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The Revolving Door

Elizabeth Chu Richter Elected 2015 AIA President

The American Institute of Architects wrapped up its national convention last weekend in Denver, and along with a keynote address by Architecture for Humanity co-founder Cameron Sinclair, delegates enjoyed an insider’s tour of the Daniel Libeskind- and Gio Ponti-designed buildings of the Denver Art Museum, got their copies of Combinatory Urbanism signed by Thom Mayne, and paused between sessions to enjoy scoops from Little Man Ice Cream, located inside a 28-foot steel replica of an old-fashioned milk can. There was also an election: Elizabeth Chu Richter, the CEO of Richter Architects in Corpus Christi, Texas, emerged victorious in her bid for the 2015 presidency of AIA. “I’m hoping that my leadership will help bring the AIA into a more member-focused future, building greater public engagement and understanding, while also refining the Institute’s leadership structure and operation focus,” said Richter, a member of the AIA National Board of Directors representing Texas. She’ll begin her term as first vice-president/president-elect in 2014.

Speed Art Museum Selects New Director

Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, in the midst of a three-year expansion project, has found a new director in Ghislain d’Humières (pictured), director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. He will succeed Charles Venable, who departed last fall to take the top job at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. D’Humières’ first day on the job is September 3.

At OU, he led a $15 million capital campaign as well as the development and management of the museum’s new 20,000 square-foot Stuart wing. D’Humières previously served as assistant director at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco during the construction of the de Young Museum of Art. “His essential role in the opening and logistical organization of the $320 million, 290,000 square foot de Young project at the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, was one of many contributing factors leading to the search committee’s decision to hire Ghislain,” said Allan Latts, chair of the Speed Art Museum’s board of trustees in a statement issued today. “He also initiated innovative partnerships with the University of Oklahoma and its stakeholders that broadened the museum’s reach throughout the community.”

Stuart Vevers Named Creative Director of Coach

Coach has decided who will have the daunting task of following Reed Krakoff at the creative helm: Stuart Vevers, the designer who jolted LVMH-owned leathergoods brand Loewe back to life with his modern, colorful take on the house’s Spanish heritage. As executive creative director of Coach, he’ll be responsible for leading all creative aspects of the Coach brand, including women’s and men’s design, brand imagery, and store environments–at a time when the American accessories giant is looking to shore up its dipping North American market share by going the lifestyle brand route (first order of business: a focus on footwear).

Vevers served as artistic director of Loewe from 2008 and before that spent three years as creative director of Mulberry. His previous experience includes stints at Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton, where he worked under Marc Jacobs. “I think I learned the most from Marc and he was good and fun to work with, but it was the first time I’d seen how hands-on and how precise he was as a creative director, knowing every stitch color,” said Vevers in a 2012 interview. “I mean, it was taking it to the next level and that impressed me.”

Metropolitan Museum of Art Names Susan Sellers Head of Design

Susan Sellers, founding partner and creative director of New York-based design consultancy 2×4, is moving on up, to the East Side, where on Monday, June 24, she’ll begin her new role as head of design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In overseeing the museum’s department of design, Sellers will lead a cadre of specialists–in installation, graphic, and lighting design–that attend to everything from signage and printed materials to exhibitions and gallery installations.

Sellers, who is also senior critic in graphic design at Yale School of Art, comes to the Met with extensive experience working with museums. 2×4 has developed graphic identities for the likes of PS1 and the Brooklyn Museum, and Sellers has cultivated the studio’s approach to brand identity for museums and public institutions including the Guggenheim, Longwood Gardens, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She has also designed exhibitions for clients such the Guggenheim and the Storefront for Art and Architecture–as well as Nike and Prada. “Her design work is both elegant and strategic,” noted Metropolitan Museum director Thomas Campbell in a statement announcing Sellers’ appointment, “and I look forward to having her develop a design vision for the Met that speaks to the museum’s diverse collections and audiences.”

Caroline Baumann Named Director of Cooper-Hewitt Museum

This just in: Caroline Baumann, who has served as acting director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, since the death of Bill Moggridge last September, can dispense with the “acting.” She has been named director, effective June 16. Baumann joined the Cooper-Hewitt from the Museum of Modern Art in 2001, and served as associate director, acting director, and deputy director before stepping in for Moggridge.

“Caroline is passionate about design and reaching people—physically and digitally—with its lessons and insights,” said Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough in a statement issued today. “She has been key in the museum’s growing success over the years and has been especially adept at forming substantive partnerships in New York, in Washington, across the nation and, indeed, around the world.”

The appointment comes amidst the countdown to the Cooper-Hewitt’s 2014 reopening following a $54 million renovation and expansion. Said Baumann, “We’re rolling out an extraordinary plan for a vibrant future and establishing Cooper-Hewitt as the Smithsonian’s design lens on the world.”

Guggenheim’s David van der Leer Named Director of Van Alen Institute

David van der Leer, who with Maria Nicanor developed and headed the curatorial team of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, will take the helm at Van Alen Institute beginning May 6. The NYC-based nonprofit architectural organization, whose mission is “to promote innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life,” selected van der Leer as executive director after an international search. He will succeed Olympia Kazi, who stepped down last May. Since then, Jeff Byles has served as interim director.

“David van der Leer represents a new type of commitment to the public realm that makes urban issues accessible to architecture and design professionals and everyday urban citizens alike,” said Stephen Cassell, chairman of the Van Alen’s board of trustees, in a statement issued Tuesday. “Van Alen Institute welcomes his initiative to develop more national and international competitions, studies, and programs relevant to the understanding of contemporary urban life.”

Alessandra Facchinetti Named Creative Director of Tod’s

Good news for those who are still stalking eBay in search of the amazing yet underappreciated work Alessandra Facchinetti did during her brief stint at Valentino: she’s been appointed creative director of Tod’s women’s collections. Facchinetti will begin her new role in March. “Her passion for detail and her dedication to the research of materials and manufacturing make her perfect for our brand,” said Tod’s Group president Diego Della Valle in a statement issued today.

The appointment comes about a year after Derek Lam announced his departure from Tod’s, where he served as creative director since 2006. Before taking the creative helm for ready-to-wear and couture at Valentino, Facchinetti spent seven years at Miu Miu, served as design director and then creative director at Gucci, and later worked on Moncler’s Gamme Rouge line. In 2011, she launched Uniqueness, a collaboration with Italian label Pinko.

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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Scott Dadich Named Editor-in-Chief of Wired

With Chris Anderson leaving the Condé Nast camp to spend more time with his robots (as CEO of 3D Robotics), Wired didn’t have to look far for its next editor-in-chief: it is Scott Dadich, who served as creative director of the magazine from 2006 through 2010 before ascending to the role of iPad Whisperer (a.k.a. vice president for Condé Nast digital magazine development). “Scott has been at the forefront of the company’s digital innovation for the past three years, developing the design for a digital magazine that has become an industry standard,” said Condé Nast editorial director Tom Wallace, in a statement issued Friday announcing the appointment. “His return to Wired…will ensure that it continues its pace-setting growth.” Wired recently announced a 2013 rate base increase from 800,000 to 825,000, marking the magazine’s eleventh consecutive year of rate-base growth.

Previously on UnBeige:
Seven Questions for Scott Dadich

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