Skip to main content
An illustration of a man wearing headphones
Courtesy Jack Stafford

A Musician Who Immortalizes Luminaries Through Songs on His Podcast

June 12, 2021
  • Share:

British musician Jack Stafford likens his Podsongs podcast to the end credits of a movie, when the title song plays and keeps audiences in their seats, embodying the spirit of the story they’ve just taken in. On each episode, from his home studio in Italy, he interviews someone he admires—scientists, activists, justice-seekers, health experts, and other luminaries—and uses the conversation to inspire a new song, which Stafford writes (off-mic, with musicians Maurizio Sarnicola, Massimino Voza, and Luigi Falcione) and plays at the end of the show. So far, he’s released around 60 episodes with corresponding tracks that serve as artful, often clever conclusions. The chorus to sleep doctor Michael Breus’s song, for example—“What’s your chronotype, baby?”—stems from a quiz Breus recommends to help determine one’s ideal snooze time; a line in a tune written for game designer Reed Berkowitz, who reflects on the similarities between gaming mechanisms and QAnon, goes, “The longer you play / The greater your role / The further we all go / Down the white rabbit hole.” Each thought-provoking send-off varies widely in style, and accumulates on a public playlist. “When I listen to other podcasts now, and there’s no song at the end, there’s this huge letdown,” Stafford says. “This is basically a podcast with benefits.”

When Stafford began recording Podsongs last summer, he was an under-the-radar singer-songwriter who’d spent years touring the world by bicycle with his guitar, playing shows in people’s homes. But when the pandemic set in, he longed for a new way to connect with people over song, and got the podcast into gear. The tunes cascade out of him. In this year alone, he’s recorded more than 100 original tracks. “The melody is easy—it usually comes to me straight after the interview,” Stafford says. “I try to look for the through-line in someone’s work.” Whether funny, cynical, political, or heartfelt, writing personalized songs, Stafford believes, could catch on among musicians as a new form of expression and revenue, particularly as streaming services continue to offer artists scant compensation. “It’s like being a portrait painter,” he says. “This could be a whole new genre.”

Keep Reading


Pieces in Brush’s “Wave” series of steel objects. (Photo: Takaaki Matsumoto. Courtesy Rizzoli Electa)

Remembering Daniel Brush and His Immaculate, Otherworldly Objects, Paintings, and Jewelry

The first time I ever set foot in the Manhattan studio of the practically indefinable artist-metalsmith-painter-engineer-philosopher-poet Daniel Brush, who died on Nov. 26, 2022, at age 75, he was looking directly at me through his jewelers loupe, which was firmly fastened around his head, just as I exited off the elevator. I found it quite peculiar, at the time, to not be able to clearly see his face or look him in the eyes, but eventually, as I got to know him better (and once the loupe came off), I understood it to be a pragmatic form of protection. With those magnifying glasses on, he was in his happy place. He felt safe, comfortable, at home. Himself. This close-up view was how he saw things. He looked at the world, and the cosmos at large, in microscopic detail. Daniel intimately understood that the largest truths could be found in the most miniscule of places.

An Yu. (Courtesy Grove Atlantic)

The Eerie, Dreamlike Piano Melodies Behind An Yu’s Latest Novel

An Yu’s latest novel, Ghost Music (Grove Atlantic), tells the story of Song Yan, a former concert pianist whose domestic life starts to cave in when her husband refuses her pleas to have a child. Beginning with unsolicited parcels of mushrooms arriving at her door, Song Yan’s world devolves into the phantasmagorical as she is slowly led to the discovery of a long-vanished musician, the once world-famous pianist Bai Yu. Throughout the story, eerie, dream-like piano melodies guide the reader between the real and surreal, and between Song Yan’s conscious and subconscious.

Courtesy Anne Helen Petersen

Anne Helen Petersen on Keeping Media All Around—But at Arm’s Length

Anne Helen Petersen resides on Lummi Island, a small land mass in the Puget Sound seven minutes off the coast of Washington by ferry. Just over nine square miles large and home to a mere 900 residents, Lummi is known to be the quietest of the islands in the Sound. Up above, seagulls soar and squawk; down below, ocean waves slosh onto stony shores. Residents spend their time hiking, boating, or strolling along the serene coastline, or catching up on the local goings-on via The Tome, the island’s newsletter, which arrives in their (physical) mailboxes once a month.

