Brooke Shields Breaks Into the Art Business, Plus a Pop-Up

In the age of being a multi-hyphenates, Lionel Richie has a tabletop line; Halle Berry consults on lingerie; Rita Wilson sings cabaret.

And now, model-actress-Broadway star-mom Brooke Shields can another descriptor to the list: She is the "special guest curator" for an exhibition the New York Academy of Art is hosting at its booth at the Art Southampton Fair this weekend.

The show, entitled "Call of the Wild," features animal- and nature-themed artwork from academy alumni. Among the pieces: a ballpoint on paper kookaburra by Dina Brodsky; a color print beaver, under acrylic glass, by Alexandra Finkelchtein; oil egrets on canvas by Angela Gram; a series of cow paintings by Nicolas V. Sanchez, and a raccoon made from wood, wire, newspaper, tape, glue and found objects by Will Kurtz.

Ms. Shields joined the board of the New York Academy a year ago, after attending many of the institution's events. She was introduced to the organization by the artist Will Cotton. He had painted a portrait of her daughters, a gift from Ms. Shields's husband, in which one daughter "had a meringue headband and the other had a cupcake headband," she said.

"Basically it was love at first sight with David Kratz," the Academy's president, said Ms. Shields. "It was as if we'd been friends forever."

Mr. Kratz didn't even ask Ms. Shields if she'd be involved in the show.

"He just said, 'You're going to curate a show with me,'" she explained. "I was hesitant at first. I hadn't studied figurative art in any way at college. I was basically insecure about it."

Mr. Kratz assured Ms. Shields that she'd been at enough academy events, and they'd had plenty of conversations about art and methodologies.

"He said, 'try it, just try it,'" Ms. Shields continued. "And I had the best time."

Ms. Shields said that selecting the artwork took a few weeks.

"You have a knee-jerk reaction and then you step away from it and let it sit with you," she explained. "Just because I may not want it on my own wall, there are still merits to the actual work. I can still appreciate pieces of art that I don't necessarily want to wake up to."

Though she will be at a VIP opening and check in periodically to see how the booth is selling over the weekend, Ms. Shields doesn't expect to bring any pieces home.

"At this point, my husband is saying, 'We have no more room, please don't buy anything more,'" she said.

As important as it is to diversify your work skills these days, it's just as important to spread your wings geographically.

Juan Santa Cruz, a former Manhattan-based investment banker, opened Casa Cruz in 2004, in Buenos Aires, which seemed like the Bungalow 8 of Argentina at the time.

It has taken over a decade, but Mr. Santa Cruz has finally set up shop, at least temporarily, in Manhattan.

A Casa Cruz pop-up restaurant is serving food through July 22—by invitation only—at Spring Studios, on Varick Street.

Mr. Santa Cruz has opened two other venues in Buenos Aires since 2004—Isabel and Aldo's—but "Argentina is not as glamorous as it used to be," he said in an interview. Exactly a year ago, he brought Casa Cruz to Notting Hill in London.

Francesco Costa, who is behind Spring Studios, which is also a private club, called Mr. Santa Cruz in May and suggested the idea.

"It was kind of a tight time line, but I said, 'Yeah, let's look at the space,'" Mr. Santa Cruz recalled. "I flew over, and it was basically a bare white concrete box. B ut the moment I walked in, I envisioned it. I loved the height of the ceiling and overlooking downtown Manhattan. I said, 'Yes, let's do it.'"

He sent his right-hand man and chef shortly thereafter, and, of course, is now scoping out potential permanent locations to bring Casa Cruz to the city full time.

"You can not think of yourself as having an international reach without having a place in New York," said Mr. Santa Cruz.

Write to Marshall Heyman at marshall.heyman@wsj.com


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