Sunday Six

Joanna's Favorites

Patti Smith: Shortly after the 2016 election, my lovely friend Christina sent me this video of Patti Smith performing Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ while graciously accepting the Nobel Prize in his honor.  It was painfully metaphorical and bittersweet to watch then, and I can’t help but revisit it now given the current state of the world.  It’s a performance I’ve watched countless times over the years, and while that may seem torturous, there is a big beam of hope in there.  Be sure to read this after you watch the performance.  

Originario Originario: My wonderful friend and bad ass businesswoman, Gina Lozada, has partnered with designer Andrés Gutiérrez on a store and gallery in Mexico City focused on contemporary objects and design.  Originario, Originario, located in Roma Norte, is filled with Andrés’s furniture designs and reinterpretations of Pre-Hispanic objects.  Color and form are Andrés’s specialty, and the shop is a true reflection of what’s currently happening in the exhilarating world of Mexican design.

My Brilliant Friend: Where do I even begin with this devastatingly gorgeous Neapolitan series, adapted from Elena Ferrante’s riveting novels set in post-war Italy. Let me start with the newly released Season 3 (episode one) and the utterly sublime Vivaldi arrangement, The Four Seasons: Spring One, recomposed by Max Richter and on constant repeat.  It’s the only thing I’ve been listening to first thing in the morning and it feels optimistic, just like spring.

Dries Van Noten film AW 2022-23: Leave it to Dries Van Noten to make sinister look chic by perfectly executing a collection inspired by erotic polaroids taken by Italian architect and photographer Carlo Mollino, found in his apartment after he passed away.  I’m so inspired by his short film for the collection, shot by Lisa Immordino Vreeland and set inside a Parisian mansion built in 1728 – covered in luscious, crumbling wallpaper that echoes the mood of the collection.  I especially love the last few minutes with Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” playing in the background, released in 1979 and still one of the sexiest songs that I never tire of listening to. 

Tantra Art by Ajit Mookerjee:  For the love of books. In the Sunday Six newsletter, I’ll be sharing some of my most treasured books and magazines that have inspired me over the decades, taken from my personal library.  At the first LA Art Book Fair in 2012 held at the MOCA, I discovered poet Franck André Jamme’s new book about tantra art published by Siglio Press. I became completely entranced with these geometric shapes known as ‘yantra’ that were painted in India.  I had yet to travel there but it became crystal clear to me that I had to pursue these ravishing, powerful works of art.  Soon after, I made my way to Delhi and Jaipur and embarked on a mission to find them, and had no idea what an epic adventure it would be.  The experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and what these tantra have brought into my life has turned into a spiritual love affair with one of the most ancient forms of Indian art.  The very first book I purchased after acquiring my first tantra is this holy grail – Tantra Art: Its Philosophy & Physics, written by the late Ajit Mookerjee, an expert in traditional arts and crafts of India. Published in 1966 by Ravi Kumar, Tantra Art is filled with plates of 11th century A.D. tantric sculptures; manuscripts; yantra paintings; and enlightening text that beautifully describes the symbolism and meanings, most simply stated as the journey to a higher consciousness.  

FMR No. 3: One of my frequent haunts in Paris is the Librairie ArtCurial on the Champs-Élysées, a quiet and meticulously curated bookstore located on the ground floor of the ArtCurial auction house.  I always discover something old or new to take home, like this 1984 issue of FMR, Franco Maria Ricci. An exceptional Italian publisher who has released some of the most magnificent books on a variety of subjects, such as tantra art and Jorge Luis Borges (more on that one in another Sunday Six), FMR combines a wide range of design periods and aesthetics to tell a story.  I adore this issue for its feature on vintage eyewear, lace, and the treasure of Saint Mark’s.