Saturday. 9/2/2019

Monocle
Weekend Edition

Image: Alamy

Art

Shifting sands

Desert X offers a wild glimpse into the world of contemporary art – but will the event harm Coachella’s livestock?

February is a busy month in LA’s cultural schedule: London-born fair Frieze makes its West Coast debut next week. But for something wilder than hundreds of collectors congregating in an exhibition centre, head somewhere altogether sandier this weekend because the second edition of Desert X begins today. Some 19 site-specific installations, including works by Iman Issa, Cara Romero and Sterling Ruby, will be unveiled across Coachella Valley, each a reflection on the barren landscape. Though the desert is a source of inspiration, the setting has thrown up some challenges that artists wouldn’t face in a traditional gallery. Jenny Holzer’s contribution, for example, has been postponed due to an outbreak of pneumonia among native bighorn sheep (though quite what part they play in her artwork is a bit woolly).

Image: Don McCullin

Photography

On the frontline

A retrospective of the work of war photographer Don McCullin evokes the golden age of journalism.

This week saw the opening of Tate Britain’s retrospective of the work of photographer Don McCullin. He spent his 60-year career capturing some of the world’s darkest events: the Vietnam and Biafran wars, conflict in the Congo, Syria and Iraq, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He was a key name in the golden age of journalism, when newspapers sent their brightest and best – and bravest – to report on the issues changing the world; many of his photographs have become the definitive images of recent historical events. He preferred to work in black and white but many breakfast tables were illuminated by the splash of colour that his photographs lent to newspaper supplements, some of which are displayed in a room of revolving stills at the Tate. Can there be beauty in conflict and hardship? Read McCullin as you would a painting by Goya: warts, wars and all.

Image: Getty Images

Fashion

This year’s model

Raf Simons’ departure from Calvin Klein means that New York Fashion Week is a dress rehearsal for lesser-known designers.

The autumn/winter womenswear season has kicked off with New York Fashion Week but there is one glaring omission on the schedule: Calvin Klein. The all-American brand gained high-fashion credibility in the past two years under Raf Simons but it failed to translate into commercial success and the Belgian designer left last year. Simons’ sartorial stardust will be missed in New York – where designers tend to favour commercial designs – but there are still brands to covet. Colour maestro Sies Marjan and quiet achiever Tibi will present their latest lines this weekend, while we’re also looking forward to shows next week from two brands carving out a lucrative niche producing clothes for women seeking pure, minimalist elegance: Gabriela Hearst and The Row.

Image: Shutterstock

Film

Perfect day

Like to hunker down in a cinema in chilly midwinter? Head to the Berlin Film Festival and catch insights from a legendary director.

While Cannes enjoys the reputation of being the world’s most prestigious film festival, there’s something unsettling about it. After all, under the glorious late-spring sun of the French Riviera, who really wants to settle into a dark, temperature-controlled cinema? Much better to make a beeline for the Berlin Film Festival, or Berlinale, which continues this weekend. Cannes’ grungier cousin, this midwinter celebration of arthouse film might be less glamorous but it attracts an equally prestigious crowd. Savvy cinephiles will be taking advantage of the perfect cinema weather to watch this year’s highlight: the out-of-competition Varda by Agnès by Agnès Varda, a legend of the moving image (and former guest on Monocle 24’s The Big Interview).

Image: Daniel Mazza

Reinventing grocery shopping

The Menu

How a South Tyrolean duo rethought the way people go about their grocery shopping, Lara Merriken’s successful fruit-and-nut bars and top chef Eszter Palágyi leads a new wave of Hungarian cooking.

Monocle Films / Belgium

Belgium: state of the nation

With its liberal and energetic approach to diplomacy, and a growing influence in art and sport, Belgium has plenty to offer on the world stage.

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