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.
This month sees the first-ever Independent 20th Century, an edition of the fair that primarily focuses on lesser-known or under-celebrated artists who worked between the years 1900 and 2000. A re-canonizing effort, it seeks, in its own humble way, to offer an alternative history of 20th-century art. Running from Sept. 8 to 11 and taking place at the swanky Cipriani South Street, the presentation will feature more than 70 artists, including works by the Brazilian Indigenous painter Chico da Silva and the Polish textile artist Barbara Levittoux-Świderska as well as pieces by more recognizable names such as Yayoi Kusama. Beyond shifting certain public discourse, with both Independent 20th Century and Independent’s New York flagship fair, Dee hopes to crack open stories and break down certain impenetrable roadblocks. Commissioning writers year-round is part of this process. For Dee, Independent is an ongoing conversation, not just a platform for annual week-long fairs. “Many artists around the world have not had access to opportunity due to race, class, gender, geopolitics, and language barriers,” she says. “There is also an access-to-the-story barrier. That’s one of the beautiful things about the shift to digital: We’re now able to commission writing in English, some of which is general reading and some of that is scholarship. We feel this is a big part of our contribution.”
We recently sat down with Dee to discuss her mind-expanding, book-or-two-a-week media diet. “When I was in my twenties and thirties,” she says, “I couldn’t read a book—I felt like I didn’t have the time. Now, in my forties, I can actually read again. It’s like I’m making up for lost time.”
How do you start your mornings?
I’m an early riser. I get up at 5 a.m. The first thing I do is check all of our campaigns and see how they are performing with the arts outlets. During fair-production season—which now is six months of my year, since we have two fairs, one in May and one in September—we usually have one or more media campaigns going at the same time.
Any favorite newsletters?
Our newsletter, which we send out every week. We have a very loyal and savvy audience that wants to hear from us about things they don’t yet know about. We’ve hired Hannah McGivern, the former [museums and heritage] editor of The Art Newspaper, and have commissioned, for this fall, sixteen art historians and writers to write about the artists being presented at Independent 20th Century.
Voices on Art. Daniela Steinfeld is a gallerist and one of the best talk-show hosts in the art world, ever. She’s based in Dusseldorf and has done phenomenal, considerate, and intimate portraits of members of the art world, from great artists, to curators, to museum leaders, to gallerists. I never miss her episodes.
Paris Review, where our co-founder, Matthew Higgs, is a contributing editor. And The World of Interiors, which is my all-time favorite magazine. I love how they bring the history of interiors into a contemporary framework. I think that’s something that’s very on-point in culture at the moment.
What books are you reading?
One of my favorite summer reads this year was Takedown: Art and Power in the Digital Age by Farah Nayeri. It’s about how power and culture are shifting as a result of the pandemic, the #MeToo movement, and Black Lives Matter. It’s very much a jumping-off point for conversations that we’re having at Independent 20th Century about the canon.
I’m also currently reading Art in the After-Culture [by Ben Davis]. Partially because of my tenure at John Giorno Foundation, the last few years I’ve been very interested in, and been thinking a lot about, downtown New York’s avant-garde. What did it look like then, and what does it look like today? There are a number of books that I’ve been reading on the topic. I have to give a shout-out here to the art critic and biographer Deborah Solomon for introducing me to Smash Cut: A Memoir of Howard & Art & the ’70s & the ’80s by Brad Gooch. I’m reading The Loft Generation: From the de Koonings to Twombly: Portraits and Sketches, 1942-2011 by Edith Schloss, too. I also just finished Ada Calhoun’s new book, Also a Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me, which is about Frank O’ Hara and her father [The New Yorker magazine art critic] Peter Schjeldahl, and I recently read It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful: How AIDS Activists Used Art to Fight a Pandemic by Jack Lowery.
Another book I recommend is The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, who’s a phenomenal thinker about organizational systems. I ordered a copy for my production team as well, because it’s mind-blowingly helpful in terms of putting on a global event. And I’m deep into Ray Dalio’s Principles, which has been game-changing in my thinking about running organizations, leadership, collaboration, teamwork, and really making the most valuable contribution to the people that I work with. I can’t believe I’m just now discovering it.
