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Archives: November 2012

In Brief: Alexander Wang to Balenciaga, Magnus Berger Joins WSJ., Awards Roundup


Rucci Redux. Looks from Alexander Wang’s spring 2013 collection.

• Wake the kids and phone the neighbors: Alexander Wang is taking the creative helm at Balenciaga. Look for the PPR-owned house to make it official next week, according to WWD. Wang will replace Nicolas Ghesquière, whose departure was announced earlier this month and becomes effective today. Wang’s brand has soared in recent years, staking out a lucrative turf between contemporary and designer pricing. His spring 2013 collection ripped off borrowed liberally from the design signatures–if not the technical prowess–of Ralph Rucci, a true innovator in the mold of Cristobal Balenciaga himself.

Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast are the recipients of this year’s Collab Design Excellence Award, bestowed annually by a collaboration of design professionals supporting the modern and contemporary design collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Past winners of the award include Zaha Hadid, Alberto Alessi, and Philippe Starck. Scher and Chwast receive their award tomorrow at the museum, where they’ll inaugurate an exhibition of their work that opens to the public on Sunday.

• Fans of The Last Magazine will be particularly excited to learn that the publication’s co-founder Magnus Berger is headed to WSJ. as the magazine’s new creative director. Look for his fresh look to debut with the February 16 issue.
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Curators Named for 2014 Whitney Biennial, Last for Museum’s Breuer Building

Artists and gallerists, here’s the trio you want to make sure is at the top of your holiday card mailing list: (pictured, from left) Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner, the freshly crowned curators of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Opening in early March of next year, it will be the seventy-seventh in the Whitney Museum’s ongoing series of Annual and Biennial exhibitions and the last to fill its Marcel Breuer building. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will take over the building in 2015 when the Whitney moves into its new downtown digs designed by Renzo Piano.

The Whitney is looking to leave its Brutalist beacon on a high note, with a new curatorial structure that places the Biennial in the hands of three curators from outside the museum. “By flinging open the museum’s doors metaphorically, we hope to create a platform in which voices from outside the Whitney can enliven the conversation around contemporary art in the United States,” said Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s chief curator and deputy director for programs, in a statement issued by the museum late yesterday. “Hailing from Chicago, Philadelphia, and London, each curator will bring a personal approach to the process, creating an exciting mix of emerging and established artists that is the Biennial’s hallmark.”
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Wheel Creative: Jeremy Scott Customizes Smart Car with Glowing Wings

Some 40 new vehicles will debut at the LA Auto Show, which kicks off tomorrow at the city’s convention center, but only one has transparent fiberglass wings studded with red lights. (Hint: it’s not the Ford Fiesta.) The car in question is a wee whimsymobile customized by Jeremy Scott for Daimler-Benz-owned Smart. The fashion designer added some of his signature touches to Smart’s new Fortwo Electric Drive, which will arrive in showrooms this spring for a starting price of $25,000–making it the lowest priced all-electric car in North America.

In addition to those wings-cum-tailights, Scott selected white nappa leather for the instrument panel, seats, and door trim, and added “eyebrows” above the headlights. The show car will tour fashion weeks worldwide before its limited-edition launch next year. Meanwhile, we’d like to see Scott hop in his “smart forjeremy” (the brand continues to embrace cutesy lowercase nonsensespacing) and drag race Isaac Mizrahi, at the wheel of the Chevy he keeps raving about. Spoiler alert: Mizrahi would crush him, as the electric Smart’s top speed is just 78 mph.

Surreal Soirée: Performa to Party Like It’s 1924

“One must go through life, be it red or blue, stark naked and accompanied by the music of a subtle fisherman, prepared at all times for a celebration.” Words to live by (say what?)–and a line from a prose poem penned by Francis Picabia during his Dada phase. One of the most fiercely wacky of the Surrealists gets his due this evening as the visual art performance biennial Performa hosts a Hurricane Sandy-delayed gala. The bash is a tribute to “Relâche,” the 1924 ballet that Picabia created with his eccentric composer buddy Erik Satie, and Performa has tapped artist Ryan McNamara to re-envision the performance (we hear that a certain well-known arts patron will make a cameo, as will aerial acrobats). After a dinner inspired by Magritte and Dali, guests will be treated to a screening of René Clair’s “Entr’acte,” the short film (watch it below) that played during the intermission of the original Relâche, followed by a performance by pop songstress Sia–a 21st century version of Picabia’s subtle fisherman? Gala-goers can ponder this while sketching Exquisite Corpses and waiting in line for the “time machine” photo booth.

SFMOMA Plans Lebbeus Woods Exhibition, Adds Photo Trove to Collection


Detail from “San Francisco Project: Inhabiting the Quake, Quake City,” a 1995 drawing by Lebbeus Woods. (Courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will commemorate the career of architectural visionary Lebbeus Woods, who died last month at the age of 72, with an exhibition of his drawings and models. Scheduled to open February 16, “Lebbeus Woods, Architect,” will take a thematic approach to represent Woods’ wide-reaching interests in the political, ethical, social, and spatial implications of built forms. Among the 75 works on view will be those addressing cities damaged by nature (we’re looking at you, Sandy), such as his San Francisco earthquake drawings. “As the museum embarks on its own physical transformation, the exhibition marks an opportunity to consider the meaning and implication of such a shift,” said SFMOMA curator Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, alluding to the $555 million Snøhetta-designed expansion that will get underway in the summer of 2013. “There could not be a more fitting body of work to present at this moment.”
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Stella McCartney Named ‘Designer of the Year’ at British Fashion Awards

It’s been quite a year for Stella McCartney. She followed up her “Team GB” Olympic gear with a smashingly sporty spring 2013 collection and last night trumped fellow nominees Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou to take home Designer of the Year honors at the British Fashion Awards (a full list of winners is below), held at London’s Edwardian-meets-Art Deco Savoy Hotel. Her 11-year-old label also took home the prize for Designer Brand, awarded to a fashion company that has “focused growth strategy with each new product range receiving media praise and achieving high levels of sell through.”

