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Archives: September 2012

Quote of Note: David Edelstein on ‘The Clock’


Still from Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” (2010). Photo: Todd-White Art Photography. (Courtesy White Cube, Paula Cooper Gallery, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

“I’m fairly sure, unless there are scores of movies in which the time is seen to be 11:48 at a given moment, that Marclay was limited by his source material. He also had to resort to a lot of ticking-clock action-picture scenarios, from the high-toned High Noon on down. Heist movies, time-bomb thrillers, hostage melodramas—the number of them is predictably disproportionate. Marclay returns to the more obvious ones over and over, like the Jason Statham picture Bank Job.

True, there are interstitial bits that bind some of the shots, and moments in which a character looking up at a clock are followed by similar vantages from another movie. Those are witty and brilliantly orchestrated. But it’s all fooling around with found footage, slotting it into place. Little of it is transformed the way it is in, say, the works of Guy Maddin and Terence Davies. From minute to minute (literally), there are delightfully seamless segues, surprising echoes, and excerpts in which I saw the films in question with new eyes. I just can’t conceive of watching it for longer than I did [two hours]…”

-Film critic David Edelstein, sparring with art critic Jerry Saltz on the merits of Christian Marclay’s 2010 video installation “The Clock” in a post on New York‘s Vulture blog. The Museum of Modern Art, which acquired the work last year, has just announced that it will show the work from December 21, 2012, to January 21, 2013, with a special 24-hour viewing on New Year’s Eve.

Inside the Wacky, Wonderful World of Wayne White

Fans of Pee-wee’s Playhouse will recognize the distinctive work of Wayne White, one of the creative minds (and voices) behind the show’s delightful puppets and madcap charm. The designer, painter, puppeteer, sculptor, and musician gets his well-deserved close-up in a new documentary, Beauty is Embarassing, now in limited release. The film not only examines White’s deliciously wacky creative process but also retraces his steps from childhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee to parenthood in Los Angeles. “It has been the time of my life,” says director Neil Berkeley of the three years he spent making Beauty is Embarassing. “I hope audiences get that sense of joy that Wayne has about what he does everyday. That’s the lesson I learned from him…spend everyday doing work that makes you happy.”

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Around the World with Ai Weiwei: Artist’s ‘Visionary Globe’ on the Block for Charity

Ai Weiwei, Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, and Puma CEO-turned-PPR Chief Sustainability Officer Jochen Zeitz are among the dozen “Visionaries” that Condé Nast Traveler will celebrate (along with its 25th anniversary) next week at a gala in New York City. The globe-trotting magazine asked each of the honorees, selected for “shaping the world in which we travel and striving to make it a better place to live,” to make their mark on the traditional school globe for an online benefit auction that kicks off today on CharityBuzz.

Bidding is open until September 25 for globes customized by Visionaries including Richard Branson, Christy Turlington Burns, Nicholas D. Kristof, Somaly Mam, Okello Sam, and Susan Sarandon. Water.org founder Gary White tapped designer Annie DeGraff to cover his globe in Keith Haring-esque squiggles to show the unifying essence of water, while actress Olivia Wilde created a globular tribute to Haiti out of paper mâché, palm fronds, and feathers. Ai Weiwei made this bold gesture with yellow paint. Proceeds from the sale of his globe will go to Ye Haiyan, an advocate for the rights of China’s sex workers and AIDS victims, who runs the Fuping Health Workshop in Yulin, Guangxi.

Chaos to Couture: Metropolitan Museum Goes Punk for 2013 Costume Institute Exhibition

Shelve the Schiaparelli pink and return your Prada prints to the storage vault, design fans, and start stocking up on Doc Martens, Manic Panic, and safety pins, because the Met is going punk. As Fashion Week puts the focus on spring 2013, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has seized the opportunity to do the same: announcing today that the Costume Institute’s 2013 exhibition will be “PUNK: Chaos to Couture.” On view from May 9 through August 11 of next year, the show will examine punk’s impact from its birth in the 1970s through its continuing influence on high fashion today—think Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, who will co-chair the May 6 Costume Institute benefit along with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, actress Rooney Mara, and Lauren Santo Domingo of Moda Operandi (the fashion e-tailer is underwriting the exhibition).

“Since its origins, punk has had an incendiary influence on fashion,” said Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton in a statement issued by the museum. “Although punk’s democracy stands in opposition to fashion’s autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk’s aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness.” The exhibition’s approximately 100 designs—including studded, spiked, and shredded garments by everyone from Haider Ackermann and Miguel Adrover to Yohji Yamamoto and Vivienne Westwood—will be organized thematically into gallery sections including “Rebel Heroes,” “Pavilions of Anarchy and Elegance,” and “D.I.Y. Style.” And we are thrilled to report that Nick Knight will be assisting with exhibition design. The photographer will also work with Raul Avila on the design of the gala benefit.

