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LACMA to Honor Barbara Kruger, Quentin Tarantino

(Barbara Kruger)Any number of lines from the films of Quentin Tarantino (perhaps the Pulp Fictional: “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character” or “Personality goes a long way”?) would look swell sprawled out in Futura Bold Italic by Barbara Kruger. The artist and the filmmaker will come together on November 1 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the honorees of its 2014 Art+Film Gala, the museum announced today. Further upping the Gucci-backed fete’s cinematic koan quotient will be Leonardo DiCaprio, who is chairing the event with LACMA trustee Eva Chow.

In other exciting film-related LACMA news, the museum is prepping the first major retrospective of the work of Pierre Huyghe. The exhibition, which is being “designed as a single, extraordinary environment,” opens November 23.

Pictured: Barbara Kruger, Untitled (You Are A Very Special Person), 1995

SVA to Honor Tom Geismar with ‘Masters Series’ Retrospective

(Art Beach)It’s a good year to be Tom Geismar. He and partner (and fellow graphic design legend) Ivan Chermayeff are the 2014 recipients of the National Design Award for lifetime achievement, but even before they pick up their chunky glass asterisks at the Cooper Hewitt’s awards gala in October, Geismar will get the retrospective treatment at New York’s School of Visual Arts. A panel of his peers has selected Geismar to be the 2014 SVA Master Series honoree, joining a roster of past laureates that includes Chermayeff, Saul Bass, Steven Heller, Duane Michals, and Paula Scher. In addition to his logo designs for the likes of Mobil, Chase Manhattan Bank, National Geographic, PBS, Rockefeller Center, Univision, NYU, and Xerox, the exhibition will feature personal works, books, and student projects from Geismar’s own collection.

“The Masters Series: Tom Geismar” opens August 25 at the SVA Chelsea Gallery in NYC.

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.

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.

Wes Gordon, Tanya Taylor Among New Crop of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists

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From left, looks from the fall 2014 collections of Wes Gordon and Tanya Taylor.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue have announced the new crop of finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund initiative. Now in its eleventh year, the program provides financial support and business mentorship for emerging designers. Among the past winners are Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang,and Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. The 2014 finalists are:
• Edie Parker – Brett Heyman
• Eva Fehren – Eva Zuckerman
• Gigi Burris Millinery – Gigi Burris
• Grey Ant – Natalie Levy and Grant Krajecki
• Orley – Matt Orley, Alex Orley, and Samantha Florence
• Paul Andrew – Paul Andrew
• Ryan Roche – Ryan Roche
• Simon Miller – Daniel Corrigan and Jake Sargent
• Tanya Taylor – Tanya Taylor
• Wes Gordon – Wes Gordon

The finalists were selected by a committee of fashion power players that includes Vogue‘s Anna Wintour, whose tireless championing of the initiative has resulted in similar prizes across the globe, and CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg. Over the next few weeks, the group will meet with each of the finalists to review their current collections and conduct in-depth interviews (with $300,000 up for grabs, there’s no pressure) before embarking on site visits to their design studios (again, no pressure). A design project with Maybelline New York. is in the works, and a Fashion Fund Finalists’ fashion show is planned for October is Los Angeles. The winner(s) will be announced in New York City on November 3.

Hennessy and Pratt Reunite for ‘Wild Rabbit’ Competition

Writer Nancy Lazarus hops over to Pratt Manhattan Gallery for a creative collaboration between Pratt Institute and Hennessy V.S.

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Pratt MFA student Eduardo Palma’s winning project, an interactive poster. (All photos: Pratt Institute/Peter Tannenbaum)

Pratt Institute once again teamed with Hennessy for the “Wild Rabbit” contest. The third annual competition challenged nine Pratt students from six creative disciplines to create works of art based on Hennessy’s M.O., “never stop, never settle,” symbolized by the constantly striving bunny brand icon. A panel of seven industry judges recently viewed the works at Pratt’s Manhattan Gallery and selected the top three winners, who will fly to Los Angeles next week for an event where their works will be on display in conjunction with the launch of a Shepard Fairey-designed bottle of Hennessy V.S. Multi-layered approaches marked the common themes for the winners, though they hailed from different geographic areas and interpreted the assignment differently. Here’s a look at the winning projects.

