’ll See How All Reverberates’ (2012) by Carlos Amorales.

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1. 2.

and ideas to the sprawling old town area of Sharjah where the biennial is based. And in 2015, as well as running the biennial, she is also curating the UAE’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Art Review magazine lists her as the 48th most powerful person in the art world. She is also a recognized artist who trained as a painter. Her most striking recent work, however, is photographic. Brigitte Schenk, Al Qasimi’s Cologne-based gallerist, calls her 2010 series of images of

5. 1. Susan Hefuna’s ‘Sharjah Afaz Drawings’ (2013/14) from the artist’s exhibition ‘Another Place’, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2014. Works at the Sharjah Biennial 8, 2007: (2) Dan Peterman’s ‘Civilian Defense (sandbag)’ (2007); (5) Peter Fend’s ‘Flight Transect, Basin of the Gulf’. Works at the Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013: (3) Wael Shawky’s ‘Dictums 10:120’ (2011–13); (6) ‘The Garden From Free Zone’ (2013) by Sara Ramo. 42 Baku.


America “a new perspective on ideas about travel and identity in the modern world”. Simon de Pury, Baku magazine’s editor-at-large and former owner of Phillips auction house, says Al Qasimi was the catalyst for the growing infuence of the Gulf on world art. “She is a real pioneer; not only did she bring some really good artists to the region but also curators, scholars and critics. It was a really bold thing to do because most of these people had never even heard of Sharjah before; she has placed Sharjah and the UAE frmly on the art world map. And what she does is always of the very highest quality. It has been an amazing bridge-building exercise and I have enormous admiration for what she has done.” Al Qasimi is diminutive in size, with neat, short hair and when we meet in London’s Bermondsey – a once down-at-heel semi-industrial area now reinvented as an art and design zone dominated by the vast White Cube gallery – she is wearing jeans and a blouse and could easily blend in with the grunge-chic passers-by. She sounds as unlike the public image of a sheikha as she looks, her London accent a result of a childhood spent largely in the UK (her father also studied in Britain) and her four years studying at the Slade in south London, one of the world’s best art schools. Al Qasimi (“just call me Hoor, we weren’t raised as sheikhas”) is in the middle of putting the fnishing touches on the next Sharjah Biennial, which runs from March to May 2015. 6.


She says she never had a plan to create a biennial in her home country. “After I fnished at the Slade I was going to go to the Royal Academy [the world’s leading postgraduate art school] but my father was going on a business trip to Berlin and I went with him, and ended up seeing Documenta 11, and I was really inspired.” Documenta is a highly regarded contemporary art show that takes place every fve years in Kassel, Germany, and the edition she visited, in 2002, was curated by Okwui Enwezor, the director of the 2015 Venice Biennale. “My jaw hit the ground. I thought, ‘Why isn’t our biennial close to this?’ The Sharjah Biennial had started in 1993 and I grew up with it. It was based along the lines of the Cairo Biennial, so you had country representation not in pavilions but in booths, more like an art fair. It was at an exhibition centre. There wasn’t a consistent standard. I was against country representation because it’s important now to recognize that people come from so many different places. It’s an issue of identity.” After seeing Documenta, Al Qasimi took six months out to visit various shows around the world and asked if she could join the Sharjah Biennial board as an adviser. She was gaining a real pedigree; she had curated some conceptual shows before, and she was also an artist herself.






spectacular art forays by Dubai (with its increasingly signifcant, but commercial, Art Dubai fair) and Abu Dhabi, which is bringing leading museum brands like the Louvre and the Guggenheim to town, Al Qasimi’s event is noncommercial (you can’t buy or sell art there) and entirely home-grown. Having overcome the resistance of her fellow board members, she has spent the last decade bringing some of the most original shows, artists

After battling it out with the all-male board who resisted her ideas, she eventually prevailed and was appointed director, with a brief to bring a sweeping originality to Sharjah, which until then had not really fgured on the art world’s map of infuential places. She had six months to organize her frst Biennial. “I was working 20 hours a day, seven days a week. I would have a catnap at home, take a shower and come back. I was sticking

labels on the wall on the morning of the opening. I was sweeping the foor; we were really understaffed. I thought that if I was going to work on the show I have to work on every element of it. I can’t ask people to hang if I can’t hang so I was hanging and hammering. It was the best experience doing that.” The show made global headlines. Although Sharjah had put on interesting exhibitions previously, Al Qasimi’s radical show, which explored political and social issues with some depth (not to mention provocation), opened eyes around the world. The New York Times devoted four pages of editorial to it. It was no one-off. At the most recent Sharjah Biennial, in 2013, leading names of the contemporary art scene such as Francis Alÿs and Carsten Höller were mixed with performance art and flms. Much of what is shown 7. at Sharjah also appeals to the migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent who form the UAE’s labour force. Last year, the Sharjah Art Foundation (of which she is president) put on a striking and acclaimed show by the German-Egyptian artist Susan Hefuna, which played on themes



SHE HAS A DEEP AND INTUITIVE SENSIBILITY ABOUT WHAT HAS TRUE AND ENDURING VALUE, AND WHAT’S NEEDED BY THE LOCAL COMMUNITY, AND BY ARTISTS. of immigration, disenchantment and current global tensions. Al Qasimi has a deserved reputation for challenging both intellect and preconceptions. Judith Greer, director of international programmes at the Sharjah Art Foundation, comments that Al Qasimi’s dedication “has had a profound effect on how the [Biennial] has developed in a way that is both very organic and rooted in the local community, while simultaneously being engaged with the broader regional and international cultural landscape. “She has a deep and intuitive sensibility about what has true and enduring value, and what is needed by the local community, by artists and by the art world both in the region and around the world. Don’t forget, too, that she is herself an artist and that she has an MA in curating.” Many outsiders are surprised at the extent of provocation in the shows. Art Review, in the citation about Al Qasimi in its latest power list, says she has “learned to tread the fne line between provoking debate and causing offence”. “I remember one of the curators at MoMA [New York]

saying to me, ‘Oh this is so political, is that a problem?’,” she recalls. “I said, no it’s not a problem because politics is in the news all the time. People watch it and they talk about it. The only things we can’t do are things that are against the law like full-frontal nudity or blasphemy. Those things are illegal and as an institution within a country we can’t go against the law, but if it’s not illegal then it’s fne. “That’s why it is always frustrating when people talk about censorship,” she continues. “It’s not about that, it’s about realizing the laws of where you are living and the placements of work. Local people 10.

will come across works by accident. Most of our works are outdoors for that reason. We want to surprise people but we want to be able to start up conversations rather than offend people and lose an audience.” Al Qasimi is thought-provoking herself. When I meet her in Sharjah, a few months after our initial meeting in London, she is modestly dressed in black hijab. There was nothing immodest about what she wore in London, but she blends into each of her surroundings perfectly. Not that she allows herself to become isolated – in the past two years, she says, she has travelled to see biennials in Benin, Kochi in India, Tbilisi in Georgia, Guangzhou in China, and Liverpool. “The Liverpool Biennial was great,” she says. “It’s just about knowing what’s out there.”



Works at Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013: (4 & 7) sculpture and video still from ‘Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River’ (2008) by Francis Alÿs; (8) Hu Xiangqian’s ‘Xiangqian Museum I’ (2010); (9) Luz Maria Bedoya’s ‘Nazca Line’ (2008); (10) Ahmed Mater’s ‘Golden Hour’ from ‘Desert of Pharan/Room with a View’ (2011-13); (11) ‘Someone Else A library of 100 books written anonymously or under pseudonyms’ (2011–13) by Shilpa Gupta. 43 Baku.

Two prominent Azerbaijani contemporary artists, Aida Mahmudova and Farid Rasulov, have just launched Chelebi, an interiors concept with a store in Baku. They commission local artists to design striking and culturally signifcant prints (such as Fatima, a folkloric character, pictured) to adorn limited-edition homewares.

In the Bag The festivities leading up to MCM’s 40th anniversary in 2016 have just begun, with a limited-edition collection of bags by Stefan Strumbel. The German luxury leather brand and the German artist have fused signature styles, with Strumbel’s bright motif incorporating a cuckoo clock.


Take a Seat


Top Drawer

Pepe Jeans’s enduring collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation continues this season with a collection full of the pop artist’s iconic motifs – including a Brooklyn Bridge minidress (pictured), hibiscus jumper, and Campbell’s soup can jumpsuit.

This fantastical Louis Vuitton trunk was designed by Cindy Sherman, with a colour scheme inspired by her pet parrot and travel stickers featuring her bizarre images. The American conceptual photographer was invited by Vuitton to create several pieces using the famous LV canvas as part of a special project to celebrate the monogram. The Icon and the Iconoclasts series also includes bags by Christian Louboutin, Frank Gehry, Marc Newson and Rei Kawakubo.


Known for her abstract sculptures consisting of thousands of painted wooden pegs – one of which included a dress for Burberry – British artist Annie Morris has created her frst range of jewellery. The silver pegs can be worn as brooches or even pendants and are each engraved with a different female fgure.


Off the Peg

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10 8






Back to School


There has never been a better time to go to art school. Follow the greats or carve a new path – we’ve got it covered. Illustration by Revenge is Sweet 1 CALARTS, VALENCIA, CALIFORNIA One of the best in the US offers more than most – you can study subjects from North Indian music and jazz to costume design.

4 THE COOPER UNION, NEW YORK The Cooper Union’s School of Art is notorious for its highly competitive entry and unbeatable location in Manhattan’s East Village.

2 SOMA, MEXICO CITY Formed by a group of artists in 2009, SOMA uniquely offers courses to both artists and to members of the public who can drop in on seminars free of charge.

5 CENTRO DE INVESTIGACIONES ARTISTICAS, BUENOS AIRES Breaking down boundaries is El Centro’s aim, with artist-run programmes that explore outside of traditional disciplines, genres and geographical frontiers.

8 ECOLE NATIONAL SUPERIEURE DES BEAUX-ARTS, PARIS Since 2012 director Nicolas Bourriaud has been shaking things up at this centuries-old institution, which taught Degas and Matisse.

3 THE SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO Training artists since 1886, its list of distinguished past graduates is the stuff of legend: Grant Wood, Georgia O’Keeffe and Jeff Koons.

6 GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART Housed in its famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building, the GSA suffered a fre in 2014, but looks set to continue its pioneering teaching unabated. Chantal Joffe studied there.

9 ESTUDIO NOMADA, BARCELONA Professional artists help students develop their portfolios through tutorials, workshops and exhibitions at this school in the old ‘Gotic’ district.

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7 SLADE SCHOOL OF FINE ART, LONDON World renowned for its teaching and emphasis on contemporary art practice. Past students include Tacita Dean, Rachel Whiteread and Mona Hatoum.


maPPed out









13 V. SURIKOV ART INSTITUTE, MOSCOW One of the most infuential of all Russian art schools. Alumni include the major contemporary artists Erik Bulatov and Ilya Kabakov. 10 DRESDEN ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS If it’s good enough for Gerhard Richter… This prestigious academy is defned by its august history.

14 MICHAELIS SCHOOL OF FINE ART, CAPE TOWN Michaelis – founded in 1925 – is South Africa’s hotbed of new talent, one notable alumna being Marlene Dumas.


15 11 ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS, ZAGREB A school that saw Marina Abramovic´ through its doors is worthy of note. Founded in 1907, it’s a pillar of modern Croatian art.

17 MARGARET TROWELL SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL AND FINE ARTS, KAMPALA Part of Makerere University, the school is expanding its focus on Ugandan and East African art.

SIR JJ INSTITUTE OF 19 TOKYO DESIGNER GAKUIN APPLIED ART, MUMBAI COLLEGE The BFA degree lets students With 55 courses across 13 try out as many disciplines departments, including Game as possible, ranging from Creation and Manga, Gakuin was computer graphics to painting. the frst institution to add anime to its curriculum.

16 12 SCHOOL OF ARTS, AALTO UNIVERSITY, HELSINKI Just three years old, it offers a fresh perspective through a strong awareness of business and technology. arts.aalto.f

20 AZERBAIJAN STATE 18 CENTRAL ACADEMY ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS OF FINE ARTS, BEIJING Now in its new 6,500sq m This famously selective art building, it has trained many of school has produced some very the country’s artists, including successful artists, such as Zhang Faig Ahmed and Rashad Huan, in the wake of the Chinese Alakbarov. art boom.

UNSW ART & DESIGN, SYDNEY Home to the National Institute for Experimental Arts, this is a leader in cutting-edge collaborations in art, science and technology. 47 Baku.


ack in 2003 Nathalie Djurberg was introduced to Hans Berg through a friend of a friend. It was a meeting that would result in an enduring artistic collaboration, as Berg began to compose the eerie electronic musical scores to Djurberg’s bizarre animated flms, a partnership that is bringing them global acclaim. The Swedes, both 36 and living and working in Berlin, became a close-knit artistic (and romantic) duo. Both self-taught, together they have created nightmarish animations and installations in clay – “sweet, depraved things that can shock, amuse and confound in equal measure,” as one Guardian critic put it. Djurberg certainly doesn’t shy away from delving into the darker reaches of human desire, making her playful fgures enact often grotesque and brutal scenes. Her work has struck a chord – albeit a discordant one – winning the Silver Lion for most promising young artist at the 2009 Venice Biennale and a nomination for the Future Generation Prize in 2011. Collaborating with Berg has since taken her work to a new level, she says. “Hans’s music makes the viewer more engaged and keeps them concentrating on the animation,” she explains. She puts their success down to their shared sense of direction and purpose – something that is apparent from their frst show at Lisson Gallery in London. ‘The Gates of the Festival’, held in the coveted slot during Frieze Week, saw the pair showcase new materials such as neon and projections, and also highlighted a deeper interaction between visual and audio, with each dictating the other. “The music fnishes the story,” says Berg. For these young artists, however, it seems the story is only just beginning.

( on the RAdAR

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg are a Swedish sound and vision duo with a trippy twist, says Caroline Davies.


Surreal Thing

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg in their studio in Berlin.


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Style Guide

Sabina Kristensen has already introduced some of the most coveted fashion labels to Baku. Now she is taking it to a spectacular new level, as she tells Abbie Vora. Portraits by Natavan Vahabova abina Kristensen is excited, and rightly so. It’s opening day of the multi-brand fashion and lifestyle concept store Emporium, in the new luxury Port Baku Mall. From her vantage point at the in-house cupcake bar, sipping Mariage Frères tea from a Miranda Kerr for Royal Albert mug, Emporium’s chief executive is keenly observing the buzz as it unfolds. Super-stylish women flter into the store, stalking by in ferce stilettos, ripped jeans and mirrored aviators, which remain frmly in place as they eagerly inspect the nearby jewellery cabinets and sunglasses wall. The beauty department, featuring – for the frst time in Azerbaijan – Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Tom Ford and Crème de La Mer, leads on to a long perfume counter with bottles cleverly arranged by fragrance notes – sweet, vanilla, citrus – rather than brand. Beside that is the most delectable array of shoes, displayed against a white background as if they’re 51 Baku.

( Sketches


works of art. Then, past Prada bags and colourful faux-fur accessories, right by the grand entrance, is a Jane Packer fower stall – Kristensen’s current pride and joy. “I’m particularly excited to have Jane Packer here,” she says. “Our forists all have an art background – this was very important to me. Floristry is an art in its own right. I went to the art schools in Baku to fnd students who would be interested in training with Jane in London, and that’s what

IT’S ALL ABOUT QUALITY OVER QUANTITY, AND TREATING ITEMS LIKE RARE, COMPLEX PIECES OF ART. they did. I asked students to show me a piece of their art, which was a deciding factor in whether they got the job!” Kristensen pauses, sips her tea, uncrosses her ankles (feet clad in black studded Christian Louboutin heels), and as the conversation shifts to fashion a warm smile spreads across 52 Baku.

her face. “Describing why I love fashion is diffcult,” she says. “It’s like asking why I like my body – it’s just part of me; it’s my life.” Having studied fnance, she then found a job in what she realized was her true calling as a retail buyer in her home city of Baku in 1999. Since then Kristensen (who uses her frst husband’s family name) has been a leading force in bringing international designer labels to Azerbaijan. She convinced her frst employers (at a store offering mainly menswear) to expand on its women’s range, resulting in Kristensen becoming a regular on the fashion-show circuit, each time bringing back an expertly edited selection.

within a brilliant team,” she is quick to add, “so can’t take credit for it all.” The previous space, across the street, is now a dedicated menswear destination – including Acne, Dsquared2 and Dior Homme. It maintains its original stark white, hyper-modern look (created by Japanese design frm Garde), with a books and music section, and cocktail bar. “I used to take inspiration from Colette in Paris, my all-time favourite store,” says Kristensen, “but we’re really doing our own thing now.” A colleague then taps her on the shoulder to report that several foral bouquets have just been sold and more orders placed. She lets out a little “whoop” of delight.

She rose to art director at Emporium, Baku’s original multi-brand concept store. Then three years later, in 2008, another space opened and now, with Kristensen as CEO, this new third site is the biggest yet. Covering 10,000sq m, it is laid out like a conventional department store, over two foors, offering fuller womenswear ranges than before, from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Céline, Alaïa, The Row, Balmain, Saint Laurent and Mary Katrantzou, as well as Bonpoint for children, lingerie, bridal and limited-edition homewares. “It’s still a concept boutique in the sense that it’s about quality over quantity; treating items like rare, complex pieces of art and presenting them as such,” Kristensen explains. “I work

Above and previous page: Sabina Kristensen in the new Emporium boutique in Port Baku; inside the store, including Dolce & Gabbana, jewellery and accessories, shoes, and bridal.


