A good portion of our editorial staff just boarded an airplane headed for the Venice Biennial, so AN headquarters is pretty quiet this afternoon. For your Friday afternoon enjoyment, check out this time-lapse video of the Manhattan skyline viewed from the Empire State Building being drawn with amazing detail by illustrator Patrick Vale. [h/t E Minor]
With the official grand opening of the Venice Biennale set for Wednesday, August 29, following a two-day preview, it’s time to start planning your visit with the only comprehensive guide to the Who, What, and Where of the Biennale. Download your own copy to keep on hand or look for the guide to be printed in the first issue of Guida alla Biennale di Architettura, a partnership between The Architect’s Newspaper and Il Giornale Dell’Architettura.
Century of the Child
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
Through November 5
Is design for grown ups? Hardly. While a child’s own designs might be limited to block towers or crayon masterpieces, design touches nearly every part of early life. Children use toys, wear clothing, play in playgrounds, use furniture, and sit in classrooms, all of which are created specifically for them. Opening at the Museum of Modern Art, Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000 surveys the material world constructed for the child over the 20th Century. Visions of children and how design has followed or shaped their perceptions over the past century are considered in the exhibition. Take Frederich Froebel, whose famous toys (a gift box edition, pictured below) were favorites of Frank Lloyd Wright as a child. Froebel designed his blocks to be given in a sequence, educating children as they learned and matured over time. The exhibition identifies and merges the many facets of design that consider children, presenting these products together and revealing the ideas and ambitions of the designers who created them.
On a recent sunny day in Silver Lake the Materials & Applications gallery got folks together to eat cake. In honor of the group’s 10th anniversary M&A hosted an architectural bake-off called “Elevate Your Cake,” with groovy deliciousness by an impressive group of designers. They included Predock Frane; Chu + Gooding; Escher GuneWardena Architecture; Gensler; Deegan Day; Deutsch; Patterns; Noah Riley Design; Warren Techentin; Barbara Bestor; MASS; Osborn; Modal Design; Taalman Koch; and Andy Goldman.
That’s right, this was no amateur night. These were serious architectural cakes. Chu + Gooding’s cake, “Inopportune Totem,” looked like a porcupine had mated with a death-by-chocolate. Warren Techentin’s entry, “cubisphere,” was made up of Japanese Mochi and chocolate cake balls. It looked like a cube made of colorful (but edible) golf and ping pong balls stacked on each other. After several of the cakes were raffled off everybody got down to business: eating the rest.
Don’t miss Maps to Apps, the Digital Cityscape tonight at the Center for Architecture! Here’s a short synopsis of the event:
The advent of digital technology and the near universal adoption of the smart phones and the iPad have inspired many cities to experiment with using digital technology both for cultural tourism and for planning. In a couple of years the technology has developed from cell phone tours to QR codes placed on civic buildings. The just launched iPad app for the London Olympics ‘London A City Through Time’ transforms an entire encyclopedia’s worth of content into a tool for understanding the archaeology of a city. Probably the first attempt to use state of the art technology to take the pulse of a city and then share it was in Boston with the Where’s Boston exhibition at the Prudential Center in 1976. This summer cultureNOW is surveying Boston again through the lens of its Museum Without Walls/ iPhone app. This symposium will examine the project and look at it in the broader context.
Joseph Albers Painting on Paper
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
Through October 14
Josef Albers (1888–1976) was both a student and professor at the Bauhaus, one of the most influential art and design schools of the 20th century. Known for his precise use of line and unparalleled sense of color, Albers meticulously worked through his ideas in successive studies on paper. Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper is an opportunity to see Albers’ process at work. The exhibition features approximately 60 studies spanning most of Albers’ career, from the 1930s through the 70s, many of which include hand written notations, including architectural inspirations. The studies, evidence of his mind and hand working toward final painting, are expressive and moving in their own right. The Morgan exhibition is the only US venue for the show, which will travel to several European cities.
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA
Through August 12
The SCI-Arc Media Archive, comprising four decades of lectures, symposia, and events from many of the most creative contemporary architects and thinkers, is scheduled to go online this fall. In anticipation of this resource becoming publicly accessible, the MAK Center (above) presents selected material from the archive curated by architects and architectural historians, each composing a singular argument out of their selections. Focusing on Peter Cook’s record 11 talks, architect Roger Sherman presents “Cook Off,” portraying the architect as a SCI-Arc “doppelganger” and lens through which the school may consider its “alternative” status. Scholar Dr. Paulette Singley offers “Teasers, Ticklers, and Twizzlers,” a look at interdisciplinary performance and architectural research. The architect, historian, and curator Anthony Fontenot presents “City Talk,” reflecting on the evolving dialogue on cities at SCI-Arc with a monitor dedicated to excerpts from each decade. Architect Marcelyn Gow investigates the role of drawing in architectural practice with “Drawn Out,” focusing on its evolution in our era of computational design.
Coincidentally, this video of legendary art critic Robert Hughes’s 1980s television series The Shock of the New was passed around the AN offices yesterday morning. We were saddened to hear of Hughes death at the age of 74 later that day. This television series and his role as chief art critic for Time magazine made him a fixture of the cultural world, and his opinionated, sometimes combative, no holds barred attitudes on art and architecture made him a lively and engaging writer and commentator. In describing Damien Hirst’s The Virgin Mother then on display at the Lever House in Manhattan, Hughes said, “Isn’t it a miracle what so much money and so little ability can produce. Just extraordinary.” And there you have it.