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Archives: December 2012

Quote of Note | Laurie Simmons

“I’ve lived with life as an artist, with an artist. Tip [husband Carroll Dunham] and I were lucky to find each other, and this life that works for both of us. There’s a surprisingly large list of things that I haven’t had, in terms of museum shows and recognition, but I’m so interested in the present right now. I don’t want my new work to have anything to do with nostalgia. Artists are ridiculous. We’re totally scornful when people in other fields try to do art, but we think we can do anything–act, write, do extreme sports. Young artists have given me that license, because the old distinctions don’t exist for them.”

-Laurie Simmons in “A Doll’s House,” a piece by Calvin Tomkins that appears in this week’s issue of The New Yorker

For Young Art Lovers, a Cy Twombly Tribute Dress

The late Cy Twombly‘s sensational “Peony” (pictured) and “Rose” paintings were a hit with fashion designers. Wearable homages to the artist’s distinctively dripping blossoms popped up in collections by the likes of Jason Wu and Rachel Roy shortly after the paintings were exhibited at Gagosian’s New York and London galleries. More recently, Twombly’s bold crayon and pigment flowers have trickled down to the younger set, thanks to J. Crew. The company’s Crewcuts kidswear label is offering this cotton sateen frock printed with painterly plum “poppies.” And while Twombly’s blooms have long since scattered to lucky collectors for price tags we’d peg in the low seven figures, J. Crew’s “On-the-Button” dress is currently on sale for $59.99–and is machine washable.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Twombly’s last paintings, together with about 100 of his photographs, on view at Gagosian’s Madison Avenue gallery through December 22.

Cubes: VIP Tour of AOL and The Huffington Post

Combine tasty treats, sleek design, and the now famous ‘Sitting Cameramen of Astor Place’ and you get the latest episode of “Cubes.”

In this episode of Cubes, the MediabistroTV crew is invited into the New York Headquarters of AOL and The Huffington Post. Hosted by the founding editor of The Huffington Post and president of HuffPost Live Roy Sekoff, the crew visits the cavernous Huffington Post newsroom where hundreds of writers sit keyboard to keyboard under the watchful gaze of Arianna Huffington herself who plays the always gracious hostess by offering up some tasty Greek Christmas cookies. After burning through the sugar high, the guys mingle with the ghosts of journalism past in the HuffPost Live newsroom where live news is served up eight hours a day by tables of writers, producers and editors who always know what time it is in Funkytown.

You can view our other MediabistroTV productions on our YouTube Channel.

Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition Bound for Brooklyn

We bring glad tidings of Breton-striped joy, fashion fans: the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition is coming to the Brooklyn Museum next fall. Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (where it debuted in June 2011), “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” spans the designer’s 37-year career, featuring examples of couture and ready-to-wear as well as film, dance, and concert costumes (including Madonna‘s Blonde Ambition tour ensembles) and photographs by the likes of Richard Avedon, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Mario Testino. The Brooklyn presentation will also include new material not shown in previous venues, including looks from recent runway shows.

The oldest living enfant terrible‘s creations come to life on creepy unique mannequins. Topped with wigs and headdresses by Odile Gilbert, their faces are animated with audiovisual projections, an innovation developed by Denis Marleau and Stéphanie Jasmin of Montreal-based UBU Compagnie de création. A dozen celebrities, including Gaultier himself, have lent their faces and often their voices to the project. In addition, many of the mannequins revolve to display all angles of each ensemble, while some circulate on a moving catwalk. The Gaultier exhibition, on view through January 6 at The Fundación Mapfre – Instituto de Cultura in Madrid, opens in Brooklyn on October 25, 2013 after stops in Rotterdam and Stockholm.

Ai Weiwei Documentary Makes Oscar Shortlist

First-time director Alison Klayman’s documentary about artist Ai Weiwei is one step closer to an Oscar nomination. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which debuted this year at Sundance (where it was awarded a special jury prize) before moving on to festivals from Rio to Reykjavik and a summer U.S. theatrical release, has made the shortlist of 15 films eligible for the Oscar for best documentary. Announced last week by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the list also includes Detropia, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s musing on the Motor City; Rory Kennedy‘s extraordinary chronicle of the life of her mother, Ethel; and Chasing Ice, the story of photographer James Balog’s quest to gather undeniable evidence of climate change. The final list of five films will be announced along with the rest of the Oscar nominations on January 10.

Klayman was granted unprecedented access to Ai Weiwei, as well as his family and others close to him. During the eventful three years of filming, the Chinese government shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention. “I want to give people a chance to spend time with Weiwei, listen to his voice and his opinions, see his flaws, and experience the conditions of his life,” says Klayman in her director’s statement. “The idea is to allow audiences to evaluate Weiwei’s choices and, I hope, to be inspired by his courage and humanity.” Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is playing this evening at the Museum of Modern Art. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Klayman. Not in New York? The film is available on DVD and iTunes.
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Nifty, Gifty: Bold Bags from Carga

In a world overflowing with bags, we’ve found a new favorite in Carga. The New York-based company’s rugged totes and gadget cases–standouts at the most recent New York International Gift Fair–are produced in a family-run workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina using a pattern-free “zero-wastage” process: each one is made from single strips of material (felt, leather, industrial-grade canvas) cut from side to side of a roll, without any further trimming. Meanwhile, the striking lines of each Carga creation come thanks to founder Mauro Bianucci, who trained as an architect at the University of Buenos Aires before turning his sharp eye to accessories.