The cover of “Question Everything: A Stone Reader,” co-edited by Simon Critchley and Peter Catapano. (Courtesy Liveright)

Simon Critchley on the Sheer Delight of Questioning Everything

When the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, and with it, the lockdowns of March 2020, I sat at home in Brooklyn Heights, alone, and watched as friends swiftly decamped to homes upstate, in the Hamptons and Connecticut, and beyond. One even moved to Miami. I have family in Colorado, and considered driving cross-country to be with them, but a part of me felt it was important, for whatever reason, to just stay put—not to flee the city, but to embrace it in one of its more precarious moments. For weeks, I listened to nonstop sirens wailing over the Brooklyn Bridge, along Cadman Plaza, and up and down the B.Q.E., and in them, I heard death. The banging of pots and pans at 7 p.m. each day to honor healthcare workers—heartwarming as the gesture was—felt to me more like a signal, a way for neighbors to say, “I’m still here. I’m still alive.” At times, the in-between silences felt almost deafening. There was so much grief and sadness in the stillness.

Aerial view of the new Son Bunyola hotel in Mallorca, Spain. (Courtesy Son Bunyola)

Five Trendsetters on Their Most Anticipated 2023 Travel Destinations

The old’s been rung out, the new’s been rung in. We’re now all looking out on the year ahead, thinking about what it might hold, and where it might take us. This latter question, we realize, is quite literal for a lot of people, particularly with the tide turning on travel restrictions and peace of mind slowly being restored to the masses. 2023 is forecast to be the year when, for better or worse, travel will make a full return to its pre-pandemic patterns.

Washington Square Park in New York City’s Greenwich Village. (Photo: Spencer Bailey)

A Walking Tour of Greenwich Village With Architecture Critic Michael Kimmelman

It’s a late afternoon in early November, nearing dusk, and I’m sitting with Michael Kimmelman, the New York Times architecture critic, inside the West Village outpost of Daily Provisions, a café from the New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer. A sort of contemporary town square, Daily Provisions is exactly the kind of place that Kimmelman, who’s widely known for his egalitarian, public-oriented prose, would consider from a development and urban design perspective: its impacts on the streetscape and the neighborhood, the community around it, and the city beyond. (In 2016, he wrote about another Meyer establishment, Union Square Cafe, unpacking the implications of the then-new location and layout of the legacy Manhattan restaurant.)

Clockwise from top left: “The Essentials” from Eleven Madison Home, Ikebana Kit Box from Space of Time, “Conversations with Noguchi,” Ghetto Gastro Ancestral Roots waffle and pancake mix, Gohar World Host Necklace, Rice Factory New York rice, Papier d’Arménie “Discovery Box,” and Michael Kimmelman’s “The Intimate City.”

Eight Distinctive and Delightful Gifts for the 2022 Holiday Season

A few years ago, some days after my birthday, a cardboard shipping tube appeared at my door, beige and unassuming, addressed to me but with no sender information listed. Upon discovering its contents, I was in tears—I knew immediately who had sent it and what was meant by it. It remains the best gift I’ve ever received, and it’ll stay with me for a long time.

“Ilan's Garden” (2022) by Doron Langberg. (Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro)

As Art Basel Turns 20, Miami Art Week Enters a New, Slightly Less Hyped-Up Dawn

That the first work of art I saw during this year’s Miami Art Week was a newscast seems somehow appropriate in our precarious-yet-emerging-from-Covid present. “How do we make sense of things in today’s age of misinformation and sped-up media ecosystem?” the artists behind it, from the civic-engagement coalition For Freedoms, appeared to be asking. “And really, what’s the difference between art and the news?”

Installation view of “Young Lords and Their Traces” at the New Museum. (Photo: Dario Lasagni. Courtesy the New Museum)

Theaster Gates’s New Exhibition Poetically Prods the Meaning of a Museum

What’s the purpose of a museum—and who decides which objects are worthy of value, attention, and care? These two questions, along with decades of inventive and collective artmaking, are at the core of “Young Lords and Their Traces” at the New Museum, the Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates’s first-ever museum survey exhibition to be staged in New York City (on view through February 5, 2023).

