Large spherical sculpture of the earth at an art fair
Large spherical sculpture of the earth at an art fair

Seung-taek Lee’s “Earth Play” was first conceived in 1989, but has become all the more relevant today. Photo by Parker Calvert

Artists and brothers Clayton and Parker Calvert are the founders of NYC culture club in New York. Here, they give us an exclusive glimpse into one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world, describing some stand out pieces – and some unforgettable afterparties…

The weather was chillier than normal for South Beach on Wednesday on the opening day of the 21st edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. The mayor of Miami welcomed guests to a pre-fair breakfast in the Collectors Lounge, setting the tone for the day ahead. Guests and attendees sipped coffee and Ruinart champagne as they browsed the New York Academy of Art booth, sponsored by Chubb.

Art fair image taken from above

A bird’s-eye view of the fair. Photo by Parker Calvert

The energy in the air was palpable as collectors and aficionados eagerly waited the moment when they could rush in for a first view of the fair. The doors opened at 11 and visitors flooded in to survey the scene and find out what was available. Many galleries had pre-sold quite a bit, but there was still plenty of top tier art for purchase as the fair commenced, suggesting a somewhat cooled-off art market.

Archway leading to a complex paper scultpure

Jospin is Ruinart’s Carte Blanche artist for 2023. In this piece, she offers her vision of the terroir of Maison Ruinart, creating a landcape resembling Montagne de Reims. Photo by Parker Calvert

One notable piece was Seung-taek Lee‘s “Earth Play,” presented by Gallery Hyunda in the Meridians section, stood out as a powerful metaphor. Originally conceived as a call to action on environmental issues, the giant balloon adorned with satellite imagery of the Earth now rested partially deflated, a relic from its global travels in the 1990s.

Among the standout booth presentations were Michael Werner‘s brilliantly curated program, Acquavella‘s high-quality historic presentation, Roberts Projects with their consistently innovative approach, and Pace‘s showcase of blue-chip pieces highlighting the greatness of various artists. The Convention Center buzzed with activity as celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Venus Williams, Shakira, Cindy Crawford, Joe Montana, and JR mingled with guests amid the art.

Janelle Monet performing in a large black and white coat

Janelle Monet performing at the Tropicale and the Miami Beach EDITION. Photo by Clayton Calvert

The perfect end to a long day at the fair was the toast Ruinart hosted with Eva Jospin to celebrate the finale of their year long collaboration. Eva is an alchemist, turning cardboard into extraordinary masterpieces while also referencing classical architecture and nature.

I think it is safe to say Eva is an alchemist, turning cardboard into extraordinary masterpieces while also referencing classical architecture and nature. Mickalene Thomas always throws some of the most memorable parties at the fair. This year she partnered with Janelle Monae for a poolside concert that was not to be missed. Janelle electrified the crowd with a high energy performance complete with her signature vocals and inimitable dance moves before she finally jumped in the pool after the last song of her set. She graciously got back on stage, soaking wet, to belt out a couple more notes and thank everyone for being there.

Dwayne Wade in sunglassses making an announcment

Dwyane Wade at the Soho Beach House. Photo by Parker Calvert

Soho House always packs a punch during the art filled week and this year they partnered with Porsche on an opening day beach tent event with Juvenile as the headliner. Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade introduced the artist before a high-energy performance that spanned 16 songs, blending new and old material.

Other Art week standouts included Design Miami, always an extraordinary presentation of cutting edge and historic design. Friedman Benda‘s exceptional booth featured a rare wood-carved two-seat bench by Wendell Castle and a curvilinear bench made of red travertine by Najla El Zein. New Art Dealers Alliance continued its tradition of being a fair for discoveries, with Storage Gallery presenting Michiko Itatani’s captivating solo exhibition.

Man standing with artwork

Storage Gallery creator Onyedika Chuke at NADA Miami 2023. Photo by Parker Calvert

Tariku Shiferaw‘s piece at Galerie Lelong stood out, resembling a night sky or twilight landscape with its subtle hues and intricate detailing. Perrier Jouet’s collaboration with Fernando Laposse took center stage at both Design Miami and Soho House, paying homage to flora and fauna, emphasizing the delicate beauty and fragility of the natural world. Laposse’s presentation at Soho House drew a captivated audience eager to delve deeper into the series.

