Friday, January 18, 2013


Mickalene Everywhere

It's been a while since I last updated this blog. I've missed doing it and I certainly appreciate all the emails and notes asking for new posts. The thing is, I have been extremely busy and because I don't use ghost writers nor I delegate/lend my voice to anyone, I'm the only one who could write these entries.  The good news is, I will start posting again. So, without further ado, here's to a new cycle of this blog!

And what a better way to start a new cycle than with Mickalene Thomas? I have always loved her works; either being her magnificent mixed-media on wood pieces, her sexy collages or her compelling photography.  Besides having an extraordinary technique,  Mickalene explores that fantastic world of the 70s, the disco music, the afro queens and rooms with crazy colored floors, patterned fabric upholsteries and wallpapers –all covered in rhinestones-. The past months have been emotionally intense for Mickelene who had a baby with her wife, Carmen McLeod, and who also lost her most important muse, her mother, Sandra Bush. 

On the other hand, the last few months have also been of unparalleled success to Mickalene: multiple exhibitions -some of which I had the fortune to attend to- starting with a solo show "Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe" that traveled (and expanded) from the Santa Monica Museum to the Brooklyn Museum, to a much smaller show happening in parallel at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, to two major exhibitions at Lehmann Maupin's Chelsea and Lower East Side locations in NYC, both of which were called “How to Organize a Room Around a Striking Piece of Art” (a title that incidentally reflects so much what I do in my day-to-day with my clients) . These images don't do justice, and for those who have seen the depth and richness of Mickalene's pieces, you know what I'm talking about. However, it's with great joy that I honor the beauty and passion of the incomparable Ms. Thomas - and yes, I have two of her smaller pieces and yes, I do recommend her work to my bold, happy, opinionated and strong clients (and readers).

The show at the Brooklyn Museum
Collages at the Brooklyn Museum
Mickalene is so creative that she even got a patchwork
of fabrics sewn to cover the museum benches
Masterpiece: Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe: les trois femmes noires, 2010.
Lehmann Maupin Chrystie Street

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Lifestyling®’s Top Ten of 2011

Sometimes it’s truly difficult for me to choose the artist that I love the most or single out one of my projects or experiences as “the best”.  Particularly, since I get to live a creative life and pretty much give shape and direction to my brand, business and projects, I must say that I approach every day expecting “the best” and most of the time, it turns out to be so. 

This year, however, I feel that many of my dreams have crystallized and that I have paved the way (with the help of extraordinary team members, staff, supporters, family and friends) for an amazing 2012 and many more years ahead.
With a lot of trouble, and because I’m kind of like an editor/curator, I picked my top 10 events of 2011 and summarized them below:

1. Being featured on Gwyneth Paltrow’s “GOOP”: Gwyneth is an inspirational woman who is nothing but amazing inside and out.  She’s creative, resourceful, smart, honest, nurturing and 100% authentic.  I could not have been more honored or flattered when I had the chance to guest edit her popular blog/newsletter “GOOP” for an entry on “Designing with Contemporary Art”.  It was, overall, an extraordinary experience and the article turned out to be a very comprehensive yet approachable guide on collecting and living with contemporary art.

2. Blogging for What can I say that hasn’t been said about Forbes?  I wrote two articles for them; one on collecting art and one on branding/entrepreneurship and they both went viral on the internet.  Wow!

5. Launching LivinArt™ as a separate division inside Lifestyling® and having had one of 
the top producers of Sotheby’s International Realty sponsor the event in one of the
brokerage’s trophy apartments overlooking Madison Square Park.

6. Interviewing the extraordinary contemporary artist Flavia  Da Rin: Flavia is a fabulous  
sought-after talent who at the same time is humble, sweet, caring and beyond
smart. Featuring her in my blog was an honor and a pleasure. Bravo, Flavia, for the
career you have built!

5. Having one of my projects on the cover of “DCASA” magazine, one of the most prestigious interior design magazines in Brazil (plus an entire eight-page spread inside!)

