Sotheby’s London to Auction Caroline Issa’s ‘Contemporary Curated’ on November 21

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Vladimir Dubossarsky & Alexander Vinogradov, Nobody Knows


Where could one find a Wharton educated, Canadian born, Chinese-Lebanese-Iranian-editor-curator these days, you might ask? On November 21st, it will be at the latest installment of Sotheby’s London’s fascinating Contemporary Curated series, in fact.

Caroline Issa, whose impeccable good taste already graces the pages of Tank Magazine – she is Fashion Director and Chief Executive Officer – now joins the likes of Nina Garcia, Anya Hindmarch and Jill Kargman in the gallery’s much lauded guest curator initiative. Her show focuses on post-war and contemporary pieces and is aimed at more price sensitive/cost conscious art lovers; indeed, imagine the surprise and delight at finding major artists’ works with price tags below $5,000 USD?

Issa is no stranger to the world of curation, actually, being as she is heavily influenced by her aunt Rosa Issa – who was credited with being one of the first curators of contemporary Iranian and Middle Eastern art. And although it is surely a particularly difficult task to select from such an epic collection as is Sotheby’s’, female artists in particular struck a chord, resulting in her inclusion of such XX chromosome luminaries as Nan Goldin, Marlene Dumas, Louise Lawler and Rosemarie Trockel.

The exhibit further boasts such grin-worthy notables as Murakami’s Coco; Warhol’s Crab; Banksy’s Keep It Real; Christo’s Valley Curtain; Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (Blue); and Ai Weiwei’s Fairytale – 1001Chairs.

The show is open now through November 20th, and the auction will take place on November 21st at 10:30am GMT.


  • Keith Haring & LA 2 (Angel Ortiz), 'Untitled' + 'Untitled'
  • Nan Goldin, 'Two Lovers Kissing in Yvon's Pool'; Wolfgang Tillmans, 'Still Life Talbot Road'; Torbjørn Rødland, 'Nudist No. 8'
  • Banksy, 'Keep it Real' (pictured right)
  • Roe Ethridge, 'Mason Jar' (center); Annette Kelm, 'Friendly Tournament' (right)
  • Jonathan Meese, 'Fräulein Babyface Kennt Nur 12 Menchlein (Dr. Affenschädel aus dem Panzerreich)'
  • Andy Warhol, 'Crab'
  • Ben, 'Too Much Art'

Duran Duran Will Play Art Basel

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Considering their long history of associating with the pop/contemporary art world (Nagel album covers, Warhol and Keith Haring collabs), it’s rather fitting that Duran Duran would wish to find themselves providing at least some of the soundtrack to the annual schmooze fest that is Art Basel, Miami edition.

And so it is that they will be playing a particularly special show for SiriusXM on December 9, at the Faena Theater in Miami Beach. It will mark the penultimate date on their more than two-year Paper Gods Tour – with the final performance taking place at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on December 30 (which might just be far cooler than actually going out on New Year’s Eve.)

Duran’s John Taylor enthuses on the Miami concert, “As long-time fans of SiriusXM, we are really looking forward to performing this special show at such a beautiful and intimate venue. It’s going to be an up close and personal affair, a truly one-of-a-kind evening, and we look forward to getting to know everyone who attends.”

The band return to the studio in early 2018, to begin recording the follow-up to 2015’s critically acclaimed Paper Gods. Art Basel takes place December 7-10 in Miami.



WATCH: Boy Epic’s Beautifully Macabre New Video for ‘Wolf’

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Sometimes it’s all in the name. And Dallas songsmith Boy Epic is indeed not one for middling musical gestures. His 2014 breakout “50 Shades” (yes, it was inspired by the film) was dark, dramatic and theatrical…and it racked up 12 million views on YouTube.

Since then he has intrigued with his ethereal presence, soulful, androgynous vocals, and dark, visceral songwriting. Now newly signed to Hollywood Records, his latest single is the sultry but anxious “Wolf” (Get it? The Boy Epic who cried “Wolf”?). It is a compelling bit of haunted, cinematic Euro-R&B-pop, a disquieting meditation on self-doubt and the need for connection: “I hate this city / It’s bad for my health / I want a lover that hates themselves / So I can pity and feel like I can help.”

But it’s the accompanying horror-vérité video that genuinely gave us chills. Directed by the singer himself, it depicts something of a post-apocalyptic post-op, as he tries to grimly dance away the pain.

