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On Valentine’s Day, Times Square Meets Its Match(Maker)

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What’s your sign? That old astrological pick-up line is at the core of the project that emerged victorious in this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, co-hosted by Van Alen Institute. Brooklyn-based Young Projects bested fellow finalists Haiko Cornelissen Architecten, Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, Schaum/Shieh Architects, SOFTlab, and The Living with “Match-Maker” (pictured). The amorphous sculpture, on view in Father Duffy Square in Times Square through March 11, is a cosmic connector: “Guided by their zodiac sign, visitors arrange themselves at twelve points around the heart-shaped sculpture,” according to Young Projects, which worked with Kammetal on the construction. “Peering through colorful, interwoven periscopes provides glimpses of each viewer’s four most ideal astrological mates, offering potential novel connections between lonely souls or settled lovers.”

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Friday Photo: In the Studio with Robert Rauschenberg

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François Halard, Robert Rauschenberg Portrait #2, 1998. (Image courtesy Demisch Danant)

The puckish Robert Rauschenberg at work and play in his studio in Captiva Island, Florida. Blurred geometry at Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre. The crumbling grandeur of the Villa Noailles. Pleated pottery arrayed in Cy Twombly’s bedroom. These are some of the dreamy spaces, people, and places captured over the past two decades by François Halard, the subject of a career-spanning exhibition that opens Saturday at New York’s Demisch Danant gallery. Many of the works in “François Halard: Architecture” have never before been published or exhibited—don’t miss the Polaroids, including the mind-blowing dolce vita view from Twombly’s studio in Southern Italy.

Friday Photo: Chair and Chair Alike

What would a plastic lawn chair do? That’s the big question for Bert Löschner. The Munich-based artist infuses this bland yet globally ubiquitous piece of outdoor furniture —officially known as the Monobloc—with personality by contorting it into poses that include that of caped crusader (“Superchair“), eager-to-serve butler (“valet“), and hitchhiker. “Like other everyday objects, the Monobloc chair is something we have in mind. A certain un-removable picture,” Löschner has said. “This picture can be used as a canvas.” His work includes a chair on a swing, 24 stacked to resemble a human spinal column, and a meta-moment in which one reclines in Gaetano Pesce‘s famed “Donna” chair. We like the look of “The Dudes” (2011, pictured), a chair pair that may have the makings of a loveseat.

Friday Photo: Goodnight Moon Green Room


(Photo: Jonathan Blanc)

It’s the summer of children’s books in New York. The Society of Illustrators is celebrating the creative legacy of Maurice Sendak with an exhibition of more than 200 Sendak originals, and his beloved wild things can also be found rumpusing at the New York Public Library as part of “The ABC of It,” a show that examines why children’s books are important, what and how they teach children, and what they reveal about the societies that produced them. Among the books and objects on view through March 2014 is this recreation of the great green room of Margaret Wise Brown‘s Goodnight Moon, complete with a red balloon and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon.

Yeezus Lives! Kanye West Pops into Design Miami Basel


(Photo: Seth Browarnik for Design Miami Basel)

When last we saw Kanye West, he was wandering the tulip-lined halls of the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF). His latest appearance on the international art circuit (Gray hoodie? Check.) was at Design Miami Basel, where, in the wee hours of Thursday morning, he gave an impromptu listening party for Yeezus. The album, due out on June 18, is expected to sell 500,000 copies in its first week of release.

Some 2,000 guests (Hans Ulrich Obrist? Check.) gathered–amidst a few Rick Owens chairs–at the center of the Herzog and de Meuron-designed Hall 1 Sud at Basel’s Messeplatz to sample West’s latest, including a track produced by Daft Punk and an a capella rendition of “New Slaves,” which includes a shout-out to Alexander Wang. The decision to appear at Design Miami Basel makes perfect sense considering that West has moved on from George Condo to…Le Corbusier. In a recent interview with Jon Caramanica of The New York Times, he pointed to architecture as influencing the pared-down vibe of Yeezus:

You know, this one Corbusier lamp was like, my greatest inspiration. I lived in Paris in this loft space and recorded in my living room, and it just had the worst acoustics possible, but also the songs had to be super simple, because if you turned up some complicated sound and a track with too much bass, it’s not going to work in that space. This is earlier this year. I would go to museums and just like, the Louvre would have a furniture exhibit, and I visited it like, five times, even privately. And I would go see actual Corbusier homes in real life and just talk about, you know, why did they design it? They did like, the biggest glass panes that had ever been done. Like I say, I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body. It’s cool to bring all those vibes and then eventually come back to Rick [Rubin], because I would always think about Def Jam.

