a tale of a few cities

DWR: Whose bad IKEA was that anyway?

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From 1966 to 1972, Cy Twombly created a number of canvases that resembled blackboards, with light-colored loops and scrawls flowing across grey backgrounds. These works, blurring the line between drawing and painting, were made with white wax crayon loops on gray painted grounds. An abstraction of cursive script that the artist called “pseudo-writing.”
A Fisher-Price-like homage to action painting appears on page 11 of The Bedroom Sale – February 9-21 printed flyer for Design Within Reach. A moonlighting IKEA stylist/stager/Cy Twombly aficionado must have thought to him or herself, “I can do that.”
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DWR Vice President of Creative and Marketing, caught snöring.
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Michael Rakowitz, Climate Control, 2000 – 2001

Michael Rakowitz

Climate Control
2000 – 2001
Galvanized steel ductwork, fans, timers
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY
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Most museums and exhibition spaces have a central climate control system for maintaining the standard temperature and relative humidity (r.h.) necessary to preserve art works on exhibit. P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center lacks such a mechanism and, during the winter, turns its radiators up to 90˚F, ignoring the institutional standard of 68˚ – 72˚F. The dry heat of the radiators engenders a relative humidity reading of approximately 11%, potentially damaging to objects like paintings or prints, which require stabilized environments of between 40% – 50% r.h.
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In order to lower the temperature of the Special Projects room to which it is confined, Climate Control, an apparatus consisting of ductwork and fans, incorporates the existing radiator system on the interior of the building with the cold winter temperature outside. The resulting maze of ductwork features a central absurd element: the continuous duct which travels outside the windows and then directly back in, visible from the street. An internal humidifier feeds off moisture in the air and maintains a relative humidity of 20%, in keeping with the standard for exhibiting artworks made from galvanized steel. While the system is adjustable and can maintain a stabilized environment for the display of even delicate works on paper, there is no space to exhibit other art: Climate Control completely engulfs the room. The result is an absurd machine built to maintain itself. – Michael Rakowitz
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I first heard of Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz through his collaborative project “Spoils,” a culinary/art experience utilizing plates found in Saddam Hussein’s fallen palaces and held at Park Avenue Autumn this past October. After doing a few searches, I discovered his 2001 Climate Control installation at P.S.1 and was really taken by the Rakowitz’s clever use of space.
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I wouldn’t be surprised if Rakowitz’s Climate Control spurred the installation of a climate control system at P.S.1, albeit slowly.
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Lost Bohemia

Posted in appropriation, architecture, Art, Interiors, New York City, Photography by petercombe on May 20, 2011

(Photo: Josef Astor)

Lost Bohemia,” a new documentary by Josef Astor, is a sad and spirited elegy for the Carnegie Hall Studios, which for more than a century provided working, living and teaching space for all kinds of artists on the floors above the famous concert hall. Mr. Astor, a photographer who moved into the building in 1985, pays tribute to his neighbors and friends who made up the last generation of studio residents. He also acknowledges the famous ghosts who haunt the place, ranging from Isadora Duncan and Enrico Caruso to Marilyn Monroe and Martha Graham.

Astor, who’d been in his skylighted space since 1985, was once surrounded by hundreds of creative neighbors—painters and dancers, photographers and composers—who lived and worked in 170 studios built directly above the grand midtown concert hall. The studios are in the process of being gutted and remodeled by the Carnegie Hall Corporation (the building is owned by the city, but the corporation is its primary tenant). According to a CHC spokeswoman, the spaces will be converted to “educational facilities” for young musicians.

When Andrew Carnegie built the Towers over the Hall—the project was completed in 1896—he intended for the studios to be occupied by working artists. It wasn’t cultural altruism—the rents were a source of revenue. But architect Henry J. Hardenbergh (who also did the Dakota and the Plaza Hotel) designed the apartments as studios, with high ceilings and north-facing skylights. The roster of names who lived and worked there is stellar: Isadora Duncan, Agnes de Mille, Garson Kanin, Marlon Brando, Leonard Bernstein.


Editta Sherman is known as the Duchess of Carnegie Hall. The sprightly 98-year-old had lived in her twelfth-floor studio since 1949. She raised five children while working as a successful photographer of the cultural elite. Dramatic black-and-white examples from her collection of 2,500 portraits were displayed against the mirrored walls and bold checkered floor: Henry Fonda, Mary Martin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. A cast-iron circular staircase led to a loft filled with studio props. Photographer and past fellow resident Bill Cunningham enlisted Sherman as his model and muse for his 1978 book Facades, which fuses fashion and architecture photography.

The corporation promised to find comparable apartments for the seven rent-controlled tenants still living in the Towers, and to pay the difference in rent for the remainder of each tenant’s life, but the 26 non-rent-controlled commercial and residential tenants—including Astor—had no such guarantee.

The last residents moved out last year, and while “Lost Bohemia” mourns their dispossession, it also allows us to spend time in their eccentric, artistic company and to appreciate their contribution to the life of the city. Among them are Bill Cunningham, the New York Times photographer who is the subject of a marvelous recent documentary, and Don Shirley, a pianist who recalls playing with Duke Ellington “downstairs” — that is, in Carnegie Hall itself.

An anonymous, unseen poet who lived above Mr. Astor and left him eloquent phone messages observed that studios and the hall below, though commissioned by a plutocrat, “were built not on power, but on love.” The power of this documentary resides in that proud and fragile sentiment. Photo below is Astor’s studio after demolition.

Jeremiah’s New York >

The New York Times >

Anish Kapoor, Leviathan

Posted in architecture, Art, Installation, Interiors, paris, Photography, Sculpture by petercombe on May 13, 2011

Each year the Ministère de la Culture et Communication invites a leading artist to create a work that responds to the exceptional architectural space of the Grand Palais in Paris. The sheer monumental scale of the building provided the inspiration for Monumenta.
This year, Indian-born, British-based artist Anish Kapoor has created a temporary, site-specific installation (much larger than his Marsyas, 2002, installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern) inside the nave of the glass-domed hall. The space was originally unveiled at the 1900 universal exhibition. For its fourth edition, after guest artists Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra and Christian Boltanski, it has been the turn of Anish Kapoor to meet the challenge with a brand new work for the 13,500 m2 space.

Visitors to the Grand Palais will first use a revolving door to enter inside ‘the belly of the beast’, a four-chamber balloon, bathed in red light, which the artist says he hopes has a cathedral-like quality. I am reminded of Niki de Saint-Phalle’s Hon, 1966, Moderna Museet, Stockholm which I compared to an earlier architectural collaboration between Kapoor and Amanda Levete Architects (the Monte St Angelo Subway station in Naples). It is as if the interior of Kappor’s Leviathan presents a womblike element or some sort anatomical organ system.

Once you enter the second part of the exhibition, the exterior of the sculpture appears to bear no relation to the interior. They co-exist simultaneously. That’s what the work is about,’ says Anish Kapoor.

‘I think there is no such thing as an innocent viewer. all viewing, all looking comes with complications, comes with previous histories, a more or less real past. abstract art and sculpture in particular, has to deal with this idea that the viewer comes with his body, and of course memory. memory and body come together in the act of looking. I’m really interested in what happens to meaning in that process: as memory and body walk through, take the passage through any given work, something happens, something changes.’
Anish Kapoor

The cost of this exhibition is estimated around 3 million euros. 

Anish Kapoor was born in Bombay in 1954. He lives and works in London.

Über-ness

 

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Über-ness

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