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GLOBETROTTER: As art and antiques buyer for Anthropologie, Keith Johnson has logged some serious air miles in search of unusual finds for the retailer. Now Anthropologie shoppers can see what caught his eye in Burma, Ethiopia and Syria and other far-off locales he has canvassed in the past five years in “Past Ports,” a multimedia travelogue exhibition on view in the Rockefeller Center store’s gallery through the end of July. Having overseen Anthropologie’s gallery since 2005, Johnson has showcased his photos and videos in light boxes in the drawers of cabinets, which visitors must open to get a close look.
“What is kind of interesting about this is the experience. It is more than just photographs on the wall,” said Johnson.
Much of the work centers on the artists and artisans he has spotted in his travels. One of his personal favorites is a video of the whirling dervish, whose costume illuminated when twirled in the air. Johnson and his pal Anna Sui captured that on film during a trip to Syria.
Ten limited-edition prints are available for $98 at the chain’s Web site, with all proceeds going to benefit the Pennsylvania SPCA.
Although Johnson’s husband, Glen Senk, exited Urban Outfitters Inc. in January to head up David Yurman, Johnson is not seeking greener pastures. “When I started with Anthropologie, there was only one store and now there are about 190. I am still working with many of the same people I was working with when I started 19 years ago. It’s not easy to leave that,” he said