The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 17 March 2018

Auction

Image: Alamy

Place your bids

In need of a seafood stand? Get yourself over to Paris for the Ritz’s sell-off of quirky, charming and captivating items that it can no longer fit in the hotel.

A four-year-long renovation, completed in 2016, revamped Paris’s historic Ritz – but it also means that there is no longer any space for much of the hotel’s precious furniture and objets d’art. Thousands of pieces, including the sofas and bar stools where the likes of Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald would have perched, will be auctioned by Artcurial next month. If you want a sneak peek at some of the bounty, a viewing of part of the selection on offer opens on Tuesday in Milan’s Palazzo Crespi. The extravagant items on sale (including bath tubs, a seafood stand and a barber’s chair) aren’t expected to fetch more than €8,000 each, yet the auction’s scale will still make for quite the Parisian occasion – and a chance to celebrate the glamour and uniqueness of this grand old venue.

Music

Before sunrise

Marlon Williams’ uplifting sophomore album is proof that being unlucky in love can lead to amazing things.

New Zealand is as big, wide and wild as its newest star’s expansive songwriting. Make Way for Love, the second album from Marlon Williams, has the crackle of an instant classic about it: it’s a break-up record that mixes 1950s rhythm’n’blues and piano ballads with driving rock, all delivered in Williams’ large-lunged tenor. It’s a little bit Richard Hawley and a little bit Anohni. You’ll find bombast and vulnerability, swagger and sensitivity across these 11 tracks, which ultimately have their eyes set on a sunrise rather than a sunset. Endeavour to see the excellent Williams live: a comprehensive US and European tour is in motion.

Art

Image: Getty Images

Paint the town red

Chinese art buyers are splashing the cash and their timing couldn’t be better: Art Basel Hong Kong is about to begin.

China has overtaken the UK to become the world’s second-largest art market, according to an annual report released this week by Art Basel and UBS. Chinese collectors now account for 21 per cent of global sales. Their rising purchasing power, second only to the US, comes as the global art market – estimated at $63bn (€51bn) – has returned to double-digit growth after a two-year slump. The report is published just weeks before Art Basel Hong Kong, Asia’s largest art-buying frenzy that takes place at the end of the month; temporary exhibitors at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre will be expecting to do brisk business. Meanwhile a growing number of international galleries are choosing to open permanent outposts in the city. Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong – the Swiss gallery’s first location outside the US and Europe – opens its doors on 26 March with an exhibition by LA-based painter Mark Bradford.

Culture

Image: Alamy

Keeping the words alive

Lithuanians celebrate those who fought to save their language from extinction.

Londoners may have noticed a flurry of surreptitious activity yesterday as a troupe of knygnesiai (book smugglers) scattered across the capital delivered packs of books to key locations, including Midori House. The event was in honour of the Day of the Book Smugglers, a Lithuanian annual holiday that commemorates the Baltic country’s unique history of resistance. When the nation was occupied by the Tsarist Russian empire and later the Soviet Union, tomes written in the then-banned Lithuanian language were smuggled into the country. Sponsored by the Lithuanian Culture Institute in London, the event is a teaser for the London Book Fair in April, where the Baltic nations will be in focus. Need a literary Lithuanian fix before then? Check out the newly released translation of White Shroud by Antanas Skema, out earlier this month.

From Monocle 24

Image: Shutterstock

Explainer 106: Why does Bolivia want the world's biggest flag?

The Foreign Desk

This past weekend Bolivians displayed a flag that stretched more than 200km. Andrew Mueller explains why this has little to do with an attempt to break the world record for the biggest flag and rather more to do with a longstanding maritime dispute with Chile.

From Monocle Films

New-generation animators

Mike Mills explains how he spun recollections from his childhood into his new film, ‘20th Century Women’, starring Annette Bening. Plus: ‘Thumbsucker’ author Walter Kirn and we write a letter of appreciation to Ferris Bueller’s sidelined sister.

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