"Chaos is not the opposite of rhythm but the milieu of all milieus"
Deleuze & Guattari

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The House of Beauty and Culture Book

My new book about multidisciplinary design collective the House of Beauty and Culture is released tomorrow with the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.

You can read an extract on the ICA blog and AnOther Magazine's feature gives an idea of the content. My favourite part of the book, however, is the interviews section at the back, which includes Q+As with Judy Blame, Susanne Bartsch, Kim Jones and Jeffrey Hinton, and for that you need the physical object.

Available at the ICA, Tate Modern, Selfridges, Rizzoli, independent art bookshops, and of course on Amazon.

If you'd like the book in your store please contact Art Data (UK) or Idea Books (International).

Friday, 8 January 2016


Rabih Kayrouz for Selections, 2014. Photo: Houda Kabbaj

Recalling the interviews I did while editing Selections magazine in Beirut, writing features on Lynda BenglisRabih KayrouzEtel AdnanRichard Serra, and commissioning Hilary French to interview Zaha Hadid - 2014 feels like way back. 

Martino Gamper & Lauren Santo Domingo for Bespoke, 2015

But my Middle East ties weren't entirely severed in 2015: I chatted with Martino Gamper about his Prada windows and spoke with Lauren Santo Domingo about founding Moda Operandi for the region's leading lifestyle magazine, Bespoke

Bled Roknine, Marrakech Palmeraie
Photos: Leila Alaoui

Also paid a visit to Marrakech, staying with French Moroccan artist Leila Alaoui - a friend from Beirut - in Bled Roknine, the oldest house in the Palmeraie and Art Deco dream set of many a magazine shoot, most recently Vogue's story featuring Freja Beha Erichsen, styled by Kate Moss, shot by Glen Luchford.

Finders Keepers with Olga Polizzi 
& Craig Finch in FT How To Spend It

Elsewhere's highlights from 2015? Loved reviewing Björk at MoMA for The Spectator and interviewing Shirin Neshat for Apollo in New York. Back here in London it was a pleasure to peek into Olga Polizzi's collecting habits for FT How To Spend It and profile a Suzy Hoodless-designed home for House & Garden. Writing more for The Future Laboratory has been fun too - especially turning three friends into a lifestyle Tribe.

Judy Blame & John Moore of HOBAC. Courtesy Nicola Tyson, via the ICA

2016 starts with re-editing my work on 1980s craft collective The House of Beauty and Culture, to be published as a book by the ICA alongside its Judy Blame exhibition opening in June. 

One of Daniel Ost's installations. Photo: Paul Geerts.

Up sooner is my How To Spend It feature on the incredible work of Daniel Ost and the new wave of artists working with flowers, out in February.

Happy New Yah.

Sunday, 1 November 2015


Love writing little updates on what's happening and what to buy for the FT's How To Spend It magazine. 

This latest about Paul Kasmin's show of Max Ernst's sculptures is my favourite yet, probably because it had me looking at photos of Ernst with Peggy Guggenheim and imagining the Left Bank in the 1920s: howtospendit.ft.com/art/maxernst.

Max Ernst's studio at Huismes, 1961.
Image courtesy Jurgen Pech/Werner Spies Archives.

Max Ernst, Arizona, 1952, playing with pieces he designed for 
Julien Levy's 1944 NYC exhibition 'The Imagery of Chess'. 
Photo: Bob Towers, licensed by Benjamin J.Chapnick.

Friday, 30 October 2015


This month has been an engaging trip back into the world of emerging trends, as I'm standing in at LS:N Global as Senior Journalist.

LS:N is the editorial site by trend forecasting agency The Future Laboratory, which advises clients such as Google, Selfridges, and Condé Nast on all things novel. 

Since spending a year writing trends with them in 2012/13, I've continued to contribute occasional stories to the site, often from Beirut and New York, so it's interesting to reconnect in depth with what they do at their London base. 

On a more prosaic level, it's also a pleasure to be back in their relaxed offices, set in a converted Huguenot silk-weavers' house in Spitalfields - one of those historic townhouses that Tracy Emin and Jeanette Winterson also occupy in the neighbourhood. 

Alongside the front-room installation, and courtyard garden with its wall of flowers and herbs, sources of in-house entertainment include resident hound Marlowe and his witty owner Martin Raymond, company co-founder.

Stand-outs from LS:N's recent coverage, for me, are the Wired conference and Dutch Design Week reviews, and two inspiring Micro Trends about the growing empowerment around energy sourcing and the rise of seasonless fashion

My own stories have spanned a range of subjects from an East End art walk and Frieze London, to natural skincare from Sydney, and luxury advertising in Beirut

Personal highlights so far have been running a video interview with Nick Knight and opining on the changing face of urban regeneration, both within the Inform section that I'm editing, which focuses on interviews and op eds (the best bits of editorial, in my view). 

Longer reads on the site require a subscription but you can explore the Seed section of short updates for free here.