6. Getting a Thanksgiving feature in Latina Magazine!

7. Having “Frida’s World”, our Frida Kahlo App for kids, selected as one of the top Apps of 2011 by Time Out Magazine in London and also widely endorsed and promoted through social media by the two museums that host the largest collection of Frida Kahlo’s works: The Dolores Olmedo Museum and the Frida Kahlo Museum.

8. Running the “Living with Art” series for SoHo House in NYC: from visiting the studios of some of the coolest and most sought-after artists to getting an installation in a luxury empty apartment in Chelsea, organizing this series and working with the SoHo House people was one of the highlights of 2011.

9. Being widely featured by 85Broads as part of their CEO Roundup, hosting a jam session for them, guest-editing Janet Hanson’s (85Broads founder and CEO) blog and having an event to introduce my company to the networks’ “Power Circle”.

10. Art Basel Miami Beach, 2011: people might criticize AMBM and trash the whole experience: too much partying, too much money, too blingy, too crazy…  The truth is that the art is always amazing, cutting-edge, revelatory or simply beautiful (although some years it pleases my eye more than others) and the parties are optional (hello! I always welcome the opportunity to go to different events, cocktails and parties after a long day walking miles and miles of hallways filled with art); the new fairs are gaining a lot of traction and bringing fresh blood to the art scene, more collectors are opening the doors of their homes for people to enjoy their collections, Miami has changed enormously and the way people are acquiring and experiencing art has taken a very different direction than the way it was 10 years ago. Resisting this change isn’t going to prevent it from happening.
I just want to finish by saying THANK YOU to all my amazing clients, supporters, followers, readers, fans, facebookers, tweets, friends, family etc., for always being there, for pushing me to be better and for contributing to the fulfilling venture that is to take my company to the next level.  Looking forward to an exceptional 2012!

Friday, December 9, 2011


Art Basel Miami Beach - 10th Anniversary and Counting!

The 10th Edition of Art Basel Miami Beach meant a whole lot more than marking the extraordinary fact that a decade has passed and ABMB has grown to be the most important art fair in the world, in one of the most exciting settings for contemporary art.

Blah, Blah, Blah by Mel Bochner. 

 I come every year and find the fair and the surrounding events to be the perfect and sometimes contradictory mix of culture, fantasy, discovery, glam and bling. But what is really the most important accomplishment of these past ten years is what Art Basel has done for Miami as a city, community and now, as an international art center. It has developed into a truly unparalleled conglomerate of new hotels, shops, restaurants, galleries and artist studios that are pulsating and vibrating year-round.

The most famous German couple in the contemporary art world: Eva & Adele

The main fair was nothing short of spectacular. I loved the early vernissage and the opportunity to see and buy art before the best pieces were snatched by frantic collectors who, like many of my clients, have turned art into their most prized investment-- emotionally and financially sound assets that they appreciate and love to live with.

Jonathan Meese's Revolution

Conceptual art was a strong theme that I saw in many of the ABMB exhibiting galleries and some of the ancillary shows like the one at the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO) and de la Cruz family’s private collection. Generally, I like and understand conceptual art because I love to fill up blank spaces with my own ideas or even make up interpretations in my mind. However, as someone driven by aesthetic, beauty, colors, symbols and graphics, particularly given the nature of what I do, extreme conceptual art is not my thing.

An entire collection! Photomontage by Martha Rossler

For the first time ABMB offered Art Video, a new section comprised of different features, including artistic short films and videos outside the convention center projected on a giant screen designed by Frank Ghery. The section also featured small pods inside the fair where attendees could sit and wear headphones and experience amazing videos, among which there were collaborations with Gagosian Gallery, White Cube and the Whitney Museum. I think this is a great way for ABMB to introduce video art to the public and also help new collectors get their feet wet (it is not the easiest to collect).

Tracey Emin's Neon from her latest series

In the party realm, I must say that this year's soirees went above and beyond the expected. My favorite parties were the one under an oceanside tent at SoHo Beach House and The Hole Gallery party at the Delano gardens, with the Salem band concert and performance taking place on a stage by the pool (and inside too!). Jeff Deitch threw a MOCA Beach Party at the Raleigh, while Cartier honored Beatriz Milhazes and ArtNexus had its traditional fête, also at SoHo Beach House, complete with a fashion show by the pool. There were so many others; it will be impossible for me to recap them here.