SALE ‘The Ski Sale’ at Christie’s, London, 22 January. PADDLE UP! ‘Les Sports d’Hiver à St Pierre de Chartreuse’ (1930) by Roger Broders, lithograph in colour. Estimate: £10,000–15,000.

A Home Run


SALE ‘Sports Collectibles Platinum’ at Heritage Auctions, New York, 21–22 February. PADDLE UP! Baseball bat (1921), used and signed by Babe Ruth. Estimate: $500,000.

( Cult & Collectable

Sled Ride



In the Mood

SALE ‘Fine Prints and Photography’ at Waddington’s, Toronto, 15 March. PADDLE UP! ‘Ken Moody with Orchid’ (1984) by Robert Mapplethorpe, gelatin silver print. Estimate: $7,000–9,000.

Retro Suntan

SALE ‘100 American & European Classics’ at Coys, Maastricht, 10 January. PADDLE UP! VW Beetle Convertible (1971). Estimate: €7,000–10,000. 55 Baku.



From top: ‘Water Lens’ (1969-71) by Saloua Raouda Choucair; Aidan Salakhova with a work from her ‘Destination’ series; and Mara Lonner’s poster of the Sonnabend Gallery, New York for Micol Hebron’s Gallery Tally site.


This is a man’s world. So true, they even wrote a song about it – and the art world is no different. Recently though, there have been rumblings of a decidedly feminine nature. Nancy Durrant asks if the balance could be about to shift.


Women on Top n the front line of the art world, the women are on the march. The Los Angeles-based artist Micol Hebron is just one of those banging the drum. Her Gallery Tally project produces posters illustrating the (usually wildly disparate) ratios of male-to-female artists in top contemporary galleries. “In 2013 I had been casually tallying full-page ads for single artists in Artforum,” she tells me. Aghast to fnd that between 70 and 90 per cent were for male artists’ shows, she began to wonder whether her results correlated to how artists were represented in galleries. “My artist friends and I all recognized that there was an imbalance in the art world, but no one knew of any current data or statistics. It seemed to me that it wasn’t good enough to just make vague assertions that women were under-represented, and that it should be easy enough to fnd concrete evidence of it.” She began tallying the ratios in galleries in Los Angeles and decided to make the data into posters for an exhibition. Putting out a call on Facebook for artists to join in, she found she was not alone in her irritation. “Within a month, there were 200 participants and we produced 70 posters for the initial exhibition. Now there are 1,400 participants, and over 300 posters!” All the project’s posters can be seen on the Gallery Tally Tumblr page and they are both hilarious and dispiriting. From simple graphic representations of “What does 32 per cent look like?” (for Marianne Boesky gallery in NYC) through to a jolly drawing of a prize bull (“84 per cent bull”, calling out Pace Gallery) to numerous hard-hitting takes on the

traditional female nude, the message is clear. It’s all about the boys. So is the art world sexist? Absolutely, says Jessica Morgan, the Daskalopoulos Curator of International Art at Tate and curator of the Gwangju Biennale. She is in no doubt that her career has been affected by her gender. “Defnitely!” she says. “More in the UK. I worked in the US for a long time and I was aware there of a sense of liberation. I was a young woman and I was given positions that I never would have been given in the UK – even at, I’m afraid, my institution [Tate]. If you look across the board the people at the top tend to be men, and there are a huge number of 57 Baku.

Clockwise from above: artwork by Ed Ruscha commissioned by the High Line, New York, 2014; Cecilia Alemani, director of High Line Art; Rebecca May Marston; Laura Bartlett; and ‘Loads’ (2014) by Marie Lund.

Miro and Marian Goodman; curators and directors like Marion Ackermann at K20 in Düsseldorf or Susanne Gaensheimer at MMK in Frankfurt, or in London, Julia Peyton-Jones at the Serpentine and Iwona Blazwick at the Whitechapel. But now a new generation is emerging. Laura Bartlett is part of this new wave. She started Laura Bartlett Gallery (seven male, seven female) in 2005 and now has two London spaces. Many of her young artists, such as Cyprien Gaillard, Nina Beier, Marie Lund and Becky Beasley, have already made an impact. “I think the climate [for women] has changed,” Bartlett says. “It’s an interesting moment for me and others of my generation – Kate MacGarry, Lisa Panting and Malin Ståhl at Hollybush Gardens, Hannah Robinson at Mary Mary in Glasgow.” Adding to this conversation is Rebecca May Marston, director of Limoncello Gallery in east London (eight male, fve female). She is cautiously of the opinion that, in her case at least, being a woman is an advantage. “The kind of clients I really value and like to work with are true patrons of young artists and young galleries,” she says. “They really support. We have a proper relationship with them. And in my experience they are all women. And those particular clients like to work with female gallerists.”

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When it comes to the commercial side of things, however, Marston admits that there is still a disparity: “My big earners are the male artists.” Cecilia Alemani, the director of High Line Art, the public programme for New York’s High Line, describes the commercial sector as a macho culture. “It’s about selling a painting. Maybe men are more fexible about making a painting that can be sold…” she says, smiling. “Female artists don’t want to

compromise. Maybe they don’t want to go and work with a gallery that is 85 per cent male? It’s a bit of a catch-22.” Alemani is redressing the balance in her own way with her ‘Pier 54’ exhibition – a tribute to the 1971 show, ‘Pier 18’, for which the curator/artist Willoughby Sharp invited 27 male artists to go on to Pier 18 (once part of the historic South Street Seaport area of New York, which no longer exists) and create performances. Alemani got 27 female artists to do the same on Pier 54 in summer 2014, the results of which can be viewed on the High Line until 14 January. One thing that these women agree is problematic is having children. Hebron says that one of the reasons repeatedly trotted out by gallerists in response to her unfattering tally is that “women leave their practice to have families”. Marston has had two daughters since opening Limoncello and though she speaks only for herself, her response could stand for artists too: “Having kids means time away from work and if work is you, that creates a problem”. Blazwick, whose gallery hosts the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, thinks the practicalities of having a family are the issue. “The art world has accelerated exponentially and so if you step out of it for a while I think it is more diffcult to step back in.” She is proud, she says, that three of the prizewinners are mums. “It’s proof, should proof

ART IS A WORLD WITHOUT ANY WALLS. I THINK OF IT AS THE ONLY WORLD WHERE YOU CAN HAVE FREEDOM. be needed, that creativity and motherhood are not mutually exclusive.” Hebron’s project is at least an example of how this issue is fnally being discussed. “I have been really excited, impressed, and inspired by how many people have been stepping forward to help with it,” she says. “One of my favourite things is when a gallery writes to me to ask to be included – and it’s not always galleries with a balanced ratio, either. I realize that in some ways it provides publicity for galleries, but it also indicates that they are interested in being a part of this conversation.” Now, when she walks into some LA galleries, “the gallerist will immediately start apologizing for their imbalanced roster, or they’ll start telling me that they ‘know they need to get better’ – before I even say anything!” It’s a positive sign, but Hebron insists that more needs to be done. Salakhova’s attitude, true to form, remains magnifcently defant. “My advice is to have freedom inside of you,” she says. “To be honest, and not to build a life within social rules, because that’s a male concept. We live in a male concept world.” Not for much longer if these ladies have anything to do with it.



( Sketches


women underneath them. Tate’s probably better than most, but it’s still an issue.” Aidan Salakhova, who has represented her native Azerbaijan at the Venice Biennale and, in 1993, founded one of Moscow’s frst contemporary art galleries, which she ran until three years ago, agrees. “For me, art is a world without any walls,” she tells me. “I think of it as the only world where you can have freedom. Unfortunately still in the art world [gender] does matter to some people, which is very strange to me.” There is a glimmer of light, however. There have always been prominent women in the art world – dealers such as Victoria

Winter Issue


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Just down from the creek Show me the water bar, please From across the pond, a saviour Oh, Sol! Ramesses, your legs are stone See you at the chalk circle, Enzo


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In a short fve years, Mary Katrantzou has stormed the fashion world with startling graphics. And A-listers love her for them. Where will her imagination take her next?

ary Katrantzou, London Fashion Week star, designer of ballet costumes and red carpet mastermind, is a woman understandably tricky to pin down. An interview with Baku has been delayed frst due to her show schedule, then a trip to America to ft costumes for the New York City Ballet. But, on a crisp autumn day, it’s postponed for a further couple of hours for more prosaic reasons. “I lost my bank card,” confesses Katrantzou when we fnally meet at her London studio, her voice betraying the remnants of a cold, “and it took the morning to sort everything out. I feel much more organized now.” This is typical of Katrantzou. On the one hand she is responsible for creating some of the most jawdroppingly glamorous dresses in recent times, yet she is also disarmingly unpretentious in person. She is known throughout the industry as a nice girl, as one who has kept her feet frmly on the ground despite her stratospheric rise. Take, for example, her own dress sense. While her designs are all about vibrant colour and bold digital print, Katrantzou herself, a bright-eyed presence with a mane of long dark hair and mischievous grin, dresses in no-nonsense black. She is the ordinary girl behind extraordinary dresses.

From mood board to catwalk, Mary Katrantzou’s designs mix eye-popping prints and colour. Below: the designer takes a bow at London Fashion Week, 2013.

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Collection shows by Mary Katrantzou including (1) her frst in London in 2009, and (2) her a/w 2012 collection at London Fashion Week. Katrantzou’s designs as worn by (3) Rihanna; (4) Alexa Chung; (5) Keira Knightley; (7) Sarah Jessica Parker; (9) Paris Hilton; (10) Michelle Obama; and (11) Taylor Swift. Another mood board (6) in the designer’s studio. Her costume design (8) as worn by Lauren Lovette in Justin Peck’s ‘BellesLettres’ for the New York City Ballet, 2014.


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Launching her label at London Fashion Week for autumn/winter 2009, the then 23-year-old, Greek-born, London-educated designer used the latest techniques of digital printing to confound our expectations of the medium – ditzy forals, say, or animal patterns – and made it dazzling: photorealistic perfume bottles for that frst collection; details of a Fragonard painting spliced with a portrait of Madame de Pompadour for autumn/ winter 2010; entire rooms reworked as dresses for spring 2011; stamps two years later. Mixing dressedup glamour with a creative cool, it’s a recipe that has served her well. Her brand is now stocked in more than 50 countries, and those oh-so-recognizable prints are worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift. Fast-forward to winter 2014, though, and something has shifted. Katrantzou has ditched the digital printing and, instead, her show has amped up the embroidery and lace on gowns that mix road signage motifs with fairy-tale-like shapes. Beautiful, yes, but without a print in sight. Why the change in tack? The answer comes with that familiar Katrantzou straight talk: “I felt I had worked with print so much I was worried I had nothing more to add,” she says. “Print was exciting because it let women think about colour in a different way but it felt like I was getting repetitive using the same medium each season.” While she acknowledges the change was “commercially tricky because I was obviously known for print,” she spied an opportunity “to move the vocabulary forward” and took it. Those who have followed her career will fnd it unsurprising that it was met with rave reviews. Katrantzou’s leaps of faith have an uncanny ability to succeed. Originally from Athens, she was an only child in a family that combined creativity and business nous. Her 9.

10. 11.



mother was an interior designer and her father an entrepreneur, frst working for the family business of department stores and later setting up his own security frm. “My parents had their own businesses and that’s what I knew when I was growing up,” says the designer. “I was naive when I started my own but also brave because I had seen that.” This familiarity saw Katrantzou hit the ground running – she even bucked the trend of the times. “I was cautioned that maybe it was better to work for a bigger brand because it was the recession when

I graduated but, thankfully, it worked out,” she says. Although Katrantzou says she didn’t think she would sell anything from her frst collection, she was – a rare occurrence, this – wrong. She picked up 15 stockists, Joyce, Colette and Browns included. By 2012 that fgure had reached 100. Now it’s up to 250 and she has recently launched her online shop. Five years after starting, Mary Katrantzou the brand is in rude health. Based in a raw-bricked warehouse space between Shoreditch and Islington in London, the studio is a vibrant centre, full of fabric rolls, cutting tables and a busy staff of young people intent on taking this brand to the next level. “We have around seven pattern cutters and four seamstresses but during show time this number almost triples as we bring in extra hands to help out,” explains Katrantzou as she shows me around. “At the moment we have about 50 permanent staff, which is a giant leap from the team of three we were fve years ago.” It could have all been very different. Katrantzou says she never intended to study fashion. At frst she followed in her mother’s footsteps and, after dabbling in architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, at the age of 19 she moved to London to study textile design at Central Saint Martins where she signed up for the school’s fashion MA in 2005. This is a course with a formidable reputation – it has trained designers including Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and Phoebe Philo, and was presided over by the legendary tutor Louise Wilson. The professor, known to never mince her words, became a major infuence on Katrantzou and the two remained close until Wilson’s death in May 2014. “If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t be where I am – she drummed into you the idea of fnding your own signature,” says Katrantzou, voice dropping a little. “She would criticize what you were doing but in an affectionate way. You always wanted to feel you had done her proud.” Wilson’s advice worked – Katrantzou’s unique aesthetic is the secret to her success. While her dresses are far from inexpensive – one runway piece from this autumn/winter costs more than £8,500 – they stand out from the crowd, a quality that appeals to wealthy 65 Baku.

clientele all over the world. “We have a loyal international client who invests in special pieces from Mary as they would a piece of art,” says Natalie Kingham, buying director at, where Katrantzou has been stocked since autumn/winter 2010. “We also do very well with the more commercial options such as the printed sweatshirts and silk tops. Women everywhere want to invest in her pieces.” The designer is fascinated by the different clients across the globe. “We’re at a really interesting stage of growth,” she says. “We’re well established in some countries but others are just discovering us. I have been to Kazakhstan and it’s so interesting to see how women wear your clothes




there compared with Beijing or New York or London.” A recent pin on the Katrantzou map is Azerbaijan, where she is stocked in Baku’s Emporium boutique. The city could be the next stop in her hectic schedule. “I want to travel as much as possible to connect with people in different markets,” she says passionately. “Azerbaijan is on my list for 2015. I hear it is very beautiful architecturally.” For Katrantzou, inspiration can come from anything – from 1970s copies of World of Interiors to the alphabet. Her spring collection, shown in September, explored geology, in particular tectonic plates and Pangaea, the super-continent that broke apart 200 million years ago to form the world as we know it today. “I like a bit of research,” she says, laughing. “I could be inspired by something that has nothing to do with fashion that adds a degree of excitement and novelty. Fashion needs that.” This approach may explain Katrantzou’s impressive celebrity following – she is loved by A-list stars who need to retain a level of modern glamour but want something different in the fercely 66 Baku.



Designs from London Fashion Week for (1 & 5) the s/s 2015 and (4) the a/w 2014/15 collections. More mood boards including (2) another with letterforms and (3) one for her designs for Swarovski. Katrantzou with (6) Erica Pelosini in 2014, and (8) at a London Fashion Week reception in Downing Street, London, 2012, with (left to right) Caroline Rush, Roksanda Ilincic, Samantha Cameron, Natalie Massanet, Anya Hindmarch and Danielle Crook. Anna Wintour (7) at Katrantzou’s a/w 2012 show in London.


competitive world of the red carpet. On the day we meet she was named as a nominee for the British Fashion Awards’ Red Carpet Designer category, an acknowledgement of a client list that numbers Marion Cotillard, Alexa Chung, Rihanna and Beyoncé. These endorsements have even started to occur without Katrantzou’s knowledge. “Sometimes they just buy the clothes. That’s what happened with Rihanna and Beyoncé,” she reveals. “That’s one kind of compliment but it’s also nice when someone chooses to wear your clothes for an event. Sometimes later, celebrities ask to keep what they wore. That happened with Taylor Swift and the MTV Video Music Awards dress. It’s lovely because you realize they really enjoyed wearing it.” The designer recognizes the value that such women wearing her clothes brings to her business. “The bigger the VIP, the more risk they’re taking because the exposure is huge,” she says. “The image goes everywhere.” She also acknowledges how her own designs helped change red-carpet dressing, which is fnally becoming a little less safe. “No one was wearing colour on the red carpet fve years ago, it was really taboo,” she remembers. “Now everyone does it, women want to be chameleon-like.” 6.

The designer regularly transforms herself, too, at least creatively. She is skilled in collaborations. Her CV includes working with Longchamp on bags, with Topshop on a high-street collection and with the artist Pablo Bronstein on costumes for his performances. Her 2014 project with New York City Ballet was organized by actress Sarah Jessica Parker, and saw Katrantzou creating dancers’ costumes alongside Carolina Herrera, Thom Browne and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton. “With ballet, it was really interesting to work on something that uses the body in another way, to evoke different emotions,” she says.


“I hadn’t seen the choreography beforehand but it all worked. Balletgoers had a treat.” Gymwear, which Katrantzou is working on with Adidas, is on her list of new territories to explore. “Sportswear is so important in our culture now,” she says, “it’s impossible to ignore.” Especially, she might add, when it comes with that vibrant Katrantzou spin. Her current hectic schedule, including cheering up our gym wear, dress rehearsals for ballet, celebrity fttings and searching on Google for the next vein of arcane inspiration, means Katrantzou has learnt to keep her downtime as just that. “When I’m not working I actually do very simple things – sleep, watch movies, take a walk,” she says. “My boyfriend


8. also works really hard but in a completely different feld – he’s a neurologist – so we balance each other out and feed off each other.” It may be that it’s Katrantzou’s partner of 12 years, Marios Politis, who provides the secret to those feet staying on the ground. “He has a calm and collected view, which is rare especially in fashion,” she says, smiling. “He’ll point out that no one is going to notice a 2cm hem difference when a model is walking down the runway, even if you have been discussing it with someone for 20 minutes.” While Katrantzou admits that such details are part of being a perfectionist – “I think you have to be one if you’re striving for beauty” – she has learnt to delegate as her business has grown. “It’s got to the point where I come in and there are team members who I don’t know very well,” she says. “It used to be a really close-knit family but now you have people getting on with things, and you can rely on them to do their job.” Spoken like a true entrepreneur, busy making creativity a commercial success. Louise Wilson would be very proud.


