#178: Aria Dean
Aria Dean on Solo Breakfast at Balthazar, Camel Crushes Cigs, Working With Your Friends, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked Aria Dean to share a taste of her taste on Perfectly Imperfect.
Aria Dean is an artist and writer currently based in Bed Stuy. She was the editor and curator of net art and digital culture at Rhizome before starting as the Co-Head of Film and TV Development at Arthur Jafa’s film studio where she works with writers and directors to develop their projects as well as some of her own. Aria is represented by Green Naftali in New York and Chateau Shatto in Los Angeles, and her work is currently on view in the Whitney Biennial. Dean is exceptional at everything she does and has killer taste. Lucky for us, Aria is here to tell us what she’s been into.
Without further ado
Aria Dean (instagram)
This is my favorite account on Instagram. I don’t really go on Tik Tok or watch a whole lot of online clips in general these days, but I love Elite Body Shops TV. It serves as inspiration for sculpture materials and process, so it is very educational in that sense. Lots of different, beautiful kinds of powder coating. But it is also admittedly kind of ASMR fetish-y. There is something undeniably erotic about watching rubber harden against metal.
🍾 Balthazar Solo Breakfast
Apparently if you go to Balthazar alone, they reward your bravery with free champagne. This might not be a secret, but I discovered it a few months ago when I took myself out to breakfast after a dermatologist visit across the street. I now schedule appointments at 9 or 10am–among other excuses–to give myself a reason for a quiet Balthazar morning. Also not certain if it’s a secret, but they serve a really good, well-priced English breakfast. It’s probably also nice to do this ritual with someone else, but then you don’t get the champagne. Worth trying staging a meet-cute with a friend or significant other.
🫂 Philippe Sollers etc.
I have been on a Sollers kick the last few months. His novels are varied, difficult, and a riot. But best of all is the book he and his wife Julia Kristeva co-wrote: Marriage as a Fine Art. On the one hand, it’s one huge flex on all other theory couples, just a relatively incoherent rambling braggart’s song about how great they are. Kristeva outright deems Sarte and Beauvoir “liberarian terrorists.” “To carry out their work of liberatarian terrorism, they turned themselves into a shock commando unit. . . [reliant] on their shared history as two wounded people.” But it is also very sweet. You can find them going around and around on such topics as the nature of passion (PS: “As if passion necessarily [has] to be punished, as if love could only end in disaster. I object to that notion, quite violently. That’s not my idea of love.” JK: “Passion is enthusiasm and the proximity of death. It is joy and it is death. It is annihilation and jubilation.”) As a Sollers fan and a Kristeva agnostic, it has evened out my opinion of the pair. Somehow, the book, dense as it is, tickles the same part of my brain that is satisfied by a 2000s romcom.
I’ve been preaching the gospel of Pinterest for years. People think it's for moms and sorority girls, but it’s actually just a fundamentally useful internet tool as long as you ignore its larger ecosystem. The Pinterest Chrome plug-in? Can’t live without it. It is especially useful if you are addicted to buying things you don’t truly need. I add things to my various pinterest boards as an intermediary step between desiring said thing and purchasing it. Often after adding to Pinterest, I just forget about the item entirely. But it is also useful for actually making shopping plans for home goods or an event.
I used to say Pinterest was the better Are.na, but I’ve since come to understand are.na’s specific merits for research. It should be noted that it’s very important to keep your boards and channels private on both of these platforms lest you become the target of public humiliation and/or get your steez ripped off by some middlebrow loser.
🐪 Camel Crushes
Not supposed to blow this one up but idk - since college my friends have been on the camel crush wave; in a way, the surf n turf of cigarettes. No one is asking you to crush it but I dare you not to. Just the end though. RIP thanks to the FDA.
Instead of trying to schedule meetings, I’ve taken to going for a standing weekly or bi-weekly. Scheduling is replaced by skipping for the week. This works because I have a bunch of long term projects with collaborators right now, but it’s also nice because many of these people are friends of mine, so even if we don’t have updates we can just take the hour to catch up. This practice has bled into social life; I’ve now got a handful of monthly dinner dates in rotation.
🦾 Working With Your Friends
People are always like, “don’t work with your friends!” In order to protect friendships or something. But seems better and more fun to be like: “make your friendships strong enough to withstand collaboration.” Find and cherish thy contemporaries.
Follow Aria on Instagram
Perfectly Imperfect is a free newsletter featuring curated recommendations from real people. Subscribe for posts like these in your inbox twice a week.
More Perfectly Imperfect Dasha Nekrasova ∙ John Wilson (HBO) ∙ Sarah Squirm (SNL) ∙ Chris Black ∙ Hunter Harris ∙ Kaitlin Phillips ∙ Samuel Hine ∙ Brynn Wallner ∙ Madeline Quinn ∙ The Drunken Canal ∙ Walter Pearce & Honor Levy ∙ Aaron Wiggs ∙ Annie Hamilton ∙ Dean Kissick ∙ Rachel Seville Tashjian ∙ Alex Delany ∙ Susan Alexandra ∙ Hari Nef ∙ The Ion Pack ∙ Jon Caramanica ∙ Caroline Calloway ∙ Alison Roman ∙ Andrew Savage ∙ Throwing Fits ∙ Petra Cortright ∙ Jason Stewart ∙ Caveh Zahedi ∙ Catherine Cohen ∙ Nicole McLaughlin ∙ Liana Satenstein ∙ Blackbird Spyplane ∙ Naomi Fry ∙ Patrik Sandberg ∙ Cat Marnell
Follow Perfectly Imperfect on Instagram
Join the Perfectly Imperfect Discord