Monday, 14 October 2013




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25hours Hotel in Vienna. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio


Dear Shaded Viewers,

 Last month, during MQ Vienna Fashion Week, I stayed at the quirky 25hours Hotel located at the border of Vienna's newly trendy 7th district and steps away from the wonderful MuseumQuartier (so you can get your fill of Egon Schiele AND hipster thrift shops). The 25hours Hotel reminds me of a few things: the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam--and a time-traveling Bozo the Clown on acid. But really, it's like no other hotel that I've ever stayed at.

The lively "show" mood of the hotel is right in step with many Vienna institutions: the Prater, the Opera Ball, the Life Ball and the city's many music and theater venues. The building that is now the 25hours Hotel began its life in 1971 as a 6-storey student dorm designed by architect Dr Kurt Schlauss.

25hours--a mini empire with hotels in Austria, Germany and Switzerland--opened their property in Vienna in March 2011 after being refurbished by the Viennese firm BWM Architekten und Parnter. The second phase of the hotel was unveiled in April 2013, with 219 guest rooms spanning 7 storeys--topped by the wildly popular Dachboden bar on the 8th floor.

Above: In the lobby and elevators, bars are used to evoke the animal cages at circuses. Now they're used animals! *rim shot*

Headed by Armin Fischer, the Augsburg-based design team Dreimeta was responsible for the hotel's aesthetics and design. A humorous take on the world of spectacle. Sexy and surreal fantasies inspired by Vienna's circus legacy. In 1808, a permanent circus opened in Vienna's Prater amusement park. Throughout Europe, the circus experienced its heyday in the early 20th century when it was a combination of a freak show, a chance to gawk at people from faraway lands, and vaudeville entertainment.

With this in mind, Dreimeta gathered together and revamped vintage finds from this period, without concealing the age of the pieces. They sought out memorabilia with a story to tell. "Juggling clubs, trapeze wires, chairs and desk lamps--we trawled countless flea markets, hunting and gathering," recalls Fischer. "Everything at the circus is temporary and can be put up and taken down quickly. The troupe uses the venue they find themselves in and make the best they can of it with simple means. We wanted to give the hotel an improvised feel too, while still making it seem cosy and not unfinished."




After soaking up the hotel's "Euro hipster backpackers run off and join the circus" mood, I was prepared for whatever my room was going to throw at me....Luckily, I'm not clown-phobic (unlike so many others) so I was delighted by this whimsically frenetic mural behind the bed of my rather spacious suite. I wondered what kinds of dreams I would have in this bed (nice ones, it turned out)....and would it scare off any male suitors who might find themselves in my suite...(no, thank god.)

The mural behind the bed and all of the other 19th-century circus-themed paintings in the hotel are by Berlin-based artist Olaf Hajek, one of Germany's best-known illustrators. They were my favorite element of the hotel.


 I liked how this plush blue rug was used to delineate the "living room" area of the suite....the round rug and others around the hotel are an indirect allusion to a typical circus ring.


 The office area of the suite (and there's a kitchenette, complete with dishwasher to the right, not pictured). This is a bit of a gonzo aside, but I can't hold it in: the mismatched letters and numeral 1 on the wall remind me of an obscure feud between Barneys New York's former creative director Simon Doonan and artist Jack Pierson. Pierson claimed that this style was his intellectual property and that Doonan had stolen it for displays at Barneys Co-Op.



 Even though the hotel is technically 3 stars, one of the many things that imbues an overall luxury feel are the bathrooms. My suite had a cavernous rain shower that was big enough for a circus elephant, and included copious amounts of sustainable bath products. The lighting in the bathrooms is reminiscent of a performer's dressing room (and they were flattering) and the taps have a nostalgic feel.


 The fixtures, like this stool and the waste bucket, feel like they were plucked from a circus trailer.


I don't drink soda but I love the designs of these bottles from the mini bar. What I did partake in was the complimentary tins of high-end aromatic teas that were replenished daily.




 Vintage luggage stacked and repurposed as a display for the flat-screen TV. Clever! And who could not love this turn-of-the-century clothes form.



Each room has its own mascot outside the door....I had the illustrated man snake charmer...


And who doesn't love a good transgendered trapeze artist....


 As a copywriter, I couldn't help thinking that this hotel project was some copywriter's dream job....the design of the hotel is very copy-heavy....for each room, instead of a Do Not Disturb/Please Clean My Room sign, there is a BOOK with red and green pages of 25 sometimes-witty, sometimes-annoying slogans to choose from: "it might not look like it, but it was fun"   "it's the 25h hotel. i need an extra hour."  "police crime scene. move on."   "still naked."   "imagine the rolling stones stayed in the room."   And so on.



