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Archives: June 2013

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.”

Design Jobs: Amazon, Pace Communications, Northside Media Group

This week, Amazon is hiring a visual designer, while Pace Communications needs a photo editor. Northside Media Group is seeking an art director for The L and Brooklyn Magazine, and Empire Entertainment is on the hunt for a creative director. 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.

New McNally Jackson Store Offers ‘Goods for the Study’

It’s hard out there for a bookstore. We’re still mourning the recent loss of New York’s Archivia Books, whose windows (and shelves) never failed to feature the latest and greatest design books alongside vintage tomes. Meanwhile, downtown indie McNally Jackson (home to a print-on-demand Espresso Book Machine and literature organized by nation) is not only going strong but in expansion mode. The beloved establishment has opened the McNally Jackson Store around the corner from its flagship operation. The cozy Mulberry Street space is stocked with an array of “goods to furnish your study and enrich your desk life,” from desks and lamps to stationery and writing utensils. “We believe that the life of the mind deserves a space of its own,” says owner Sarah McNally. Not in New York? Fear not–a web store is in the works.

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.”

Seven Questions for Oren Safdie

The strange and wonderful world of contemporary architecture takes center stage in False Solution, a new play that runs through Sunday at La MaMa in New York (buy tickets here). That the dialogue crackles with pitch-perfect architect-speak is no coincidence: this is the latest work by Oren Safdie. The Montreal-born, Los Angeles-based playwright is the son of architect Moshe Safdie and grew up in his father’s modular prefab marvel, Habitat ’67, before making his way to Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture.

“Architecture is also still mostly a male-dominated profession,” says Safdie, “so the opportunity to write about sexual politics–one of my favorite topics–is plentiful.” False Solution takes place in the basement model-making studio of a firm led by Anton Seligman (played with brainy yet sizzling charisma by Sean Haberle), a starchitect who has landed a commission to design a Holocaust museum in Poland. He soon finds himself arguing the merits of volumes and voids with intern Linda Johnansson (Christy McIntosh), a striking know-it-all who flinches only when pressed into service at the drafting table: “It’s just at this stage of my career, I’m much more effective as a critical thinker than a generator of ideas,” says the first-year architecture student. Fortunately for theatergoers, Safdie has mastered both roles. He recently answered our questions about his career path, his new play, and why architects make for better characters on the boards than on the screen.

How did you go from studying architecture at Columbia to being a playwright (and screenwriter and director)?
In my last year at architecture school, Columbia University insisted you take a course outside your discipline. I took a playwriting course. A scene I wrote was selected in a contest juried by Romulus Linney, and received a staged reading. Once I saw my words on stage, I was hooked.

Your new play, False Solution, is about an architect’s struggle to design a Holocaust museum in Poland. How did the idea for the play develop?
I would say the kernel of the play was born when 10 years ago, I saw a figure skating event on television. One of the American skaters had donned a yarmulke and wore a sweater with a Star of David sewn on his chest. The theme he skated to: Schindler’s List. I was amazed that someone would actually try and give some kind of expression to the Holocaust. I was reminded by this several years later when I visited Libeskind‘s Jewish Museum in Berlin, where I felt the same sense of someone trying to convey the suffering through architectural expression, albeit more successfully. There were other Holocaust museums I visited, including my father‘s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem that offered an opposite approach–almost creating a non-building. It was through these difference, that I created two very different type of characters. The other influence on this play comes from my mother, who lived in hiding in Poland during the war. Many of the stories are factual, and I was interested in how, per se, her experiences have impacted my own life.
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OXO Founder Sam Farber Dies at 88

Join us in raising your cushiony Santoprene-handled OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler in a salute to Sam Farber, who died last Sunday at the age of 88. He founded OXO in 1990 to fill a market gap for kitchen devices that were as comfortable as they were functional, an idea hatched after watching his mildly arthritic wife struggle with a spindly standard peeler while preparing an apple tart in the south of France.

Farber chose the name “OXO” for its graphic versatility: it reads the same horizontal, vertical, upside-down, or backwards and had the vision to tap Smart Design for the hand-friendly Good Grips line, still going strong today. “Sam saw an opportunity to provide comfortable tools that would be easy to use for the widest spectrum of users, changing the relationship people everywhere have with ordinary household products,” noted the company in a statement announcing Farber’s death. “His inquisitive nature and refusal to accept the status quo continue to inspire our product development today.”

