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museums

Vitra’s Rolf Fehlbaum to Receive Philly Museum of Art’s Collab Design Excellence Award

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collab awardMake way for the chairman. Vitra’s Rolf Fehlbaum is the winner of the 2014 Collab Design Excellence Award, bestowed annually by a collaboration of design professionals supporting the modern and contemporary design collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Past winners of the award include Marc Newson, Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast, Zaha Hadid, Marcel Wanders, and Frank Gehry.

Hadid (designer of the Vitra Fire Station) and Gehry (who worked his magic for the Vitra Design Museum and offices) are old chums of Feldbaum, who currently serves as chairman emeritus at Vitra, the legendary design firm founded in 1950 by his parents. The family-owned Swiss firm was quick to make inroads stateside, in part by becoming a licensee of Herman Miller (enter George Nelson and the Eameses). Feldbaum will give a lecture and pick up his award, a silver and laser-etched rubber swoop (pictured) designed by Kate Reynolds and fabricated by jewelry designer Maria Eife, on November 21, which will also mark the opening of “Vitra: Design, Architecture, Communication: A European Project with American Roots,” an exhibition that will be on view through April 26.

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.

LACMA to Honor Barbara Kruger, Quentin Tarantino

(Barbara Kruger)Any number of lines from the films of Quentin Tarantino (perhaps the Pulp Fictional: “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character” or “Personality goes a long way”?) would look swell sprawled out in Futura Bold Italic by Barbara Kruger. The artist and the filmmaker will come together on November 1 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as the honorees of its 2014 Art+Film Gala, the museum announced today. Further upping the Gucci-backed fete’s cinematic koan quotient will be Leonardo DiCaprio, who is chairing the event with LACMA trustee Eva Chow.

In other exciting film-related LACMA news, the museum is prepping the first major retrospective of the work of Pierre Huyghe. The exhibition, which is being “designed as a single, extraordinary environment,” opens November 23.

Pictured: Barbara Kruger, Untitled (You Are A Very Special Person), 1995

Hollywood Glamour Coming to MFA Boston

(Edward Steichen)

Sartorially speaking, the summer has belonged to the idiosyncratic, emotionally fraught fashion genius known as Charles James, the subject of exhibitions at both New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Menil Collection in Houston. The glamour continues next month, sans James, in Boston as the Museum of Fine Arts rolls out the red carpet for “Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen.”

The exhibition will focus on how jewelry—something of an MFA specialty—and clothing contributed to the style of major stars of the 1930s and 1940s, from Gloria Swanson (pictured here in a 1927 photo by Edward Steichen) and Greta Garbo to Joan Crawford and Mae West, who at five feet tall, often got her kicks in nine-and-a-half-inch platform shoes. In addition to fashion (think designs by Adrian, Chanel, and enough satin to make Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz say assez!) and jewelry (including recently donated gems by Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin), a “silver screen” in the gallery will play highlights from famous films. An equally star-studded companion exhibition, “Karsh Goes Hollywood,” will feature photographs by Yousuf Karsh from the 1940s through the 1960s.

“Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen” is on view at the MFA Boston from September 9 through March 8, 2015.

Quote of Note | Paul Hornschemeier on Giant Sloths

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“There actually is a prehistoric giant sloth on the campus of the college I went to, Ohio State. I think it was vandalized sometime in the last couple of years, but I think they repaired it since then. I can’t remember which school it’s a part of. I want to say it’s the geology school. Whatever museum it’s in, a lot of the signage and a lot of the exhibits kind of feel like these leftovers from the ’70s and ’80s. It just always felt a little out of step with modern times. It just kind of had this very particular vibe that really stuck with me. But I didn’t really have the idea for the actual story….There was always something about the giant sloth, just being this creature that its modern day equivalent is so puny and so inconsequential. It’s funny, when I mention the film to some people, they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s funny, like a giant sloth.’ I’m like, ‘No, there really were giant sloths.’ A lot of people aren’t even necessarily aware of them. They were these gigantic, huge, powerful things the size of bears. So there was always a metaphor there in the back of my head.”

-Paul Hornschemeier on the slothful inspiration for his animated feature-in-the-making, Giant Sloth, starring Paul Giamatti as an insane museum curator

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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MoMA Names Martino Stierli Chief Curator of Architecture and Design

martinoThe nearly year-long parlor game of “Who will replace Barry Bergdoll at MoMA?” has, at long last, come to an end with today’s announcement that Martino Stierli has nabbed the plum role of Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. Stierli is the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich, where he teaches the history of modern architecture. Beginning in March 2015, he will oversee the MoMA department of architecture and design’s special exhibitions, installations from the collection, and acquisitions. Stierli has a tough act to follow in Bergdoll, who stepped down last summer in leave-’em-wanting-more fashion—and in the midst of a stellar Le Corbusier exhibition—to become Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University, although he remains a part-time curator at MoMA.
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Quote of Note | Ed Ruscha

hans memling“I can’t stop looking at this guy, because he looks like somebody on the street, like somebody I know. If you cut his hair a little different, he might be a baseball player—I don’t know. He could be José Canseco. He’s got a certain look that puts him into the twenty-first century. Most paintings of people do not, so it’s really unusual. Especially with Memling’s pictures, they sort of cross centuries. And I like to be aware of that. Every so often I’ll see someone on the street that looks to me like they’re from 1950—they’re dressed like they are today, in today’s clothing, but they still have a 1950 face. And this man has a twenty-first century face somehow.”

-Artist Ed Ruscha on Hans Memling‘s Portrait of a Man, c.1470, during a recent event at the Frick Collection

NYHS Exhibit Fêtes Ludwig Bemelmans and Madeline on Her 75th Anniversary

Nancy Lazarus heads up Central Park West covered in vines, in search of twelve little girls in two straight lines, or at least the smallest one of the bunch: Madeline, and her creator.

Madeline at the Paris Flower Market
Madeline at the Paris Flower Market, 1955. Courtesy the Estate of Ludwig Bemelmans.

As a hotelier, cartoonist, and fabric designer, Ludwig Bemelmans was a jack of all trades, but Madeline, published in 1939, became his masterpiece. The New York Historical Society is marking the 75th anniversary with a retrospective of his career. “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans,” is on view through October 19.

“He took any jobs that came along,” said exhibition curator Jane Bayard Curley of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, the show’s organizer. Over 100 works are on display, reflecting Bemelmans’ many talents: drawings, paintings, manuscripts, photographs, and specially commissioned objects, including murals for the playroom of Christina, the Onassis yacht. Bemelmans’ family opened their archives to lend artwork and memorabilia.

“We created a faux Bemelmans’ Bar, but don’t tell the Carlyle,” joked Charles Royce, who along with his wife Deborah, lent murals from their luxury hotel, Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. They acquired six plaster works, which had once graced the walls of Bemelmans’ La Colombe bistro in Paris. Royce was referring of course to New York’s Carlyle Hotel, where Bemelmans painted murals depicting the seasons of Central Park.
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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.”

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