Installation view of “RE_________” at the ICA Philadelphia. (Courtesy the ICA)

At the ICA Philadelphia, Sissel Tolaas Presents Smell as a Poetic Provocation

Walking into the cavernous first-floor gallery of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia—where “RE_________,” an exhibition by the Norwegian-born, Berlin-based artist Sissel Tolaas is currently on view (through Dec. 30)—feels like stepping into a scientist’s laboratory, if the scientist it belonged to had also studied minimal sculpture. There’s a wall of small vials printed with the artist’s name, each containing a bit of clear liquid. Plastic tubes and metal piping run high along the gallery, carrying who knows what to who knows where. Others descend from the ceiling towards concrete reservoirs that have been raised from the floor. One of them is disgorging, drop by drop, a bit of unknown liquid. In the center of the room, an assembly of large flasks, some of which are bubbling, releasing visible vapor into the air, surrounds a huge pillar. Beyond it is a long, multilevel plinth covered in small objects; in the center of the floor, an assemblage of glass sculptures, seemingly empty.

A view of Auster’s performance “Sound Mo(ve)ments.” (Photo: Destiny Mata)

Sara Auster’s Sound Baths Are a Tonic for Our Tumultuous Times

Experiencing true silence is probably impossible. The closest I’ve come is perhaps my 30 minutes inside Doug Wheeler’s “PSAD Synthetic Desert III” (1971), an installation presented at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2017 that gave visitors an experience of near-soundlessness. Stepping into that carefully designed chamber at the apex of the museum’s rotunda, the air felt thick and flat, like everything had suddenly been smothered under a heavy velvet curtain. It was so silent that, after a moment, I could hear the sound of my own blood pumping. I was suddenly aware of my body in a new way. The sound of it maintaining itself was coming through a different kind of physical channel than the regular, everyday hearing I was used to. This produced a simple, but lasting revelation: Hearing, as a perceptual act, is a physical phenomenon.

Photo: Zeph Colombatto

Sound Is at the Core of Musician-Turned-Ceramicist Kansai Noguchi’s Vases and Vessels

From his Tokyo studio, Japanese artist Kansai Noguchi crafts striking, one-of-a-kind ceramic vases, vessels, and painted canvases that make a bold first impression that invite the eye to linger on their mesmerizing visual contrasts. His preference for working in a limited palette is obvious, and is inspired by ceramics of Japan’s Jōmon period (10,500–300 B.C.), considered among the oldest pottery in the world. Noguchi’s approach isn’t just about visual aesthetics; equally present in his pieces is their ability to possess “sounds of music.”

Courtesy Tertulia

This New App Gives Readers a Place to Convene and Connect

How or when do we talk about the books that move us? Perhaps at a dinner party. With a bookstore clerk or librarian. Maybe on Twitter or Facebook. Raving to a friend.

Courtesy Jill Singer

Sight Unseen’s Jill Singer on Why She Doesn’t Actually Consume That Much Design Content

Home is unequivocally where the heart is. But in a world that far too often embraces soulless or downright bland furniture and interior design trends, it may not always look like it. Which is where the pathbreaking work of Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, the co-founders of the online design magazine Sight Unseen, comes in.

Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

A Start-Up Is Monitoring Space Junk to Enable a More Sustainable Space Economy

In February 2009, some 500 miles above the Siberian tundra, a defunct Russian satellite and a U.S. communication satellite collided with massive force and shattered to pieces. Circulating low Earth orbit at speeds north of 20,000 miles per hour, the two instantly broke into thousands of fragments of aluminum and titanium space junk. Of these bits of debris hurtling at hypervelocity, only a fraction of them were large enough to be accurately tracked. And of those roughly 2,000 fragments that have been tracked, they’ll continue circulating for anywhere from 20 to a hundred years or more from the time of impact.

Le Bernardin’s apricot sorbet and chamomile ice cream, infused with Nature’s Fynd dairy-free cream cheese. (Courtesy Nature’s Fynd)

A Microscopic Fungus From Yellowstone’s Hot Springs Is Spurring a New Culinary Movement

Born beneath the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, a microscopic fungus is spurring a new culinary movement. Fy, short for “Fusarium of Yellowstone,” has sprouted into the limelight as a sustainable alternative for conscientious diners, and has begun to germinate in menus and stores across the United States.

