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New Galleries of the Art of the Arab
Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and
Later South Asia
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent galleries opened November 1
After a hiatus of nearly eight years, the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Islamic Art and its extensive collection—one of the most comprehensive gatherings of this material in the world—will permanently return to view this November in a completely renovated space of fifteen galleries. The suite of galleries was constructed by a fleet of Moroccan craftsmen (in action above) recruited specifically for their experience and the precision of their work. Nearly as impressive as the handiwork of different trades is the team of planners, architects, and scholars who collaborated with them. Nadia Erzini, Achva Benzinberg Stein, and other experts worked with Metropolitan’s own curators to create spaces of contextual authenticity. The galleries are arranged geographically, further highlighting the rich and complex diversity of the Islamic world and its distinct cultures within.
Midcentury American Art and Design
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
Through January 15, 2012
Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design presents the evolution of the design industry spanning 25 years, from the late 1940s to 1969. The show explores the contributions of artists and designers using craft media—defined here as clay, fiber, wood, metal, glass, and alternative materials—within a culture focused on mass-production in the years following World War II. Through their work, designers and craftsmen reacted to the plethora of machine- and mass-produced consumer appliances, furniture and textiles; at the same time a there was a growing consumer interest in the individualistic aesthetic of handmade works. Craft, which spanned the fields of product design to architecture, became a medium for social commentary, philosophy and wit, as seen in the My Mu terracotta vase by Isamu Noguchi (above), an idiosyncratic, three-legged ceramic containing a central cavity that provocatively references the Zen concept of mu, meaning “nothingness.” In addition to Noguchi, the exhibition features the work of Harry Bertoia, George Nakashima, Ray and Charles Eames, and Alexander Calder, among others.
Calm like Rahm. Halloween might be over, but we couldn’t resist sharing this Facebook photo of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel riding public transit with zombies! The photo was posted with the following caption: “In case of a zombie apocalypse, remember to stay calm like Rahm.” (h/t Transportation Nation)
S, M, L, XL, XXL. The AIA-Chicago has released their latest round of awards and the Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin takes a look at the winners, lauding the range of project scales undertaken by Chicago architects, from a small pavilion to the world’s tallest building.
Tracking LA. While Chicago has zombies, LA County has some cold hard cash. Everything Long Beach reports that eight key transportation projects were awarded $448 million including a 6.7 light rail line that is expected to become one of the busiest lines in the U.S.
Sacred sale. Bankrupt mega-church Crystal Cathedral has found a buyer for their expansive, starchitect-studded Southern California campus (think Philip Johnson, Neutra, and Meier). The LA Times says Chapman University will pay $50 mil for the site, allowing the slimmed-down church to stay and eventually buy back their core building.
Philly reads. In this economy, small book stores—especially architecture book stores—are struggling to keep their doors open. Philly is bucking this trend as the AIA Philadelphia opens up a new shop working with the Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Washington Square.
Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928–1939
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA
Through March 2012
The American-German artist Lyonel Feininger, famous for his urban and landscape paintings, took up photography in 1928. Already a longtime collaborator with Walter Gropius—Feininger taught printmaking at the Bauhaus for almost a decade while Gropius was director—Feininger turned to the “mechanical” medium to explore the effects of light and shadow, reflections, and night imagery. A majority of his photographs have remained in relative obscurity. The exhibit Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928–1939 at the Getty Center is the first U.S. venue to present a comprehensive collection of his photography.
It’s going to happen when you least suspect it: the zombie apocalypse will be upon us and your life will be in your own hands against the living dead (that’s assuming hours behind a studio desk hasn’t already transformed you into a zombie yourself). Luckily, as architecture-types, we possess special skills needed to defend ourselves from those out for our brains. A fantastic display of anti-zombie ingenuity is on display at the 2011 Zombie Safe House Competition, like the above proposal to retrofit existing urban buildings against a future zombie invasion (with a green roof, no less), and you can vote for your favorite. (Here’s last year’s winner: a floating dwelling sailing the Mighty Mississippi.) This year’s voting ends this Monday—Halloween—when you’ll likely encounter a few rogue zombies wandering the streets.
Modernism in Miniature: Points of View
Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920, rue Baile
Through January 8
Modernism in Miniature examines the relationship between architectural model-making and photography, spanning the years 1920 to 1960. It posits model photography as its own genre, exploring the evolution and visual methods used to capture these miniature architectural representations. Focusing on the encounter between media and architecture, the exhibition investigates the link between design and mass media with themes such as “Object and Image” and the “Art of Simulation.” Models by architects including Mies van der Rohe, Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, and Carlo Mollino (his model for a San Remo apartment, above) illustrate the changing architectural expression and visual representation of mid-century modernism.
NANCY HOLT: Sightlines
The Graham Foundation
Four West Burton Place
Through December 17
Beginning her artistic career in the 1960s, Nancy Holt helped pioneer the Land Art movement alongside artists like Richard Serra and Robert Smithson, who was her husband and occasional collaborator. Nancy Holt: Sightlines at the Graham Foundation presents documentation of over 40 of her monumental and ecologically-focused projects through photography, film, and artist’s books, revealing Holt’s eloquent mode of navigating the intersection of art and nature.
In Sun Tunnels, an installation and 1978 film (above), sunlight interacts with four concrete tunnels in the Great Basin Desert in Utah, exemplifying Holt’s interest in space and time by highlighting how the passage of the sun impacts each tunnel differently and in a way specific to that location. In addition to presenting previously unseen materials from the artist’s archive, the exhibition, which concentrates on the Holt’s work between 1966 and 1980, features the documentary Pine Barrens (1975) about undeveloped land in New Jersey, and documentation of the projects Swamp (1971, in collaboration with Smithson), Boomerang (1973, in collaboration with Serra), and the multi-monitor installation Points of View (1974), a piece that underscores the different perspectives we bring to viewing the landscape.
If Bjarke Ingels‘ ascension into starchitecture hasn’t been dramatic enough, the Danish architect is again moving up in the world. On Friday, Ingels’ firm BIG threw a party to christen their new office space in Manhattan. BIG has expanded its Chelsea presence, moving up from the third to the twelfth floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building. A press preview of the new space preceded the party a couple floors above. Among those in attendance were Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, who earlier this month awarded Ingels the $90,000 Culture Prize—the MacArthur of Scandinavia—for his emerging work in architecture.
Now it looks like Ingels’ October has just been getting started. The Wall Street Journal Magazine will declare the Danish architect among its inaugural Innovators of the Year. Read More
Unfrozen Music: Architects in Concert
Santa Monica Main Library
Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Tomorrow night a few talented Los Angeles architects—several featured on the pages of AN over the years—will be showing off their skills at the third annual Unfrozen Music, a concert at the Santa Monica Library‘s MLK Auditorium. Emcee’d by AN West Coast Editor Sam Lubell, the lineup ranges from chamber music to jazz to indie rock. And here’s a secret—they’re all really good.
Since an unofficial concept ad was leaked (above, left) in September proclaiming “Ice Cube celebrates Ray & Charles Eames,” the web has been abuzz about the rapper’s upcoming film on the architects’ influence on his life, part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time series of exhibitions in Los Angeles. For the exhibition on Ray and Charles Eames, Ice Cube recreated an old ad (above, right) from the 1950s, complete with a pipe and a 1953 DAT Chair. Cube, it appears, studied architectural drafting, although he never got his degree. He joins LA stars like Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis and actor Jason Schwartzman in promoting the epic series, which continues through next year.