alex weinstein

MANA at the Villa Di Donato

On the night of May 28th, “The Artists of the Film MANA” took over a 17th century villa in Naples, otherwise known as the Villa Di Donato. This MANA exhibition, a collaborative effort between ART1307 (AKA Cynthia and Renato Penna) and Lancaster Museum of Art and History (AKA Andi Campognone), with the ingenuity and aid of Naples’ Chiara Reale and Rome-based curator Roberta Serpolli, featured the works of the following MANA film artists: Craig Skibs Barker, Casper Brindle, Ben Brough, Alex Couwenberg, Ned Evans, Steve Fuchs, Eric Johnson, David Lloyd, and Ken Pagliaro -- the last seven listed were in attendance at the villa’s opening reception and were hit up for multiple on-the-spot interviews with Italian reporters and had individual tete-a-tetes with the Consulate of U.S. Consul of Politics and Economic Affairs.

The Lily Spindle ladies (and our dashing husbands) got a private tour of the spectacular villa by its owner, a man of few words, in part because his prowess in communicating in English is pretty comparable to ours in speaking Italian. He proudly informed us that 40 guests had enjoyed Christmas dinner there last year and I immediately imagined how glorious this place would look adorned with holiday trimmings, aglow with strings of twinkling lights and candles flickering on a massive dining table. It’s an absolutely gorgeous space. And an ingenious, fun, and unusual environment in which to see bright, contemporary, California-forged art made by the MANA men.

Our apologies for the excessive photos of the opening reception but there were too many shots to choose from! Photo credit goes to Ken Pagliaro, Eric Johnson, Ben Brough, Andi Campognone, and more than a few snaps by Lily Spindle.

*Here’s one of several stories in the Naples papers covering the MANA night in Naples . . .

The MANA Project - The City of Angels meets The City of the Sun

The predominant reason Deb and I made the transatlantic journey to Italy was for the Villa di Donato exhibition "The Artists of the Film MANA," as organized and curated by Naples' Art 1307 association, spearheaded by Renato + Cynthia Penna and Los Angeles' very own powerhouse Andi Campognone. The artists in this exhibition were culled from the MANA project's original ten "Light and Space" artists, a project launched in 2013 by Andi, currently the director of the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, California. MANA the documentary (produced by Andi C. and shot and directed by L.A.'s art scene photographer and chronicler Eric Minh Swenson), was filmed in Hawaii in the summer of 2013 and screened last year in Naples. Out of the ten original MANA artists, Ned Evans, David Lloyd, Ken Pagliaro, Steve Fuchs, Ben Brough, Alex Couwenberg, and Eric Johnson made the trek to Italy to attend the opening reception at Villa di Donato and partake in an incredible collaborative art project at the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso with Rosario Guida and Dario Correale, Napoli surfers who also make art (a difficult combination to discover, says Cynthia Penna!). Yes, it may be true that all the artists in this particular show are men. But it's the women who are in charge here. In charge like a boss, baby. Like. A. Boss. 

With sheer cliffs overlooking the sea, the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso in Sorrento has its fair share of naturally-occurring artistry, but Cynthia Penna has helped to make this resplendent four-star hotel an outpost for original works of art, devoting specific guests' rooms to the work of individual artists from all over the world (such as the talented and lovely Carla Viparelli). On May 26th, the aforementioned motley crew of ocean-loving MANA artists and their Italian counterparts got together in the blazing Sorrento sunshine and adorned a custom balsa board shaped by Dario expressly for this monumental event. They worked off of one another's drawings and sketches and doodles and patterns for nearly two hours, eventually placing this finished beauty in the hotel lobby, where we hear delighted guests have been taking photos alongside it since.

Following the collaborative event uniting the talents of Los Angeles and Naples, there was food. Lots and lots of food. And wine. And cappuccinos. And Limoncello. And cake. And some of us even dove into the "bracing and refreshing" swimming pool.

Next post. . . photos from the opening event at the magnificent Villa di Donato! And here's a little piece in Italia Magazine about the opening reception and exhibition to get you in the mood: FROM LA TO NAPLES: THE SEA IS UNIQUE

The first Lily Spindle Trunk Show in Los Angeles

Last week here in L.A., we had our first trunk show, featuring the gorgeous, one-of-a-kind ceramics of Nancy Wright, abstract artist Alex Weinstein's limited edition cement soap dishes, tons of fantastic vintage (and a few new) pieces of art, Canyon Design Studio's kuba cloth clutches and totes and cashmere scarves (the perfect warmth + weight for LA's four "seasons", by the way), and Kimberly Stafford's newest collection of jewelry using raw diamonds and mixed metals. SO MUCH FUN!

And thanks a million times over to my man, Ned Evans, for snapping these shots of the space before the guests arrived!

- Rebecca