Courtesy Artisan Books

Ghetto Gastro’s Jon Gray on “Durag Diplomacy” and the Beauty of the Bronx

Over the past decade, the Bronx culinary collective Ghetto Gastro has—through a combination of creative finesse, clever tactics, linguistic gymnastics, and food alchemy—risen up in the worlds of art, fashion, and entertainment, serving up a new, raw form of cultural ambassadorship. Unofficial representatives of their home borough, the group’s co-founders, Jon Gray (the guest on Ep. 2 of our Time Sensitive podcast), Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker, practice what they call “durag diplomacy,” bringing the Bronx to the world and the world to the Bronx. The trio’s scope and impact is vast, from collaborating with French luxury house Cartier on a “Bronx Brasserie” pop-up in Paris, to launching kitchen appliances with Target, to cooking with Wolfgang Puck at this year’s Oscars. An unabashed gastronome and the group’s self-described “dishwasher,” Gray has the agility and energy of a frontman: Currently an artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, he’s perhaps best known for his 2019 TED Talk, which has been viewed nearly two million times. Serrao and Walker are seasoned chefs with backgrounds in top restaurants, including at Cracco in Milan and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s now-closed Spice Market in New York, respectively.

A view of the “Slow Show” performance. (Photo: Anne-Sylvie Bonnet)

With “Slow Show,” Choreographer Dimitri Chamblas Emphasizes the Mysterious Power of Slow Movement

What gives a physical movement meaning? There are myriad answers: context, shape, intention. For internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, educator, and creative director Dimitri Chamblas, there’s another, primary answer: speed. “If I go to shake your hand, you would understand because of the movement, but also because of the speed of it. If I do it super fast, it’s an offense. If I do it super slow, you won’t understand where I am going. The identity of the movement is given by the speed of it.”

Courtesy Phaidon

Danish Design Firm HAY Heralds Its 20th Anniversary With a Superb, Highly Tactile Book

While the Danish design firm HAY is just celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it has achieved a rarefied place in the design lexicon that’s more often associated with brands many decades older. This standing is defined, in part, by being often imitated, yet maintaining a certain level of quality and integrity. HAY originals can always be told apart from those trying to knock it off.

Courtesy Aedes de Venustas

A New Perfume Translates the Greek Island of Corfu Through Kumquat

Growing up in the Midwest, I wasn’t exposed to the widest range of foods. True to the Scandinavian heritage and harsh winters of the region, I remember a hearty, meat-and-starch focused cuisine, one meant to warm and sustain through the cold and dark. As I got older, I started expanding my palate, and I can remember many firsts: my first pho, my first dosa, my first doro wat. But out of all these first experiences of more far-flung tastes and flavors, none stands out in my memory as sharply as my first kumquat.

An array of Baudar’s wildcrafted vinegars. (Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing)

“Culinary Alchemist” Pascal Baudar on the Art of Foraging and the Craft of Vinegar

Pinning a single job title on the award-winning food expert and forager Pascal Baudar is no easy task. A self-described “culinary alchemist” who cans, dries, smokes, ferments, steams, and pickles cactus buds, harvester ants, and other obscure flora and fauna, Baudar is the go-to source for Los Angeles–based chefs Curtis Stone, Josiah Citrin, and Ludovic Lefebvre, as well as cocktail maestros, including Matt Biancaniello, seeking these delicacies. “The majority of chefs use 30 wild ingredients, maximum,” Baudar says. “We deal with four hundred and fifty-six.”

Courtesy Strange Attractor Press

A New Book Explores How, Via X-Rays, Banned Albums Made It Into the Cold War–Era U.S.S.R.

The bad news is that this particular set of X-rays won’t be covered by your health insurance. The good news? Discarded hospital film of broken bones can defy a communist regime, deliver banned music to the masses, and endure as art.

Photo: John Cairns. Courtesy the Bodleian Libraries.

