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Archives: February 2012

Christo’s ‘Over the River’ Installation Pushed Back to 2015

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So much for smooth sailing for the “Over the River” art installation in Colorado. But, really, when does a Christo project ever not run into a constant series of hurdles? After all, the artist himself who has repeatedly said, “By discussing the work of art they become part of the work of art. They make it more important.” The latest comes after this past November when the government gave a partial go-ahead for the artist to begin plans to drape large, sweeping panels across 42 miles of the Arkansas River, with stipulations that there were still a bit more paperwork to fill out and more permits to finalize before construction could both begin and end this summer, for an estimated August debut. In a statement issued on the artist’s site, two factors have pushed the project back substantially: first, that some of the reports required before the launch came in later than expecting, thus shrinking the time available for construction by several months. Second, the required Event Management Plans, which in part include details on “traffic, safety and other issues,” will also take longer than expected, which would mean that “the public may not have sufficient time to understand this detailed information before installation begins.” Given that there was an equal amount of those against Christo’s project as there were supporters, it seems like a solid plan not to create new hostilities. That said, “Over the River” has now been pushed by three full years, out into early August of 2015. If you’re a big Christo fan and were expecting swiftness this time, maybe you’d do better finding a new favorite artist, as we’ve entered par-for-the-course territory here.

You Can Be in the Whitney Biennial!


(Photo: Gregory Holm)

The art world calendars have aligned just so (just like the Mayans predicted they would!), and 2012 brings us both the New Museum Triennial and the Whitney Biennial. The former is in full swing, and the latter opens next Thursday, featuring the work of artists including the late Mike Kelley, Jutta Koether, K8 Hardy, deadpan documentary master Frederick Wiseman, and Liz Deschenes, whose large photograms will “address the architecture” of the Whitney’s Breuer building. You may have not made the shortlists of Biennial curators Elisabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders, but as Hannah Montana once told us, “If things don’t turn out the way you planned / Figure something else out / Don’t stay down, try again!” Translation: get in the Biennial on the coattails of participating artist Michael Clark. The Whitney Museum and Michael Clark Company are seeking volunteers (read: unpaid enthusiasts with a good deal of free time and no formal dance training) to work on a piece of “mass choreographic action” and perform as part of Clark’s latest work for the 2012 Biennial. This project follows Clark’s hugely successful commission for Tate Modern, which also involved a large group of untrained volunteers. Go here for full details, indicate your interest by March 1, and then stock up on leotards!

Annabelle Selldorf, Arem Duplessis Among Pratt Alumni Achievement Winners

As if you needed further proof that Pratt Institute is an art and design education powerhouse, the Brooklyn institution has announced the five ultra-accomplished alumni that will be honored next month for their exceptional achievements since graduating. Get a load of this group: Arem Duplessis, design director for The New York Times Magazine; artist Ik-Joong Kang; designer Ted Muehling; photographer Sylvia Plachy; and Annabelle Selldorf, founder and principal of Selldorf Architects. They’ll receive their awards at a March 9 luncheon at The Modern (designed by a Pratt alum, natch), where we have a feeling that pastry chef Marc Aumont—a skilled sugar artist and chocolate sculptor—will whip up a special something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the school’s founding, ideally served with a generous scoop of his salted butter-caramel ice cream.

This Week on the mediabistro.com Job Board: Chrysler, Hershey Entertainment, TripAdvisor

This week, Chrysler is looking for a senior art director, while Hershey Entertainment & Resorts is on the hunt for a creative director. TripAdvisor is seeking a senior web designer, and Darby Dental Supply is hiring a graphic artist. Get more details on these openings below, and find additional just-posted gigs on mediabistro.com.

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.

Filmmaker Loïc Prigent on Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, and His Next Designer Documentary


Jacobs and LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault in 2006. (ARTE France/ANDA MEDIA)

“I was somewhat amazed not to see a single handbag in the first show,” says LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault toward the beginning of Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton, a documentary by Loïc Prigent. “However, he has made up for it since.” The film, screened last night for a capacity crowd of fashion lovers at FIT, delves into Jacobs’ transatlantic roles at the helm of both Louis Vuitton, the leathergoods powerhouse for which he inaugurated ready-to-wear in 1997, and his own fearlessly quirky label. It’s a rare behind-the-scenes look at the designer and his team at work on two spring 2007 collections in Manhattan and then Paris, interrupted only by a triumphant trip to Tokyo, where Vuitton held a champagne-soaked encore presentation of the previous season’s looks in a translucent pod erected for the occasion. “The things you have to do to gain new markets!” LVMH exec Yves Carcelle tells Prigent with a grin, yelling over a live set by Grace Jones.

After six months of fly-on-the-wall filming of Jacobs and interviews with the likes of Sofia Coppola and Larry Gagosian, Prigent was most stunned by a member of the Vuitton creative team he met while on the Tokyo trip. “I asked her what she did, and she told me ‘I’m here for the belts. In case one hole is not right and they need another hole. That’s what I do,’” he explained in a Q&A following the screening. “The belt girl blew me away. Keep in mind that they were putting on the same show as they had a couple of months before—with the exact same models.” Prigent also singled out “the bag people” at Vuitton as particularly…innovative. “They had all these unbelievable ideas,” he said, having been allowed to film design meetings but required to blur the “mood boards” lest competitors’ steal ideas. “It was all this crazy stuff, things with Mickey Mouse. Crazy!”
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Frank Gehry Explains ‘Backlash’ Against Him and His Work

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Microsoft and its new Windows logo apparently aren’t the only things receiving negative heat this chilly month. With his Eisenhower Memorial in DC on very shaky ground and his Abu Dhabi Guggenheim going through a series of on-and-off again hurdles, along with a series of other issues at hand, architect Frank Gehry looks to be returning to those days from a couple of years ago when he seemed a little bummed out. In speaking to the Guardian this week, the architect unloaded a bit, speaking very frankly (puns!) about the world occasionally turning against him and his work, as well as “starchitecture” as a whole. The whole piece is somewhat friendly to his plight, but no matter your opinion on his work, or buildings by celebrity architects in general, it’s an interesting read regardless, as Gehry rarely censors himself on telling it like how he thinks it is. Here’s the money quote:

“There is a backlash,” says Gehry, now aged 82, “against me and everyone who has done buildings that have movement and feeling”, that is “self-righteous” and “annoying… The notion is that it is counterproductive to social responsibility and sustainability. Therefore, curving the wall or doing something so-called willful is wrong and so there is a tendency back to bland.