 The top floor is the very spacious Dachboden bar and the circus-cum-hipster eclectic decorating theme continues in full force...


 Out on the deck, it's all about the view....on a clear day you can see Maria von Trapp.


 Another view...lovely Vienna....


Normally, hipster vinyl-only DJ booths get on my nerves, but as this is Europe, the taste level is higher and more discerning than in tired America. Case in point: Ennio Morricone's magnificently languid soundtrack for the film VERUSCHKA is displayed totem-like in it should be.



 The spacious and airy restaurant at 25hours, 1500 FOODMAKERS, has a great look, if you love ecleticism (as I often do). The pizza is so good, you'll almost forgive the restaurant's ill-advised official slogan, "Fuck it, eat pizza."


 Mirror mayhem in 1500 FOODMAKERS.


 The hotel at night....I probably took this photo when I was returning from one of my wurst and/or Kaiserbründl runs....


 The 25hours is just spitting distance from Spittelberg, that tiny, charming, cobblestoned Biedermeier festooned pedestrian district that was once--horrors!--a red-light district. Now, for better or worse, you can buy postmodern dirndls by Austrian designer Lena Hoschek and the kind of vintage '70s clothing that Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern first shopped for at a hippie boutique called "Shot Down in Ecuador, Jr." circa 1973.


 Me doing my imitation of Christ routine in Spittelberg...


 The many charms of Spittelberg...this is basically how I feel inside when my appetite is rampaging Godzilla-like through Europe....



Thanks for reading. I had a marvelous stay at 25hours....danke schön.


Glenn Belverio



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Tuesday, 08 October 2013

Auguri!!Happy birthday Diane!!Stefania


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XX_60 copy











Dear Diane

I was recently introduced to the work of Los Angeles based artist Vincent Ruiz-Abogado. The sculptures from his series ROCKS AND BOXES are deceptively simple and darkly alluring. Their size allows you to get quite close. But proximity does not betray the illusion. These resin cardboard casts are supremely detailed down to perforated edges and the echos of stamps. It is only with Vincent's more traditionally sculputral Rock elements (and their chiseled holes that you can't quite see the end of) that the viewer is tipped off to the fact that something subtly poetic is happening. 




Vincent was able to sit down with Glassell Park based artist, collector, and curator Tony Payne on behalf of ASVOF for a brief Q and A... 


I know that when our mutual friend George Stoll saw an older sculpture of yours, he made a point of encouraging you to keep working - what was it that was inspiring about his viewpoint?

"Sculpture was the first type of art that I remember really being drawn to as a kid and the first thing I explored- so when George told me he liked that piece it kind of took me back to the beginning, like it reconnected me and I started making more- he's been a huge inspiration."




You were initially intrigued by mountains and it was that exploration that manifested in this current body of work Rocks and Boxes. What is it about mountains that is of interest to you?

"Mountains are so primal, raw and gargantuan- I think I just wanted to find a way to capture that."


Tom Peters** (important long time LA art world supporter and grass roots collector), a friend, was also very supportive and helpful from the start - was there anything in particular that encouraged or motivated you?

"Tom was harassing me to finish these pieces every time I saw him- literally- and I really appreciate him for it."



Did this project finalize your interest in resin or is that something you will continue to explore?


"I want to make so much more with resin- it's an amazing material that can capture so many types of texture."


Is it pure sculpture that inspires you or are you influenced by other types of media or artists?

"No, not just sculpture inspires me but most of my favorite artists make sculpture- Paul McCarthy , Charles Ray , Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Wall , and Philip Guston among others." 









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The Golden Colonnade by Upperstudio Text Domenico Principato

Dear Diane,  Dear shaded viewers, 

“The Golden Colonnade” by Upperstudio is an art installation that features a reflective golden column created for the Vilnius Street Art Festival 13 in Lithuania.


The piece explores the trans-formative possibilities of applying a reflective material to one out of six of Vilnius town hall columns, by firstly covering it with plastic layer in order to protect the surface of column and then wrapping it in luminous golden paper lining.





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Monday, 07 October 2013

Sneak Peek: Michael Sailstorfer, enfant-terrible

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Today, a sneak peak at an upcoming November exhibition that can elicit a literal, "this has never happened before".

Michael Sailstorfer will be making his debut solo exhibition in Dubai exclusively at Carbon 12 Dubai.


