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Archives: November 2009

Atlanta’s High Museum Salutes John Portman


Architect and Atlanta native John Portman, who designed a hefty chunk of his hometown’s downtown, gets the star treatment in a peachy new exhibition at the High Museum of Art. On view through April 18, 2010, “John Portman: Art & Architecture,” features architectural projects by Portman, now 85 (Frank Lloyd Wright guest lectured in one of his college courses at Georgia Tech), as well as his furniture, paintings, and sculpture. Among the 15 completed and current projects featured in the show is the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Portman’s pioneering atrium hotel of 1967 that he followed up with soaring airy spaces in Detroit’s Renaissance Center and the Marriott Marquis in New York City. These days, his firm is doing a bustling business in Asia, with projects underway throughout China and in India (a Hyatt for Hyderabad), and of course, South Korea’s Incheon Tower, a twin-towered complex that will stand 151 feet tall. Can’t make it to Atlanta? You need not be tardy for the party—check out the below video for more about Portman.

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More Consumerism to Attend to with Core77′s Star-Studded Gift Buying Guide


When we posted our Special Black Friday edition last Friday, we were remiss to include one of our other favorites: Core77‘s annual picks for the best things to get those design crazed folk on your holiday buying list. And unlike A Daily Dose‘s Holiday Gift Books guide, Core77′s Gift Guide branches out in a variety of directions, from t-shirts to even, weirdly, the entire Star Wars collection. Though excluding the latter, the them this year is do pick items that are good for the world (which one you could argue that screenings of Star Wars still fits that bill). Plus, you won’t just be buying picks thought up by a couple of the site’s editors. Nope, this year you’ll have a creme of the crop of personal shoppers for you:

This year’s giftguide contributors are Alissa Walker, Rob Walker, John Thackara, Glen Jackson Taylor, Lisa Smith, Bethany Shorb, Emily Pilloton, Rain Noe, Jen van der Meer, Lunchbreath, Eric Ludlum, Jessica Helfand, Bill Hanff, FueledByCoffee, Allan Chochinov, Valerie Casey, Victoria Brown, and Emilie Baltz.

Special Black Friday Edition: Best Books and Painful Packaging


Welcome back to the internet. We hoped you’ve regained your vision after gorging yourself up to your eyeballs in food yesterday. We are finding it difficult to type, finding ourselves running out of breath just from hitting these few keys to write these sentences. But here we are, back on the job for you. And since it’s Black Friday today, we thought we’d make this post about buying stuff. First up, A Daily Dose of Architecture is back at it again with one of our favorite things of the season: their Holiday Gift Books guide. It’s one book selection from 50 separate publishers and if you haven’t completely maxed out all your credit cards by the end and forgotten to buy gifts for anyone else but yourself, then we don’t know who you are anymore. We think you’ll also find it’s a great resource to send to those family members who never know what to get you, thus sparing them them search and you another incorrectly-sized bit of wardrobe. And speaking of ill-sized, we turn to number two in this special consumer-focused post. Millions of dollars and man hours were presumably spent designing Motorola‘s attempted-iPhone-killer Droid phone, but the one thing the gadget’s box “don’t do” is actually hold the product well. Consumerist reports that the packaging design is atrocious, leading the phone to fall to the ground and possibly being damaged as soon as its unpacked. And it’s reportedly happened to lots of people. So while it may seem like such a minor thing, packaging isn’t something to take lightly.

Whitney Adds Scott Rothkopf to Curatorial Team, Promotes Dana Miller

(Jerry L. Thompson).jpgOn the heels of relaunching its website (have you noticed the background changes from white to black according to the New York City sunset?), the Whitney Museum of American Art has announced two curatorial appointments. The whipsmart and charming Scott Rothkopf will join the museum on December 1 as curator, while Dana Miller has been promoted to curator of the permanent collection. Miller, who co-curated last year’s stellar Buckminster Fuller exhibition, has been the Whitney’s associate curator of the permanent collection for the past seven years.

Rothkopf comes to the Whitney from Artforum, where he has served as senior editor since 2004. Don’t miss his “Best of 2009″ picks in the magazine’s December issue. Among Charles Ray, MoMA’s Joan Miró exhibition, and the collected writings of Herbert Muschamp is a shout-out to Aretha Franklin‘s bowtastic inauguration hat, designed by Detroit milliner Luke Song. “Although it threatened to overshadow her face (and everyone else on the dais), Aretha’s exuberant headgear is the enduring emblem of a high point in our nation’s optimism and pride,” notes Rothkopf.

Visionaire Partners with Smart for Electric Plug-In Art Calendar Issue

visionaire2010.jpgVisionaire is always among the things we’re most thankful for, so what better time to tell you about the new issue? The fifty-seventh edition of the art-meets-fashion triannual brings together images from 365 artists in the format of an electronic 2010 calendar. The works that light up the sleek HD screen were selected by 52 influential figures from the worlds of art, design, fashion, and film. Curators including Zaha Hadid, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Louise Bourgeois, and Rei Kawakubo, chose works by artists from Richard Artschwager to Andrea Zittel. Among some of our favorite curator/artist pairings: Pharrell Williams (who we hear is starring in a film by artist Yi Zhou that will debut next week at Art Asia in Miami) selected an image of a Marc Newson-designed aircraft, MoMA’s Klaus Biesenbach opted for an ethereal work by Marlene Dumas, and Mario Testino got in the holiday spirit with a Steven Shearer photocollage of inverted Christmas trees. The issue was produced in collaboration with smart, the lower-cased Daimler division that is launching an electric version of its pint-sized fortwo, thus the smart car-shaped plug on the rechargeable display console. And it’s a bargain at a mere 80 cents per artwork (or $295).

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Here Comes the Sun: Visionaire Creates ‘Solar-Powered’ Issue
  • Visionaire Gets Sporty
  • Quote of Note | Carolina Herrera

    Carolina_H.jpg“Have I ever been horrified to see someone in my clothes? Many times, but I close my eyes and look the other way. That happens to everyone. What can you do? Go and tell her, ‘Don’t wear that dress again’? We designers always have fantasies in our heads, but the difficult task is to make them reality. Because you can be the best designer, but designing in your own place and with nobody wearing [your clothes], then what happens? You’re nowhere.”
    -Carolina Herrera, in WWD

    Droog Townhouse to Appear at Design Miami


    They may no longer have Gijs Bakker at the helm, but Droog is pushing forward, now into residential housing design. For next week’s Design Miami, the collective will be unveiling the Droog Townhouse, which they didn’t exactly build (the architecture stuff was created by Tokyo’s Atelier Bow-Wow) but will feature a 100% Droog interior, from the lighting to the furniture to everything in between. The whole project was commissioned by an Amsterdam housing association and will be on display from the 1st to the 5th.

    Imagined for a single, a contemporary family or as a VIP guesthouse, the one-of-a-kind layout is essentially a seamless flow of spaces, each with its own functionality merging with circulation space. Private rooms such as the master and optional guest bed, the bath, the balcony and a sound-proof refuse are amply separated by shared space, creating a unique combination of contact and independence, spaciousness and intimacy.

    We call first dibs if they decide they don’t want it after the 5th.

    easyJet Tries to Repair Damage After Fashion Shoot at the Holocaust Memorial


    We are headed to the airport in just a second to head home for the holidays and while we want to smack our heads and ask “What were you thinking?!” we also don’t want to be put on some kind of watch list which would make travel today even more impossible, so we’ll just stick to the facts, if you please. The head smacking culprit here is the airline easyJet, who for a fashion spread their in-flight magazine decided that a good locale would be the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Designed by new Yale professor Peter Eisenman, the concrete monument also goes by the name, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which makes it seem that much more incredible that somehow everyone involved in the photo shoot, from the photographer (the chief suspect in our book) to the models, would find going in to take some moody shots in any way appropriate. But so they did and so easyJet is now apologizing profusely and pulling copies of the magazine from all of its aircraft.

    In a statement to the New Statesman, the airline said:

    “easyJet profusely apologizes to anyone who may be offended by the inappropriate fashion photo shoot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin featured in this month’s issue of the in-flight magazine.”

    “The magazine is produced by INK — an external publishing house, and easyJet were not aware of the images until they appeared in print. As a consequence we are now reviewing our relationship with the publisher and are withdrawing this month’s issue from all flights.”

    INK has also issued an apology on their site.

    Case Dismissed Over Nakedness at the Met


    Is it nudity week here at UnBeige? Sure, why not. We talked about Kim Cattrall getting naked to save art yesterday. And there was Terry Richardson‘s Pirelli calendar. And now here’s a third. The AP is reporting that two artists who staged a nude photography session at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a museum full of nude painting and sculptures, have been let off the hook by a New York City judge. Here’s how they pulled it off (semi-pun only semi-intended):

    Defense lawyer Thomas J. Hillgardner says [model Kathleen "K.C." Neill] did nothing indecent while posing in an institution full of depictions of nudes. He says she was making art and he noted court rulings saying public nakedness isn’t necessarily lewd.

    Prosecutors say they aren’t sure they could prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt.

    Terry Richardson Would Rather Go Naked Than Retouch

    terry_banana.jpgYou may recall that photographer Terry Richardson welcomed 2009 with a racy calendar for Vogue Paris that celebrated the joys of Louis Vuitton lingerie. The high-profile project, styled by Carine Roitfeld, led to the ultimate calendar gig: the much anticipated Pirelli calendar, now in its forty-sixth year of delighting corporate tire buyers worldwide. Richardson shot the 2010 edition, which debuted last week in London, on the beaches of Trancoso, Brazil. In contrast to the collaged exoticism of Peter Beard‘s 2009 Pirelli calendar, Richardson went for an old-school vibe in steamy shots that conjure the ’70s and are free of retouching. Among the props bandied about by models such as Lily Cole and Miranda Kerr are tires and Brazilian wildlife, including some very happy sloths. For Richardson, less is always more. “My technique is the absence of technique,” he has said.

    Previously on UnBeige:

  • Peter Beard Shoots Elephants, Calendar Girls
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