This is part of a series of elegantly wrapped December posts about desirable goods that we suggest you purchase with the laudable yet vague intent of giving to others and then keep for yourself. Got a “nifty, gifty” idea? Tell the UnBeige elves: unbeige (at)

Previously on UnBeige:
Nifty, Gifty: Rodarte’s Out-of-This-World Ornament
Nifty, Gifty: Crate&Barrel 50th Anniversary Teapot
Nifty, Gifty: Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Lincoln Center Inside Out

Design Jobs: Time Out New York, Wisteria, Clinton Global Initiative

This week, Time Out New York is hiring a photo editor, while Wisteria needs an art director. Clinton Global Initiative is on the hunt for a graphic design associate, and KOAA-TV is on the hunt for a graphic artist. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

To Futurama, and Beyond! The World According to Norman Bel Geddes

A car from Normal Bel Geddes’ “Futurama” exhibit at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair and the designer exiting a Chrysler Airflow car.

The interdiscliplinary types of today have nothing on Norman Bel Geddes (1893–1958), who designed everything from stage sets and costumes to buildings and streamlined “motor cars” that resembled elongated teardrops with wheels (tail fins optional). The life and career of the self-taught polymath, who straddled the line between visionary and pragmatist, is the subject of Norman Bel Geddes Designs America, published by Abrams in conjunction with a major exhibition now on view at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. It will travel to the Museum of the City of New York early next year. We asked design historian Russell Flinchum, author of Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer: The Man in the Brown Suit, to give us his take on the new Bel Geddes bible in advance of the show’s arrival in Gotham.

New Yorkers have an exceptional chance to immerse themselves in modernity’s past at the Museum of the City of New York, which last week opened “Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s,” an exhibition that originated at the National Building Museum in 2011. Following relatively hot on its heels will be “Norman Bel Geddes Designs America,” from which most of the latter show’s contents have been gleaned. Moving from the earlier exhibition’s overview to the first in-depth look at Geddes should prove instructive, to put it mildly. No single exhibit from the fairs of the ‘30s is better known or more celebrated than Geddes’s “Futurama,” properly the “Highways and Horizons” exhibit for General Motors at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. We will finally have a chance to understand exactly what Geddes achieved, and why he merits such curatorial scrutiny.

Donald Albrecht, curator of architecture and design at the Museum of the City of New York, has edited an impressive catalogue that covers Geddes’s output in 17 chapters that carry us from theatrical design through furniture, housing, and graphic design and everywhere in between (perhaps most notably in his three-dimensional designs for Life magazine illustrating the battlefronts of World War II, which merited an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art). The authors of these individual chapters range from UT professor Jeffrey Meikle, whose Twentieth Century Limited of 1977 did more than any single book to focus academic interest on American industrial design of the 1930s, to some of his former students and even current doctoral candidates at Austin.
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Eye Spy: Vogue Fashion Editors Tell Their Stories in HBO Documentary

Vogue is going all out for its 120th anniversary. Following a triumphant turn on the big screen in R.J. Cutler’s 2009 The September Issue, the magazine is out with a stunning coffee table book that celebrates the work of legendary Vogue fashion editors such as Grace Coddington (who is having quite a year), Polly Mellen, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, and Babs Simpson. These behind-the-scenes figures also take center stage in a new documentary, In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, now airing on HBO.

Produced and directed by docu-maestros Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the film is a feast of interviews about famous Vogue images (Mellen steals the show with a moving recollection of her now-famous 1981 shoot with Richard Avedon, a naked Nastassia Kinski, and a Burmese python) and musings on the slippery role of a fashion editor, all artfully combined with a running chronology of the magazine through the ages, including the servicey Mirabella interregnum of 1971-1988. “The people who are responsible for the fashion images are the fashion editors,” says a Prada-clad Anna Wintour. “They have always been our secret weapon, so it seemed to me that we could celebrate Vogue, and also, at the same time, celebrate these great editors.”

Shiro Kuramata’s ‘Laputa’ Bed on the Block at Phillips

One of the less memorable parts of Jonathan Swift‘s Gulliver’s Travels sees the titular voyager astonished at the sight of “an Island in the Air, inhabited by Men, who are able (as it should seem) to raise, or sink, or put into a Progressive Motion, as they pleased.” This is Laputa, where inhabitants combine mathematics and music in wildly impractical ways and live in homes that are free of right angles (paging Frank Lloyd Wright!). The floating kingdom was an inspiration for Shiro Kuramata‘s final furniture design: the “Laputa” bed (pictured), created for a 1991 group exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy. Nearly 14 feet in length, the aluminum bed comes with Kuramata’s “Star Piece” silk sheets. One of the 30 beds made hits the block tomorrow afternoon at Phillips de Pury & Company as part of its Design Masters sale. Ready to float away to dreamland in Laputa? The bed is estimated to fetch between $80,000-$120,000, so probably best to sleep on it.