Quote of Note | Elad Lassry

“When I was starting out, conceptual photography had become something that had to be amateur-like, that had to be black-and-white, or photocopied, or really not an object in order to be taken seriously. It had to work against technical mastery, and so on. So I think that my work is full of obstacles in the sense that it does look highly familiar and accessible. It does look like it’s already ‘solved at first sight.’ It does look like it’s part of a larger industry. There are all these clues in the initial interaction with the work that offer a safe space, and of course, they collapse very quickly, depending on how much you engage with the work. I used to refer to my photos as free radicals—and maybe that has to do with this idea of navigating history. I think of the works as having this dormant illness that can really latch on to different histories. So they can exist in a world pretending to be neatly encapsulated, already framed, and fixed. But actually they are these parasites dependent on the failure of modernist history and on multiplicity. I think there’s a general confusion that my work is about types of photography. But really that’s just a tool to introduce some questions I have about seeing. What happens when all of these conditions and structures and histories and cultures and tools you have around you begin to fail? On the one hand there is an engagement with histories and cultures, and on the other, there is this very lonesome space of actually coming to terms with seeing.”

-Elad Lassry in an interview with fellow artist Ryan Trecartin that appears in the September issue of Interview. An exhibition of Lassry’s work is on view through October 20 at The Kitchen in New York. Performances begin tomorrow evening.

Now Hear This: Yale Symposium to Explore ‘The Sound of Architecture’

Ready your tympanic membranes, design fans, because the fall runneth over with auditory delights. Mere weeks after the publication of David Byrne’s How Music Works (McSweeney’s), the Yale School of Architecture will present “The Sound of Architecture,” an interdisclipinary symposium exploring the auditory dimension of architecture (you may recall that Byrne himself is a pioneer of the building-as-musical instrument mode).

Yale professor Kurt Forster and Ph.D. candidate Joseph Clarke have lined up a veritable orchestra of experts—from fields as diverse as archaeology, media studies, musicology, philosophy, and the history of technology—to address the largely unconsidered aural dimension of architecture. Sessions include a keynote lecture by Elizabeth Diller (Diller Scofidio + Renfro), who will reflect on the role of sound in her firm’s early media artworks and its more recent architectural interventions at New York’s Lincoln Center; Brigitte Shim (Shim-Sutcliffe Architects) on the architectural calibration of a house designed for a mathematician and amateur musician; and John Durham Peters of the University of Iowa on the “theologically embedded soundspace” that is the Mormon Tabernacle. Also not to be missed is Yale professor Brian Kane’s discussion of “Acousmatic Phantasmagoria,” which only sounds like the affliction of a doomed Edgar Allen Poe protagonist. The symposium, which is free and open to the public (pre-registration will be available soon here), takes place October 4-6 at the Yale School of Architecture. Fingers crossed for an opening Frank Sinatra medley by Bob Stern!

Click, Boom, Bust: Book to Explore History of Polaroid

Polaroid was the Apple of its day. Now, three years after succumbing to bankruptcy and a subsequent fire-sale, it’s a rapidly aging—if enduringly infectious—Outkast lyric and a licensing operation hyped by Lady Gaga. With the Polaroid archives scattered to high bidders and the MIT museum, and as the Impossible Project continues to fight the good analog fight (manufacturing new instant film for Polaroid 600 and SX-70 cameras), New York magazine senior editor Chris Bonanos brings into focus the company’s storied history and recent demise in Instant, out next month from Princeton Architectural Press. Here’s a preview of the “richly illustrated, behind-the-scenes look at the company”:

Watch This: David Byrne and St. Vincent’s ‘Who’

It’s David Byrne month here at UnBeige. Between chapters of the design-minded, art-loving, bike-riding maestro’s freshly released book, How Music Works (McSweeney’s), we’re savoring tracks from his new album with St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark). Love this Giant, out today from 4AD and Todo Mundo (Richard Burbridge and Gabe Bartalos are to thank for the spooky cover art, and that delightful typography is the work of Steve Powers), is a brassy revelation. But don’t take our word for it. Treat yourself to the debut video, “Who,” directed by Martin de Thurah:

Design Jobs: Avon, SAIL Magazine, CultureMap

This week, Avon is hiring a graphic designer, while SAIL Magazine needs a design director. CultureMap is on the hunt for an art director, and Teach for America is seeking an art director, 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.

Quirky Lands $68 Million in Latest Funding Round

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. Build a company that “crowdsources,” manufactures, and sells those better mousetraps (or, say, superior power strips, like the one pictured), and venture capitalists will come bearing cash. Heck, you might even get a reality show out of it. Social media-meets-product development company Quirky, which brings two new consumer products to market each week (among the latest is a 21st-century take on Starck’s Juicy Salif), has secured $68 million in financing from a group of investors led by Andreessen Horowitz, with significant participation from new investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Scott Weiss of Andreessen Horowitz and Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins will join Quirky’s board of directors. The Series C funding round, its largest to date, brings three-year-old Quirky’s total funding to $97 million.

In announcing the cash infusion, Quirky founder and CEO Ben Kaufman highlighted three changes that are in store for the company. First, the company plans to increase the pace at which it chooses ideas and brings products to market, “We aren’t taking on more for the hell of it, we are taking on more because it will produce better products, and more vibrant communities,” he wrote in a blog post. Also in store (literally) for Quirky: experimenting with its own retail spaces. Finally, the company is looking to invest in U.S. manufacturing. Added Kaufman, “It will take quite some time before we will manufacture a majority of Quirky products here in the U.S., but over time I believe we can and should.”

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