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art

Katz Marks the Spot: New Art Billboard to Welcome Whitney Downtown

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Alex Katz’s 2012 painting Katherine and Elizabeth (Photo courtesy Gavin Brown’s Enterprise)

Worried that the spindly and shape-shifting “W” of the Whitney Museum’s fledgling graphic identity will be insufficient to guide visitors to the door of its new downtown home? Alex Katz to the rescue. The artist (and erstwhile J. Crew model)’s 2012 canvas, Katherine and Elizabeth, will welcome the museum to the Meatpacking District in the form of a 17-by-29-foot billboard on the facade of 95 Horatio Street, located directly across Gansevoort Street from the southern end of the High Line and the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney. Announced today, the public art installation will be the first in a planned five-year series organized in collaboration with real estate developer TF Cornerstone and High Line Art.

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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.

Now Read This: David Zwirner’s Pop-Up Bookstore Returns

zwirnerbooksWhen the good people at David Zwirner e-mailed us with news of the gallery’s fifth annual summer pop-up bookstore, we briefly considered keeping the news to ourselves, so great is our obsession with admiration for many artists in the Zwirner stable (Luc Tuymans! Marlene Dumas! Richard Serra!). Somehow, we’ve managed to suppress our selfish impulses to let you know that for two weeks only—right this minute through Friday, August 1—Zwirner will offer up deals galore on a selection of rare and out-of-print books, signed artist catalogues, DVDs, and more. The David Zwirner Pop-Up Bookstore, hosted with ARTBOOK | D.A.P., will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you know we’ll be there bright and early to ensure first dibs on anything and everything related to Michaël Borremans. OK, and we’ll probably hoard all the Neo Rauch stuff, too. Because all’s fair in love and pop-up bookstores.

The David Zwirner Pop-Up Bookstore is located at 525 West 19th Street in NYC.

Quote of Note | Robert Motherwell

(Arnold Newman)“My mother was very literary. Also she had one of the greatest collections in America of eighteenth-century French Provincial furniture. She used to haunt auction houses for this and as a boy I often used to go with her. And there was a time when I could date any piece of French furniture within two years. I think it was a marvelous training of the eye because, you know, in the end the difference is the exact undulation of the curve, the materials, and so on and all the rest of it. All my life I’ve used earth colors a lot, especially yellow ochre and raw umber and so on; and I wouldn’t be surprised that a lot of it comes from constantly looking at waxed fruitwood furniture. She didn’t like the chichi town kind, you know, with gilt and all that, but the beautiful waxed fruitwood country furniture.”

-Artist Robert Motherwell in a 1971 interview conducted by Paul Cummings for the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art

Put a Balloon Dog on It! H&M ‘Collaborates’ with Jeff Koons

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lisa perry koons“I have a little bit of the heebie-jeebies by ‘art inspired by fashion’—or art printed on fashion,” said designer Zac Posen during a recent on-stage conversation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Look no further than H&M’s new “fashion loves art collaboration” for an example of what Posen meant.

Last night the Swedish fast fashion juggernaut, the lead sponsor of the Whitney’s Jeff Koons-o-rama, inaugurated its new 57,000-square-foot Fifth Avenue flagship by plastering the place with images of the artist’s monumental Balloon Dog (Yellow) (1994-2000). H&M has also printed an image of the celebrated Celebration series sculpture on a black leather handbag that it touts as “the ultimate art-meets-fashion statement from the ultimate post-pop artist.”
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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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Favorite Thing: MZ Wallace’s Artists for Haiti Tote Returns

mz wallaceArtist Raymond Pettibon‘s enchanting scrawl, a very good cause, and sequins: a more appealing trio of reasons to purchase a new tote bag we have not encountered. The accessories wizards over at MZ Wallace have gone into their capacious bag vault (which we imagine to be a milky white, high-ceilinged affair that smacks of Richard Gluckman) to reissue their Artists for Haiti tote, created in 2011 to raise funds for the nonprofit that supports education and health charities in Haiti. All proceeds from sales of the $175 nylon bag—originally in black and now in a creamy khaki dusted with bronze sequins and featuring Pettibon’s lettering on the leather handles—will benefit programs endowed by Artists for Haiti.

Have a suggestion for our next Favorite Thing? E-mail unbeige@mediabistro.com.

Quote of Note | Ed Ruscha

hans memling“I can’t stop looking at this guy, because he looks like somebody on the street, like somebody I know. If you cut his hair a little different, he might be a baseball player—I don’t know. He could be José Canseco. He’s got a certain look that puts him into the twenty-first century. Most paintings of people do not, so it’s really unusual. Especially with Memling’s pictures, they sort of cross centuries. And I like to be aware of that. Every so often I’ll see someone on the street that looks to me like they’re from 1950—they’re dressed like they are today, in today’s clothing, but they still have a 1950 face. And this man has a twenty-first century face somehow.”

-Artist Ed Ruscha on Hans Memling‘s Portrait of a Man, c.1470, during a recent event at the Frick Collection

NYHS Exhibit Fêtes Ludwig Bemelmans and Madeline on Her 75th Anniversary

Nancy Lazarus heads up Central Park West covered in vines, in search of twelve little girls in two straight lines, or at least the smallest one of the bunch: Madeline, and her creator.

Madeline at the Paris Flower Market
Madeline at the Paris Flower Market, 1955. Courtesy the Estate of Ludwig Bemelmans.

As a hotelier, cartoonist, and fabric designer, Ludwig Bemelmans was a jack of all trades, but Madeline, published in 1939, became his masterpiece. The New York Historical Society is marking the 75th anniversary with a retrospective of his career. “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans,” is on view through October 19.

“He took any jobs that came along,” said exhibition curator Jane Bayard Curley of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, the show’s organizer. Over 100 works are on display, reflecting Bemelmans’ many talents: drawings, paintings, manuscripts, photographs, and specially commissioned objects, including murals for the playroom of Christina, the Onassis yacht. Bemelmans’ family opened their archives to lend artwork and memorabilia.

“We created a faux Bemelmans’ Bar, but don’t tell the Carlyle,” joked Charles Royce, who along with his wife Deborah, lent murals from their luxury hotel, Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. They acquired six plaster works, which had once graced the walls of Bemelmans’ La Colombe bistro in Paris. Royce was referring of course to New York’s Carlyle Hotel, where Bemelmans painted murals depicting the seasons of Central Park.
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Watch: Marina Abramovic Teams with Adidas on New Film

Opposing bunches of talented young people shuttle purposefully from one side of a rectangular surface to another. Sound familiar? No, it’s not the World Cup—sorry, the 2014 FIFA World Cup™—but Marina Abramovic‘s restaging of her 1978 performance Work Relation. And hold on to your Sambas, because the film (below), which was shot in Brooklyn by Dustin Lynn and debuted today on Nick Knight‘s Showstudio, was made in collaboration with Adidas. And so the eleven performers, wearing not only white lab coats bearing the monogram of the Marina Abramovic Institute but also Adidas kicks as they go about their competitive task, evoke a team of clinically precise athletes, with Abramovic in the role of wise—and presumably very well-compensated—referee.

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