An Exhibition at Oxford Highlights the Sensorial Splendor of Books

In 1940, Dorothy Kunhardt published a book that would forever change the way young children read. Pat the Bunny, an interactive book full of activities such as touching the sandpaper of “Daddy’s scratchy face,” playing peekaboo with a piece of cloth, or gazing in a mirror, imbued the act of reading with a new form of sensory engagement. Today, “touch and feel” books for babies and children are almost required reading—their cellophane stuffing produces a satisfying, A.S.M.R.-level crunching sound, while the use of faux rabbit fur or horse hair offers an exhilarating tactile experience. As we age and our reading comprehension sharpens, the books we pick up prioritize a single sense—sight—their stories seemingly locked away in lines of text.

The Sculpture Gallery at The Glass House. (Photo: Michael Biondo)

Robert Stadler Has a “Playdate” With Philip Johnson at His Glass House

It’s a serene, bluebird-sky day, a slight chill in the air, and I’m walking with the Paris-based, Austrian-born designer-artist-provocateur Robert Stadler along a central pathway on Philip Johnson’s 49-acre Glass House estate in New Canaan, Connecticut. We’ve just exited the property’s whitewashed, brick-floored, glass-ceilinged Sculpture Gallery, a transfixing space of light and shadow built in 1970 that’s home to works by artists including Michael Heizer, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella. Now, for one of the first times ever, a temporary installation by a contemporary artist—Stadler—is being shown among the sculptures of these art-world giants.

Photo: Marco Galloway

Willo Perron’s Debut Furniture Show Makes the Case for a “No Coasters” Design Movement

With everything he does, the Los Angeles–based designer and creative director Willo Perron always considers the macro and the micro. From the L.A. headquarters of Roc Nation, to Stüssy stores around the world (including in Kyoto, Milan, and Shanghai), to the set build-outs for Rihanna’s and Drake’s latest tours, to album art for those same artists, to the branding and art direction for the non-alcoholic aperitif company Ghia, Perron has an adroit ability to work across many scales.

The “shite” (primary performer) in “Makura Jido” (“Chrysanthemum Boy”). (Photo: Yutaka Ishida. Courtesy Japan Society)

Ever Heard of Noh Theater? Our Primer to Three Major Productions Arriving in New York City This Fall

Two winters ago, I picked up a copy of Penguin Classics’ Japanese Nō Dramas, a volume of two dozen translations by Royall Tyler I’d been meaning to read since tearing through Yukio Mishima’s Five Modern Noh Plays a decade previous. I had moved into a New York City gem (an apartment with a fireplace), and with Covid cases skyrocketing and temperatures dropping, I decided that a winter fireside with a handful of centennia-old ghost stories (cat in my lap, or reading aloud to a friend) might carry me away from the pandemic—from Brooklyn, 2020—to somewhere entirely distinct.

Cover of “The Seed Detective” (left). Adam Alexander (right). (Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing)

“Seed Detective” Adam Alexander Imagines a Better World—Through Rare, Endangered, and Unusual Vegetable Varieties

For British author, TV gardening producer, and “seed detective” Adam Alexander, the supermarket serves as perhaps the finest symbol of our modern food systems and their discontents. Of course, there’s undeniable quantitative material abundance, with aisles upon aisles of vegetable varieties—chopped, pickled, canned, and fresh—all that one could imagine within the confines of some idea of a generic palette. But it arrives at a qualitative price, and not just in terms of flavor, but also in context, in our ability to see this food as a part of our own story—as a connection to the land we live on or a cornerstone of the traditions we uphold. Vegetables are more than just so many anonymous pounds on a scale. “This strong connection with the land and what we grow and what we put in our own mouths has been lost, especially in the U.K.,” Alexander says. “To me, it’s really important that we try to reconnect and recognize that these vegetables are part of our human story and, in that way, we can do a lot to serve rare and endangered varieties.”

Courtesy Assouline

Why Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Remains One of the Most Enduring Watches Ever

Designed in 1972, at a time when a luxury watch made of steel was still a radical concept, Audemars Piguet’s nautical-inspired Royal Oak captured the “stealth wealth” style of the moment, mirroring the cutting-edge ethos of the French fashion scene (think: Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin), as well as the era’s groundbreaking architecture, such as Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s inside-out postmodernist Pompidou Centre in Paris, completed in 1977. “To me, the Royal Oak is a work of art that happens to be a watch,” says British GQ editor Bill Prince, author of the new book Royal Oak: From Iconoclast to Icon (Assouline), coming out October 12. “It’s one of those works of culture that has managed to cut through time, in the sense that it was born of an era, but it already had the criteria to be bigger than the era.”

