— Noted.

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Just when you think web design really can’t get all that exciting, a site like this comes around. Simple, but really beautifully executed. From COS:

To celebrate our arrival in the US, we’ve gathered a collection of things we love from across America – people, places and objects from each of the 50 states.

Explore the project: http://projects.cosstores.com/50things

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And, looking forward to seeing COS in America. For a mass brand, I’m impressed by the level of consideration they put into everything they do. Curious as to how well they will do on this side of the pond.

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I am so excited about the latest book from Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler, Girls Standing on Lawns. Because wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to visit the moma with Maira Kalman and ask her what she thinks of all these photos? And it makes me wish I had access to my own family albums, to assess all the photos that were taken of me growing up, all pretty much on the same spot in our yard. And a new item for my to-do list, her paintings on view at the Julie Saul Gallery, ending soon on June 14.

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I once had a boss who would invite his team to his house for an amazing holiday dinner every year. We would walk in, smell the Christmas tree, drink some festive cocktails, and sit down together for a family meal that was the perfect counterpart to spending the holidays with actual family. We always did a very cheesy office secret santa with a $5 spending limit, but it always followed with the promise of our boss giving us individually selected books, mostly beautiful art books that us young kids could only enjoy otherwise as an indulgence. At the end of the night, most of us would get back on the Metro-North for the 2-hour ride back to Grand Central. Along that way, we obsessed over our new books and nervously analyzed out loud why he had given each of us the specifically selected book we were given. If the book wasn’t serious enough, or expensive enough, or heavy enough, or on a subject that one could not personally relate to, the timid insecurity we all had would ring out into the stale train air, “My boss hates me.” You could say we (like small children) really vied for his affection.

One year, I received Sugimoto’s Architecture of Time. I proudly showed off the cover of my book when my colleagues inevitably asked, “What did you get?”

He adores me and thinks I’m perfect.

Then there was the year I received Gregory Crewdson’s Twilight. This was my first introduction to his highly produced photos of suburbia and I remember slowly flipping through the book, horrified at the analyses that I knew would await me on the long train ride home. Does my boss think I’m sad? Lonely? Dark and soulless? So fake, that the fakeness was real? OMG. He thinks I’m a freak.

I remember the first time I saw a real Gregory Crewdson photo. It was enormous and absolutely spectacular. I could see how beautiful these images were, and that they had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with something unlike I had ever seen before in photography.

This all flashed up in memory because I see that Gregory Crewdson is having a show at Wave Hill of pics he took more than 15 years ago of fireflies. Fireflies also on my mind because they make appearance in Tinybop’s Plants app at dusk, a beautiful surprise for those who are curious enough to discover them.

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Pictured above: Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 1996. Silver Gelatin Print. 6 3/8 x 9 5/8 inches. © Gregory Crewdson. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

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One of my favorite museums in the world is the British Museum in London. It is a beautiful space, the main structures designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1823, and completed in 1852. In 2000, Norman Foster designed the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court which is the inner courtyard and also the largest covered public square in Europe.

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I will admit it. I find museums of anthropology to be challenging. It’s a task to find some kind of emotional connection to historical artifacts, perhaps also because of the underlying notion that the artifacts are so important, they must be delicately placed in a temperature controlled glass case, usually in a dramatic building. Halls are organized by periods and regions, and just one glance at the signs (e.g. Chinese Jade from 5000 BC – present) makes me want to head straight for the cafe and bury my face in a cappuccino.

However, The British Museum is lovely. I spent all day there wandering. The objects are beautifully arranged, with careful attention to color and composition. I found myself wanting to know more about the objects, drawn into the simple (yet carefully considered) context that they were given in their presentation.

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One of my favorite pieces was this white porcelain “moon jar” from Korea’s Choson dynasty (1392–1920). The moon jars served practical purposes of for storing rice, soy sauce, alcohol or sometimes displaying flowers. There are now only 20 left in the world. But the reason why the moon jar is so celebrated is because of the purity of the porcelain and the imperfections of the jar’s contour.

“This jar shows this exquisitely, with the imperfections in the clay and the glaze, as well as in the bulge around the centre that marks the join between the upper and lower halves of the body.”

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No future plans of making it to London? Check out, A History of the World in 100 Objects, a book that is edited in a way that reminds me of the British Museum’s curation (which is no wonder since it is authored by Neil MacGregor, the museum’s director). One of my favorite objects is #45: Arabian Bronze Hand, from Yemen, AD 100-300.

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Need to plan a trip to Toronto, to visit the bookstore that sells these books:

 

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I am so sad that Kiosk is closing doors at their soho location. Reliably quirky yet practical, foreign yet local, their products are unique and fun to visit and ponder. Their product descriptions are humbly written, always pointing the product back to its roots — something too easily forgotten about in this day and age. They have an online store, but when you’ve been in NYC for as long as I have, losing a physical store like this is (I realize this is a ridiculous metaphor but it’s true) a lot like having a friend leave town.

Join their mailing list to keep tabs on where they land.

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I’ve collected a few of the books by Nigel Peake. I discovered his work when I was visiting Seattle and obsessively browsing nearly every single book at Peter Miller bookstore. I used to think that knowing about him was a rather amazing secret, but his latest, In the City peeks out at me at nearly every bookshop I go to now—which makes me reluctantly happy.

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