Wandering Eye: It’s all in the eyes

Editorial Staff Art


New Antiquarian sneakerheads rejoice! We’ve seen blue and white chinoiserie–inspired Vans kicking around, but nothing quite compares to these Adidas x Meissen ZX8000 Porcelain joints. The craftsmanship, heritage, and design of a three-hundred-year-old porcelain manufactory and the German footwear manufacturer combine in this homage to the World of Meissen Patterns krater vase—a vessel covered with a patchwork of 130 different patterns of varying techniques and decorative styles. A unique hand-painted pair is currently offered by Sotheby’s to benefit the Brooklyn Museum’s youth programming. File under “must cop.” (Designboom)

The Decorative Arts Trust’s inaugural Prize for Excellence and Innovation has been awarded to Craft in America, the Los Angeles–based organization behind the PBS documentary series of the same name. With the $100,000 prize, Craft in America will produce “an online video dictionary of process and technique spanning all decorative arts media that will serve as [a] free resource for researchers, art historians, students, and the general public.” (Decorative Arts Trust)

We never tire of stories about Gee’s Bend, Alabama, quiltmakers and the complex patterns of their sewn fabric works of art. The work has achieved international recognition and is currently on view at London’s Alison Jacques Gallery until early February. (Guardian)

Look in on the shop of Lebanese oud maker Nazih Ghadban and the beautifully crafted examples of the pear shaped Arabian ancestor of the guitar—”the sultan of instruments.” (Atlas Obscura)


Organizing the diverse incidents of history into a cohesive narrative—whether that’s the Grandes chroniques of the French kings, dialectical materialism, or Whig history—is often the first task of the theorist or politician. In contrast, the vernacular Weltchroniken—German illuminated manuscripts that presented the history of the world from Biblical times to the 1400s—seem to have been produced by and for pleasure seekers and nerds. (Lapham’s Quarterly)
It’s the rare review that, without recourse to thousands of words, manages to touch on everything that’s noteworthy about its subject while avoiding what’s glib or heavy handed. Treat yourself to this review of Love, Kurt: The Vonnegut Love Letters, 1941–1945, in which writer Anne Matthews deftly sketches the author and his myth, the role played by Vonnegut’s wife (and spiritual guide) Jane Cox, and the profound effect that those fiery February nights in Dresden 1945 would have on the history of twentieth century literature . . . all in only nine hundred words. (American Scholar)
The New Britain Museum of American Art is showing a remarkably complex group of works on paper created by women of the Shaker community during the mid-nineteenth century. Anything But Simple: Shaker Gift Drawings and the Women Who Made Them was organized by the Hancock Shaker Village and will be on view through January 10. Twenty-five of the two hundred extant works include one of the most recognizable Christian symbols, the Tree of Life. (Art Fix Daily)
German silk merchant Johann Christoph Volkamer had a passion for gardening and an obsession with citrus fruits, which at the time were unknown in northern Europe. In 1708 he commissioned a suite of beautiful illustrations to spread the good news of fruit. J. C. Volkamer. Citrus Fruits, a new book from Taschen, compiles them. (Guardian)
Conservators at the Morgan Library and Museum’s Thaw Conservation Center have spent the last eighteen months treating the Read Album leaves—a collection of fifty-seven Persian and Indian illustrated pages acquired by J. P. Morgan from Charles Hercules Reade in 1911. Their conservation has led to important discoveries about the artists’ materials and techniques. (Morgan Library and Museum)


If you enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit as much as we did, you’ll agree that the set designs (among other aspects of the show) are pure eye candy. Take a look with production designer Uli Hanisch, who walks us through each set of the show. (Curbed)
Here’s a thorough breakdown of miniature art nouveau model palaces, available for purchase at a wide range of prices. Some are truly exquisite! (Messy Nessy Chic)
Get a little lost on Babylon Boulevard, the byname for the avant-garde community of 1800s New York. Charles Pfaff’s underground beer hall was the place to be if you wanted to hobnob with the up-and-coming literati. (Lit Hub)
Cheers to this New York couple who recently discovered over sixty bottles of Prohibition-era whiskey hidden in the walls of their house. They knew the house’s original owner was a notorious bootlegger, but didn’t understand the extent of his industry until renovations led them to unearth bottle after bottle wrapped in paper and hay. (CNN)