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Archives: June 2011

Standard Hotels Debut In-Room Video Art

What do a Florida state park, a young dandy tap dancing in the rain, and two lovestruck bunnies have in common? All can now be seen on televisions at The Standards in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles as part of the 2011 StandART in-room video art series, which launched this week. Curated by the sharp-eyed folks at nonprofit Creative Time, the public art project includes Terence Koh‘s “Rabbit Holy Days,” a new work conceived and commissioned for the program. The six-minute video, originally shot in 16mm under Koh’s direction by filmmaker Jake Yuzna, follows the love story of two bunnies navigating the corridors, rooms, and public spaces of The Standard, New York. Also on view are videos by Slater Bradley (“The Abandonments”), Kalup Linzy (“Labisha’s Bonus Track and Sit Down Child”), Allison Schulnik (“Forest”), Andrew Cross (“Prelude from The Solo”), Naomi Fisher (“Myakka”), and Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza (“Sans Titre Paysaye”). Here’s tiny pieces of all seven films, in a video collage featuring the percussive wizardry of drummer Carl Palmer, who stars in Cross’ work.

O Say, Did You See? Finalists Announced for President’s Park South Design Competition

If you’ve spent any time in Washington DC, particularly in the section of DC where everyone visiting will spend the majority of their time, you’ve no doubt realized that the area immediately surrounding the White House isn’t especially inviting. Sure, crossing south from the White House to head over to the center of the National Mall you’ll pass some trees and some various other pieces of greenery, but it’s mostly just grass. Lots and lots of grass. Take that walk in the summer, without nearly a tree in sight and you’ll feel like you’re in a desert (one with lots of humidity and tourists). However, the National Capital Planning Commission is eager to try and remedy that issue, at least out to Constitution Ave and still leaving The Ellipse treeless, so of course not to block the President’s view of the Washington Monument. The organization has picked five finalists for the President’s Park South Design Competition. There’s Roger Marvel Architects, Hood Design Studio, and the firm you’ve likely come to expect whenever it comes to high-profile landscape design competitions, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. The five finalists’ plans will be on display at the White House Visitor Center until Monday, followed by a public meeting to address the plans at the NCPC’s headquarters on Tuesday. And as it appears that the government is itching to move forward with this, they’ll announce the winner on Thursday the 30th. For those who can’t make it to DC, you can weigh in on each plan through the competition’s site. Our money is on Van Valkenburgh for the win, considering lately he’s seemed like both a darling of the presidential set, the governmental set, and well, again, high-profile landscape architecture competitions in general.

Museum of Science and Industry Relaunches ‘Month at the Museum’ Contest

Just last week, we were at a show where there were three contestants on stage. We kept looking at one of them, wondering just how we knew her. From some other comedy show? A designer at some firm who had stopped by this writer’s office sometime? Only last night did we realize, “Oh yeah, she was the woman who won the Museum of Science and Industry‘s ‘Month at the Museum‘ contest last year.” We’re embarrassed to admit that, given that both the Chicago museum and Kate McGroarty (that’s her name) received international attention for the project, wherein she spent a month living and working in the MSI. And given all of that attention, we knew it was just a matter of time before the museum relaunched it, for another taste of a very media-friendly project. Sure enough, like some sort of cosmic kismet, just this week they’ve announced ‘Month at the Museum 2: Science Never Sleeps.” If you enjoyed last year’s run, or want to give it another go, you’ll find some details below:

Even before Kate moved out last November, people asked if we’d do it again. After the experience with Kate, the answer is…absolutely. One person couldn’t possibly do it all, and some new elements will make the month even more of an adventure.

MSI once again is seeking someone to take on this amazing assignment: spend a Month at the MuseumTM to live and breathe science 24/7 for 30 days. From Oct. 19 to Nov. 17, 2011, this person’s mission will be to experience all the fun and education that fits in this historic 14-acre building, living here full-time and reporting his or her findings to the outside world.

Sure, it’s a commitment. But if you are chosen and then successfully complete Month at the Museum 2, you’ll walk away with a prize of $10,000, a package of tech gadgets, and new knowledge and experiences that may just transform you.

