I work in technology but my background began in art.
I went for a PhD in art history at Yale, but realized in the final phase I wouldn’t make a great professor. I spent a few years in New York as a curator and artist before going to law school, and then practiced mergers and acquisitions law before going into business.
My favorite piece of art of the last five years is the revived of scent of an extinct flower we did at Ginkgo with artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. Starting with a tiny sample clipped from a dried specimen of mountain hibiscus that had gone extinct in 1912 (Hibiscadelphus Wilderianus), Ginkgo sequenced the DNA of the plant and was able to reconstruct the genes responsible for producing aromatic compounds. We then ported these genes into yeast, analyzed the aromachemicals produced by the cells, and worked with scent creator Sissel Tolaas to turn this into a fragrance. The scent was on display at the Pompidou Center in Paris and is at the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design through Dec 2019. The work is titled “Resurrecting the Sublime”. Scientific American did a great article here.
In the future, you’ll be able to choose between drinking a glass of milk and wearing one.
One of my favorite personal projects was designing scarves made from milk fabric with a brand called Trasteverine . Spinning yarn from casein, a protein in liquid milk, is actually an old but forgotten technique popular in Italy in the 1930s. It gradually disappeared after the development of synthetic fabrics like nylon. For the milk scarves, I worked with one of the last mills running this process, Clerici Tessuto, and a U.K. based artist, Mike Graham, who designed the images. This video explains the origins of this fabric technology. It is strangely reminiscent of recent efforts to make proteinaceous fibers through engineered microbes, such as what Bolt Threads and Spiber are doing.
A History of Art
There are several art projects and shows I participated in either as a curator or artist from 2002-2014, many in collaboration with friend and curator Howie Chen. I owe thanks to galleries like Dispatch (NYC), White Columns (NYC), FSPC (Miami), IMO (Copenhagen) art fairs like the Independent, museums like the Whitney, Queens Museum of Art, the New Museum, Yale Museum of Art, and publishers like Primary Information and DIS Magazine for giving me great opportunities. Artforum, the New York Times and other publications reviewed some of these shows.