Owner PPR seized the moment to announce that it has added Stella McCartney to a newly-created joint venture with molto clever e-tailer YOOX to manage online stores of PPR brands such as Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen. The Stella McCartney online store will be launched globally by the end of this year and will go live in China by the end of 2013, according to a statement issued this morning.
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Design Jobs: Neiman Marcus, The Institute of Culinary Education, Wonderful Machine

This week, Neiman Marcus is hiring a senior graphic designer of media, while the Institute of Culinary Education is seeking an art director. Wonderful Machine needs a photo editor, and Care Resource Network is on the hunt for a graphic designer. 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.

Mark Your Calendar: ‘One of a Kind’ Fashion Conference in NYC

‘Tis the season for sartorial splendor and the annual fashion conference organized by Initiatives in Art & Culture. This year’s two-day confab, which gets underway on Friday morning at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, has a bespoke vibe. Entitled “One of a Kind: Individuality, Integrity, and Innovation in Fashion,” the conference will consider “iconic individuals and institutions whose contributions–whether in terms of singular designs, entrepreneurial accomplishment, or aesthetic vision–have played critical roles in defining modern fashion” alongside a focus on extraordinary artisans and their materials. Among the speakers lined up for lectures and panels are designers Maria Cornejo and Robert Lee Morris (here’s hoping they sit next to each other and strike up a collaboration!), fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville, Saks Fifth Avenue CEO Stephen Sadove (who can spot an Akris Punto ensemble from 50 paces), Museum at FIT director Valerie Steele, and MAO PR’s Roger and Mauricio Padilha, authors of Antonio Lopez: Fashion Art, Sex, and Disco, recently published by Rizzoli. Best of all, the sharply dressed organizers have customized a discount for UnBeige readers: just enter the code “bistro” at checkout to save $100 off the regular ticket price.

‘Craft Jesus’ Martha Stewart Worshipped by Hipsters, No Fan of Pinterest, Bullish on Twig Trees

Martha Stewart’s craftiness knows no bounds. News that her beleaguered business sputtered to a quarterly loss of a $50.7 million–on revenue of $43.5 million–provided a peg for much Martha-bashing, most notably by James B. Stewart (no relation!), who earlier this month delievered quite the smackdown via his New York Times business-section column. Clearly, Martha was not amused. But rather than waste time crying over spilled milk (award-winning, certified organic milk from family farmers, in a reusable glass bottle, we suspect), she rallied the forces of PR, and emerged with two major features in the Thanksgiving weekend papers.

On the front page of Sunday’s New York Times, sandwiched between news of shivering Syrian refugees and gridlock in the Senate, was “Martha Stewart Clicks with a Tattooed Crowd,” in which writer Christine Haughney dubs Martha a “patron saint for entrepreneurial hipsters” looking to carve out a living selling, say, t-shirts created from vintage children’s sheets. One devotee, whose “vintage-inspired spun cotton ornaments and figures” have been spotlighted in various MSLO media properties, likens Martha to “the Jesus of the craft world.” Some MarthaStewart.com web stats are proffered to offset the widely publicized disappointments on the print side, and Haughney even finds a way to put a positive spin on Martha’s five-month incarceration, which no one will ever stop talking about, ever. “She’s such a Suzy homemaker and also did some time in the joint,” says Luis Illades, an owner of Brooklyn food-craft purveyor Urban Rustic. “That has helped cement her iconic image. Before, she was someone your mother would follow.”
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Quote of Note | Ori Gersht


Ori Gersht, “Pomegranate” (2006). Courtesy Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art.

“‘Pomegranate,’ started with my imagining a bullet going through the fruit and causing it to bleed. My initial associations were with pomegranates in old masters painting and their Judeo-Christian symbolism. A [Juan] Sánchez Cotán painting and [Harold] Edgerton photograph then emerged from my unconscious. The final film is a fusion of these three elements.

For the production, I worked with a film-commissioning group in London called Film and Video Umbrella. With their production team, I constructed a wooden window in the studio and hung the fruit and vegetables from the top frame. When we lit the vegetables, very simply, and looked at them through the camera lens, the transformation was instant: they looked very painterly. For the shooting, we consulted with a special-effects expert, who constructed a special gun and devised a mechanism that allowed us to control the speed of the pellets.

After the filming, I realized that the fusion between the Cotán painting and the Edgerton photograph was also the fusion between opposite ends of a spectrum. Cotán was attempting to achieve compositional equilibrium through painstaking mathematical calculations, while Edgarton, who was trying to freeze time, captured a perfectly balanced composition from an event that happened in a flash, conceivable only through the mediation of the camera.”

-Photographer and artist Ori Gersht in an interview with Ronni Baer that appears in the catalogue for “History Repeating,” the first full survey of Gersht’s work. The exhibition is on view through January 6 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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