Introducing Volume 14: The Art Issue

Introducing Volume 14: The Art Issue

Reflecting on the state of the art world in 1980s New York,
Patti Astor, the curator, actress and close friend of Jean- Michel
Basquiat, lamented a creative scene defined by “white walls, white
people and white wine”.

Astor’s remark inspired multimedia artist Lina Iris Viktor to
paint the walls of her exhibition space at the SCOPE Fair in Art
Basel Miami Majorelle blue. She tells art writer Flora Ogilvy: “It
was important for me to transport people and create a break in the
space-time continuum of art fairs, which feel like endless
repetitive mazes.”

A basic appreciation of art can enrich our understanding of
destinations, but it would be misguided to visit museums in the
hope of finding meaning neatly summarised in a series of frames
along the walls. It is telling that many galleries have updated
their curation techniques to offer more immersive exhibitions, like
the Benesse Art Site Naoshima in Japan, which has been described as
“the ultimate art pilgrimage”. In this age where people have
exhausted the importance of experience, sometimes art needs to be
lived to be understood.

In New York, the story of 20th-century American art can be
traced along the city’s streets. Once a hotbed for artists,
sky-high rent prices and limited studio space have finally pushed
out creatives and many are migrating upstate to the small town of
Hudson. But there is still something to be said for paying homage
to the city’s established galleries in the Upper East Side, walking
in the footsteps of Greenwich Village bohemia and the raucous
counter-cultural movements of Soho and the Lower East Side –
wandering the streets that inspired Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol
and Patti Smith decades before.

Creativity has less of a price tag attached to it in Mexico
City, a capital that offers incredible depth and breadth across
every artistic discipline. DF (el Distrito Federal) as the locals
call it, or La Ciudad de México as it is now officially known, has
a burgeoning fashion scene, a growing number of cutting-edge
galleries and design projects that have earned the city the
accolade of World Design Capital for 2018. Contributing Editor
Alexa Firmenich advises visiting UNAM, Latin America’s largest
university, explaining: “There you will get a much better sense of
what’s going on right now than you would at the Frida Kahlo
museum.” Her thoughtfully curated neighbourhood guide offers a
lively snapshot of a megacity whose star is rapidly rising.

A few hundred miles south of the Mexican capital, I met a
dynamic cast of creatives in the state of Oaxaca (pronounced
wa-ha-ka). Discourse about Mexican folk art is often wrapped up in
clichés of magic, folklore and myth, but by opening my mind, I
discovered indigenous crafts are now tied to an emerging
contemporary scene.

Morocco has a rich artisanal cultural heritage, which continues
to thrive in the historic Medina of Marrakech. And thanks in part
to the Marrakech Biennale, launched in 2009 by Vanessa Branson, the
city has secured an international reputation as a centre for fine
art. It was the city’s young curators, designers, architects and
restaurateurs who caught the imaginations of our food editors. From
one of the Medina’s many rooftops, Meg Abbott writes: “The future
of Marrakech is tied to this small group of creatives”. Meanwhile
photographer Hassan Hajjaj celebrates his friends – the people he
considers to be artists in their own right – in his colourful
series My Rock Stars Volume 1.

Just as art can be experienced across different cultures,
creativity can be expressed in many different forms. Jasmine and
Melissa Hemsley, the poster-sisters for wellbeing, turn to the
kitchen to express the art of good food (p. 36), while the poet
Cleo Wade uses photographs and words to celebrate her hometown of
New Orleans, “a type of Disneyland for art and music lovers”.

Art is an industry kept afloat by a number of people working
behind the scenes. SUITCASE’s CEO Serena Guen takes the opportunity
to profile some of the young men and women working in the art
world’s upper echelons – in foundations and as dealers and

Many of these influencers credit a specific piece of art for
inspiring them to pursue a career in the industry. It was initially
a challenge for me to understand the idea of an epiphany triggered
by artistic brilliance, as it was not something I had ever
encountered. But in my first issue as Editor-in-Chief, art has
taken me off-canvas, showing me how it can inform travel, help us
explore communities and allow us to understand the cultural
contexts behind extraordinary creativity.

Discover More
The Freedom Issue Cover Competition Winner Revealed