The tent at SoHo Beach House for the party

Michelle Grey from SoHo House and I at the event. (Picture courtesy of Billy Farrel Agency)

ABMB has really changed the contemporary art landscape and the way that many people and collectors experience and buy art. I'm looking forward to the next 10 years and to see art transform people's lives and homes in a positive and impactful way.

In the meantime, here is a list of my standouts:


• Works on canvas by Cuban artist Jose Bedia at Snitzer

• Large-scale and never-before released Keith Haring works on paper at Gladstone Gallery

• Tracey Emin new neon series at Lehmann Maupin

• William Kentridge paper panels at Marian Goodman

• Arturo Herrera collages at Sikkema Jenkins

• Martha Rossler's Photomontage at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

• Simon Evans mixed media works at James Cohan

• Elmgreen & Dragset installation at Emmanuel Perrotin

• Jonathan Meese's large-scale canvas at Contemporary Fine Arts (Berlin)


• Mark Fox's mixed media and collages at Larisa Goldston
• Andrew Schoultz's gold leaf flags at Marx & Zavattero


• Jan Albers's acrylic panels at Van Horn

• Eddy Martinez's canvases at The Hole

• Barb Choit's "I Heart My Attitude Collection" store at the Dumbo Arts Center

• Adam McEwen rabbit sculpture at Cumulus Studios

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Barcelona, la Bella!

I took this picture from my hotel room: Paseo de Gracia, the heart of Barcelona.

Recently I spent some time in Barcelona and was so taken by it, I could not believe it had been years since I was last there….Barcelona is one of those rare cities that seems to have it all- extraordinary restaurants, amazing architecture, great museums, glorious design, wonderful shopping, cool galleries, beautiful people, an incredibly hot nightlife, some of the best street art that I have experienced and an amazing beach….

The streets of El Born, chic and misterious.

If I could, I would spend so much more time roaming the streets of El Barrio Gotico (the oldest and most well-preserved in Europe), El Born and El Raval because it feels that the maze of streets is never ending, and there are tons of treasures just waiting to be discovered.

Barcelona is all about architechture and design.  The stairs that lead to Montjuic (one of the two mountains that surround Barcelona) are breathtaking!

A playground on the streets of San Pere. 

Street Art in El Raval.  The magic of Miss Van (who moved from Paris to Barcelona to be able to get her creative juices flowing) is forever imprinted on this door.

Since the pictures I took speak for themselves, I just wanted to give my top ten recommendations in galleries + design shops and although I don’t write about food, I do love to eat, so there was no way I was going to leave my fave restaurants/bars out of this post.

If you go to Barcelona, the operative word is “enjoy! Or better said “que t'ho passis bé!”

At the installation of Japanese artist Yoshi Sislay for Vinçon

In Barcelona, everything is about innovative style, design and art.  This mural impacted me so much...  It was at the Bimba & Lola store in the Paseo de Gracia.

Top Ten Galleries/Design Stores:

1. Galeria Hartman: : Mostly cutting edge photography but they also represent a few artists that work with other media. I have never loved watercolors but the works of Ramon Sanmiquel are so impressive, I could not take my eyes off of them.

Princess, by Ramon Sanmiquel

2. Galeria Mito This is a super cool gallery that represents artists who push the envelope. I really liked most of what they have because it’s all colorful, vibrant and with a sense of humor. Pop surrealism, street art, “lowbrow art” (is there really such thing?), that’s the kind of art that they have and I love it!

The show of Erik Mark Sandberg at Galeria Mito

3. Galeria Safia: Great installations, great events, great atmosphere and great mid-career and emerging artists. What else can you ask for?

4. MasART Galeria Emerging artists from around the world populate the roster of this cool space always at the forefront of contemporary art.