At Frieze NY, Mondrians Served by the Slice

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Blue Bottle Rooftop Cafe has become famous for its art-inspired treats, including a fudge pop based on an Ellsworth Kelly sculpture and confections frosted to resemble those painted by Wayne Thiebaud. It’s the slices of colorblocked Mondrian cake (pictured) that are the sweet treat to be seen with at Frieze New York, where Blue Bottle is one of the many providers of edibles and drinkables. Can’t make it to Randall’s Island? Pastry chef Caitlin Freeman reveals her recipes (and step-by-step assembly instructions) in Modern Art Desserts, new from Ten Speed Press.

Friday Photo: Snowflakes in Freefall

Spring has finally sprung, and so it’s possible to gaze upon snowflakes–or at least images of snowflakes–without shivering. These fine specimens were photographed in 3-D as they fell by a high-speed camera system developed by researchers at the University of Utah and its spinoff company, Fallgatter Technologies. “Until our device, there was no good instrument for automatically photographing the shapes and sizes of snowflakes in freefall,” says Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences. “We are photographing these snowflakes completely untouched by any device, as they exist naturally in the air.” In addition to taking the first automated, high-resolution photos of snowflakes, Fallgatter’s Multi Angle Snowflake Camera measures how fast the flakes fall and according to Garrett, “collects vast amounts of data that can be used to come up with more accurate and more representative characterizations of snow in clouds” for improved weather forecasting.

Friday Photo: Wish You Were Here


A photo by Corey Arnold that will be included in “Wish You Were Here,” a group postcard show that opens April 25 as part of Month of Photography Los Angeles.

On the global art and design calendar, April is dominated by Salone del Mobile, which gets underway–in a flourish of directional chairs and modularity–on Tuesday in Milan, but stateside, there’s a focus on photography. The AIPAD Photography Show is on through Sunday at NYC’s Park Avenue Armory, and over in Los Angeles, the photo-themed fun runs all April long as part of the Lucie Foundation-sponsored Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA). Now in its fifth year, the citywide program is expected to draw nearly 15,000 attendees with the 2013 theme, “Wide Angle: Exploring New Photography from Los Angeles and Beyond,” and will go out with a bang on April 26-28 with Paris Photo Los Angeles, the inaugural U.S. edition of the famed Paris fair. Among the must-see MOPLA happenings is “Wish You Were Here,” a group show of 30 photographers from Los Angeles and beyond, curated by Stephanie Gonot. Admission is free but it’s bring your own stamps: the work will be presented on a series of postcards that can be purchased and mailed from the gallery space. The exhibition will be on view through April 30 at the MOPLA Pop-Up Gallery in downtown L.A.

Friday Photo: Can’s (and Koons’) Best Friend


Photos: Canstruction New York and Kevin Wick Photography

Create a Jeff Koons-style balloon dog out of 3,500 tins of crab meat? Can do! The team fielded by Gensler and WSP Flack + Kurtz created this canine, “Can’s Best Friend,” who perches atop some 400 cans of veggies, for Canstruction, the international charity competition that returned to New York City this month to challenge teams of architects, engineers, and students they mentor to design and build giant structures made entirely from unopened cans of food.

“We wanted the focus of this sculpture to be on the children of New York, who make up one-third of our city’s hungry population,” said Gensler’s Joseph Fulco, one of the team’s co-captains. Alas, a rule-breaking Masonite board support took the puppy out of the running for the title of Jurors’ Favorite, which went to “Topping Hunger” by the team from Leslie E. Robertson Associates. All of the Canstruction projects are on view through Monday at Brookfield Place World Financial Center Complex. Admission is free, but be sure to bring a can or two of food to donate–it will join the rest in going to City Harvest.
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Friday Photo: Crocodile Eating Ballerina

“My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse, and entertain,” said Helmut Newton, who succeeded on all three counts with “Crocodile Eating Ballerina,” in which a member of Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal company is swallowed by a crocodile. The 1983 photo is an enduring crowd pleaser, whether in digital reproduction (Instagrammers and Pinterested types can’t get enough of the image) or analog–an original gelatin silver print fetched $31,250 at Phillips a few years ago. A signed platinum print is among the 50 photographic portrayals of nudes up for sale in Artnet’s “Fifty Shades” photography sale, an online auction that also includes works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, and Chuck Close. Bids will be accepted through the morning of Thursday, January 31.

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