Any books that aren’t necessarily related to your work?
I just ordered Stefanie Hessler’s new book, Sex Ecologies, out from M.I.T. Press. It’s about the intersection of gender and climate change. I also read The Chancellor, [by Kati Marton] a biography of Angela Merkel, who’s a phenomenal inspiration. And I recently read Amy Odell’s Anna, about the life of Anna Wintour.
Any guilty pleasures?
Astrology. I've been studying it since high school. I spend a decent amount of time on astrology and forecasting for people in life—and for myself.
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A recurring theme in design critic Alexandra Lange’s work is unpacking how—and for whom—objects and spaces are designed.The Dot-Com City, and surveyed how kids’ toys and physical environments impact their development in her 2018 book, The Design of Childhood. The ways in which outdoor public spaces, with their basketball courts, playgrounds, and skate parks, fail teen girls wa story she wrote for Bloomberg CityLab—one of many publications she has contributed to over the past two-plus decades.
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Eating ramen is a multisensory experience: the fragrant steam coming off of the broth, the slurping sound of enjoying thThe Art of the Ramen Bowl” (March 18–July 5) that’s on view at the Los Angeles location of Japan House, an initiative with additional hubs in Londonburi, the porcelain receptacles in which ramen is traditionally served, and renge, the compact, teardrop-shaped spoons that often accompany them, made by 30 leading artists, architects, and designers.
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Born in Grandin, North Dakota, in 1904, the artist Clyfford Still was among the first generation of Abstract Expressioni
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In the early ’90s, artist, aesthetics expert, and writer Leonard Koren was bathing at a hot-springs resort near the Japa
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At this and at every moment, the Earth, and all the species who reside on it, are pushing through time and space, surrou
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A Fictional World Created by Toyin Ojih Odutola Calls Into Question Real-Life Systems of Power and Gender
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Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists Translate Nature’s Sonic Landscapes Into an Emotive Spectacle
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Can clothing be at once opulent and utilitarian, traditional and unexpected, ugly and sublime? Can it be both a statemenlatest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, stylist Kate Young explains the ways in which the Italian luxury fashion h
According to business coach Holly Howard, those looking to run a flourishing enterprise should begin by taking a deeper Ask Holly How, in 2012. Since then, she’s worked with more than 500 businesses and founders, guided by the belief that effective entr
Tantric Buddhist practitioners use mandalas—circular, often ornate, symbolic representations of the universe that can apMandala Lab, an interactive multi-sensorial space that opens October 1 at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art, an institution dedicated
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Since 1915, New York Public Library users in search of visual information have consulted its Picture Collection. It consists of images cut from magazines, catalogues, and books, each glued to backings and organized into folders enc
As a stylist, Kate Young has a particular affinity for well-designed things—that is, iconic items that stand the test ofknow what Cartier is. It’s sexy. It’s French. It’s sort of, always, for me, rooted in the seventies.” To kick off Season 2 oHello Fashion, her YouTube show created in collaboration with The Slowdown, the stylist walks through some of the famed French jewelr
In branding and marketing, animal imagery abounds: Lacoste’s crocodile, Bacardi’s bat, Geico’s gecko, Swarovski’s swan, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), animals appear in approximately 20 percent of all advertisements. These creatures, however, receive little to n
In Chicago, more than 10,000 city-owned lots currently sit vacant, concentrated within predominantly Black and brown comChicago Architecture Biennial in 2015. Now, as the latter biennial’s 2021 artistic director, Brown further expands upon his project, using it to info
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Floral jewelry has been a tradition of the French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels since it opened its first boutique atFlorae” (on view through November 14), presented alongside floret-filled photographs by Japanese photographer and film directo
In 1983, French photographer Simon Chaput arrived in New York City for a weeklong trip, and ended up staying for nearly –1991) in California and Japan to “The Floating Piers” (2014–2016) in Italy. Along the way, in 1984, Chaput met the artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who recognized Chaput’s love oNew York,” which he began in 1996, that chronicled the developing built environment of Lower Manhattan.