Sunday, 13 September 2015


El Anatsui, Earth Skin, at Jack Shainman Gallery, Kinderhook

One Saturday this summer I took the train out of Manhattan, riding north along the Hudson River, to reach the stylish houses of Hudson itself. I peered into its antiques shops, sampled its food truck pizza, and saw two exhibitions en route. 

Robert Irwin, Excursus: Homage to the Square3, at Dia: Beacon

Read about the art part - which covers the new installation by Light and Space movement maestro Robert Irwin at Dia: Beacon, and a career retrospective of this year's Venice Beinnale Golden Lion winner El Anatsui at Jack Shainman Gallery - here on Ocula: 

Friday, 17 July 2015


Those on the hunt for a £20k birdcage (!) can find the perfect specimen with the help of my recent collector's guide for How To Spend It from the Financial Times. Highlights come from Anne Hauck, Christie's (above) and - of course - Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler Antiques. Shopping aside, it's a skip through their history as decorative pieces since the Renaissance.

I've also been putting short art news stories together for them on UK openings from Bermondsey to Somerset, via Mayfair and Soho - readable here:

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Shirin Neshat at her NYC studio. Photos: © Tim Knox

Presently having a glorious time in steamy NYC. During my last visit I interviewed the very captivating Shirin Neshat about her evolution as a photographer, videographer and film-maker - Q&A now up on Apollo: 


Thursday, 28 May 2015


Two bits up about recent art happenings in London:

Idris Khan's Conflicting Lines
Courtesy of the artist/Victoria Miro

my take on Idris Khan's latest series at Victoria Miro for Ocula after spending the afternoon with him and his gorgeous wife at their studios in Stoke Newington...

Anna Lomax's Fry Up
Courtesy of the artist

... and a brief introduction to Lights of Soho, the new gallery focusing on light art that's hoping to channel the spirit of The Colony Room (where I once spent an excellent birthday) for FT How To Spend It.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Sperone Westwater's booth showing Barry X Ball at ADAA

New York was still freezing at the start of March and I crisscrossed Manhattan through the snow to report on the Armory and ADAA shows for Ocula and to review Bjork at MoMA for The Spectator.

Bjork's Black Lake installation at MoMA

Other highlights that week included interviewing Shirin Neshat about her new show in Baku for Apollo, paying Rebecca Ward a studio visit in Brooklyn, and bumping into my former masters professor from the V&A Glenn Adamson, now director at MAD

Left: portrait from Shirin Neshat's The Home of My Eyes at Yarat
Right: one of Rebecca Ward's geometric deconstructed canvases

Shirin was softly spoken and focused while discussing her journey through photography and film in her charmingly idiosyncratic manner. Rebecca served me the best vegan coconut doughnuts while talking about her textured and female take on minimal painting with insight, humour and modesty. And Glenn was as informative as ever, immediately giving me new ideas.

Thanks NYC, see you in June.

Thursday, 29 January 2015


Above, one of the zillion instances that captures the experience of living with contemporary technology on James Bridle's influential New Aesthetic Tumblr. You can read my post about Bridle's more recent project The Nor, commissioned by the Hayward Gallery for MIRRORCITY, and its relationship to the current throes of drone hype, at apollo-magazine.com.

Friday, 9 January 2015


Turns out that seeing art about the Arab world feels quite different in Hamburg than it does in Beirut; it also feels different to write about 'Arab art' when in Europe, after having been in the Middle East for a little while.

Walid Raad, Postface II, 2014
composed of seven elements, mixed media, 487 x 274 cm
images courtesy Sfeir-Semler Gallery and the artist

My thoughts on Walid Raad's current show at Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, are published on apollo-magazine.com.

Sunday, 7 December 2014


William Blake. The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy
by Sebastian Schütze, Maria Antonietta Terzoli

Still swooning over William Blake's illustrations of Dante's Divine Comedy - the last artworks he ever produced, commissioned when he was 65 years old and continued on his death bed. The images arrived recently in my inbox because Taschen is releasing a beautiful new edition to mark the 750th anniversary of Dante's birth. Blake interpreted the epic poem in 102 drawings, some of which the new book shows as fold-out spreads. The essays come from Sebastian Schütze, professor of Early Modern Art History at Vienna University, and Maria Antonietta Terzoli, professor of Italian Literature at the University of Basel.

Lucy carrying Dante in his sleep up to the entrance to Purgatory.
© Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, USA / Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop / Bridgeman Images
Left: The inscription over Hell-Gate. © Tate, London
Right: Dante and Statius sleeping, while Virgil keeps watching
© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The Circle of the Lustful. © Birmingham Museums Trust

Blake's preference for the esoteric over the material and his lifelong commitment to the supernatural has made him a touchstone for New Age beliefs and aesthetics but here we see his vision reaching back down the centuries to interpret the spirituality of the ultimate Medieval morality tale. 