It is safe to say that the art world is alive and well in Miami.

Parker and Clayton Calvert conceived The NYC Culture Club is a project offering opportunities for curators and artists to have exhibitions free of charge.

Find out more: nyccultureclub.com

Share:
Reading time: 4 min
A man in a blue jacket jumping over small hedges in front of a house
 A man standing next to a bleu canvas and a speech bubble on top of his with words in it

Jeppe Hein before a speech-bubble message and chalk panel, elements of the artist’s multimedia, interactive project for Ruinart Carte Blanche 2022, ‘Right Here, Right Now’

When Danish artist Jeppe Hein was given the coveted Carte Blanche commission by champagne house Ruinart, he was determined to create something quite different, by taking art-fair visitors back to nature and making an appeal to the senses. Candice Tucker reports

We are lying on the ground surrounded by by trees, breathing slowly, ever more slowly. The silence and peace is palpable. Stress ebbs away, nature flows through us. There is a gentle waft of incense and the sounds of the countryside.

It is a comforting, uplifting experience, probably about as far from the hubbub and glamour of an art fair as conceivable. And that is just what the Danish artist Jeppe Hein had in mind, when he took us on an excursion as part of his Ruinart Carte Blanche commission.

A man in a blue jacket jumping over small hedges in front of a house

The artist experiencing the Ruinart estate through the senses, part of the responsive idea of his Carte Blanche work

Carte Blanche is Ruinart’s annual series, begun in 2017, in which leading global artists are given, well, carte blanche, to create what they like (well, almost – there are some limits, we imagine), as a tribute to the historic champagne house. The artists’ resulting work, in this case Hein’s ‘Right Here, Right Now’, and a rolling associated art programme (of which we were part in this moment) then travel the globe to be showcased at the world’s greatest art fairs, including Frieze in London and New York, Art Week Tokyo and Art Basel Miami.

A smiley face drawn in white chalk on a blue panel

A chalk face drawn on another panel

At this point, as part of his project, Hein was taking us, an assembled group of the world’s art media, back to nature. We were at the Royal Pavilion at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, a peaceful setting in a huge park on the edge of one of the world’s great metropolises.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

In that moment, he succeeded, and again, as the nature vibe continued over a meditative lunch in the Pavilion (vegetarian because, of course, the artist wanted us to commune with the world of plants and trees). By extension, the concept of sustainability continued with it.

A man in a white tshirt with a blue picture on it, looking into a mirror as he puts his hand into a hole in the wall

The artist at the exhibition

Nature, and a return to it, is a common theme in both Hein’s life and his often playful experiential art. He was raised on a biodynamic farm in Denmark, and his art has long explored the space between the natural world and what we make of it and from it. He famously declared burnout in 2009 and said he was going to slow down and reconnect with nature. He now lives by the Grunewald forest, a kind of equivalent to the Bois de Boulogne on the edge of Berlin.

People drawing on canvases in an exhibition

visitors contribute to the artwork with chalk drawings

Champagne, meanwhile, is a product of nature, but one that also needs the careful craftsmanship of humans. Unlike wine, it could not occur naturally, as it needs a painstaking second fermentation process in the bottle to become what it is. Ruinart is a champagne beloved of the world’s art collectors. On any collector’s yacht, you are likely to be served its Blanc de Blancs, an ethereal, delicate yet richly seamed creation made of Chardonnay grapes. At a soirée, you will likely be drinking Ruinart Rosé, with its undercurrent of summer berries and autumn woodlands from the combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

A man in white t shirt drawing with chalk on a blue panel

Jeppe Hein makes his own mark on a chalk panel

Hein’s ‘Right Here, Right Now’ considers peace, the senses and interactivity in response to the world of Ruinart. At the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, 10 minutes from our lunch, installations included a column with a hole. Put your hand in and a raisin comes out: you must eat the raisin following specific instructions to ensure you appreciate each of your senses. In another column hole, there is a spray of perfume. There are also installations on a wall on which you can draw faces in chalk, so your own marks become part of the artwork – chalk makes up the underlying soil of much of the Champagne region, and is intimately associated with Ruinart. Further artworks feature speech bubbles that carry messages of mindfulness. There is an appeal to all five senses and all four elements.

