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friday photo

Friday Photo: The Leica That Took the Reichstag

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(Yevgeny Khalder)OK, so it’s the Leica that took the photo of Russian troops taking the Reichstag, but you get the idea! Alas, there is no Black Friday discount on this camera, which goes on the block tomorrow in Hong Kong as part of Bonhams’ droolworthy Leica centenary sale (note to Tom Sachs: there’s also a fine circa-1966 NASA model up for grabs) and is estimated to fetch between 3 million and 4 million Hong Kong dollars—approximately $390,000-$520,000 at current exchange.

While working as a photojournalist for the Soviet news agency TASS, Yevgeni Khaldei used the trusty chrome Leica III to take Raising a Flag over the Reichstag (above), one of the most famous photographs of World War II. There is more than Khaldei’s eye and the Leica’s Elmar 3.5cm f/3.5 lens to thank for the image: taken on May 2, 1945, it’s a restaging of the moment two days earlier when Red Army fighters had first flown the Soviet flag over the Reichstag (Germans had fought back and dislodged the Red Army, scuttling that photo op). And there was also a bit of Soviet-style proto-Photoshopping involved: more smoke was added to suggest that the fighting was still taking place and the soldiers’ looted watches were made to vanish from their wrists and from history.

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Friday Photo: Paul Strand’s Place to Meet

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Paul Strand, Place to Meet, Luzzara, 1953 (© Paul Strand Archive/Aperture Foundation)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art reveals the fruits of its 2010 mega-acquisition of Paul Strand photographs in a stunning retrospective—the first in nearly fifty years—that spans from the breakthrough moment when Strand neared the brink of abstraction (his Porch Shadows of 1916 alone are worth the trip) to his broader vision of the place of photography in the modern world. On view through January 4, Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography highlights his 1953 project in the northern Italian village of Luzzara, where he set out to create a major work about a single community and captured this group of gentlemen meeting amidst spindly chairs and dynamic signage that includes a spirited rendering of geographically appropriate footwear.

Quote of Note | Marc Newson on Carlo Mollino

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“I discovered the work of Carlo Mollino at the beginning of my career, about twenty-five years ago. The piece that really got me excited was the ‘Bisiluro’ (pictured), which was essentially a racing car that looked like a four-wheeled motorcycle, like two motorcycles bolted together. It was a fantastically brilliant thing: two pontoons joined by a metallic membrane. He raced them. They were his obsession, though he designed them not merely to look cool, but also to be functional and aerodynamic. What subsequently attracted me to his work, more than the furniture, was his general multitasking ability. Aviation, architecture, automotives, photography, furniture—he created all of those things, and he practiced across several disciplines at a time when not many other people were doing that. He eluded any job description.”

-Multitasking designer Marc Newson in the fifth (fall/winter 2014) issue of CR Fashion Book

In Which the Smithsonian Is Yarn-Bombed

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If you’re spending this Labor Day weekend in our nation’s capital, stop by the Smithsonian Castle, which, along with the surrounding gardens, is presently ensnared in a thicket—approximately six miles worth—of cherry red yarn. The yarn bombing, revealed today (after two weeks of work by some 120 volunteers) and up through Tuesday morning, is a crafty way to draw attention to the Chiharu Shiota exhibition that opens tomorrow at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The Japanese artist has used 350 donated shoes and four miles of the same shade of red yarn used in the knit-splosion to create an installation that amasses personal memories of lost individuals and past moments. “The threads are woven together,” Shiota has said. “They become entangled. They tear. They unravel. They are a mirror of the emotions.” As for the fate of the post-bomb yarn, the Freer|Sackler is open to ideas: tweet your craftiest suggestion(s) to @FreerSackler or post on the museum’s Facebook page.

Friday Photo: Picasso, Bullish on the Beach

(Gjon Mili) xWhen it comes to great men on the beach, our heart has always been with Einstein (and Robert Wilson, and Philip Glass). But where more literal beaches are concerned, we’re biased toward those in the south of France, particularly in the 1920s, when wealthy American expats Gerald and Sara Murphy frolicked on and off the sand with an eclectic group of friends that included a young Pablo Picasso. Back then the artist favored a less-the-breezy fedora to shield his cap of black hair from the sun, but by 1949, he had moved on to bolder Côte d’Azur chapeaux: a minotaur mask, here worn backward in a photo by Gjon Mili for LIFE magazine.

Friday Photo: Monkey on Board

(Garry Winogrand)In 1959, Bronx-born photographer Garry Winogrand (1928–1984) captured what is surely one of the most wonderfully—and perplexingly—absurd scenes in the history of photography: a snow monkey perched on the rear of a Chevy convertible paused at an intersection on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The man and the woman in the car look over their shoulders to regard the primate with gazes of barely suppressed annoyance, as if poised to answer the are-we-there-yet? whines of a bored child. Meanwhile, the monkey, having spied Winogrand and his trusty Leica, looks straight at the lens with his mouth open.

“One day I asked Winogrand what actually was happening when he made that now-classic photograph,” said Jeff Rosenheim, a former student of Winogrand’s who now serves as curator in charge of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s department of photographs, at the recent press preview for the museum’s exquisite Winogrand retrospective. “He smiled at let rip a common refrain: ‘Forget about the original situation, Jeff. It’s gone. Look at the picture. A photograph is a new thing. An illusion. A lie. A transformation.’ It was important lesson for me to learn then, and even today I revisit its truths as I work to understand this ever-changing nature of this medium of photography.”
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Friday Photo: Tadao Ando Takes a Picture

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(Photo: UnBeige)

Clark Center from Reflecting Pool 7Tadao Ando first visited the Clark Art Institute, located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 2001, having emerged as the clear winner in the competition to develop an architectural master plan for the institution, known for its top-notch collection of Old Masters and Impressionists as well as a hub for art historical research and conferences. On his most recent visit from Osaka, just last week, Ando surveyed the nearly finished project, camera in hand. Trailed by a scrum of journalists and museum staff, he regarded with approval and personal snapshots the expanded Clark and its transformed 140-acre campus, which opens to the public today.

The multi-phase project combined Ando’s talents with that of Annabelle Selldorf (who expanded and renovated the Clark’s original 1955 museum building), Gary Hilderbrand (responsible for the sweeping and sustainable redesign of the Clark’s grounds), and Gensler (which served as executive architect). Ando’s 42,560-square-foot Clark Center, the new stone, concrete, and glass centerpiece of the campus, serenely fulfills an astounding array of functions spread between two levels—reception, exhibition space, dining, retail—while uniting the new with the old and the built environment with natural wonders—verdant hills, trails, and a new three-tiered reflecting pool that later this year will become an epic skating rink. In describing the project, Ando emphasized the theme of continuity: “The continuity of the Clark family, the continuity of history, the continuity of the seasons,” he said. “There really is this continuity throughout the site.”

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.”

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.

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