Enhance your resume and your vacation photos with the Mediabistro mothership’s online course in Adobe Photoshop, back by popular demand. In four short weeks (October 17 through November 14) you can get up and running on the program of programs—the subject of many an ethical debate—under the guidance of images whiz Rob Tannenbaum, a photo editor who has worked for The Martha Stewart Show and wields a master’s degree in newsroom graphics management.
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!
It’s been quite a week for architects named Frank. Following news that Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art have sealed the deal to jointly acquire the vast archive of Frank Lloyd Wright comes word from the left coast that Frank Gehry and his wife, Berta, have donated $100,000 to the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). A representative of the school, which is located in a former freight depot in downtown LA’s arts district, described the Gehrys’ gift as “transformative,” and SCI-Arc director Eric Owen Moss is ecstatic. “Thanks to this contribution, we can warranty that SCI-Arc’s advocacy for architecture as a rousing, speculative adventure will endure,” he said in a rousing, speculative, and adventurous statement issued this week by the school. The contribution will endow the Gehry Prize, to be awarded annually to the best graduate thesis projects. And there’s no time like the present: the first Gehry Prize will be awarded at the 2012 graduation ceremony, which takes place on Sunday (architectural theorist Jeffrey Kipnis is the commencement speaker). Meanwhile, plans are in the works to honor Gehry—a SCI-Arc trustee since 1990—at the school’s 40th anniversary reception in April 2013. No rest for the Gehry.
Enhance your resume and your vacation photos with the Mediabistro mothership’s online course in Adobe Photoshop, back by popular demand. Over four visually stimulating weeks, you can get up and running on the program of programs—the subject of many an ethical debate—under the guidance of photo editor and photographer Rob Tannenbaum, who has a blackbelt in Photoshop (and a master’s degree in newsroom graphics management). Learn more here.
From left: judges Billy Paretti (Hennessy), designer and Pratt alum Harry Allen, and Jennifer Yu (Hennessy), with Michael Cook and his winning work, competition mentor and judge Futura, and faculty advisor and judge Jeff Bellantoni. (Photos: Rene Pérez)
Ithaca, New York native Michael Cook and his mixed media work hopped to first place in the Hennessy-sponsored competition that challenged a group of Pratt students and recent graduates to produce work that illustrates the “wild rabbit.” The contest was part of the cognac house’s collaboration with street artist Futura, who has splashed his signature colored helices on a bottle of Very Special (V.S.) cognac and mentored the competing students. Cook, who graduated from Pratt in May with a BFA in communications design (and a concentration in graphic design) and now lives in Brooklyn, took top honors for a piece that incorporates sculpture and video. He received a cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris for the October launch of the Hennessy V.S. bottle customized by Futura. As Cook prepares for the show of his recent work that opens Saturday at HomeGrown Board Shop in Ithaca, he made time to answer our questions about the competition, his winning work, and why graphic design is more than adjusting text boxes in InDesign.
What was the original brief for this collaborative project with Hennessy?
The original brief from Hennessy was to create a piece of artwork, of any medium, that related to the theme of “chasing one’s wild rabbit.” This was aligned with the brand’s mantra of “Never Stop. Never Settle.”
How did you respond to this theme and what did you create?
I used this starting point to conduct an exploration of what it means to me to be an artist and ultimately what it is that I want from art. There seems to be a myth, or a misconception, that being involved in graphic design means you spend your days in front of a computer adjusting text boxes in InDesign. I realized pretty early on in my art school education that that wasn’t going to be me, so I would usually try to find ways of conveying the same ideas in ways that allowed me to use my hands and explore different formats.
“In early childhood, children develop a set of symbols that ‘stand for’ things they see in the world around them. You may remember the childhood landscape you drew at about age six or seven. You probably had a symbol for trees (the lollipop tree), the house with a chimney and smoke coming out, the sun with rays, and so on. Figures and faces had their own set of symbols. I believe that this system of symbols is linked to acquiring language, and is rightly viewed as charming and creative adults.
