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Aug. 9, 2007 

One sensation of the booming art-and-design market has been the bronze jewelry, buttons and accessories designed by Line Vautrin (1913-1997), who opened her first boutique in Paris in 1938 and eventually expanded to a grand 18th-century house on the Marais. Inspired by ancient civilizations as well as bohemian French verse, Vautrin made jewelry that is romantic and dreamlike, and that was collected by the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Françoise Sagan and Ingrid Bergman.

Since the mid-‘80s, one of Vautrin’s great collectors has been Anne Bokelberg, who is now putting her collection on the block at Christie’s Paris on Nov. 26, 2007. Some 160 lots are offered, from a 1947 gilded bronze necklace in the form of a garland with hearts and small figures of Adam and Eve (est. €3,000-€4,000) to her signature round mirrors from the ‘50s with sunburst frames encrusted with jewels and glass (est. €15,000-€20,000). For further info, see

Entrepreneur Susan Hancock made millions in 2001 selling a database company she developed with her husband to Barry Diller, and has dedicated herself to collecting art ever since (earlier this year, she was profiled by the New York Times, which reported that she spent $230,000 at the Armory Show). Now, Hancock is opening her own art space in Los Angeles’ Culver City Art District to showcase her collection, a 10,000-square-foot facility designed by the Chelsea-based team of Lesley Chi and Takaya Goto

But Hancock plans more than just an art showroom. Dubbed Royal/T, her space includes the United States’ first "maid bar," with waitresses dressed in custom-designed French Maid uniforms to give the bar a "Lolita-esque touch." Popular attractions in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood, a hotbed of anime and computer shops, maid bars typically feature the kind of kinky décor associated with Japanese comic-book culture. (A "maid bar," the iMaid Café, opened in Toronto last year.)

At Royal/T, the maid bar is designed to reflect "the interior realm of fantasy that strongly influences the artists included in Hancock’s collection." Royal/T also has a chic "VIP room" and a "hidden bar," and is offering a range of branded products, including tea and coffee blends created specifically for the space. During the day, the gallery staff will be on hand to speak to school groups about the influence of anime on American pop culture (it is not clear whether this is the same staff who will be wearing the maid outfits.)

And, oh yes, there is the art. Hancock’s collection is said boast pieces by Ghada Amer, Stephan Balkenhol, Louise Bourgeois, Cecily Brown, Yayoi Deki, Tracy Emin, Tom Freidman, Mark Grotjahn, Jim Hodges, Mitsuhiro Ikeda, Mike Kelly, Izumi Kato, Hideaki Kawashima, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Chris Ofili, Mitsuhiro Okamoto, Elizabeth Peyton, Richard Prince, Wilhelm Sasnal, Aya Takano, Yuken Teruya, Fred Tomaselli, Piotr Uklanski, Keisuke Yamamoto and Lisa Yuskavage. Royal/T opens in December. More info at

The first exhibition devoted entirely to unique jewelry hand-made by artist Alexander Calder debuts at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach next winter. "Calder Jewelry," Feb. 23-June 15, 2008, presents approximately 100 objects, from bracelets and brooches to earrings and tiaras. Typically, Calder made the objects as gifts for family and friends, and the show includes items originally owned by Pilar Miró (Joan Miró’s wife), Teeny Matisse Duchamp (Marcel Duchamp’s wife), Jeanne Buñuel (Luis Buñuel’s wife) and Bella Chagall (Marc Chagall’s wife).

The show is organized by Norton Museum adjunct curator Mark Rosenthal and Calder Foundation director Alexander S.C. Rower, the artist’s grandson. The exhibition subsequently appears at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (July 12-Oct. 19, 2008), the Metropolitan Museum (Dec. 8, 2008-Mar. 1, 2009) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (Mar. 31-June 22, 2009). It is accompanied by a book published by Yale University Press (270 pp., $65).

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum has organized a survey of the Rococo that extends the opulently decorative 18th-century French style up to contemporary design. "Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730-2008," Mar. 7-July 6, 2008, traces the pleasure-seeking esthetic from its origins in Paris following the reign of Louis XV through its revival in early 19th-century England and its arguable reinterpretation by Art Nouveau, Streamline Moderne and contemporary art and design practitioners. Objects in the show range from Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier’s silver tureen and platter, decorated by shell, crayfish and vegetable forms, to a pale green, blown-glass sconce by Dale Chihuly. The exhibition is organized by Cooper-Hewitt curators Sarah D. Coffin, Gail S. Davidson and Ellen Lupton, along with guest-curator Penelope Hunter-Stiebel.