A mirror speech bubble that says 'Be aware of your small sensations"

a speech-bubble message invites consideration of sensorial responses

The gastronomic side is equally important for Hein. And, we imagine, for Ruinart, as there can be few better accompaniments to very pure cuisine of the highest level than the highest quality champagne, with its clean direction and precision. Five leading chefs are creating a “gastronomic dialogue” with Hein as part of this “nomadic artistic adventure”, travelling during 2022 from Paris to London to Miami, and points in-between. “We invite people to experience Ruinart champagne, the chefs’ food and my art, at a totally new level,” says Hein.

A man wearing a blue jacket smelling a plant

The artist considers the scents of plant life on the Ruinart estate. Opposite page: work from previous Ruinart Carte Blanche projects

What does the artist himself think about what he is creating? “I was very inspired to go to Champagne and see so much creativity, precision and inspiration. There was a link to my own studio, to how I get an idea, or work around an idea and try to make models and express it and, in the end, it comes out. I fell in love with the champagne cellars – they have 11km of them. We walked along them, there was a yellow light and it was eight degrees or something. If you touch the walls they are wet. All these physical experiences got me totally engaged into trying to bring that feel to the art fair, to the experience of people there.”

Read more: An Interview With KAWS

‘Right Here, Right Now’ is, he says, “about the moment of being here. When you take the chalk in the interactive installations and start to draw, you are in the moment, not thinking too much. I’m trying a few things with the sense of smell, which goes straight to the brain and can reflect on something you smelt when you were five. Smell is always activating old memories, which I think is beautiful. When you’re working with all the senses, you can activate a lot of feelings. In my work, I’m not trying to be in your head, I’m trying to bring you into your body.”

It is a quite different experience to the usual art-fair hubbub; one perfectly enjoyed over a creamy, delicate glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.

Past Masters

Since 2017, leading contemporary artists have responded to Ruinart via the champagne house’s annual Carte Blanche initiative. Here is a glimpse of some of the works

People made out of leaves in a field

Lui Bolin, 2018
In ‘Reveal the Invisible’, the Chinese artist created eight almost hidden works that considered the quiet tasks undertaken by workers to create Ruinart champagne.

 

A drawing of a blue bird with a red grape in its mouth

David Shrigley, 2020-21
Across 42 artworks, in ‘Unconventional Bubbles’ the British artist provoked witty debate about nature and raised awareness of the environmental challenges that motivate Ruinart

 

A green and yellow leaf

Vik Muniz, 2019
In ‘Shared Roots’, the Brazilian artist made a series of pieces using Chardonnay vines and other raw materials that form part of Ruinart’s transformative work

 

Find out more: ruinart.com/carte-blanche

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

Share:
Reading time: 6 min
two champagne bottles
two bottles

Ruinart recently launched its ‘second skin’ case, a stylish and more sustainable alternative to the traditional champagne gift box, as pictured above with the Brut Rosé NV and Blanc de Blanc .

Sometimes it’s the supplementary parts of art fairs that we miss the most. For yesterday’s virtual preview of Frieze art fair, we recreated the most excellent private Ruinart champagne event, which usually takes place this week, with a little tasting of their range at home

What will you miss most about the seminal Frieze London Art Fair moving this year from tents in Regent’s Park to an online-only existence, prompted by the pandemic?