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his past June, an American billionaire, a Chinese playboy, an Indian businessman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi sat down for a closed-doors meeting. Between them, the men possess more personal wealth than many a nation. The billionaire alone owns more Rembrandts than any other private collection, and the playboy has a reputation for partying with Paris Hilton and Usher. So what nefarious purposes would bring such powerful people together? The answer may surprise you… Cats. Big cats, little cats. All 38 species of felid, as it happens. Each man agreed to pony up $20 million over the next 10 years in order to cut through the red tape of traditional conservation and ensure that, from the Caucasian leopards of Azerbaijan to the jaguars of Brazil, no big cat species would limp towards extinction on their watch. It may well be one of the greatest moments in the history of species conservation. And none of it would have happened without the American billionaire Thomas Kaplan. “The jaguar has the most powerful bite of any cat in the world,” says Kaplan while sipping an espresso in his Madison Avenue offce. “It doesn’t even go for the jugular, it goes right through the skull. So when I see an opportunity, that’s where I go.” Thomas Kaplan does not mince words. He speaks in a slow, deliberate manner, happy for silence to reign during the pauses most of us would fll with um and er. He is clearly comfortable in his own skin (and his threepiece suit), and when I ask a question, he considers his answer carefully, all the while balancing a tiny cup on its saucer. At 52, Kaplan has done more in his life than most could ever dream of. He’s accrued a net worth of $1.3 billion, much of it by investing in gold as the chairman and chief investment offcer of The Electrum Group LLC. In 2006 he founded the world’s largest big cat conservation organization, Panthera. Earlier this year, the French government honoured him with the Légion d’honneur. And he’s the kind of guy who can get away with saying, “I was out in Montana with Ted Turner a few weeks ago howling with wolves”. The point is twofold. Kaplan has the means – he lends artwork to the Louvre and collects historical aircraft – but he is also deeply passionate about the ends. “I think it’s fair to say that if I’d been able to fulfl my wish career, I would have been a feld biologist,” says Kaplan. 68 Baku.

Serious conservation requires serious cash and total commitment. Thomas Kaplan, the gold-mining founder of Panthera, a charity devoted to saving big cats, reveals his secret formula for changing the wildlife world for good. Words by JASON BITTEL

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wanted from within WCS. Rabinowitz is less chaste with his words. When Kaplan came knocking, Rabinowitz had been an executive director at WCS for nearly 30 years. “With these big NGOs, they’re really mired in bureaucracy,” he tells me over the phone. “They’re really bogged down, and they’re not effcient, and I was extremely frustrated.” As Kaplan’s relationship with WCS fzzled out, his friendship with Rabinowitz began to crystallize. Eventually Kaplan broke the news that he’d decided to take his money elsewhere, to which Rabinowitz replied, “If you build it, I will come”. Rabinowitz wasn’t some young up-andcomer looking to make a career move. He’d been with WCS for much of his career and soon he’d have earned a pension. He had married late in life and now had

“I’m a very frm believer in not having to re-create the wheel,” he says. “I’m not a control freak, so I tend to be very willing to just back the jockey, and I felt that WCS had the best franchise among cat conservation.” He sharpens the point: “My desire was to give a lot of money to WCS”. This, too, was not to be. Kaplan says he will save the prurient details of what went wrong for his memoirs, except to say that it quickly became clear that he wouldn’t be able to accomplish what he


However, this was not to be. At an early age, Kaplan showed an aptitude for history – before he was even a teenager he was reading The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius. More than a decade later, Kaplan was at Oxford, where he earned an array of history degrees including a PhD, and wrote a 788-page dissertation on the Cold War, the British role in the Malayan counterinsurgency, and the ways commodities such as tin and rubber can infuence geopolitics. While working as an analyst alongside studying for his PhD, Kaplan met his future wife, Daphne Recanati. Her mother introduced him to an Israeli investor who later hired him as a junior partner. And the rest is, as they say, history. But in the mid-2000s Kaplan decided he wanted to pay homage to that early inclination, his love for big cats. Just as he might seek out a gold deposit for acquisition, he surveyed the landscape of conservation NGOs and singled out the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). At the time, WCS employed some of the most respected names in big cat conservation – guys like George Schaller (a world-renowned biologist and inspiration for Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard), Alan Rabinowitz (who Time magazine has described as the Indiana Jones of wildlife protection) and Luke Hunter (author of six books and more than 120 scientifc papers and articles). Kaplan knew there were numerous conservation organizations doing good work, but he zeroed in on WCS as the big-cat vehicle he’d been looking for.

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Opposite: a Caucasian leopard. This page, from top: a tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park, India; Panthera senior offcers (from left), president Luke Hunter, chairman Thomas Kaplan and Guy Balme, director of the leopard programme, with an anaesthetized jaguar in Pantanal, Brazil; and Panthera’s CEO Alan Rabinowitz in Bhutan.

several young children. Also, he had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a condition that could rear its head at any time. He knew that throwing in with a start-up, even one backed by a close friend and billionaire, wasn’t the most prudent move for a sick man in his ffties. “I had no desire to start another NGO. I didn’t think the world needed another one,” says Rabinowitz. “But this was going to be different. This was going to be small and impactful and our mission was to surge ahead with things that needed to be done.” Fast-forward to 2014 and Panthera’s infuence now spans the globe. According to Kaplan, no other organization has made a deeper imprint in tiger conservation, on more sites and with more partners. They are the only organization with a range-wide approach (programmes that take account of a species’ entire historical, ecological and genetic range) for the leopard and African lion. When you add in their partnerships, Panthera is also a leader in clouded leopards and snow leopards. And they’ve just begun working on cheetahs. In May Kaplan travelled to Azerbaijan to sign a joint memorandum of understanding with Leyla Aliyeva and the International Dialogue for Environmental Action (IDEA). Panthera donated 20 state-of-the-art, remote-triggered cameras and agreed to train Azerbaijani scientists in research and conservation methodologies geared towards saving the dozen or so Caucasian leopards left in the country. Elshad Askerov, the national coordinator for WWF in

Azerbaijan, said those cameras have already been installed in leopard habitats. “But our future cooperation could be productive, not only in monitoring, but in other conservation activities,” Askerov tells me. And therein seems to lie the promise of Panthera – whether it’s tracking a handful of leopards in Azerbaijan or working to create a jaguar corridor stretching from Mexico to Argentina, Panthera is willing and able. No project is too big or too small. And if some other organization is doing something right, Panthera is all too happy to partner up and offer experts, equipment, grants, or political goodwill. The organization even seems to maintain a good working relationship with WCS, despite the fact that both Rabinowitz and Luke Hunter left it to become Panthera’s CEO and president respectively. George Schaller also came over to become Panthera’s vice-president, but still serves as a senior conservationist with WCS. “The desire of Panthera from the inception was that we would be partners in cat conservation,” says Kaplan. “And we’ve 71 Baku.

created many, many, many partnerships all over the world.” In fact, he was late to our interview because he was coming straight from two days of programming talks with the management team for the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund – the pride and joy of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and an organization that, since 2008, has given out 1,139 grants in 140 countries totalling more than $11m. You could look at all these dollar signs and conclude that big cat conservation is more robust than it’s ever been. You wouldn’t be wrong, but at the same time, the fate of the world’s big cats has probably never been so uncertain. Take the tiger, for example. Today, there are more tigers in captivity than exist in the wild. The corridors necessary for genetic diversity are closing, and poaching


is rampant. “The tiger is probably the single most popular animal in the world,” confrms Kaplan. “But it’s in triage. It’s even on the operating table.” Does this mean the tiger’s fate is irreversible? Kaplan says no. But saving it will require massive buy-in from communities and stern safeguards against illegal hunting. And all of that will cost money. “For the cost of one stealth bomber, we could save the tiger,” he reasons. It always comes back to the money. From 2008 to 2013, Thomas and Daphne Kaplan gave more than $75m to conservation projects. (That number approaches $100m when you add in the $20m Thomas pledged to what he’s calling the Global Alliance in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.) The Kaplans pay all of Panthera’s administrative costs so every dollar donated goes straight to the cats. Obviously, all that money has to come from somewhere. Mostly it’s clawed out of the ground a few fakes at a time, begetting acrid waste-flled tailing ponds, mercury emissions and groundwater contamination. Even in the best circumstances, there’s not much of an environmental case to be 72 Baku.

made for Kaplan’s investment of choice, gold mining. So, is all this big cat stuff just a classic case of greenwashing? Kaplan looks genuinely offended. Then he tells me about the ‘Tom Rule’. When they’re in the feld, if Electrum geologists happen upon an area that looks pristine or too ecologically valuable to mine, they have the authority to buy the property and do absolutely nothing with it. Kaplan says they’ve been instructed to buy it simply so nobody else can. It sounds completely crazy, which is why I think it might be true. “I would put my environmental credentials up against anybody’s,” he says. And when I talk to Luke Dollar, programme director at National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, which is both a partner and a competitor of Panthera, he sees the greenwashing question as little more than an


Clockwise from left: a Mirchani tigress passes through the Patpara Nala watering hole fence camera trap, in Bandhavgarh National Park, India; a cougar in a tree in Wyoming; and a snow leopard.

abstraction. “I’d love for us to be in a position that we could cherry pick where [the money to fund NGOs] comes from,” says Dollar, “but I think to get distracted by something like that, at this juncture, epitomizes counter-productivity.” Not to mention the fact, says Rabinowitz, that you could dig into the board of any big conservation organization and fnd environmentally questionable sources of income. “The people with the money are the ones who have done the most damage to the Earth,” he says. Who cares where it comes from? The point is what you do with it.

And Panthera does a lot. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. Magazines may focus on species but what Panthera really does is save ecosystems. This is the so-called umbrella species strategy: if you help the habitat support big cats, it will support myriad other species further down the food chain. “So when we’re saving vast chunks of the Pantanal [in Brazil], we’re not just saving the jaguar,” explains Kaplan. “We’re saving the capybara, the caiman, the giant anteater, the tapir. Cougars, ocelots, maned wolves, sloths, 700 species of birds!” The moment he joined the Global Alliance in Abu Dhabi, Kaplan felt as though the cavalry had arrived. Now he hopes to fnd more partners and grow the alliance to $200m. “And the frst one that comes along who I believe can do the job better will be chairman,” he says, laughing. “Seriously!”

The only way for big cat conservation to succeed, according to Kaplan, is to keep funding programmes that create more people like Alan Rabinowitz. “But that also means I need more people like me,” he says, leaning forward. “This is my mission. This is what the business, ironically, was for. Alan couldn’t do his life’s work without me. And I feel that fulflling his life’s work is the purpose of my life’s work.” Rabinowitz says that when you’re calling a jaguar in, it’s not so much that you hear them approach, but more that the forest goes silent around them. “Even the insects stop making noise,” he says. Rabinowitz refers to the jaguar as a reluctant warrior. It doesn’t sit still. It doesn’t back down. And when it chooses a target, it goes directly for the kill. The world needs more jaguars.


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The hills are alive with possibility as winter ushers in a new fashion feel. Head-to-toe knitwear offers function and style as we travel to the wilds above Azerbaijan’s ski country. Photography by LARS BOTTEN Styling by RAQUEL GARCIA

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PREVIOUS PAGE. Jumper, skirt and belt by TOGA. Socks by MIRIAM GRIFFITHS. Boots by ERMANNO SCERVINO. OPPOSITE. Top, trousers and bag by EDUN. Bra by PAPRIKA. Boots by ERMANNO SCERVINO.

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Top THISbyPAGE. VANESSA BRUNO. Skirt, trousers Jumper and trousers and shoes by CELINE. by Boots LOUISby VUITTON. ERMANNO SCERVINO. OPPOSITE. Jumper by BOTTEGA VENETA.

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THIS PAGE. Dress by VIKTOR & ROLF. Jumper by MARNI. Socks by FALKE. Shoes by JW ANDERSON. OPPOSITE. Top by PRADA.

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THIS PAGE. Jumper and trousers by EDUN. Jumper (worn underneath) by GANNI. Trainers by ADIDAS. OPPOSITE. Dress by GILES. Socks by FALKE. Shoes by DR MARTENS.

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THIS PAGE. Top by CHRISTOPHER KANE. Skirt by JW ANDERSON. OPPOSITE. Top and shawl by LOEWE. Trousers by EDUN.

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Dress and bag by STELLA McCARTNEY. Socks by JEEP. Boots by ERMANNO SCERVINO.

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Hair JOSE QUIJANO using CATWALK by TIGI. Make-up SANDRA COOKE using NARS. Model SOPHIE PUMFRETT at THE HIVE. Fashion assistant GABRIELLE LAWRENCE. Art director DAREN ELLIS. Producer MARIA WEBSTER. Thanks to BEN GRIMES CASTING. Shot on location in LAZA and SHAHDAG.

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Once the preserve of the genteel connoisseur, the modern auction world is today a global industry involving high fnance, high technology and sophisticated branding. How do the two giants of auctioneering fare as they vie for dominance, asks Claire Wrathall.


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hristie’s and Sotheby’s, the world’s two great auction houses, have been arch-rivals ever since each was founded in London during the 18th century. As the art market becomes increasingly globalized, scholarship grows ever deeper and auctions themselves make use of ever more sophisticated technology – no one bids in person any more! – so the competition between them grows fercer by the day as each strives to assert the primacy of its brand. Sotheby’s has a restaurant, its own champagne, a new partnership with eBay and a virtual private members’ clubcum-concierge service. Christie’s has lately launched a travel agency and is reinventing itself as ‘the art people’, a one-stop shop and not just an auction house. There are rich pickings to be had. According to the annual TEFAF report on the state of the art market, only 600,000 of the world’s 32 million millionaires buy art, so there’s a lot of potential still to tap. Which of these two venerable institutions will win the race and turn high net worths not just into connoisseurs but collectors?


1. A Christie’s sale in a 19th-century woodcut. 2. Jussi Pylkkänen on the podium at Christie’s. 3. François Pinault in Venice. 4. British pop art exhibition at Christie’s, 2013. 5. Art handler at Sotheby’s with a Magritte painting. 6.




Sotheby’s may have the edge when it comes to age – it was founded in 1744, Christie’s in 1766 – and reach – it has offces in 40 countries, while Christie’s is in 32. But in other respects, Christie’s is the more august player, hosting a greater number of auctions (about 450 a year to Sotheby’s 250) in a dozen salerooms (to Sotheby’s nine). No wonder, then, Christie’s revenues are higher, too. Last year it brought in an impressive $5.9 billion (compared with Sotheby’s $5.1bn), made principally in Asia, where, helped by proceeds from its frst ever sales on mainland China and in Mumbai, its take rose more than a third, from $705.4 million in 2012 to $977.5m. Not that Sotheby’s is doing badly in Asia. It was the frst auction house to open in mainland China, partnering with stateowned Beijing GeHua Art Company in the capital in 2012 (Christie’s followed in 2013, but opted for a saleroom in Shanghai), and where its total sales amounted to $931.4m, a fgure almost 60 per cent up on the previous years, making it the fastergrowing business. And we must not forget the increasingly proftable area of private sales. In 2013 Christie’s private sales grew by 20 per cent and totalled more than $1.2bn, while Sotheby’s achieved a similar total following a 30 per cent increase.

The oldest publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, Sotheby’s belongs to its shareholders, not least the aggressive activist investor and billionaire Dan Loeb, whose Third Point LLC owns 9.6 per cent, and who last summer joined Sotheby’s board. In November he catalyzed the removal of chairman, president and CEO, Bill Ruprecht. The European arm is run by the urbane and accomplished Mark Cornell. Christie’s is another trophy for François Pinault, whose Groupe Artémis bought the auction house to join with its existing luxury brands. CEO Steven Murphy, a former magazine publisher, unsurprisingly seems intent on making Christie’s a media brand. The big focus, however, is on private client sales, which bypass the auction process and make gallerists nervous, as Christie’s adds some very signifcant collectors. Murphy’s big push will be into China, and its millions of likely customers.

WINNER: Christie’s, with the

WINNER: Christie’s has the

That Taco Dibbits, the Rijksmuseum’s director of collections, was once Christie’s London director of the old masters department, is evidence of the exacting levels of connoisseurship to be found at both auction houses. But the modus operandi now is less about experts fnding stellar lots, and more about brokering and nurturing relationships with big spenders, a task for which a third of each company’s workforce has been hired. Take super-soignée Alina Davey, who joined Sotheby’s in 2004 from a property company in St Petersburg. She now runs the Russian desk in its Private Client Group and has Roman Abramovich, Dasha Zhukova, Victor Pinchuk and Igor Tsukanov on speed dial. “I know them all!” she let slip to the Wall Street Journal. Nul points for discretion, then. That said, both houses are even more interested in wealthy individuals who don’t yet collect. Initiatives offered by both range from gifts and privileged access to private events to escorting groups of VIP clients and ‘prospects’

gap widening.

