I find it very precarious for a culture only to be able to measure performance and never to be able to credit the questions themselves ... As the questions go up, the performance level goes down—and that's natural, since people don't yet know how to act on those questions, they're stumbling around in a fog—whereas when performance goes up the quality of the questions tends to go down.
Nov 25, 2014
Nov 24, 2014
Nov 23, 2014
... it's good when your conscience receives big wounds, because that makes it more sensitive to every twinge. I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
Nov 20, 2014
Nov 14, 2014
what is a nearly perfect meal? it is an idiosyncratic confluence of elements, the sum of parts. it has almost nothing to do with expense, other than that special dinners draw people together and place them in a suitable and shared frame of mind. this can be done anywhere, which is why this is not a list of restaurants but a list of meals. this can also be done for nearly any price, which is why some of these meals involve pancakes.
i now realise what everyone who opens an ambitious restaurant knows: it takes a tremendous amount of effort to reproduce reliably what sometimes unexpectedly and serendipitously materialises when people get together to cook or eat.
in most of these cases, the food was confident and made with care, the beverages appropriate (but often not exalted), the company incomparable. some of these places i've been to many times, some only once. in every case, the particular perfection of the meal has not been reproducible in other places and at other times. your mileage may vary.
10 greek street; 40 maltby street; otto's; st. john bread and wine; kandoo
shunsui; gesshinkyo; tsuru ni tachibana (with updates from our japanese correspondent)
kiss; quince; minako; greens; food inc (for their tuna niçoise sandwich on either a sunny day or a rainy one); pagolac; chapeau!; firefly; jackson fillmore; pancake sunday 5.13.07
chez panisse; the cheeseboard
hungry mother; bondir; cooking with fire and clay; morning coffee at hirise
bay leaf cafe (yellow lentil sambar soup, on a wet day); homma's (outside on a warm summer night)
galatoire's, the parkway bakery
green pasture; fuli seafood
frederiks have; kødbyens fiskebar; noma; ved stranden 10
Nov 13, 2014
Oct 26, 2014
The concept of intelligence is ambiguous when action and learning occur simultaneously at several nested levels of a system ... [s]ince experimentation often benefits those who copy successes more than it does the experimenting organization, managerial illusions of control, risk taking, and playful experimentation may be more intelligent from the point of view of a community of organizations than from the point of view of organizations that experiment.
barbara levitt and james march, "organizational learning" p335.
Oct 24, 2014
among the several highlights of frieze masters was helly nahmad's booth. this consisted of a lavishly detailed art collector's apartment over-full of the many accumulations of the pursuit of what is currently very premium art—a fabrication that required a long list of prop rental facilities and the services of a very good set designer. it brought to mind tibor fischer's the collector collector, which is worth reading.
Oct 23, 2014
Oct 17, 2014
Oct 9, 2014
Oct 6, 2014
Sep 28, 2014
Sep 1, 2014
bakalar is croatian for bacalao, which is spanish for dried salt cod—a health food.
this is the split klubhouse of a secretive invitation-only organisation of cod aficionados which maintains its own network of cod fishermen and bacalao makers so that the bacalao it has access to can be made to the most exacting of specifications. it owns a share of a private croatian bacalao-making island where a luxury resort has recently been completed that offers cod-themed vacations (members and cod fishermen get a discount). klub bakalar's members use the klub's own currency—the bakalar—to buy and sell cod-related foods, accessories, and financial instruments. the only way to earn bakalar is by eating bacalao.
they would not reveal their initiation rites but just visible in the photo, at the foot of the stairs, is the tip of the dorsal fin of a cod outfit that would accommodate a girthy croat.
Jul 28, 2014
an old pumping station still in the process of being converted into a home. upstairs, a temporary yurt surrounded by crayon drawings illustrating various functions of elimination. a kitchen garden provided lemon mint for the drinks. by the time i arrived, all the cooking had been done. the day before, they had smoked a lamb shoulder then cooked it overnight in a crock pot, finally flinging it on a blazing charcoal fire. a vast tray of pork had also been pulled to shreds by an assortment of naked and partly clad children. when the irish terrier arrived, the chickens went back behind their electric fence.
Jul 22, 2014
Jul 19, 2014
Jul 12, 2014
Jul 4, 2014
Jul 1, 2014
many of bridget riley's stripe paintings are currently on show at david zwirner. riley directed the installation of the entire gallery space and this is the first time i have seen her paintings installed in a way that gives the viewer enough space to see them correctly. the lighting, some of which is natural, is mostly excellent. her work is often interpreted as being about creating optical illusions because it is apparently mechanical and banally decorative—in fact, it is distinctive, thought-provoking, and manually intensive. to produce something by hand is to be exposed to the minor modulations and irregularities that characterise hand work (and which are usually absent from work executed entirely by machine)—a topic on which david pye was eloquent and penetrating. producing work whose effect on the viewer is almost entirely dependent on the perfect execution of precise spacings is one thing. combining that apparent mechanical precision with the liveliness and particularity of manual application is another.
at david zwirner in london, until july 25.