Over the years, the Armory Show has shifted its expectations of the year’s commissioned artist from creating a few fresh works to showcase in the catalogue and as benefit editions to “helping to create the visual identity of the fair.” (Fortunately, wildly talented graphic designer Reed Seifer has been there to do the heavy lifting.) And so the selection of performance-inclined Liz Magic Laser as this year’s Armory Show poster artist was cause for eyebrow raising, even before the press release that promised she would “activate the fair’s heritage as a site of innovation and discovery,” a phrase that evoked a portrait of the artist as a young gumshoe, raising an oversized magnifying glass to her eye. Laser went the inside baseball route (hey, it worked for Argo) and hit a home run. Embracing the sleek corporate efficiency of the megafair, she embarked on an market research odyssey, staging a series of focus groups composed of collectors, curators, art pros, and journalists, to help her strategize what she would create for the fair, from limited-edition works to tote bags. Watch and enjoy:
An e-book issued by the Vatican to commemorate the papacy of Benedict XVI (who Barry Blitt has depicted relaxing on a hammock on the cover of this week’s New Yorker) reminds readers that the “the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word,” even if that Word is set in…Comic Sans. That’s right, design fans, the 265th pope is going out not with a bang but a typographic whimper. Benedictus XVI, which now greets all visitors to the parchment-look homepage of the Vatican as it muddles through the virtual side of Seda Vacante, is a collection of 60 photos of the pope on the job–palling around with John Paul II in the pre-Twitter era, consulting scripture, kissing babies, walking along bucolic lanes, and brandishing a variety of weighty golden objects–all annotated in godless Comic Sans. Adding to the typographic heresy is the prominent digital watermark of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, that appears on most of the photos: it is set in Papyrus.
Today in unreal estate news, Barbie is looking to sell her Malibu dreamhouse. The listing of the fictional pink palace–a bargain at $25 million–is Mattel’s way of launching “a year-long global brand campaign” that will follow Barbie on a worldwide hunt for new digs (may we suggest Vilnius?). “It wasn’t an easy decision for Barbie to put her Dreamhouse on the market, but this move marks an unprecedented opportunity for her fans to get an inside look at her dreamy home,” said Lori Pantel, VP of global marketing for Barbie, in a statement issued today.
Mattel tapped L.A. broker Josh Altman, who you may recall from Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, to handle the fictional sale. Despite the abundance of hot pink scrollwork and Victorian flourishes, the listing describes the three-story manse as “clean-line[d]” and “contemporary.” Elsewhere, real estate euphemisms tout the Dreamhouse as “innovatively scaled” and with “a truly unobstructed view of the ocean” (it has only three walls). And while $25 million is steep for a one-bedroom, where else are you going to find custom Pantone 219C hardwood floors? Adds Altman, “This is the only home in Malibu with a self-flushing toilet and fireplace that crackles even when it’s not on.”
“On [car] colors, I have always heard that green is unlucky. The British racing green is also often confused with the modern metallic green that seems to be favored by accountants. A good friend of mine, who controls a multinational conglomerate, forbids any of his companies to carry out transactions with a country whose flag has got green in it. So no Zimbabwe, and half of the countries in Africa–nor Ireland nor Italy. It is, surprisingly, a rather smart rule. On cleanliness, I hate the images of the father washing the car, with his young son drying with one of those yellow suede cloths, in the drive of their semi-bijou residence. This is such a haunting image that I have never worried about the state of cleanliness of any car. When I got married, I left the church with my bride in a filthy Hummer full of mud that had been accumulated from three days of shooting.”
-Sir David Tang, who first visited Monte Carlo in “a completely clapped out [Citroën] Deux-CV,” in his most recent “Agony Uncle” column for the Financial Times
Looking to add an architectural zing to your holiday meal? Simply grab the nearest greens and drizzle them with dressing favored by Frank Lloyd Wright, whose low-slung buildings give new meaning to “hidden valley ranch.” Whipping up a batch of Taliesin Dressing is as easy as combining three cups of Mazola oil with three cups of vinegar, adding one tablespoon of sugar and six cloves of garlic (mashed), stirring in the juice of three lemons, and salting to taste. Extra credit if you wear a cape whilst preparing or serving your salads.
