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Archives: May 2012

Marina Abramović Documentary Coming to Film Forum and HBO

Since its world premiere at Sundance in January, the film Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present has mesmerized audiences from Berlin to Belgrade. Now it’s on to Art Basel and New York, where Film Forum will screen the feature-length documentary beginning June 13. Those not in NYC (or a European city that begins with “B”) can tune into HBO, which will air the film from July 2.

Directed by Matthew Akers, Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present follows the artist as she prepares for her 2010 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. “The two main goals I set for myself in the beginning were to figure out how to make the subject appeal to a wider audience than just the rarefied art world and to avoid the trap of making a plodding biopic-style film,” explains Akers in the production notes. Initially skeptical of performance art, he immersed himself in the subject before hitting the road with Abramović. Then came the task of sorting through ten months worth of footage (shot in six countries), including the entirety of her blockbuster performance-cum-staring contest in MoMA’s atrium. “Vulnerability, human connection, projection, sacrifice, and perception of time were some big ideas that came into focus,” says the first-time director. “My hope is that the film’s audience will have an experiential encounter with the concepts in Marina’s work in a way that might reveal something about themselves, as it certainly did for me.” Check out the trailer:

Previously on UnBeige:
Marina Abramović, Koolhaas’ OMA to Convert Old Theater into Performance Art Institute
Marina Abramović’s ‘The Artist is Present’ Becomes Video Game
Marina Abramović Is on Fire

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In Brief: Gucci’s Eco-Shoes, Calatrava in Russia, MCNY’s ‘Greatest Grid,’ Photojournalists of the Year

Ready for this jelly? Gucci’s “Marola Green” ballerina flats, made from biodegradable plastic.

• Gucci parent PPR doesn’t mess around when it comes to sustainability. The conglomerate, which reported 2011 revenues of €12.2 billion (approximately $15 billion at current exchange), recently announced an ambitious five-year plan that sets targets for everything from carbon emissions to sourcing of raw materials. On a related noted, Gucci (via licensee Safilo) now offers sustainable sunglasses in eco-friendly packaging. Next up: shoes. Creative director Frida Giannini has ditched the luxe skins in favor of biodegradable plastic for “Sustainable Soles,” a footwear line that will hit Gucci stores in late June. In addition to the ballerina flats pictured above, the range will debut with “California Green” men’s sneakers.

• Where better than the “City of Bridges” (that would be St. Petersburg, Russia) to celebrate the work of Santiago Calatrava? The architect is the subject of a retrospective opening June 27 at the State Hermitage Museum, which is out to spice up all of its classical antiquities and orthodox icons with art of the 20th and 21st centuries. “Santiago Calatrava: The Quest for Movement” will showcase paintings, architectural models, and sketches as well as kinetic sculptures and an installation with four giant projections. And Calatrava is no stranger to St. Pete (or Leningrad, as our U.S.S.R-era globe would have it). According to the museum, “he became intimately acquainted with [the city] through his friendship with Valery Gergiev.”

• Meanwhile, back in New York (which, oddly, our globe also insists is called Leningrad), the Museum of the City Thereof is probing the mean yet rationally arranged streets of Gotham in “The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011,” an exhibition on view through July 15. Get the nitty-gritty on the grid in a June 11 talk with curator Hilary Ballon. The architectural historian will focus on adaptations to Manhattan’s numbered system of streets and avenues, from Broadway and Central Park to superblocks and skyscrapers, and its responses to the changing needs of the city.
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British Fashion Designers Immortalized on Disembodied Postage Stamps

Do you covet an exotic feathered frock by Alexander McQueen, a sharp Paul Smith suit, or a poufy gold number from the maximalist mind of Zandra Rhodes? Signed, sealed, delivered, they’re yours, in the form of a new set of postage stamps honoring “Great British Fashion.” Issued this month by the U.K.’s Royal Mail, the ten stamps also feature signature looks by Hardy Amies (best known for his work for The Queen), Norman Hartnell, famed King’s Road boutique Granny Takes a Trip, Ossie Clark, Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter, Jean Muir, and Vivienne Westwood, represented by her 1993 Harlequin dress. You may recognize the disembodied images as the work of Sølve Sundsbø, who was responsible for the jaw-dropping photographs in the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibition catalogue, published last year by Yale University Press. For that project, he photographed McQueen designs on both live, painted models and white mannequins, and then combined the images to stunning effect. Alas, the stamps dispense with bodies entirely, thanks to the stark white ground, creating a creepy effect that we think has a lot to do with the decision to include those floating hairstyles. The Royal Mail decided to create the fashion series based upon the success of the Mary Quant mini skirt stamp issued in 2009 as part of its “British Design Classics” set.