The Ashmolean's major Blake exhibition has just opened in Oxford and is full of more gothic watercolours like these and tells the history of his revolutionary poetry and his lesser-known stint in publishing.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Last week I joined a brigade of artists and scholars brought together by Edge of Arabia as part of their Culturunners tour around America, an art project and curatorial programme aimed at generating nuanced inter-cultural empathy between people in the Arab world and those in the US.

The Machine To Be Another, an experiment in how virtual 
reality can encourage cross-cultural empathy

Culturunners contributors including Ahmed Mater, Stephen Stapleton, 
Azra Akšamija, Matthew Mazzotta, Regina Möller and Ava Ansari

Just before chatting on stage at the Sunday symposium with 
Carol Huh, curator at the Freer Gallery of Art and the 
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which together form the 
national museum for Asian art at the Smithsonian 

EOA co-founder Stephen Stapleton, architectural historian Azra Akšamija, and curator Ava Ansari - all also artists - launched the ambitious three-year project last month in Houston, Texas and stopped off as part of their art road trip at MIT in Boston where I joined them for three days of workshops, discussions, performances and a symposium with the Art, Culture, and Technology (ActMIT) department at the Media Lab.

Monday, 8 September 2014


Last month I closed my last issue as editor of Selections & the Art Paper in Beirut before leaving Lebanon with a feeling of having spent a fruitful 14 months enjoying work as much as play. My favourite features from the magazine this Autumn are Sheyma Buali's extensive interview with Palestinian pop artist Laila Shawa, and John Ovans' colourful depiction of Inhotim art park in Brazil, which I've always wanted to visit. 

My own articles this time include an interview with French curator Fabrice Bousteau about his personal experiences of India and synaesthesia; a profile of artfest Volcano Extravaganza, held annually on the Aeolian island of Stromboli and this year rave-themed under the title Forget Amnesia; and a skip through the history of Arab modern architecture, as told by Bernard Khoury and George Arbid for Bahrain's pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Read the magazine in full here.

I love Jon Rafman's piece 'I dig, you dig, and it, the worm, digs too' that we chose as the cover of the Art Paper. We went for a technology focus with brilliant stories on recent work by James Bridle and Trevor Paglen written by Merlin Fulcher and Arie Amaya-Akkermans, plus I share some thoughts on Art After the Internet having spoken with curator Omar Kholeif about the book he put together with the same subtitle. We also ran my interview with Tim Noble and Sue Webster from a few months back - quite fun as they talk about the new paintings they are making blind. Take a look here!

Next stops: New York >> Boston >> London...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


I have been editing Selections, the Beirut-based, Middle East-distributed quarterly culture & style magazine, for precisely one year, but only felt like I could really produce something I was truly happy with this last issue, because the magazine was due a redesign. 

The new incarnation is cleaner and clearer - graphically both minimal and classic - and the issue, which takes Design as its theme, is genuinely packed full of strong stories and inspiring imagery.

We open with Zaha Hadid in conversation with architectural critic Hilary French, before chatting with the conductor of the Lebanese Philharmonic Harout Fazlian about his unusual line of work. Next comes my review of Richard Serra's epic new installation East-West, West-East, in the Qatari desert, followed by Sheyma Buali's thoughts on Thomas Heatherwick's new plan for an Al Fayah Park in Abu Dhabi; a studio visit with the recently knighted (in France) fashion designer Rabih KayrouzJustin McGuirk's thoughts on this year's Salone del Mobile; my interview with Rana SalamJohn Ovans' look at the interior design materials of Fameed Khalique, and at Karl Lagerfeld's Constructivist moment; a profile of Beirut Design Week; my thoughts on Design Thinking with Cyrille NajjarMarc DibehMarc Baroud and Niko KoronisRajesh Punj's interview with leading Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos; an interview with Jonas Dahlberg about his Norwegian memorial installation; Merlin Fulcher's comments on the ICA's discussion of failed colonial modernism; and our personal interview with Olivia Putman, who talks about the experience of succeeding her mother Andrée as head of Studio Putman, and shares her favourite artworks with us in the Curated By pages at the back.

Meanwhile, the peppy little Art Paper, which is more relaxed in format but serious about visual art and its producers, collectors, curators and gallerists, is going from strength to strength, expanding every issue and featuring an ever-growing list of interviews with important voices in the regional art scene.

Selections and the Art Paper are published with Rima Nasser as editor-in-chief at CNP, Beirut.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


The latest issues of the publications I edit are out in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.  

My personal highlights from the main magazine, Selections, are Amelie Hegardt's illustrations of the Spring Haute Couture looks by Marco Zanini for the revived house Schiaparelli, which she did especially for us, and the 16-page section Curated by Abdellah Karroum, director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. 


The Art Paper, the art supplement we launched in September, has gone from strength to strength and has become a real pleasure to create. This issue's lead story is my interview with Mona Hatoum and review of her powerful survey show Turbulence.


Gorgeous portrait of Judy Blame on the Another site right now. Loving the hair. Shot by Julia Hetta and styled by Robbie Spencer for  Another Man S/S14. There's also a little video: www.anothermag.com