The line for croissants forms early outside Lannan Bakery in the Edinburgh neighborhood of Stockbridge, where the self-taught baker Darcie Maher has been whipping up intricate pastries since the end of July. The name Lannan comes from a Gaelic word meaning “house,” and Maher’s choice of baked goods is intentionally nostalgic. Staples include an apple-and-custard-filled croissant and a custard slice with pink sour cherry icing. “Growing up, we made a chocolate sponge with little crunchy flaked almonds for birthdays,” Maher says. “We’d pour ganache over the top and I thought it was the most amazing thing to see it drip down the side.” (The chocolate cake at Lannan is now made with buttermilk and rye.) Maher, who grew up in the Scottish Borders with an artist mother and a scientist father, appreciates the way baking fuses creativity and precision. It takes three days to produce all the laminated dough pastries in preparation for the bakery’s Thursday through Sunday open hours. After the pain Suisse or crème brûlée Danishes disappear, inevitably by around 9 a.m., out come the cakes (from fig leaf sponge to quince Bundt), jambon beurres and finally a few sliced-up Roman pizzas and oatmeal raisin cookies. instagram.com/lannanbakery.
In Linus Borgo’s New York Solo Show, the Painter Reimagines His Origin Story
In 2014, the artist Linus Borgo was involved in an electrical accident that resulted in the amputation of his left hand. In the intervening years, Borgo became interested in forging an “imagined origin story,” as he puts it — one that explored the “supernatural link” between two concurrent transformations: the accident and his resulting disability, and his coming out as a trans man. The work that emerged from that period comprises his New York solo show, “Monstrum,” now on view at Yossi Milo in Manhattan. In Borgo’s lush, often oceanic pieces, trans masculine bodies are depicted as mythical and divine. Among the artist’s influences are painters of the Italian Renaissance, and his large-scale oil paintings and bronze sculptures are classically tinged. The works are also frequently autobiographical. In one painting, a trans Narcissus (Borgo) kneels before a puddle under a bleak highway overpass and sees a vibrant new world in his reflection. Mermen are of particular interest to Borgo who, at 10, drew up a bold plan: He would run away to the ocean, capture a shark, taxidermy it and then stitch it to his body, transforming himself into a merman. In “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” (2022) a tattooed merman (Borgo) smokes languidly on a rock, starfish clinging to its sides. Starfish can regrow limbs, he notes, and “I rewrite my own history.” “Monstrum” is on view from Nov. 30 through Jan. 20, 2024, yossimilo.com.
Adrianne Ngam attended her first pottery class last year, but in a way she’d been laying the groundwork for much longer. “I went to school for architecture,” she says, “so I came in with a knowledge of joinery and connection.” Her latest structures, built to house bouquets rather than humans, go on display Dec. 2, when Ngam, under the name Mudmouth Ceramics, plans to host her inaugural ceramics show at Wheelhouse Clay Studio on Divisadero Street, near where she lives in San Francisco. The collection, called “Fauna,” is a menagerie of creatures, some fantastical and others recognizable: Winged scarab- and moth-shaped vases look as though they popped off an anatomical chart and were flattened down to a few key planes but rendered in geometric detail. A koi fish and an arching alligator demonstrate Ngam’s engineering know-how. “Before I even touch the clay, I typically spend weeks 3-D modeling [the designs] on the computer,” she explains. Then, like a tailor patterning a custom suit, Ngam creates templates of each part, tracing them onto earthen slabs, which she assembles into her beasties. “Fauna” will be on view Dec. 2 through Dec. 10, mudmouthceramics.com.
A New Memoir From the Cree Artist Kent Monkman’s Alter Ego
For nearly two decades, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle has served as the fantastical alter ego for the Canadian-born Cree artist Kent Monkman. Inspired by the album cover art for the singer Cher’s single “Half Breed” (1973) — about a woman with a Cherokee mother and a white father — Miss Chief personifies the issues of gender fluidity, authorship and imperialism that Monkman’s work often addresses. She frequently appears in his paintings in stilettos, a subversive interloper in historic-looking scenes. This month, the artist released Miss Chief’s two-volume memoir (subtitled “A True and Exact Accounting of the History of Turtle Island”) coauthored by Monkman’s longtime collaborator Gisèle Gordon. The project grew out of text Gordon had written for a 2017 touring exhibition of Monkman’s work timed to Canada’s 150th anniversary. Featuring reproductions of Monkman’s paintings, the book functions as an alternative guide to history — from the universe’s creation to the colonization and confederation of Canada — from Miss Chief’s First Nations perspective. “As artists, we love the spaces between fact, fiction and fantasy,” Gordon says. “The Memoirs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle,” Vol 1., $35; Vol. 2, $33, penguinerandomhouse.com.
A Fashion Designer’s Calming Space, Open for Appointments
The Brooklyn-based fashion designer Connor McKnight started his line in 2020 with a focus on custom suiting. From there, he expanded into recycled-nylon coats and cropped, boxy knitwear with the occasional eclectic print. With sustainability in mind, he’s always created a small number of items and preferred to create bespoke pieces for individuals. In September, McKnight opened an appointment-only studio on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where he’ll welcome people for fittings as well as for more casual shopping. “I wanted the opportunity to connect with people,” he says. The warmly lit space is decorated with a green velvet daybed, rattan chairs and large table lamps that McKnight designed in collaboration with his friend the furniture designer Ryan Jones. Alongside the new space, McKnight is collaborating with the Brooklyn clothier Martin Greenfield, using ribbed-wool fabric from the latter’s archive to create tailored suits intended to last a lifetime. Email email@example.com for an appointment; connor-mcknight.com.
The artists Amata Thaysen and Benedict Hughes first met when they were 12 years old, at school in East Sussex, England. Fifteen years later, Hughes helped Thaysen find a job at the bronze foundry in London where he was employed as a metalworker. Then, during a three-month pottery course at an artist’s colony in the western Himalayas, they became a couple and simultaneously began an artistic partnership. “Making work and being together is part of the same thing,” says Thaysen.
From the start, Thaysen and Hughes liked the idea of a Renaissance-style bottega, or workshop, and the pieces produced by their studio, Amata Benedict — made from ceramic, wood, steel, textiles, and of course, bronze — are not credited to an individual. Their items — such as candlesticks, chairs or wall sconces — are often functional and incorporate found objects, like a wall hanging made of used Uniqlo fleeces. A new exhibition of work, “Io! Amata Benedict,” at the gallery 8 Holland Street in Kensington, west London, is influenced by the Roman winter festival, Saturnalia, and includes ceramic wine vessels (one for red, one white), a water fountain full of snakes and a glossy urn embossed with lions and rams, which is currently serving as a pot for a philodendron. “The work we do is playful,” says Thaysen. “It’s meant to start conversations.” “Io! Amata Benedict” is on view from Dec. 1 through Jan. 25, 2024, 8hollandstreet.com.
From T’s Instagram