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Stephanie Murg

Björk (and Her App) Bound for MoMA: Retrospective Planned for Spring 2015

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The Museum of Modern Art has expanded from video games to apps. Pioneering this new collecting category for MoMA is Björk’s Biophilia, the 2011 app-cum-album—with interactive graphics, animations, and musical scoring—designed in 2011 in collaboration with the likes of Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag of M/M Paris. We hear that the gentlemen of M/M will get the retrospective treatment at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 2016, but Björk will beat them to the multidisciplinary punch: the work of the Icelandic composer, musician, and artist will be the subject of a full-scale retrospective slated to open March 7, 2015 at MoMA, the museum announced this week.

Chief curator at large Klaus Biesenbach is drawing upon more than two decades of Björkian endeavors, including her seven full-length albums, to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes, and performance. As for the installation, which will not travel beyond MoMA, expect “a narrative, both biographical and imaginatively fictitious, cowritten by Björk and the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson” as well as a “newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience” conceived and realized with director Andrew Huang and Autodesk.

SEN One Creates Cover for Time Out New York

Time Out New York - Uptown coverYou’ve still got more than two months to catch the Museum of the City of New York’s “City as Canvas” exhibition of graffiti from the Martin Wong collection. For a bite-sized dose, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Time Out New York, on newsstands today, which features an original cover by George “SEN One” Morillo. The graffiti artist, a lifelong Upper West Sider, was an ideal fit for TONY‘s uptown-themed issue. “Being born and raised uptown, and seeing the gentrification process all my life and seeing everybody coming up, it fits who I am,” he tells the magazine. “That story connects to my story.”

As for how that story connects with the street art of today, Morillo points to the humble origins of slick tools with names like Krink and Grog. “We made markers by popping the balls out of roll-on deodorant, putting in the soft stuff from school erasers, and filling the containers with ink. Those techniques, as primitive as they might seem, led to the markers they sell now,” he says. “Vandals created an industry, and it all comes out of the Upper West Side.”

Cooper Hewitt Unveils New Name, Identity, Typeface in Advance of December Reopening

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The countdown to the revamped and revitalized version of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum begins now. At a press conference held this morning, director Caroline Baumann detailed plans for the reopening, set for December 12th, along with a wave of changes that debut today on the museum’s new website, a WordPress-powered affair created in collaboration with Pentagram and Matcha Labs.

The first thing to notice is the 117-year-old institution’s new name—Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum—which dispenses with the hyphen and the “national” of old. There’s a bold new Eddie Opara-designed identity to match, with an eminently scalable wordmark that forms a perfect rectangle. “Cooper Hewitt’s new identity is straightforward with no play on visual or theoretical complexity, no puzzling contradiction or ambiguity, no distracting authorship,” says Opara [cut to the Whitney's neurasthenic W, cowering in the corner of a billboard]. “Function is its primary goal.” As for that non-nonsense sans serif, it’s the work of Chester Jenkins of Brooklyn-based Village. It’s available as a free download here.
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Amar Kanwar to Receive $25K Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change

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Indian artist Amar Kanwar is the recipient of the 2014 Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change. The $25,000 award is presented annually by New York-based nonprofit arts organization Creative Time to an artist whose work has been devoted to “instigating social awareness and harnessing the communicative power of art to engage communities around important public issues.” New Delhi-based Kanwar plans to use the prize money to advance his ongoing The Sovereign Forest project, which brings together moving and still images, texts, books, music, objects, and seeds, among other things, in an attempt to reopen discussion and initiate a creative response to our understanding of crime, politics, human rights, and ecology. He will receive the prize on November 15 at the Creative Time Summit in Stockholm. He joins past winners including Fernando García-Dory, Jeanne van Heeswijk, and the Yes Men.

