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The Revolving Door

Alan Brake Named Executive Editor of The Architect’s Newspaper

Big changes at The Architect’s Newspaper: an editorial changing of the guard will see managing editor Alan Brake (pictured) succeed Julie Iovine as executive editor on September 1. In a statement announcing the change, Diana Darling and William Menking, co-founders of The Architect’s Newspaper, praised Iovine’s “exceptional editorial leadership” and multi-faceted contributions over the last six years as she departs to focus on her own writing projects (she will continue to write a monthly column on architecture for the Wall Street Journal).

“We will miss her but are excited that a new generation of writers and editors under Alan’s leadership will rethink how we write about the world of architecture and design and deliver this content to the public,” added Menking. A five-year veteran of The Architect’s Newspaper, Brake launched the paper’s Midwest edition (one of three regional print editions). His writing has appeared in publications including Architectural Record, Metropolis, The New York Times, and Architecture, where he previously served as an editor. In the midst of the transition, Brake made time to discuss the paper, what changes might be in store, and what he did on his summer vacation—or lack thereof.

How do you describe The Architect’s Newspaper to someone who is unfamiliar with the publication?
We hope The Architect’s Newspaper is a useful, engaging, fun, and thought-provoking resource for architects and designers. People tell us we’re the design only publication they actually read—rather than just flip through for the pictures—so we have a very loyal print audience. It’s been satisfying to connect to a much broader audience online. We have a lot of ambition to expand online and will soon be adding a new e-newsletter or two.

Any new initiatives or features that we should watch for in The Architect’s Newspaper, in print or online, under your leadership?
I’d like to improve the way with tell stories visually, both in print and online. We hope to make some changes our website in the near future, and I want to make sure we’re using the best possible images in print. I also want to include more criticism, and to better showcase our critics.
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Museum Moves: New Director for Indianapolis Museum of Art, Curator Changes, Getty Launches App

Charles L. Venable (pictured) is the newly appointed director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He starts on October 8. For the past five years, Veneble has served as director and CEO of Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, where his achievements include spearheading a planned 200,000-square-foot expansion featuring a new building for modern and contemporary art designed by wHY Architecture. The “new Speed,” which will include a new art park and piazza for outdoor sculpture, is slated to open in 2015 (meanwhile, 95% of the $50 million tab has already been raised). At the IMA, the venerable Venable will succeed Maxwell Anderson, who became director of the Dallas Museum of Art in January.

• Want to explore masterpieces from the Getty without looking up from your digital device? There’s an app for that. The new J. Paul Getty Museum Highlights of the Collections app (yours for $2.99) allows you to browse through 150 of the museum’s greatest hits, from Van Gogh’s “Irises” (your aunt loves this one so much she bought the tote bag) and Bernini’s sculpture of a “Boy with a Dragon” to Dorothea Lange’s migrant mother and a recently acquired Klimt drawing (happy 150th, Gustav!). Each of the objects is accompanied by a brief commentary and can be viewed in detail through high-definition images.

• Back in Gotham, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating a new attendance record: 6.28 million people visited the Met (including the Cloisters museum and gardens) during the fiscal year that ended on June 30—662,000 of those visitors stopped by last summer’s Alexander McQueen blockbuster, which also boosted the 2011 attendance numbers because of its timing. Virtual visitors are also on the rise, with the museum reporting 44 million to its website in fiscal year 2012.
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New Design Director for Road & Track

Zoom zoom. David Speranza will go from two wheels to four as he moves from Rodale’s Bicycling to Hearst’s Road & Track, where he has been named design director by editor-in-chief Larry Webster. Speranza will take over from departing design director Richard Baron and be responsible for all of the visuals across the car-obsessed brand’s platforms, including print, digital, and video. As design director at Bicycling since 2002, he helped the magazine broaden its readership beyond hard-core cyclists with a redesign and a snappy new logo. Speranza also produced photo shoots, oversaw photo research and editing, and art-directed its Mountain Bike quarterly. His previous experience includes roles at Elle, Golf for Women, and TV Guide. News of the appointment comes as Road & Track prepares for a road trip of its own (in a convoy of loaner Range Rovers, no doubt). This fall, the magazine will relocate its offices from Newport Beach, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Hearst-owned Car and Driver is also based.

Fresh Faces: New Director for Rose Art Museum, RISD Names Dean of Architecture and Design

• We’re still waiting for an opera devoted to the happenings of a few years ago at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum: secret meetings, deaccessioning schemes, legal threats, resignations, and finally, renovations! Having clarified the differences between an art museum and an ATM, the university is ready to restore the bloom to the Rose with a new director: Christopher Bedford (pictured), chief curator of exhibitions at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts. He’ll begin his new role on September 15 at the ripe old age of 35. Among his top priorities: to integrate the museum’s collection into the university’s curriculum and “to commission a major work of public sculpture for the exterior of the museum that connects to ideas of social engagement and social justice,” Bedford said in a recent interview. “Those concepts are central to my thinking and to the core ideology of Brandeis, too.”

