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Archives: April 2011

Friday Photo: Carriage for One

An untitled 2008 photo by Liz Craft.

A royal wedding is an excellent excuse to trot out the carriages, and while our garage is lacking in 1902 State Landaus, Ascot Landaus, or Semi-State Landaus (full disclosure: we do not have a garage), we can delight in artist Liz Craft‘s solo approach. In her untitled 2008 photo, a fashionably dressed adult takes a break in “Carriage,” an outsized bronze baby buggy that looks plucked from the forest home of giants. Craft created the sculptural work in 2008, and when not in use, the carriage holds an enormous porcelain egg on a bed of raffia. This image of the eggless carriage out for a urban adventure is among the artworks on offer in an online auction to benefit the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), the non-profit public art initiative founded in 2009 by Shamim Momin and Christine Kim, in the run-up to its Thursday bash at Palihouse in West Hollywood. The online auction also includes works by John Baldessari, Barnaby Furnas, Dennis Hopper, Hanna Liden, and Raymond Pettibon. Bidding is open through Wednesday: register here and prepare to get carried away for a good cause.

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Agnes Dherbeys Wins Robert Capa Medal from Overseas Press Club

At the bamboo barricades: Detail from one of Agnes Dherbeys’ images of the 2010 anti-government riots in Thailand.

At last night’s Overseas Press Club (OPC) awards dinner in New York, Agnes Dherbeys was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal, bestowed annually for “the best published photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise.” Born in Korea, raised in France, and now based in Bangkok, the freelance photojournalist was honored for demonstrating “exceptional courage and enterprise” in capturing images of the massive anti-government protests that turned the Thai capital into a battleground during the spring of 2010. She photographed the nine weeks of civil violence for The New York Times. “I was certainly not expecting to receive the Robert Capa Gold Medal,” said Dherbeys. “As a child in France, I grew up with Capa’s historical images of D-Day. As a photographer, I learn from the legacy of the incredible photojournalists who have been awarded before me.” Two such former OPC winners—war photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros—were honored posthumously at last night’s dinner. They were killed April 20 covering the conflict in Misrata, Libya. “These last few days have been so enduring and intense for all of us,” said Dherbeys. “War or not war, conflict or not conflict, I work among people who keep inspiring me, who don’t compromise and always embrace all the responsibilities incumbent to the profession and life we have chosen.”

Ralph Lauren’s Car Collection Travels to Paris

If you’re at the head of a now decades old fashion empire, eventually you’re going to get bored of bathing in money and hiring the locals to feed caviar to your lions. The obvious next step is to get into collecting something. If you’re Ralph Lauren, those things are cars, of which he now has many. Starting yesterday and running through to the end of August, the fashion baron will be showing off a selection of his amassed sports cars at the Les Arts Decoratifs museum in Paris under the title, “L’Art de L’automobile. Chefs-D’Oeuvre de la Collection Ralph Lauren.” You can read briefly about the exhibition on the English side of the museum’s site, and even more if you speak French here. Some additional details are at the Lauren-affiliated site dedicated to his cars. Or better still, this short clip announcing the exhibition’s opening, which features at least one, but maybe two, strangely Photoshopped images of Lauren standing in front of a car.

State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Wants Better Designed US Embassies

If the US Department of State has their way with things, newly built American embassies will look and function much more attractively than those that have come before. The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, which reports directly to the State Department, has announced this week that it plans to renew its commitment to the agency’s “Design Excellence” program it implemented 16 years ago, but has apparently lapsed a bit on over the past few years. The tenants of the new program, which includes things like “moving away from low-bid contracting to a best-value approach, looking at total life-cycle costs” and making sure everything is LEED certified from top to bottom, can be read about in this attractive, but very government-speak PDF. For the quick rundown, we recommend reading this report from Engineering News-Record and then following along after ground is broken on a new embassy in London in 2013 and the program is hopefully moving at full-steam.

