How and just like that… Lisa made Todd Wexley’s apartment a sanctuary for modern black art – town and country | Candle Made Easy

This includes familiar faces And just like thatis… DNA. Finally, the series, now airing on HBO Max, is a new chapter for characters that audiences have encountered as they became cultural touchstones Sex and the City. However, it’s not just actors that are recognizable, especially if you have a keen eye for contemporary art.

In a recent episode, Kristin Davis’ character, Charlotte York Goldenblatt, cements a long-held friendship with Lisa Todd Wexley (played by Nicole Ari Parker), a glamor documentary filmmaker whose children go to school with Charlotte when a dinner party goes awry. The scene is tense: Guests crowd around Wexley’s dining table as the host’s mother-in-law (Pat Bowie) begins taking shots at her son’s (Christopher Jackson) and daughter-in-law’s art collection, which includes works by Gordon Parks, Mickalene Thomas (whose “Racquel avec Les Trois Femmes Noires” is above), Deborah Roberts and Derrick Adams, among others, but still does not find her approval.

CLOCK AND JUST SO…

Calling upon her background in fine arts – and a burning desire to cement her bond with Wexley – Charlotte provides a crash course in the meaning of the works in the home, their cultural significance and, perhaps most importantly for Mom, their value as an investment . It’s a win-win situation; Charlotte displays a fine backbone, Wexley gleefully watches as her mother-in-law is brought down, and the audience is exposed to an extraordinary array of artwork that is actually discussed rather than quietly lurking to add gravitas.

Ari Nicole Parker before Deborah Roberts’ “Political Lamb in a Wolfs World” on an episode of And just like that…

Craig Blankenhorn

It was a scenario for that And just like that… Writer and executive producer Keli Goff and curator Racquel Chevremont planned every detail. Here the couple tells Conditions about why art was essential to telling the story and how they managed to build a world-class collection for a fictional family.

What was the beginning of the idea to use such works for the series?

Keli Goff: It started with the development of these characters, Lisa Todd Wexley and her husband Herbert. Michael Patrick King, my boss and showrunner of the series, first spoke about wanting to introduce this character from LTW as a friend of Charlotte’s and a version of black womanhood that we haven’t seen much, if ever, on TV.

I’m from a suburb in Texas. I had never met black art collectors before, and when I moved to New York and started going to the Studio Museum Gala in Harlem – one of the most fabulous galas in New York – I began to be introduced to this world of black collectors, and it was amazing too. I thought to myself, why didn’t I even know this existed? And when Michael talked about introducing the character to Lisa Todd Wexley, that became an important part of her character for me.

A small detail: I know very little about art. I go to museums, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge, so I knew I wasn’t the person qualified to choose the art for these characters’ homes. I called a lot of people wanting to know, and one name kept popping up: Racquel Chevremont. So I contacted her via email and she couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming.

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Chris Jackson, who plays Herbert Wexley And just like that… before Derrick Adams’ “Family Portrait 9”.

Craig Blankenhorn

Racquel Chevremont: When Keli reached out, I wanted to know who these characters are? What are you? LTW’s husband is a banker, she’s a documentary filmmaker and I thought ok I can do it. As Keli said you almost never really see a couple like that on TV but there are so many couples like this and I work with a few from them. I knew immediately that I would treat them as if they were my customers. And so I sent the team, Keli and everyone else a few artists to choose from that I thought this couple would essentially collect so I could get an idea of ​​what the TV show was really looking for. what Keli was really looking for, and then I said, “I can’t promise I’ll get these artists…”

KG: But she did!

RC: I sent numerous works by each artist and Keli came back and said, “I love all of this, but really I’ll let you decide.” It was like having the perfect client. She said, “I’ll bow to you, but that’s the direction I like and that’s what I see.” And those are their characters, and so I went in that direction.”

KG: One of the things I’ve said over and over again is that I see LTW’s collection as that of someone who wants to celebrate black femininity in its many forms. She’s also someone who has a pretty conservative mother-in-law and has young children around her, and when we talked about that, for example, that took some of the edgier bits out of the running. But then Racquel said to me with such an aha moment, “Well, what about Herbert?” And I said, “What about him?” She said, “Well, does he collect too?” And I said, “I don’t know?

