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New York Ceramics Fair Spotlights Contemporary Feats of Clay

We asked writer Nancy Lazarus to throw herself into the New York Ceramics Fair. Here’s her well-sculpted roundup:

haggerty
Rainbow Luster Bowl (2006), made by Haggerty Ceramics.

“With the resurgence now of porcelain and ceramics, it’s not old-fashioned love, it’s eternal love,” said designer Alexa Hampton, who was joined by fellow designers and ceramics lovers Kitty Hawks and David Scott on a panel co-sponsored by the New York School of Interior Design at the New York Ceramics Fair, held last week in the Grand Ballroom of the Bohemian National Hall.

Museum exhibits devoted to ceramics have also heralded the medium’s revival, including recent and upcoming shows at New York’s Museum of Art and Design and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ceramics have a long history, alternately associated with ancient rituals, children’s crafts classes, and hippies, but haven’t always been perceived in high regard.

Ceramics are now recognized as a multi-dimensional art form, as the designers pointed out. “One of the beautiful aspects of ceramics is its deep, entrenched history of usefulness,” noted Hampton, adding that one can delve into ceramics in interiors or in doses by being a collector.

Both Scott and Hawks are ceramics collectors, and Scott described the pursuit of such objects as a compulsion. Still, he noted that not every piece has to be precious. Hawks agreed that provenance is not always necessary and said ceramics preferences and tastes can be quirky.
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Designer Discord! Hoefler & Frere-Jones Split, Diller & Scofidio Clash with Tsien & Williams

schism

Breaking up is hard to do, particularly when your design talent has put you firmly in the–shared–spotlight. So far, 2014 has been a year of schisms. The typographical team of Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler have been divided by money squabbles after more than a decade at the forefront of the font world. Frere-Jones is suing Hoefler for “luring him to the company in 1999 with the false promise that they would be 50-50 partners,” according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, the paper of record devoted a swath of a recent front page to the fractured friendship of architectural power couples Ricardo Scofidio and Liz Diller, and Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, who have fallen out over the former’s advice that the Museum of Modern Art proceed with the planned demolition of the former home of the American Folk Art Museum. Architect Henry Smith-Miller compared the fallout to “Greek drama.”

Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute to Reopen as ‘Anna Wintour Costume Center’

anna_wIt all began in 1937 with the Museum of Costume Art, a wee institution that, within less than a decade, would be incorporated and renamed as the Costume Institute and become part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between then and now, the place has been transformed by forces including Diana Vreeland, the Brooklyn Museum (which transferred its costume collection to the institute in 2009), a little exhibition about Alexander McQueen, the generosity of Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and of course, Anna Wintour. The Vogue editor-in-chief–and longtime Met trustee–will get her due when the space occupied by the Costume Institute reopens in May as the Anna Wintour Costume Center (with the Campbell-Bolton-Wintour Brit trifecta, just be grateful that they didn’t go with “Centre”). The Anna Wintour Costume Center will house the department’s exhibition galleries, library, conservation laboratory, research areas, and offices. Meanwhile, the curatorial department itself will continue to be called the Costume Institute.
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Arem Duplessis Leaving New York Times Magazine for Apple

Your Sunday is about to get a lot less visually stimulating: Arem Duplessis has decided to leave his post as design director of The New York Times Magazine [muffled sobbing]. Come February, he’ll begin his new position as a creative director at Apple, where he’ll lend his creative genius to the internal marketing team. Word of the move follows the recent announcement that Facebook has tapped Apple advertising veteran Scott Trattner to serve as its executive creative director. We asked Duplessis a few questions as he prepares to relocate to the promised land of Cupertino.

Why is it the right time for you to make this move?
I’ve been at The New York Times Magazine for almost ten years. I have worked with some of the smartest people on the planet and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I feel very fortunate to have been able to experience such a great gig. With that said, it’s time for a new chapter and a new challenge.

What will you miss most about working at The New York Times Magazine?
Without question the people. I have made so many great friends over the years and I will miss them dearly.

Bonus question: What’s the best gift you received this holiday season?
Hearing my son proclaim “THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!” No way to beat that, right?

