Scrolling through the Instagram postings of American influencers whose brands rely on a certain adjacency to European culture, I’ve noticed that the standard fare of empty Diptyque glasses, Matisse cutouts, and starburst mirrors is now being complemented by sculptural candles. In the past few years, we’ve seen pastel-hued candles shaped like geometric solids, candles speckled with bright colors looking like they’re straight out of Splatoon, and candles in the form of cereal bowls, pastries, and sneakers. But what this new wave of creators are displaying on their shelves and coffee tables are miniature versions in wax of famous Classical statues.
The most viral brand in this regard is New York–based Anaïs Candle, which was founded around a year ago. One of the owners, Kat, who declined to give her full name because she doesn’t want to take the focus away from the products, has had a lifelong fascination with the Venus de Milo. Soon after the launch of the Venus candle, which appeared in highly aestheticized Instagram photos, either in rows of four or solo in elaborate tableaux where it was flanked by champagne flutes, flower arrangements (roses and peonies, mainly), high-end beauty products, or latte art, there was, Kat says, a demand for a male equivalent. Anaïs Candle opted for the head of Michelangelo’s David. “There were already a lot of candles depicting the male body,” she says. On the site, the head is known simply as “Man.”
While Anaïs maintains a neutral color palette, with candles available in off-white, stone gray, calcite blue, and black, other independent candle makers are melding Classical art with a Gen-Z color palette. Forget Millennial Pink and its buddy Marigold Yellow; what about a bust of Artemis in ultramarine blue, or a David in lime green or bubblegum pink? Néos Candle Studio, based in Costa Mesa, California, gave their versions of Venus and David, as well as a candle inspired by the Diana of Versailles, just such a contemporary spin. Says Néos founder Sonia Marcinek, “A David or Artemis candle in a neon color creates the exact eclectic aesthetic I had in mind when I envisioned my candles.”
There is a whole pantheon of deities, heroes, and comely mortals to draw from, though, and Cody Bennett, founder of the Australian company The Busted Gentleman, is doing so. “So many brands have done versions of David and Venus,” he says. “I wanted to show that there are other Greek gods just as beautiful.” His candles depict gods of the arts, including Apollo and Orpheus.
The Busted Gentleman
All of these candles have two to six hours’ worth of burning time, but customers often won’t light them. Yet, the candlemakers maintain, that’s part of the experience. “We would say that when our candles burn, it’s actually even more aesthetic,” says Kat.
Dealer Vito Schnabel, Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk Launch NFT Platform
Dealer Vito Schanbel and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk have come together to create ArtOfficial, a new online auction platform that will feature NFTs by established artists. The platform, whose name is pronounced like the word “artificial,” launched on Friday with an auction of Francesco Clemente NFTs. Like other NFT enterprises, ArtOfficial will stage sales that sometimes…
Dealer Vito Schanbel and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk have come together to create ArtOfficial, a new online auction platform that will feature NFTs by established artists.
The platform, whose name is pronounced like the word “artificial,” launched on Friday with an auction of Francesco Clemente NFTs. Like other NFT enterprises, ArtOfficial will stage sales that sometimes come with added perks for buyers. In today’s auction, the buyer of Clemente’s Milarepa’s Dream (2021), an image of a heart pierced by a white flag, will be able to have their portrait painted by the artist within a year of purchase.
In the coming months, works by artists represented by Vito Schanbel’s gallery, such as Jordan Kerwick, Spencer Lewis, Robert Nava, Ariana Papademetropoulos, Julian Schnabel, and Gus Van Sant, will be available, along with a few artists not represented by the Gallery.
Vaynerchuk and Schanbel developed the idea for ArtOfficial less than a year ago. “Within 30 or 40 minutes it was very clear that there was potentially an opportunity to provide exceptional value for top contemporary artists,” Vaynerchuk said. “We could provide a really strong NFT strategy for artists who are navigating this incredible shift in consumer behavior.”
Schanbel said that ArtOfficial is a place where works are not just sold but created. Describing the platform as “an extension of my gallery,” he added, “It’s not just a sales platform.”
ArtOfficial aims to foster artists’ creation of NFTs, and it’s not alone in that regard. NFT platforms like Foundation, OpenSea, and others offer curated selections of work from established and rising artists. Schnabel said that ArtOfficial is different from these in that it is “more selective than other platforms.”
ArtOfficial faces steep competition. In recent months, galleries like Pace have launched their own platforms with the aim of offering NFTs by the artists on their roster, while other enterprises like Christie’s are working with artists to create NFTs of their works. It is clear that more art world NFT platforms are coming, though whether the community that often dictates the value of these projects will come to embrace these enterprises remains to be seen.
Ritualistic Tools Found at Egypt’s Temple of the Pharaohs: ‘An Important Discovery’
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a set of artifacts at the Temple of Pharaohs, an ancient structure about 60 miles east of Alexandria. The artifacts may have once been used in religious rituals, and could potentially shed light on some of the ceremonies that took place at the temple around 2,700 years ago. The find was…
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a set of artifacts at the Temple of Pharaohs, an ancient structure about 60 miles east of Alexandria. The artifacts may have once been used in religious rituals, and could potentially shed light on some of the ceremonies that took place at the temple around 2,700 years ago.
The find was announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities earlier this week. Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement that the find was “an important discovery.”
Among the objects found were pieces of ivory carved to resemble women carrying objects; statues of Taweret, the goddess of motherhood known as the “Great One”; incense burners crafted from faience, a kind of glazed ceramic; a piece of gold sculpted to resemble the eye of Wadjet, the goddess of Lower Egypt; and a maternity chair. Archaeologists believe these artifacts may have once been used in ceremonies honoring Hathor, the goddess of fertility.
Experts believe these objects may have been “quickly placed” beneath a stack of heavy stone blocks, possibly to hide the objects as the Persian Empire began its conquest of Egypt, which ultimately led to the collapse of the 26th Dynasty, the last native Egyptian dynasty to rule. Some objects are inscribed with the name of Psamtik I, who ruled as king of Egypt from 664 B.C.E. to 610 B.C.E, during the 26th Dynasty, as well as those of the kings Wahibre Ibiau, who ruled ca. 1670 B.C.E., during the 13th Dynasty, and Ahmose II, who died in 526 B.C.E. and is considered the last great king of the 26th Dynasty.
In addition to this trove of artifacts, the archaeologists discovered what the described as a “large limestone threshold” that included a well once containing holy water. That structure also includes a bathtub, a bathroom, and a place where water could be heated.
The 9 Best Booths at Art Basel 2021: From a Monumental Nari Ward to Pauline Curnier Jardin’s Theater of Intimacy
Earlier this week, Art Basel opened its first in-person edition of its marquee fair in its hometown Swiss city since the onset of the pandemic. The anxiety of attending the fair, including meeting the strict Covid safety protocols required to enter, soon gave way to palpable excitement within the Messeplatz, the convention center where Art…
Earlier this week, Art Basel opened its first in-person edition of its marquee fair in its hometown Swiss city since the onset of the pandemic. The anxiety of attending the fair, including meeting the strict Covid safety protocols required to enter, soon gave way to palpable excitement within the Messeplatz, the convention center where Art Basel takes place. A parade of smart-suited VIPs of some of Europe’s top collectors lined up for the 11 a.m. entry before making their way into the fair. During the fair’s first day, the world’s top galleries reported strong sales across the board and at various price point, from the few thousand to over $5 million.
Below, a look at some of the best art at Art Basel, which runs through Sunday, September 26.