Contemporary painters are turning to pastels, summer homes are getting sophisticated, and kitchen appliances are being cleverly concealed. Here are the latest trends in art, architecture, and design.
Following in the tradition of such celebrated masters as Renoir, Cassatt, Picasso, and Degas, contemporary artists are working in pastels. These new works, far from the pastoral pieces of yore, are edgy and avant-garde, whether the subject is abstract, figural, or representational. The Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party, for one, has embraced the mellow medium for his supernatural landscapes, portraits, and still-life scenes.
Through the use of soft pastel, Party, who is based in New York City and Brussels, injects an unsettling component into his works, which are familiar yet strangely foreign to the eyes. His February 2020 Los Angeles solo exhibition, his first in the city, featured a series of seemingly traditional-style pastel portraits whose conventionality was undermined by clothing the serious-looking subjects with naturalistic garments ranging from gigantic mushrooms and fully unfurled red roses to frolicking frogs.
Party, who has executed major mural commissions for the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Dallas Museum of Art, “detects surprising connections between seemingly disparate worlds—nature, science, the art historical canon—and invites his viewer to consider alternate realities,” according to Hauser & Wirth, the global gallery that represents him.