Perhaps it will be the frisson of excitement of bumping in to collectors, curators and dealers from around the world expressing their way between the different booths at the pre-preview. Or maybe it will be the talks; or the onsite cafés, where can find yourself standing next to a museum director from LA and a young billionaire from Shanghai while sipping a cup of coffee and finding there is nowhere to sit and catch up on emails. Or, if you are fortunate, the buzz of the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management lounges, where collectors and private bank clients gather to sip on endless champagne and nibble perfect canapés.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Then there is the physical art, of course. The two fairs, Frieze London and Frieze Masters, at opposite ends of the park, which at best offer an unparalleled art museum experience – a walk around Frieze Masters in particular affords a view of some of the most significant artworks in the world, perhaps on display for the last time in decades or centuries.

artist sketch

A print from David Shrigley x Ruinart’s ‘Unconventional Bubbles’ Series that was scheduled to feature in The Ruinart Art bar at Frieze 2020

We are missing all of that, but on a more social note, we also missed the brilliant annual Ruinart event in their VIP zone. This low-key gathering always brings together a selection of art collectors, artists, champagne connoisseurs and selected media, and feels very old school and decadent in offering an unlimited flow of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs in the late afternoon of the preview day.

Read more: British artist Marc Quinn on history in the making

For anyone who is a connoisseur of both art and champagne, it is also unique, as the champagne on offer at art events around the world is usually only marginally better than at fashion events, which is to say standard issue and not very interesting at all. The Blanc de Blancs is in a different league.

There was no Ruinart event this year, so LUX decided to create our own, by tasting a range of the Maison’s champagnes, with a couple of our favourite people, while clicking through some excellent artworks on a laptop. Needs must.

Our tasting notes are as follows:

champagne bottle

Ruinart Brut NV

Ruinart Brut Non Vintage
In years past, this was a slight and rather forgettable champagne. But, unlike the stick thin Frieze Art Fair VIP guests, it has gained a little weight in all the right places, without requiring any liposuction. Lean but muscular, it is eminently drinkable, and disappears quickly – like a Frieze VIP in search of a Julian Schnabel on the morning of preview day. Maybe not the most memorable companion but easy-going and easy to introduce to anybody.

Ruinart Brut Rosé
A little bit more spicy and fruity, as befits it medium pink palate. Good company, effortlessly enjoyable and also noticeable, not anodyne; and we never felt we had too much of it. Not flirty like some rosés, and not ponderous and serious like others. Just right, like a good art advisor.

green champagne bottle

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2007

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
There is, in our view, no better daytime art fair companion than this. Rounded, well formed, well educated, with years of expertise behind it like stumbling on a fabulous sixties pop artist at an unexpected booth. Aesthetically pleasing and rich, like many preview day guests. Buy, buy!

Dom Ruinart Vintage 2007
In a different league altogether. Like walking into a VIP lounge at frieze masters and chatting to Gerhard Richter (note, this has never happened). Delicate, aesthetic yet serious and multilayered, a companion you could be with it all night and not feel weighed down, and you would seek its company again and again. Like a Richter, there is always something else to notice about it.

Dom Ruinart Rosé Vintage 2007
Have you ever bumped in to has Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Olafur Eliasson having a banter at the bar at the Christie’s Vanity Fair Frieze party at midnight? Nor have we, but we reckon this is what it would be like. Engaging, by turns delightful and intellectual, and with deal depth and rigour underneath the fun facade. An ideal guest to the perfect dinner party. Or art fair.

Darius Sanai

Find out more: ruinart.com

Share:
Reading time: 4 min
Drawings of bottles
Drawings of bottles

Drawings for Ruinart 2020, by David Shrigley

Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley is best known for his playful and humorous illustrations, which are often accompanied by deadpan captions, commenting on the banality of contemporary life. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2013, and has had major exhibitions at the likes of London’s Hayward Gallery and Manchester’s Cornerhouse. Here, the artist discusses his creative process, the interaction of language and his latest collaboration with Maison Ruinart

Portrait of man

David Shrigley

1. Tell us about your concept for Maison Ruinart?

The concept behind ‘Unconventional Bubbles’ is about taking the viewer on an enlightening yet playful journey of champagne production whilst enhancing awareness about the environmental challenges that motivate and drive Maison Ruinart on a daily basis. The paintings also consider champagne production on a symbolic level. Like the fact that it is a living product and that it is made from a plant that grows in the ground. It is subject to the elements: to the soil, to the sky, to the weather, to the bugs that either destroy it or facilitate pollination. For me, there are may interesting metaphors there.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

There is a certain magic to it too, in which the micro organisms that make the bubbles create the critical element of the champagne. I like the idea that it is something from nothing, that it has to be kept in darkness and all these things have to happen in darkness, that they happen in a cave which is found under the ground. If you described champagne production to someone who didn’t know what champagne was, who didn’t know what wine was, it would seem like some esoteric activity.

