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architecture

Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, James Turrell Among National Medal of Arts Recipients

medal_bigBillie Tsien and Tod Williams are heading to the White House. The architects are among the just-announced recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. “Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions,” reads the official citation. They will receive their Robert Graham-designed medals (pictured) from President Obama at a ceremony in the East Room on Monday afternoon.

Williams and Tsien will be joined by fellow 2013 medalists artist James Turrell, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, director and Dreamworker Jeffrey Katzenberg, representatives of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, musical theater composer John Kander, novelist, poet, and essayist Julia Alvarez, musician Linda Ronstadt, and arts patron Joan Harris.

Watch the ceremony live on Monday at 3:00 p.m. EST here.

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Steven Holl, Martial Raysse Among Praemium Imperiale Laureates

Steven HollThe Japan Art Association has announced the winners of the twenty-sixth Praemium Imperiale, the international arts prize established “in memory of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu to celebrate the human spirit as expressed through the genius of the world’s artists.” The 2014 laureates are Steven Holl (architecture, pictured), Martial Raysse (painting), Giuseppe Penone (sculpture), Arvo Pärt (music), and Athol Fugard (theatre/film).

Each winner receives 15 million yen (approximately $150,000 at current exchange rates) and a ticket to Tokyo, where they’ll collect their medals in an October 15 ceremony headlined by Prince Hitachi of Japan, who Wikipedia describes as “currently fourth in line to the Chrysanthemum throne.” This year’s crop of Praemium Imperiale laureates joins a roster of artists that includes everyone from Frank Gehry and Jasper Johns to Ingmar Bergman and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Artists are nominated for the prize through international committees in each of the five fields that make recommendations to the Japan Art Association’s board of trustees, which ultimately selects the winners.

MoMA Names Martino Stierli Chief Curator of Architecture and Design

martinoThe nearly year-long parlor game of “Who will replace Barry Bergdoll at MoMA?” has, at long last, come to an end with today’s announcement that Martino Stierli has nabbed the plum role of Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. Stierli is the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich, where he teaches the history of modern architecture. Beginning in March 2015, he will oversee the MoMA department of architecture and design’s special exhibitions, installations from the collection, and acquisitions. Stierli has a tough act to follow in Bergdoll, who stepped down last summer in leave-’em-wanting-more fashion—and in the midst of a stellar Le Corbusier exhibition—to become Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University, although he remains a part-time curator at MoMA.
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At Chanel, Le Corbusier Inspires Concrete Couture

chanel set
At left, a view of the Paris apartment designed by Le Corbusier that inspired Chanel’s latest haute couture collection and runway show. (Photos from right: © FLC/ADAGP, Olivier Saillant)

chanel fw coutureHaving recently tapped into markets high (fine art) and low (the grocery store) to inspire his collections for the megahouse of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld looked to the work of Le Corbusier to fire up his creativity for the fall couture. With the blessing of the Fondation Le Corbusier, he transformed the Grand Palais to resemble the paradoxical outdoor living room, complete with fireplace, of the long-demolished Champs-Elysées apartment that Corbu designed in 1929 for one Charles de Beistegui. “All white concrete, with some baroque elements,” said Lagerfeld yesterday in a post-show interview, as he described his architectural inspiration.

The modern material found its way into the collection via tiny tiles of gray and white concrete (pink and green are in the works) that Lagerfeld used for elaborate or starkly geometric mosaic-style embroideries that accented bodices, traced hems, and encrusted entire dresses, all shown with flat sandals and hairstyles that evoked plumage—in a nod to the rara avis who is the twenty-first century couture customer. “What I liked about this collection is that it’s really flawless, impeccable shapes,” said Lagerfeld of the 70 looks he sent down the grandly scaled runway. “They’re light, they float, they don’t walk heavily…and I think that makes it more modern.”
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Friday Photo: Tadao Ando Takes a Picture

ando 2
(Photo: UnBeige)

Clark Center from Reflecting Pool 7Tadao Ando first visited the Clark Art Institute, located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 2001, having emerged as the clear winner in the competition to develop an architectural master plan for the institution, known for its top-notch collection of Old Masters and Impressionists as well as a hub for art historical research and conferences. On his most recent visit from Osaka, just last week, Ando surveyed the nearly finished project, camera in hand. Trailed by a scrum of journalists and museum staff, he regarded with approval and personal snapshots the expanded Clark and its transformed 140-acre campus, which opens to the public today.

The multi-phase project combined Ando’s talents with that of Annabelle Selldorf (who expanded and renovated the Clark’s original 1955 museum building), Gary Hilderbrand (responsible for the sweeping and sustainable redesign of the Clark’s grounds), and Gensler (which served as executive architect). Ando’s 42,560-square-foot Clark Center, the new stone, concrete, and glass centerpiece of the campus, serenely fulfills an astounding array of functions spread between two levels—reception, exhibition space, dining, retail—while uniting the new with the old and the built environment with natural wonders—verdant hills, trails, and a new three-tiered reflecting pool that later this year will become an epic skating rink. In describing the project, Ando emphasized the theme of continuity: “The continuity of the Clark family, the continuity of history, the continuity of the seasons,” he said. “There really is this continuity throughout the site.”