Carbon 12 Dubai - Michael Sailstorfer - Zeit ist keine Autobahn Friedrichshafen - Tyre, iron, electric motor - 95 x 65 x 80cm - unique - 2010 - photo courtesy of Paul Silberberg

Time is not a motorway, 2010, A tire which spins itself into the wall, self destructing, "going nowhere fast"


Michael Sailstorfer could be considered either the enfant-terrible or the new voice of a long-line of German contemporary art. His wabi-sabi aesthetic often deals with space, motion and how we function in the world. He is resourceful: he utilizes the day-to-day, decrepit, oft-overlooked functional objects as his materials. He is also naughty: he decontextualizes these materials, reassigning them physical qualities that simultaneously incite wonderment and fear while keeping the palette of decay in the shiny new-ness of his incarnations. Sailstorfer uses his mind through his hands (a tendency since his childhood), deconstructing, tinkering, reassembling with a youthful curiosity, “what happens if…” The results are playful, pure in form… but functionally useless. Yet their wabi-sabi nature does not take away from the works, rather, it reinforces the poetry within the purity (albeit mischievousness) of his latest exhibition, Try to reach the goal without touching the walls (November 18 - January 7).

A preview of the press release:

This is the kind of ride you take Saturday afternoon, weary from the night before, where everything seems to be going wrong. The video you’re recording is upside down (Welttour, 2003), the steering wheel isn’t turning the way it should (Lenkrad, 2012)… this journey seems like one giant endless maze-like track (Maze, 2012-13). The absurdity is laughable. But at least your partner-in-crime is entertaining you with song (Welttour).


Sailstorfer may play games, egging us on, but this is serious play; he takes that extra step: his art smacks you in the face… gently. His manipulation of juxtaposition plays with you as much as he plays with his materials. The charm of the simplicity of his works oscillates between the beauty of the forms and palette, and the realization that the materials display physical qualities they should not possess, simultaneously absurd and threatening. However, perhaps the best way to epitomize the “Sailstorfer-ness” of Sailstorfer, is to consider his Pulheim Grant.

Upon receiving a 10, 000€ grant, he exchanged it for the equivalent in gold coins and bars and buried them in a field in Pulheim, Germany in August 2009. Whether encouraging “relational art”, stirring up cultural interest, or just instigating a frenzy… Sailstorfer then invited the public to go and “dig for gold.”

But then, just when you think you’ve figured it out, an artist masterfully playing with the perceptions of physics, the boundaries of materials, emotional polarity by inciting a dichotomy of fear and delight… Sailstorfer reminds you, that story, behind his works? Just a story. And you bought it.  

Oh, Michael Sailstorfer, you naughty boy, you.


Sternschnuppe video3  Sternschnuppe video4

Shooting Star, 2002, In an effort to impress a girlfriend by capturing her a shooting star, he transformed his Mercedes into a catapault for streetlights


Maze_50_0106 copy
Maze 50, 2012-13, A reference to bad-boy behaviour of creating donuts in a parking lot


Berlin-based German artist (b. 1979) active since 2001. Sailstorfer is represented by multiple international galleries and exhibits in the Americas and heavily across Europe, with works in private and public collections including the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Sammlung Goetz (Munich), and S.M.A.K. (Gent).

Til next time,

Katrina, the Dubai-side 


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Saturday, 05 October 2013


Dear Diane , dear shaded viewers,

RinAscita is the next perfomance by Thomas De Falco, which will be  held at Les Copains Atelier  .

The work of  Thomas De Falco , follows the artist's tradition of textile wrapping, mediated with  the oldest art of tapestry: the weaving of the frame.

 In this new perfomance RinAscita : the protagonists are the bodies of  two women and a man d united by the leakage of the wrapping , from their mouths and from their  heads, the wrapping "material" will eventually cover their entire bodies.

The artist will direct his actors like a chef orchestre. Initially the subjects will be motionless inside a plexiglas  box , accompanied by  a  violin, along with a slow movement and a mutation.

In addition there will be a  retrospective of textile sculptures by  the artist.

 Atelier  Les Copains , is a project  and space for contemporary art to promote young talents, curators and gallerists Gloria Maria Cappelletti and Fabrizio Meris are their guides.

Thomas perfomance





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Thursday, 03 October 2013


Dear Shaded Viewers,

The evening began with a screening of Paul Greengrass's CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, starring Tom Hanks. The dangerous high seas of Somali pirates jangled our nerves as we, afterwards, mounted buses that took us to The Harvard Club to celebrate not only the film, but the nervy, bold and surprising festival that was about to follow. More to come on that.



Getting Ready.


The grand reception at the Harvard Club.


Endless champagne.

Photos by my date for the evening Dolly Meieran

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