6. Sotheby’s in Old Bond Street, London. 7. Bill Ruprecht, until recently the CEO of Sotheby’s. 8. ‘The Lock’ (1824) by John Constable at Christie’s, 2012. 9. A Sotheby’s sale in London, 1967.


clear personal vision.



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to see artists’ studios. They even monitor social media to identify collectors’ friends and peer groups, so they too can be persuaded to start buying. Sanctioned stalking, if you will. So far, so sinister, but a real perk of being one of Sotheby’s active, high-spending clients is membership of Sotheby’s Preferred, an invitation-only ‘club’, membership of which can literally open doors – to the homes of collectors, sold-out exhibitions or museums out of hours. WINNER: Sotheby’s – but it’s a close call.






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Auction-house parties double as private views so they are usually decorous if informal affairs aimed at lesser collectors. (Major buyers have private private views and better things to do of an evening.) It’s a matter of taste, of course, but to this eye, Sotheby’s has a more attractive suite of better proportioned viewing rooms with better acoustics, better caterers and cocktails (full marks to the inventive bartenders; their creations are almost a reason to eschew the excellent house champagne – only Sotheby’s brands its own, though it is made by R & L Legras). Depending on the theme of the auction there may also be a DJ and goodie bags. Christie’s private views are altogether more serious and sober. In London, Sotheby’s also has the killer location in Bond Street, with Christie’s languishing in St James’s. The big parties are the annual shindigs during Frieze Week, both in London and New York, when Christie’s throws a party in association with Vanity Fair, though serious high rollers know better than to go to parties thrown by magazines. No one, however, declines an invitation to François Pinault’s dinner at the Venice Biennale, where the guests include Damien Hirst, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Princess Michael of Kent, Miuccia Prada, Christie’s representative in Venice Bianca Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga (whose husband Giberto’s family palazzo doubles as the city’s Aman Resort) and, of course, Pinault’s daughter-in-law, Salma Hayek. WINNER: Christie’s, by dint of its unbeatable Biennale presence.

All good auctioneers are showmen or show-women as well as experts. Take Melanie Clore, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe. She sold Giacometti’s L’homme qui marche I (1961) for £65m in 2010, the record for a sculpture. The auction raised £164.4m and signalled the market’s return from recession. No wonder there was applause. At Christie’s, Jussi Pylkkänen practically dances on the podium. In 2013 he sold Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucien Freud (1969) to Elaine Wynn for $142.4m in a New York sale worth a record $691.6m. It’s a mystery why Sotheby’s let go of Tobias Meyer, its head of contemporary art, last year, nine days after he presided over the highest-grossing sale in the company’s history. To see him in action was to watch a master at work. Also a Sotheby’s alumnus, Simon de Pury, this publication’s editor-at-large, is for sure the most charismatic auctioneer in living history. In 2012 Christie’s lost a legend in Christopher Burge, best remembered not for his milliondollars-a-minute sales average, but for an auction in 2006 when bidding on a painting by Franz Kline had stalled at $5.8m. He locked eyes with the trailing bidder, murmuring seductively: “We’ve come this far. Why not $6m?” And that’s what it sold for. WINNER: Draw. 5.

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Phillips may not have the heft or range of Sotheby’s or Christie’s, but it should not be overlooked as a place to buy contemporary art. Indeed, its splendid new London HQ in Berkeley Square (above) puts the city’s other auction houses to shame (it has a gallery in Claridge’s, too, and its New York HQ is in Park Avenue). It is also strong on design, jewellery and photography – when the Art Institute of Chicago decided to deaccession (i.e. sell off) 117 photographs from its collection, it chose Phillips to auction them.


14. 1. Giacometti’s ‘L’homme qui marche I’ (1961) at Sotheby’s. 2. Sotheby’s, Beijing. 3. Francis Bacon’s ‘Three Studies of Lucien Freud’ (1969) on sale at Christie’s, New York, 2013. 4. Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich. 5. Steven Murphy, CEO of Christie’s. 6–7, 10 & 15. Food and drink at Sotheby’s receptions. 8. Sotheby’s art handler with works by Picasso and Mondrian. 9. Victor Pinchuk. 11. ‘The Bad Shepherd’ exhibition at Christie’s, London. 12. At a Sotheby’s auction in New York. 13. Stamp for auction at Sotheby’s, London. 14. A 1964 Ferrari at a Sotheby’s preview, New York, 2013. 16. A 1/3 replica of James Bond’s Aston Martin at Christie’s, London, 2012.


DIGITAL SAVVY Sotheby’s has been developing online services for more than a decade. Using its BIDnow facility and live stream, an auction can be joined from anywhere. It holds the record for a web-enabled sale, selling a set of Audubon’s The Birds of America online for $3.77m in 2014. Despite suffering losses of a reported $100m in an earlier venture with eBay, Sotheby’s has brokered another deal with them and started streaming live auctions from its New York saleroom via a new page on eBay’s website, designed by Apple’s former head of e-commerce, RJ Pittman. Christie’s, too, allows online bidding. As Steven Murphy points out, “Thirty per cent of our buyers this year were new to Christie’s, and one third of them came to us online”. In 2012 its inaugural online-only wine auction attracted new clients from 29 countries. For the moment though, the money remains focused on the saleroom. Only fve per cent of the $70bn spent on art last year was spent online. But it’s a share that’s forecast to grow strongly. To this end, Christie’s is investing in its online offering, and hiring Dan Davies, formerly of British Esquire, to galvanize its content, under the aegis of the new content director Jeremy Langmead, former editor-in-chief of Mr Porter.



OTHER INTERESTS Auction houses sell a whole lot more besides fne art and furniture, not least real estate. Sotheby’s has sub-departments devoted to more than 60 specialisms, from cars to watches, by way of barometers, Judaica, musical instruments, postage stamps, rugs and wine. (In 2010 Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold three bottles of Château Lafte 1869 for $232,692.) Christie’s has a similar number of departments covering broadly the same areas, though in place of cars it sells arms and armour, costume and textiles, entertainment memorabilia, handbags and accessories, and sporting guns.


WINNER: Sotheby’s, for now.

WINNER: Sotheby’s (unless you see diversifcation as a virtue in itself).



A year after its launch in Berlin in 2012, the online auction house Auctionata (above), which also has a base in New York, sold a painting by Egon Schiele for €1.8m – not bad for a work bought sight unseen. But Auctionata’s strength lies in its 300 expert verifers, so its online audience (potential buyers are also vetted) can bid with confdence in its weekly auctions on lots ranging from fne and decorative art to wine and watches.


Beijing-based Poly Auction is the third biggest auction house in the world by sales after Christie’s and Sotheby’s. It is also the go-to saleroom (above) for Chinese art, especially ink paintings by artists such as Qi Baishi, whose 1946 painting Eagle Standing on Pine Tree at the time realized $65m in 2011, setting the record for a Chinese painting sold at auction. Too bad the buyer then questioned its authenticity and refused to pay. Caveat emptor! 95 Baku.

Using just his iPhone, British artist Idris Khan has rendered Zaha Hadid’s imposing Baku landmark, the Heydar Aliyev Centre, as a harmony of soft curves, long lines and ghost-like shadows. “I was simply capturing the building with a tool that we all have,” he says. “We are not taking photographs, we are constantly sketching time.”

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The amounts of money being thrown at these projects are colossal: Abu Dhabi is investing €1 billion, over 30 years, in its collaboration with the Louvre; its building is designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. An equally stellar designer, Frank Gehry – father of the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the newly opened Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris – has dreamed up a series of cones piled up in apparent disorder for Abu Dhabi’s $800m branch of the Guggenheim, which will be 12 times the size of the mother ship, the Guggenheim in New York. The Gulf doesn’t have the exclusive on such major projects. Further east, another ambitious museum is going

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up in Hong Kong, with the $700m M+ museum due to be completed in 2018. In Singapore, the government is investing heavily in cultural infrastructure, doubling the number of museums between 2004 and 2011. Singapore is also to welcome a new outpost of a Western institution, the Parisian private museum La Pinacothèque, in 2015. For urban planners and city-branders, these projects bring prestige to their location – they have been called “the Louis Vuitton bags of architecture”, and seen as the “fagship stores” of culture. They are often also linked to real estate projects, and to shopping, residential and hotel infrastructure – putting a cultural red dot on such developments. For the Western museums such as the Louvre or the Guggenheim, these extensions eastwards fulfl a number of criteria. At a time when public institutions are increasingly seeing their budgets being eroded, the projects are bringing in substantial amounts of money. Vasif Kortun, who curated the United Arab


ising out of the sands of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island are several mammoth construction projects. Under the shimmering sun, as light glints off the surrounding water, steel and concrete piles are being rammed into the ground while protective walls are being thrown up around the platforms that will support two of the opulent new museums. One is well advanced, with its lacy dome already being lifted over the buildings that will house the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is destined to be a treasure chest of art with Roman statues, gilded Japanese screens, glittering crystal chalices and paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Manet and Van Gogh, all lent by the Parisian museum. If all goes to plan, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will throw open its doors at the end of 2015. Then two years after that, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is slated to be completed, by which time the Zayed National Museum, in a remarkable building topped with jutting wings designed by Sir Norman Forster, will have been built.

EAST TAKES WEST The world is in the midst of an art boom like no other, and the Gulf and Far East are at its heart. As Abu Dhabi gains a Louvre and Hong Kong plans M+, how far can it go, asks Georgina Adam.

The intricate, lace-domed design for Louvre Abu Dhabi, by Jean Nouvel (main image). The permanent collection planned for the museum will include works such as ‘Venus and Nymphs Bathing’ (1776) by Louis Jean-François Lagrenée (above).

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1. 2.


1. Sir Norman Foster’s Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi. 2. The model of the new Guggenheim museum under construction in Abu Dhabi. The Louvre Abu Dhabi will feature loans from French museums including (3) ‘Two barges’ (1906) by André Derain; and (4) ‘Big Electric Chair’ (1967–68) by Andy Warhol. 5. The vision for the cultural district on Saadiyat Island.

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Emirates pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale, says the story is simple: “One side has the money and the other has the collections and technical know-how. The Western museums are trying to monetize their assets through loans, and sending art they can’t display to these new museums.” These projects are also a way for Western museums to sell themselves to potentially huge audiences in Asia. “One of the aims of these implants is to brand themselves to attract visitors to the home museums,” says cultural adviser Philip Dodd of Made in China. “It is partly branding but also a recognition of the need to start an aesthetic dialogue between East and West.” Such dialogues vary in form. In the case of Saadiyat Island, the museums are substantial building schemes. In other cases the collaboration is a partnership or fee-paying advisory role, such as London’s Victoria and Albert Museum working with a Chinese property company in Shenzhen on the development of a design museum called Shekou which is due to open at the end of 2016. In another example, the British Museum has a contract to guide the programming of the Zayed National Museum


in Abu Dhabi, and will receive fees for loaning works. By far the most lucrative deal, but also initially the most contentious, is with the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. When the contract was signed in 2007 it stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy in France. An open letter signed by 39 Louvre curators blasted the project 6.

French museums, which will be sent to the new museum for periods varying from six months to two years. They include many iconic works – Leonardo’s La Belle Ferronnière, a self-portrait by Van Gogh and Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, better known as ‘Whistler’s Mother’. At the same time the museum is making its own acquisitions, from a Minoan ceramic jar from about 1500 BCE to a 1922 Mondrian abstract, so that when the 30-year contract comes to an end, Abu Dhabi will have built up its own collection for show. As for the Guggenheim, which will exhibit art from the 1960s onwards, information is being communicated extremely sparingly. There have even been rumours that the project will not happen, although this is fercely denied by the Emiratis. In November the frst selections from the collection were unveiled in a pre-opening exhibition on the island (showing until 19 January 2015), featuring 19 international artists, from Yayoi Kusama to Bharti Kher.




WHILE THESE PROJECTS SEEM TO BE A WIN-WIN FOR EAST AND WEST, QUESTIONS ARE NEVERTHELESS BEING ASKED. for using the nation’s cultural heritage for economic and diplomatic gain. Now, according to JeanFrançois Charnier, scientifc director of Agence FranceMuséums, the agency that is running the project, this has died down: “There was a misunderstanding at the beginning, but this is a government-to-government collaboration and the French audience has started to understand its cultural benefts,” he says. The agency has recently revealed the full list of 300 works from 13

While these projects, and the ones further east, seem to be a win-win for both sides, questions are nevertheless being asked about several aspects, notably the value of the branding exercise, the nature of the audiences the museums are aimed at and the sort of art they will – or should – show. And in the Gulf, there are major concerns about the working conditions of the labourers actually building the institutions. “I don’t think these are solely vanity projects,” says Kortun. “They are linked to the educational programmes and implants of universities in the region. They are an attempt to invent a controlled civic culture in places that didn’t have them,” he adds. More problematic, however, is the question of audiences, both the number of them and who exactly the museums are targeting. “Our priority is for the region and the people in this country,” says Hissa Al Dhaheri, programmes manager at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, pointing out that many workshops and public talks are being held to heighten awareness of the museum, and that many local schools are also involved. However, within the region, the number of Emiratis, managerial classes and

Westerners – all those likely to visit a museum – is a fraction of the total population of which guest workers (whose families generally don’t accompany them) make up a signifcant proportion. The cost of these “bombastic projects”, as Kortun calls them, seems at odds with the number of visitors they could expect to attract. An existing example, he points out, is in neighbouring Qatar, which has spent colossal sums on exhibition blockbusters such as Damien Hirst (which attracted just 60,000 visitors) and Takashi Murakami (22,000). Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, has anaemic attendances, although the glorious I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, also in Doha and which opened in 2008, saw a more robust fgure of 310,000 visitors for 2013. I asked the Guggenheim New York directly about its

6. The Shekou Museum is a collaboration between a Chinese property firm and the Victoria and Albert Museum. 7. Van Gogh’s ‘Portrait de l’artiste’ (1887) is another work to be loaned to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. 8. Damien Hirst’s exhibition in Doha was his largest ever but seen by few.

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projected audiences but the response came to me from Guggenheim Abu Dhabi programmes manager Maisa Al Qassimi, who in an email said that the institution will be “aimed at all audiences including local, regional and international visitors”. Kortun shakes his head a little: “While the Louvre Abu Dhabi project is now working well, there is a wall between New York and Abu Dhabi. It’s a very diffcult situation. I don’t think the Guggenheim really knows what is happening in the Emirates,” he says. This is where the Louvre project, which is government-to-government, differs from the Guggenheim, as Charnier has pointed out. Certainly, the Gulf is looking beyond its frontiers for its future audiences, banking on the millions further east to stop over in the Emirates. As Kortun says: “India and China are so close, instead of fying to Los Angeles or New York tourists can go to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. They will be attracted by the mix of lifestyle, education, culture, golf and hotels.” Indeed, a number of major luxury hotels, plus a golf course, are already in operation on Saadiyat Island. As for Hong Kong, the director of M+, Lars Nittve, told me: “The situation here


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is different again from, for example, the Saadiyat Island projects. Our project is primarily for the people of Hong Kong and greater China, and this is why the government decided not to bring in an overseas museum when planning M+.” He points out that the territory already sees a stunning 40 million visitors per year from the mainland, a fgure that is expected to rise to 60 million by 2020. Even before his museum has opened, an outside display of infatable sculptures in 2012 attracted 150,000 visitors. “There is great curiosity, and inevitably we will also be a tourist attraction,” says Nittve. “But our aim is to build the local audience.” Asked about what art the museum will be showing, Nittve said: “While we want to recognize the story of global art and will show international contemporary art, the bulk of our displays will be from Hong Kong, China and South-East Asia. Of course the history of art doesn’t change, but I would make this comparison: the Guardian newspaper in London and the South China Morning Post may carry the same stories, but they will be told from different perspectives. Some stories will get much more emphasis, others will be unique to their region. Our museum will be like that – M+ will be a global museum



looking at the world from a Hong Kong perspective.” In the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, “the work of artists from the Middle East will be key to the collection and to the exhibition programme,” according to Al Qassimi, although it will also present “long-admired contemporary artists from around the world.” The only institution that will showcase mainly traditional artists will be the Pinacothèque in Singapore, with loans from its permanent collection sourced from private collectors worldwide and including big names such as Modigliani, Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, Botticelli and Chu Teh-Chun, the Chinese-French painter who died in 2014. It will also offer temporary exhibitions. Its location, in Fort Canning, is in a heritage site – and according to a statement, seeks to engage audiences from “global high net worth collectors” to educators as well as local and international visitors. Not all the Western museum initiatives in Asia have worked out. The Centre Pompidou in Paris had plans to open a base in a former fre station in Shanghai, but after the 2008–09 fnancial crisis they fzzled out. Instead, the museum loaned a group of works to be shown in the city’s newly opened Power Station of Art in 2013, for which it received undisclosed but “substantial fees”,


1. A show by French-Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed at Mathaf, in Qatar (4), a museum that attracts only low visitor numbers. 2. The I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar. 3. Hong Kong artist Tam Wai Ping’s inflatable sculpture ‘Falling into Mundane World’ (2013) was part of last year’s ‘Inflation!’ exhibition, held on the site of what will be the city’s M+ museum (5).

according to the Pompidou’s president Alain Seban. “The exhibition met a notable success, attracting about 30,000 visitors over a period of three months,” he told me. “So far there are no plans to take this specifc project elsewhere.” The initiative, however, has not died: “We are currently in contact with different entities – central governments, city administrations, public cultural institutions as well as private companies – in a number of Asian countries in order to examine the possibility of bringing a temporary Centre Pompidou to one, or more, cities in Asia,” he said. More recently, London’s Royal Academy had hoped to help run the arts programme of the Central Police Station, a new cultural hub being set up in central Hong Kong. Its proposal, however, has now been rejected by the funder of the project, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s charitable arm.

