The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 25 November 2017

Photography

Picture of peace

Nguan’s new book finds harmony among the hubbub in Singapore.

Few photographers can render a busy city like Singapore with the serenity of Nguan. The shutterbug’s third (and latest) book published by imprint Maybe Hotel and simply entitled Singapore, is a master-class in deft timing. The images are simple enough: a woman carts around folded cardboard boxes on her bike, another in a sari gazes skywards the moment before striking a shuttlecock with a badminton racket and a tuckered-out “uncle” lies recumbent in a moment of solace on a playground slide. It’s a catalogue of calm moments in an otherwise cacophonous crush. The book’s subjects, drawn from the five million-strong sprawl and ranging from sullen schoolgirls to sleepy city cats and umbrella-touting businessmen, offer an intimate portrait framed by Nguan’s wry eye and irresistible pastel-hued playfulness. Expect a witty celebration of colour and form that offers a celebratory portrait of this complex and fast-changing city-state.

Arts

Miracle worker

US painter Kehinde Wiley continues to thrill – and has taken a giant leap forwards – in his latest exhibition.

Kehinde Wiley’s already come of age as a relevant and vital contemporary artist but the US painter’s latest show, “In Search of the Miraculous”, at London’s Stephen Friedman gallery is a giant leap into a major league of artists who have come to define the medium in which they work (and, on good days, the times in which we live). Wiley’s thing has been thrilling portraiture – black lives, black style, black pride – that seem acres larger and bolder than the canvasses that try to confine them. Those exquisite characters are back in Wiley’s new work but this time he’s channelling maritime art and we see Turner, Géricault and Winslow Homer. Elsewhere the artist branches into video work – dark bodies in turquoise water. Is it leisure or escape or baptism? The artist has indeed found something miraculous. Wiley is a master.

Tourism

Image: Getty Images

Ski lift

Prices on California’s slopes have soared – but that isn’t putting people off.

This year it will cost a little more to hit the California ski slopes. After one of the longest seasons on record last year – with mountains staying open well into July and August – prices have climbed. A season pass on California mountains has increased between 11 and 24 per cent over last year, with some passes going for as much as $1,049 (€882). But the increased prices aren’t likely to stem the stream of skiers cutting through the California powder: forecasters are expecting an exceptionally busy season. With snowfall heavy enough for resorts to open early, Californians are already hitting the slopes.

Arts

Image: Swedish Design Museum

Click for culture

Sweden has a new design museum but you can’t pay a visit in person: it’s a purely digital affair.

Sweden’s new design museum didn’t open in Stockholm, nor Gothenburg or Malmö. Instead it is being touted as a virtual experience online, aiming to make Swedish architecture, design and fashion more accessible to people around the world. The first exhibition is called Live from Sweden and displays eight objects through clips, text and live-streams. One of them is Strandparken, a carbon-negative timber apartment building in Stockholm by architecture firms Folkhem and Wingårdhs; another is the functional One Happy Cloud stoneware bowl by Ingegerd Råman. The projects promote “brand Sweden”, which is why the nation’s tourism department – somewhat counterintuitively – backed the online museum. Still, we can’t help but feeling that Sweden has missed a trick by not opening a corresponding bricks-and-mortar version.

From Monocle 24

The new wave of whisky

Japan’s whisky industry is going its own way, what happens when you mix a Scottish whisky brand and a world-famous perfumer, plus how US chef Alex Stupak proves the versatility of Mexican-inspired food.

From Monocle Films

San Francisco: The Monocle Travel Guide

This energetic city perched on its Pacific peninsula still serves a healthy dose of Californian cool. Monocle’s travel guide will help you navigate its precipitous slopes and go from forward-thinking retailers to the cosiest coffee shops.

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