High Art

Plus SHAZAM, shorts, and Stax.

JUNE 3RD, 2023

Winslow Homer: Crosscurrents

I came away from a recent trip to Portland, Maine exceedingly impressed with two things: the quality of the state’s weed and the excellence of its art museum. In fact, I was so impressed with the museum that I went twice in two days (I, uh, was also so impressed with the state’s weed that I smoked a lot of times in a lot of days, but that’s for another newsletter). The curators there don’t waste an inch—it’s just banger after banger on every wall. But what really kept drawing me back was a series of Winslow Homer paintings. While widely considered the greatest American artist of the 19th century, for whatever reason, Winslow’s work never really did it for me. But standing inches from his brushstrokes and seeing—really seeing—his talent and choices with my own eyes, it was nothing short of a revelation. Now I’ll be honest, this book of his art does not do his work justice. But it is by far the best version of his paintings that I’ve seen in print since going down a Winslow rabbit hole, and that counts for something. -DW


Downtown scene star, self-proclaimed “NYC Bollywood Princess,” and general multi-hyphenate Richie Shazam has just released her first book, a set of self-portraits appropriately titled SHAZAM. Perfectly described by her publisher IDEA as “the suitcase you have to sit on to zip up,” the collection feels like a final realization (or just the beginning) of her supercharged, fantastical photography—especially for those who’ve followed along as she’s gone from Instagram It girl to muse for brands like Valentino and Vivienne Westwood, among others. A Cindy Sherman for the Gen-Z generation, this is the coffee table book your future fashion student grandchildren will hunt for on eBay. Save them the trouble and grab a copy now. -PR

“The Secret Sound of Stax”

Even if you’re not personally familiar with Stax records, you definitely know the music they put out. The label behind anyone from Otis Redding to Sam & Dave to Booker T & the M.G.’s to other bands with ampersands in their names, Stax played an outsize role in shaping the sound of American music. A new piece in the New Yorker goes deep on the history of the record company, and, more specifically, the incredible rediscovery of the demos and early work of their artists. If you like soul music, you’ll love this article. And if you don’t, it might just make you a fan. -DW

Polo Ralph Lauren Boxers

The internet seems to be obsessed with “naked dressing” lately, or at least with finally having a phrase for something which Harper’s Bazaarkindly reminded us has been around since the dawn of time. My contribution to the underwear-as-clothes trend will be this recommendation: replacing your summer shorts with Ralph Lauren cotton boxers. They’re an ideal, lightweight garment for when steam starts to literally rise off the NYC trash piles and you can snag a 3-pack for just $45. Plus they’re (fairly) wrinkle resistant. -PR

Kourosh Yaghmaei

I’ve been wanting to write about Kourosh Yaghmaei for awhile now, and with the recent release of his version of “Baroon Barooneh,” I figured why not now. Commonly known just by his first name, Kourosh was a certifiable rock star in the 1970s. Deemed the “godfather of Iranian psychedelic music,” Kourosh’s life story and his struggle to continue to perform and record through a drastic regime change is worth delving into if you have the time and interest. But if you just want to get turned onto some music you might not have been exposed to, please go listen to his album Back from the Brink. It’s okay if you don’t understand what he’s singing about—I don’t speak Farsi either. Start with “Gole Yakh” or “Leila” and ease in from there. -DW

Bioderma Atoderm Cleansing Oil

While I like to keep my grooming routine pretty simple, I’ve got a chart littered with Virgo placements so I’ve never been one to gravitate towards a 5-in-1 product and sacrifice efficacy for minimalism, either. When it comes to skincare, I’m prone to falling into the echo chamber of Into the Gloss adjacent product gurus, and trying serum after cream after toner over the years to achieve the skin of my dreams: glowy, clear, and like something out of Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In. However, recently I’ve been questioning my long (and proudly) held opinions on complicated 10-step routines and multi-use products ever since I came across Bioderma’s Atoderm Cleansing Oil. A 2-in-1 (it doubles as a body and face wash) that I may have written off in the past, this cleanser and a basic CeraVe PM cream have left me with the “glassiest” skin of my adult life. Free yourself from the grip of Drunken Elephant this summer. -PR