Keith Haring Collaborator and Art in the Streets Contributor, Angel Ortiz, Sentenced to 45 Days in Prison for Graffiti-Related Charges

Yesterday when we wrote that we might have to start up a feature reporting on the recent arrests of artists or the people connected to them, we maybe should have talked about it being more regular than on a mere weekly basis. Following the previous nabbings of Space Invader and Revok, another street artist whose work is currently showing as part of Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art‘s controversial Art in the Streets exhibition has been arrested. This time around, it was Angel Ortiz, also known as LA II. However, differing from the previous two, who were caught tagging in LA, Reuters reports that Ortiz was in New York and had already been detained by police at the time of the exhibition’s opening, after having been caught for the third time in March for vandalism. This week, the friend of LA MoCA’s director Jeffrey Deitch and former collaborator with the likes of Keith Haring and Basquiat, was sentenced this week to 45 days in prison for his offending graffiti. If there’s any light at the end of the tunnel, at least the sentence includes “the month already served,” giving Ortiz ample time to catch the exhibition baring his work out in Los Angeles.

‘Renaissance Man’ Hamish Bowles Receives Pratt Fashion Icon Award from Diane von Furstenberg

Hamish Bowles and Diane von Furstenberg at last night’s Pratt Institute Fashion Show in Manhattan. (Photos: UnBeige)

We’ve had the pleasure of hearing Hamish Bowles, Vogue‘s European Editor at Large, enrapture a crowd with his knowledge of fashion history, of taking in his most recent curatorial triumph (“Balenciaga: Spanish Master,” now on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco as “Balenciaga and Spain”), and of reading his books and articles, including those delightful fish-out-of-water pieces for Vogue that see the dapper Brit take on everything from pro basketball and surfing to Outward Bound-style adventures and “urban foraging.” But who knew he could sing? Bowles’ apparently boundless talents were highlighted last night as Pratt Institute honored him with its Fashion Icon award at its annual fashion show.

A video montage featured Bowles capably crooning a Cole Porter tune and shooting hoops with New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire amidst tributes from the likes of Anna Wintour, Harold Koda, and Grace Coddington. According to Diane von Furstenberg, who presented Bowles with the award, he can also dance and draw. “He’s a true Renaissance man,” she told the crowd. “And because he can do anything, Anna asks him to everything.” Von Furstenberg, who received the inaugural Fashion Icon award in 2006, went on to compare Bowles to a sponge. “He takes it all in and then he knows how to bring it out,” she said, before closing with a push for Bowles to try his hand at one more thing. “I hope, Hamish, that one day you will dare to be a designer.”

Bowles accepted the award graciously, crediting his mother and father for encouraging his early interests in art and design. “I’m not sure every parent would indulge their ten-year-old child’s Christmas wish list request for a subscription to Vogue,” he said. Another critical influence was his education at Central Saint Martins, where he learned as much from fellow students as he did in the classroom—all while assembling legendary nightclub ensembles. Bowles praised Pratt for its own commitment to providing students with exposure to a variety of creative fields, whether they’re majoring in fashion design or film production. He ended by thanking Wintour, seated in the front row and with sunglasses at the ready for the imminent runway show, for a job that is in turns thrilling, challenging, terrifying, and fulfilling. “Thank you, Anna, for the gift that keeps on giving.”

More Arrests Connected to Ai Weiwei and LA MoCA’s Street Art Exhibition

Given the events of recent days, we’re thinking we should start a new weekly feature called “This Week in Artist Arrests.” We’re hoping we don’t have to, but if things continue as they’ve been, consider this the inaugural post. First up, another detainment by Chinese officials of someone connected to artist Ai Weiwei, who was arrested himself and has now been missing for several weeks. Adding to the growing list of other friends, relatives and colleagues who have been whisked away to points unknown, this week popular Chinese musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou and his wife Xiao Li were apprehended by government officials and have not been heard from since. As the Guardian reports, Zuzhou, a longtime friend of the missing artist, had written a piece for a Hong Kong newspaper entitled, “Who Doesn’t Love Ai Weiwei?” the day before he and his wife were detained.

Closer to home, the round-up of street artists continues in Los Angeles. Following French artist Space Invader‘s arrest last week, the LA Times reports that popular “graffiti writer” Revok has been arrested at LAX “as he prepared to board a plane for Ireland.” The artist was charged with having violated his probation related to earlier vandalism charges and has now been sentenced to 180 days in jail. Both Invader and Revok have pieces in LA MoCA‘s current and controversial Art in the Streets exhibition, which has caught the ire of local officials who claim the show glorifies graffiti and has spawned an increase in vandalism in the area.

Art Directors Club Announces Award Winners

Graphic designer and 2010 School of Visual Arts grad Jiwon Kim’s The Eco Magazine, winner of a gold cube from the Art Directors Club.

