a tale of a few cities

DWR: Whose bad IKEA was that anyway?

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.”
DWR Vice President of Creative and Marketing, caught snöring.

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
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.
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
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.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Rakowitz’s Climate Control spurred the installation of a climate control system at P.S.1, albeit slowly.

Duchess of Carnegie Hall (No More)

Posted in artists, New York City, Photography, Real Estate by petercombe on May 22, 2011
 (Photo: Josef Astor)

Editta Sherman, a 98 year old artist had been living upstairs from Carnegie Hall in a rent controlled studio since 1946, paying $650 a month in rent until her eviction last year. It all started in 2007 when Carnegie Hall announced a $200 million renovation project. 18 studios including Sherman’s were occupied at the time. After a defiant fight Sherman and the other remaining tenants, victims of the never-ending struggle between art and commerce, were forced to move out.

UPDATE (May 27): Just saw ‘Bill Cunningham New York‘ where there is repeated footage and mention of the Carnegie Hall artists’ plight. It is a shame that NYC Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg didn’t intercede nor offer a statement from his office. Surely the powers that be at Carnegie Hall could have made an exception for two national treasures, Editta Sherman and 81 year old Bill Cunningham. In 2008 Cunningham was awarded the title chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and spent much of the (his) ceremony giddily snapping pictures of those in attendance. 

A sad chord is struck later in the film as Cunningham views the replacement suites on offer, all featuring splendid views of Central Park.  In his chosen new digs he had the appliances removed from the kitchen to make more room for his many filing cabinets.

Further documentation of the Carnegie injustice can be seen in Josef ‘Birdman’ Astor’s ‘Lost Bohemia‘ which was just released in New York last week.

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