No one likes to be stuck with a construction site out their window, but with lower Manhattan experiencing huge amounts of rebuilding and construction -- the area is still springing back from 9/11 -- the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is trying to liven things up with a little art-and-design magic. The LMCC’s project "Re:Construction" seeks to "recast construction sites as ‘canvasses’ for innovative art and architecture."

Three pilot projects are currently up and running. GRO ArchitectsBest Pedestrian Bridge, located at John and Broadway, creates a dynamic slanting walkway that channels pedestrian traffic around worksites, playing on the graphic symbols of construction. A second project at Fulton Street and Broadway, by the Venezuelan architecture and new media team of Carolina Cisneros, Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena and Mateo Pintó, incorporates an eclectic variety of construction-site materials, including flashing lights and colored webbing, into a "living mural" that is assembled in conjunction with a "virtual" construction space called Fulton Fence. The final work, by the graphic designer Tattfoo Tan, covers concrete construction barriers on Broadway between Ann and John with an orange zebra-stripe pattern, playing on notions of the "concrete jungle."

Sanford Smith’s 22nd annual Modernism fair, subtitled "A Century of Style & Design, 1905-2005," opens at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan, Nov. 16-19, 2007. Exhibitors hail from nine countries and 11 U.S. states, and include Philippe Denys (Belgium), Dansk Møbelkunst (Denmark), Didier Antiques (England), Aero (Finland), C. Thibaut-Pomerantz (France), and Donzella, Drucker Antiques, Jason Jacques, Lost City Arts, Macklowe, Mark McDonald, Todd Merrill, Mondo Cane, Liz O’Brien and Staley-Wise (all New York City). The gala preview on Nov. 15 benefits the Brooklyn Museum. Winners of the Modernism / Brooklyn Museum Awards are Wendell Castle (lifetime achievement) and Jonathan Adler (young designer). For more details, see

Among the many design events scheduled for Miami Beach during Art Basel Miami Beach in early December is the debut of the catalogue raisonné for the self-described "furniture architect" Poul Kjærholm (1929-80), known for sleek glass-and-steel designs as well as his use of woven cane. The Furniture of Poul Kjærholm: Catalogue Raisonné is published by Gregory R. Miller & Co. in collaboration with R 20th Century and Sean Kelly Gallery, and is available at both galleries at Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach, respectively. The 224-page book, which retails at $90, is authored by American architect Michael Sheridan, with photographs by Keld Helmer-Petersen. Advance copes are also available at DAP/Distributed Art Publishers.

The 14th Annual International Sculpture Objects & Functional Art (SOFA) in Chicago, Nov. 2-4, 2007, went off without a hitch, according to the organizers. Some 34,000 visitors attended the fair at Navy Pier over the weekend, and strong sales were reported by the 100 participating dealers, including Ann Nathan Gallery (Chicago), Donna Schneier (New York), Duane Reed Gallery (St. Louis), Heller Gallery (New York), Holsten Gallerie ( Stockbridge, Mass.), Jane Sauer Gallery (Santa Fe), Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art (Kansas City, Mo.), Sienna Gallery (Lenox, Mass.) and Wexler Gallery (Philadelphia).

The French sculptor Philippe Anthonioz (b. 1953), who happens to be the nephew of Charles de Gaulle, is known among design afficionados for his elegant cast bronze furniture, balustrades and chandeliers, as well as for abstract plaster sculptures that have a School of Paris feel. Collectors of his furniture range from the Musée Picasso to Bill Gates and Eric Clapton, and he has designed sculptural presentations for an exhibition of jewelry for Chanel.

This month, Anthonioz is opening simultaneous exhibitions in France and England. A group of new sculptures that mix plant and geometrical forms appears at Galerie Tino Zervudachi in Paris, Nov. 22, 2007-Jan. 5, 2008, while new furniture designs, marked by flaring lines reminiscent of Diego Giacometti, goes on view at Lefevre Fine Art in London, Nov. 15-Dec. 14, 2007. The works are priced at €6,000-€30,000. For more details, see

Last month, director Stuart Horodner came up with a novel fund-raising idea for the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. "Do Hit! A Smashing Fundraiser" sold patrons the opportunity to take a swing with a sledgehammer at the metal Droog Design chair in the exhibition, "Finding Form," Oct. 5-Dec. 22, 2007. Droog has designed the particular piece of furniture as a large steel box that the owner bangs into shape using a special sledgehammer that comes with the deal. The event was a success, raising $2,900 and also winning an eight-minute spot on CNN. Scott Reilly of Retromodern donated the Droog Design chair for the event. For more info, see

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