Courtesy Olivia Sammons

A New Zine Highlights the Poetry and Beauty of Food

Each of us has our own individual way of following the changing of the seasons, a private choreography in relationship to the calendar. For interior designer and prop stylist Olivia Sammons, the produce available from the farms, orchards, and markets near her family’s Hudson Valley home marks time for her, leading her forward through the year. “I spend so much time thinking about food,” she says. “What I’m going to eat, where I’m going to find it, which orchard has the best blueberries.” This focus led her to create the new zine Is My Favorite Flavor, which just launched its first issue, appropriately titled Summer! Is My Favorite Flavor, at the design-focused Head Hi bookshop and café in Brooklyn.

Photo: John C. Hawthorne. Courtesy Alex Tatarsky.

Alex Tatarsky on Art as a Means to Live Out the Absurd

It’s late August, and I’m walking on Grand Street in Lower Manhattan. It’s one of those summer evenings that’s cooler than expected, a pleasant foreshadowing of fall. I’m on my way to discuss compost with the artist Alex Tatarsky, and as I head east from the subway, I pass through the dense, networked scents of the edge of Chinatown: the briny tang of fish markets, the sweet snatch of a fresh egg waffle from a rolled ice cream shop, the yeasty cloud that floats around the famous bialy shop. Approaching Abrons Art Center, where Tatarsky is doing pick-up rehearsals for an out-of-town run of their show Dirt Trip, this close-packed olfactory landscape opens up into something with more space: a faint vegetal whiff from a small vacant lot, the not unpleasant chemical tang from a passing truck, and beyond these, the smell of a certain rot rolling in from the East River.

Courtesy Blue Note Records

An Album of Cover Songs Honors the Legacy of Leonard Cohen

Though nearly six years have gone by since Leonard Cohen’s passing, the long shadow cast by his legacy as one of the 20th century’s most esteemed and idiosyncratic singer-songwriters shows no signs of lifting from the public’s imagination anytime soon. From the enveloping warmth of “Suzanne,” to the high drama of “Hallelujah,” to the chilling minimalist and gospel juxtaposition of his swansong “You Want it Darker,” Cohen managed to constantly reinvent himself, leaving behind the rare achievement of a musical body of work whose most impressive moments exist across eras.

Courtesy OMA

For a Tiffany & Co. Pop-Up in Paris, OMA Designs a Literal Jewelry Box

Hiring a world-class architecture firm to design a tiny temporary retail space may seem an extravagant choice, but given the high aspirations of Tiffany & Co.—especially now that it’s owned by the French luxury conglomerate LVMH—it makes sense for the American jewelry company’s Paris debut under its new French banner.

The “Urban Sun” installation at the Solar Biennale, designed by Studio Roosegaarde. (Courtesy the Solar Biennale)

An Energy Summit in the Netherlands Imagines a Solar-Powered Future

As changes in weather patterns, economic realities, and public perception have triggered a wave of climate consciousness over the past few years, renewable energy sources have enjoyed a newfound level of attention, no longer relegated to the status of a far-off potentiality, but elevated, at least in the nebulous promises and sloganeering of powerful institutions, to that of an urgent necessity. Included in all of this is the long-sputtering industry of solar power. Factoids like how an hour and half worth of sunlight hitting the earth could provide the world’s total energy consumption in a year have been employed to tease out the industry’s transformative power for decades. Now, with technological advances making solar energy cheaper and more efficient than ever, it seems better poised than ever to take on a greater role in weaning humanity off of its fossil fuel and coal dependencies.