As Problems Continue to Plague RMJM, Architect Will Alsop Dismisses Rumors That He’s Leaving


Save for a brief respite of good news about some awards won, the bad seems to be piling up again for RMJM, one of the largest architecture firms in the world. You might recall that all this negative press seemed to start toward the end of last year, when it was reported that Stirling Prize-winning architect Will Alsop, who joined the firm back in 2009 after pulling a fast one on the industry by claiming he was quitting architecture for good, hadn’t yet landed any of the big commissions he was brought in to win. This week, Architects Journal reported that they’d received word that Alsop was preparing to make his exit from RMJM, jumping ship after less than two years and starting a new firm with a fellow RMJM architect. Building Design, on the other hand, spoke to Alsop, who said these were all mere rumors. “I don’t have any plans to leave at all,” he told BD. “I am aware of these rumours – it is like rumours on rumours.” However, if we’ve learned anything from politics or the entertainment industry, isn’t it that first you deny until you have your story in place and then a week later, you come out and fess up? And since we’ve been duped by Alsop before, should we believe his explanation? Whatever the case with this sole architect in a company who employs quite a few of them, the firm itself has continued to suffer rocky terrain. Elsewhere in Building Design, they report that RMJM has now found itself in another courtroom battle, this time in a suit filed against them by the German firm Muller BBM, who are claiming they are owed roughly $140,000 in unpaid fees for their contributions to RMJM’s Gazprom Tower in St. Petersburg, which still hasn’t begun construction.

Daniel Libeskind Receives AIANY Medal of Honor

Among the items on the agenda at Tuesday’s (144th!) annual meeting of the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter was bestowing its medal of honor on Daniel Libeskind. The architect and designer received the organization’s highest tribute in recognition of his achievement in developing the World Trade Center master plan, among other projects worldwide. A statement issued by AIANY described Libeskind’s buildings as “address[ing] the cultural context of their communities while inspiring new understanding of the importance of design to go beyond the expected.” Previous medal of honor recipients include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Toshiko Mori, and David Childs. Among the other honorees on Tuesday evening were builder Frank J. Sciame, Jr., who received the award of merit, and Lisa Phillips and the New Museum, which received a special citation from AIANY.

Pictured above, Daniel Libeskind with AIANY president Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo and AIANY executive director Rick Bell (Photo: Center for Architecture/Sam Lahoz)

Wal-Mart Heiress and Founder of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Alice Walton, Gets a New Yorker Profile

The eagerly anticipated opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will finally happen this November. While of course there’s lots of interest in the art itself, and the massive Moshe Safdie-designed complex it will all be stored in, there’s perhaps even more interest in a) what this multi-million dollar museum, which most people first heard about due to its role in the Fisk University controversy, is doing all the way out in Bentonville, Arkansas (you’ll recall it just received another $800 million last month), and b) who exactly this reclusive billionaire and Wal-Mart heiress, Alice Walton, really is. With a press-shy subject and an interesting story at hand, it was only a matter of time before she’d gotten the New Yorker treatment. Resident world traveling scribe Rebecca Mead penned a profile of Walton, upcoming in the next issue of the magazine, aptly titled “Alice’s Wonderland,” which digs into her past, how she landed in art collecting, and again, what she thinks she’s doing putting a gigantic museum and its collection in the middle of rural Arkansas. If you have a subscription, you can read the story right away online. Otherwise, here’s a bit from the posted abstract:

Walton, whose fortune now stands at twenty-one billion dollars, has become a powerful force in the art marketplace. In 2005, the American Jewish Historical Society commissioned Sotheby’s to find buyers for half a dozen paintings that it owned, all eighteenth-century portraits of members of a merchant family, the Levy-Franks. Walton, who was at Sotheby’s on other business, spotted them and bought the series—one of the finest collections of Colonial portraiture in existence. Over time, Walton has earned the respect of the museum establishment, although only those closest to her know the full extent of Crystal Bridges’ collection: just sixty-six purchases have been announced, a tenth of what has been acquired. The director of Crystal Bridges, Don Bacigalupi, is highly regarded for the work he did as the director of the Toledo Museum of Art, in Ohio, where he oversaw the successful construction of a new building; and his effort to exchange works with the Louvre, among other institutions, has allayed fears that Crystal Bridges’ collection will be simplemindedly nationalistic.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Redesigns Conventional Soda Bottle, Launches ‘Legacy’ Model

