Oprah Winfrey sold her Gustav Klimt painting to a private buyer in China for a staggering $150 million - earning herself a $63 million profit in a decade. The billionaire bought the Austrian painter's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II for $87.9 million back in 2006 at Christie's in New York. Oprah was approached last year by art dealer Larry Gagosian who had a Chinese buyer interested in purchasing the 100-year-old painting, Bloomberg reports. The sale was one of the most expensive private art deals in 2016.
“Whenever I speak, I think about the saying, Don’t speak unless you’re improving upon silence,” says Kimberly Drew, the curator and advocate behind social media at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Every time I make noise, I want it to be really good.” When she’s not posting for the iconic New York City museum, Kimberly broadcasts her own voice as a guest on national panels, to over 100,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter as @museummammy, and via the Tumblr phenomenon Black Contemporary Art. (If you're not obsessed already, do yourself a major favor and add all three to your daily scroll.) “I started the blog in 2011, right after my internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem, as a space to both record the things I learned and continue the process of learning,” she muses. “I started looking for something like it in the world, and when I didn’t find it, I just made my own.”
She might be the definition of #careergoals today, but Kimberly didn’t always have it all figured out. “When I got to college, I wanted to study math, but I realized it wasn’t the right fit,” says the Smith College graduate. “So I moved from hardcore number crunching to civil engineering as a way to try to bridge my interests. And then civil engineering brought me to architecture, and then that brought me to art history, so it was a very wind-y path! I was definitely not one of those people who showed up on the first day and was like, This is what I’m studying! I actually didn’t start my art history major until my junior year.”
If this is a major relief for those struggling to select a major, shy girls will revel in the fact that the seasoned public speaker doesn't consider herself loud. “I’ve always been a very quiet person, which is funny now because I’m so public!” she says. Just this year, Kimberly has spoken at venerable venues like the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Basel Miami Beach, and the Brooklyn Museum, but her expertise spans far beyond the art and tech worlds. “Advice I wish I had gotten earlier is to take myself more seriously, and take my interests more seriously,” she says. “My advice to girls is just to be obsessed with things and find value in that obsession. Be able to turn that into something that makes you feel like your life is worth living, not necessarily just in relation to your career, but on a mental health level, too.”
Of course, Kimberly is just getting started. Be on the lookout for her next project, a book with writer Jenna Wortham from their Black Futures project, which will explore creativity as it relates to black cultural identity. After that, who’s to say…world domination, perhaps?
Kimberly Drew, 27, Social Media Expert and Art Curator
Kimberly Drew sprung onto the scene as the brains behind the art blog "Museum Mammy." Now the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Social Media Manager and a New York social fixture, she is a champion for the beautiful, an outspoken critic of the unjust, and an influence on the influencers. “I feel the power of my visibility and I’m trying to make it count,” Kimberly says, “but I know that I still have a lot of learning to do. Icon status is a long sprint.” As a kid, Kimberly “constantly” changed what she wanted to be: astronaut, veterinarian, and lawyer were all answers at one point. But today, the social media phenom wants to be remembered as “a connector.” “I plan to spend the rest of my career connecting with brilliant people, exchanging ideas, and making the world a better place.”
– Melanie Mignucci
In the era of digital activism, fashion is no stranger to the “cultural appropriation” debate. In recent weeks, Chanel came under fire for a $1,325 branded take on the boomerang, a weapon used by Australia’s long-marginalised indigenous peoples for hunting before being widely adopted for sport and entertainment. Then, ’s attracted charges that he was stealing from black creatives for the Dapper Dan-inspired looks that appeared in his 2018 . But from Victoria’s Secret, which sent down the runway in a fringed bikini and feathered Native American headdress, to ’ Spring 2017 show featuring a cast of mostly white models wearing dreadlocks, the phenomenon is hardly new.
On one side of the debate are those who see cultural appropriation — especially in a commercial context, like fashion, which values surface (and sales) over depth — as inherently disrespectful to the cultures that are so often sampled, but rarely credited and almost never compensated for the use of their heritage. On the other side, are those who see the freedom to fluidly sample from other cultures as vital to creative expression and cultural innovation, citing the fact that humans have been borrowing — even stealing — from each other’s cultures for thousands of years, much to the enrichment of human experience. But who’s right? Cultural appropriation: theft or innovation?
THE BEST SUN GLASSES IN NYC ARE AT TWO LOCATIONS ON PRINCE STREET. iT MAY BE YOUR ONLY CHANCE TO SCOOP UP THE PAIR THAT YOU WANT SINCE IT'S STILL EARLY IN THE SEASON. tHE FIRST LOCATION IS NEAR DEAN & dELUCA. tHE SECOND IS NEAR THE PRADA STORE. BOTH ARE AMAZING. AND REALLY CONTEMPARY LOOKS.
