This Friday, catch the world premiere of “Modern Ruin” all about the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair
World Premiere of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion
Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Cocktails 7:00–8:00p.m., Screening 8:00–9:30p.m.
Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin’s New York State Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens’ Flushing Meadows Corona Park should be more than an eyebrow raiser as those curious, disc-on-pole structures seen when driving to JFK airport. It was Munchkinland, the starting place for Dorothy’s journey to Manhattan—correction, Oz—in the 1978 film The Wiz. It was an alien spacecraft tower in the original 1997 Men in Black which crashes into the nearby Unisphere. And it was the site of Tony Stark/Ironman’s confrontation with his adversaries in Iron Man 2 on the grounds of Stark Expo 2010, a digitally updated 1964 World’s Fair grounds (director Jon Favreau’s childhood home overlooked the park). And it will appear in the new film Tomorrowland starring George Clooney that opens May 22.
The word “sapienza” means “wisdom” in Italian. It also refers to the Church of Saint Yves at La Sapienza, 1642–1660, designed by Baroque architect Francesco Borromini. In Eugene Green’s film, La Sapienza, Borromini is a hero of the protagonist, architect Alexandre Schmid (played by Fabrizio Rongione). Borromini incorporated the remains of a 14th century church, rather than razing it, a touchstone for Schmid. Geometry reigns throughout: the building is capped by a corkscrew lantern, and triangles and semi-circles are combined with figurative elements.
This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s announcement that Chicago would launch an international festival of art and architecture—its own take on the famous Venice biennale—drew jeers and cheers from the design community both near and far from The Second City. AN called for the show aspiring to be North America’s largest architectural exhibition to go beyond tourism bromides.
Now the upstart expo has a name, as well as its first show. Read More
Architecture & Design Film Festival
54 Varick Street, New York
It’s that time of year again, when the Architecture & Design Film Festival brings a bouquet of moving image portraits about the built environment and the creators behind them to New York. From October 5–19 at Tribeca Cinemas, you can catch the U.S. premiere of the much-anticipated series masterminded by Wim Wenders, Cathedrals of Culture. Made by six directors—Wenders, Robert Redford, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Margreth Olin and Karim Aïnouz—about six buildings: Berlin Philharmonic, the National Library of Russia, Halden Prison, the Salk Institute, the Oslo Opera House, and the Centre Pompidou, all in 3-D.
The recent 2014 Tribeca Film Festival screened a remarkable number of films on displacement. People were displaced from their homes—often forced but sometimes voluntary—for financial reasons, discrimination, landlord harassment (or irritation), and natural disasters. In the film Below Dreams, which takes place in New Orleans, a character says “Everybody needs a room.” Here are a few seekers.
At this year’s SXSW Festival, engineering took center stage in the documentary DamNation (directors Travis Rummel & Ben Knight), which won the Documentary Spotlight Audience Award. It begins with America’s rash of dam-building under FDR when these mammoth structures were considered man-made wonders. Hoover and Grand Coulee are the large-scale examples, but there were about 80,000 smaller dams built across the country.
A short time from now in a neighborhood not far, far away… filmmaker extraordinaire George Lucas may land his art and film museum in Chicago. The move comes after the filmmaker’s bid to build the museum in San Francisco fell through last year. Read More
Tacita Dean: JG
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Through January 26, 2014
JG, the latest work in film from British-born, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean, is inspired by her correspondence with British author J.G. Ballard and the connections between his short story, “The Voice of Time,” and Robert Smithson’s landmark earthwork, Spiral Jetty.
This Sunday the Tribeca Grand Hotel will be hosting a screening of Andreas Dalsgaard’s documentary, The Human Scale. Sponsored by the Tribeca Trust, the film will be followed by commentary from architectural critic and author Michael Sorkin. The movie examines human happiness within the context of urban life and was screened in New York last year as part of the Architecture and Design Film Festival. Tickets for the event can be purchased here with all proceeds benefiting Tribeca Trust’s public space initiative.
In November, the Los Angeles City Council named Armet & Davis’ Johnie’s Coffee Shop, the restaurant at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, a historic cultural landmark. That’s a win for preservationists concerned with the legacy of the Googie style, the auto-oriented, steel-and-neon aesthetic that spawned diners and coffee shops across Southern California from the 1940s through the 1960s.