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exhibitions

Watch: Sebastian Junger and Ron Haviv Talk ‘Testimony’

What is like to be on the front lines, armed with only a camera and surging adrenaline? Ron Haviv has 23 years worth of answers. The photojournalist’s work across 18 countries unfurls in “Testimony,” an exhibition on view through January 31 at New York’s Anastasia Photo gallery. “I believe and have dedicated my life to witnessing history in an attempt to create a body of evidence that holds people accountable,” Haviv has said. In this video, the first in a new series produced by the gallery, Haviv is joined by Sebastian Junger for a discussion about war, stories, pictures, emotions, and what happens when those things collide.

New York Historical Society Readies Bill Cunningham Photo Exhibition

(Bill Cunningham)
Bill Cunningham’s photo of Editta Sherman on the subway dates to around 1968-1976.

With the first snow flurries behind us and the deep freeze still ahead, we turn our thoughts briefly to spring, a season inevitably heralded by a selection of pastel-hued or floral-dappled ensembles captured by Bill Cunningham. This March the beloved New York Times photographer gets a spotlight of his own as the New York Historical Society mounts “Façades,” an exhibition that will explore Cunningham’s eight-year project documenting the architectural riches and fashion history of New York City. The photos, taken between 1968 and 1976, pair models in period costumes with historic settings such as St. Paul’s Chapel and Rockefeller Center. Fellow photographer Editta Sherman, captured in profile in front of Grand Central Station crowned in an elaborate hat (recall Cunningham’s early career as a milliner), manages to give Jules-Félix Coutan‘s mythological statues a run for their money.

Quote of Note | Ian Buruma

(Balthus)“To be sure, the marvelous paintings by Balthus of the twelve-year-old Thérèse [Blanchard], dreamily gazing at the viewer with her white panties showing (Thérèse with Cat, 1937), or the painting reproduced in the catalog of the nude Laurence Bataille (daughter of Georges Bataille) stretched back, cat-like, in a chair, while a sinister-looking person draws the curtains to throw light on her naked form (The Room, 1952–1954), are unsettling, but not because of anything pornographic….What is disturbing about Balthus’s pictures of girls is not just the age of his models, but the atmosphere, which is creepy, full of dread and latent violence, and yet extraordinarily beautiful. Girls are trapped in angular, often torturous poses in tight gloomy spaces. There is something in Balthus’s art of those claustrophobic Victorian novels about children locked up in dark attics.”

-Ian Buruma, writing in The New York Review of Books about “Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations,” on view through January 12 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Pictured: Balthus. Thérèse Dreaming (1938)

From Paris, with Gems: ‘Jewels By JAR’ Dazzles at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

If on your next trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art you spy a bivouac of bejeweled butterflies, do not be alarmed. The gem-encrusted insects are among the one-of-a-kind creations of Joel A. Rosenthal, better known by the only initials that can strike fear in the jewelry-loving hearts of those accustomed to getting everything they desire: JAR. The uncompromising designer is the subject of a glittering exhibition that opens today at the Met. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to take a sneak peek.

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JAR’s Tulip Brooch (2008) and Colored Ball Necklace (1999) are among the more than 400 works in the Met’s “Jewels by JAR” exhibition. (Photographs by Jozsef Tari. Courtesy of JAR, Paris.)

The city of lights is an apt setting for a jeweler who creates brilliant one-of-a-kind gemstones. Joel A. Rosenthal (JAR) set up shop 35 years ago on Place Vendôme and now New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating the Bronx-born craftsman with a retrospective that marks two other firsts. It’s JAR’s first American museum exhibit and the Met’s first exhibit devoted to a living jeweler.

“Joel is not here in person now, but he’s here in spirit,” said Jane Adlin, the exhibit’s organizing curator and associate curator of modern and contemporary art, during a press preview held earlier this week. If JAR had shown up, he would have observed an awestruck audience taking in the description-defying display of gems. Adlin collaborated with research assistant, Lori Zabar, and with exhibition design manager, Michael Lapthorn. The exhibit, on view through March 9, 2014, is set in a large, dimly lit gallery where only the cases and the 400-plus intensely colored jewels are illuminated.

“JAR is a talented sculptor who uses jewels as his medium,” said Jennifer Russell, associate director for exhibitions. “It’s an astounding range of work in terms of size, scale, range, and subject matter and it’s an amazing array of objects,” she added. Many of the jewels are inspired by nature: waves, shells, stars, vegetables, fruits, butterflies, birds, and exotic creatures. Others are based on accessories, such as fans or handkerchiefs. In the collection JAR designed for his international clientele are earrings, brooches, rings, bracelets, watches, picture frames, decorative boxes, and a bejeweled glass jar.
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Enigmatic Photographer Vivian Maier Gets Close-Up in Documentary

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It’s Vivian Maier‘s moment. The enigmatic Chicago nanny-cum-master street photographer died in 2009 at the age of 87, leaving behind more than 100,000 photographs from a lifetime of shooting. Now her life and work are the subject of a cultural triple play, with an exhibition on view through December 14 at New York’s Howard Greenberg gallery that coincides with the publication of Vivian Maier: Self-Portraits (powerHouse), setting the stage for the November 17 U.S. premiere of Finding Vivian Maier at the DOC NYC film festival.