THESE AREN’T SOLELY VANITY PROJECTS. THEY ARE LINKED TO EDUCATION AND UNIVERSITIES IN THE REGION. A fnal, and serious, problem is the question of labour in the Gulf, as already mentioned above. Earlier this year activists held a demonstration in the New York Guggenheim about the conditions of employment of workers on the Saadiyat projects. A Human Rights Watch report back in 2009 had painted a grim picture of how they were treated, especially in terms of health and safety and the retention of passports. Things have improved since then, but matters have not been entirely resolved. In neighbouring Qatar, the same problem has been identifed at the construction site of the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum. Frank Gehry has spoken out on this problem and his lawyer, Scott Horton, believes the intervention might also help workers on other sites. “This could serve as a model for doing things right,” he told Architectural Record in September. But, as Philip Dodd points out, a little patience is needed: “It is unfair to expect overnight success,” he says. “It took Europe 150 years to develop its museums!”


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This page: the ultimate comfort food, golubtsy is a dish that most people in the former Soviet Union associate with homely childhood dinners. Similar to dolma (stuffed vegetable dishes using cabbage or grape leaves) found in the Middle East and beyond, Mountain Jews add kinza (coriander), alycha (green plums, for acidity) and tomato purĂŠe. The name is based on the Russian word for pigeon, golub, and the French culinary tradition of cooking pigeons wrapped in cabbage leaves. Opposite: the Bet Knesset Synagogue.

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Three hours north of Baku, Krasnaya Sloboda is home to Azerbaijan’s Mountain Jews, who have a unique heritage and comfort food to match. Photography by RICHARD HAUGHTON Styling by TOM WOLFE Words by CAROLINE EDEN

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o get to Krasnaya Sloboda, frst you must leave the capital’s ordered streets behind and drive north on the main Baku–Quba artery. Once lined with walls and fortresses, controlling trade between Baku and Derbent over the border in the Republic of Dagestan, today this road is fast moving and asphalted. Next, passing Besbarmaq Dag – the sacred Five Finger Mountain – the silhouettes of the stripy Candy Cane Mountains pan into view. You might then stop for a moment to watch the sun turn the Caspian Sea to glitter on your right, before continuing into the forested interior of northern Azerbaijan. There – after about three hours – you’ll reach the cliff-top town of Quba, hovering high above the Qudiyalcay River. Krasnaya Sloboda (or Red Town) lies just fve minutes away from Quba and at frst glance looks much like any other small town in Azerbaijan. Then, on closer inspection, unusual things start to appear: a Star of David squats on top of a zinc-roofed house; a man in a kippah (Jewish skullcap) drives a Lada past a community centre decorated with a huge silver menorah (a candelabrum and symbol of Judaism). Krasnaya Sloboda is home to Azerbaijan’s remote and littleknown Mountain Jews. They are descended from Jews exiled from the Kingdom of Israel in the eighth century BCE. They 112 Baku.

This page: served in thick slices with salad, khoyagusht is hard to defne, but is perhaps best described as a meaty, pie-like baked omelette. The recipe – which varies slightly from one home to another – is passed down through the generations from mother to daughter. A feature on the Passover feast table, this particular recipe includes torn boiled chicken and fsh stock, with dill as a garnish.

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This page: plov with raisins, apricots and chestnuts, and rice tinted yellow by corn oil, is a typical dinner-time accompaniment. Opposite: traditional fadi bread, decorated by hand with the quill of a chicken feather.

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115 Baku.

settled frst in what is now modern Iran, but when wars erupted between the Khazars and Arabs they were forced to fee and take shelter in the remote Caucasus Mountains to avoid compulsory conversion, and have remained there ever since. In the 1740s the ruler of Quba, Fatali Khan, gave the local Jewish community permission to live there free from persecution. Today Krasnaya Sloboda is one of the most remote Jewish communities in the world as well as being the largest allJewish town outside Israel. It is also probably the world’s last surviving shtetl (pre-Holocaust Jewish village). All this makes Krasnaya Sloboda a unique and fascinating place. In the heart of the town, the aroma of chestnut and chicken wafts out of the Bet Knesset synagogue in Isaak Xanukov Street. Inside, Naomi Ruvinova is toiling over a hot stove while clothed in leopard print and

IN THE HEART OF THE TOWN, THE AROMA OF CHESTNUT AND CHICKEN WAFTS OUT OF THE BET KNESSET SYNAGOGUE. sequins, with jewelled peep-toe shoes on her tiny feet. “Matza are addictive, like sunfower seeds,” Ruvinova says, smiling through two rows of gold teeth and popping another cracker into her mouth. Piles of matza crackers – unleavened bread traditionally eaten during Passover – imported from Israel sit on the table next to Kiddush grape juice, usually drunk at the synagogue on the Sabbath. She stirs raisins into a cauldron of plov, glossy with oily rice. Azerbaijan is home to more than 40 different plov recipes, typically heavy with mutton or chicken, but the one Ruvinova prepares is vegetarian, tinted yellow by corn oil and scattered with juicy apricots and chestnuts. It is a dinner-time treat for the community here, she says. Also on the table are discs of plump round fadi bread decorated with tiny holes, typical of the region. Instead of using a checkish (a bread stamp), Ruvinova makes the dotted patterns by hand using the quill of a chicken feather. 116 Baku.

Opposite, from top: a dried sage-like herb at a local market; buttery spun sugar on a huge baking stove – at the pakhlava bakery in Krasnaya Sloboda – makes the basis for diamond-shaped pakhlava (this page) topped with almonds and flled with sticky honey, walnuts, vanilla and saffron.

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This page: yakhny is Jewish soul food. A soup of onions, eggs, veal and tomatoes, coloured with turmeric, it is served at the table for Friday night dinners, and is a Mountain Jew version of the classic Jewish feel-better chicken soup – aka Jewish penicillin. Matza crackers are essential for dipping. Opposite: quintessentially Azerbaijani, the best qutabs are served at the roadside, like this one, prepared al fresco in the shadow of the Mestdergah Mountains an hour from Quba. Cooked on a convex griddle known as a saj, this delicate fatbread has been doused with butter and contains only fnely chopped dill and fragrant coriander.

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119 Baku.

Locals flter in and out, greeting one another with either a “Shalom” or a “Salaam”. Unlike most synagogues around the world, there are no boundaries or locked doors here. On the hallway wall the history of this small community of just over 3,000 people is displayed. Sepia photographs show men in furry Orthodox hats and long coats. Other images depict visiting rabbis from Israel and community leaders shaking hands with former president Heydar Aliyev. A large poster of Jerusalem shines beneath a chandelier. Back in the kitchen, its cupboards stocked with utensils and several china dinner services, Ruvinova unties her apron and sits. At 66 she has grown-up children living in Israel (somewhere she’s not keen to live: “too dangerous”) and New Jersey (which she quite likes). Called upon to cook at countless

WHEN PEOPLE ASK IF I AM AN ASHKENAZI OR SEPHARDI JEW, I SAY NEITHER – I AM A MOUNTAIN JEW. Jewish holidays and gatherings, her dishes have made her something of a local celebrity. “I have been on Azerbaijani television. [News channel] Russia-24 also came to flm me cooking in my home,” she muses, snapping off another corner of matza. Ruvinova is used to being asked questions, but she likes to make one point especially clear: “When people ask if I am an Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jew, I say neither – I am a Mountain Jew,” she says proudly. Over hundreds of years, their culinary customs have been maintained and still show traces of their Middle Eastern roots, just as their complex language Judeo-Tat does, based as it is on Farsi with elements of Aramaic, Arabic and Hebrew. Thanks to the isolation of the mountains, the community’s traditions have been preserved. Today Azerbaijan’s Mountain Jews – who are regularly visited by president Ilham Aliyev – are living testimony to the country’s religious tolerance. A lesson, perhaps, to the rest of the world.


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Opposite: a herb-flled qutab, ready for eating. This page: processed walnuts, red apples and grape juice are the main ingredients of hasavyurt, a thick paste-like dip served as a side dish or spread onto matza as a snack. Not to be confused with Khasavyurt the Dagestani city, which also houses a population of Mountain Jews, just over the Russian border.

Producer MARIA WEBSTER. Special thanks to the residents and administration of KRASNAYA SLOBODA.

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With an eye frmly on the now and the next, Baku asked a panel of opinion-formers in the art world for their views on the people to watch for in 2015. Here are the names tipped to take off. 122 Baku.

Founder of the Zabludowicz Collection, London


03 Matt Williams ICA curator who was responsible for the Off-Site projects, which rocked Frieze Week in London.

08 Vanessa Carlos The international programme at her east London gallery, Carlos/Ishikawa, is going from strength to strength.


01 Polly Staple Director of the Chisenhale Gallery in east London, she has her fnger on the pulse of important emerging art.

Jonathan P. Watts A fantastic writer, he recently presented text as dance with Adam Linder at Frieze, London.

05 Cécile B. Evans Belgian-American artist based in Berlin and London. She has won loads of awards, including the prestigious Emdash.

09 Heather Phillipson A star of our Invites programme, which offers a solo show to artists without gallery representation, Phillipson has marked out an interesting space for herself as a poet and multifaceted artist.

06 Andy Holden A British artist who fronts a band, The Grubby Mitts, and also founded an art movement, ‘Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity’. Destined for greatness.


02 Ed Fornieles The British artist uses social media trends to decide on the contents and look of his works, so involving the viewer in their creation.

07 Emma Robertson The Approach gallery director has been scooping up interesting artists across the generations.

Samara Scott Scott’s sculptures and paintings are ephemeral yet hard-hitting, and very much of her time.

11 Amalia Ulman Argentinian-born, Spanish-raised and LA-based, this artist is making waves with her provocative use of social media. 123 Baku.

Art dealer, curator and writer, based in London Curator, based in Paris

19 Rachel Harrison A New York-based multimedia artist who fits seamlessly between photography, painting and sculpture, often melding them in hybrid ways that seem accidental but do make sense.

12 Mary Heilmann At 74, the Californian is the grande dame of painterly abstraction but sadly is not as universally well known as she should – or will – be.

13 Joe Reihsen An abstract painter in the vein of Gerhard Richter, he mixes an alluring soup of colours and textures. The 35-year-old American hints at geometric forms but his works are really a celebration of painting. 14 Chris Succo There is a zen-like serenity in Succo’s painterly confections. The young German creates vibrating felds of colour that play with our perceptions.

16 George Henry Longly A British artist and DJ, he cuts words and holes into marble and inserts objects, such as toiletries – hairspray and deodorant – into the pieces. It may sound odd, but somehow they come together to make compelling pictures. 17 Lisa Reuben A London-based adviser who, for seven years, was a contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s. Few know how to engage her (very) private advisory services on the latest emerging art. Look out for popup shows hosted by her. 18

15 Magnus Edensvard Co-founder of Ibid Projects, with galleries in London and LA, the Swedish dealer (above, left) is surprisingly unbusinessminded. Still, he’s managed to introduce and sell some of today’s rising art stars to A-list Hollywood actors. 124 Baku.

Artie Vierkant An emerging artist, 28, who uses the internet (I don’t get why they call it postinternet art) as a jumping-off point to create colourful digital imagery in a modernist vein, but always with an intriguing twist – like utilizing giant magnets.


20 Paulina Olowska Not quite emerging but certainly not mainstream, Polish painter Olowska has exhibited at major spaces including museums, such as the Stedelijk in Amsterdam.


Liu Wei Video, sculpture, drawing, photography, painting, installation – the Beijing artist, born in 1972, works across a wide variety of media. 24 Wyatt Kahn New Yorker Kahn creates MDF shapes, covered in canvas, that are a hybrid of sculpture and painting. He had his frst solo exhibition in 2014.

Helen Marten Not yet 30 and already with some of the most sought-after galleries, such as T293 in Naples and Sadie Coles in London, the artist is still (relatively) affordable.

22 Inigo Philbrick An under-the-radar player of the art market as if it were his very own board game. Though he primarily dwells in the secondary market, he is an astute curator.

26 Kaari Upson From installation to performance art, Upson’s recent work, Sleep With the Key (2013), was a series of silicon replicas of mattresses she’d found on the streets of LA.

25 Alex Israel Born in 1982, this LA artist plays with and dissects the showbiz culture of his hometown in the form of pastel-coloured paintings or movie-themed installations.


Founder of SFA Art Advisory, New York

27 Neïl Beloufa The 29-year-old, multi-award-winning French-Algerian flm artist creates videos that are shown at flm festivals as well as with his sculptures in galleries.

30 Harold Ancart The 34-yearold Belgian’s site-specifc installations are guided by the space in which they’re exhibited, incorporating such elements as painting and mixedmedia sculptures.


33 Katja Novitskova An Estonian artist and a genius. She mines the territory where technology and biology or the artifcial and the natural are no longer distinguishable. You can watch her Ted talk and read her Post Internet Survival Guide online.

31 Secundino Hernández The Spanish artist creates large-scale paintings that feature bursts of colour, abstract forms, and linear and fgurative elements. 28 Sam Falls A former physicist, the San Diego-born artist combines photography, painting and sculpture, and the effect created by exposing his works to the elements. 29 David Ostrowski A German artist from Cologne who produces seemingly minimal canvases that are actually a complex study of painting itself.

Oliver Newton and Margaret Lee Recently wed, the couple founded the gallery 47 Canal in 2011 in Chinatown, New York City. Like Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler in Berlin, they represent some of the top young artists including Josh Kline and Antoine Catala.

34 Alexander Schröder and Thilo Wermke The founders of Galerie Neu in Berlin, which represents artists such as Bernadette Corporation, Jana Euler, Alex Hubbard, Sergej Jensen and Gedi Sibony, to name just a few. We love working with them. They are honest, generous and very smart.

36 Bettina Korek The founder of For Your Art, an independent arts organization that supports the LA art scene. FYA began as an email bulletin that posted upcoming LA exhibitions, and has evolved into a serious business that has helped launch LA into the art world. She knows all things LA, and more.

Camille Henrot Winner of the Silver Lion for most promising young artists at 2013’s Venice Biennale, 36-yearold French-born New York-based Henrot creates video and sculpture installations.

35 Nadine Ziedler and Amadeo Kraupa-Tuskany This newly married couple are the founders of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler gallery in Berlin. They represent some of the best young artists working today: Avery Singer, Katja Novitskova, Daniel Keller, AIDS-3D, K-HOLE and many others. They are real.

Pamela Rosenkranz A Swiss artist who focuses on the body, consumerism and globalization. In her latest exhibition, she made fngerpaintings while taking Viagra. She will represent her country in the 2015 Venice Biennale.

37 Simon Castets Director of the Swiss Institute in New York, Castets co-curates ‘89plus’ with Hans Ulrich Obrist and is an incredible mentor for us. 38



Ruba Katrib A mini rock star, she is a young writer as well as a curator at the Sculpture Center in New York and has just co-curated an amazing show with artist Camille Henrot called ‘Puddle, pothole, portal’. She is one to watch.

41 Jana Euler Euler’s show at the Kunsthalle in Zurich was truly groundbreaking in the history of painting. The German fgurative painter, based in Brussels, creates weird, topical and insightful work.

42 Agnieszka Kurant Her sculptural mounds created by termites are astonishing. The Polish artist is interested in ideas such as collective intelligence. 125 Baku.

Associate curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director of the Museum of Modern Art, Baku

Javier Lumbreras His Adrastus Collection will soon have a permanent home outside Madrid. It is one of the most daring collections I’ve seen, boasting acquisitions by Tino Sehgal and Pierre Huyghe.

53 Aida Mahmudova produces works ranging from Dufy-like landscapes to sculptures using recycled metal. She’s also the founder of Yarat Contemporary Art Space in Baku.

48 43 João Ribas João Ribas was appointed deputy director and senior curator of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto a year ago. Coming from the MIT List Visual Arts Center, he’s sure to utilize this expanded platform.

Adrián Villar Rojas The Argentinian artist has many projects in 2015 and all promise to be worth seeing, from a solo show at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm to a long-term project on New York’s High Line. 54


44 Maja Hoffmann A visionary collector, she is creating a space for her LUMA Foundation in Arles, France, designed by Frank Gehry and set to open in 2018. In the meantime Hoffmann continues to break new ground in contemporary art. 45 Carolyn ChristovBakargiev Curator and scholar Carolyn ChristovBakargiev will organize the 14th Istanbul Biennial, to open September 2015. Based on her achievement with Documenta 13, Istanbul is not to be missed. 126 Baku.

46 Shumon Basar A writer, and the commissioner of the 2014 Global Art Forum in Doha and Dubai. In 2015 he will be one to watch, as his insight and conviction make waves in the art world, often from behind the scenes.

Jessica Morgan The former Tate Modern curator is returning stateside to become the next director of the Dia Art Foundation in New York.

51 Sophie O’Brien She’s the senior exhibitions curator at the Serpentine Galleries in London and although O’Brien is not yet a household name, her projects have garnered recognition as well as the support of artists.

50 Tony Salamé This spring, he will open a permanent space in Beirut to house his Aïshti Foundation and its art collection. It has the potential to return the city to the cultural hub it once was.

Chingiz Babayev Having trained as a sculptor, he is now a leading conceptual artist working in the area of land art and with issues concerning nature and the man-made.

