Fresh off their giving Valentine’s Day the business and smoothing out gay pride’s wrinkles, the radio program Studio 360 has apparently found their favorite attention-getting niche and have launched another “redesign an iconic thing” contest, this time asking their listeners and readers to re-imagine July 4th, in particular, Uncle Sam and the National Anthem. Like before, they’ve asked people to post their submissions to Flickr (this time also to YouTube for the National Anthem part). We’ve been made positively giddy (not an easy task) from the entries they’ve received in the aforementioned previous contests and we’re hoping you submit something if just to create immense pleasure for us (also, they usually have a celebrity judge come on to award the winner, so there’s some extra incentive, if just making us happy doesn’t do it for you). Here’s their on-air request:
Archives: May 2010
Outside of here at UnBeige and various art blogs and print outlets, art theft doesn’t usually get much in the way of sustained mainstream play, if any. So when this weekend’s heist at Paris’ Museum of Modern Art became all the buzz, we figured there was already enough chatter out there about the robbery that nabbed five paintings worth more than $100 million and we didn’t have anything much else to contribute, so best just let it be. But then, as you might not have heard given all the talk about just that high-profile burglary, the weekend became something of an art theft epidemic. We decided it was silence no longer. The day after Paris’ MoMA was being robbed, an art collector in Marseille (already the site of a recent art theft) was attacked and beaten in his home and the thieves made off with five pieces of art, including a Picasso. What’s more, in the approach to the weekend, shortly before all of this happened in France, in London, model Kate Moss‘ house was being broken into so the thief could swipe her pricey Banksy painting. Although in that case, the police have already nabbed a suspect, all of this art taking isn’t boding well for Europe in the slightest. We know, for one, that we’re no longer planning to bring our Monets to the UnBeige summer palace in Vienna this season.
Starting this sunny Tuesday morning on a positive note, yesterday the National Endowment for the Arts announced that they’d teamed up with the non-profit military support organization Blue Star Families in launching Blue Star Museums, a program which will waive museum fees for all active duty military personnel and their families. It will kick off this weekend, on Memorial Day, and run through the summer, until Labor Day. And while the program hasn’t been adopted by every museum in the country (what’s your deal, New Museum?), over 600 have signed on to open their doors for this good cause. Here’s a bit:
“There have always been wonderful examples of partnerships between museums and military installations, but the scale of this gift from the museum community to military families is thrilling,” said Blue Star Families Chairman Kathy Roth-Douquet.
“Military families work hard for this country, and it is gratifying for us to be recognized for that. We anticipate that thousands of military families will participate in the program and visit museums this summer — many of them for the first time. Blue Star Families will work hard to help our military families make the most of these opportunities.”
TATE THE CAKE. The guy with the glasses schemes for a prime piece of turbine hall.
We’re not sure if Wenlock and Mandeville were on hand for the festivities, but London’s Tate Modern recently celebrated its tenth birthday. A gala celebration at the museum included the above giant sheet cake, a frosted tribute to the Herzog and de Meuron-led conversion of the former Bankside Power Station. More than 45 million people have visited Tate Modern since it opened in May 2000, and the museum recently announced the expansion of its collection to areas outside Europe and North America. Recent acquisitions include 13 contemporary works of art by artists (all new to the collection) from the Middle East and North Africa, including Kader Attia and Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar. Tate Modern also recently acquired 28 works from South Africa, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific region. These include Do Ho Suh‘s “Staircase III” (2009), Subodh Gupta‘s “Everyday” (2009), and Felix Gonzalez-Torres‘s “Untitled (Double Portrait)” (1991). Many of the recent acquisitions were gifts or purchased through Tate’s regionally focused acquisitions committees. “Tate Modern has provided the spur for a vigorous policy at Tate of collecting more widely internationally which has deepened the collection for future generations,” said Tate director Nicholas Serota in a press release, while Frances Morris, Tate’s head of collections, described the expansion efforts as “a response to the emergence of interesting and dymamic art centers across the world and an ever more complex and interconnected international art scene.”
When people ask our opinion on birdhouses, we tend to point them to Kelly Lamb‘s geodesic delight, a dangling white Fullerdome designed for wrens, finches, and mod-leaning chickadees. But what if your backyard attracts more traditionally minded fowl: robins with a taste for gabled rooves or red-winged blackbirds that break for trompe l’oeil stone? Go straight to Thomas F. Burke, designer and builder of “masterpiece birdhomes.” From his basement workshop in Wilmington, Delaware, Burke creates pole-mounted replicas of historic buildings and clients’ houses that are for the birds. Having grown up in the Pennsylvania town of Chadds Ford, he has carved out a further niche with a series of birdhouses inspired by the work of Andrew Wyeth, including a bird-scaled version of the eerie clapboard dwelling in the background of Wyeth’s famous “Christina’s World.” Not one to be pigeonholed, Burke is at work on more avant-garde structures. “I’m building a birdhouse inspired by Santiago Calatrava‘s 80 South Street Tower project for Manhattan,” he says in the June “Country Comfort” issue of Architectural Digest, which features ten examples of his work (in a story that is not available online). “It will stand about eight feet tall and be mounted on a thin metal rod twelve feet high.”
Over the past couple of years, Pantone has been actively branching outside of their standard operations, getting involved in branded side-projects and licensing deals. Or in their own words: “colorful, design-driven products to touch and tempt consumers” (most recently, you might recall our talking about their limited-edition run of shoes for Seavees). Now they’ve gone even bigger, with the launch of the Pantone Hotel, just opened in Brussels. Designed by Michel Penneman and Oliver Hannaert, the hotel features rooms and meeting spaces inspired by their color chips, sparingly highlighting them in various ways as they’re surrounded by white walls, white bedding, white everything. They also have a Pantone Lounge, offering you drinks like Pink Champagne 12-1107, Lemon Drop 12-0736 or the Daiquiri Green 12-0435, as well as on-site “Color Consultants” to help you out with whatever pressing color issues you’re having (this is something every hotel should have available, right?). This writer was in Brussels back in mid-Feburary and now we’re upset that we didn’t schedule the trip a bit later in the year, so we could have caught this.
A full ten months after the commission was officially handed out to David Woodhouse to design a memorial here in Chicago to honor the legendary architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham and the city has finally given it the go ahead. While privately funded and located in an area that seems like the perfect spot to celebrate the man who laid out the “Plan for Chicago” (near the Field Museum on the south side of downtown), objections about the $5 million expense and its location kept the memorial’s construction on hiatus this past half year. Now that they finally have the thumbs up, the Tribune reports that construction will begin next year and should be finished by 2012.
If you had to guess what environmental activism group would be most interested/involved in the Gulf oil spill, you’d likely pick Greenpeace, and you’d be absolutely right (sorry, we’re not offering any prizes at this time). While they help in the clean up process, they’re rallying against the oil company responsible for the mess, British Petroleum, in a number of ways. Most relevant to our interests is their launching a contest to redesign BP’s logo. They’ve already made their own, changing the company’s “Beyond Petroleum” tag to “British Polluters,” with oil stains on their familiar starburst logo, which they snuck in and hung near the company’s offices in London (see the video below). Now they’re asking for an official rebranding, which they hope to receive from this contest. The winner’s new logo will be used for all of Greenpeace’s future efforts in fighting BP. All the entries they’ve received thus far are here.
“A lot of the designers I’ve met are either in bands or they DJ, or music packaging design has been a big part of their careers. And most musicians I’ve met also have a strong design sense. They care about expressing their music visually. When I told Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth that I was doing a film about Helvetica, he looked a little nonplussed and said, ‘Yeah, well, I’ve always rocked the Garamond.’”
Wenlock and Mandeville, official mascots for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, respectively
Anthropomorphic steel slablets born from the girders of London’s Olympic stadium. Monikers that hint at mischief and Savile Row. A flair for the digital. It all sounds like a promising recipe for Olympic mascots, those eccentric, nationalistic, and frequently controversial creatures that rise to prominence for a couple of months every couple of years. “Our original brief asked us to create a mascot which would actually engage and kind of get young people across the United Kingdom. into sports,” said Grant Hunter of Iris. He and his colleagues responded with Wenlock and Mandeville, two aerodynamic cyclopses who watch your every move through giant, all-seeing eyes. Unfortunately, nothing kills the cuddly quotient faster than steel—and vaguely menacing monocular vision.
“The eye is actually a camera,” explained Hunter. “So it allows them to examine and record things on their journey.” The chromium pair, whose head shapes reference the distinctive roof of the London Olympic stadium, are also crowned with headlights of the sort found on the city’s black taxis. Wenlock, who will do the heavy lifting as the Olympic mascot, wears the Olympic rings as bangle bracelets (“friendship bands”). According to his last tweet, he is currently stuck in an elevator. Meanwhile, Mandeville’s a booster for the Paralympics, born in 1948 as a competition for World War II soldiers with spinal injuries and inaugurated in the Buckinghamshire town of Stoke Mandeville. Although he’s slightly behind Wenlock in Twitter followers, Mandeville is keeping it positive. “I’ll be honest—I’m on a mission,” he confides to readers of the official mascots’ website. “On a mission to be the best I can possibly be. Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?” Funny, we could swear we heard Jeff Koons say the same thing just the other day. Maybe it’s something in the steel?