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Katz Marks the Spot: New Art Billboard to Welcome Whitney Downtown

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Alex Katz’s 2012 painting Katherine and Elizabeth (Photo courtesy Gavin Brown’s Enterprise)

Worried that the spindly and shape-shifting “W” of the Whitney Museum’s fledgling graphic identity will be insufficient to guide visitors to the door of its new downtown home? Alex Katz to the rescue. The artist (and erstwhile J. Crew model)’s 2012 canvas, Katherine and Elizabeth, will welcome the museum to the Meatpacking District in the form of a 17-by-29-foot billboard on the facade of 95 Horatio Street, located directly across Gansevoort Street from the southern end of the High Line and the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney. Announced today, the public art installation will be the first in a planned five-year series organized in collaboration with real estate developer TF Cornerstone and High Line Art.

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Herman Miller to Acquire Design Within Reach for $154 Million

dwr chairs feat

Big news in designworld this summer Friday: Herman Miller has agreed to acquire Design Within Reach for $154 million in cash. That sum, enough to buy 26,602 of DWR’s new all-black Eames lounge-and-ottoman combos, will get Herman Miller an 84% interest in the Stamford, Connecticut-based company, which operates 38 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada along with its online and print catalogue presences. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the month.

DWR CEO John Edelman and President John McPhee, who hold the remaining ownership stakes, are slated to stick around to run DWR as part of a newly formed consumer business unit of Herman Miller. DWR had revenues of approximately $218 million in 2013, while Herman Miller booked $1.8 billion in its 2013 fiscal year, during which it announced its purchase of Maharam for just a couple million more than the DWR pricetag.

Frieze Taps Barber and Osgerby’s Universal Design Studio to Design London Fair

frieze art fairNow in its eleventh year, Frieze London is getting a new look. This year’s fair, which runs October 15-18 in leafy Regent’s Park, will be designed by Universal Design Studio. The creative consultancy, founded in 2011 by designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby to focus on architecture and interiors, takes over from fellow Londoners Carmody Groarke, who handled the fair’s architectural aspects (read: supercool megatent) for the last three years. Frieze has previously employed Caruso St John (2008-2010), Jamie Fobert (2006–2007) and David Adjaye (2003-2005).

“The architecture and design of the fair have always been an important part of our identity,” say Frieze founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. “This year we were drawn to Universal in particular due to their work on interiors and focus on materials. As some of the best designers working in this area, their lateral thinking has been demonstrated by some of their great furniture and even their design for the Olympic torch. We’re really looking forward to them bringing this sensibility to Frieze.” Among Universal’s recent projects are Google Web Lab at London’s Science Museum, exhibition design for Vitra’s Vitrahaus exhibition, and both the interior and exterior of the London outpost of the Ace Hotel.

Chicago Getting Its Own Architecture Biennial

chicago archWatch out, Venezia. The Windy City is getting a biennial of its own. Announced this week, the Chicago Architecture Biennial—billed as the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America—is set to open October 1, 2015 in and around the Chicago Cultural Center. The three-month-long event, presented by the City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation, will be funded through private donations (BP has already chipped in $2.5 million).

“Chicago is the birthplace of modernism in architecture and every architect in the world knows our city’s history of innovation in the field through the work of architects such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe,” says Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda, who will serve as artistic director of the Biennial with architect, writer, and curator Joseph Grima. “The Biennial will place Chicago, once again, at the forefront of the architectural imagination.”
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Björk (and Her App) Bound for MoMA: Retrospective Planned for Spring 2015

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The Museum of Modern Art has expanded from video games to apps. Pioneering this new collecting category for MoMA is Björk’s Biophilia, the 2011 app-cum-album—with interactive graphics, animations, and musical scoring—designed in 2011 in collaboration with the likes of Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag of M/M Paris. We hear that the gentlemen of M/M will get the retrospective treatment at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2016, but Björk will beat them to the multidisciplinary punch: the work of the Icelandic composer, musician, and artist will be the subject of a full-scale retrospective slated to open March 7, 2015 at MoMA, the museum announced this week.

Chief curator at large Klaus Biesenbach is drawing upon more than two decades of Björkian endeavors, including her seven full-length albums, to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes, and performance. As for the installation, which will not travel beyond MoMA, expect “a narrative, both biographical and imaginatively fictitious, cowritten by Björk and the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson” as well as a “newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience” conceived and realized with director Andrew Huang and Autodesk.