Watch: Sebastian Junger and Ron Haviv Talk ‘Testimony’

What is like to be on the front lines, armed with only a camera and surging adrenaline? Ron Haviv has 23 years worth of answers. The photojournalist’s work across 18 countries unfurls in “Testimony,” an exhibition on view through January 31 at New York’s Anastasia Photo gallery. “I believe and have dedicated my life to witnessing history in an attempt to create a body of evidence that holds people accountable,” Haviv has said. In this video, the first in a new series produced by the gallery, Haviv is joined by Sebastian Junger for a discussion about war, stories, pictures, emotions, and what happens when those things collide.

Farewell, William Drenttel (1953-2013)

If you awoke yesterday with the sense that the world had, overnight, become a little less creative and thoughtful, there’s a simple but terribly sad explanation: Bill Drenttel died on Saturday. He was 60 years old. The incisive, charismatic design mind is being mourned and remembered throughout the design world, and we call your attention to this video portrait of Drenttel and his wife and partner, Jessica Helfand, created earlier this year by Dress Code to commemorate the couple’s matched pair of 2013 AIGA Medals.

New York Historical Society Readies Bill Cunningham Photo Exhibition

(Bill Cunningham)
Bill Cunningham’s photo of Editta Sherman on the subway dates to around 1968-1976.

With the first snow flurries behind us and the deep freeze still ahead, we turn our thoughts briefly to spring, a season inevitably heralded by a selection of pastel-hued or floral-dappled ensembles captured by Bill Cunningham. This March the beloved New York Times photographer gets a spotlight of his own as the New York Historical Society mounts “Façades,” an exhibition that will explore Cunningham’s eight-year project documenting the architectural riches and fashion history of New York City. The photos, taken between 1968 and 1976, pair models in period costumes with historic settings such as St. Paul’s Chapel and Rockefeller Center. Fellow photographer Editta Sherman, captured in profile in front of Grand Central Station crowned in an elaborate hat (recall Cunningham’s early career as a milliner), manages to give Jules-Félix Coutan‘s mythological statues a run for their money.

Freudian Font Is Based on Sigmund’s Scrawl

freud writing

Sometimes a font is just a font, except when it is based on the handwriting of Sigmund Freud. Harald Geisler turned his fascination with the famed psychoanalyst’s century-old letters into an elegant typeface. “It made me smile to imagine a person writing his or her shrink a letter set in Freud’s handwriting,” says the typopgrapher, who studied original documents in the archives of Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna and Freud Museum London to develop four alphabets that are interchanged at random. Don’t be surprised if the elegant letters show up in your dreams.

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Bermuda Museum Honors John Lennon with Sculpture

More than three decades after John Lennon‘s untimely death, a Bermuda museum remembers him with a stylized sculpture. Writer Nancy Lazarus takes a closer look.

Double Fantasy Sculpture NL1The picturesque island of Bermuda is a long way and a far cry from the hectic urban settings of Liverpool, England where John Lennon grew up, and from New York City, where his life ended on December 8, 1980. The British musician and artist spent several months in Bermuda during his last trip abroad, and the island served as his muse. Bermuda pays special tribute with “Double Fantasy,” a sculpture dedicated last year in Lennon’s honor.

Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art commissioned local sculptor Graham Foster to create the six-foot Cor-Ten steel structure. The work shows a stylized double-sided profile of Lennon and his “granny” glasses with his Rickenbacker guitar, doves of peace, and the double fantasy freesia flower. At approximately 4,000 pounds, it’s a weighty piece, and sits on a raised flowerbed in a courtyard near the museum’s entrance. The sculpture is located in Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens, on the island’s south shore in Paget parish.
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Mark Your Calendar: A John Waters Christmas

Kitsch Kringle is coming to town. ‘Tis the season for John Waters to regale audiences with tales of twisted traditions and real-life holiday horror stories. The filmmaker, author, and hitchhiker is on the road with “A John Waters Christmas,” his one-man show of yuletide lunacy. This week Waters’ sleigh alights in New Orleans, Nashville, and Atlanta, before two weekend dates in New York City (at Stage 48). “There’s no way you can really avoid the steamroller of Christmas. But I do have advice for every kind of way it’s coming at you,” he told The New York Times recently. “I get into everything in the show, from Christmas music to Christmas movies to what you should give to how to deal with parents who are abusive at Christmas. I also tell the audience what I want.” Spoiler alert: A Myron Stout drawing, Visconti’s ascot, and Brigid Berlin‘s prescription bottle of Obetrol, the diet pills of Andy Warhol. We’re asking for a galley of Carsick, Waters’ upcoming book, slated for publication in June by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

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