Children are happy with symbolic drawing until about the age of eight or nine, the well-documented ‘crisis period’ of childhood art, when children develop a passion for realism. They want their drawing to realistically depict what they see, most especially spatial aspects and three-dimensionality. But this kind of realistic drawing requires instruction, just as learning to read requires instruction. Our schools do not provide drawing instruction. Children try on their own to discover the secrets of realistic drawing, but nearly always fail and, sadly, give up on trying. They decide that they ‘have no talent,’ and they give up art forever.”
-Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, now available in a revised and updated fourth edition from Tarcher/Penguin
Futura with Pratt MFA students Macklen Mayse and Jonathan “Johnny Tragedy” Stanish.
Street artist Futura has splashed his signature colored helices on a bottle for Hennessy, following the LVMH-owned cognac house’s successful 2011 match-up with KAWS. This year’s project also included a partnership with Pratt Institute, where a group of eight art and design students and recent graduates were challenged to produce work that illustrates the “wild rabbit.” The theme is a nod to the creatures that dart about Cognac, France and represents a force that drives people from one success to another, according to Hennessy brand lore. Jeff Bellantoni, chair of graduate communications design at Pratt, served as the faculty advisor for the competition, for which Futura mentored the students as they created works that ranged from a hand-crocheted afghan rug made from 185 plastic bags collected over the course of a month (the work of MFA student Natalie Sims) to a glamorously shredded evening gown topped by a rabbit head mask and photographed in a series of idylls (by BFA student Sophie Hui-Ni). Stay tuned for the full scoop on the contest winners. In the meantime, here’s an up-close and personal look at Futura, courtesy of Hennessy.
(Photos from top left: UnBeige and courtesy Hennessy)
• We’re still waiting for an opera devoted to the happenings of a few years ago at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum: secret meetings, deaccessioning schemes, legal threats, resignations, and finally, renovations! Having clarified the differences between an art museum and an ATM, the university is ready to restore the bloom to the Rose with a new director: Christopher Bedford (pictured), chief curator of exhibitions at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts. He’ll begin his new role on September 15 at the ripe old age of 35. Among his top priorities: to integrate the museum’s collection into the university’s curriculum and “to commission a major work of public sculpture for the exterior of the museum that connects to ideas of social engagement and social justice,” Bedford said in a recent interview. “Those concepts are central to my thinking and to the core ideology of Brandeis, too.”
• The Rhode Island School of Design looked across the ocean to find its new dean of architecture and design. Pradeep Sharma, who starts this fall, comes to Providence from England’s Bath Spa University. As head of the Bath School of Art and Design, he managed the school’s operations, finances, facilities, assessment, academic program development, as well as the student experience, all while maintaining his own ten-year-old design management and consultancy practice. With degrees in electrical and information sciences as well as industrial design engineering—and a doctorate in management in the works—he is as enthusiastic about digital technologies as he is about hands-on studio learning. “Pradeep brings a keen interest in howthe architecture and design disciplines can work together with the fine arts and the liberal arts to inform each other’s practice,” said RISD provost Rosanne Somerson in a statement announcing his appointment.
Lady Gaga loves nothing more than a good photo opp—all the better if it involves promoting cameras (in her role as “creative director” of born-again Polaroid)—but what can budding photographers learn from the pop phenom, other than how to handle the papa-paparazzi? Find out next month, when New York’s School of the International Center of Photography kicks off “Lady Gaga: A Platform for Self Expression through Photography.” The week-long workshop, led by Lyndsey McAdams and Jamie Liles, may sound tailor-made for Little Monsters, but it’s actually aimed at “any student who wishes to develop an approach to expressing one’s identity in a performative and visual way through photography.” On the syllabus: Gaga’s visual identity, her approach to artistry, and how she has challenged societal boundaries, all of which can inform conceptual and technical approaches to photographic self-expression (see also: Sherman, Cindy). New Yorkers not enrolled in the course, which runs August 13 through 18, should keep an eye out for Poker-Faced students in avant-garde garb pursuing “out-of-class assignments that help tie Lady Gaga’s vision and ideals with their own.”