Design Jobs: Barneys New York, Bath & Body Works, Pennsylvania Ballet

This week, Barneys New York is hiring a senior web retoucher, while Bath & Body Works needs a senior graphic designer. The Pennsylvania Ballet is looking for a graphic designer, and Tiger Beat & BOP magazines are on the hunt for a designer, too. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great design jobs on the Unbeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented Unbeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Viva Mondelez International! Kraft Shareholders Approve Kooky Rebrand; Get a Load of the Logo

What’s purple, exotic, and possibly bleeding (a nod to the vampire zeitgeist?), with a vibe that is more “rock the kasbah” than “buy some Oreos”? No, it’s not Grimace after a wrong turn in Dubai but the newly unveiled logo for Kraft’s odd spinoff of its global snacks business. Despite the widespread mocking that greeted the company’s announcement that it had settled on the name of Mondelēz International for the new corporate entity, shareholders ate it up. Last week, the proposed moniker was approved by more than 90 percent of Kraft Foods shareholders who cast a vote. Mondelēz, which according to Kraft is “a newly coined word that evokes the idea of ‘delicious world’” and the product of a Frankenstinian fusing of names suggested by two employees (one in Europe; one in North America), will serve as an umbrella for beloved brands such as Cadbury, LU, Nabisco, Oreo, Tang, and Trident. The new logo features a custom typeface, complete with that jaunty yet mysterious macron over the second “e” (mohn-dah-LEEZ’!), flanked by red accents that are probably not meant to be blood droplets. Instead, we suspect that the design team was chain-chewing Trident Splash at the brainstorming session.

In Brief: Gucci vs. Guess, Material of the Year, Remembering Maurice Sendak, FIT Commencement

Steven Holl’s 2011 watercolor “Forking Time #25,” on view through Saturday in “Steven Holl Architects: Forking Time” at Meulensteen gallery in New York.

• Guess how much a federal judge in Manhattan ordered Guess and its footwear licensee to pay Gucci in combined damages for filching the luxe fashion house’s trademark G’s? If you guessed $4.7 million, you’re right. (Gucci’s lawyers had asked for $221 million.) WWD has the full scoop here. The ruling, which caps off a three-year legal battle, comes as Guess turns the big 3-0, a birthday that it is celebrating with parties worldwide and a 30th anniversary collection that includes a lacy corset top that resembles the one worn by Claudia Schiffer in the Bardot-themed Guess ads that helped transform the fledgling brand into a denim powerhouse. Fun fact: the original garment worn by Schiffer was not made by Guess.

• Barneys has both a new owner (Perry Capital) and, coincidentally, a freshly redesigned website. The sharp new look has eradicated the cheeky script fonts of yore (and most serifs), but perhaps that’s a small price to pay for a peek at the shopping lists of “influencers” such as chef Melia Marden and the Olsen twins. Turns out Katie Holmes has excellent taste in trench coats.

• And the material of the year is…not water! A commercial dyeing process that uses supercritical CO2 gas (yum!) rather than water to infuse fabric with color earned Netherlands-based DyeCoo Textile Systems the third annual Medium Award for Material of the Year, awarded by Sandow-owned Material ConneXion at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Among DyeCoo’s first strategic partners is Nike. “We believe this technology has the potential to revolutionize textile manufacturing, and we want to collaborate with progressive dye houses, textile manufacturers, and consumer apparel brands to scale this technology and push it throughout the industry,” said Nike VP Eric Sprunk in a statement announcing the award.
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Watch This: Mmm, (Vacuum-Packed) Donuts!

Contemporary art and dessert are two great tastes that taste great together (just ask Wayne Thiebaud), and such is the sweet spot of Kreëmart. Founded by Raphael Castoriano, the confectionery crew has facilitated the creation of Leandro Erlich‘s chocolate replica of a Mies Barcelona day bed (less is s’mores?), collaborated with Olaf Breuning to dispatch a team of monkeymen proferring ice-cream-filled plastic bananas at last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, and helped Maurizio Cattelan and friends wish journalist Linda Yablonsky happy birthday with a cake shaped like a tiled bathroom wall, which makes slightly more sense when you consider the name of the artist’s magazine: Toilet Paper. It was only a matter of time before Kreëmart’s fancy turned to donuts. Rather maddeningly vaccuum-packed versions of the treats were on hand at New York’s Swiss Institute recently at a preview of “Painting and Jugs,” an exhibition of large-scale paintings (by Linus Bill and Adrien Horni) and handmade ceramics (by Bastien Aubry and Dimitri Broquard) on view through June 3. Kreëmart documented the project in this tasty video:

