December is a time for myriad emotions. We’re thankful for our families during the holidays, we’re joyous from new gadgets and presents, we take stock of what we have, we’re hopeful of the new year looming ahead, and we’re generally introspective and away of the “have-nots” of others. Donations to charities surge in the final month; not just due to the tax benefits, but also because now is the time to be generous and be aware of the inequities in the world.
Cue my sudden fascination with RxArt, based on the Lower East Side of New York City. RxArt is a non-profit organization that transforms pediatric hospital facilities into comforting and engaging spaces through site-specific installations by contemporary artists. The therapeutic potential of visual art to stimulate healing is well known, and the organization provides children and their families with creative respite from the anxiety and the pain of illness, offering hope.
This holiday season, RxArt and Nordstrom teamed up to bring an artful eye to your gift-giving experience! Decorate your apartment from your kitchen to your closet with pieces by Ryan McGinley, José Parlá, Andrew Kuo and Nate Lowman. Who says art is just for your walls? 100% of the sales proceeds benefit RxArt.
Imagine a jazzed up hospital bed on New Year’s Eve, or a more festive Christmas in the children’s ward! The organization mends the broken spirit of patients caught in that dull system or taupe colored walls. RxArt combines my love of do-goodness and contemporary art. They’re my no-brainer charity of the year.
A combed-cotton T-shirt performs a timely public service with a perturbed-feline graphic that serves as a reminder to us all: Behave, or Santa will leave a pile of coal on your head. Or choose to adorn the Christmas tree with your mother’s least favorite rejoinder. Hang a withering ‘WHATEVER!’ warning-sign ornament from your evergreen branches and you’ll have a ready-made retort every time someone asks why you aren’t married, when you’re going to get a real job or whether you are, in fact, aware of your declining fertility.
2013 might have been the year of the #selfie (another new entry into the Oxford Dictionary) but, make 2014 the year of the #unselfie. Give back.
Ever since I first saw the seemingly etched face of a woman named Lina Cavalieri dripping in black and white halftones from candles, plastered on the backs of chairs, and resting on pillowcases, I needed to learn more about this obsessive motif.
Piero Fornasetti, an Italian sculptor-cum-interior designer and renowned Milanese painter, found the face in a 19th century magazine clipping. There is something calming and curious about Cavalieri’s likeness, a modern Mona Lisa, her eyes follow you. And yet, for how many times the face has been stamped onto a plate or other objet d’art, it never becomes boring. A face, like a pattern, like a friendly sister or relative, I’ve grown close to her symmetry.
“What inspired me to create more than 500 variations on the face of a woman?” he once asked of himself. “I don’t know…I began to make them and I never stopped.” To date, Cavalieri’s ubiquitous face has been manufactured in thousands of ways. The artist crafted over 13,000 products in his lifetime which spanned 1913-1988.