56 Niyaz Najafov Often touted as a successor to Francis Bacon, who also held his unfinching gaze on the human condition, Najafov is a similarly selftaught painter.

52 Sarah Watson Formerly of L&M Arts, Watson is opening up the Los Angeles branch of the Sprüth Magers gallery, and the collaboration will surely have a huge effect on the LA art scene.

55 Farid Rasulov One of the bestknown Azerbaijani artists abroad, Rasulov represented his country at the 2009 Venice Biennale. His works using carpet are his most distinctive and symbolic yet.

57 Eliyar Alimirzoyev An artist of immense originality, Alimirzoyev is an Honoured Artist of Azerbaijan, whose dream-like canvases echo the Old Masters but bring a modernity to the treatment of his subjects.



Arts writer, editor and curator, based in London

70 Eugenio Re Rebaudengo Founder of Artuner, he’s very young and ambitious, comes from a big collector family and is doing interesting things in London and Turin.

58 Rashad Babayev creates largely abstract paintings that are both sombre and joyful with expressionistic washes of colour.

63 Alessio Ascari is the founder and editor of Kaleidoscope, a contemporary art and culture magazine that keeps getting better.

Morgan Quaintance A smart, infuential and interesting writer, he does a great art radio show for Resonance FM and is about to open an exhibition project space in London. Defnitely one to watch.


59 Mammad Mustafayev Perhaps due to his architectural training, he brings a striking structural integrity to what at frst might appear simply abstract patterns, making coherent his vision of the city around him. He’s a master.


Museyib Amirov A painter mainly of landscapes who brings a turbulent intensity to his subjects. With a deep attachment to his homeland, his work sometimes recalls Chagall.

64 Math Bass This LA-based artist’s work is about to explode. Her paintings are incredible, but she also has a very serious performance and sculpture arm to her work.

65 Jesse Wine Doing incredible ceramic work, this 31-year-old artist has a weird sculptural take on glaze, mistakes and humour.

60 Rashad Alakbarov Theatrical installations and sculptures are his strength, especially those that cleverly use shadows to convey new meaning.

Aya Mousawi Co-founder of the Moving Museum, which brilliantly breaks down political and geographical barriers by presenting a travelling show of contemporary art. 72

62 Huseyn Hagverdi An Honoured Artist of Azerbaijan since 2003, Hagverdi has made his name with his semi-abstract stone sculptures though he is equally at home with graphic work, photography and video.


66 Shamim M. Momin She’s the director, curator and co-founder of LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), an art organization doing very cool stuff.

68 Adham Faramawy Dubai-born Londonbased Royal Academy graduate with a great approach on the integration of technology, painting, abstraction and sculpture. A great midpoint between sexy and psychedelic. 69 Sam Thorne The former Frieze magazine contributing editor has become artistic director of Tate St Ives. We’re waiting with bated breath to see what he does.

Omar Kholeif The next Hans Ulrich? He’s curating a pavilion for Cyprus at the Venice Biennale, as well as part of the next Armory Show and this year he’s been taken on at the Whitechapel, London. Golden.

73 Sylvia Kouvali Expect big things from this gallerist, who recently opened a new branch in London’s West End of Rodeo, her well established space in Istanbul.


127 Baku.

Fashion Weeks around the globe are now grand society events. We sent illustrators to four of them, with an open brief to interpret their experiences. Here, in the frst of a two-part series, we show the resulting works from New York (frst two images) and Tokyo, accompanied by the illustrators’ own refections.

New York

“I was intrigued by the audience viewing the shows through phone cameras, creating a flter between them and the fashion. Afterwards, it all spilled out of the tent and on to the streets of New York, where more people were waiting with cameras.� RAY SELL


“There was this fantastic space where imagination sublimated, and I could watch the release of man's infnite creativity.” TETSUYA TOSHIMA

Special thanks to MERCEDES-BENZ for arranging access to all the events.



CULTURAL MRI Happening Hyderabad.

MEME Red Hook has risen.

ARS LONGA You are what you wear.


Brain power.

ART AGONY UNCLE Make the right impression.

ANATOMY OF A GALLERY Inside the Centre Pompidou.

1 Cultural MRI

Once known for its diamond trade, Hyderabad, India, is enjoying an artistic renaissance. Sally Howard gives us the inside track.


n a balmy night in April 2011, Hyderabad was reborn. Grace Jones presided over this event, stalking on to the stage in a 3m-tall hat and high-cut leotard, derrière aglow in a purple light refracted by a rooftop infnity pool. Thus was the new Park Hyderabad opened. As India’s frst hotel to be environmentally accredited and with a futuristic design by US architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – inspired by jewellery and metalwork collected by the Nizams, former rulers of Hyderabad – some saw the extravagant launch as a turning point for a city that had long been in the cultural doldrums. 137 Baku. Eye.

In its golden age during the 16th–18th centuries, Hyderabad vied with Delhi in its riches – the Koh-i-Noor diamond was mined near here – bequeathing to the 21st century the lavish mosques and palaces to be found in the city’s old quarter. But all that glitters in today’s Hyderabad, economically at least, is made of silicon. The commercial heart of the city has shifted 3km west to the booming Hitech City, a twin to the tech powerhouse of Bangalore. Cyberabad, as it is also known, has reinvigorated the city’s nightlife, too, supplying a thirsty clientele with hip design bars such as Lost Society, the city’s frst dedicated

Private collections such as Poddar’s form the traditional backbone of the Hyderabadi art scene, and of these, the Jagdish and Kamla Mittal Museum of Indian Art is the city’s most glittering. The collection comprises metalware, textiles and miniature paintings from the 1st century BCE to 1900. However, the society art scene is no longer the only game in town. Gallerist Koeli Mukherjee Ghose leads the new guard. She stages weekly flm screenings and art ‘sharing sessions’ at ImageKraft Studios, a studio space she set up in the Sriramnagar Colony district with fne-art calligrapher Poosapati Parameshwar Raju in 2002. She


cocktail bar (try the Indian dirty Martinis), and an outpost of Hamburg’s sensory and dining experience Dialogue in the Dark. “Today Hyderabad is a mix of fast-paced corporate life and the old Nawabi nafaasat, or refnement,” explains Anju Poddar, a Hyderabadi socialite and art collector. She supplies nafaasat in the form of her art salons staged at home surrounded by art of the Telangana school of the 1970s and 1980s. “Hyderabad is not rush, rush like Bombay,” she continues. “Our art scene is laidback and easy to miss if you don’t know the city well.” 138 Baku. Eye.

These new, hybrid venues include Trufes in Jubilee Hills, a cafe-bar that hosts screenings and installations, and visual arts and storytelling centre Our Sacred Space in Secunderabad, which schedules everything from Indian folk and rock ‘jamathons’ to workshops on the Japanese foral art ikebana. The newest venue on the block, DHi Artspace, launched in October 2014 in the commercial district of Ameerpet. This art gallery, library, digital resource centre and print-making facility is the brainchild of Bhargavi Gundala, a fne art student from the

also curates monthly exhibitions for Ailamma, a gallery that shows work by emerging artists. Mukherjee Ghose recalls the scene when she moved to Hyderabad from Kolkata 10 years ago. “Back then there were just fve galleries,” she remembers. “Then the Kalakriti Art Gallery launched [in 2002], and raised the bar for modern galleries. Now the number has doubled and the new spaces are very diferent to the old, white-room galleries. They’re mixed-purpose cultural centres that stage music and digital installations as well as more traditional art forms.”


University of Hyderabad who considered moving to Mumbai after graduation but opted to remain “to be part of something exciting happening for this city”. Hyderabad’s new artistic brio comes from graduates such as Gundala, says Mukherjee Ghose. “Today there is a joint efort between cultural spaces and young creative professionals to make the art scene vibrant.” New hotels are part of the city’s art scene too, including the Muse Art Gallery, on a sky bridge between the Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott hotels, and the Taj Falaknuma, in a restored Nizam palace, where works by Telangana school artists are seen alongside antiques owned by the last Nizam prince. There’s another, geo-political, shot in the arm for Hyderabadi art. On 2 June 2014 Hyderabad became the capital of a new Indian state, Telangana. This has represented a cultural coming home for the city and Mukherjee Ghose notes a new mood of pride in the region’s artistic heritage. “Until recently decorative and visual arts interested only a few people,” she says. “Now folk arts such as scrolls and wall hangings take pride of place in many homes. This is wonderful to see.”


1. On set at Ramoji Film City. 2. A landmark of Hyderabad, the Charminar mosque. 3. The view from Charminar. 4–6. Gardens and sets at Ramoji Film City. 7. Chowmahalla, one of the former palaces of the Nizams.


5. 6.




NAMES TO KNOW THOTA VAIKUNTAM Seventy-one-year-old scion of the Telangana school, a movement defned by its popart reinterpretations of scenes of rural life that blossomed in the 1970s and 1980s and also included Bairu Raghuram and Rajeshwar Nyalapalli. Vaikuntam’s paintings capture the simple lifestyle of Andhra Pradesh villagers in paddy felds or at temple rituals in a vivid colour-blocked style. His works are on display at Taj Falaknuma Palace hotel in Hyderabad.

1. KALAKRITI ART GALLERY Launched in 2002, Kalakriti is the city’s leading modern art gallery. Stages exhibitions by star artists from across India, as well as by established local artists. 2. JAGDISH AND KAMLA MITTAL MUSEUM OF INDIAN ART A collection specializing in traditional arts and crafts produced on the Indian subcontinent from the private collection of Jagdish Mittal and his wife, Kamla.

KOELI MUKHERJEE GHOSE Kolkata-born, Hyderabad-based art historian, curator and artist, 47. Stages exhibitions at her own ImageKraft Studios, as well as the State Gallery of Fine Arts and Ailamma Art Gallery. Advocate for the work of young Hyderabadi artists.

3. SHRISHTI ART GALLERY White-space gallery in wellheeled Jubilee Hills that specializes in traditional media. Champions the work of local artists and those from further afeld. 4. SALAR JUNG MUSEUM One of India’s three national museums, Salar Jung houses the private collection of Hyderabad noble Salar Jung III (1889–1949).

CHINTALA JAGDISH Hyderabad-based artist, 58, who has achieved success in the US with his 3-D and tubular installations and paintings inspired by Indian fora and fauna. His work is partly a protest against India’s illtreatment of the environment. “Here even beautiful fowering trees like gulmohur are hacked away without any compunction,” he complained to The Hindu newspaper. Catch him at work at his open studio in Banjara Hills. PRSHANT LAHOTI With his wife Rekha, Lahoti is the founder in 2002 of Hyderabad’s Kalakriti Art Gallery, which shows the work of major Indian artists as well as fostering young talent with scholarships through the Krishnakriti Foundation. In 2008 the foundation introduced a fellowship in collaboration with the French Embassy in India, and in 2012 Lahoti was awarded the French government’s second highest civilian award for art, the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. ANJANEYULU GUNDU One of the most collectable of Hyderabad’s emerging artists, Gundu’s hyper-realistic artworks include oil paintings of discarded objects, such as bicycle pumps and traditional Indian fshing baskets and a series of still lifes of liquor and soda bottles. His works are sold by the Saatchi Gallery in London.


5. RAMOJI FILM CITY Tollywood, Telugu-language cinema, is second only to Bollywood in its output. Ramoji Film City, where Tollywood’s hyperbolic romances and historical dramas are flmed, is the world’s largest flm studio complex.

Secunderabad Hitech City

Jubilee Hills



Hussain Sagar Lake


1 Sriramnagar Colony


Musi River

4 Charminar

5 Rajiv Gandhi International Airport

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Meme Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighbourhood is the new frontier for New York City’s creative crowd. But can it survive the developers, Mark C. O’Flaherty wonders.


t’s the second Sunday of the month at the Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation in a vast converted warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and it’s the Center’s regular showcase of events mixing up art, science and performance. In one room, there’s a full house for a lecture


on the existential mathematics of vertigo. Upstairs, artists talk visitors through high-tech mixed-media projects in their individual studios. Downstairs there’s a wall of digital visual projections playing to a live electronic score. In the courtyard people drink beer beside a silver 1952 Airstream trailer, lit by strings of bulbs laced overhead. The Manhattan skyline twinkles

New York in October 2012 – prompting what would be only the second-ever mandatory evacuation order to be given in the city – the Brooklyn neighbourhood was designated ‘Evacuation Zone A’. Six feet of foodwater cascaded biblically through the streets, leaving thousands without power. The district was devastated and many business were forced to close permanently. Two years on, Red Hook – best known to many for its Ikea store and as the place where the Queen Mary 2 docks – has become Brooklyn’s brightest creative hope. It’s a tourist-free bohemia with two big draws for artists and artisans: it’s full of vast industrial spaces ripe for development, and far enough from the nearest subway to keep those spaces relatively cheap. You’d never fnd anything like the 2,200sq m Pioneer Works in internationally hyped Williamsburg, the fashionable neighbourhood further north in Brooklyn and closer to Manhattan. Everything warehouse-shaped in that part of town – like the landmark


in the distance across the water. “I proudly call this former ghetto-upon-sea home,” says Erin Norris, a one-time music industry PR and dominatrix, and currently the restaurateur behind one of New York’s hottest dining rooms, Grindhaus, just around the corner from tonight’s event. “If I ever tired of it, I would have to leave the city.” It wasn’t always like this. Hurricane Sandy wasn’t kind to Red Hook. When the storm hit 140 Baku. Eye.

Domino Sugar factory where artist Kara Walker installed her giant sphinx-like Sugar Baby earlier this year before vacating it for the property developers Two Trees – is being turned into luxury apartment blocks. In the meantime, in Red Hook, the arts scene is heating up. At the start of 2014 contemporary art mogul Jefrey Deitch announced that he was looking for gallery space in the area, while the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, the

largest artist-run organization in the borough, continues to promote the work of local artists. Both Urs Fischer and Dan Colen have studios in the area. “One of the aspects that people are drawn to in Red Hook is that this is a neighbourhood still fguring itself out,” says celebrated sculptor and Pioneer Works founder and director Dustin Yellin. “It’s still so young and open, so it’s more of a place being captured, rather than capturing. Artists are coming here to make this place whatever it is. With Pioneer


Works we wanted to create the ideal place where you look at art, check out a physics lab, see a flm being made or listen to a band playing; where everyone is in dialogue.” While cruising around the many seemingly abandoned industrial blocks of the area can make Red Hook feel thrillingly neutron-bomb deserted, there’s actually a hive of industry and life here. “Carmen runs a great corner store at Van Brunt and Pioneer,” says Yellin. “There’s good cofee at Baked, and great food at Fort Defance and The Good Fork.” Grindhaus has long been seen by locals as Red Hook’s answer to Eleven Madison Park, the upmarket restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron district – but who needs three Michelin stars when you can get an eightcourse tasting menu for $85? “Back in 2008 my friend Jens and I decided to dust of his meat grinder, make 300 sausages and have a party at the Bait & Tackle bar,” recalls Norris. “I woke up the next morning having dreamt that I had a sausage parlour called Grindhaus. And it looked exactly like it does right now.” In July it

1. Sunny’s Bar, a landmark of the Red Hook neighbourhood. 2. Fashion designer Rachel Comey’s spring 2014 presentation at Pioneer Works. 3. Magazine launch event at Pioneer Works, 2014. 4. Renovated buildings in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 5. The port area of Red Hook, with abandoned streetcars. 6. Deserted street in Red Hook.


was given a rave review in The New York Times. Now Manhattan’s foodies have discovered it. “Since that came out the reservation book looks like something out of a Stephen Hawking thought bubble,” Norris says. During the summer there are outdoor movies screened on the


Valentino Pier, looking out towards the Statue of Liberty, while the Recreational Area in Red Hook flls up with street food vendors selling South American snacks at weekends. Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies store has an avid following, as does the Red Hook Winery on Pier 41. Over at the Cacao Prieto factory in Conover Street, Daniel Prieto Preston, a former aerospace engineer whose family in the Dominican Republic have been farming organic cacao for more than a century, creates bean-to-bar organic kosher chocolate and distils cacao-based rums and liqueurs. Alongside the burgeoning food and arts scene, there are

seeing all the tugboats coming and going,” she says. “I live in an 1870s grain warehouse right on the water and the views are just killer.” Being in Red Hook has also given her highly skilled work a level of exclusivity, and in 2012 she won New York magazine’s award for New York City’s Best Letterpress Printer. Red Hook is frmly on the tastemakers’ radar. In May 2014 former Warhol-cohort Bob Colacello chaired the First Annual Village Fete at Pioneer Works, alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard and Liv Tyler. Guests included Karen Elson, Naomi Watts, Jeferson


Hack and André Saraiva. As Jefrey Deitch said to the Hollywood Reporter, while dancing with other guests: “Look around, you don’t feel a dynamism like this anywhere else in New York right now.” But, inevitably, change is already on the horizon. Despite


artisans quietly working away, such as Keino Sasaki, who makes extraordinary custom motorcycles. Sasaki moved here in 2008 and sees the area as “like Williamsburg was 15 years ago – it’s about individuals who keep their distance from the mainstream. I don’t deal with random walk-ins; people search me out. Red Hook is their fnal destination.” Similarly, Jane Buck of the animal-themed handmade stationery and gift shop Foxy & Winston couldn’t imagine being based anywhere else. “I love being by a working harbour and

the fact that there’ll never be a nearby subway stop, the laser sharp gaze of commerce may yet settle on the area. One of the most spectacularly derelict warehouses in the area, one block from Pioneer Works, is a behemoth of a building at 160 Imlay Street. Right now, it looks like the set of a post-apocalyptic blockbuster, with layer upon layer of grafti clearly visible on its interior walls through the old factory windows. But in June a property developer launched a website for the luxury condos that will take its place in 2016.