Then, there is the idea that champagne occupies a special place within beverages, one synonymous with celebration, synonymous with luxury. This association with celebration connects it to the beginning and ending of things: the beginning of a marriage, or the end of a project. I’m interested in trying to find these metaphors, and the poetic aspect within the story of champagne.

2. What did you learn from the experience?

This collaboration has given me the opportunity to learn something about the complex process of making champagne and to make art that addresses that, to find a way to say something about that process. It is a voyage of discovery: I had no expectations, other than to learn something. The process was to visit Maison Ruinart, to speak to the cellar master, to speak to the people involved in the production so as to understand more about champagne production within the larger operation, which everyone is very passionate about. For me as an outsider—as someone who has drunk quite a bit of champagne over the years, and enjoyed it, including Ruinart – I have never thought that much about its production or how it was made.

Painting of bottle in blue

Ruinart 2020 by David Shrigley

3. Your images are often accompanied by lines of text – how does language interact with your art?

The interesting thing about working with Maison Ruinart is that it is a collaboration. It is a project whose criteria are ideal for a fine art commission. In terms of how I normally create graphic art, I start with a blank sheet of paper and my job is to fill that space with whatever comes into my head. Usually there is nothing in my head when I begin so I often write a list of things to draw: an elephant, a tree stump, a teapot, a nuclear power station etc. I have a motto: “If you put the hours in then the work makes itself”. Maybe what I mean by this is that artwork (or a least, my artwork) occurs as a result of a process. That process for me is usually to draw everything on the list. Once those things have been drawn the story has begun; more words sometimes appear; sometimes just the words on the list; sometimes more pictures; until eventually the page is full and the artwork is finished.

When I tell people about this way of making work they are sometimes impressed (sometimes not) and they say that it seems as if the work “comes from nowhere”. Having thought about this at some length, I have come to the conclusion that this isn’t the case. Art is not the creation of something new but the creation of connections between things that already exist. In this case the connection between the things on the list and the words used to describe them. But as soon as you make a statement about what art is or is not you almost immediately realise an exception to that rule.

Read more: Princess Yachts CEO Antony Sheriff on a new generation of yachting

Anyway, when making art on the subject of champagne production, one must make several visits to the champagne region. One must visit the crayères and the vineyards and the production facilities and one must ask questions of the people who work there and listen very carefully to what they say. And most importantly, you must drink some champagne. It also requires a different list of things to draw: the vines, the grapes, the soil, a bottle, a glass, the cellar master, worms, the weather etc.

One of the problems (sometimes it’s a problem) with my way of working is that when I say things through my work (the text and the image), I often don’t really know what I’m trying to say; I say it and then try to figure out what it means afterwards. Maybe it is like when a child is learning how to speak. I like to think that all artwork is a work in progress; the meaning develops and changes depending on who views the work and the context in which they view it. Meaning ferments like wine. I realise that what I am saying about the production is perhaps not what the people I have met at Ruinart would say about what they do. Maybe they might even have a problem with it. But I think it should be acknowledged that the fermentation process has only just begun and it may be some time before it is finished, if ever.

I made one hundred drawings based on my experiences of being at the House of Ruinart. The message conveyed through champagne and the brand is important. I need to start with those things. I made illustrations based on text and found a way to incorporate them into the work. But with the majority of the drawings, an image came first, and I thought about what the text should be after.

4. What role does humour play in your practice?

I guess years ago I was always keen to stress the work was incidentally funny and that I was trying to be profound and comedy was just a facet. Over the years I’ve come to realise that comedy is very important. The issue is people expect you to be funny all the time. I’m always keen to stress I’m not a comedian and I am an artist, which negates my obligation to be funny all the time. Comedy is really special and sublime. To explain why something is funny sort of pours cold water on it…

Globe

Ruinart 2020 by David Shrigley

5. How has the current global crisis affected your creativity?

I worked alone from home on smaller formats anyway so I’ve been making drawings for the last six weeks or so. I just worry about other people at the moment. Some of the work I’m producing now is influenced by the ongoing situation – or at least when I put it out there the viewer will associate it with that.

