We may be skirting ankle-deep curbsides of slush and scraping Mesozoic layers of ice off windshields, but Aussies are currently enjoying the heady heat of summer, probably planning what to throw on their barbies Monday (that’s the national holiday Australia Day, the equivalent of our Fourth of July). To commemorate in Chicago, the 16th floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower is hosting an Australian Day Marketplace on Sunday, January 23, from 1–5 p.m., with aboriginal art, live music, wine and food samplings, jewelry, crafts, and home design products from vendors such as Urban Source, who will be introducing a new collection of wallpaper and giving away two Florence Broadhurst pillows to a lucky winner. Broadhurst was a larger-than-life Aussie Auntie Mame character who dabbled in showbiz and fashion design before making an indelible imprint as a textile and wallpaper designer, and ended up the victim of an unsolved murder. (The 2007 Helen O’Neill bio is a dishy read, and ripe for a bio-pic.) Tickets for Sunday’s walkabout are $60 at the door, or $45 if you register for this g’day in advance. Proceeds benefit Chicago’s Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.
Anarchy in the Streets
It’s rather exciting to watch the recent, rapid growth spurt of vintage antiques-props-art dealer Architectural Anarchy, especially with the latest development, a pop-up curated exhibition called Art & Artifacts, opening tomorrow night in downtown Chicago at 205 South State Street, from 6–10 p.m. The show, hosted by the Chicago Urban Art Society, will consist of salvaged artifacts, industrial revelations, modern art, and furniture, and will remain on view until the end of March. AA has been on my radar and catching my eye since owners Gosia Korsakowski and William Rawski set up a small booth at Andersonville’s Galleria; in December they expanded to a 7,400-square-foot retail space in Pilsen (while still juggling the Galleria ball in the air) and now, this. They also sell and ship smaller items such as this wire bingo cage (oh come on, you’ll think of somewhere to put it) through an Etsy store, and have been featured in Elle Décor, Blueprint, Martha Stewart, and Food & Wine magazines.
Art Lands Smart in Mart
Another entreprenuerial aesthete is local furniture maker and artist Jordan Goodman of JG Custom Design, who has partnered with art curator Robert Casterline, founder of Aspen’s Museum Works Galleries, to open a 12,000-square-foot showroom on the 18th floor of the Merchandise Mart, Suite 1850. Called Museum Works Galleries, it proposes a hat trick of services: secondary-market art dealing of established, investment level artists such as Ed Ruscha, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol; rotating shows of contemporary painting and sculpture up-and-comers; and the highly refined metal and wood tables, shelving, housewares, and seating created by Mr. Goodman. There’s a celebratory shindig next Thursday, January 27, from 6:30–9 p.m. RSVP to Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was floored last week when Barneys New York announced that Simon Doonan was no longer to be serving as the brand’s creative director. No more of those fantastically kitschy window displays, or Dorothy Parker–style rants and ruminations from my favorite impish spokesman? Say it ain’t so, Barneys! After a few yoga breaths and a few more lines of the press release, I calmed down when I realized that he’s merely morphed into the newly created position of Creative Ambassador-at-Large for the company, and will remain (and perhaps increase his time) in the public eye as a spokesman, host, and arbiter of social media. Dennis Freedman, a longtime creative director (most recently at W magazine), is stepping into Doonan’s dapper shoes as the company’s creative director, responsible for the worldwide image of everything from advertising to visual merchandising to store design, including that of our own splendid Oak Street anchor and northside Barneys Co-Op. We shop and shout about Barneys kicky, high-styling home goods all the time, including those of Doonan’s husband Jonathan Adler, and often wonder what Simon has to say on trends (he gives good bons mots), so I’m relieved to hear the kid stays in the picture.
Blooms With a View
It’s a great pleasure in these drab winter days to visit one of the Chicago Park District’s conservatories. Stepping into fragrant, humid air from a subzero sidewalk is like a tropical vacation and spa visit rolled into one, and the price—FREE—is right for any budget. Both the Lincoln Park Conservatory (pictured here) and its sister sweet spot the Garfield Park Conservatory are petalling full speed this month with the openings of their annual spring flower shows. Lincoln Park’s exhibit, opening this Saturday, January 22 and running through May 8, will spotlight azaleas that are descendants of those introduced in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition. Over at Garfield Park, the flower power starts the following week, January 29, and will bridge the lengthy show schedule by transitioning from azaleas to hydrangeas to Easter lilies.
Photograph: (Greenhouse) Courtesy of Chicago Park District