Courtesy Chronicle Books

An Heirloom Masa Supplier Champions the Origins of the Historic Latin American Dough

Many people eat masa—the Spanish word for the maize dough produced from stone-ground corn and used for making corn tortillas, gorditas, tamales, pupusas, and other Latin American staples—with little or no idea that it represents a multibillion-dollar industry, one that relies heavily on environmentally damaging agricultural systems that strip corn of its flavor and health benefits. A game-changing player in the masa world, Jorge Gaviria is the founder and CEO of Masienda, a supplier of heirloom masa, corn, and beans, and the first to create a scalable market for the surplus corn grown by more than 2,000 smallholder subsistence farmers using regenerative practices across more than 30,000 acres throughout Mexico.

Courtesy Acqua di Parma

A New Magnolia-Scented Fragrance Invites the Promise of Springtime Year-Round

A blooming magnolia tree, decked out in its distinctive, cup-shaped flowers, is one of the most welcome and fragrant signs of spring in New York City. In my part of Brooklyn, I have a mental map of where to find magnolias—there are a surprising number of them—and for the few weeks they’re in bloom, I take my dog on longer walks than usual, passing by as many as possible to savor both their blowsy beauty and resplendent scent. Clean, sweet, and creamy, the smell of magnolias seems to carry within it the promise of warmer months ahead.

Courtesy ArtReview

ArtReview’s Podcast Collages Audio Out of Artists’ Life and Work

One episode begins with sputtering phonemes. Another plays back organized cries of dissent from the 2019 Hong Kong protests. In a third, virtuosic jazz guitarist Pat Metheny plays a few bars from a sweet, nylon-string track before the music fades and becomes a soundbed over which Ross Simonini, artist, writer, and host of the podcast, begins an aural investigation into the musician’s lifelong engagement with sound. Episode after episode, Simonini chases a similar depth with a sly and often behind-the-curtain approach, splicing interviews and disparate worlds of sound together to create ArtReview’s formally experimental podcast, Subject, Object, Verb.

Courtesy A Space

This Collection of Hand-Carved, Noguchi-Inspired Bowls Imbues Spaces With an Earthy Essence

In 2020, the Noguchi Museum opened “The Sculptor and the Ashtray”—an intimate, one-room exhibition chronicling the artist’s pursuit to create the perfect ashtray. The negative space employed in Isamu Noguchi’s designs, as well as the show’s culminating statement about design and its power to shape the modern world, inspired designers Anna Aristova and Roza Gazarian, founders of New York–based studio A Space, to make a collection of hand-carved bowls, produced from special material—Lebanese cedar—that has a signature balsamic scent.

Courtesy Slow Factory

A Garment Recycling Program Confronts Global Textile Waste Head-On

In co-founding Slow Factory in 2012—a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to advocating for slow fashion and advancing climate justice and social equity—Lebanese-Canadian designer, writer, and researcher Céline Semaan—the latest guest on our Time Sensitive podcast—created a platform to further one of her life missions: to replace socially and environmentally harmful and outdated systems with replicable, zero-waste solutions.

Ji Hye Kim. (Courtesy Miss Kim)

An Ann Arbor Restaurant Fuses Korean Tradition with Modern-Day Michigan Ingredients

When Ji Hye Kim first moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, she didn’t find much that resembled the homemade Korean cooking she’d grown up with. In 2016, in an effort to fill this gap, she opened Miss Kim, where her aim is to fuse traditional Korean recipes—like those her mother would cook—with the distinct produce of Michigan and the Midwest. But Kim, who was named one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs of 2021, didn’t always see a culinary career in her future.

Elizabeth Dee. (Courtesy Independent Art Fair)

Elizabeth Dee on Rethinking the Canon of 20th-Century Art

Since 1997, when she founded her eponymous (now shuttered) gallery, Elizabeth Dee has been a fixture of the New York art scene, a doer and seer known for having her finger on the pulse. A multi-hyphenate collector, curator, and writer, her robust resumé includes authoring monographs about artists such as Josephine Meckseper, Ryan Trecartin, and Meredyth Sparks; a stint as director of the John Giorno Foundation, a position from which she’s stepping down this month; and her most high-profile role, as co-founder and CEO of New York’s Independent Art Fair. An elegant, tightly curated event that remains an outlier in its efforts to elevate overlooked, underrepresented, and unsung galleries or artists, and an Independent champions discovery. True to its name, the fair, which Dee created with Matthew Higgs in 2009, stands out from the global art-circuit pack for its intimacy, intricacy, and consistent high quality.