Archtober is nearly upon us, and the designtastic autumnal fun gets off to an urbane start with City Modern, celebrating the best in New York design and architecture. Now in its second year, the collaboration between Dwell Media and New York magazine kicks off next Friday with a Meet the Architects celebration, followed by a weekend of City Modern home tours in Manhattan and Brooklyn (the one pictured at right is “Skyhouse,” a project by architect David Hotson and interior designer Ghislaine Viñas that occupies a previously vacant four-story space at the tippy-top of one of the oldest surviving skyscrapers in NYC). The week continues with programming led by New York design editor Wendy Goodman and Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron, including a sure-to-be-stimulating conversation among Paola Antonelli of MoMA, the one and only Michael Bierut, and architecture critic Justin Davidson about “What Design can Do For New York City.” Get the full scoop on all eight event-packed days here.
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But it does make for excellent fodder for discussions, film screenings, “interactive experiences,” and more thought-provoking happenings at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art. The reliably innovative cultural hub, the only museum in the United States dedicated to the Himalayan region, is now putting the finishing touches on “The Ignorance Series,” a fresh line-up of public programs that will explore how the unknown permeates our lives and impacts our perceptions of the world—at a time when it seems as if every answer is just a smartphone Google search away.
What’s better than making sandcastles? Watching artists make sandcastles while enjoying summery snacks and refreshments! Our friends at Creative Time are heading back out to Far Rockaway, Queens on Friday, August 9th to host the organization’s second annual artist sandcastle competition. A group of selected artists and their teams will gather on the sand near the Beach 86th Street boardwalk to battle it out for special prizes from esteemed judges. The free-and-open-to-the-public day of fun will kick off at noon, with castle-building starting at 2:00 p.m. A post-awards party is planned for that evening at Rippers.
While you have your calendar out, circle October 25th and 26th, the dates of this year’s Creative Time Summit at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The freshly expanded conference, titled “Art, Place, and Dislocation in the 21st-Century City,” will bring together artists, activists, students, critics, curators, and other culture vultures for more than 30 presentations by the likes of Vito Acconci, Lucy Lippard, Rick Lowe, and Rebecca Solnit (and maybe you?) as well as on-stage debates, short films, and regional reports by leading curators. A new “pay-what-you-choose” ticket pricing structure ensures that the event will fit your budget. Read more
Ready your inner iconoclast for “Breaking the Rules,” the international conference of the Industrial Designers Society of America. Set for August 21-24 in Chicago, the megaconfab promises “an energizing, thought-provoking and potentially outburst-inducing three- day exploration of design, business, culture shifts and rule-breaking strategies that help you make the most of our evolving and often tumultuous economic climate,” according to conference chair Paul Hatch, president of TEAMS Design USA. Speakers include Dean Kamen (Deka Research & Development), Bruce Nussbaum (Parsons), and Bill Buxton (Microsoft Research). Regular registration rates end July 20, so act fast.
The must-attend design event of the summer is Michigan Modern, which takes place June 13-16 on the Eliel Saarinen-designed campus of Cranbrook. The epic line-up of lectures, discussions, tours, and films will bring together architects, critics, designers, historians, and others to discuss the role of the Great Lakes State in the development of American modernism. Come for the early concrete designs of Albert Kahn for the auto industry, stay for the array of Cranbrook-affiliated designers–Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, to name a few–who became household names through manufacturers such as Herman Miller.
The main event is the symposium, which will delve into the design legacies of figures such as Harley Earl, Victor Gruen, Eero Saarinen, Alden B. Dow, George Nelson, and Alexander Girard. Meanwhile, interlocutor extraordinaire Debbie Millman will be on hand to interview textile design legend Ruth Adler-Schnee and architect Gunnar Birkerts. As if that weren’t reason enough to register, attendees will be among the first to see “Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America,” a major exhibition at the recently restored Cranbrook Art Museum. Early bird (read: discounted) registration ends tomorrow–plus, we suspect that this modfest is going to fill up faster than you can say “Minoru Yamasaki,” so don’t delay.