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Jonathan Chapman, a professor and director of doctoral studies at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, is intrMeaningful Stuff: Design That Lasts (M.I.T. Press), out next month, Chapman shows how unhealthy patterns of consumption can be disrupted by creating fewer, Why, psychologically, are we excited by new designs? And how can we establish better connections with the things we al
The underlying vision for “A Diagnosis of Time: Unlearn What You Have Learned,” a collaborative exhibition between the ASavannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SSCA) in Tamale, Ghana; and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (on view through November 3), is both literally and This is Not Africa: Unlearn What You Have Learned,” currently on view at ARoS through October 24, challenges stereotypical Western notions of African-ness.)
Omer Arbel, an Israeli-born, Vancouver-based artist and designer who creates boundary-defying objects and architecture, Omer Arbel (Phaidon), edited by Stephanie Rebick, an associate curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery, celebrates the depth and bread
As Paris emerges from lockdown and its streets come alive, the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, an art center Cherry Blossoms” (on view through January 2, 2022), an exhibition of expressively impastoed, large-scale oil paintings by British artistold the BBC. “My mum used to say, ‘There’s enough horror in the world. Why can’t you just paint flowers?’ So maybe she got to me.”
Los Angeles–based journalist Doree Shafrir sees beauty in the particular challenges faced by those who find their footin, pours her lighthearted yet critical perspective on her experience into Forever35, a self-care podcast she co-hosts with her longtime friend Kate Spencer, and into her new memoir, Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (& Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer (Ballantine Books), out this week. In the book, she interrogates the often overwhelming pressure that people—particular How do you start your mornings?
“Social Works,” a group exhibition that opened this week at New York’s Gagosian gallery on West 24th Street, explores space—and the m
“Clouds are not something to moan about,” Gavin Pretor-Pinney says in a 2013 TED talk. “Far from it. They are, in fact, the most diverse, evocative, poetic aspect of nature.” Pretor-Pinney, a British authoThe Idler, a magazine that extols the virtues of slowness, became fascinated with clouds after noticing them in the skies depicte
To showcase the world’s most inventive designers, the London Design Biennale invites participants who represent their coEp. 75 of our At a Distance podcast, recorded last September. “I thought, Well, who do I identify with?”
Several years ago, Claus Sendlinger began contemplating ways to address his concerns about overdevelopment in the boutiqSlow, a hospitality venture dedicated to creating places that draw upon their locations’ culture, environment, and history aagriturismo (farmhouse retreat) called La Granja. The working farm practices regenerative agriculture, and teaches visitors how it
Maxine Bédat’s New Book Traces the Lifespan of a Pair of Jeans to Illustrate the Ills of Fast Fashion
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The first Monday in May is synonymous with the Met Gala, a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume InstitutVogue. “Designers live for it.” This year, the affair hasn’t happened yet—it may happen this fall—but to mark the annual occathe eighth episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown.
To stay healthy, we know that our bodies need nourishment, hygiene, and exercise. According to those who study neuroaestEp. 34 of our At a Distance podcast) who runs the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab)—an initiative at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine that connects brain scientists with artists to Arts + Health & Wellbeing, an immersive online tool kit that offers visitors an engaging dose of art, and consequent mental fitness, from anywherEp. 11 of our Time Sensitive podcast.)
“A question I get asked a lot is, ‘How do I get your job?’” says stylist Kate Young. “That answer is complex, because pe10th episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown.
Practically everything the artist, master potter, and writer Edmund de Waal touches turns to dust. Or at least toward the idea of dust. In each of his books—2010’s The Hare With Amber Eyes, 2015’s The White Road: Journey Into an Obsession, and the just-published Letters to Camondo (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), out this week—dust serves as a profound metaphor. Throughout his work, whether in pottery or prose, de Waal explores various notions a
From a fashion perspective, the Golden Globes stands apart from other award shows for its timing: The event, during whicleft at that point,” says stylist Kate Young in the ninth episode of Hello Fashion (created with The Slowdown), noting that she usually starts working on Globes outfits around Halloween. For the episode
Julian Sancton knows a thing or two about bone-chilling temperatures. “For a while, I’ve been visiting a friend’s uncle’Departures magazine for nearly a decade. Despite the getaway’s frigid conditions, he continues, “It’s just so beautiful, and gave Belgica spent a sunless winter frozen in the Antarctic ice. Sancton traces the historic voyage, which wasn’t exactly smooth saiMadhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica’s Journey Into the Dark Antarctic Night (Penguin Random House), out this week. We recently spoke with Sancton about what he read during his research, and the ne Tell us about some of your favorite books on polar expeditions.
