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.
Writer Nancy Lazarus hops over to Pratt Manhattan Gallery for a creative collaboration between Pratt Institute and Hennessy V.S.
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.
First 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.
You’ve still got more than two months to catch the Museum of the City of New York’s “City as Canvas” exhibition of graffiti from the Martin Wong collection. For a bite-sized dose, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Time Out New York, on newsstands today, which features an original cover by George “SEN One” Morillo. The graffiti artist, a lifelong Upper West Sider, was an ideal fit for TONY‘s uptown-themed issue. “Being born and raised uptown, and seeing the gentrification process all my life and seeing everybody coming up, it fits who I am,” he tells the magazine. “That story connects to my story.”
As for how that story connects with the street art of today, Morillo points to the humble origins of slick tools with names like Krink and Grog. “We made markers by popping the balls out of roll-on deodorant, putting in the soft stuff from school erasers, and filling the containers with ink. Those techniques, as primitive as they might seem, led to the markers they sell now,” he says. “Vandals created an industry, and it all comes out of the Upper West Side.”
(Photo: Gilbert McCarragher)
The long-awaited Rem Koolhaas-curated Venice Architecture Biennale is upon us. Along with a newly cohesive approach to the national pavilions, in which the 65 participating nations each address a “key moment from a century of modernization,” and the central “Elements of Architecture” exhibition (spoiler alert: “It is nothing to do with design,” Koolhaas explained yesterday), there is “Monditalia,” a multidisciplinary portrait of Italy in the form of 82 films, 41 architectural projects, and a merger of architecture with the Biennale’s dance, music, theater, and film sections. Mamma mia!
Visitors enter Monditalia through a dramatic illuminated archway, which is saved from smacking of Vegas or Disney by its setting in the augustly industrial Arsenale. Dubbed Luminaire, the sparkling facade—spanning nearly 66 feet in length—was created in collaboration with Swarovski using thousands of colored light bulbs and a generous dusting (read: 33 pounds worth) of Swarovski crystals, all encrusting an elaborate wooden frame. Koolhaas describes what lies beyond the gate as dealing with “the current state of Italy, between treasure and crisis, knowledge and controversies, history and politics.”
New York City-based MZ Wallace is our go-to source for smartly designed, beautifully made bags in materials ranging from seasonless leather and sturdy canvas to quilted nylon and metallic Kevlar—in weights and colors that change with the seasons (we’re partial to a full-bodied shade of gray they call “seagull” and keep the UnBeige fleet of iPads sheathed in MZW printed haircalf pouches, but this summer is all about the Pollock-style Metro Tote). Now the company has joined forces with online culinary commmity Food52 to design a better market tote: ideally used to whisk just-picked produce from farmstand to kitchen, we suspect it will work just as well hauling more conventional groceries. But what color should it be? They’ve narrowed the field of chromatic contenders to forest green and navy blue, and the winning hue will be decided by an online vote. Make your preference known by Monday at 11:59 p.m. and be entered to win a tote before it’s released this fall.
In a bit of news that is in keeping this week’s fun-yet-educational theme, the Smithsonian Institution has inked a deal with The Great Courses (née The Teaching Company) to produce new courses devoted to history, science, culture, travel, music, and the arts. The ten-year licensing agreement calls for the purveyor of recorded lectures to draw upon the Smithsonian’s museums and collections for a staring-line up of twelve courses that will include “Experiencing America: A Smithsonian Tour through American History,” “A Visual Guide to the Universe,” and “The Great Tours and Smithsonian Journeys: Essential Sites of Rome, Venice, and Tuscany.” We suggest a “Museum Masterpieces: Cooper-Hewitt” edition to accompany the existing Great Courses that offer virtual tours of the Met, the Louvre, and London’s National Gallery.
Cover yourself in Jackson Pollock‘s inky drips, schlep your stuff under the cover of Warholian camouflage, and wear the creative feats of Keith Haring on your feet—all for less than the price of admission to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The institution has teamed up with Japanese fast-fashion chain Uniqlo on a line of wearables printed with images from works in the MoMA collection, including details from two of Pollock’s 1950 works on paper that have been transposed to cotton t-shirts, a tote bag covered in a collage of Basquiat drawings, and a bandanna featuring Warhol’s tomato-red can of Campbell’s soup from 1962. The Uniqlo at MoMA collection, part of the retailer’s SPRZ NY (“Surprise New York”) project, is now available at at the MoMA Store as well as Uniqlo. Nothing is over $50.
Does it get any better than Leica? The company, synonymous with German engineering at its finest, is in the midst of its jubilee year: founded in 1849, Leica debuted Oskar Barnack‘s 35-millimeter marvel in 1914. In the century since, it has kept its brand pristine by focusing on optical excellence and joining forces with the likes of likeminded Hermès for a few limited-edition models. Which is why we did a double-take when we learned that the esteemed company had been roped into Colette’s latest collaboration, in which Hello Kitty teams up with—wait for it—Playboy. This strange duo is then plastered across products such as Bic pens, a Charvet tie, and, yes, a Leica camera. The limited-edition Hello Kity x Playboy Leica C, on which Sanrio’s famous character sports Playboy bunny ears and wields a camera, was available for purchase on the Colette website for €920 (approximately $1280) but today has mysteriously disappeared: perhaps all ten of the cameras sold or a Leica executive came to his to her senses.
Having outgrown its home in the Eero Saarinen-designed London Chancery Building, the Embassy of the United States in London is getting a new home. Nancy Lazarus sizes up the project, a transparent, crystalline cube now taking shape on London’s South Bank.
(Renderings courtesy of KieranTimberlake/Studio amd.)
“The U.S. government is taking their design seriously again,” said David Sprouls, president of the New York School of Interior Design. His proof? Under the State Department’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities program, the American government is commissioning noted architects and designers to build embassies and consulates worldwide. He spoke briefly at NYSID’s “Design Diplomacy” event last week, where plans for the new London embassy were previewed.
Currently 31 international projects are in the design or construction phase, and these facilities have evolved beyond the purpose-built or modern compounds of earlier U.S. embassies, according to Jerry Withers, project manager at the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations that manages the program. They’re part of the 2010 Embassy Design and Security Act, whose flexible design standards encourages more local influences and cultures.
“Showcasing and representing America well abroad while still being functional, sustainable and safe”: those are the tall tasks of the embassy design program, Withers said. One of the toughest design challenges is to convey U.S. openness since security requirements have tightened in the wake of overseas incidents.
The new U.S. embassy in London is the most high-profile project, and it began about six years ago, when Kieran Timberlake was awarded the architectural design after an international competition. November 2013 marked the groundbreaking and the opening is slated for 2017.
How do you luxe up a windowless room in the bowels of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre? Architectural Digest poses this question to one designer each year as it creates a backstage lounge for the Oscars. The task of creating the AD Greenroom (the 12th!) for the 2014 Academy Awards (the 86th!) went to David Rockwell. Having perhaps exhausted his interest in Hollywood Regency and cinema magic through his work on the on-stage proceedings, Rockwell looked to New York City loft living as inspiration.
Faced with the equivalent of a basement studio, he focused on “urban simplicity, but married with film glamour.” The latter came in part from actress Susan Sarandon, who helped select works from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences archive that line the walls: on one side, a wall of screens powered by Rockwell LAB software display digital images from socially conscious, Oscar-winning, and Oscar-nominated films, while on the other side, 14 framed works features images from classic screwball comedies—one of Sarandon’s favorite genres.