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Ars Longa Gallerists and bankers – they all look the same these days. British GQ’s editor-inchief, Dylan Jones, tries to spot the difference.

black socks and highly polished brogues. Back in the day – and by this I mean back in the 1980s, which for some reason has become the decade that people have started to reference when they mention the recent past – collectors and gallery owners (as they were called back then) tended to be relatively outlandish fgures, like ad men in the same decade. They wore



’ve been spending quite a lot of time recently in The Colony Grill Room, the rather wonderful restaurant in Jeremy King and Chris Corbin’s new Mayfair hotel, The Beaumont. Having spent the past 20 years reinventing the London restaurant scene, they have now turned their attention to the world of bespoke hospitality, with a hotel that is already the talk of the town. The Colony Grill Room itself is like a younger, slightly sprightlier version of New York’s Monkey Bar (the midtown restaurant the pair had a hand in launching in 2009), the sort of place where you can order a Martini and easily forget to go back to work. It takes exactly fve minutes to walk there from our ofces in Vogue House, so I have been using The Colony Grill Room a lot, and whenever I visit – and at the moment I’m going for breakfast, lunch and dinner, although rarely on the same day – I fnd myself bumping into prominent collectors and gallerists. And what a sorry lot they are. Firstly, they are all men. Secondly, they are all of a certain vintage (55+), and thirdly – and for the purposes of this piece, most saliently – they all look like hedge fund managers. No, seriously, they do. Grey suits, white shirts, black ties, 142 Baku. Eye.

(potential) clients think that their creative work would echo their dress sense, so collectors wanted people to be able to guess what type of art they had on their walls by what they had on their back. Simples. These days, precisely the opposite is true. Collectors very much want to keep to themselves, hiding in the shadows. Nobody wants to walk around town – whether that town be London, New York or Hong Kong – carrying a sign advertising the fact that they’ve just bought a new Tracey Emin, the latest Jimi Crayon or something by one of the brains behind Toilet Paper. No, the cool thing nowadays is not to look like you collect art at all. It’s the same with gallerists, who now act more like talent managers than gallery owners. Modern gallerists know that it is bad form to appear more extravagant or more idiosyncratic than their charges. In the same way that the managers of pop bands are careful to squirrel away their cash discreetly, agents and gallerists understand that artists want to think they are the

pink jackets, very loud bow ties and huge colourful specs… By which I mean that in the 1980s all these men looked like Trevor Horn, the mastermind behind the global hit by The Buggles, ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. Why did they dress like this? The answer is simple: they wanted to show of. They wanted to tell the world that not only did they have innate


good taste (obviously a lie), but also that they weren’t afraid to wear their art on their sleeve. Their internal dialogue went something like this: what was the point of buying a lot of contemporary art (whether for business or pleasure), and not telling people about it? In fact I’m surprised that these inappropriately dressed men didn’t take out ads in the trades: Barry “Crazy” Wilkinson would like it known that he has just bought a new Bridget Riley. It cost him rather a lot, but then he’s a wild and crazy guy! In the same way that ad men dressed outlandishly because they wanted to make their


ones making all the money as well as making all the decisions. “Remember,” the gallerists think to themselves, “never outshine the master”. And the master in this case is always the person you represent. Honestly, if you were Anish Kapoor, Jonathan Meese, Marlene Dumas or Rob and Nick Carter, would you want to be represented by someone who goes out of his way to look like Grayson Perry? (I’m sure Grayson Perry wouldn’t.) Which has made going to The Beaumont something of a game. I sit there, waiting for my guest or pretending to peruse the menu (even though I already know it of by heart), and I surreptitiously study the other diners. Which one is a banker? Which one is a gallerist? And indeed, which one is an artist? I think it’s fair to say that these days they all look exactly the same.


1. Grayson Perry at the Contemporary Art Society Auction Gala, London, 2012. 2. Geof Downes (left) and Trevor Horn of The Buggles. 3. The Buggles in performance. 4. ‘Negative Thoughts’ (2014) by Bedelgeuse. 5. ‘Nocturne: Waltzing With St. Vitus’ (2013) by Terri Lloyd. 6. ‘SelfPortrait of the Artist’s Brain 1’ (2008) by Elizabeth Jameson.

Science and Art The mysteries of the human brain are far from being solved, but science is working on it. So too are artists, who are bringing a sense of urgency to the project, as Michael Brooks discovers.




he human brain is an oddity – it is both ugly and a thing of beauty. In a specimen jar, as a kilo or so of jellylike matter, its manifestation in fesh is unappealing, revolting even. But beneath the grey-pink surface, it is an object of remarkable elegance. One of the most astonishing aspects of the human brain is its connection to nature and the universe. The complex hyperbolic geometry of those distinctive intricate folds and ridges that comprise the brain is shared with many natural phenomena. The structure of coral in the world’s tropical reefs and the complicated undulations of a kale leaf are just two examples. This structure is also thought to be the geometry of the universe; remarkably, the shape of space and time flls the cosmos in the same way that organic matter flls your skull. The astronomer Carl Sagan once said that we, as the most conscious beings known to exist, have provided a way for the cosmos to know


itself. How astonishing, then, that the cosmos has inadvertently created in our brains an echo of its own physical appearance. The brain fascinates artists as much as scientists, as a new exhibition titled ‘The Brain’ at the New York Hall of Science makes clear. The curators for the 16th international ‘Science Inspires Art’ exhibition organized by Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. are Anjan Chatterjee, the Elliott Professor and Chief of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, and Stephen Nowlin, artist and director of the Williamson Gallery at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The works they have selected range across the gamut of artistic interpretations of the brain. Breathtaking visual representations of its external geometry sit alongside takes on possible digital enhancements – possibilities that are fast becoming reality. For example, Elizabeth Jameson’s striking self-portraits are brightly coloured images based on MRI scans of her brain, and, as with the original MRI scans, their value is in the interpretation; the selfportraits’ open-endedness lets us ponder the processes going on inside our heads. As yet, we understand very little about how the brain works. That is set to change

over the coming decade as two highly ambitious research projects get of the ground. One is the European Commission’s Human Brain Project, and the other is The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative based at the US National Institutes of Health. The stated aim of both projects is to understand what happens when the brain goes wrong – such as in the evergrowing problem of dementia. It may also help us understand deeper issues, such as free will, and the experience of emotions. The brain’s capabilities are profoundly difcult to elucidate. Artists can’t explain all this, of course, but they can add urgency to these investigations. Appreciating our brain’s connection with the rest of nature makes the cry even louder. After all, our brains have set us apart, but the result has not always been positive. Our technological ingenuity has ravaged the planet’s resources and destroyed species at a spectacular rate. Can that lump of squishy matter in our skulls tell us how to halt such devastation, too? These are not issues that can wait until we have fully researched the brain. It would be a disaster if, having fnally got to grips with the workings of the human brain, we looked up to fnd it was the only thing of beauty left to appreciate.



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Art Agony Uncle Confused about art? Kenny Schachter is pleased to help out. I’ve had my abstract by A Very Famous 20th-Century Artist hanging upside down for years. Nobody’s noticed but they will if I turn it. What should I do? Turn it sideways? Actually, you must turn it the right way up and utilize the innocent mix-up to start a conversation about how the artist’s intent bears on a work’s display. Does it materially afect the content of the piece? There’s nothing to be ashamed of; I’ve been doing this for 25 years and still don’t know which way is up. Are signed, authenticated editions from top artists a worthwhile purchase? My wife says they’re glorifed posters. And what’s wrong with glorifed posters? Give me her number and I will tell her in no uncertain terms that prints are a signifcant art form unto themselves. Think Goya, Picasso, Warhol, Jasper Johns. Great and rare prints can go for millions, but prints at the other end of the cost spectrum are the best means of entry into the art market and exactly how I started my career all those centuries ago. Buy away! I’m dating a rich collector I met at a fair, but know nothing about art and need to learn fast. Read, read, read. Then read some more. You will already stand out among most nouveau collectors who look at pictures in magazines or on websites. Don’t get me wrong, you must look at as much art as you can but you will distinguish yourself from the pack by actually wading through the words.


Email your art dilemmas to 144 Baku. Eye.

Anatomy of a Gallery Centre Pompidou When it opened in 1977 the Centre Pompidou changed all museums, forever. With its sweeping piazza, inside-out design, informal public spaces by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, world-class exhibitions and community feel, it established a new generation of democratized public cultural spaces to which icons like Tate Modern owe a great debt. And it’s still the best place for lovelorn students to wander pondering the iniquities of romance, although unlike Tate, they will need to pay to get in. 1. The piazza Paris had no public open spaces in its centre when the Pompidou was conceived. The piazza, ofcially called the Place Georges-Pompidou, was and still is a large informal space for buskers, hawkers, musicians, clumps of students and tripping actors to gather in. Often home to spontaneous art shows and bemused young men wondering when their dates will turn up.

2. Level -1 New permanent photography exhibition gallery, a space fnally celebrating the central role of Paris in the art of photography from its inception through to the 20th century. The inaugural exhibition of works by the great surrealist Jacques-André Boifard in late 2014 has proved to be a wow. And from July the ‘Transcendental Photography’ show promises to top it.

6. The escalators In tubes. When it opened, they were an attraction in themselves. 7. Levels 5 and 6 Permanent exhibition space. The Pompidou’s temporary shows are world renowned but its permanent collection of 20th- and 21st-century art, featuring Miró, Kandinsky, Albers, Dubufet, Picasso, Bruce Nauman and Francis Alÿs, is underestimated and always beautifully presented.


3. Level 0 Vast and largely empty atrium has signposting that is art in itself. The place to go if it’s raining on the piazza.

4. Café Beaubourg The preferred meeting spot of the art, dance and theatre set in the area for a Sunday afternoon cofee and a ponder on life.

5. Library Still true to the founding ideal, this time-warp space from the 1970s is where anyone can go and pick from a broad selection of vinyl LPs, CDs and DVDs, and listen/watch to their heart’s content. A curious throwback to a pre-internet era that somehow is always still busy.

Artist-designed cocktails. If you live with art, shouldn’t you ingest it as well? You are what you eat, as they say...

8. Restaurant and terrace Once a tourist and cultural hot spot, now curiously forgotten, this big rooftop space may not have the up-to-date cuisine of the latest Parisian establishments but it has spectacular views across the city, from Montmartre to the right to the Eifel Tower and Arc de Triomphe dead ahead. A place to hide away for days on end with your Mac, writing your next novel, occasionally dipping into the temporary show along the corridor (9): don’t miss Jef Koons (until 27 April) and Hervé Télémaque (25 February–18 May).


Collabs. Sterling Ruby x Raf Simons? How about to each his own… they are better that way anyway!

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Shape Shifters


In this era of architectural famboyance, museums have become more than vessels for collections – they are design attractions in themselves. Mark C. O’Flaherty outlines some striking standout structures from around the world.

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adical new museum buildings can often, conveniently, be reduced to a silhouette that can be spread across myriad items in gift shops. The refashioned Azerbaijan Carpet Museum in Baku (pictured) is the epitome of radical museum architecture: a postmodern, fabulous delight in the shape of – you guessed it – a rolled-up carpet. The collection it houses was frst established in the late 1960s, and has more than 13,000 items including carpets from the 17th to 20th centuries. For decades it was housed in ‘just another building’ in Baku, but its new home – designed by Austrian architect Franz Jans – has become an overnight icon. “It was built to stand out both in terms of interior decoration and appearance,” said President Ilham Aliyev at its opening in September 2014. Stand out it certainly does – and it’s not alone… 147 Baku.

The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada Starchitect Daniel Libeskind – celebrated for his skewed, angular tendencies in glass and steel – created in 2007 the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension (named after the donor who stumped up $30m) for this museum of science and civilization. Libeskind took inspiration from the ROM’s extensive gem and mineral collection and created something fendishly complex, with 3,175 tonnes of steel worked into fve interlocking prismatic structures. The new structure looks as if it may have grown, like a Roger Hiorns crystalline art experiment, or crashed like a fragment of a meteor that has broken up in the Earth’s atmosphere and fallen on to the older building.

There is often, sadly, very little to see inside here, but there are few more exciting buildings in the world to explore and interact with. Oscar Niemeyer’s 1996 Museum of Contemporary Art consists of a sleek 50m cupola and a serpentine, bright red path that leads up to the entrance. Sitting at the water’s edge, it looks like a spaceship that has just landed and unfurled a tongue-like gangway – indeed, there’s an animated movie showing Niemeyer landing on the site in a UFO, alluding to the inspiration. Walking around the circular interior, with its slanted black windows, brings to mind numerous scenes from classic sci-f movies, particularly the Cloud City sequences from The Empire Strikes Back.

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The MAC, Niteroi, Brazil

The Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida In 2011 American design frm HOK doubled the size of the original 1980s Dalí Museum by adding a triangulated glass wing on to a prosaic concrete box. This is Salvador’s vision reframed for the 21st century – the glass form looks organic, trippy and alive. Inside, a giant curl of concrete snakes up to the top of an atrium from the spine of a spiral staircase – an elegant echo of Dalí’s distinctive waxed moustache. As well as referencing Dalí, the new wing pays homage to visionary, neo-Futurist architect Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller, who was the master of the geodesic dome as well as a close friend of the Catalonian surrealist.

Soumaya Museum, Mexico City, Mexico Squint and it could be a Philip Treacy fascinator for Grace Jones, or the Selfridges building in Birmingham after being squeezed in the grip of a giant. 16,000 hexagonal aluminium plates cover the exterior of the new art museum in one of Mexico City’s chicest barrios. Finished in 2011, architect Fernando Romero’s design is fashy as hell (to the tune of an estimated $70m), but the collection inside is anything but shallow with works by Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Rodin. While the design means the main foors are all artifcially lit, a giant skylight bathes the exhibits on the top foor in natural light.

Polaria Museum, Tromsø, Norway What’s on offer inside might be whimsical and slight: flms of the northern lights and Arctic landscapes, and aquariums populated by frisky bearded seals, but the exterior of the Polaria building itself is quite remarkable, and curiously pleasing. Designed in 1998 by JAF Arkitektkontor, it looks like fve giant white dominoes have been arranged in a line, then knocked over. The illusion is a reference to the ice foes of the Arctic, and the way the ice compacts, breaks and overlaps as it is pressed on the land by the rough seas of the area. It also lends itself to endless tourist photographs – à la the Leaning Tower of Pisa – playing with perspective, pretending to support the dominoes, or ficking them down with a giant fnger.

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Comic and Animation Museum, Hangzhou, China Pow! It’s still at the planning stage, but when it opens (scheduled for 2015) this will be the most extraordinary monument to pop art imagery on the planet. A group of six comic book speech bubbles are being articulated into immense conjoining exhibition buildings, designed by MVRDV of Rotterdam. The facade will be painted with a cartoon relief and the white concrete fnish allows for text to be projected onto the speech bubbles.

Locals, predictably, call it ‘The Eye’. In 2002 Oscar Niemeyer added an extraordinary lenticular eye tower, containing several open-plan gallery spaces, to the educational institute he originally built back in the 1960s. The new museum for design was inaugurated as the Novo Museum, but swiftly renamed The Museu Oscar Niemeyer to capitalize on its creator’s global fame. It has rebranded this Brazilian city and become a huge tourist attraction. The galleries inside struggle to make best use of the peculiar shape, but there’s a great basement level exhibit of Niemeyer’s work, and a lot of fun to be had whizzing around the outside of it as part of a futuristic Segway tour of the city.

The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth, UK What else would a £27m museum devoted to a warship commissioned by King Henry VIII (and sunk in 1545) take as its main visual cue, but a 16thcentury warship? The elliptical silhouette – which, with its blackened wood fnish, also looks like a supersized bivalve of the type you may fnd swimming in a garlic stock at one of the nearby restaurants – truly follows function: the old warship is housed, in its entirety, inside. London-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects have created something strikingly modern, but also very much in context. xx Baku.


Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Brazil

City of Art and Sciences, Valencia, Spain It’s the instantly recognizable sweeping, slanted harp structure on the bridge that marks this site out as 100 per cent Santiago Calatrava. He’s an architect with the neoFuturist leanings of Niemeyer, but with more Jurassic and gothic tastes: the Science Museum here resembles a spiky dinosaur carcass that’s been picked clean, as well as a moon base cathedral. The whole development is a €1.1bn playground of the imagination. It’s not all fun and games however: the huge spend wasn’t welcomed by the locals when the council announced it was in debt to the tune of 20 per cent of its economy. And the city presented Calatrava with a hefty bill in January 2014 when the roof of his Opera House began to fall apart. Still, it all looks great on Instagram, eh?


Enzo Ferrari Museum, Modena, Italy You can almost hear the engines humming… One of the last buildings to be designed by Future Systems founder Jan Kaplický, this structure couldn’t really be devoted to anything other than the Ferrari universe. The roof is a sleek, curving bonnet with sports-car vents undulating from it, all fnished in Ferrari’s signature bright yellow. The visual riff isn’t just novelty – the cuts in the roof allow for natural ventilation and daylight to fll the main gallery space, a giant airportstyle concourse full of vintage Ferraris. A gift shop and cafe in the same yellow sit to one side. 151 Baku.


it Snow

As a former Olympic skier and now mountain manager of Azerbaijan’s frst ski resort, Toni Crespo is helping to establish a thriving new industry. By Abbie Vora.

t’s a genuinely unique experience, working here – we started with a blank canvas. That’s rare, and very exciting,” says Toni Crespo, 59, who has managed ski resorts round the world. He moved to northern Azerbaijan from his home in Andorra three years ago to become mountain manager of the new, and still expanding, world-class Shahdag Mountain Resort – the frst in the country. The opening season, in winter 2012–13, saw 30,000 keen skiers – most of whom were beginners – hit the slopes. The year after attracted an astonishing 60,000. Crespo is expecting another dramatic increase in numbers this winter. “Skiing is a new thing for Azerbaijanis, but we’re training locals to work as instructors, patrollers, lift operators, and more,” Crespo says. “They’re picking it up quickly; we have a good team. We employ lots of people from the nearby cities of Guba and Gusar, which, since the resort opened, have seen positive changes such as new restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. We want to work with schools, too, to encourage children to ski.” Having grown up in the Pyrenees, Crespo is a life-long skier and even competed for Andorra in the 1976 Olympics. Now, he’s content among the glitzy fve-star hotels and bars that continue to spring up, and kilometres of gleaming new slopes. “There’s huge investment here,” he says. “It’s very glamorous. You should see the cars in the parking lot!”


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When Toni is not working the slopes, he is… ENJOYING THE RESORT Sometimes in my time off I simply ski for fun. We are also open in summer; it’s very pretty here. There are bicycles, hiking paths and next summer there will be two new lakes – one for swimming and one for sports. There’s always something to do.

TOURING BAKU Occasionally I go to Baku for the day to catch up on the latest exhibitions at the Heydar Aliyev Centre and the Museum of Modern Art (left, below). I also love strolling through the Old Town (below). The city’s history is fascinating. GOING TO THE BEACH During the hot summers we do group trips to the beach, heading east to the coast. It’s an hour’s drive. There are 25 of us foreigners living in staff quarters, so we’re like family.

VISITING LOCAL CITIES Guba (above) and Gusar are very close by. I like to go there for an authentic Azerbaijani lunch, wander the old streets, and browse the abundant food markets.



MY ART : Tale of

the Unexpected

Nachson Mimran of Groupe Mimran, owner of Gstaad’s uber-luxury Alpina resort, embraces the unpredictable.

Has art always been part of your identity? Growing up with a mother who drew and painted as a hobby allowed my siblings and me to follow suit, and playing around with arts and crafts became a weekly activity. When did you start collecting? I started at the age of 15. The frst work I bought was a portrait of a young blonde lady by an unknown artist. I fell in love with her stare and wanted it in my bedroom. Does your collection have a particular theme? Being a young collector, I have been experimenting with different styles and my tastes are evolving rapidly. I now feel as though I am reaching some sort of maturity and can focus on a more specifc theme.


How do you decide what works to buy? I set myself a budget and decide rather spontaneously when at art fairs, auctions and private sales or when simply passing by galleries. What attracts me is uniqueness. If the style is recognizable then I’m not so interested. I like things that are not necessarily pretty by conventional standards. What does your collection say about you? That I am quite unpredictable. What are your most cherished works? That would be hard to specify, as anything that I don’t cherish leaves my collection. What inspires you? I wake up with a smile and keep my senses open. That in turn motivates me to seek artworks which will inspire me.

Name a few of your recent acquisitions. I recently purchased two very intriguing conceptual works by the Danish artist Henrik Olesen. They challenge the structures imposed by society on our perception of sexuality. Which work would you most like to own, if money were no object? I remember falling in love with Van Gogh at the age of eight while visiting Amsterdam. The work that most appealed to me was the sunfowers. I have a sentimental and nostalgic attachment to that masterpiece.

Above: this disassembled printer is a Henrik Olesen work entitled ‘I will not go to work today. I don’t think I will tomorrow’ (2010). Left: Olesen’s ‘Self Sex’ (2013).

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The region of Gakh (also spelled Qax, Qakh or Kakh) sits neatly between Russia and Georgia in northern Azerbaijan. Its main city, also Gakh, lies by the banks of Lake Kurhumchai at the base of the Greater Caucasus mountains which divide the three countries.

Views of Gakh city and the region’s valleys; the ruins of an Albanian church; tea being made by the roadside.




Waterfalls, castles and grottos; this is the land of folklore in Azerbaijan. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of settlements from the Bronze and Iron Ages, although since then Gakh has had its fair share of ‘visitors’. In the 8th century it was occupied by the Arabs; in the 11th by the Turks; and from the 13th by the Mongols. Consequently, the landscape is littered with stone watchtowers, most crumbling romantically on the edges of precipices. Unusually, Gakh is not just an ancient battleground, it’s also an intellectual powerhouse. The tiny village of Ilisu, with a population just over 1,000, has produced 70 highly respected academics and scientists in a short period of a few decades.

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Squeezed between Russia and Georgia, the Gakh region has much to offer both the adventurer and sybarite with its natural hot springs, says Caroline Davies. to reach the red-roofed village of Saribash, the name of which translates as ‘yellow head’ – a reference to the local headwear, not the bruised forehead visitors may suffer after the long drive bumping along the riverbed. It’s worth it for the view, however, with its wideopen pasture overlooking the valley. The majestic sculpture surveying the scenery, with its Jude Law-like cheekbones, is not of one of the many kings who marched through these valleys, but of a local shepherd.



The hot springs of Gakh are renowned in Azerbaijan, but reaching them is best attempted only by the most adventurous of spa enthusiasts. A 40-minute drive from Ilisu in an off-road vehicle will only take visitors near the spring. They must then clamber across fimsy wooden bridges and climb steep paths through rocky slopes to eventually reach the source itself. There they can spend a few blissful hours in the rustic stone cottage that doubles as a steam room. Head torches are essential kit, as it can get very dark rather quickly up there. A similar all-terrain vehicle is also useful for travellers trying

The cold winters demand comfort food such as dumplings, known as girs, which are usually served dusted with sumac and with a cherry or plum sauce on the side. Another local favourite is purikhachapuri, a bread flled with Sulguni cheese. Harvest is a good time to visit when the whole region is abundant with fruit and vegetables. Much of it is made into pickles, or jams served up with a strong glass of tea at the many roadside tea stops.


The fve-star El Resort in the city of Gakh is 5km from natural waterfalls, so close to nature without being too close, and suitable for those who like to combine a mountain walk with the comfort of a luxury sauna and steam room afterwards. If you are looking for a more rustic experience in a smaller village, opt for home-stays; there’s no substitute for a warming home-made plov.


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THE BUZZ: Flights of


From magic carpets to Mediterranean shores, the latest restaurant and bar openings in Baku will transport you to other worlds.

El Portalón

Imagine, for a moment, that the Caspian is the Mediterranean, the taxis idling their engines outside are bulls running over the cobbles to the arena, and Penélope Cruz is whispering firtatiously in your ear. Ah, there are few countries more seductive than Spain, so little wonder that El Portalón (above left), newly opened in Baku’s National Flag Square, has everyone clamouring for a taste. Sister to the renowned restaurant in Marbella, El Portalón offers all the regional classics you’d expect – paella fragrant with saffron, platters of plump seafood, gazpacho laced with garlic, wafer-thin Iberian ham carved straight from the bone (above). A woodburning oven takes centre stage, serving up roasted meats and suckling pig to accompany big, gutsy Spanish red wines. Hole up here during winter and you’ll be transported to sunnier climes. Penélope Cruz not included.




No, you haven’t had one too many Long Island iced teas – you really are inside an Azerbaijani carpet that also, conveniently, doubles as a bar. At least that’s how the folks at Razzmatazz would like you to feel. This hot new drinking den at the JW Marriott hotel (above and right) is hidden behind a secret door on the second foor. If you can fnd it, you’ll enter a whimsical space that’s part New York

speakeasy, part Orient-chic cocktail bar and part Azerbaijani rug universe (hence the elaborately patterned decor). There are even rams’ heads adorned with Swarovski crystals peering down from the walls. Bonkers, yes, but strangely, somehow, it works, thanks in no small part to the considerable skills of designer Henry Chebaane. Vodka is a particular speciality, with 30 varieties on offer. Like all the best cocktails, a night at Razzmatazz slips down a treat. 161 Baku.

MAVEN: Belle


Millie Walton meets the art crowd in the halls of the Grand Palais in Paris at the resurgent FIAC fair. ANNE BRENNER

Artist, Canada Who or what has impressed you at this year’s FIAC? This painting I’m standing in front of by [Swiss artist] Christine Streuli really drew me in. Describe the atmosphere at FIAC in three words. French, stylish and artistic. I always enjoy it as I have a lot of friends here. It’s good for people watching. Personally I spend longer looking at the crowd than the artwork on display, but perhaps that’s because I take a lot of portrait photographs. What does your art collection say about you? I have nothing on my walls! I like to have the empty space so I can think, so I guess my collection says nothing. Would you buy a digital artwork? No. I make my artwork myself so there’s no need to buy it. Which artistic medium most interests you and why? I practise painting so that’s the medium I tend to prefer, but my taste is very eclectic.


Art director/photographer, France Who is your favourite artist? The photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. He takes the most beautiful abstract images. What does your art collection say about you? It’s mainly photography, reportage mixed with the surreal. Who or what has impressed you at this year’s FIAC? The gallery I was most impressed with was probably either Skarstedt or Karsten Greve. They both have some great artists. I really love Christopher Wool’s work, too, which was displayed at Van de Weghe. Describe the atmosphere at FIAC in three words. Same every year.

BASTIAN ROUSSEAU Independent curator, France Who or what has impressed you at this year’s FIAC? This year it wasn’t an artist or artwork that particularly impressed me, but a stand: the Vitamin Creative Space from Guangzhou. The booth has been curated as one whole piece, so each work is part of a research topic. One of their artists, Hao Liang, uses a very old traditional silk painting technique in a fascinating way. Which artistic medium most interests you and why? I don’t think the medium matters. I have a very pragmatic vision of curating. For me, the point of making art is the experience you give your audience. Would you buy a digital artwork? Yes, depending on the work. Describe the atmosphere at FIAC in three words. Trendier than ever.


Program director, Pioneer Works in New York Who is everyone talking about at FIAC? Julien Prévieux. He’s just been announced as the winner of this year’s Marcel Duchamp prize and he has come up in many conversations. Who or what has impressed you? I really like David Altmejd. His sculptural work has impressed me the most so far this fair. Which artistic medium most interests you? I like painting because it’s a lost form. People aren’t as interested in painters anymore so I admire young artists who choose to be one. Would you buy a digital artwork? No. I’m young, but very traditional in my taste. What does your art collection say about you? It’s mostly painting and photography, with some sculpture, fgurative and abstract work, too. It’s diverse, so I guess it shows I like variety. Describe the atmosphere at FIAC in three words. Relaxed, stylish, high-quality. 163 Baku.

THE ARTIST : Between the Lines

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Afghan refugee Reza Hazare draws on his people’s experience of displacement and war in his striking neo-Expressionist paintings.



was 16 when I fell in love with painting. It started out as a hobby, but I soon realized that it was my passion and something I had to pursue. I did a few private courses in drawing in Tehran, where I grew up, before enrolling at the capital’s prestigious School of Fine Arts. My sister really encouraged my curiosity, and the school has had a hugely infuential effect on my life; all of my teachers were extremely professional and really helped me to develop my work.

My frst exhibition was at the Mehrin Gallery in Tehran in 2006, then I came to Baku to set up my studio and further my studies at the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Arts. The city has inspired me greatly and I’ve now had several solo and group exhibitions in different galleries here, as well as in Iran, France, Russia and the UAE. My paintings and drawings are usually fgurative with an overall tone of Expressionism. Some of my favourite artists and inspirations are Gerhard Richter, Gustav Klimt and Kamal ud-Din Behzad. Most of my work, though, is inspired by the lives of Afghan people, and especially the impact of migration on them. As an

Afghan refugee myself, my aim is to present an alternative view, from their perspective, and uncover the various layers of problems and hardships people face because of war. My most recent solo exhibition, titled ‘Anesthesia’, was at the Yay Gallery in Baku in the autumn. I’m not sure yet what 2015 will hold, but I’m thinking my next series of works will have an entirely new theme. I’d love to have a solo show in Europe soon – watch this space!

Clockwise from far left: Reza Hazare with some of his recent works in his studio in Baku; ‘Afghan Man’ (2010); and ‘Anesthesia’ (2014).


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HISTORY LESSON : Home Truths Once the stronghold of a powerful dynasty, the 15th-century Shirvanshahs’ Palace is a gem in the very heart of Baku.



hat’s it like? It’s a boutique palace, diminutive yet somehow also mighty at the same time, sitting on the highest point of Baku’s Old Town. Although it’s visible from across the city, it’s easy to miss from within the Sienalike warren of streets and sights in the Old Town. Entering from the north, however, you see it in all its glory: a leafy vista comprising the palace’s high boundary wall, two lean pine trees rising from a courtyard within and the distinct roofine of a mosque. In the distance the three behemoth neonlit Flame Towers provide a startling juxtaposition. The main residence, Dwelling House, and the other buildings (mosque, bathhouse and mausoleum) are imposing – no doubt just what Sheikh Ibrahim had intended when he had it built as a family home in the early 1400s. But it’s an oasis? Yes, it’s a tranquil place. An octagonal ornamental pond (a symbolic shape in Islam) is lined by fower borders, and the calm is palpable compared to the hubbub of the city of Baku all around. The 52-roomed Dwelling House now serves as a museum, with fascinating historical displays; be sure to pause in its Banquet Hall to take in the views of glittering Baku Bay through the stonelatticed windows. Who were the Shirvanshahs? A medieval dynasty that ruled the independent state of Shirvan, which, at its height, was the biggest and most powerful in the eastern Caucasus. They eventually met defeat in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty, and after that no one knows who lived in the palace. By the 19th century it lay derelict, and it’s now only 11 years since the last cupola (once covered in glazed turquoise tiles) was restored.

A 1910 postcard image. Above: the Shirvanshahs’ Palace as it is today.


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168 Baku.


By Leyla Aliyeva

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VOGUE the gown




Abigail Alathea & Brandon Coburn.

Ekaterina Zalitko.

Lucky Three

Modern masters unite at Opera Gallery.

Opera Gallery in Mayfair, London, showed a rare collection of works from three of the greats of modern art: Alexander Calder, Joan Miró and Jean Dubuffet. The private view, during Frieze Week, also provided an opportunity to celebrate the autumn issue of Baku magazine.

Gabija Grusaite & Nicholas Stavri.

Jean-Davi Da d Malat, Nancy Dell’Olio Davi & Gilles Dyan.

La la Powell & friend. Lay


Costa & Svetlana Thomaides.

Yuki Y uki Suga Sugaw wara & Pandemonia.

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Jean-Michel Othoniel.

Andrey Malakhov & Natalia Shkuliova.

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Fakhradin Gurbanov.

Dmitry Shepelev & Margarita Mitrofanova.

Olga Sviblova & Emin Mammadov.

Sara Aliyeva & Jamila Askarova.

Bernard Buffet Debuts in Baku Celebrating the French Expressionist at the Heydar Aliyev Centre.

Le Fonds de Dotation Bernard Buffet and London’s Opera Gallery selected more than 40 works from the French artist’s extensive archive for a landmark show in Baku. The vast, gleaming spaces of the Heydar Aliyev Centre contrasted dramatically with the Parisian’s richly coloured and melancholic works. Leyla Aliyeva, vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, welcomed the art-world guests on opening night and expressed her delight at Buffet’s deserved return to the limelight.

Frederic Aranda, Nick Foulkes & Brodie Reynolds.


Jean-David Malat, Leyla & Arzu Aliyeva.

Tim Wade.

Anar Alakbarov.

Ricardo Vasconcelos, Annie Morris, Idris Khan, Joana Vasconcelos, Hervé Mikaeloff & Fabian Lang.

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Step into Sovetsky

Yarat brings Azerbaijani art to VIENNAFAIR. For the 10th VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary, Yarat presented works inspired by the Sovetsky district of Baku. Artists Sanan Aleskerov, Orkhan Huseynov and Aida Mahmudova, founder of the Azerbaijani art organization, explored the personal stories and architecture of Sovetsky with photographs, video clips and installations, giving a fresh perspective on a district on the brink of redevelopment.

Jamila mila Oru Orujova & Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt.

Emil Topchiyev, Orkhan Huseynov & Sadagat Isayeva.

Orkhan Huseynov.


Farid Abdullayev, Aida Mahmudova & Nargiz Pashayeva.

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Gilles Dyan is the chairman of Opera Gallery Group. 176 Baku.



see great potential for the art business in Baku. It is a very dynamic city with high-level collectors who are always looking to acquire new works. That’s why we have a new branch of Opera Gallery there, open from January and located opposite the Boulevard within walking distance of the Old Town. The concept behind the gallery, which I founded in 1994, is mixing contemporary art from round the world. There are some wonderful Azerbaijani artists who we will begin to represent in our Baku gallery, as well as in some of our other galleries – New York, London, Paris, Monaco, Geneva, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul. What we value is originality, character and artists who have the potential to gain an international following. We are very optimistic about our new venture in Baku. I love the city, and the food! Whenever we visit – recently for the Bernard Buffet show at the Heydar Aliyev Centre – we always receive such a warm welcome. There’s a buzzing atmosphere about the place. I think there is a big niche there for a speciality gallery, and hopefully we will fll it.