The documentary, directed and produced by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel (Bowling for Columbine, Religulous) with the help of Kickstarter backers, unravels the life of the now famous Maier as well as Maloof’s journey to piece together her past. Its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival generated not only buzz but a deal with Killer Films to develop the documentary into a narrative feature (we’re thinking Frances McDormand would make a great Viv).
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Quote of Note | Pierre Huyghe

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From “Untilled” (2011-12), Pierre Huyghe’s Documenta 13 project, which was installed around a park’s compost heap.

“To a certain extent, I have always used animals in my work. This might have increased in recent years and become more overt. But even in my 20s, I did a show with a lot of animals. I think a major turning point, however, was my show at the National Museum of Art and Popular Traditions in Paris [2009-10]. I became fascinated by the work in progress. I realized that what I was more and more attracted to was the aspect that was undetermined. You frame a rule, set the conditions, but you cannot define how a given entity will interact with another. I can never fully determine what animals will do; it’s certainly not my aim to have one animal eat another, although that can happen. What I show is a set of elements and the way they collide, confront and agree with each other. In a certain way, I construct a play. I don’t want to exhibit something to someone any more. I want to do the reverse: I want to exhibit someone to something. It’s random… I don’t even know what will happen most of the time.”

-Artist Pierre Huyghe—whose first major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou features bees, spiders, and a dog—in an interview with The Art Newspaper

Ryan McGinness Creates Artwork for National Coming Out Day

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An activist named Sean Strub convinced Keith Haring to donate his now-famous image of a person dancing out of a closet for National Coming Out Day, which takes place annually on October 11. This year marks the 25th anniversary of that image, and the Human Rights Campaign is celebrating with a colorful new commission: the organization invited New York-based artist Ryan McGinness to create new artwork symbolizing National Coming Out Day.

“I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of Keith Haring,” says McGinness. “I developed three final images and invite you to vote for the one you like the best.” Voting closes at midnight on Thursday, and the design with the most votes will be released as a t-shirt on Friday.
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Marc Newson to Receive Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Collab Design Excellence Award

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Ready your bright yellow Pentax K-01, because Marc Newson is bound for our shores. The Sydney-born, London-based industrial designer will be in Philadelphia next month to collect his Collab Design Excellence Award, bestowed annually by a collaboration of design professionals supporting the modern and contemporary design collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Past winners of the award include Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast, Zaha Hadid, Marcel Wanders, and Frank Gehry.

After picking up his snazzy statue, Newson will give a lecture about his work and inaugurate the museum’s exhibition, “Marc Newson: At Home.” Opening to the public on November 23, the show is a feast of Newsonian domestic delights—from his rapid-prototyped Dish Doctor dish rack to the 021C (read: Pantone orange) concept car he designed for Ford—arrayed inside an abstracted 2,000-square-foot house and garage.
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Inside Pentagram with Partner Eddie Opara

“The creative philosophy here is that there isn’t one,” says Eddie Opara of the many-splendored life at Pentagram, where he has been a partner since 2010. “No one’s trying to tell you to change your philosophy or methodologies of design, but [to] live within, or live with, other philosophies, because there’s never one.” It’s a multifaceted perspective that Opara has applied most recently to Platform, a new non-profit that aims to boost participation of underrepresented groups—particularly African-Americans, Latinos, and women—in technology and entrepreneurship. The designer and his team created the identity and website for the organization, as well as the graphics for the first Platform Summit, a TED-style confab held in July at the MIT Media Lab. Sneak a peek inside Pentagram and learn more about Opara in the below video, created by Athletics as part of the urbane graphic design extravaganza that is “Image of the Studio,” which opens today at Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography.

78 Firms, 1 City: ‘Image of the Studio’ Exhibition Offers Portrait of NYC Graphic Design

image of the studio
Among the graphic design firms participating in the “Image of the Studio” exhibition are (from left) Pentagram, Craig & Karl, and RoAndCo Studio.

“Giving visual form to the city is a special kind of design problem,” wrote urban planner Kevin Lynch in his 1960 book The Image of the City. But how does the urban environment, in all of its forms, affect those who spend their days solving design problems? A new exhibition looks for answers in a cross-section of New York City graphic design firms, from Alfafa Studio to Zut Alors.

Image of the Studio,” which opens tomorrow at Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, features original work from 78 firms that are then tied together—through data visualizations and information graphics—in a shared portrait of what it means to be a New York design studio. Co-organized by Athletics, which is also among the participating firms, the show aims to “map the contours and trace the edges of a dynamic discipline in a city that is itself always in flux.” But not everything is in flux: all materials from the exhibition will be archived at the Herb Lubalin Study Center and online here.

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