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Archives: September 2011

Raf Simons to Replace Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent?

Looks from the spring 2012 Jil Sander collection, shown Saturday in Milan.

So suggests the sizzling lead of Suzy Menkes’ latest International Herald Tribune dispatch from the Milan runways. “If Raf Simons ultimately takes over the helm at Yves Saint Laurent—as those familiar with the situation in Paris suggest—the designer will have found a sweet spot for his meticulous modernism,” she wrote before showering praise on Simons’ spring 2012 Jil Sander collection, “a master class in couture rigor” inspired by midcentury modernism. Later in the article, Menkes noted that while Simons “was traveling back to his native Belgium and could not be reached for comment on the subject of YSL, he certainly has earned an audition for that position.”

The rumor adds PPR-owned YSL to a closely watched list of fashion houses whose creative helms may be up for a grabs. LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault and co’s decision about who will fill John Galliano‘s shoes (or pirate boots, as the case my be) at floundering Christian Dior is expected to set off a domino effect of designer moves, but Stefano Pilati, creative director at YSL since Tom Ford’s departure in 2004, wasn’t viewed as vulnerable—until now. In a statement issued this morning, YSL called the rumor of a Pilati ouster “unfounded,” but we think the deal may have been sealed by the spring 2011 collections. Last year at this time, Simons offered up the crisp, boldly colored, maxi-length breath of fresh air that set the tone for the season, while Pilati’s sublimely edited evolution of some of Saint Laurent’s greatest hits didn’t garner nearly as much acclaim (or, it would seem, sell-through).

Jeanne van Heeswijk Receives $25K Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change

Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk is the recipient of the 2011 Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change. The $25,000 award is presented annually by New York-based nonprofit arts organization Creative Time to an artist whose work has been devoted to “instigating social awareness and harnessing the communicative power of art to engage communities around important public issues.” Van Heeswijk received the prize on Friday at the Creative Time Summit in New York. She joins past winners the Yes Men (2009) and Rick Lowe (2010).

Van Heeswijk’s work defies easy description but usually brings groups of formerly unacquainted people together in colorful ways—with the help of artists, designers, architects, software developers, governments, and citizens. Her projects, which have been exhibited in oodles of biennials (Venice, Taipei, Busan), may involve pop-up think tanks, culture jamming t-shirts, free barbeque, or the drafting of a “manifesto of a small happiness” in the shadow of a major German highway. Creative Time tapped a panel of three judges to select the 2011 prize recipient: curator Christine Tohme (Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts), curator Hou Hanru (San Francisco Art Institute), and news commentator Laura Flanders (Air America).

Quote of Note | Chip Kidd

Peter Saville‘s album covers for Manchester’s Factory Records in the ’80s and ’90s were a true revelation to me, especially his work for New Order. When I was a sophomore in college, the group soon became one of my favorites and remain so to this day, but what was truly striking was that while they more or less a rarified synth-disco band (though a truly great one), Saville’s cool and clasically modernist sleeves didn’t reflect at all any of the expected visual clichés of dance music. No mirror balls, no platform shoes, no ‘groovy’ lettering, and most notably—no discernible emotion. The result is a brilliantly nuanced balancing act between form and content, in which one is so totally at odds with the other that they ultimately complement each other with unique juxtaposition. The design doesn’t have to try to get your toe tapping, because that’s the the music’s job. The lettering is clean, beautifully proportioned, easily read, and, well, ordered. Saville didn’t so much have a style as he did a sensibility—one that consistently defied prediction—and that’s what he made me want to achieve too.”

-Design rockstar—and all-around rockstarChip Kidd in one of the essays that comprise his foreword to Simon Garfield‘s Just My Type (Gotham)

Pentagram’s Abbott Miller Designs New Identity/Branding for Barnes Foundation

Another bit of news about the Barnes Foundation, following a post we had up earlier in the week about the organization setting a date to open their new and controversial Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects-designed building in Philadelphia. Our friends at Pentagram have this week posted information on the branding and identity work partner Abbott Miller has created for the new location. The logo is based off of the coloring of Matisse’s Joy of Life, resulting in a muted but strong, modern orange, laid out in a form based related to Albert Barnes‘ sketches for the original gallery. The main font within the logo is Milo, created by Mike Abbink, with Monitor just below, spelling out the full name of the organization. In addition to the identity, Miller and his Pentagram pals are also working on a site redesign (launched this week), as well as “environmental graphics and interpretative displays and materials.” Here’s a bit from their write-up about Miller’s process:

To develop the identity Miller conducted extensive research of the Barnes estate and the original building at Merion. The identity’s form was suggested by a sketch by Barnes of one of his signature arrangements, a symmetrical row of paintings. Miller recognized the layout as “the DNA of Dr. Barnes’ vision,” a motif that captures the museum’s unique environment and Barnes’ singular view of art. The logo consists of a row of rectangles that recall the centered, axial hanging at the Barnes, each form containing a letter of the museum’s name. The letters play with positive and negative space, referencing the Barnes’ intention to read across works and make connections.

Board Decides to Keep American Folk Art Museum Going, Names New President

When we last left news of the American Folk Art Museum, things weren’t looking good in the slightest. Despite having sold their large, still relatively new Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects-designed building to the adjacent MoMA and moving into a much smaller space in New York’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, thereby supposedly saving them from the millions in debt they’d been held down by for years, things were still apparently rough going. At that time, with the NY Times reporting that their “financial picture [had] grown so bleak,” it was widely assumed (even by members of the museum it seemed) that their days were numbered and its large collection would soon be broken up and sent to a variety of other institutions. However, that seems to have all been avoided, with an announcement made by the museum yesterday, saying that their board has voted unanimously to keep it open. As part of that vote came a number of changes. First, the museum will develop a new financial strategy “that ensures the Museum’s fiscal viability.” Second, the board elected one of its own, Monty Blanchard, who has served there since 2003 and donated 75 pieces in 1998, as the museum’s new president. Finally, in re-purposing one of their worst case plans, they’ve decided that they’ll share pieces from their collection with other museums, but without that having to close up shop entirely business. Here are some details about that plan:

In addition to developing a financial plan, the Trustees are also creating a strategy that will increase the visibility of the Museum’s renowned collections and extend the American Folk Art Museum brand. The Museum will seek to establish a revitalized and expanded program of loans to collaborating New York City institutions, as well as packaging traveling exhibitions around the U.S., as ways of sharing folk art with wider audiences. The Brooklyn Museum, the New-York Historical Society, and the Museum of Arts and Design have expressed interest in working with the American Folk Art Museum to identify potential exhibitions where the museums respective collections inform and excite one another. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will display approximately 15 major works of art from the collection in honor of the opening of the American Wing and The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art.

‘The Zen of Steve Jobs’ Graphic Novel to be Released This Fall

With the impending release of Walter Isaacson‘s authorized Steve Jobs biography and the recent publication of former, lesser-known Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne‘s autobiography, you have more than enough reading material about this one specific technology company and the people behind it to last you through the whole autumn. However, now there’s one more to add to the pile. Forbes has released four new pages from the upcoming graphic novel, “The Zen of Steve Jobs,” written by the magazine’s own writers and illustrated and designed by the firm JESS3. Largely set in 1986 after Jobs had been removed from Apple by the company’s board and was starting to launch his own computer company NeXT, the novel “re-imagines Steve’s relationship with his friend and mentor, Kobun Chino Otogawa, a Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist priest.” The magazine released the first four pages at the very start of September, with plans to print all eight in its upcoming Forbes 400 issue. The full book itself, set to be roughly 60-pages in length, doesn’t have a set release date, but the magazine reports that it will appear as a “digital release late this fall.”

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For more job listings, go to the Mediabistro job board, and to post a job, visit our employer page. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Cubes: An Inside Look at Grey’s NYC Headquarters

In this episode of “Cubes,” we tour the New York headquarters of Grey, one of the oldest ad agencies in the world. Located just off Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, the office features a huge rooftop terrace, “Mad Men”-era furniture, and a bed that doubles as a meeting room.

For more videos, check out, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present Becomes a Video Game

Remember those halcyon days way back in 2010 when you could go wait in an incredibly long line at the MoMA to spend a few seconds sharing a stare with Marina Abramovic as she sat and stared for her extremely popular The Artist is Present piece? If you’re hankering to return, and watching the Broad Museum get built in real time isn’t drawn out enough for you, designer and artist Pippen Barr has created the brilliant and bizarre The Artist is Present video game. Control your animated, adventure game avatar through the process of paying $25 for a ticket and then go wait in a very long line to see Abramovic. That’s it. And like the often-referenced non-game game, Penn and Teller‘s equally interesting Desert Bus, where you drove a bus through an unchanging landscape for hours but the steering had a slight pull, meaning you had to sit there and pay attention for all those hours, in Barr’s game, if you ignore your place in line, you’ll get bumped and have to start again from the back of the queue. Beside the game, Barr has a number of interesting comments about his creating the game, adding whole other layers to what first appears to just be a funny endeavor. Here’s a bit:

As happens when you make things, though, different meanings and ideas come up as you go along. On researching the show it was pretty obvious that the core mechanic of the game was about waiting – that’s pretty much what everyone focuses on when they think of the show – either waiting to see Abramovic or, in a sense, waiting with her. And that’s immediately titillating because waiting is obviously the height of poor game design according to convention. (Note that there are some great games about waiting, notably Gregory Weir’s Narthex and Increpare’s Queue). Part of my attitude to it, though, was to take it to some kind of “end game” – just waiting, so real other entertainment or chance of interaction, possibly for hours, possibly never even achieving your aim. Brutal waiting.

Sadly, there’s no bonus level in Barr’s game where if you touch the nude people, you get in trouble with the MoMA staff.

Critics Tear Into Donald Trump’s Scottish Clubhouse Design

We were fortunately blessed here in Chicago in getting a Trump building that was well designed and certainly not an eyesore, but it’s looking like some in Scotland feel they haven’t fared nearly as well. This week, Donald Trump’s company unveiled plans for the clubhouse at the real estate magnate’s foray into Scottish golf course ownership, the blandly named Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen. There was already a fair bit of controversy surrounding the nearly billion-dollar development, with locals refusing to sell their property so that the course could be built, the release of the clubhouse renders has added fuel to the fire among detractors. A local told the Daily Record that the building “looks like an institution” and John Glenday of Urban Realm magazine told the paper that the building “is as artificial as Trump’s toupee and makes a mockery of this area of outstanding natural beauty.” Elsewhere, University of Glasgow architecture professor Andy MacMillan has been quoted by a number of outlets, saying that the clubhouse is a “hideous leftover from the Victorian era” and that it isn’t “even worthy of Disneyland” and, putting it perhaps mostly bluntly, “is gross.” For those who have found it so distasteful, we’re betting that things will only get worse for them from here on out, as the clubhouse is just one of the nearly thousands of buildings Trump has planned for the area (a residential section making up the bulk of that).