While Americans pound coffee and gobble sleeves of Milanos, those in more civilized—if less productive—nations know the restorative power of a pause that involves a fresh cup of tea. Bigelow Tea joined Los Angeles-based artist and designer Geoff McFetridge for tea time and captured the creative magic that can happen in the couple of minutes it takes to to steep a cup of tea. The contemplative short, directed by Bucky Fukumoto, is part of Bigelow’s “While You Were Steeping” series.
film + video
Create and manage a top-notch freelancing career in our upcoming online event. Through a series of webcasts and workshops, attendees will be able to learn the tools necessary to launch a successful freelancing career. Weekly sessions will cover topics including pitches, query letters, portfolios, and financing. With St. Patty’s Day quickly approaching, we invite you to try your luck with code GETLUCKY and win anywhere from $10-$50 OFF registration! Register Today!
Paolo Soleri gets his close-up in a documentary now making the festival rounds (next stop: Sedona). Lisa Scafuro‘s The Vision Of Paolo Soleri: Prophet in The Desert explores the life and work of the Italian-born architect, urban designer, artist, craftsman, and philosopher, who died last April at the age of 93. The film traces Soleri’s path from his formative time at Taliesin West, where he worked under Frank Lloyd Wright before setting off on a course of his own, driven by the dream to create an environment in harmony with people. Check the film’s Facebook page for news of the latest screenings. In the Washington, D.C. area? The Vision Of Paolo Soleri will screen at the National Building Museum on the evening of March 24.
The Architecture & Design Film Festival is heading West. After years of celebrating the creative spirit of architecture and design through a dynamic line-up of features, documentaries, and shorts in cities including New York and Chicago, the festival will debut in Los Angeles with a 30-film slate as well as a program of panel discussions and Q&As, a pop-up bookshop, and other design-related events. The five-day event kicks off March 12 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center with Patrick Creadon‘s If You Build It, which follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller as they lead a group of high school students in rural North Carolina through a year-long design-build project.
Other highlights include the world premiere of TELOS, a film on maverick architect Eugene Tssui, and the U.S. premiere of In The Midst of Things, which explores the life and work of Portuguese architect Manuel Tainha. And local flavor abounds: the L.A. programs includes The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat (which includes interviews with the house’s current owner, actress Kelly Lynch) and Levitated Mass, a fascinating tale about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s two-story, 340-ton granite boulder that was moved from a quarry in Riverside, California to the museum site on a 105-mile journey that spanned 10 nights and crawled through 22 cities and four counties on a football field-long transport vehicle.
“’Bound 2′ is certainly a piece of work—as bizarrely gonzo and creepily asexual as Jeff Koons‘s hyperrealistic 1991 paintings of himself having sex with his then-wife Cicciolina, John Currin‘s 1989 paintings of Breck girls, and Marina Abramovic’s staring at spectators at MoMA in 2010. “Bound 2” is different: a freakish act of creation and destruction by appropriation. It stars Kanye and his fiancée, Kim Kardashian, and we see (along with the two of them) wild horses running in rivers, eagles flying to the sky, sunsets, purple mountain majesties, redwood forests, and gulfstream waters. It’s a teenage girl’s bedroom’s idea of romance crossed with Richard Prince‘s Cowboy photographs, American Romanticism, Celestial Seasonings packages, shampoo commercials, Iranian music videos, Thomas Kinkaid, beer ads, Jeff Koons, The Onion, Lars von Trier, the House of Fendi, and Jeffrey Deitch and his own uncanny 1992 prophecy ‘The Freudian model of the psychological person is dissolving…freed of the constraints of one’s past.” The New Uncanny is un-self-consciousness filtered through hyper-self-consciousness, unprocessed absurdity, grandiosity of desire, and fantastic self-regard.”
Design for extreme affordability. That’s the challenge presented by one course at Stanford University’s Institute of Design (better known as the d.school); how students address it—drawing on methods from engineering and industrial design in combination with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world—is the subject of a new documentary. In Extreme by Design, now available on iTunes, filmmakers Ralph King Jr. and Michael Schwarz follow d.schoolers as they create and test potentially life-saving products for those in the developing countries they visit. Here’s the trailer:
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).
