Holocaust survivor Ben Baseman spent four years fighting off Nazis in the birch forests of what was then Poland (now part of Ukraine). Decades later, the episode inspired his son, Gary, to create the Buckingham Warrior, a “defender of strong ideals and a stark reminder to the fragility of our own ecology.” The artist, illustrator, and cult toy maker’s multi-headed deer character comes alive in a new MOCAtv animated short released to coincide with Baseman’s megashow, “The Door Is Always Open,” on view through August 18 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Directed by David Charles and animated by Peter Markowski, the allegorical tale plays out against a raging score by the South-African rap-rave duo Die Antwoord.
Design legend Saul Bass would have turned 93 today, and Google is celebrating his creative legacy with one of its most elaborate daily “doodles” yet. Visit the search giant’s homepage before midnight to see and watch the tribute, an animated riff on some of Bass’s most well-known film titles, including those for The Man With the Golden Arm, Anatomy of a Murder, and Around the World in 80 Days. And turn those speakers up, because this doodle is in stereo, set to Dave Brubeck‘s “Unsquare Dance.”
It’s time to swap the surreal shoe hats for safety pin-encrusted fedoras as the Metropolitan Museum of Art puts the artfully distressed finishing touches on “PUNK: Chaos to Couture,” which will be unveiled to attendees of the Costume Institute gala on Monday evening and then opens to the public on Thursday. But before we say “ciao” to Elsa Schiaparelli, who shared the spotlight last spring in a series of “impossible conversations” with Miuccia Prada, we bring you video of her 1952 appearance on What’s My Line?, in which she attempted to preserve her “Mystery Guest” status as long as possible by grunting answers to the panelists’ yes or no questions.
Previously on UnBeige:
• Frank Lloyd Wright on What’s My Line?
• Schiaparelli and Prada: Sneak a Peek at the Met’s ‘Impossible Conversations’
• Chaos to Couture: Metropolitan Museum Goes Punk for 2013 Costume Institute Exhibition
The awards-gala season is in full swing, and Creative Time is cooking up a night to remember at Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Factory. The arts organization, which recently trotted out Nick Cave‘s soundsuited steeds in Grand Central terminal, will cap off the month with an April 30 benefit to honor the multitalented Julian Schnabel. Mario Batali is handling the food, daughter Lola is crafting the playlist, and the likes of Laurie Anderson and Al Pacino are lining up to praise the man of the moment in charming yet succinct video tributes. As you prepare to fetch your credit card to buy a ticket (after all, gala proceeds provide nearly a third of Creative Time’s annual budget), watch Anderson’s salute to Schnabel:
“It used to be that design was all about industry and it was very geographically anchored to the means of production. Then it became more dependent on the tertiary sector of design, on showrooms and fairs. In my opinion, the geography of design is now set by schools. You can’t talk about Italian design or British design—it’s old-fashioned. It really is about whether someone comes from [the Design Academy of] Eindhoven or the Royal College of Art in London. In this kind of scenario, meetings like the Salone are still very important because they are great business opportunities. The problem is that design has spread out in many directions and I think it’s important for the Salone to attract corollary events that are about interaction design and interface design.”
-Paola Antonelli, director of research and development and senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, in an interview with Ermanno Rivetti for The Art Newspaper
Watch Antonelli’s recent appearance on The Colbert Report:
Detail from Gary Baseman’s “The Celebration of Toby” (2005)
The countdown is on to Gary Baseman‘s first major museum exhibition, which will turn L.A.’s Skirball Cultural Center into a fun house full of paintings, photographs, toys, sketchbooks, and videos. More than 300 artworks and objects will be installed in thematic “rooms” of a gallery designed to evoke Baseman’s childhood home, complete with family photos, Super 8 home movies, and furnishings. The creative exuberance of “Gary Baseman: The Door Is Always Open” will be revealed on April 25 with an opening house party at which Baseman will create a “spontaneous artwork” amidst pinata smashing, mask making, a performance by Nightmare and the Cat, and a DJ set by Shepard Fairey. Prepare yourself by taking a virtual trip into Baseman’s world (and studio), thanks to filmmaker Eric Minh Swenson:
Jólan van der Wiel‘s “Gravity” stools, tables, candleholders, and bowls appear ripped from an enchanted sea floor–or are they Magic Rocks run amok? At once otherworldly and organic, these moody forms are in fact the products of the Amsterdam-based designer’s “Gravity Tool,” an innovation that earned him top honors at last year’s DMY International Design Festival Berlin. “I admire objects that show an experimental discovery, translated to a functional design,” explains van der Wiel. “It is my belief that developing new ‘tools’ is an important means of inspiration and allows new forms to take shape.” Now, just two years out of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy designLAB, he has a “Gravity stool” at London’s Design Museum, as part of the “Designs of the Year 2013” show that opens today. This short film by Miranda Stet provides a luscious look at van der Wiel’s unique process, which is something of a team effort among opposing magnetic fields, the forces of gravity, two-component plastics, and good old-fashioned elbow grease.
Art21′s year-long celebration of having profiled 100–count them!–artists on its its PBS Series Art in the Twenty First-Century rolls on, and with it come journeys into the vault for footage that never made it to air. The latest is this archival gem, filmed in 2002, in which Martin Puryear discusses his interest in printmaking and how the directness of the process contrasts with the accretive approach he takes with sculpture. Watch Puryear at work at Berkeley’s Paulson Bott Press, where he employs skills he learned as a student at the Swedish Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm, and see how the ideas explored in his sculptures manifest themselves on the page.
Over the years, the Armory Show has shifted its expectations of the year’s commissioned artist from creating a few fresh works to showcase in the catalogue and as benefit editions to “helping to create the visual identity of the fair.” (Fortunately, wildly talented graphic designer Reed Seifer has been there to do the heavy lifting.) And so the selection of performance-inclined Liz Magic Laser as this year’s Armory Show poster artist was cause for eyebrow raising, even before the press release that promised she would “activate the fair’s heritage as a site of innovation and discovery,” a phrase that evoked a portrait of the artist as a young gumshoe, raising an oversized magnifying glass to her eye. Laser went the inside baseball route (hey, it worked for Argo) and hit a home run. Embracing the sleek corporate efficiency of the megafair, she embarked on an market research odyssey, staging a series of focus groups composed of collectors, curators, art pros, and journalists, to help her strategize what she would create for the fair, from limited-edition works to tote bags. Watch and enjoy:
Fashion designers are unusually skilled at deploying their creativity in non-sartorial realms: Tom Ford directed one of the best films ever made, Ralph Rucci‘s transcendent works on canvas rival those he shows on the runway, and Hedi Slimane is an accomplished photographer (meanwhile, have you heard Oscar de la Renta sing?). Marc Jacobs is giving acting a go. He appears in Disconnect, a thriller directed by Henry Alex Rubin (Murderball) that arrives in theaters on April 12 and stars the likes of Jason Bateman and Alexander Skarsgård.
“My character is Harvey and I run a house for minor [in age] Internet porn. It’s all virtual. People go online and they talk to these kids about their fantasies or whatever. I’m the sort of father of them in the house—the Fagan of all these wayward kids who come stay in this house,” Jacobs told Entertainment Weekly. “In the end, I’m really not a bad character. I’m actually the one who is protecting them in a way. I’ve taken them off the streets, and they don’t get harmed. They’re doing something that is virtual, though they are talking about sex. But you can look at it two ways. Harvey isn’t a pimp, having them meet up like street hookers or giving them drugs. He provided a home for the kids. But it is sleazy.” Here’s the freshly released trailer: