ARTmonday: Soft Powers Photographs by Joseph Desler Costa Speaks to Consumer Culture

Photographer Joseph Desler Costa’s exhibition “Soft Powers” is based on the concept of gently influencing ideas, subtly shaping human desire through appeal and attraction.


installation view

As a political concept and strategy, soft power reached its peak in the 1980s and 1990s during the Cold War. In the U.S. companies found new ways to influence behavior through sugary branding and corporate messaging driven by Coca-Cola, Hollywood, and other vehicles of consumer culture. 

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

Prrrrince (2021)
Layered laser cut dye sublimation prints on aluminum

In his “Soft Powers” series, photographer Joseph Desler Costa uses the language and symbols of advertising and propaganda from those two decades to reflect on the power of persuasion.

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

Three Fingers (2020), detail
Layered laser cut dye sublimation prints on aluminum

Costa combines multiple exposures, appropriation, and laser-cut, layered prints, to create images that look almost mass produced or machine made—as if they were rolling off of an assembly line.

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

installation view

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

Red One Piece (2020)
Dye sublimation prints on aluminum

“I often re-photograph my own images and incorporate them into new pieces to further drive this feeling of sterile reproduction,” the Brooklyn based artist says. 

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

Newports (2020)
Layered laser cut dye sublimation prints on aluminum

The works are pastel-hued, product-like images that often incorporate recognizable logos, graphics, and album art laser-cut into the aluminum print surface.

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

Racquets (2021)
Layered laser cut dye sublimation prints on aluminum

“Soft Powers” images replicates advertising’s ability to create desire and manufacture beauty.

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

Order Substance (2020)
Layered laser cut dye sublimation prints on aluminum

Joseph Desler Costa Exhibition at ClampArt New York

installation view

“Soft Powers” by Joseph Desler Costa through May 29 at ClampArt, 247 W 29th St., New York City, clampart. com 

​All photos by Daniel Terna. Courtesy of the artist.

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Scheming: Cortney Bishop Does a Tropical Sitting Room on Sullivan’s Island

I love writing about homes all over New England, but sometimes it’s fun to learn about designs in other parts of the country. I rarely have the chance to write about projects in the south. I profiled this fun and sexy cocktail den on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, for Ocean Home.

Cortney Bishop of Cortney Bishop Design designed this vacation home. She notes that the clients tend toward more masculine style, but for this space she went for drama. Or rather, DRAMA.

Bishop’s choice of pink and green palm leaves on a moody background offer just the right amount of flirtatiousness. The palm wallpaper also complements the rattan lounge chairs. A tufted ottoman adds in softness while the minimalist brass pendant incorporates in an industrial element that works with the chimney. Plus it spans the circular space.

Cortney Bishop Tropical Decor Palm Leaf Wallpaper Sitting Room

Photo by Katie Charlotte Photography

I perused StyleCarrot partner sites to source pieces for your own tropical cocktail den. Get that moody-meets-the-beach vibe now.

Cortney Bishop Tropical Sitting Room Design1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

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You’re a natural beauty. Work it  >

Scheming: Chinoiserie-Meets-Art Nouveau Dining Room by Arazi Levine

One of the loveliest designers in Boston, Dana Arazi of Arazi Levine (she’s actually an architectural designer trained in Tel Aviv), re-imagined this historic 1,200-square-foot condo in Back Bay for a young couple. I’ll talk about the dining room in this post, but you can read about the rest of the project (and look at the photographs) at Boston Home Magazine.

Arazi Levine Dining Room WIth Chinoiserie Artwork

Photo by Joyelle West

Both Arazi and the couple adored the original woodwork of the grand dining/living space which overlooks the Charles River. The other driving force was the decision to create a design with art deco flavor which Arazi felt merged the couple’s disparate tastes well. “I said to them, ‘What if we go a bit art deco?'” Arazi recalls, noting that the look offers a clean geometry for the husband, who likes modern, and rich materials for the wife, who favors vintage. They loved the idea

To keep the shelves from becoming a too busy backdrop, Arazi found Chinoiserie triptych panels that fit within the vertical openings of the woodwork perfectly (once she removed some shelves). She looked at a million options, but felt that the hand-painted scene was in sync with the Esplanade landscape—specifically its stone bridges and cherry trees—and brought the view inside. She also loved the blue tone with the rich wood and knew the romantic vibe would resonate with the wife.

