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The Fantastical Fungi (And Other Subjects) of Phyllis Ma’s Supernatural Still Lifes

Photographer and animator Phyllis Ma’s work is centered around what she calls “special nothings:” ordinary objects that, in the right context, can appear “magical, surreal, or even uncanny.” Fuzzy flowers nuzzling each other, a block of aspic the exact dimensions of an iPhone, a phallic gherkin covered in warty bumps — all resplendent in hyper-stylized settings and hyper-saturated hues. Recently, Ma — who was born in China and immigrated to Brooklyn when she was eight — turned her lens on the mushroom kingdom.
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Guest Editor Fiorella Valdesolo on Mushrooms and the Interconnectedness of All Things

Today, meet Fiorella Valdesolo, a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and consultant who is probably best known for her role as co-founder and editor-in-chief of the food magazine Gather Journal (whose erstwhile print issues we still hoard). All of the stories we’ll be posting between now and Friday have been either written or chosen by Fiorella; they center around the interconnectedness of all things — and, in a way, why we need each other now more than ever.
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Rosenberg works out of a sun-filled studio at the street-facing end of the railroad apartment he shares with his boyfriend, Gil, who's a surfer, musician, and assistant to the color theorist Donald Kaufman. Although Rosenberg doesn’t fancy himself a musician, he’s the synth player in their band, Jacques Detergent. (“That's day-ter-GEANT,” he says with a French flourish.) When I visited, Rosenberg was working on their record cover — an early draft is pinned to the wall — and preparing for a solo exhibition in Oslo this month called "Wallhangings of Today."

Jason Rosenberg, Artist

The first time I met Brooklyn artist Jason Rosenberg, I brought him a present. It was nothing fancy. Earlier that day, I’d gone to the doctor and left with a prescription tucked inside a tiny plastic pharmaceutical bag, printed with a picture of a pill and the name of a generic medication. Lest my gift-giving skills be called into question, I should explain that I was headed that night to Kiosk, the New York shop where Rosenberg was hosting a Plastic Bag Happening: The idea was to bring a bag and either exchange it for one of the many Rosenberg has collected over the years, or to have the artist, equipped with his vintage White sewing machine, transform the bag into something totally different — a hat, a pencil case, a coin purse, a wallet. I walked away with two slim sacks from Systembolaget, Sweden’s chain of state-sponsored liquor shops; Rosenberg, when I visited him in his Greenpoint studio last month, was still holding on to the bag I’d brought, though where to find it in his heaps of pseudo-organized boxes, bins, and file folders was another story.
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