The New York subway has fascinated street photographers for generations, never more so than in the 1970s and 1980s. Gritty and tinged with danger, a subway ride was always an exercise in caution. In fact, in 1979, 250 serious crimes a week were reported on the NYC subway.
THe fIRST TIME I MET LÄDY
PLEASE READ THE MAGAZINE HERE.
The first time I met Lädy, I was in a room full of people so cool I felt like I should have known who they were. I didn’t know any of them, personally or otherwise. I didn’t know her. I had been told she was a woman who fearlessly reinvented fashion, an industry that rejects most, if not all, things real or honest. It’s a boys club. It’s racist, CLASS-IST, siz-ist. Lädy faced all those things head on and didn’t let it faze her.
It’s easy to be enamored with high price tags, with acclaimed venues in exotic locales, but it’s hard to be enamored with the truth. People who sell art with high price tags at acclaimed galleries on an international scale are not people’s people. Lädy Millard understands people, it seems, all kinds of people, and I think it’s because she understands herself. She’s honest about herself. At least this was the impression I got from meeting her at a gallery show in a hidden space behind a laundromat somewhere in Brooklyn, perhaps, in Crown Heights?
It was a hell of a time, intimidating, but not scary. The bright room was filled with art, mostly done by Lädy. From the front to the back of the room the landscape changed completely.
The overwhelming amount of art dwindled revealing barren white walls, a vacuum with floors that curved into the ceilings, white on white, closing in on a black quilted sofa that sat behind a small pile of rubble. This was the art I was here to see, created by an inspiration of mine, Ed Garrido, who cited Lädy as an inspiration of his. This was more than an installation. It was a set of sorts, meant to couch a later discussion of race and class in the process of cultivating culture as part of an initiative called Undr1roof.
People went in pairs or one by one to the couch to talk about anything and everything: how they got the clothes on their backs, what is cool, t-shirts with square necklines. Lädy moderated casually, shouting out questions she wanted answered, questions that most of the audience wanted answered, but didn’t know how to ask. Eventually, the couch cleared and she took her seat there. My friend, I believe, volunteered me to go to the couch, to ask some questions, perhaps because of my naïve lust for existential discussions, my penchant for big thinking.
Honestly, I don’t recall much after that, except my lack of art, street, and New York credibility.
The discussion reached its conclusion and was met with a patter of applause. I stood up quickly, eager to get back to Edgar and our friends. Lädy touched my shoulder, what I assumed was the beginning of an open-ended thank you for my participation, but was something else entirely.
“Could you grab me a paper towel?”
I could, but had no idea where to find one. The people in the gallery, they were elite art people. They didn’t spill. The untarnished finery of their dress, their thoughts, their creations, their space didn’t require paper towels.
“The bathroom is in the back."
She held out her hand, a seemingly empty gesture, but also the exact one Morpheus made as he offered Neo the red pill. I walked to the bathroom and grabbed two paper towels, returning them to her empty Morpheus hands. She stood slowly,and then turned to pat the damp couch where she had been sitting. I could see the slightest blush of pink against the textured whiteness of the towels. Lädy leaned towards me.
She smiled sincerely. I’m not sure if I did. I have little control over my face, my composure. In my life I am fighting a constant battle to present myself as a person, a woman, who is self sufficient. I want to be a pillar of strength who supports others and does not ask for anything that is not imperative to her survival.
I am wary of divulging my truths to anyone, and give fragments of myself to all those I meet. The fragments are merely enticing glimpses of the best parts of my life. Nothing more. Nothing real. It is rare to find people who are not like this. Lädy is not like this. Lädy invited me into both the grandeur of her gallery event and a moment of austerity.
Lädy didn’t flinch. I was allowed, invited to know what was really happening, and not just because she needed something from me.
There is a vulnerability inherent in being alive that I had not yet discovered. This was perhaps the first time I started to understand that weakness can be strength, and not in the architected way of job interviews that ask about your flaws. The humanness of ‘accidents happen’, was one moment, one iota of who this incredibly multifaceted lady is.
“You can direct your own destiny.”
End of Section 1
No one knows how hard we work - and no one should ever know. Everything should look seam fucking less. Like candy. The arguing I do, the exchanges in time, being taken for granted, the happiness that I share… I challenge people to move forward. The words I choose -- the articulations -- it is all a part of the unseen struggling I’ve done since I was 7 years old. I went to my mother and said “I want to be an artist”.