From Dust to Must: Emeco and Philippe Starck Debut Eco-Friendly ‘Broom’ Chair

Among our favorite finds at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which wrapped up Tuesday at New York’s Javits Center, is the new Broom chair from Emeco and Philippe Starck. “It’s made of nothing,” says Starck. Well, almost. The latest addition to Hanover, Pennsylvania-based Emeco’s largely aluminum line-up consists of 75% reclaimed polypropylene, 15% reclaimed wood fiber, and 10% glass fiber—a new chair material composite derived from a compound of industrial waste from lumber factories and plastic plants. That’s where the sweeping up comes in. “Imagine a guy who takes a humble broom and starts to clean the workshop, and with this dust he makes new magic,” Starck says. “That’s why we call it ‘Broom.’” First shown last month at Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, the chair is part of Emeco’s ongoing efforts toward zero-waste (remember that snappy variation on the 111 Navy Chair made from recycled plastic bottles?). “Philippe Starck and I have always agreed that it is not about recycling, but about restructuring production,” said Emeco CEO Gregg Buchbinder in a statement announcing the Broom chair. “Our aim is to prevent waste from being manufactured in the first place. Instead we use discarded materials to make things last.” Hear more from Starck in these three short films by Eames Demetrios, who as the grandson of Charles Eames knows a little something about chairs.

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CNBC Goes Inside J.Crew, Chats Up Mickey Drexler

“Why do we need three shawl cardigans?” J. Crew president Mickey Drexler asks a stylish gaggle of his buyers. He doesn’t pause for a response. “We don’t!” Put on your colorblock stripe scoopneck tee and old faithful-wash jeans, UnBeige readers, because America’s favorite hands-on merchant and his latest success story are the subject of a documentary that premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on CNBC. Reported by David Faber (get that man a Ludlow suit!), J.Crew and the Man Who Dressed America unbuttons the piped wool hacking jacket to peek inside the retailer, which has seen revenues rocket by 170%—to $1.9 billion last year—since Drexler took the helm in 2003. Even longtime Drexler followers and die-hard J. Crew fans are likely to learn something in segments that follow the months-long process of conceiving, creating, and marketing a new line of clothing. Did you know, for example, that the production of the J. Crew catalog requires 120 shooting days a year? Or that the Garden City, New York store is something of a laboratory, where window displays and merchandising are perfected—and where new stuff hits racks first? And we like any CNBC program in which a Gerhard Richter book makes a cameo among the cashmere (look sharp toward the end of the first clip below). Meanwhile, we’d love to see Drexler’s motivational mantra on a tissue tee: “Cut back, sell out, and be very happy!”

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In Brief: Secretive Diane Arbus, Cyclops Trannies, NYSID Commencement, Jesper Just Bound for Venice

Hedge fun. The logo topiary at the Party in the Garden, hosted by the Museum of Modern Art.

• A new Diane Arbus biography? A new Diane Arbus biography! Journalist Arthur Lubow has inked a deal with Ecco to publish A Secret About a Secret: The Life of Diane Arbus. Word on the street (and by “the street,” we mean the deal report at Publishers Marketplace) is that the book “reveals the extraordinary facts of her life and explores the way she used her gift for intimacy to probe complex ideas about identity in a manner revolutionary to both her art and her time.” Tide yourself over by reading “Arbus Reconsidered,” Lubow’s 2003 piece in The New York Times Magazine, which ignites thusly: “‘Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like giving a hand grenade to a baby,’ Norman Mailer said after seeing how she had captured him, leaning back in a velvet armchair with his legs splayed cockily.”

• And speaking of colorful characters (monumental lips! glittering eyes!), the Cyclops Trannies are back. The colorful paint-marker portraits by assume vivid astro focus, exhibited earlier this year at New York gallery the Suzanne Geiss Company, are now available in book form. This evening (6-8 p.m.), Printed Matter hosts a reception and signing with the artists. Stop by the store anytime in the next week or so to check out two editioned neon works from avaf in the window. Next up, in June, is a window installation by book artist David Sandlin.

• Commencement season is in full swing, and the New York School of Interior Design celebrated its 175 graduates with the help of Amy Lau. The interior designer was the keynote speaker at Friday’s NYSID commencement ceremonies, where she received an honorary doctorate in fine arts along with Martha Stewart, Architectural Digest editor-in-chief Margaret Russell, and interior designer John Saladino.
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