• The Rhode Island School of Design looked across the ocean to find its new dean of architecture and design. Pradeep Sharma, who starts this fall, comes to Providence from England’s Bath Spa University. As head of the Bath School of Art and Design, he managed the school’s operations, finances, facilities, assessment, academic program development, as well as the student experience, all while maintaining his own ten-year-old design management and consultancy practice. With degrees in electrical and information sciences as well as industrial design engineering—and a doctorate in management in the works—he is as enthusiastic about digital technologies as he is about hands-on studio learning. “Pradeep brings a keen interest in howthe architecture and design disciplines can work together with the fine arts and the liberal arts to inform each other’s practice,” said RISD provost Rosanne Somerson in a statement announcing his appointment.
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Museum Moves: Paul Schimmel Out at LA MOCA; New Hires at Japan Society, UT’s Ransom Center

Footage of Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Mystery Circle: Explosion Event for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.” An exhibition of Cai’s work is on view through July 30 at MOCA.

• The divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes is not the only L.A. break-up making headlines and raising eyebrows this summer Friday. Paul Schimmel, chief curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, has left the institution after 22 years. It’s not clear whether he resigned or was ousted, but according to a statement issued this evening by MOCA announcing Schimmel’s departure, the exhibition space at the Geffen Contemporary will be named in his honor.

• Back in New York, Miwako Tezuka will take over directorship of Japan Society’s gallery from Joe Earle, whose retirement is effective September 30. Formerly an associate curator at Asia Society, Tezuka will be the first Japanese director of Japan Society Gallery. She begins her new position on Monday.

• The University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center has named Jessica S. McDonald, a curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as its new chief curator of photography. She starts in September.
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In Brief: Pepsi Hires Chief Design Officer, John Gall Joins Abrams, the High Line Effect, Trendy Taxidermy

An installation view of “graphic Modern: USA, Italy, and Switzerland 1934–66,” on view through July 26 at the Fordham University at Lincoln Center gallery in New York.

• PepsiCo has named Mauro Porcini to the newly created role of chief design officer, a title he previously held at 3M. Porcini will be responsible for “infusing design thinking into PepsiCo’s organization and culture by globally managing design with a creative, innovative, and consumer-centered approach for PepsiCo’s brands.” In addition to beverages (Pepsi, Gatorade, Tropicana), he’ll be focusing on snack brands including Lay’s and Doritos. Before joining 3M in 2002, Porcini founded and owned (with Claudio Cecchetto) the design firm Wisemad SrL.

John Gall is heading to Abrams. He’ll start his new role as creative director for the Abrams adult list on Monday, June 25. Gall was previously with Alfred A. Knopf, where he was vice president and art director for Vintage/Anchor Books for 15 years. He is also currently adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and has his own eponymous studio, where he does freelance work for clients such as Nonesuch Records, FSG, New York, and Wired.

• The High Line effect is the new Bilbao effect! As cities around the world search their own backyards for abandoned railways, Charles Birnbaum of the Cultural Landscape Foundation takes a closer look at the High Line’s transformational triumph of preservation and design, “a big win for design ingenuity over the more commonplace tabula rasa approach that results in bulldozed sites and the eradication of cultural narratives.”
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Museum Moves | ICP Names Executive Director; MoMA’s New Chief Curator of Photography

(Photos from left: Courtesy Mark Robbins and Quentin Bajac)

• The International Center of Photography has found its next executive director: Mark Robbins, dean of the School of Architecture and senior advisor on architecture and urban initiatives at Syracuse University. His previous positions include director of design for the National Endowment for the Arts and curator of architecture at the Wexner Center of the Arts. “Photography and the transmission of the image in all forms is the medium that defines us,” said Robbins in a statement issued by ICP announcing his appointment. “It is an exciting moment to lead an institution dedicated to the image and its production.” He begins his duties on July 1. Robbins succeeds longtime ICP director Willis Hartshorn, who announced last August his intention to step due to medical reasons. Hartshorn will continue at ICP in the role of senior deputy director.

• Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Art has chosen Quentin Bajac as its next chief curator of photography, director Glenn Lowry announced Tuesday. Bajac, who has been chief curator of photography at the Centre Pompidou since 2007, will assume his new position at MoMA in January 2013. “”Quentin’s superb accomplishments in Paris over the past 17 years, at the Musée d’Orsay [where he was curator of photography from 1995 to 2003] and the Centre Pompidou, have brought significant attention to the importance of photography in art history and as a critical component of contemporary practice,” said Lowry. Bajac succeeds Peter Galassi, who retired from the museum last July after a legendary 30-year career.
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In Brief: Print’s New Editor, Art Directors Club Awards, Scandalous Decorators, Boston’s Mega-statue

I’ve got no strings. Maurizio Cattelan’s “Daddy Daddy” (2008), which sold for $2.5 million this evening at Phillips de Pury in New York.

• Congratulations are in order for Michael Silverberg, who has been named editor-in-chief of Print. In addition to the magazine, he’ll direct content for the regional design annual competition, Imprint, and Print Books. Silverberg previously served as managing editor of Print.

Entertainment Weekly is getting a new design director: Kory Kennedy. He’s held the same role at Runner’s World for the past six years and previously worked his design magic for publications such as Spin, Rolling Stone, Interview, and Sports Illustrated. Kennedy starts at EW on May 30.

• The juries have spoken, and on Tuesday evening, the Art Directors Club celebrated the winners of its 91st annual awards at a cocktail-laden gala in New York emceed by John Boiler of 72andSunny. Pulling off the elusive three-peat were a couple of hometown favorites, The New York Times Magazine and the School of Visual Arts, which won the cumulative awards honor in their respective categories (ADC Design Team of the Year and ADC School of the Year) for the third year in a row. Click here for the full listing of winners or better yet, stop by the ADC 91st Annual Awards Exhibition, which opened today at the ADC Gallery and is on view through May 24.
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In Brief: Calatrava at Pratt, James Beard Awards, MoMA’s Garage Sale, Rauschenberg Foundation Hires

Show the world your love of architecture with a t-shirt that supports Architecture for Humanity.

• Can you believe graduation season is upon us? Pratt Institute holds its commencement—the 123rd in its history—this afternoon at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to approximately 1,300 bachelor’s and master’s degrees, honorary degrees will be awarded to artist Ai Weiwei (he’ll accept his doctorate of fine arts via video feed), architect Santiago Calatrava, patron of the arts and education Kathryn C. Chenault, and Philippe de Montebello, director emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Fiske Kimball Professor at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. Calatrava will deliver the commencement remarks.

• The Met Ball wasn’t the only black-tie event in town on Monday. Over at Avery Fisher Hall, the focus was on food, not fashion, as Alton Brown emceed the James Beard Foundation awards gala. In the restaurant design category, Bentel & Bentel triumphed for their overhaul of famed Le Bernardin, while graphic gourmand Richard Pandiscio took home the Outstanding Restaurant Graphics medal for his work for the Americano at Hotel Americano. Meanwhile, Jeff Scott‘s two-volume, 900-page Notes from a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession (Tatroux) was named best photography book.

• And speaking of kitchens, artist and kitchen semiotician Martha Rosler is preparing for her first solo exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and it’s a doozy. Come mid-November, she’ll transform the museum’s atrium into a giant “meta-monumental” garage sale. That’s where you come in: the general public is invited to donate items—clothes, books, records, toys, costume jewelry, artworks, mementos—for Rosler to sell. Click here for the schedule and collection locations for donations. Why not seize the opportunity to get your artwork into a MoMA show?
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The Post in Which Your Long-Serving Co-Editor Makes a Clumsy, Sob-Filled Exit

Way back around the end of 2005, I received an invitation from mediabistro to step in as a guest editor for a vacationing Eva Hagberg, writing a few posts for their relatively new design/art/architecture blog, UnBeige. The assignment was for a couple of weeks, but then, somehow, I never wound up leaving, and here I still sit, some six and a half years later. Our Editorial Director, Chris Ariens, claims that stretch makes me the longest-serving blogger in the entire organization. So, of course, now that I’ve gotten the gold plaque saying as much, as well as this $25 gift certificate to the Olive Garden of my choosing, it seems like a good time to say farewell.

In all these years I’ve been working here, and over a mind-boggling number of posts (some of which even made sense), I’ve been blessed to have shared a space with some absurdly fantastic talent. I’ve had the sincere pleasure of working with my original co-editor, Alissa Walker, helping to build the bones of the powerhouse that UnBeige is today (as well as teaching her everything I know and am therefore responsible for roughly 96% of her success). From there, for more than four years now, having the amazing fortune to serve alongside Stephanie Murg, whose dedication to solid reporting and quality writing constantly inspired me to try and focus more on the posts themselves than trying to make a clever pun-filled joke in the headline, followed by a jarring batch of pun-filled ramblings (unfortunately, I am only human and that didn’t always stick). And there aren’t thanks enough in the world to properly offer up to all the staff at mediabistro, who took a chance on a kid from Chicago, only to never come to their senses and fire him after about the second week.
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