Liquid Treat AgencySpy AdsoftheWorld BrandsoftheWorld LostRemote TVSpy TVNewser PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC 10,000 Words GalleyCat MediaJobsDaily

Archives: March 2012

Friday Photo: Radisson/Picasso

Serkan Ozkaya’s “Radisson/Picasso,” a “manipulated ready-made.”

Serkan Ozkaya has made a chair from 15 sticks of spaghetti, lobbied the Louvre (unsuccessfully) to turn the Mona Lisa on its head for a few days, and created hand-drawn replicas of major newspapers. With the help of a 3D rendering program, the Turkish artist made a supersize golden version of Michelangelo’s David for the Istanbul Biennial in 2005, although the 30-foot-tall statue proved impossible to install and ended up shattering into pieces before the exhibition opened. No such tragedy is likely to befall his pocket-size “Radisson/Picasso” (above), a pair of manipulated matchboxes that is among the lots on offer in Storefront for Art and Architecture’s benefit auction. Also up for online bidding in advance of Thursday evening’s NYC soirée honoring Barbara Kruger and Bernard Tschumi are works by the likes of Louis Kahn, James Welling, Vito Acconci, and Robert Venturi, who with Denise Brown contributed a jazzy sketch of a McDonald’s.

Quote of Note | Francesco Clemente

“Number is always important to me, just as it is important for the tarots. One of the descriptions of them is that they are number, word, and image: the three veils of reality. In my practice as a painter, for a reason that is incomprehensible to me, but one that has been present from the beginning, I can only work if I work in a series, if I count the number of works that I have created in that series. For me this is a way of approaching this source of the image, it is a way of opening the door: first one has to count, then one has to name, then one sees the images.”

-Artist Francesco Clemente, quoted in an essay by curator Max Seidel that appears in Francesco Clemente: The Tarots (Hirmer)

Eames House Is First Project for Getty’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative

The sight of crumbling modern architecture—buildings often conceived and built in a flurry of systematic optimism, zippy colors (or pure, grime-magnet white), and, less than enduring materials—can be soul-crushing, as can the laborious and costly process of restoring a modern marvel to its former glory. The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles has committed to aid in this cause through the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, an international program announced this week. “This research-based initiative will increase knowledge for the field and develop new tools to assist practitioners to conserve the architecture of the modern era,” said GCI director Tim Whalen in a statement issue by the The J. Paul Getty Trust. They didn’t have to look far for the first project: the Eames House in Pacific Palisades. A GCI team will undertake investigative work and analysis to understand the current condition of the house, built in 1949 by Charles and Ray, along with its contents and setting. They’ll also assist the Eames Foundation in developing a plan for the house’s long-term conservation and care. Architect Kyle Normandin, formerly of NYC-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, has joined the GCI to manage the new initiative, which is overseen by Susan Macdonald.

And speaking of valiant efforts to thwart the growing threats to modern architecture, our sharp-eyed friends at the World Monuments Fund are now accepting nominations for the 2012 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize. The $10,000 prize will be awarded this fall to a design professional or firm in recognition of “innovative design solutions that preserved or saved a modern landmark at risk.” The deadline for nominations is July 31. Click here for full details.

All Hell Breaks Loose at Lehmann Maupin, as Hernan Bas Gives the Devil His Due

From left, “A Devil’s Bridge” (2011-2012) and “The Expulsion (or, The Rebel)” (2011). Portrait below by Diego Singh. (Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York)

“I’ve always been obsessed with the occult,” says Hernan Bas, standing among the shadowy figures, stolen souls, and devastated landscapes in his latest series of paintings. “But lately, it’s become not as scary as it used to be.” Today’s candy-coated demons and witches next door (Vampires! They’re just like us!) inspired the Detroit-based artist to put the “super” back in supernatural. The nine works in his solo show “Occult Contemporary,” on view through April 21 at New York’s Lehmann Maupin gallery, replace the easy-listening version with darker stuff. But don’t look for the devil you know. “A lot of the paintings are based on original stories where the devil is the protagonist, but whenever humans make these deals with the devil, the devil always ends up getting screwed,” says Bas with a chuckle. “So I wanted to paint him as a sympathetic character, because really, he’s just trying to do his job.”