5. N2 Galeria: From street artists to installations and everything in between, N2 Galeria has an extraordinary selection. I’m particularly in love with the works of native Barcelonan street artist, Sixeart.

6. Raíña Lupa A very well curated “prints and editions” gallery with some of the most interesting photography works that I have seen in a long time.

7. Galeria 3 Punts Offers as very good selection of local and international established, mid-career and young artists. I like that they work with a few artists whose main focus is sculpture, and that gives a lot of depth and a whole different angle to the shows they curate.

8. Vinçon The mecca of design (and everything in Barcelona IS about design) if Vinçon has it, it’s either a true design classic or about to become one!

Inside Vinçon

9. El Ingenio When I entered this store, I didn’t know if it was creepy or fantastic until it dawned on me that it has been in the Barrio Gotico for more than 160 years (that’s right, 160 years) and that it is as magical as it can be. All sorts of masks, costumes, giant dolls…simply impressive and worth a visit.

El Ingenio, both magical and a little creepy.

10. Cha Cha home of small objects, cups, plates, tea sets and a lot of cool stuff, all with a very innovative design inspired by Barcelona itself.

The super popular "Casa Lolo" series at Cha Cha in El Born.

*Bonus: Ivo & Co : this one not a gallery and not a design store per se, but such a beautifully curated shop in El Born, that it also had to get its place of honor here; vintage finds, signs, pottery, chandeliers, retro wallpapers (and across the street from the main store, Ivo opened a children's branch with the same vintage/retro feel).  Inspiring. 

The kids' branch of Ivo & Co.


1. Tapas 24 We went to this place six times because all they have is so amazingly good, so unpretentious (and actually so unhealthy!) This is a Carlos Abella restaurant (he is one of the most famous chefs in Barcelona) and it has a great sidewalk space. A++

2. Comerc 24 The high-end version of Tapas 24… Carlos Abella, a disciple of Ferran Adrià, is a master of small, high-end tapas that are so amazing and so flavorful… a beautifully designed place and an iconic Barcelona dining spot.

3. Banker’s Bank The Mandarin Oriental in the Paseo de Gracia is a stunningly designed hotel which used to a bank. Patricia Urquiola, who is the hottest interior designer in Spain (some would venture to say in Europe) designed the Mandarin and also the Banker’s Bar. The cocktails are to die for.

The Mandarin Oriental, entirely designed by that genius that is Patricia Urquiola

4. Drolma : Michelin star, fancy, beautiful, the best bread we have eaten in our lives!

5. Bar Mut: A fantastic, inventive tapas place with one of the best wine lists that I have crossed paths with!

6. Cal Pep Traditional tapas bar, so cool and so authentic. The place to be is the front bar. Pep, the owner, is usually there, hanging out with everybody, laughing and telling jokes.

7. Eclipse Bar At the top of the W Hotel. Food and drinks are ok, but the view is worth all the money in the world!

From the top of Eclipse at the "W" Hotel

8. Tickets After Ferran Adrià closed the incredibly famous “El Bulli”, he opened “Tickets”. Although a bit touristy and off the beaten path, the food is really good and the service is beyond words. In one of the hidden bars they have a “top ten memories from El Bulli” with a selection of appetizers and finger food from the sorely missed restaurant.

9. Monvinic: an amazing wine bar with a beautifully designed space and an extensive selection of wines by the glass and half bottles. The Wall Street Journal once called it "The Best Wine Bar in the World".

 Monvinic from the Connoisseur room

10. Can Majó (at Barceloneta beach) Best paella I have eaten in my whole life, hands down.

*Bonus: Chiringuito del Mar this place isn’t fancy, and the food may not be the best, BUT, the DJ is so amazing and the sighting (in the middle of Playa de La Mar Bella) is so wild and beautiful at the same time, that is totally worth the walk. If this one proves to be too extreme, then its sister shack, Chiringuito del Sol, in Playa Bagatell, has a similar vibe (although a bit more tamed).  

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Art & Interior Design Video Series

Recently I was invited by GeoBeats to shoot a series of videos about art and interior design.  These are three of them.  I hope you like them! 