Quote of Note | Tomas Koolhaas

(Tomas Koolhaas)
Rem Koolhaas in Venice at sunset. (Photo: Tomas Koolhaas)

“Usually architecture documentaries really only appeal to viewers with a deep understanding of architectural concepts and jargon. I think by taking a more humanistic approach my film will appeal to anyone who can relate to other people….I don’t think it’s as black and white as either ‘architecture people’ or ‘general public.’ I think there are a lot of gradations in between. For example, creative people who can appreciate architecture but maybe are not interested enough to be very well versed in technical jargon or abreast of every element of architectural discourse. I think those people make up quite a large group and most architecture documentaries fail to engage them. It’s those kinds of people that my film could manage to reach. I don’t presume to think that a large portion of my audience is going to be people who don’t care about architecture at all, but I want there to be elements of the film that anyone can enjoy.”

-Tomas Koolhaas on the anticipated audience for the documentary (view trailer below) he is making about his father, architect Rem Koolhaas. Read the full interview in the new Rem-themed issue of CLOG.
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Frieze Taps Barber and Osgerby’s Universal Design Studio to Design London Fair

frieze art fairNow in its eleventh year, Frieze London is getting a new look. This year’s fair, which runs October 15-18 in leafy Regent’s Park, will be designed by Universal Design Studio. The creative consultancy, founded in 2011 by designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby to focus on architecture and interiors, takes over from fellow Londoners Carmody Groarke, who handled the fair’s architectural aspects (read: supercool megatent) for the last three years. Frieze has previously employed Caruso St John (2008-2010), Jamie Fobert (2006–2007) and David Adjaye (2003-2005).

“The architecture and design of the fair have always been an important part of our identity,” say Frieze founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. “This year we were drawn to Universal in particular due to their work on interiors and focus on materials. As some of the best designers working in this area, their lateral thinking has been demonstrated by some of their great furniture and even their design for the Olympic torch. We’re really looking forward to them bringing this sensibility to Frieze.” Among Universal’s recent projects are Google Web Lab at London’s Science Museum, exhibition design for Vitra’s Vitrahaus exhibition, and both the interior and exterior of the London outpost of the Ace Hotel.

Chicago Getting Its Own Architecture Biennial

chicago archWatch out, Venezia. The Windy City is getting a biennial of its own. Announced this week, the Chicago Architecture Biennial—billed as the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America—is set to open October 1, 2015 in and around the Chicago Cultural Center. The three-month-long event, presented by the City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation, will be funded through private donations (BP has already chipped in $2.5 million).

“Chicago is the birthplace of modernism in architecture and every architect in the world knows our city’s history of innovation in the field through the work of architects such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe,” says Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda, who will serve as artistic director of the Biennial with architect, writer, and curator Joseph Grima. “The Biennial will place Chicago, once again, at the forefront of the architectural imagination.”
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Gehry-Designed Fondation Louis Vuitton Set for October Opening

1-Fondation Louis Vuitton @ Iwan Baan, 2014
(Photo: Iwan Baan)

Once upon a time, LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault announced his grand plan for a Frank Gehry-designed home for the Fondation Louis Vuitton: it would hover over a 2.5-acre swath of Paris’s Bois de Boulogne like a contemporary art-filled cloud of glass, it would cost around $127 million, it would be open by…2010. No word on the final budget, but opening day is finally in sight: October 27, 2014 will mark the public debut of the 12,600-square-foot building, according to a statement released today by LVMH.

Gehry looked to the lightness of late 19th-century glass and garden architecture in designing the structure, which is perched like an articulated nimbostratus in the leafy Jardin d’Acclimatation. Comprised of a dozen glass “sails,” it is covered in 3,600 panes of glass. The eleven galleries it contains will be dedicated to the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and artists’ commissions. Among the opening exhibitions will be one showcasing Gehry’s architectural project for the foundation and timed to coincide with the architect’s first European retrospective, which goes on view in October at the Centre Pompidou.

A Forest Grows at Ground Zero

The 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan is a living memorial in more ways the one. Approximately 400 swamp white oak trees were transplanted from the New Jersey countryside to the Memorial Park, which also happens to be one of the largest and most complex “green roofs” in the world—planted atop a seven-story, below-ground museum. Brooklyn-based filmmaker Scott Elliott seeks to explore this confluence of remembrance, monumentality, and landscape architecture in a feature-length documentary, The Trees, and he’s looking to Kickstarter to help cover post-production costs in time to get the film on next year’s festival circuit. Learn more about his project in the below pre-trailer of sorts.

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