6. What do you miss?

I miss seeing friends and going to the football.

View David Shrigley’s portfolio: davidshrigley.com

 

Share:
Reading time: 6 min
Artist portrait of a branch
Artist portrait of a branch

Flow Diptych, Part 2 of 2 by Vik Muniz, for the 2019 Ruinart Carte Blanche commission and installed at the Ruinart Art Bar at Frieze London 2019

Brazilian photographer Vik Muniz has responded to Ruinart’s Carte Blanche commission by going back to the roots

“A photograph marks a moment in time,” says Vik Muniz. We sit surrounded by his latest photographic series, ‘Shared Roots’, in the Ruinart champagne bar at the 2019 Frieze London. “One way or another, everything fades and everything ceases to be. Photography is one way for you to hold on a little longer.”

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The Brazilian-born artist is fascinated by the fragile materiality of photography. “Visual technology broke a membrane, and the image became autonomous from any material relationship,” he says. “Our relationship to facts is getting more and more problematic. The idea of information, the idea of representation, is completely disconnected from tangibility, from facts. Psychologically, that has an effect. And, I chose to go in the opposite direction and make things that we have not lost. They require physical presence, they are heavy, even though they’re photographs.” The photographs around us are rooted in this physicality. Muniz used wood and charcoal to create temporary sculptures of hands clutching gnarled vines, captured in overexposed, grainy monochrome. “There is an architecture when you make art,” he says, “I find it quite pyramidal. The base of it has to be optical, haptic, sensory, perceptual. You have to have a physical reaction to it.”

Find out more: ruinart.com

This article was originally published in Spring 2020 Issue.

Share:
Reading time: 1 min
Dinner table laid out with champagne bottles and antique plates
Dinner table laid out with champagne bottles and antique plates

Hotel 1729, a one-bedroom hospitality concept designed by Ruinart x Jonathan Anderson

This week, Ruinart opens the doors to a one bedroom luxury hotel concept created in collaboration with fashion designer Jonathan Anderson
Man stands leaning against a pillar with the plaque 1729

Designer Jonathan Anderson outside Ruinart Hotel 1729

Last year, it was designer Tom Hingston and Primrose Hill. This year, Ruinart’s pop-up hotel is the creation of fashion designer Jonathan Anderson inside a Notting Hill townhouse. Named Hotel 1729, guests can check-in for a one-night only experience hosted by the champagne house’s Maître D’, Olivier Livoir.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

The dining experience is the focal point of the evening, designed to cater for up to eight guests in total, who will be taken on a sensory culinary exploration through Ruinart‘s history. Whilst the exact details of Anderson’s concept are kept strictly secretive, his main inspiration comes from a recent visit to the Ruinart Maison, and the 1735 artwork Le Déjeuner d’huîtres (The Oyster Lunch) by Jean-François de Troy which includes the first appearance of a champagne bottle in painting.

Antique painting of a huge chaotic feast in a stately home

‘Le Déjeuner d’huîtres’ (The Oyster Lunch) by Jean-François de Troy (1735), Musée Condé (Chantilly, France)

The menu itself has been specially created to perfectly pair with Ruinart cuvées by Chef Luke Selby, who previously worked as head chef at Ollie Dabbous’ HIDE. All drinks and courses will be served using antique glassware and ceramics from the 17th century, the same era in which Ruinart was established.

Curious? So are we.

Hotel 1729 in Notting Hill, London is open from Thursday 4 July until Sunday 14 July 2019. For more information visit: ruinart.com/en-uk/news/ruinart-hotel-1729

Rates: £1200 for a one night stay for two people including chauffeur transfers in partnership with BMW, dinner, breakfast and a selection of Ruinart Cuvées. Hotel residents can invite up to six guests to share the dining experience at an additional £160 per person.

Share:
Reading time: 1 min