After 80 years, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has welcomed back one of Mexico’s greatest masters. Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art has unveiled an unprecedented body of work by the legendary artist, which offers a “succinct portrait of Rivera as a highly cosmopolitan figure who moved between Europe, Mexico and the United states, and a fresh look at the intersection of art making and radical politics in the 1930s.”
Between 1931 and 1932—at a special invitation from the newly opened MoMA—Rivera came to New York to paint five “portable murals” in an empty gallery of the museum, all depicting dramatic scenes from Mexican history. The resulting work included the iconic Agrarian Leader Zapata, currently part of the museum’s permanent collection, as well as The Peasant Leader, Indian Warrior, The Rising, Frozen Funds and The Electricity—all of which the show will bring together for the first time since the original exhibition.
Inspired by his stay—and in keeping with his commitment to themes of revolution, class and inequity—Rivera immediately followed up with three more murals representing images of the Great Depression, all still addressing the artists’ favored themes of revolution, class and inequity. Versions of these additional murals will also appear, alongside a collection of sketches, photographs, letters and other archival material related to Rivera’s time in New York, including his work on the controversial Man at the Crossroads mural first commissioned for Rockefeller Center.
MoMA estimates that the exhibit, which runs until May 2012, will attract close to 2 million aficionados: more than 60% of the institution’s annual visitors. Click here for more info: and get in line when you can.
Brazilian designers are big on crochet. From ball gowns to bikinis, tank tops to flip flops, the lace-like handicraft has, for many a homegrown fashion and design brand, come to represent a signature national style.
Now, the artisans at COOPA-ROCA, a selective women’s design cooperative based in the Rio favela of Rocinha, have taken the art a step—some would even say light years—above: Luz de Cristales (Crystal Lights) are, literally, globes of light sheathed in hand-crocheted cotton covers, which serve to etch on the smooth industrial surface of each lamp a layer of intricate detail and eye-catching depth. When hung from above, and viewed from a distance, the lights appear as kaleidoscopic moons or stained glass planets, but the story behind their creation is in fact just as inspiring.
COOPA-ROCA was founded almost 25 years ago by social entrepreneur Maria Teresa Tetê Leal to broker profitable partnerships between low-income female artisans living in Rio slums and prominent global designers—among them Cacharel, Paul Smith, Tord Boontje, Ernesto Neto and Christian LaCroiux. In less than a decade, the handiwork of the women of COOPA-ROCA was regarded around the world, and had received international acclaim in the pages of Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle and their ilk.
The Luz de Cristales are part of an entire line of home and fashion accessories launched under COOPA-ROCA’s own label in 2010. But this season the lamps in particular have been generating a ton of buzz abroad, first as a featured product at the +55Brazil exhibit at the Barnsley Civic Gallery in London, as well as as part of the Cooper-Hewitt curated Cities exhibit currently occupying UN Headquarters in New York. At the moment, unfortunately, these are the only spaces outside of Brazil where one can view the beauty of COOPA-ROCA’s craftwork in action, but an online store on the cooperative’s website is under development, and the display at the UN will last until early next year. So try to get there, before the lights go out.
Most trend spotting New York foodies, by now, have likely made a pilgrimage to La Mar, the super high-end, world-renowned cevicheria recently opened by Peruvian celeb-chef Gaston Acurio, his first foray into the mercurial Manhattan market. Heck, even the Godfather of supersized New York City dining, Mario Batali, has dined there, and declared it “spectacular”.
La Mar, so far, has received mostly encouraging reviews from critics and customers alike, with positive commentary on the creative cuisine, top-notch service and jaw-dropping design (A texture wall and chandelier made from over 10,000 kernels of Peruvian corn? Impresionante!). But while La Mar may finally have put ceviche on the metropolitan map, the South American staple has been on the menu at a number of New York establishments for some time now, and not just at those old-school, Queens-based joints like Pio Pio or El Anzuelo Fino which have been known to lure hipsters to that other outer borough in their quest for culinary authenticity.
Today, in fact, hipsters don’t really need to travel far to find quality ceviche: the dish has been popping up in places as unexpected as East Village wine bars, British style beer pubs, and low key Brooklyn gems. And the trend, it seems, is not just limited to New York. At state fairs this summer there were reports of shrimp-based Mexican style ceviche representing right alongside Midwestern bratwurst and Southern fried chicken, and Karen Chavez, a food writer in Ashville North Carolina, recently compared the dish to barbeque in its similarly wide range of regional variation.
State fairs? Bar menus? Carolina Barbeque? Pretty hefty American cred for a food which—even in its most extreme incarnations—can never ever be deep fried. But no doubt there are still some hipsters out there in whose eyes the dish has not yet completely arrived. That would happen at the point when there’s a ceviche truck along Bedford Ave., and it’s the breakfast of choice after a long night out. Served, of course, with an ice cold can of PBR.
Calle 13, the hugely popular Grammy-Award winning Puerto Rican urban pop duo is known, in large part, for their scathing, satirical commentary on poverty and social injustice.
But their latest video “Latinoamérica,” from their recent (Latin Grammy-nominated) album Entran Los Que Quieran, takes a slightly more heartfelt turn, paying visual tribute to that which unifies: the varied cultural ecosystems, awe inspiring landscapes and authentically beautiful people that so many countries throughout Latin America share.
Filmed mostly on site in Peru—yet still capturing the rich range of faces, colors, voices and vistas that could, really, be found anywhere on the continent—“Latinoamérica” stands on its own as a socially conscious travelogue depicting the sheer diversity that, also, underlies the regional ties that bind.
The journey begins in a typical highland bar with a Quechua-inflected introduction by a DJ from the folkloric station Radio Inti Raymi, and also features soulful solo turns by guest artists like Peruvian grand dame (and Minister of Culture) Susana Baca, Colombian icon Toto la Momposina, and rising young Brazilian singer Maria Rita. Regardless of where you stand on the song's message, the “Latinoamérica” video, more than anything, represents a unique endeavor of creative class collaboration, one that showcases everything that makes the region strong, special and worthy to stand apart.
New York’s cosmopolitan and creative spirit is constantly enticing like-minded souls the world over. This is a city that attracts immigrants from all walks of life, all carrying a unique hunger for transformation. It’s also a place that brings millions of traveling souls from throughout the world over to sip a dose of its dreamy potion. These travelers need a hotel.
New York’s newest hip hotel comes from another global mega-city, Mexico City. Hotel Americano brings a sexy dose of south of the border sensuality to the big Apple. It’s the latest concoction from hip Mexican hotelier group Habita Hotel of Habita and Animal fame. Hotel Americano serves the perfect combination of style and substance that has made those two hotels must-stops for the international jet-setting crowd.
Hotel Americano is designed by renowned Mexican architect Enrique Norten and his Ten firm. The spatial experience is highly modern yet warmly minimalist, giving you a sense of peace and comfort which often lacks in what are supposed to be sanctuaries for the traveling kind.
The space is both sensuous and soothing through its use of wood, light and clean lines. A swanky rooftop restaurant, retro-modern lounges, and simply elegant rooms add to an overall relaxed style. The hotel’s namesake restaurant seals the package with a delicious mix of French and Mexican through the culinary statements of chef Olivier Reginensi, of Daniel fame. Franco-Mexican in New York never looked so good.
For more on Americano