Eduardo Palma_1First place ($10,000): Eduardo Palma (at right), from Bogota, Colombia, MFA in communications design
His wild rabbit: Impacting culture through language
Es Mejor ser Rich que Poor (“It’s better to be rich than poor”) is the statement on Palma’s wall-size poster, set in Friz Quadrata. The surface layer shows a Latin American map in the tones of American currency, divided into cutouts of heavy cardstock.

Palma invited viewers and judges to remove the postcards, uncovering another saying, Plata or Plomo (“Money or Lead”). The quote is from Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, who enforced a bribes-or-bullets program. The bottom newsprint layer shows images in red, yellow, and blue—the colors of the Colombian flag—and depicts Escobar becoming Donald Trump.
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Quote of Note | Thomas Tait

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All in a Delaunay’s work. Looks from the fall 2014 colllection of Thomas Tait, winner of the inaugural LVMH Young Designer Prize.

“It seems fashion may be having a renaissance, where understanding the fragility of creative people in such a high pressure industry is vital to success. Having met some of the strongest designers in the industry through the prize, it’s inspiring and reassuring to see such an impressive assembly of successful creatives. Phoebe Philo who can direct a french fashion house via London whilst raising a young family, or Raf Simons who manages his own brand successfully whilst restoring the house of Christian Dior. To me these are just a couple of the inspiring people who have managed to find a balance at the big breaking point.”

-Fashion designer Thomas Tait in an editorial published this week in the Financial Times

Amar Kanwar to Receive $25K Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change

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Indian artist Amar Kanwar is the recipient of the 2014 Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change. The $25,000 award is presented annually by New York-based nonprofit arts organization Creative Time to an artist whose work has been devoted to “instigating social awareness and harnessing the communicative power of art to engage communities around important public issues.” New Delhi-based Kanwar plans to use the prize money to advance his ongoing The Sovereign Forest project, which brings together moving and still images, texts, books, music, objects, and seeds, among other things, in an attempt to reopen discussion and initiate a creative response to our understanding of crime, politics, human rights, and ecology. He will receive the prize on November 15 at the Creative Time Summit in Stockholm. He joins past winners including Fernando García-Dory, Jeanne van Heeswijk, and the Yes Men.

Guggenheim Kicks Off Open Competition for Design of Future Helsinki Museum

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Pull up an Alvar Aalto-designed Stool 60, cue up your Sibelius playlist, and put on your Marimekko-patterned thinking cap, design fans, because Guggenheim Helsinki is coming. Today marks the launch of the Guggenheim Foundation’s open, international architectural competition—a first for an institution that has had a good run simply by commissioning architects named Frank when the need for a new building arises—for the design of the proposed art and design museum, which is to be located on city-owned land in the southwestern part of Helsinki’s South Harbor (you know, betwixt Eteläranta and Laivasillankatu).

Guggenheim Helsinki is to be a museum that “would organize and present internationally significant exhibitions of artworks from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries while also specializing in Nordic art and architecture. The museum would feature programs organized by the Guggenheim Foundation that might not otherwise be seen in Finland and would also generate exhibitions to be presented at other Guggenheim museums and at institutions around the world,” according to the proposal presented by the foundation last fall. A permanent collection would be developed over time. The construction budget is estimated at €130 million (approximately $177 million at current exchange).
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Photographer Michael Schmidt Wins Prix Pictet

(Michael Schmidt)Berlin-based photographer Michael Schmidt is the winner of the third Prix Pictet. Sponsored by Swiss bank Pictet & Cie and with a purse of 100,000 Swiss francs (approximately $112,000, at current exchange), the entry-by-nomination international photography competition seeks to promote sustainability. This year’s theme was “Consumption.” Schmidt’s monumental “Lebensmittel” (food stuff) project, made between 2006 and 2010, was chosen by a jury that included Whitney curator Elisabeth Sussman and photographer Luc Delahaye, who won the Prix Pictet in 2012.

“There were many potential winners but, after much debate, we finally agreed to award the Prix Pictet to Michael Schmidt whose ‘Lebensmittel‘ is an epic and hugely topical investigation into the ways in which we feed ourselves,” said jury chair Sir David King yesterday evening at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, where Kofi Annan was on hand to announce the winner. Schmidt, 68, was not present due to severe illness. The twelve photographers shortlisted for the Prix Pictet included Rineke Dijkstra, Boris Mikhailov, Allan Sekula (who passed away last August at the age of 62), and Laurie Simmons. An exhibition of work shortlisted for Prix Pictet is on view through June 14 at the V&A.

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