Six years ago, if you had asked a random person on the street if they were excited about retail giant Target‘s redesign of the prescription bottle, you likely would have received one of two answers: 1) “Why would I be excited about the redesign of a prescription bottle?” or 2) “Who are you and why are you asking me weird questions?” There’s a chance you might also get slapped. But once Deborah Adler‘s brilliant retooling of something so familiar was released, the world went gaga for it. We ask now if we are on the cusp of the same thing with bottles of soda. In case you missed the stories about it in Plastics News or Packaging Digest, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has quietly been rolling out new packaging for its entire line of soft drinks, which includes brands like 7up and Canada Dry (the eponymous brands in the company’s title will not be redone…yet). Redesigned by the Kansas City based firm R&D/Leverage, the new bottle is referred to as their “Legacy” model, a departure from the “Splash” bottle they’d been using since 1995 (the packaging from most every other soft drink brand is very familiar, so you’ll understand what we’re talking about here). The new “Legacy” features a more sports drink look, with a larger top and a more easily gripped middle. The bottle was developed over 28 weeks between the firm and the company and “included comprehensive qualitative and quantitative consumer validation — everything, including consumer shopalongs.” It’s been rolling out across the country since April, but unless you spend as much time in the soda isle as we do (we have a problem), you might have missed it. So will this re-do change the face of soda bottle design as we know it, or are we just talking about this because we think it’s funny that we stumbled across outlets like Plastics News and Packaging Digest and we have a soft spot for trade magazines? We’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Positive Momentum ‘Has Disappeared’ as the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index Continues to Sink

So much for whatever was left of the cautious optimism many were feeling in the architecture and construction industries following a string of positive signs coming from the American Institute of Architects‘ monthly Architecture Billings Index. The last few months had seen a series of tumbles in the Index, after it peaked back in January with pre-2008, industry meltdown levels. Now it’s dipped even further, down to 47.2 from 47.6 the month before (anything below 50 indicates fewer billings and, in general, less demand). What’s more, it’s made the AIA’s always somber keeper of the numbers downright gloomy:

“Whatever positive momentum that there had been seen in late 2010 and earlier this year has disappeared,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The broader economy looks to be entering another soft spot, and certainly state budget constraints are adversely affecting the profession’s ability to work on institutional projects. But there is no denying that the prolonged credit freeze from lenders for financing commercial projects is the number one challenge to a recovery for the design and construction industry.”

Quote of Note | Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore, West Palm Beach, Florida, January 1973, 1972–2005

“I think it is the intention of the photographer that makes one surface transparent and one opaque regardless of scale. Some are meant to be seen, I believe, just as a surface to be looked at, and others you step into and enter the analytic problem of the picture. I come from the days of the small photograph, and I have related it more in my mind in the past to prints and drawings. So it was not so much that it wasn’t for the wall as that it was a different experience on the wall. And maybe prints and drawings were not originally made for the wall, but most of the time I saw them they were on a wall. I would go to the Morgan Library and look at old master prints and drawings—things that also often stand up very well in a book.”

-Photographer Stephen Shore in Stephen Shore (Phaidon, 2008)

This Week on the Job Board: Yahoo!, Time, Inc., MLB

If you’re a pro at cropping and color correction, Yahoo! has the perfect job for you. The media company is on the hunt for a new photo editor to join its Santa Monica, Calif. office. Here, you’ll build galleries and photo narratives, while developing relationships with photo agencies and publicists to access images. If you’re passionate about photography, apply here. If not, check out more art and design jobs below, as well as on

For more openings and employment news, follow The Job Post on Twitter @MBJobPost.

Attend’s Career Circus on August 4 in New York City to find out where the jobs are, develop a career plan and engage with media peers and leaders.