Arts education opportunities faded fast for kids in the learn-from-home fog of Covid-19. That’s where The Look Make Show, a new TV program by New York City’s Children’s Museum of the Arts, hopes to come in. The cartoon, of which the creatorKickstarter campaign through May 14, focuses on Rod and Coney, two rotund, charismatic artists who refuse to let the pandemic get in the way
Seasoned stylist Kate Young never arrives at any event unprepared. Whether it’s the red carpet, a shoot, or a press funcOn the seventh episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, Young shares some of the essentials she places inside every travel bag, along with insider
Debates about whether encyclopedic museums—institutions that collect and contextualize cultural artifacts across time an—should act as more than mere repositories date back decades, but have taken on a new urgency as of late. Now, institutioEp. 12 of our At a Distance podcast), tackled these topics through interviews with nearly 30 leaders, and compiled the conversations in a new book, Under Discussion: The Encyclopedic Museum (Getty Publications). We recently spoke with Grau about the future of institutions and the layered, ever-evolving narra What central issues do encyclopedic museums face today, and what prompted you to explore them?
When attending runway shows, stylist Kate Young keeps her eyes peeled for premiere dresses—gowns to be worn by actressesOn the sixth episode of her YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, Young talks about her process for selecting and securing premiere dresses, and highlights f
New York–based stylist Kate Young devotes her YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, to explaining the ins and outs of celebrity styling. Her wide-ranging explorations about whOn the series’ fifth episode, Young answers various audience questions, submitted in the comments section of her YouTube channel and on her Instagram.
The Covid-19 pandemic, by its very nature, has led to a universal turning toward—or even retreating to—home. The very noTadao Ando: Living With Light (Rizzoli), out this week, that presents 11 extraordinary residential projects designed by the Japanese architect, who has created more than 100 ho
Frustrated by the high cost of wellness in America, Brooklyn-based journalist Annie Daly set out to find meaningful alteDestination Wellness: Global Secrets for Better Living Wherever You Are (Chronicle Prism), out May 11. What may sound like a travel writer’s cushy, decidedly pre-Covid boondoggle in fact offer
Italian jewelry designer Elsa Peretti, who passed away on March 18, is a constant inspiration to stylist Kate Young’s lifourth episode of her YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, surveying some of the brilliant things Peretti made in her lifetime. Young begins by discu
The British-born, Brooklyn-based philosopher Simon Critchley has no shortage of interests. He’s written, in his refreshiThe New York Times, where he moderates its contemporary thinkers opinion forum, The Stone. For his forthcoming book, Bald (Yale University Press), out April 27, Critchley—who teaches philosophy at The New School for Social Research, and was tEp. 42 of our Time Sensitive podcast and Ep. 3 of our At a Distance podcast—compiled 35 of his favorite Times essays, forming an engaging series of short reads that suggest new ways of understanding the world. We recently spoke w
Isolating at home during the pandemic, New York–based stylist Kate Young longed for the hallmarks of awards season: fancthird episode of her new YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, she details three of her favorite awards looks: a saffron-colored Vera Wang dress, which MiBrokeback Mountain; a red Prada dress, which Selena Gomez wore to the American Music Awards on Nov. 20, 2016, when she won the Favorite FeI, Tonya.
When Goodnight Moon was first published, in 1947, the chief children’s librarian at the New York Public Library didn’t like that its story—Goodnight Moon’s honest presentation of sleep and solicitude still resonated with readers, who’ve since purchased more than 48 million