Quote of Note | Miuccia Prada

“I think fashion embraces everything that is happening, everything in society and vice versa. Other creative fields find in fashion openness, comprehension, money—not necessarily money, but interest. People in fashion are open to music, open to movies, open to art, open to architecture. In the fashion world, there is a lot of enthusiasm. Also, speed. Speed is very much envied by other fields. You want something, you do it: it’s quick. A piece of architecture takes five years to build, a movie maybe less. But fashion is instant. You have an idea, you do it and after, change—good and bad.”

-Miuccia Prada, in interviewed by Bridget Foley in the fall 2013 issue of WWD Collections

Parsons Partners Up for Social Innovation Incubator

Projects with potential for positive social or environmental impact will get a boost from a new Parsons initiative. The school is partnering with the Toronto-based Centre for Social Innovation (which recently opened a 24,000-square-foot space in New York’s Starrett-Lehigh building) to create an incubator program for Parsons students and recent alumni launching design-led social innovation projects. Check out the five projects that have been selected for the incubator’s first cycle, which gets underway this month and runs through September 2014:

  • Bike Flocks: an urban, clean energy transportation system focused on biking
  • Make Your Mark, an urban parks stewardship program for youth that connects STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) to design and social change
  • Enacting Policy: an educational platform for understanding complex policy issues that incorporates role-playing, storytelling and mapping techniques
  • Co-Kreate: an innovative and sustainable housing alternative that generates economic development, and supports education and community development
  • Citysteading: a community-driven process that seeks to empower marginalized urban populations to have a voice in driving important policy issues such as affordable housing and environmental protection

Wanted: Designer with Bright Ideas

Do you dream of Zeppelin chandeliers and artichoke lamps? Harbor strong opinions about lightbulbs? Find yourself frequently explaining to friends how it is impossible to go wrong with a swooping Arco floor lamp? Then you’ll fit right in at YLighting, the online purveyor of modern lighting, furniture, and accessories. The Walnut Creek, California-based company is looking to hire a web designer to play a leading role in shaping its visual identity as it combines its YLighting and YLiving brands. Bring your strong digital portfolio, solid understanding of web design best practices as they relate to e-commerce, and plenty of bright ideas.

Learn more about this senior web designer, Ylighting job or view all of the current Mediabistro design, art, and photo jobs.

Paul McCarthy’s Grim Fairy Tale Debuts at Park Avenue Armory


(Photo: James Ewing)

New York’s Park Avenue Armory is an insatiable monster of a space, able to accommodate art fairs and the Royal Shakespeare Company, atonal German operas and homespun missions to Mars, all with what feels like acreage to spare. Until now. Paul McCarthy’s “WS” manages to fill every orifice of the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thomson Drill Hall, oozing under the bleachers and out into the period rooms to tell the grimmest of fairy tales—the artist’s debaucherous take on Snow White, or White Snow (WS). Bring on the depraved Disney magic, because through August 4, the Park Avenue Armory is where nightmares come true.

“Let’s not beat around the bush, this is a really tough work,” said Tom Eccles, consulting curator at the Armory, at Tuesday’s press preview. “It’s painful.” Bracketing a kind of hellish studio backlot are giant elevated screens playing a four-channel video that follows WS from the forest—which alternates from a Rousseauian jungle studded with tropical megablooms to just plain trippy, depending on the lighting—into the home of the dwarves, an oafish, mentally challenged, and pants-free bunch who favor Yale and UCLA hoodies. A series of increasingly raucous house parties ends with Walt Paul (McCarthy himself, stealing the show as a Walt Disney-like character who unravels from inscrutable butler mode to a kind of coked-up Walter Matthau) on all fours in the basement “rumpus room,” sodomized with a broomstick—as if Bosch and Brueghel teamed up on an alternate ending for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The seven-hour feature, culled from some 350 hours of footage (“We couldn’t even watch it all,” says McCarthy), takes place mostly inside a thoroughly trashed, gravy-and-chocolate smeared replica of the artist’s childhood home in Salt Lake City. The ranch-style house has been recreated in three-quarter-scale, a choice that, when combined with the tightly shot, loosely edited cacophony of sins, foodstuffs, and liquids, makes for a claustrophobia- and queasiness-inducing viewing experience.
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