This recipe appears in Taliesin Diary: A Year With Frank Lloyd Wright, recently published by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The book marks the first publication of a diary by a Wright apprentice. One Priscilla J. Henken kept it during her year at Wright’s home and studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin (after which she returned to New York City and resumed her job as a high school English teacher), and the book includes notes, essays, and contemporaneous photographs. Of one November 1942 day spent in the kitchen preparing dinner for the entire compound, Henken described the results: “the tenderest roast beef I’ve ever eaten, with oven browned potatoes, carrots, lettuce with Taliesin dressing, 4 squash pies, good hot coffee.” The meal was a hit. “Everyone complimented me, to say nothing of second & third helpings. When I came into the room, they all applauded,” she wrote. “Mr. Wright said I was a girl of all-round talents–cooking, proofreading, etc. From a genius–that’s a feather in my cap!”
“My family opened stockings in the morning and then we’d have breakfast before we could see the tree and all the presents. I have a great picture of me on Christmas morning that I’m very fond of. I was about nine years old and I’m holding a hand puppet in one hand and in the other hand the album The Genius of Ray Charles, which I had asked for. I think that photo really shows me as a child and also the adult I turned out to be.
My parents would always get me the stuff I asked for. I used to get cartons of Kools in my stocking from them. I’m not kidding. And my parents were sane parents! Back then nobody thought smoking was bad, nobody ever told you that….And even in my Easter basket, I remember getting a carton of Kools surrounded by black jelly beans. My mom knew I liked black jelly beans and was being a minimalist. I wish I had a portrait of that. That would have been a great, great picture.”
-John Waters in an interview with Paper magazine. The filmmaker, artist, and author kicks off a 16-city tour of A John Waters Christmas today with a show in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Tequila. The television mogul and the Mexican artist share a love for Casa Dragones. The tequila “made especially for sipping” landed on Oprah’s latest list of Favorite Things. “I truly appreciate people who are excellent at what they do, and the folks who handcraft this incredibly smooth tequila are masters,” enthuses Oprah, between endorsements for handmade jam and organic chai masalas (and alongside, it should be noted, yet another tequila). “Forget the lime, skip the ice, and just savor it like fine wine.” Meanwhile, Gabriel Orozco has partnered with Casa Dragones for a special bottle (pictured) engraved with a motif based on “Black Kites,” his 1997 checkerboard “skull-pture.” The 400 limited-edition bottles, yours for $1,850 apiece, also include the artist’s signature.
Should Oprah and Orozco ever find themselves sipping tequila together, they could also bond over their mutual fondness for the iPad. The Apple tablet has all but replaced the artist’s trusty Leica. “I like to use my iPad to take photos because of the big screen,” said Orozco last week during an on-stage chat with art historian Benjamin Buchloh at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, where his “Asterisms” project is on view through January 13. “It feels like a Hasselblad, somehow.” Oprah has said that she never goes anywhere without her iPad, although she has recently become enamored with the new Microsoft Surface. She tweeted as much yesterday–from her iPad.
“You know the big Leonardo show that came here? I’m so embarrassed to admit this, but I was looking at the drawings, and I got really angry that I wasn’t doing them. So I went home and I started making drawings, and the next day I thought, ‘I can’t believe what I’ve just done. I’m competing with Leonardo.’ You can’t compete with him. I just thought, ‘Oh, my god. This is a really bad sign.’ But it’s funny because things like that should make you angry and want to work better.”
SO-IL Wins Best Metaphorical Costume at Storefront for Art and Architecture’s ‘Critical Halloween’ Bash
(Photo: Naho Kabuto)
Cotton Balls. Man on the Moon. Picket Fence. Mayonnaise. You probably recognize these as some of Benjamin Moore’s palest paint colors. Brooklyn-based architecture firm SO-IL saw their potential as Halloween costumes. Principals Florian Idenburg (dressed as Gray Owl) and Jing Liu (as Marilyn’s Dress) led a group that included Indian White, French Manicure, Antique Lace, and American White to victory at Storefront for Art and Architecture’s “Critical Halloween: On Banality, On Metaphor” costume competition, held Saturday in Brooklyn.
An estemeed jury that included Princeton School of Architecture dean Alejandro Zaera Polo (dressed as a cosmonaut) and Charles Renfro (as a voting booth) awarded SO-IL the award for best metaphor of the night. Snarkitecture nabbed best urban metaphor for their sartorial ode to the Manhattan Grid, while Shan Raoufi and Greta Hansen received art props for their delightful On Kawara-style costumes (each sported a black sign in the artist’s signature typeface with Halloween’s date followed by their birth year). You can check out some of the most memorable costumes thanks to Domus, which is running an online competition through November 11. The winner(s) will receive a one-year subscription to Domus.