The branch chandelier and  CB2 glass dining table (so well-priced at $399) nods to the husband’s more modern leanings. “They balance the room so not everything looks old,” Arazi says. As for the tables absolutely spare lines she says, the designer points out that the table basically disappears, letting the art and wood be the focus. The CB2 brass and leather dining chairs (the wife loves brass) are comfortable and have an art deco silhouette.

The main ingredients Arazi used in this dining room are available retail (and happen to be StyleCarrot partners). Even if you don’t have 100+year old woodwork, or any built-ins at all, you can make this design work in your home. I lined this scheme with freestanding bookshelves for a look as close to the Back Bay dining room as possible, but you could do a grasscloth wallpaper or a textural wood buffet to anchor the wall and artwork.

Arazi Levine Dining Room Makeover

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ARTmonday: The Willard Gallery in South Portland, Maine

Meredith Perdue, artist and proprietor of The Willard Gallery in South Portland, Maine, emailed me the other day about the recent launch of her art gallery and consultancy that launched last week.

The Willard Gallery is located in Perdue’s adorable studio building off South Portland’s Willard Square. The artwork and experience are absolutely approachable. You can shop either online or by appointment at the gallery.

Here are some pieces available at and photos of The Willard Gallery:

Maine Art Gallery Owner Meredith Perdue The Willard

Meredith Perdue, artist + owner, The Willard Gallery

Gallery Wall at The Willard Gallery In South Portland Maine

Teapot Painting At The WIllard Gallery

Iris Tea, Melanie Parke

Julie Bowers Murphy Seascape at The Willard Gallery

Early Morning in Maine, Julie Bowers Murphy

Landscape Painting At The Willard Gallery

Orange Path, Richard Kooyman

Julie Bowers Murphy Seascape at The Willard Gallery

Gulls Over Maine Harbor, Julie Bowers Murphy

Claire Cushman Painting At The Willard Gallery

Field Day, Claire Cushman

Abstract Painting At The Willard Gallery

Claire Cushman Painting At The Willard Gallery

Au Printemps, Claire Cushman

Moxie, Laurie Fisher

Gallery Wall at The Willard Gallery In South Portland Maine

The Willard Gallery In South Portland Maine Exterior

The Willard Gallery in South Portland, Maine

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Just In: Serena & Lily Introduces New Rattan Furnishings for Indoors & Outdoors

In case you’re not excited enough about spring. StyleCarrot partner Serena & Lily has introduced 300+ new pieces, including rattan furniture and  accessories. Can you say scalloped rattan tray?

If you’ve swooned over the bohemian Avalon daybed but had nowhere to put one, consider pre-ordering the new king or queen-sized Avalon bed, a celebration of coastal Cali decor with enough gravitas for a New England interior.

I love the marble-topped pedestal dining table with wrapped rattan base for a double dose of natural materials and a perfect blend of city meets the sea.

Here are nine new introductions of rattan furniture and accessories from Serena & Lily:

Serena & Lily New Furnishings For Spring 2021

Shop these new indoor & outdoor rattan furnishings from Serena & Lily:

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Serena & Lily Bohemian Rattan Bed

The  beloved bohemian Avalon daybed by Serena & Lily has been reimagined as a king or queen-sized Avalon bed. The original inspiration was a 1940s French bed that they company rendered in rattan for a coastal casual vibe. This rattan bed is available with a footboard or without. The white ceramic, textured table lamp is a coastal take on the Kelly Wearstler Linden lamp.

Serena & Lily Balboa Rattan Coffee Table

Serena & Lily has added a wood and handwoven rattan coffee table with brass capped-feet to its Balboa collection. At 46-inches in diameter and a bottom storage shelf, it’s very efficient, and its appearance lends itself to a coastal Cali living room or a more polished city decor. Paired with a braided abaca rug for complete coastal appeal.

Serena & Lily Rattan Pedestal Dining Table

The new Serena & Lily Southampton dining table has a 30-inch diameter marble top and rattan pedestal base. Paired here with the everyone’s favorite, Serena & Lily’s take on the classic Parisian bistro chair, the Riviera dining chair made with a rattan frame and woven resin seat.