Genuinely compelling stuff – and makes one wonder just what this Boy is capable of.


Shia LaBeouf Was Almost Cast as Oliver in ‘Call Me by Your Name’

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By now, you’ve probably heard of Call Me by Your Name. You know, that film about Armie Hammer’s struggle with amnesia and his inability to call himself by anything other than someone else’s name.

Joking. The big, great gay romance film of the year staring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet as the star-crossed lovers Oliver and Elio, respectively, is not about amnesia. It’s about peaches and Sufjan Stevens songs. It’s also apparently so powerfully moving that it caused Hammer to fall in love with director Luca Guadagnino.

But all of that love-making almost didn’t happen. In a new interview with Guadagnino, it’s been revealed that the entire film could’ve been very, very, very different. As in, so different it would’ve starred Shia LaBeouf as Oliver, which would’ve been terrible. In the James Ivory directed film that now exists solely in an alternate reality, LaBeouf would’ve played the grad student that Elio falls hopelessly in love with. The world may be terrible, but at least we can rest easy tonight knowing that Oliver is played to perfection by Hammer.

Oh, and the director also wants you to know that he tried masturbating with a peach because he wanted to prove that it wasn’t possible, so they wouldn’t have to do it. Turns out that it was not only possible, but when he went to Timothée and told him, the young actor said, “Of course it works! I tried it myself as well.”

Call Me by Your Name will be in theaters next Friday.

WATCH: Lui Hill’s Lynchian New Video for ‘5000 Miles’

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Working a serious Frank Ocean by way of Marvin Gaye vibe, neo-soul crooner Lui Hill has grabbed our ears and attention in a big way, with his impassioned vocal delivery and stunning falsetto. His sultry, dreamlike new single “5000 Miles,” in fact, has been on endless repeat.

The striking accompanying video is particularly compelling, with its mysterious, Lynchian noir aesthetic. Shot on the very noir-ish streets of LA, it tells a story replete with enigma and metaphor – just begging for multiple explanations and interpretations. Let it lull you equivocally into the weekend…





BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Actress-Songstress Kat Cunning’s Gorgeous New Single ‘Wild Poppies’

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Image by Zenith Richards 


None other than the New York Times called her “an exquisite indie siren.” And we couldn’t agree more. Kat Cunning has all the intensity of Lorde, but with a much more ethereal, romantic quality  – indeed, there’s something of the gossamer about her voice and her presence.

She is also a burgeoning theater talent, having done time in Dangerous Liaisons, Sleep No More and Cirque Du Soleil’s Paramour.

Her haunting new single “Wild Poppies,” which BlackBook premieres here, has a bit of the noir about it – indeed, one could easily imagine it soundtracking a particularly melancholy David Lynch scene. But as happens, it’s actually a meditation on The Wizard of Oz and its storied relationship with the gay community.

“It’s inspired by my long standing love for The Wizard of Oz,” she explains, “and a celebration of the way the story resonates with the queer community. In the film, the Wicked Witch of the West casts a spell, and snow falls down onto Dorothy and her friends, putting them to sleep in a field of wild poppies. I was drawn to Dorothy as she fell ‘over the ledge’ and under the witch’s opiates.”

And the symbolism of the poppies?

“To me, they are a symbol of pleasure, acceptance, and escape,” she says. “Dorothy submits to their power with her emerald destination gleaming in the background, as if to allow for one more taste of the beautiful world she has found. In light of this, I always found her eventual return home to be strange. Although she is invalidated for all she has seen, she exclaims that she’ll never leave home again. I wrote ‘Wild Poppies’ to explore a version of Dorothy that does not come home; it is a song for those who choose the technicolor dream.”

Fans & Friends React to Death of Rapper Lil Peep

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The music world is mourning the loss of a fierce young talent, with the announcement that New York rapper Lil Peep has died at just 21 years old. According to his manager, Adam Grandmaison, he was rushed to the hospital after an overdose. Just hours before his death, he posted a video to Instagram, claiming he took six Xanax ahead of his El Paso, Texas show, and insistin, “I’m not sick.”

After a series of self-produced mixtapes, Lil Peep released Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One) earlier this year. Known for his deeply emotional lyricism, he quickly gained a devoted cult following. Also praised for his unique style, he earned acclaim from fashion industry insiders, even walking in a show for Vlone and posing for a Mario Testino shoot that ran in V Magazine.