The creative types at the Art Directors Club have announced the winners of the organization’s 90th annual awards program. The honors will be bestowed at a gala in New York on May 10, when the ADC will reveal the winners of the black cube for best in show, as well as recipients of this year’s Agency of the Year, Network of the Year, Design Team of the Year, Interactive Agency of the Year, and School of the Year honors. Among the companies that may need some help (or at least sturdy bags for) carrying home all their cubes home are the Amsterdam and Portland offices of Wieden+Kennedy, which led the way with three gold cubes—two in the advertising category for Nike’s “Write the Future” campaign and one in interactive for the Old Spice “Response” campaign—as well as an ADC Hybrid Award (also for Old Spice). Young & Rubicam also scored thee gold cubes, part of a 15-award haul. Other multiple gold cube winners include, The New York Times Magazine, Art Center College of Design, and the School of Visual Arts. There were 79 cubes awarded in the design category, and here are the nine gold cube winners:

  •, NYC, “Unchop a Tree” for Maya Lin, environmental/gallery-museum exhibit or installation (video posted below)
  • Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Year in Review,” in-house, editorial design/magazine full issue
  • FEBU Publishing, Pin-Up, in-house, editorial design/magazine full issue
  • Happy Forsman and Bodenfors AB, “Elanders on Very Important Matters” for Elanders, poster design/promotional
  • JWT, “Burma” for Human Rights Watch, environmental/retail, restaurant, office, outdoor, or website
  • The Lab, for Comedy Central, branding/brand campaign
  • NB Studio, “Galleries of Modern London” for Museum of London, branding/brand campaign
  • School of Visual Arts (Jiwon Kim), The Eco Magazine, student, editorial design/magazine full issue (pictured)
  • Serviceplan Gruppe fuer Innovative Kommunikation gmbh co. kg., “The BMW Lightwall Reflection” for BMW AG Deutschland, poster design/outdoor billboard
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  • Bill to be Introduced in NY City Council Making Purchase of Designer Knock-Offs a Class A Misdemeanor

    If trying to stop the production of designer knock-offs of bags, shoes, and other apparel sold on the streets of New York with back alley busts and police raids at the supply level don’t seem to be making enough of a dent in the illegal industry, one city council member wants to bring the battle to the street. Later today, Councilwoman Margaret Chin will introduce a bill making it a crime to purchase counterfeit trademarked items, “turning the action into a class A misdemeanor that could include jail time or a $1,000 ticket.” If the bill passes, Chin hopes the fear of a ticket might strike a major blow to the underground industry, while also putting some tax revenue back in the city’s pocket after consumers are then forced to go buy the real thing (or something less expensive, considering $50 probably won’t buy you a genuine Coach bag). Passage of the bill also holds hope that the less money received from the sale of knock-offs will help curb the financing of things like terrorism and child-labor as well. We think New York‘s blog The Cut, also makes a fine, funny point in writing, “Here’s a Great Way to Fine Tourists and City Residents for Being Tacky.”

    $300 Million Offered to Any City That Won’t Hire Frank Gehry

    We’ve loved writer Joe Queenan since as far back as we can remember (we have some particularly fond memories of reading his response to the overnight success of director Robert Rodriguez in his book The Unkindest Cut). It makes us even happier when, every once in a while, our little design-based world collides with his. A few months back, Queenan wrote a terrific piece about New York’s art deaccessioning plans. Now he’s written a bit about architecture, claiming to have found “an Iowa-based philanthropist and architecture aficionado” who will pay any city in the world $300 million if they agree never hire Frank Gehry to build something there. Per usual, it’s a wonderful pile of Queenan snark, and in particular we love his constant use of “swoopy” in describing the starchitect’s go-to style. It’s highly encouraged reading, Gehry fan, hater, or otherwise. Here’s a bit from the beginning, a quote from this mysterious, wealthy Iowan:

    There’s a swoopy Frank Gehry building in L.A. There are swoopy Frank Gehry buildings in New York, Seattle, Cleveland, Toronto, Cambridge, Mass., and Princeton, N.J. That’s not to mention the swoopy Frank Gehry buildings in Basel, Switzerland, Miami Beach, Las Vegas and Bilbao, Spain. Everywhere you go on the planet, whether it’s an art museum, a concert hall, a corporate headquarters or a hospital, there’s a swoopy Gehry building. I’m not saying that the world doesn’t need any more swoopy Gehry buildings that look like dented Miller Lite cans. I’m just saying that maybe the world doesn’t need quite so many.

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