Born in Miami, Bas has made a name for himself with masterfully colored canvases that offer idyll glimpses. His possible paradises are often inhabited by young men prone to contemplation amdist craggy lagoons and swirling abstract skies. Lately, Bas has been increasingly tempted toward abstraction. He points to “One of Us” (2012), in which a mix of acrylic, airbrush, charcoal, and block printing depict a gentleman being beckoned to join a cultish pack. “If there was anything autobiographical about this show, that [figure] would be me, because it’s like ‘Join the Abstract Expressionist group! We’ll lure you in,’” he says, pointing to a field of blue at the bottom. “I flipped this one multiple times. That blue was originally the sky, not the water. That’s the thing with abstraction. You can hint at landscape so easily, but then I isolate one small part and it’s abstract again, like a mini-Rothko.” And is that a de Kooning we spot floating in the upper left corner? “De Kooning for sure,” he says. “I was floored by the show at MoMA. You kind of forget how good he is.” Read on for more from Bas, who talked with us about painting, the devil, and Detroit.

The natural world—forests, trees, bodies of water, mountains—usually figures prominently in your work, but in Occult Contemporary, the built environment and architectural elements loom large. What’s the story there?
I’ve been having leanings toward abstraction lately. When I take a step back from that, adding the architecture to it and making things that are more angular and grounding are a way to take it back a little bit from abstraction. It allows me to make it more readable as a location or a scene that could actually be happening, not just in your mind.

How do you begin one of these paintings?
I usually start with a general abstract composition. I just start throwing paint on it. They all usually look like 1950s New York School paintings when I first start them. I compare it to the whole idea of staring into clouds, when you start to see shapes, like “Oh, that could be a cliff.” That’s why I tend to lean toward landscape, because whenever I do an interior scene, I have to plan it a little more significantly ahead of time. So it’s a little bit of laziness, but also it’s just more fun.
Read more

Deborah Norville: My First Big Break

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we talk to “Inside Edition” anchor Deborah Norville. Now everyone knows her as the face of the syndicated CBS news program, but before she got her shot nationally, she started in Georgia, working at CBS affiliate WAGA. As for her break, it came before she even graduated from college, and involved a little bit of luck, and former President Jimmy Carter.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index Stays Positive for Fourth Straight Month

By our count, we’re now in our fourth straight month of being in the black when it comes to the American Institute of Architects‘ monthly Architecture Billings Index. Our minds are always relatively cloudy, but we can’t even remember the last time that was the case. Looking back through our archives (which is chock full of repeated phrases like “inches up ever so slightly” and “takes another dive”), we see the last time we came close was the summer of 2010, when after three months of growth, you guessed it, the ABI “took another dive.” This month, like those preceding it, haven’t been giant leaps, but we’ve landed at 51.0, up from 50.9 the month prior (anything above 50 indicates an increase in billings and a general look at the health and wellness of the industry). So while not huge growth, we’ll certainly take four months of good news over the alternative. Here’s the AIA’s chief digit bearer:

“This is more good news for the design and construction industry that continues to see improving business conditions,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The factors that are preventing a more accelerated recovery are persistent caution from clients to move ahead with new projects, and a continued difficulty in accessing financing for projects that developers have decided to pursue.”

BMW Guggenheim Lab’s Opening in Berlin Cancelled Due to Threats and ‘Elevated Risk’

Apparently the city of Berlin isn’t as welcoming of branded art projects as New York is. The BMW Guggenheim Lab, which was met with relatively positive marks when it premiered this past August in the East Village, was expected to next move to Germany, where all 2,200 square feet of the mobile structure, designed by Tokyo’s Atelier Bow-Wow, would set up shop beginning in mid-May and run through the summer. As announced back in January, the site selected to host the next stop on a planned world tour was the Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg, “known for its engagement with social action and public art” and “centrally located.” Unfortunately for the traveling exhibition, they didn’t expect massive push back from left-wing activists. Bloomberg reports that due to numerous threats, “elevated risk,” and planned protests, the Lab has decided to cancel its plans and move elsewhere. Where that “elsewhere” might be (somewhere in Germany? Or moving out of the country entirely?) hasn’t been announced yet.

