Though not a duet, Elton John’s latest project is a harmony of sorts. An avid collector of black-and-white photography, the singer has handpicked 50 Peter Hujar prints for an exhibition at San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery. Opening next week, “Peter Hujar curated by Elton John” showcases the photographer’s breadth of subjects, which range from seascapes to beefcake to pets. “I’d long wanted to invite a formidable guest curator to dig into Hujar’s work,” says Jeffrey Fraenkel, who’s represented the artist’s estate since the early 2000s. “I came up with about a half dozen names, mostly writers and visual artists, but the idea of Elton seemed unbeatable.” Besides the fact that John has acquired 15 works by Hujar since 2011, the union made emotional sense to Fraenkel. “Hujar’s work focused on the [queer] cultural scene, male erotica and other issues that overlap with Elton’s interests,” says Fraenkel. Hujar is perhaps best known for his images of members of the cultural vanguard of 1970s and ’80s New York — among them Fran Lebowitz, Susan Sontag and David Wojnarowicz, who was Hujar’s partner. John made a point of choosing some of the photographer’s less-seen portraits, including those variously depicting a young Stevie Wonder, a middle-aged Peggy Lee and the Warhol acolyte Jackie Curtis in her open casket. “The show doesn’t shy away from the tough pictures about illness or death, which are main components of Hujar’s work,” says Fraenkel. Hujar himself died of complications from AIDS in 1987. Fittingly, all proceeds from the show’s first two sales will go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. On view from Sept. 8 through Oct. 22, fraenkelgallery.com.
On a Greek Isle, a Hotel Overlooking the Water
For more than 20 years, the most stylish hotel on Kastellorizo, a tiny Greek island just a few miles from the Turkish coast, has been the Mediterraneo, with its lemon-yellow facade and six regular rooms and ground-floor suite. Designed, owned and run by the French architect Marie Rivalant Lazarakis, it’s named after the 1991 Oscar-winning film that was shot on the island. In 2007, Lazarakis opened a store on Kasetellorizo that sells kaftans, throws and jewelry; this summer, after much anticipation, she unveiled a second hotel property there — Casa Mediterraneo, set within a trio of joined neo-Classical buildings across the harbor from Mediterraneo and painted a blood-orange red. It also has six rooms, as well as a stepped garden planted with olive and mulberry trees. For this project, she partnered with two friends of hers, Grégoire Du Pasquier, who’s also an architect, and Luc Lejeune, an interior designer, who helped decorate the rooms. Breakfast is included and dinners can be arranged; starting next year, the owners will invite international chefs to host pop-up culinary events. And guests can always check out Deli Mediterraneo — a newly opened delicatessen in town that sells Greek cheeses, charcuterie and such and is yet another one of Lazarakis’s projects — and enjoy their purchases on the hotel terrace overlooking the water. From about $170, casamediterraneohotel.com.
Over the years, the interior designer and furniture designer Josh Greene has been filing away ideas, from those inspired by an ex-coworker’s bad tribal tattoo to an overhead view of an industrial complex, for designs that he thought might work well on wallpaper. Last summer, he ran into the owner of a New Jersey wallpaper printing company and asked about actually producing some of them. From there, Greene teamed up with Juraj Straka, a Belgium-based surface designer who used to work for Dries Van Noten (Greene’s textile and color hero): The pair developed six final prints that, depending on the pattern, come on either grass cloth or nonwoven paper. Though Greene has lived in New York longer than he’s resided anywhere else, several of the designs draw from his upbringing on the West Coast: One features a forest’s worth of cypress trees that seem to be swaying in the wind, another a cheerful array of palm trees that nods to Ed Ruscha’s 1971 artist’s book “A Few Palm Trees.” There are also geometric options, including Banda, with loose stripes composed largely of triangles and half circles. For Greene, the collection is deeply personal. “When I unrolled the printed samples for the first time, I got really emotional, which caught me by surprise,” he said. “I came to realize it was because it’s such a pure expression of what I find beautiful and interesting.” From $65 per yard, joshgreenedesign.com.
David Webb’s Menagerie, on View in New York
The jewelry designer David Webb grew up surrounded by wildlife in Asheville, N.C. When he moved to New York at the age of 17, he nurtured his fascination with the natural world by collecting pre-Columbian sculptures of animal figures and plants. In 1957, almost a decade after launching his namesake brand, he created an animal-inspired piece of his own — a gold cuff modeled after a double-headed makara, a sea creature from Hindu mythology. He’d soon become known for similar pieces featuring leopards, giraffes and more. On Sept. 19, following a long delay on account of the pandemic, the brand will host “A Walk in the Woods,” an in-house exhibition spearheaded by the company’s head of archives, Levi Higgs, and dedicated to Webb’s animal kingdom, on the second floor of its Madison Avenue store. Included will be a number of pieces from the archives, such as a 1963 zebra cuff and a one-of-a-kind Winking Owl brooch from 1962 made from tumbled turquoise, textured 18-karat gold and brilliant-cut diamonds, along with some new and never-before-seen pieces developed from archival sketches. Webb’s favorite animal, the frog, which he considered lucky, appears in the form of a green enamel brooch with rubies for eyes. On view from Sept. 19 through Oct. 2, davidwebb.com.
Even as the Moroccans — Mohcyn Bousfiha and Mouad Mohsine’s Marrakesh-based brand that now encompasses a hotel and a holistic center with aerial yoga and sound healing — has grown, the beauty line that inaugurated it all remains at its core. A women’s cooperative continues to help produce its products, made in part with ingredients that grow wild on its farm on the road to Essaouira. The label launched back in 2015 with freshly pressed argan and prickly pear seed oils — the former is meant as an all-purpose elixir for hair, skin and nails, while the latter contains vitamin E and is thought to help combat aging. This spring saw the addition of a trio of facial moisturizers that rely on the fruits of Bousfiha and Mohsine’s loquat trees in the Ourika Valley. “It’s super rich with hyaluronic acids,” Bousfiha says of the trees’ fruit, which looks like an orange-colored plum and is the main ingredient in the Face serum, while the Sunrise day cream also incorporates beeswax and antioxidant-rich saffron grown in the small town of Taliouine. The third loquat-laced offering, the Sunset, is a night cream that, thanks to royal jelly, has a slightly heavier texture. On the horizon for fall are four new fragrances featuring notes of coriander, myrrh and sandalwood, to name a few, that will join the brand’s five existing Morocco-inspired perfumes, including the recently added Burkan, designed to evoke the burned woods and leathers of the medina. From $42, moromarrakech.com.