Branding Debate Du Jour: The Pentagram-Designed Windows 8 Logo

Rare seems the day when the new-branding-to-pick-on-du-jour was designed by one of the world’s most popular and celebrated firms. However, even Pentagram appears not to be safe when it comes to catching the ire the internet and society as a whole seems to have for Microsoft. Just before the weekend, both Pentagram and the software giant unveiled the latest logo update for the new version of its soon-to-be-released Windows operating system. Designed by Pentagram partner and industry legend, Paula Scher, it continues Microsoft’s decades-old trend of slowly moving into more simplicity (some would say despite itself). A blue window, angled on its Y-axis, with type of the same color announcing simply, “Windows 8.” But many critics just weren’t having any of it. ForbesE.D. Kain picked it apart, as did even Armin Vit, who once held a job at Pentagram no less and who said the window looks like “a window in a $400-a-month studio apartment rental with beige carpeting and plastic drapes“. Still, it wasn’t all detractors. PCMag offers up this nice recap of who loved it and who hated it, which provides a nice outline for how this latest war over a new logo has shaped up thus far. And now, of course, it’s up to you to make up your mind. We’ll be eager to hear what you have to think in the comments.

Where Have All the Nike Ads Gone?

The branding wizards at Nike are often ten steps ahead of everyone else, and they have more than their superior sneakers to thank. In the last decade, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company has more than doubled its revenue, to $20.9 billion in 2011 (an impressive 10% increase over the previous fiscal year), and assembed a stable of labels ranging from Cole Haan to Umbro. It seems counter-intuitive, then, that over the past few years, Nike has dramatically reduced its TV and print advertising. So, what’s the deal? Digital, my dear Watson.

“Gone is the reliance on top-down campaigns celebrating a single hit—whether a star like Tiger Woods, a signature shoe like the Air Force 1, or send-ups like Bo Jackson’s ‘Bo Knows’ commercials from the late ’80s that sold the entire brand in one fell Swoosh,” writes Scott Cendrowski in a feature on Nike’s “New Marketing Mojo” that appears in the February 27 issue of Fortune. “In their place is a whole new repertoire of interactive elements that let Nike communicate directly with its consumers, whether it’s a performance-tracking wristband, a 30-story billboard in Johannesburg that posts fan headlines from Twitter, or a major commercial shot by an Oscar-nominated director that makes its debut not on primetime television but on Facebook.” Having learned from its online stumbles (a late ’90s assumption that March Madness was of global, rather than domestic, interest) and successes (Nike iD), the company has high hopes for its Digital Sport initiative, which some critics say “are more about keeping retail prices high than innovating.”
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Friday Photo: Queen Elizabeth Visits the New York International Gift Fair


(Photos: UnBeige)

Hallucinations are par for the course at the Javits Center, particularly during the biannual New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF, to those in the know), during which the cavernous space is chock full of innovative gizmos, colorful homegoods, and enough “accent pieces” to sink an ably-piloted Italian cruise ship. And so when, shortly after selecting the Chick-a-Dee smoke detector as our pick for a Bloggers’ Choice Award earlier this month, we spied Queen Elizabeth II clutching her handbag and waving regally to passersby, we chalked it up to good ‘ol gift show burnout. But this was no monarch mirage! Kikkerland Design convinced the Queen to get a headstart on her Diamond Jubilee festivities with an appearance at their NYIGF booth, where she helped to promote a new limited-edition version of the company’s “Solar Queen.” Designed by Chris Collicot, the grinning figurine waves daintily when placed in sunlight, and the Jubilee edition is tricked out with a brooch and a crown. Meanwhile, Collicot promises that the Queen will soon have a companion in Elroy the Solar Corgi.

Inside David Stark’s Pop-Up Wood Shop


(Photos: UnBeige and Courtesy David Stark Design)

David Stark has applied his artist’s eye and bricoleur’s ingenuity to the retail scene with Wood Shop, a temporary takeover of fellow RISD alum Nina Freudenberger‘s Haus Interior in New York. As you may recall from our recent interview with the event designer, his “surprise ambush” has filled the cozy homegoods emporium with limited-edition goodies inspired by a woodworker’s studio, from hand-crocheted saw pillows and rugged Carhartt-brown canvas placemats to a tool box worth of delicate gold pendants and hand-turned poplar vases that suggest a collaboration between Giorgio Morandi and Bob Vila. The woodstravaganza lasts through Monday, February 27.

The idea for Wood Shop stemmed from a previous project for which Stark and his team created an entire house out of SmartPly, which provided a cheeky backdrop for showcasing the client company’s new collection of homegoods. “Some of the things that we made for that were so fun that we thought, wow, these could be great products,” said Stark the other day, as he guided us through Wood Shop and ended up in front of a delicious-looking dessert, made entirely of SmartPly. “The cake really came out of that kind of thing. I have a weird sense of humor, so if I walked into a store, that would be the first thing I would be drawn toward.”


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