The Whitney Museum, home to the responsive W, is counting down the days (OK, months) to its move downtown with the help of a new video series. Launched this week, Whitney Stories offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum’s future home, designed by Renzo Piano, through interviews with figures central to the project.
New York-based filmmaker Matt Wolf is directing a series of 15 videos, each focusing on a person with a particular role in the project. First up (below) is a profile of Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, the Whitney’s associate director for conservation and research. Stay tuned for new videos to be released regularly, right up to the spring 2015 move, accompanied by articles and photo essays. Future subjects include Piano, director Adam Weinberg, building project manager Larissa Gentile, and Vincent Punch, who serves as assistant head guard at the museum.
“If you can’t find it, design it.” Following that motto has led Lella and Massimo Vignelli through a design career that spans products, graphics, publications, furniture, and more. Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra‘s documentary, Design Is One, traces the Vignellis’ legendary achievements–from New York’s subway signage and identity programs for Bloomingdale’s to Heller dinnerware and Venini lamps–alongside personal anecdotes from the likes of Richard Meier, Milton Glaser, Michael Bierut, and Jessica Helfand. Catch the film this month in New York City at IFC Center and later Symphony Space. It opens October 31 at the MFA Boston.
Friendly Ghost. Bill Blass somewhere in Europe, in a photo taken by his friend Bob Tompkins.
Inflatable tanks, sound effects, elaborately painted faux convoys, carefully crafted illusions. It was all in a day’s work for the American G.I.s—including Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, and Art Kane—who artfully mislead the Axis forces on the battlefields of Europe during World War II. “They conducted 21 different deceptions, often operating within a few hundred yards of enemy lines,” filmmaker and author Rick Beyer tells us. “Their story was hushed up for more than 40 years.” Beyer brings it to light in The Ghost Army, a new documentary that will be screened on Thursday, October 17 at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (register here to attend). Beyer made time to tell us some ghost (army) stories in advance of next week’s screening.
How did you become interested/first learn about the story of this secret WWII unit?
I first learned about it eight years ago when a mutual friend introduced me to Martha Gavin, whose uncle, John Jarvie, served in the unit. Her enthusiasm was the spark that started the whole project. I have always loved quirky history stories, the strange, “can you believe it?” stuff. In fact, I’ve written an entire book series, The Greatest Stories Never Told, that focuses on just that. The idea that American soldiers in World War II went into battle with inflatable tanks and sound effects records was so bizarre, so contrary to every image from every war movie I’ve ever seen, that it immediately attracted my attention.
On top of that was the fact that many of the soldiers in the unit were artists, who used their spare time to paint and sketch what they saw on the battlefield. In fact, the first time I met Martha at a Boston area coffee shop, she was carrying an armload of three-ring binders filled with uncle’s wartime artworks. I was captivated with the way they presented such a unique and intimate perspective of the war. And that’s how I got hooked.
How were GIs selected to serve in this unit?
The Army threw the 23rd together in a hurry, in January 1944, so they assembled it from four pre-existing units. One was the 603rd Camouflage Engineers, which had been formed more than 18 months earlier. The Army had loaded the 603rd with artists, because their initial mission was camouflage. Some were recruited from art schools such as Pratt and Cooper Union. Word quickly spread to other artists interested in finding a way to put their art skills to use in war effort. (Or interested in finding a way to avoid ending up in the infantry!)
Similarly, the Army took a pre-existing radio unit and assigned it to The Ghost Army to handle radio deception. But because they wanted only the very best radio operators to carry out convincing deceptions, they pruned about 100 soldiers from the radio unit, and then plucked skilled men from other units around the country. In general, once it was formed, The Ghost Army had a very high priority status, and could whatever soldiers it wanted.
Syracuse, New York-based artist Carrie Mae Weems is among the 24 new fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Announced today, the 2013 cohort of MacArthur Fellows—selected for “their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future”—also includes choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, writer Donald Antrim, and audio savior Carl Haber, an experimental physicist developing new technologies for preserving inaccessible and deteriorating sound recordings. Each fellow will receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years. The MacArthur Foundation has previously bestowed its unrestricted largess upon fellows such as architect Jeanne Gang, typographer Matthew Carter, filmmaker Errol Morris, artist Tara Donovan, and lighting designer Jennifer Tipton. Click below to watch the foundation’s video of Weems at work:
NEXT PAGE >>