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urbanity

‘Detroit—Bruce Weber’ Exhibition Debuts at Detroit Institute of Arts

(bruce weber)The Detroit Institute of Arts has been busy lining up pledges—$26 million from Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and General Motors Foundation; $10 million from the Mellon Foundation; $3 million from the J. Paul Getty Trust—toward its goal to raise $100 million as part of a “grand bargain” that will help the City of Detroit emerge from bankruptcy, support city pensioners, and protect the museum’s art collection for the public. An exhibition that opens today should bolster hometown pride. The DIA has partnered with Condé Nast to present “Detroit—Bruce Weber,” an exhibition of approximately 80 photographs by the celebrated fashion photographer, filmmaker, and golden retriever enthusiast. Weber began photographing the city and its citizens in 2006, and the images range from portraits of famous locals such as Aretha Franklin and Patti Smith to legendary locales such as Belle Isle, where he came upon a wedding and captured a poignant image of the flower girl. “Detroit—Bruce Weber” is on view through Sept 7 at the DIA.

Pictured: Christopher Gardner, Artist, and Von Jour Reece, Fashion Designer, at Bert’s Marketplace, Detroit, Michigan, 2006, gelatin silver print. © Bruce Weber

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SEN One Creates Cover for Time Out New York

Time Out New York - Uptown coverYou’ve still got more than two months to catch the Museum of the City of New York’s “City as Canvas” exhibition of graffiti from the Martin Wong collection. For a bite-sized dose, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Time Out New York, on newsstands today, which features an original cover by George “SEN One” Morillo. The graffiti artist, a lifelong Upper West Sider, was an ideal fit for TONY‘s uptown-themed issue. “Being born and raised uptown, and seeing the gentrification process all my life and seeing everybody coming up, it fits who I am,” he tells the magazine. “That story connects to my story.”

As for how that story connects with the street art of today, Morillo points to the humble origins of slick tools with names like Krink and Grog. “We made markers by popping the balls out of roll-on deodorant, putting in the soft stuff from school erasers, and filling the containers with ink. Those techniques, as primitive as they might seem, led to the markers they sell now,” he says. “Vandals created an industry, and it all comes out of the Upper West Side.”

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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Documentary Focuses on NYC Cab Driver-Turned-Street Photographer Matt Weber

(Matt Weber)
Van Gogh (1989) by Matt Weber, the subject of More Than a Rainbow.

Matt Weber got his start in photography with one hand on a camera and the other on the wheel of a New York City taxi cab. He soon went from being a taxi driver with a camera to a photographer with a taxi, eventually making photography a full-time pursuit. Weber—and the fate of photography in a digital age—is the subject of More Than the Rainbow, a new documentary that opens today at New York’s Quad Cinema and heads to Los Angeles later this month. Set to the twisting melodies of Thelonious Monk, the film combines live action with still photography and interviews with Weber and fellow photographers such as Ralph Gibson and Zoe Strauss.

“For me the essential thing was to create something that would have its own feel,” says director and producer Dan Wechsler. “We interspers[ed] musically driven montage sequences—some in color, some in black and white—where the audience could feel itself moving along the sidewalks and through the subways of the city that our main subject has been roving for the past quarter century, with a camera around his neck at almost all times.”
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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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Design Trust for Public Space Launches New Website

designtrust

It’s a daunting project to design a new website for a design-driven, project-based New York City nonprofit: The Design Trust for Public Space (motto: “We love public space.”). Kiss Me I’m Polish and Type/Code were up for the design and development challenges, respectively, and behold the freshly launched Designtrust.org. The new site is intended to be “an effective tool for cities, citizens, and organizations worldwide interested in initiating change in their communities,” according to the Design Trust. In addition to a database of Design Trust initiatives such as Five Borough Farm and Under the Elevated, it includes case studies, a publications library, and an impact map of projects across the five boroughs.

Eight Years B.C.: Bill Cunningham Exhibit Opens at NY Historical Society

Intrepid blue-smocked street photographer Bill Cunningham turned 85 yesterday, and the New York Historical Society marked the occasion with a press preview of an exhibit of his photographs. We dispatched writer Nancy Lazarus—via bicycle, of course—to take in the architectural riches and fashion history of New York through Cunningham’s lens. The show opens to the public today.

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(All photos courtesy New York Historical Society)

billWhile his images don’t depict biblical times, Bill Cunningham did delve back to the Civil War, Victorian era, and Gilded Age for his eight-year-long project, Facades. From 1968-1976, the New York Times photographer who documented social, architecture, and fashion trends collected over 500 outfits and shot more than 1,800 locations around New York City. Editta Sherman, his friend, neighbor and fellow photographer, served as project collaborator and frequent subject.