This 1999 photo taken on the shores of Italy’s Lake Garda will be shown in “Martin Parr: Life’s a Beach,” opening tomorrow at Aperture Gallery. (Photo: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos)
A man recently arrived at a Manhattan federal building to apply for a passport, became agitated, and ended up trying to hide from authorities–in the ceiling. Securing a passport to the arts is much easier–and comes with minimal risk of being arrested and taken to Bellevue for psychiatric evaluation–thanks to The New Yorker. The magazine and its promotions department are gearing up for the eighth annual Passport to the Arts gallery crawl, evening cocktail party, and silent auction (to benefit Creative Time) this Saturday, May 4. A $55 ticket gets you a “limited-edition passport” that each of the 19 SoHo and Chelsea galleries on the self-guided tour will stamp with a replica of a featured work of art. And with a list of participating galleries that includes Jack Shainman, Aperture, and ClampArt, this year’s Passport to the Arts promises to be quite a trip.
On Sunday, April 28th, take a break from your digital devices to spread the unusual beauty of a historical photographic process as the world celebrates Pinhole Photography Day. Now in its thirteenth year, the event celebrates and promotes the lenless method that dates from the 10th century. Join thousands of people (pinheads?) from around the globe in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph by adapting an existing camera or making your own out of a light-tight container, such as a box or a can, with a tiny hole in one side. Leave your perfectionist tendencies at home with your digital camera, because, according to Pinhole Photography Day organizers, “This is the photography of patience, of meditation, no more anguish for a ‘badly turned out’ photo.”
• On April 25 in NYC, spend the morning exploring the links between fashion and technology at “Cross-Pollination,” a half-day symposium organized by the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in conjunction with the current “Fashion and Technology” exhibition. Register here.
• Run, don’t walk to Design and Mobility: The Twenty-Second Annual Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt Graduate Student Symposium on the Decorative Arts and Design. The two-day conference kicks off on the evening of Friday, April 26, with a keynote address by Yale professor Edward Cooke.
• Having enhanced your mobility at the aforementioned Parsons confab, hop across the pond to POINT London (May 2-3), a new conference that aims to raise awareness of the power of design to influence business, education, and society. Speakers include Seymour Chwast, Barber Osgerby (a.k.a. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby), and typographer extraordinaire Erik Spiekermann.
• The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)’s District Conferences are taking place throughout April around the country, from Hartford to Long Beach. Meanwhile, ready your inner iconoclast for “Breaking the Rules,” IDSA’s 2013 International Conference set for August 21-24 in Chicago and chaired by Paul Hatch.
• As Winnie the Pooh once said, it’s never too early to plan ahead. Mark your as yet unbesmirched autumnal calendar for “Head, Heart, Hand,” the 2013 AIGA Design Conference, which gets underway October 10 in the Mini Apple (Minnesota, that is).
Do you yearn to watch a documentary about the Chelsea Hotel (once home to the likes of William Burroughs, Dennis Hopper, and Patti Smith) in the shadow of the Chelsea Hotel? Learn about the history behind design classics such as the Harley Davidson and the London Underground map? Or just watch a strung-out David Bowie (circa 1974) discuss mime, costumes, and the invention of characters such as Ziggy Stardust? Well, you’re in luck, because all of that and more is on the agenda for the SVA BBC Design Documentary Film Festival on Sunday, March 17. Now in its second year, the day-long event offers up a slate of groundbreaking BBC films that have seen scant screen time in the United States. Curated by the all-seeing Steven Heller along with D-Crit faculty member Adam Harrison Levy, the festival includes post-film chats with veteran BBC creative director Alan Yentob. The $15 run-of-the-festival tickets are going fast, so grab one here.
Barry Bergdoll, come on down! You’re the next Andrew W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts! This spring, MoMA’s chief curator of architecture and design will present a series of six lectures entitled “Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750.” Over a series of Sunday afternoons (see full schedule below) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Bergdoll will delve into topics such as “Architecture in Public from the Salon to the French Revolution,” “Exhibitions between Reform and Avant-Garde,” and the big finish, “Architecture and the Rise of the Event Economy,” with each lecture introducing “a new capacity for architecture itself, made possible through the culture of architectural exhibition.” Bergdoll is the 62nd scholar to deliver the Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, established in 1949 and named for the founder of the National Gallery. Past lecturers include T. J. Clark, Helen Vendler, and Kirk Varnedoe, whose lectures are available as podcasts.