The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 18 November 2017

Photography

Candid camera

One snapper has turned the tables on twitchers for his latest book.

Photographer (and frequent Monocle shutterbug) Dan Wilton stumbled upon the subject of his new book while travelling near the Swedish town of Falköping. Each spring, thousands of migrating Eurasian cranes land at nearby Lake Hornborgasjön during their journey north from Spain. However, rather than focusing on these leggy birds, Wilton’s linen-bound book hones in on those gathered to observe them. Cue a curious collection of anorak-clad, binocular-bearing twitchers, many with disheartened dogs who clearly hoped for a longer stroll, huddled together to watch the squawking avian spectacle. “In the end the book is about looking forward and looking outwards,” says Wilton. “And bored dogs of course.” Crane is published by The Golden Pig Press.

Arts

Image: Sebastianan Drueen

Numbers game

Düsseldorf’s art fair, which will showcase regional talent alongside international names, must produce the goods to secure its future.

Less than a month before Art Miami opens its gates, the German city of Düsseldorf – a magnet for artists such as Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke – has launched its own fair. Eighty galleries from 21 countries have taken over the industrial estate of Areal Böhler, showcasing art from the 1940s to today. The MCH Group in Basel, which also runs Art Miami, holds a quarter share in Düsseldorf’s new trade show and its directors, Andreas Lohaus and Walter Gehlen, have been under pressure to compete with Art Cologne in neighbouring Köln. The presence of international galleries such as New York’s David Zwirner and Marlborough Contemporary have raised Art Düsseldorf's global profile but at its heart the show is a champion of regional talent. Works by Anish Kapoor and Magdalena Abakanowicz have already changed hands, yet whether this new fair can stand the test of time will depend on the final numbers – of sales, visitors and profits.

Music

Teaching the world to sing

Blau is back: Karl to his friends, the US musician has a new album out that’s worthy of worldwide appreciation.

Until the excellent Introducing Karl Blau was released internationally in 2016, few outside the US knew that the American northwesterner had been making records for 20 years without European distribution. Since then the rest of the world has lapped-up his contemporary, languid take on some of the high points of the country canon – and now he’s back. Out Her Space is an album of originals that covers country, southern rock, jazz, Stax-ish soul and 1960s baroque-pop. All this learning is worn lightly too: it’s a playful, willful, hook-happy wander through the high point of a very good party in, say, New Orleans. Blau has also succumbed to the reassuring weight of the packed suitcase: he is currently on tour.

Urbanism

Image: Alamy

Putting down roots

Southeast Asia is showing a blossoming inclination for protecting greenery in its cities.

The Malaysian state of Penang has passed a bill to create a committee dedicated to the care of its natural parks and gardens – and the investment is part of a growing trend across the region. Singapore’s national parks board, for example, has stumped up in order to reintroduce animals to the island nation’s waterways and green spaces, while Bandung mayor Ridwan Kamil has rejuvenated his city’s parks by opening them as spaces for art, music and film. Then there’s Bangkok’s newest green space, Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park, which includes a sloping landscape and soil-based gutter system designed to mitigate the city’s flood problems. Though Penang’s ultimate goal is to bag Unesco Heritage recognition for its 133-year-old Penang Botanic Gardens ­– Malaysia’s oldest – the new committee shouldn’t overlook improvements to the city’s smaller parks and neighbourhood gardens as well.

From Monocle 24

Drawing Gorillaz

The Monocle Arts Review

We preview the big shows hitting the small screen this month, take the temperature of this year’s Paris Photo and meet Jamie Hewlett, the illustrator and co-creator of virtual pop group Gorillaz.

From Monocle Films

Womenswear Heroes

In a saturated market it can be hard to find original fashion that doesn't scream or shout. Monocle films visits a trio of womenswear designers in London, Brussels and Copenhagen that are daring women to dress differently. All three share a strong sense of identity and an uncompromising eye for detail.

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