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But come March, the Bay Bridge will shine as one of the Bay Area’s most brilliant tourist attractions when a spectacular art installation called the Bay Lights will illuminate the bridge’s western side with 25,000 individually programmable, energy-efficient white LED lights. It’s expected to be the world’s largest LED light sculpture, at 1.8 miles in length and 500 feet high.
The project, by world-renowned artist Leo Villareal, is scheduled to be unveiled on March 5 in a “Grand Lighting” ceremony. The installation will stay for two years, offering visitors and locals alike a fantastic – and free! – experience in a city that can be hard on the wallet. Read more
No one respects and appreciates the inventors of SkyMall products more than I do. Simply having a brilliant idea is not enough to be enshrined in the annals of SkyMall lore. It requires dedication, hard work, and the willingness to solve problems that no one knew they had until they were told that those problems were a real thing. When choosing which products to feature as part of SkyMall Tuesday, I seek out those inventions that are on the cutting edge of innovation and design. Most are as close to perfect as something created by mere mortals could possibly be. That’s why I rarely offer suggestions for improving on them. Just as I would never tell Michelangelo how to paint, instruct Leonardo on his designs, or coach Donatello on what to do with his boring bō staff, I prefer to avoid intruding on the creative process of the SkyMall masters. However, this week, I cannot bite my tongue. It’s incredibly frustrating when a product is so close to greatness and stops short of reaching that summit. So, this week, allow me to nitpick about the Custom Pet Canvas.
This is one glass house you won’t want to throw stones in. Chihuly Garden and Glass, an exhibition showcasing the prolific works of world renowned glass sculptor and Washington native Dale Chihuly, opened May 21 at the Seattle Center.
Spread over 1.5 acres of exhibition space, the collection is the most comprehensive display of Chihuly’s artwork ever assembled. The centerpiece of the show is the Glasshouse, a soaring glass and steel structure which houses a 1,400 piece, 100-foot long glass sculpture that hangs in midair. Surrounding the Glasshouse are the gardens, an outdoor exhibit of Chihuly’s installations. This includes his Sun, a swirling mass of yellow and orange glass that rests on a bed of black grass.
The Luxury: Madonna’s cone bra, walking mannequins, and more than 120 haute couture creations take their rightful place among more than 240,000 masterpieces at Dallas’ Museum of Art this November, when the traveling Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit lands at the museum – one of only two U.S. cities to claim the showcase, dubbed “Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” To celebrate, The Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas unleashed an exclusive package that bundles museum tickets, cocktails, and other goodies into the price. Rest assured that the property itself is as fashion-forward as the exhibit: The custom-designed suites and guestrooms are each bedecked with local call-outs, such as original photographs of Dallas and Fort Worth by Bram Tihany and a direct dial on each phone to the Neiman Marcus flagship store a few doors down.
Boston’s South End has a growing attraction for anyone who appreciates community-centered commerce and fun. The SoWa (South of Washington Street) Arts District specializes in attracting the über-cool, offering a vast selection of handcrafted accessories, indie designer clothing, and vintage wares at its SoWa Sundays (sowasundays.com). The weekly event includes an open-air bazaar, with an Open Market (www.sowaopenmarket.com) for arts and handmade crafts, a Vintage Market (www.sowavintagemarket.com) with clothing, antiques, and collectibles, and a Farmer’s Market for fresh local produce, flowers, and baked goods. This all-in-one package runs through October 30 this year, from 10am to 4pm As an added bonus, the market hosts food trucks along its Harrison Street location with menus that run the gamut from barbecue and coffee to gourmet grilled cheese and Elvis Presley’s favorite fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (served here without the bacon).
The sleek new Salvador Dalí Museum, which opened January 11 in St. Petersburg, Florida, was designed by Yann Weymouth of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum. Overlooking Tampa Bay, the structure marries solid concrete with twisting geodesic glass reminiscent of the Louvre’s pyramid. (Indeed, Weymouth worked with I.M. Pei on that Paris landmark.)
The structure houses some 2,140 pieces; most were acquired by A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, an Ohio couple who befriended Salvador and Gala Dalí in the 1940s. For decades the couple displayed hundreds of works in their Cleveland home and then in nearby Beachwood, Ohio, before donating the collection in 1982. The cache landed in a converted one-story warehouse, the first incarnation of the St. Pete museum.
When the Fifth Avenue department stores describe their annual holiday window displays as their “gift to the city,” a timeless gift-giving question comes to mind: What do you get the city that has everything? The major department stores have each developed signature please-all solutions over the course of this holiday tradition, which dates back to the 1920s. Macy’s and Lord and Taylor typically gear their windows toward the kids, featuring moving trains, mechanical dummies, and classic holiday narratives. On the high-end side, Barney’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman take no-holds-barred approaches, competing with each other to wow pedestrian audiences and creating windows like mini-galleries that blur the line between commercial and high art.
Bergdorf Goodman on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue typically holds down the most impressive display in terms of sheer opulence. Designed by creative director, David Hoey, this year’s windows show scenes of fantastical travel rendered in a steam-punk style. A rider in Alexander McQueen is mounted on a winged horse; Aexplorers board a balloon-drawn carriage manned by wooden monkeys; a mannequin peers over antique maps at emerald turtles and diamond beetles.
On November 20, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s much-anticipated Art of the Americas Wing officially opened to the public, and locals and visitors can’t get enough. When I visited the museum last weekend, the galleries were packed with people and there was a line outside of those just waiting to buy tickets. The new 121,000-square-foot wing – a project five years in the making – displays 5,000 works from the MFA’s collection.
The new American galleries showcase everything from Native American crafts to Paul Revere silver to 20th-century Abstract paintings. Standout pieces include the extensive John Singer Sargent collection on level 2 and the enormous “Passage of the Delaware” by Thomas Sully. The first-floor galleries were specially designed to fit the latter painting (shown above), which measures over 12 feet in height; this is the first time the painting has been displayed in its original frame.
The Luxury Melbourne is rolling out six Art Series Hotels through next year, each touting a name and design scheme inspired by a famous Australian artist. The group’s flagship property, The Olsen (named after landscape painter John Olsen), debuted in April on boutique-lined Chapel Street. Its 14 stories feature nearly 500 works from Olsen and 229 luminous guest rooms outfitted with sleek designer furnishings, art libraries, and full kitchenettes. An in-house art curator is available for tours. A duo of restaurants, a fitness center, and a day spa round out the offerings; its pool, among the world’s largest glass-bottom ones, cantilevers over bustling Chapel Street.
Stroll down the cobblestone streets and sunset-glazed alleys of two blockbuster Mediterranean cities. Central Holidays’ Super Bargain packages start from just $721 with a six-night stay in arty Madrid or spell-binding Barcelona (a savings of up to $700 or more), including round-trip airfare from New York City, a four-night stay at a first-class hotel (with hotel taxes and service charges), daily breakfast, and airport transfers. At the cost of a round-trip flight, you can visit these historic, Spanish stomping grounds, taking in striking architecture, romantic beaches, exotic palates, and so much more.
THE VALUE: Travel during off-peak season is perfect for avoiding tourist mobs and witnessing some of the most authentic and significant cultural celebrations, like Three Kings Day (Jan. 6).
THE CATCH: Leave some spare cash in your budget – each person is charged air taxes and fees of approximately $69.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Check out other European Vacation deals.
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