It was this hilarious back and forth and Racquel started talking about couples who are collectors and how one collects one and the other collects the other and that was a total breakthrough for me. In that conversation we decided that Herbert would collect photographs and that LTW would collect exceptional artists depicting black women. And then it was off to the races; Every day was like buying art I didn’t pay for.

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Curator Racquel Chevremont and writer-producer Keli Goff on the set of And just like that… Watch Portrait of Mnonja by Mickalene Thomas.

Craig Blankenhorn

RC: If you have such a big platform, everyone will see it. To have the depiction of brown and black bodies on the walls… If you get this opportunity, you must take it. So I wanted to make sure that they were big paintings, beautiful, just gorgeous, celebrating our lives and that you could really see them when the camera was on, that there would be no denying what was on those walls.

Also part of the scene is Charlotte walking from work to work explaining why each is important, calling on each artist and what makes them unique.

KG: We talked about that. Wouldn’t it be cool if people googled the show? Because Racquel was on set the day we shot and she will confirm it wasn’t an easy shoot because dinner parties are tough. But also making sure the art, which was really a co-star of that episode, really was the priority was really the priority, and that’s not easy.

Racquel is the expert, I’m not but I’m a huge Gordon Parks fan and when she emailed and asked “Well what do you think of Gordon Parks?” I said, “Obviously I adore him, but I know you’re not asking what I think about us getting him because I can’t even imagine that’s possible.” And she said, “Let me see what I can do.” Not only did she get us a photo of Gordon Parks, she got one of Gordon Parks’ most famous photos and it couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s the image of Joanne Thornton Wilson, a black teacher in Mobile, Alabama, standing under a colorful entrance sign, dressed to the point with her niece. I said to Michael, “She’s the LTW of the 1950s.”

It’s so powerful and deep. And one of the things I learned while researching the photo is that life magazine would not publish it; it was too controversial. And I thought the fact that the image of a beautifully dressed black woman debunking stereotypes about what people think of black women, especially back then, was more controversial than protesters, water hoses and dogs, says a lot. We had it hung near the entrance as you enter the extraordinary home of this extraordinary black power couple, taller than Charlotte and [her husband] Harry’s. It was fantastic.

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Evan Handler in front of Derrick Adams’ “Style Variation 32”.

Craig Blankenhorn

There’s also art almost everywhere you look – you had to build something that felt like a real collection, which took time to build the characters.

RC: We already had a lot of pieces, but we didn’t want the camera to hit anywhere that there wasn’t a painting in the scene. And so, to the show’s credit, to Keli’s credit, that was very important. And that’s usually not the case. I was happy to rush to the artists and say, “Hey, can I get another piece? We don’t want blank walls.” I think we ended up with maybe 16 pieces. Some of them are original, like the Gordon Parks picture, and some are reproductions, but they are reproduced to a level that I have never reproduced any other show. All photographs are reprinted on photo paper and framed exactly as the artist intended them to be framed.

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Nicole Ari Parker in Carrie Mae Weems’ Untitled (Wife and Daughter Applying Makeup) and Untitled (Wife and Daughters).

Craig Blankenhorn

You can’t use originals in a show because insurance would be astronomical. I mean, we have paintings and they’re worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, so that wasn’t an option. However, with reproduction, you can get the quality if you’re willing to put the money in, so they’ve spared no expense. They went as far as they could go, even with Mickalene Thomas, the painting you see, they painstakingly repainted it… They bought Swarovski crystals to put the crystals where they were. They brought glitter for the crowds they couldn’t just try to make this as close to the original as possible.

There is so much art out there and so many ways you can go about building a collection. When you counsel someone, you want to help them collect things they will love. Because yes, artwork is a financial investment, but it’s also a personal thing and you have to love what you live with and it has to tell your story. You want it to tell the world who you are.


Preview of Get Ready for And Just Like That

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