A Forest Grows at Ground Zero

The 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan is a living memorial in more ways the one. Approximately 400 swamp white oak trees were transplanted from the New Jersey countryside to the Memorial Park, which also happens to be one of the largest and most complex “green roofs” in the world—planted atop a seven-story, below-ground museum. Brooklyn-based filmmaker Scott Elliott seeks to explore this confluence of remembrance, monumentality, and landscape architecture in a feature-length documentary, The Trees, and he’s looking to Kickstarter to help cover post-production costs in time to get the film on next year’s festival circuit. Learn more about his project in the below pre-trailer of sorts.

Quote of Note | Kara Walker

(Paul Rocheleau)
The Andy Warhol Museum, installation, Skulls. ©AWF (Photo: Paul Rocheleau)

“The Warhol I’ve absorbed, the Warhol who saved me, is the ambivalent cynic. Yes, human beings are worthless and life is slavery, but there is grace to be had in accepting that, loving what makes up our empty capitalist souls, plus a little tiny bit of death.

There are a lot of angles and surfaces, but when it comes to Warhol, depth is a much harder read; it lasts longer.”

-Artist Kara Walker in Thank You Andy Warhol by Catherine Johnson (Glitterati)

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having joined the tweeting masses. Look to the UnBeige Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and our exclusive photo of Rem Koolhaas in mid-ponder—it makes for smashing smartphone wallpaper.

Kickstarter Debuts Journalism, Crafts Categories

pencil sculpture by makendoSure, Kickstarter is a swell place to raise funds for your performance art institute, innovative tape dispenser, architectural flashcards-cum-wall art, and animated film starring Paul Giamatti as a museum curator slowly losing touch with reality, but how do you go about tapping into other peoples’ pockets to realize your dream typeface inspired by the elusive giant squid or a Steven Heller fanzine or that edible (and delicious!) form of paper mâché you’ve been working on? Also Kickstarter. The crowdfunding plaform recently debuted 94 new subcategories, including typography, space exploration, and vegan food, and today unveils official homes for the fields of journalism and crafts.

“We really love the journalism projects we’ve seen already—ProPublica, CIR, Planet Money, The Texas Trib, and lots of lone innovators,” a Kickstarter rep tell us, “and we wanted to give them a proper home, and send the message that we want to see and support more of these.” As for crafts—everything from knitting and glasswork to woodworking and taxidermy—the new category is a way to shed light on smaller-scale projects. “There’s a lot to love about these crafts, from the rich traditions behind them to the imagination that comes out in each work,” notes Kickstarter’s Nitsuh Abebe. “From now on, you can see all of that artistry under one banner.”

OK Go to Debut Latest Video at MOCA

OK Go is pulling out all of the stops for its new music video, the band’s first in more than two years. The video for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” a single from their forthcoming album Hungry Ghosts, will have its world premiere on Monday, June 16, at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (head to the Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA Grand Avenue between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.) followed by the Tuesday release of a new EP called Upside Out, which offers up four songs from the new album “selected especially for warm air and beach days.” As for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” expect “melancholic fireworks,” according to band members Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, and Andy Ross, who have put together these visual morsels as a teaser for the video they’ll reveal Monday at MOCA.

The Frick Collection Plans Expansion, Renovation

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How do you expand a museum renowned for its “jewel-box” exhibition spaces and intimately scaled rooms? Very carefully, not at all, or with the starchitectural zeal of the likes of Renzo Piano, depending on who you ask. The Frick Collection is leaning toward the first approach, with a scheme announced today that would add a six-story addition “in keeping with the scale and design of the original house and the library wing” (goods news for purveyors of Indiana limestone) while renovating and expanding the interior spaces added in the 1930s and 1970s.

The proposed plan would allow the Frick to open its second floor to the public but also require it to fill in the space currently occupied by a gated garden. The museum has tapped New York-based Davis Brody Bond to design the project, which would increase space by nearly a third. Get the full scoop in the Frick’s press release, take deep cleansing breaths, and then relax by watching director Ian Wardropper‘s recent chat with artist Ed Ruscha about some of his favorite Frick masterpieces.

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