Cunningham donated 88 black-and-white images from his photo essay to the New York Historical Society in 1976, and 80 gelatin silver prints and enlarged images are on display through June 15. Valerie Paley, NYHS historian and vice president for scholarly programs, curated the exhibit, and she said assistant curator Lilly Tuttle, found the photos in the museum’s archives. “We have so many undiscovered treasures, and we’re delighted to rediscover them,” said Paley.

Although Cunningham wasn’t on hand for yesterday’s preview, Paley said he was enthusiastic about the exhibit and had pitched in to locate details of specific photos. Many of his quotes accompany the exhibit highlights. The display is arranged by historic era, and additional photos in the collection are projected onto the walls of the museum’s side entrance rotunda.
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78 Firms, 1 City: ‘Image of the Studio’ Exhibition Offers Portrait of NYC Graphic Design

image of the studio
Among the graphic design firms participating in the “Image of the Studio” exhibition are (from left) Pentagram, Craig & Karl, and RoAndCo Studio.

“Giving visual form to the city is a special kind of design problem,” wrote urban planner Kevin Lynch in his 1960 book The Image of the City. But how does the urban environment, in all of its forms, affect those who spend their days solving design problems? A new exhibition looks for answers in a cross-section of New York City graphic design firms, from Alfafa Studio to Zut Alors.

Image of the Studio,” which opens tomorrow at Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, features original work from 78 firms that are then tied together—through data visualizations and information graphics—in a shared portrait of what it means to be a New York design studio. Co-organized by Athletics, which is also among the participating firms, the show aims to “map the contours and trace the edges of a dynamic discipline in a city that is itself always in flux.” But not everything is in flux: all materials from the exhibition will be archived at the Herb Lubalin Study Center and online here.

NYC Planning Commission Sets Plans for ‘NY Wheel’ into Motion


Wheel’s Up. A rendering of the New York Wheel, to be built on Staten Island.

The wheels of Uniform Land Use Review Procedure are a-turnin’ for the New York Wheel, the London Eye-style “observation wheel” bound for the isle of Staten. At 625 feet—roughly 60 stories—high, it will be the world’s tallest and function as the all-seeing, crowd-concentrating anchor for a new outlet mall: a 340,000-square-foot retail complex designed by SHoP Architects. New York’s City Planning Commission recently announced its support for both the wheel and the development known as “Empire Outlets,” marking the final stage of land use review that will end in a City Council vote scheduled for October 30—and sure to be followed by the sight of savvy young New Yorkers costumed as giant wheels for Halloween. Both projects are slated to begin construction next year, with a grand opening planned for 2016.

Hello, Fada: Le Corbusier’s Radiant Rooftop Revealed

Nearly 50 years after his death, Le Corbusier is the man of the moment. The Swiss-born French multitasker is the subject of an exhibition (on view through September 23) at the Museum of Modern Art and the creator of a lamp that inspired Kanye West‘s latest album, while across the pond, Corbu’s modernist housing complex has been reborn at the hands of a self-described “icon­o­­clas­tic artist,” aged 36. We sent our man in Marseille Marc Kristal up on the roof.


(Photo: Olivier Amsellem)

It’s been a big year for architecture in Marseille. As part of the city’s designation as 2013’s European Capital of Culture, fifteen major projects, including new construction and renovations, have been created in the city and Provence region—everything from Rudy Ricciotti’s magisterial Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean on Marseille’s J4 waterfront esplanade to the resurrection of the Eden Cinéma, the world’s first movie house, in La Ciotat (opening in October) to groundbreaking on Fondation Vasarély, set to open in 2014-15 in Aix-en-Provence.

But while benefiting from le hubbub surrounding the culture capital festivities, one of the year’s most exciting projects is an unaffiliated private undertaking with a major public component: the restoration and reopening of the rooftop gymnasium/solarium of Le Corbusier’s enormously influential 1952 housing complex, Cité Radieuse.

Despite its international reputation, Corbu’s original “Unité d’Habitation” is known locally as “La Maison du Fada”—Provençal for “The Crazy Person’s House”—as the people of Marseille responded less than enthusiastically when the Brutalist “vertical village,” with its 337 cleverly configured apartments, hotel, restaurant, shops, and school, was completed. The roof, which had been altered in ways that contravened Corbu’s intentions and fell into disrepair, was put up for sale in 2010 and quickly snapped up by the polymath French architect/designer Ito Morabito—known commonly by his nom de design Ora-Ïto—who has impeccably restored the interior and exterior spaces and transformed them into an art center he calls Marseille Modulor (in honor of Corbu’s human-scaled system of measurement) or MAMO (a playful tweaking of New York’s MoMA) for short.
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