OK Go to Debut Latest Video at MOCA

OK Go is pulling out all of the stops for its new music video, the band’s first in more than two years. The video for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” a single from their forthcoming album Hungry Ghosts, will have its world premiere on Monday, June 16, at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (head to the Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA Grand Avenue between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.) followed by the Tuesday release of a new EP called Upside Out, which offers up four songs from the new album “selected especially for warm air and beach days.” As for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” expect “melancholic fireworks,” according to band members Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, and Andy Ross, who have put together these visual morsels as a teaser for the video they’ll reveal Monday at MOCA.

The Frick Collection Plans Expansion, Renovation

frick interior

How do you expand a museum renowned for its “jewel-box” exhibition spaces and intimately scaled rooms? Very carefully, not at all, or with the starchitectural zeal of the likes of Renzo Piano, depending on who you ask. The Frick Collection is leaning toward the first approach, with a scheme announced today that would add a six-story addition “in keeping with the scale and design of the original house and the library wing” (goods news for purveyors of Indiana limestone) while renovating and expanding the interior spaces added in the 1930s and 1970s.

The proposed plan would allow the Frick to open its second floor to the public but also require it to fill in the space currently occupied by a gated garden. The museum has tapped New York-based Davis Brody Bond to design the project, which would increase space by nearly a third. Get the full scoop in the Frick’s press release, take deep cleansing breaths, and then relax by watching director Ian Wardropper‘s recent chat with artist Ed Ruscha about some of his favorite Frick masterpieces.

Hauser & Wirth Has Big Plans for Los Angeles

hauser wirth schimmelHauser & Wirth is heading West. Nearly a year to the date that the gallery announced the hiring of Paul Schimmel, formerly chief curator of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, comes word that the planned Left Coast outpost—Hauser Wirth & Schimmel—will occupy a historic 100,000-square-foot flour mill complex in L.A.’s downtown arts district.

The site, located a few blocks from The Broad in progress, is home to seven late 19th and early 20th century buildings and outdoor spaces. The gallery promises “innovative exhibitions, museum-caliber amenities, and a robust schedule of public programs that contextualize the art on view,” beginning with a pop-up exhibition in January of next year. The L.A. venue is slated to have its grand opening in January 2016.
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Cooper-Hewitt Appoints Brooke Hodge as Deputy Director

hodgeCurator, writer, and critic Brooke Hodge will join the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum as deputy director, a post that has been vacant since Caroline Baumann stepped up from that role in 2012 to serve as acting director following the death of Bill Moggridge. Baumann was named director of the museum last June. Hodge, who been director of exhibitions and publications at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles since 2010, will begin her new position on July 16 as the Cooper-Hewitt continues the countdown to its reopening after an epic renovation that will expand exhibition space by more than 60%. “I’ve known and admired Brooke since her involvement [as a guest curator] with the 2006 Triennial at Cooper-Hewitt, and I’m thrilled she is joining us at this critical juncture,” said Baumann in a statement released today. “Brooke will be diving into preparations for our opening later this fall, while partnering with me and museum teams on the exciting, future plans for the nation’s design museum.”

Tavern on the Green Reopens, with Central Park as Its Centerpiece

Following a brick-by-brick renovation, NYC restaurant Tavern on the Green is back, and its formerly over-the-top interiors have been transformed with a “robber-baron-meets-sheep-barn” aesthetic and the aspiration to be “food-centric.” We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to take a peek under the famous red canopy.

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The sunny Central Park room at the new Tavern on the Green was formerly known as the Crystal Room. (All photos courtesy Robin Caiola)

totg Bar Room Horse Mobile“Now we can be part of the park,” said restaurateur Jim Caiola, referring to the recently reopened landmark, Tavern on the Green. He and partner David Salama of Emerald Green Group were awarded a 20-year lease to the legendary restaurant, long associated with Broadway show parties, special family occasions, and a role serving as movie backdrop.

“Only the name, the beams and the shell of the Victorian building remain from the old Tavern”, said spokesperson Steven Hall. “Everything else was handpicked by Jim and David.” The pair renovated the interior, while the property’s New York City landlord worked on the exterior. Others involved in the restoration were architect Richard Lewis, lighting designer Ken Billington, and landscape architect Robin Key. It’s been a major investment and long haul.
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