“I am shocked and heartbroken,” said First Access Entertainment CEO Sarah Stennett, who worked with the artist last year. “I do not believe Peep wanted to die, this is so tragic. He had big goals and dreams for the future which he had shared with me, his team, his family and his friends. He was highly intelligent, hugely creative, massively charismatic, gentle and charming. He had huge ambition and his career was flourishing… I have spoken to his mother and she asked me to convey that she is very, very proud of him and everything he was able to achieve in his short life. She is truly grateful to the fans and the people who have supported and loved him.”

Friends and members of the music community have taken to Twitter to express their grief. Some are also using his death to raise awareness of depression and drug abuse.


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Haunting New Mackeson Single ‘Falling Apart’

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Of the endlessly “critic-invented” genres, one of the most amusing would surely be…folktronica. (Very Flight of the Conchords, to be sure.)

The LA by way of Portland singer-songwriter Brad Mackeson was, in fact, a guy with a lot of acoustic guitars, anxiously in search of the right inspiration. And wouldn’t you know, he found it by listening to the likes of New Order and Ennio Morricone, and messing about with what he calls, “weird synths and drum machines from different eras.” And it worked – though don’t call it folktro…well, you know.

Indeed, newly signed to Atlantic (and with his name shortened to just Mackeson), his striking new single “Falling Apart” – which BlackBook premieres here – is a widescreen stunner, with its haunting cinematic sweeps, thundering drums, soulful vocals and profoundly expressionist instrumentation. While one is reluctant to make such direct comparisons, it’s hard to ignore that this just might be the great, lost Tears For Fears song.

And very much like that band’s Roland Orzabal, Mackeson also manages to lyrically snatch a bit of personal hope from the threat of all encompassing nihilism. As he proclaims, “We are, we are living in ecstasy / While the world is falling apart,” one can’t help but feel inspired to do the same.

He explains: “The original burst of inspiration for this song came from a mental vision I had while I was playing piano at my home in Los Angeles. The political and social climate had gone off the rails, and outside of an apartment building on the streets below was chaos, people rioting, losing their minds, end of the world. Then I saw a young couple in the apartment building who instead of panicking closed the blinds to the world outside and decided to shift their focus and enjoy the moment. I realized that the world has always been and probably always will be teetering on the edge, and somehow we’ve got to find our balance.”

Words for our times, and forever.


Fever Ray Announce European Tour; Watch the Video for New Single ‘To The Moon And Back’

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For the singularly rabid fans of The Knife, this is really big news. The exalted but enigmatic electronic Swedish duo of Karin Elisabeth Dreijer and brother Olof Dreijer disbanded after a final tour in 2014, leaving a gaping hole in the contemporary cultural landscape. But Karin has resurrected her rapturously reviewed but equally mysterious project Fever Ray, with their first album since 2009, Plunge, just released late October through Rabid/Mute.

They’ve also just announced a 22-date European tour in early 2018; and if you’ve ever witnessed their live performances, you’d have no doubt that hopping a plane to Vienna, Berlin, Brussels or Copenhagen will be very much worth the effort. Though shows in the cities of Lund and Stockholm (in their homeland of Sweden) should be particularly electrifying.

They’ve also just released a beautifully unsettling sci-fi video for the new single “To The Moon And Back.”




February 19 – Vienna, Austria – SiMM City
February 20 – Milan, Italy – Fabrique
February 22 – Munich, Germany – Muffathalle
February 23 – Lausanne, Switzerland – Les Docks
February 24 – Zurich, Switzerland – Volkshaus
February 26 – Prague, Czech Republic – Forum Karlin
February 28 – Berlin, Germany – Columbiahalle
March 1 – Warsaw, Poland – Klub Progresja
March 2 – Vilnius, Lithuania – The Hall Compensa
March 4 – Helsinki, Finland – The Circus
March 13 – Hamburg, Germany – Docks
March 14 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
March 15 – Brussels, Belgium – AB
March 17 – Cologne, Germany – Palladium
March 19 – Paris, France – L’Olympia
March 20 – London, England – Troxy
March 21 – Manchester, England – Albert Hall
March 31 – Lund, Sweden – Mejeriet
April 2 – Bergen, Norway – USF Verftet
April 3 – Oslo, Norway – Sentrum Scene
April 4 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Vega
April 6 – Stockholm, Sweden – Nobelberget