Calatrava in Canada: Calgary Welcomes Peace Bridge

Some call it “March,” but to us, it’s Santiago Calatrava Bridge Month! A couple of weeks ago, the architect was in Dallas to unveil the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, his first vehicular bridge in the United States. The gleaming white parabola, which according to the Dallas Morning News cost a total of $182 million, is the first of a series of bridges designed by Calatrava’s office to span the Trinity River. Calatrava can keep on his cowboy hat for the next gala bridge inauguration, because it’s up in Calgary, Alberta. On Saturday, the city will celebrate the opening of his twisty, red Peace Bridge (pictured), a tubular steel truss creation that traverses the Bow River without supporting piers in the riverbed so as to minimize environmental impacts. Geometrical constraints led Calatrava to defy his taste for swooping verticals in favor of a low single-span design that will offer pedestrians protection during harsh Calgary winters. “Although the design concept for the Peace Bridge is very challenging, it is one that I am extremely proud of,” said the architect in a statement issued by his office.

Mark Your Calendar: Donut City, SVA/BBC Film Fest, Metropolis State of Design, AIPAD Photo Show

  • In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “Mmm. Donuts.” Splurge on L.A.’s finest (we’re partial to the sprinklebombs from Blinkie’s Donut Emporium) this weekend as ForYourArt opens its new activity space at 6020 Wilshire Blvd. with “Around the Clock: 24 Hour Donut City,” a tasty celebration that runs simultaneously with LACMA‘s 24-hour screening of “The Clock” by Christian Marclay. ForYourArt promises “a curated selection” of (free!) donuts beginning at noon on Saturday. Look sharp for the chocolate custard puff, as the selection will change every two hours. We hear that more enduring donuts will also be on offer, in the form of 1,000 pins made from Kenny Scharfs donut paintings. The artist’s zippy donutmobile will be parked outside ForYourArt all weekend.

  • Meanwhile, here in New York, we suggest hitting up the Maison du Macaron en route to Saturday’s SVA/BBC Design Film Festival, a slate of groundbreaking BBC films that have never been screened in the United States. Curated by the all-seeing Steven Heller along with D-Crit faculty member Adam Harrison Levy, the festival includes films on topics such as the history of the Barcelona chair, the future of the book, and the real life stories that inspired Mad Men (yes, George Lois will be there). The $15 run-of-the-festival tickets are going fast, so grab one here.

  • Once you’ve recovered from the weekend’s dessert-themed cinematic adventures, head over to Steelcase’s New York HQ, which on Wednesday, March 28, plays host to the State of Design, an annual fundraising event organized by our friends at Metropolis and the Education Legacy Fund. The evening of “open, constructive dialogue about what shapes twenty-first century design and how designers respond to our evolving culture” will feature a conversation with health policy guru Ruth Finkelstein (New York Academy of Medicine) and Quest to Learn founder Katie Salen (DePaul University) moderated by Metropolis editor-in-chief Susan Szenasy. Learn more and register here.
    Read more
  • James Corner Field Operations’ Team Wins Chicago’s Navy Pier Redesign Competition

    Anymore when a large urban landscape project is in the works, you could fairly safely guess that New York’s High Line co-designers, James Corner Field Operations, would either be on the short list or had just won (it’s even been speculated that all the High Line enthusiasm could be the next “Bilbao effect”). And so it has happened again, right here in Chicago. Back in September you might recall, the organization behind the city’s Navy Pier, which juts out into Lake Michigan and offers spectacular views of the skyline and therefore should be an inviting experience but is, instead, a soul crushing tourist trap, announced plans for a major, let’s-actually-make-this-place-inviting redesign competition. The original list included teams upon teams of industry heavies, which was then whittled down, somewhat surprisingly, to some less household name teams. In the end, this week it was revealed that James Corner’s group, which also includes Bruce Mau Design, nArchitects, and Ed Marszewski, along with twelve other firms, has won the project. We were initially very excited, but then reason prevailed in the form of the Tribune‘s Blair Kamin, who writes that the project provides both “great promise — and peril” given that “pier officials’ historic tendency to favor pragmatics over aesthetics” which “could undercut a thoughtful conceptual plan.” If you’ve been to Navy Pier at any point, you’ll likely come to that worry as well. And with a relatively small budget as well, we’ll hope for the best, but we’ll do so with fingers tightly crossed. Here’s Corner and Co.’s lengthy presentation video from back in February, and here’s the quicker, animated plans: