PaperCity Magazine

January 2016 - Houston

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DECORATION Left: Patti Kagan lounges at her modernist Mecca, Mrs. PK & Oz Mrs. PK & Oz JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON TAKE ME BACK TO 1972 "I'm really a design geek," says Patti Kagan, and one look around her temple of the sleek, often smoldering decor of the '60s, '70s and early '80s proves it. At Mrs. PK & Oz — "Oz" in the moniker now references Houston as the mythic Emerald City — Kagan holds court as a priestess of home furnishings of the late Mad Men era, now from a new retail incarnation. The showroom boasts 4,000 square feet on a prime spot: Colquitt's Gallery Row (in the Arquitectonica- designed Upper Kirby District shopping center owned by her husband, real estate impresario Jonathan Kagan). Moving from a smaller space on Kirby at Richmond, Kagan's new modern lair is filled with alluring room vignettes — a swivel chair with a lambskin pouf by the godfather of Lucite, Charles Hollis Jones; Georges Briard highball glasses; jazzy chrome sling-back settees by Zermatt; and Valley of the Dolls ephemera (the film and book are among the owner's obsessions; another is Tom Ford's house and the movie I Am Love — she frequently seeks design inspiration from the Milanese home where the key action happens). At the front of the store, Kagan mans the phone lines and checks emails rigorously, for Mrs. PK & Oz buys and sells nationally and internationally on, from Argentina to Manhattan and Miami, and sometimes back again. "Ninety percent of my business comes from out of town," she confides. Pop in on any given day, and you'll find Kagan at her desk — a fabulous mirror- and-chrome creation by influential Italian Romeo Rega (Kagan explains his link to Pierre Cardin, then points out a Cardin cabinet in the corner.) How did she come to her passion for this particularly rich design era? It all began during her Houston childhood, Kagan says, with progressive parents who lived with Harvey Probber furnishings in a mid-century Meyerland ranch. Next mission for Mrs. PK: converting more Houstonians to the style, attitude and swagger of this compelling, yet still under-appreciated decorating epoch. Mrs. PK & Oz, 2627 Colquitt, 713.485.5508, Catherine D. Anspon on the High Seas GRAND HAUL I n 1984, an extraordinary payload of rare 17th-century Chinese shipwreck blue-and-white porcelain went on the auction block at Christie's Amsterdam. British explorer and ship captain Michael Hatcher painstakingly salvaged the 25,000 pieces from a Dutch ship that sank in the South China Sea some 370 years earlier. Of those 25,000 objects, Christie's procured some 3,000 pieces of interest. Despite the items' scarcity and remarkable condition, the sale drew little public interest, except from three collectors in attendance: Dallas antiquarian Betty Gertz, noted Chinese porcelain expert David Howard and Gertz's longtime friend, acclaimed interior designer Axel Vervoordt. "I heard about the sale from David," Gertz says. "I called Axel and told him. David came in from London. I flew in from Dallas and Axel came up from Antwerp. We all sat together at the auction and bid on everything. There were not a lot of bidders." By evening's end, they had won it all. During dinner that night, a Christie's executive asked if she wanted to see something extraordinary. "He took me back to the auction house," says Gertz, "where there was a tremendous basement just pavéed in Ming porcelain. I had never seen anything like it. I went back to the hotel and woke up Axel and David, and told them there was more to buy." Christie's held a second sale two weeks later, and the trio returned, outbidding everyone else and snagging the entire collection. They had effectively cornered the market on Chinese shipwreck porcelain. On Thursday, January 21, Christie's in New York will offer 20 lots from Gertz's collection as part of its annual Chinese Export Auction, including pairs of vases, sets of dishes and teapots. It will also include the white carved wall brackets designed by Vervoordt that Gertz used to display pieces in her home. More from Gertz's collection will be offered for sale in 2017. "Betty was one of the few Americans to attend and buy in the very first of a series of shipwreck sales Christie's had in the '80s Pair of Hatcher Cargo blue-and-white baluster jars and covers, mid-17th century, $8,000– $12,000 and early '90s," says Becky MacGuire, Christie's senior specialist in Chinese export art. "The first sale in Amsterdam was fascinating, not just because it was the first time that cargos had been salvaged and auctioned by a major house, but as this wreck held such interesting material. The 1640s was the 'Transitional period' between the Ming and Qing [Dynasties]. Instead of huge formal decorations and dragon dishes for the court, you had much more freewheeling flowers and bamboo or myths and legends for the scholar class." Over the years, Gertz sold much of her cache through her store East & Orient, but she kept her favorites, bringing them out for dinner parties at home and setting elaborate tablescapes entirely in blue- and-white shipwreck porcelain. When a caterer once asked if he should put the pieces in the dishwasher, Gertz replied: "Why not? They survived 370 years on the bottom of the ocean." In December 2015, Architectural Digest featured Gertz's new Vervoordt-designed house in Dallas, including shots of some of her shipwreck pieces. It was a swansong of sorts. "It's time to let it all go and let someone else enjoy them," Gertz says. Information Capera Ryan, Christie's deputy chairman, Americas, 214.599.0735, cryan@christies. com, Rebecca Sherman If the galaxies are aligned, this month we'll see the launch of a new Texas art star, Houston collector and energy executive Ken Christie — via a YouTube channel, that is. Subscribe to Christie's (the dashing collector serves as narrator, co- founder and co-owner of the brand), and in late January, you'll be among the first viewers to partake in the debut episode, which pairs internationally exhibited Texas artist McKay Otto with Houston merchant Travis Weaver of Heights emporium Manready Mercantile. Each creator or collector "has a story to tell," Christie says of the new channel's content, which rolls out a fresh segment each month. Filmmaker/photographer/one- time gallerist LuQman Kaka is Christie's partner in the endeavor, lending visual expertise, staging and directing the videos, with 15 minutes allotted to each creative pairing. Christie and Kaka are self-financed at the moment, but they plan to get the first pilots wrapped, then seek sponsors and channel advertisers. We'll be watching for the inventive mix of subjects and the presentation of Texas notables alongside global types. Upcoming episodes will feature shoe designer Joyce Echols and the utopian craft-architectural project of Selven O'Keef Jarmon, which connects Houston with South Africa while beading an entire building (Art League Houston, coming spring 2016). On Christie and Kaka's wish list is artist and collector Jennifer Rubell (as in Miami's Rubell Family Collection), whose pollination of art and food and those naughty nutcracker sculptures sounds irresistible. Catherine D. Anspon OILMAN TO YOUTUBE ART SENSATION BRENT WEBB LUQMAN KAKA LuQman Kaka Ken Christie at home with his collection

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