Great (and sometimes unusual) sources to buy art for the home

How to start an art collection on a budget

Common mistakes when displaying art (and how to prevent them!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Elettra Wiedemann is The Hottest Girl in Town

Elettra and I having coffee at Morandi

I love talking to models and interviewing them for this blog because not only have they had amazing international lives and careers opening their minds and hearts to a much more expansive world than many people, but also because they have seen so many beautiful clothes and fabrics, played with proportions and aesthetics, walked down fantasy catwalks and spent hours on extraordinary sets that their eyes are naturally and artistically trained to put together great interiors and unusual, funky combinations of high and low, vintage and new, combinations that I so love to do in my own projects.

Elettra Wiedemann is a hot commodity these days: she comes from a royal lineage; the daughter of the beautiful and accomplished Isabella Rossellini and the granddaughter of one of the greatest actresses of all times, Ingrid Bergman, who, among many other movies, co-starred in Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart (it really doesn’t get any more glamorous than that).  She’s the new face of Lancôme, went to the Met Ball this year wearing one of her grandmother’s dresses, reinvented by Prabal Gurung, was recently selected by Ferragamo to represent the house's first online trunk show and this week she’s on the cover of New York Magazine  …Wow!

 Mother and daughter on the cover of  New York Magazine's 2011 Fall Fashion Edition

She is one of those people that I feel that I have known forever. It may be because she’s welcoming, easy going, down to earth, smart and funny.  I love her style, her honesty and authenticity.  Elettra is proud of her background, but she is a force of nature on her own, and after all, it’s so cliché-y to talk about her family that we don’t even go there…

Elettra is a born and bred New Yorker who, besides accumulating some serious degrees (New School, London School of Economics), has also been modeling since 2003. She established a charity with her fiancé, James Marshall, called One Frickin Day, which takes small projects that are attainable and have an end in sight, like electrifying clinics in Burundi, Haiti and Rwanda, projects that get funded by asking supporters to donate just one (frickin’) day of their salary. 

 Elettra's collection of photography.  Images by Claiborne Swanson Frank for

She has such fierceness, grace and determination that she tells me that she is absolutely not attached to material things, nor places… to the extent that her luggage was stolen a couple of weeks ago during a family vacation in Iceland and inside she had clothes, a great camera, shoes, vintage finds (imagine the luggage of a supermodel) and she just says: “whatever, what am I going to do?”

Elettra and James' living room on their West 11th apartment.  Images by Claiborne Swanson Frank for

Likewise, I asked her about her beautiful and cozy apartment which was recently photographed for a feature of APT with LSD and she says that since she has travelled so much in the past few years, she has never been  much in the same place, but with the engagement to James and the apartment on West 11th street that she had bought a while ago, there was a need to settle down and to have a home. 

Although Elettra is “new” to decorating, as she says, her great taste and her international model “eye” are easily identified throughout.  The apartment is inundated with style: vintage finds, gorgeous personal and intimate photography including some with her mom in Moscow, shot by Brigitte Lacombe, antiques from one of her favorite places in NYC (David Duncan Antiques and a brand new, beautiful and special painting that her fiancé got for her: a Hawaiian Sunset by artist Eric Tore, a painting that changes colors depending on the light, which Elettra discovered in Maui and got mesmerized by. These things, the authentic ones, the ones with emotional value and connection are the ones that Elettra treasures in her life. 

 Elettra and James hanging out at home. Images by Claiborne Swanson Frank for

By the same token, being authentic and unique is the advice that she gives to people: finding one’s style whether it is in fashion or decorating and sticking to it, regardless of what people think, is much more respectful than just copying somebody else or following what others expect, so as to be a fit.  “Stick to your guns” she repeats, and I happen to agree, since conformity has never been my thing either.  In Greek, Elettra means “shining, bright and radiant” and what a perfect name for her that is!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Savvy Tips on How to Start a Contemporary Art Collection

This week, I had the amazing opportunity to publish one of my articles on!
Check it out here: