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Archives: October 2011

Yale to Present Gwathmey Siegel Exhibition

You say “Gwathmey”! We say “Siegel”! Gwathmey! Siegel! The storied architectural firm, which was acquired by architect Gene Kaufman back in June, is the subject of an exhibition opening on Monday, November 14, at the Yale School of Architecture. Organized by the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, and retooled for New Haven by Yale’s Brian Butterfield, “Gwathmey Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation” examines the close relationship between art and architecture in eight of the firm’s residential and institutional projects, ranging from the iconic house and studio that Gwathmey designed for his parents in the mid 1960s and the Bechtler residence in Zumikon, Switzerland to the renovation of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the makeover of Yale’s own Paul Rudolph Hall (née the Art + Architecture Building). You may recall that last year, Gwathmey’s widow, Bette-Ann Gwathmey, agreed to donate the Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects archives to the Yale University Library, and the exhibition will also showcase some more personal artifacts, including Gwathmey’s scrapbook from a family tour of Europe in 1949-50 and a selection of his student work at Yale, where he studied under Rudolph.

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Pamela Love’s Halloween Costume Concept: Fierce Gummy Bear

It’s Free Candy Night, do you know where your costume is? We’re going to bathe in glitter and baby oil, throw on some Jimmy Choos, and go as a Marilyn Minter work. That should bring in a respectable haul of Hershey’s. Those still in the brainstorming phase should consult the “Spooky Sketches” that Chelsea Zalopany has rounded up for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, which invited fashion designers including Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava, Peter Som, and Bibhu Mohaptra to turn everyday objects—yarn, clothes hangers, fake flowers—into killer Halloween costumes. Pamela Love scored the meta-material: candy. The New York-based jewelry designer, known for fierce creations inspired by everything from astrology and the American Southwest to the work of artists such as Hieronymous Bosch and Joseph Cornell, seized upon the humble gummy bear. Love reimagined the Haribo favorite as a gummy grizzly in a sassy shade of blue. “I upped the volume to design a slightly sinister, carnival-esque version of the classic gummy bear,” she told T. “It’s very me—a little dark, but still whimsical and fun.”

5 Things You Need to Know This Week: Halloween!

In a spooktacular, ghoulicious episode of “5 Things You Need to Know This Week,” we count down our five favorite Halloween costumes. With special appearances by Beyoncé, Blake Lively, Brian Williams, and Brian Williams.

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


Museum Bound? Skip the Acoustiguide and Ditch the Docent, Advises Joe Queenan

“Just look at the paintings and relax.” Better yet, laugh. Such is the advice of Joe Queenan, whose latest Wall Street Journal column takes the form of “three tips for surviving the art museum.” His first rule? Avoid the acoustiguide. “Art phones have turned museum-going into a dreary chore,” writes Queenan, who we suspect didn’t opt for the experience-enhancing headphones at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent Alexander McQueen blockbuster. “It’s like being back in high school, where you’re expected to memorize everything.” He’s also no fan of docents, who he describes as “blathering idiots who think they missed their calling as stand-ups” and “living proof that people should not be allowed to retire, because in retirement, the pathologically garrulous cease to be merely annoying and become truly dangerous.” (We’ll spare you the bit about dispatching NATO warplanes on a docent destruction mission.) Focus on his third tip: Don’t be afraid to laugh at the art. “If an art museum is clicking on all cylinders, you shouldn’t be able to get out of there without doubling over in laughter at least three times,” writes Queenan, who offers examples ranging from Francois Boucher‘s toddler hunters to comtemporary works. “If you can’t laugh at Anthony van Dyck’s boozed-up cavaliers, Thomas Gainsborough’s cadaverous, blue-faced debutantes, or Damien Hirst’s 13-foot shark in a few thousand gallons of formaldehyde, you’re really missing out on some great fun.”

World’s Greatest Swatch Watch Collection to Be Auctioned in Hong Kong

Swiss businessman Peter Blum and his wife, Linda, loved Swatch watches. Their passion for the colorful plastic timepieces (which are credited with saving a Swiss watch industry decimated by the “Quartz crisis” of the 1970s and early 1980s) led them to amass a historic collection of 4,350 Swatches, give or take an interchangeable Pop Swatch face or two, and on November 24, Phillips de Pury & Company will auction the entire collection as a single lot at a special Swatch-a-riffic sale in Hong Kong. Among the thousands of specimens included in the Blums’ softly ticking hoard are a bunch of prototypes, hybrids, and production variants never offered for sale, including a number from the R&D phase that preceded Swatch’s 1983 commercial debut. There’s even an elusive Swatch Puff, the first of 120 such angora fur-rimmed timepieces ever created. And there are artsy Swatches a-plenty, including production models for Swatches created in collaboration with Keith Haring, Mimmo Paladino‘s impish “Oigol Oro,” and a signed set of Swatches featuring the work of Alfred Hofkunst. Meanwhile, Phillips chairman Simon de Pury took matters into his own hands when it came to Swatch art. In the early 1990s, he handed over his substantial Swatch collection to Arman, explains de Pury in his introduction to the auction catalogue. “He melted all of them into Plexiglas, transforming them into a spectacular work of art.”

Richard Prince On Bob Dylan’s Paintings: ‘They’re More Acoustic Than Electric’

Whether or not you had the opportunity to see the recent exhibition of paintings by Bob Dylan at Gagosian Gallery in New York and regardless of your opinions of the famed singer-songwriter’s way with acrylics or choice of source material, treat yourself to Richard Prince’s wonderfully Joycean take on the matter. The artist penned an essay for the exhibition catalogue, and it has been published on the New York Review of Books’ blog for all to enjoy. Prince proves that he can wield a simile as deftly as he does an appropriated cowboy: He compares one of Dylan’s canvases to Cézanne’s Bathers, works he admires in part because “The paint is nice and thin, like it’s been applied directly on the wall of a Roman emperor’s home,” and likens getting to Dylan’s Los Angeles studio to “that scene in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta parks his car outside a nightclub…I think it’s Copacabana…and goes in a side entrance, down a hall past a lazy-ass watchman, into the kitchen, through another hallway, and out into the main room and ends up right next to the maître d’, who then ignores the people in line waiting to get in and hugs and kisses Ray and his girlfriend and shows them right down in front of the stage, where a small table, two chairs, and a plug-in lamp suddenly, miraculously, appear.” And that’s just the opening paragraph. Before assessing the works (“I think Dylan’s paintings are good paintings. They’re workmanlike and they do their job.”), Prince offers this smashing description of Dylan’s studio, or at least what he believes to have been Dylan’s studio:

It didn’t look like any artist’s studio I’d ever been in. It was on the second floor and was around five hundred square feet and furnished with furniture that looked like it had been found on the street. There was a small Casio keyboard on a keyboard stand. There was a store-bought easel and a carton of art supplies on the floor. The carton was one of those plastic containers the USPS holds mail in. I’m not sure what was on the wall. I think there was a gold record or a plaque that said something about a record industry milestone. There was a small balcony with a couple of wrought-iron chairs and a table. It was a mismatched set. Except for the art supplies, there wasn’t a single thing in this room that would tell someone, “Art is made here.” It was kind of astounding. It was like Dylan was painting in a witness protection program.

Museum at FIT to Explore ‘Fashion Icons and Insiders’ in Annual Symposium

New York’s Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) pulls out all the stops for its annual fashion symposium, and this year’s confab is even more star-studded than usual, as it will take place in the midst of the museum’s ambitious and exquisitely realized Daphne Guinness exhibition (on view through January 7). The couture maven herself is among the headliners of the two-day symposium, which begins next Thursday, November 3, with a conversation between Guinness and Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum at FIT. Subsequent sessions will tackle topics ranging from Jean Paul Gaultier and Standard Oil heiress Millicent Rogers to “vampire dandies” and how luxury goods like the Hermès Birkin have replaced living, breathing fashion icons. Featured speakers include designers Sophie Theallet and Joseph Altuzarra, Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey, and Thelma Golden of The Studio Museum in Harlem. Check out the full symposium schedule and register here, then start planning what you’re going to wear (we’re debating between ostrich feathers or a kooky Courrèges ensemble that turned up in our grandmother’s attic).

Giant Lego Man Washes Up on Florida Beach

An eight-foot-tall man returned from a swim on Tuesday morning in Siesta Key, Florida and was promptly detained by authorities. The 100-pound fellow, who resembles a giant Lego figurine, is made of fiberglass. The front of his green tank top reads “No Real Than You Are,” and the back is emblazoned with the number eight and “Ego Leonard,” the name of a Dutch artist whose creations have previously washed up on beaches in England and the Netherlands. “I am glad I crossed over. Although it was a hell of a swim,” wrote the artist, replying to an e-mail from a writer for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “Nice weather here and friendly people. I think I am gonna stay here for a while. A local sheriff escorted me to my new home.” According to a press release issued by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, “Mr. Leonard is being kept in a secure environment until his owner comes forward.” Lego is not amused. A spokeswoman for Legoland in Orlando told the Herald-Tribune that the Lego man is a counterfeit and not endorsed by Legoland. Meanwhile, the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau is eager to keep him in town. “We were trying to spring him out of jail,” said Erin Duggan, communications director for the tourism bureau. “We had offered to give him a home at the visitors center, where people could come and have their pictures taken with him.”

Mark Your Calendar: Illustration Week

Get out your fancy pens and draw an elaborate box around November 4-13. That’s Illustration Week, an event bonanza featuring exhibitions, talks, panel discussions, and parties that will draw out a crowd of people who don’t blink when faced with questions such as “Prismacolors or Copics?” The fun begins next Friday, November 4, as Parsons the New School for Design plays hosts to the third annual Pictoplasma Conference, which invites designers, illustrators, fimmakers and producers, artists, and character connoisseurs to discourse freely about the world of character-driven art and design. The two-day event features lectures by global superstars such as Siggi Eggertsson, Wooster Collective, Jon Burgerman (whose work is pictured above), and French-Swiss Technicolor enfants terribles Ben & Julia. The Society of Illustrators follows up that character-building bunch with a presentation on the history of illustration by Murray Tinkelman, an Illustrators Sketch Night featuring the musical stylings of the Half-Tones (illustrators Barry Blitt, Joe Ciardiello, and Michael Sloan, joined by guest guitarist Kenny Wessel), and an evening with children’s book icons and illustrators including Ted and Betsy Lewin and Jerry Pinkney. Check out the full schedule of events here.

Quote of Note | Glenn Adamson

“[Alessandro] Mendini provides a spine through the whole show. That chair is a really fantastic thing. This is him working with Studio Alchimia, which is just before Memphis starts—it’s a more avant-garde, nihilistic design collective than Memphis, but provides some of the inspiration for it. And that particular chair is typical of his practice at this time. Mendini called it “redesign”—he was making new objects from quoted material from lots of different sources. It’s a wood-frame chair with white upholstery, and Mendini projected a slide onto it and painted it to match. The title is a reference to this idea of memory—Baroque furniture, pointillism. It’s very layered and quite witty but not particularly functional.”

-Glenn Adamson, co-curator of “Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990” at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, on Alessandro Mendini’s “Proust” chair (pictured) in an interview-cum-exhibition tour with Marc Kristal on Dwell.com

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