Finding Common Ground at the Venice Biennale: Practice What You Preach, Mr. Prix

International
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
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Wolf Prix. (Elfie Semotan)

Wolf Prix. (Elfie Semotan)

“Venice Architecture Biennale ‘cannot get any worse’ says Wolf D. Prix,” read the headline on Dezeen’s August 30 wire post. In a press release titled “The Banal,” Prix declared that that architects participating in the biennale are “playing” while the profession is “sinking into powerlessness and irrelevance” at the hands of politicians, bureaucrats, and investors.

The broadside caused a stir in Venice during he opening and in the blogosphere but now it appears that Prix was never in Venice for the biennale in the first place and thus had not seen the exhibition he denounced. His office claims that Prix has been misunderstood and “the critique addressed the theme of the exhibition, not the show or its execution,” according to a spokesperson for the firm.

Continue reading after the jump.

Protesting for Pussy Riot at the Venice Biennale

Other
Friday, August 31, 2012
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Protesters at the Venice Biennale.

Protesters at the Venice Biennale.

The Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale has in recent years been a bit of a snore. The space has been filled most recently in 2010 with unconvincing drawings of older Russian cities and earlier (2008) with models of Ordos McMansions. But this year the pavilion’s interior was spectacularly reconfigured with walls of glass QR codes in its central space forming a digital dome, but the display’s heavy-handedness brought to mind earlier periods of Russian single mindedness and even totalitarianism.

It seems those in charge of this year’s Venice effort finally realized what kind of pavilion makes an impact in the giardini on harried biennale visitors and journalists and went for the full design monty. But the tensions in contemporary Russian society were also highlighted on Thursday during the Golden Lion awards presentation ceremony when a few hundred feet away a crew of cocktail-dressed and balaclava-wearing young Russian women “occupied” the exterior of the pavilion to make the case for the Pussy Riot band back in Russia recently jailed for hooliganism.

A rumor quickly spread that actual members of the band who had escaped Russie were present at the protest. Were these actually Pussy Rioters or sympathizers? No one was sure but it sure beat listening to the Biennale directors and bureaucrats drone on about Common Ground as the press rushed over from the dreadful press conference.

Future of the NAi in Question as New Director Takes Over

International
Friday, July 27, 2012
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Netherlands Architecture Institute. (Paul Joseph/Flickr)

Netherlands Architecture Institute. (Paul Joseph/Flickr)

The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) was founded in the early 1990′s and has been one of the world’s leading centers for promoting architecture and urban planning and improving public space. It is partially responsible for the high quality of contemporary Dutch design and planning. The institute was lead by the American curator and museum director Aaron Betsky until 2007 when Ole Bouman replaced him as the director.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Saturday! Open House New York Explores Spaces for Arts and Design in Red Hook

East
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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An exhibition space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. (Dustin Yellin)

An exhibition space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. (Dustin Yellin)

OHNYopenstudios in Red Hook
Saturday, July 28, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Reception to follow at Botanico Cafe, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Tickets $30 / $20 for students and seniors.
Purchase tickets here.

As part of the Open House New York openstudios series, artists’ studios in Red Hook, Brooklyn will throw open their doors this weekend. Just last week OHNY announced that Dustin Yellin has agreed to open his studio-which must be one of the most beautiful in the city (above). In addition, metalworkers, furniture designers, and glassblowers will be thrown into the mix, making the event a good fabrication tour as well.

The self guided event kicks off Saturday at noon followed by a wine reception with the artisans and tour goers around 5:00 p.m. at Botanico Cafe at 220 Conover Street. The cafe is adjacent to the organic chocolate and Liquor distillery Cacao Prieto also a beautiful Red Hook space. This promises to be one of the most interesting Saturday studio tours in the Open House series and we look forward to seeing you in Brooklyn.

Obit> Walter Pichler: 1936-2012

International
Monday, July 23, 2012
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House for the two troughs, front view. (Courtesy Gladstone Gallery)

House for the two troughs, front view. (Courtesy Gladstone Gallery)

Walter Pichler, the far sighted visionary architect, died last week at his home in Burgenland, Austria at the wage of 76. Though he does not seem to have an English Wikipedia page devoted to his work, Pichler was unquestionably one of the most influential artist/architects working in post-war Europe. Like Austrians Hans Hollien, Raimund Abraham, the groups Haus Rucker and Coop Himmelb(l)au, he created a powerful and evocative utopian world out of a hybrid of sculpture and drawing but always with an architectural idea at the core of the work.

Continue reading after the jump.

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On the Ground in Venice, An Update on the 13th Biennale of Architecture

International
Thursday, June 28, 2012
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Former AN Associate Editor Jaffer Kolb in Venice.

Former AN Associate Editor Jaffer Kolb in Venice.

In the cafe of the wonderfully elegant Palazzo Cà Giustinian on Venice‘s Grand Canal I had a chance to catch up with former AN associate editor Jaffer Kolb. Kolb has gone on to bigger and better projects and is currently the man on the ground in Venice for David Chipperfield as they prepare for the 13th Biennale of Architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture and Design Exhibitions by the Numbers

International
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
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Animal Superpowers, an interactive game by Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada. (Courtesy MoMA)

Animal Superpowers, an interactive game by Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada was part of MoMA's Talk to Me exhibition. (Courtesy MoMA)

If your interested in how many people viewed Christian Marclay’s The Clock exhibition at the Centre Pompidou (6,996 for its three day run) in 2011 then The Art Newspaper‘s yearly round up of the top exhibitions makes great reading. This year the list breaks out Architecture and Design exhibitions and New York’s MoMA is the clear winner.

Check out the top 10 exhibitions after the jump.

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Two Exhibitions Recall the Inspirational Work of Lauretta Vinciarelli

East
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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(Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art)

Orange Sound Project. (Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art)

Lauretta Vinciarelli was a quiet but powerful presence on the New York architecture scene since the 1980s when she began producing “imaginary architectural settings” of buildings and landscapes. I considered it a great honor to be invited to her Soho loft to look and talk about her latest work 10 years before her death in 2011. It’s too easy as an architectural journalist covering the daily rough and tumble of urban architecture to get jaundiced about the profession, but Vinciarelli’s extraordinarily beautiful and quiet drawings and paintings remind me why we still believe in the power and hope of great architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

Watch a 1956 Jean Prouvé House Being Built Live in Paris

(Courtesy Galerie Patrick Seguin)

(Courtesy Galerie Patrick Seguin)

The Parisian gallery Patrick Seguin features 20th century furniture and architecture and is currently showing Jean Prouvé’s 1956 Maison Des Jours Meilleurs from May 25 to September 29. But if you can’t make it to 5 Rue des Taillandiers this summer, you can still watch the live set-up of the house in the gallery at Seguin’s website. Construction takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Paris time.

Dispute Could Doom John Johansen’s Iconic Mummers Theater

Southwest
Friday, May 11, 2012
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John Johansen's Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City. (Courtesy of Farooq S. Karim)

John Johansen’s Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City. (Courtesy of Farooq S. Karim)

John Johansen’s iconic Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City may be demolished in the next year. Built with a $1.7 million grant from the Ford Foundation, the so called “Brutalist” building was closed in 2010 due to flooding and a local Oklahoma City group has been trying to purchase it for a downtown children’s museum.

Read More

Mark Robbins, Dean of Photography

East, Shft+Alt+Del
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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Mark Robbins.

Mark Robbins.

Syracuse University’s School of Architecture will need a new dean before summer. New York City’s International Center of Photography (ICP) has announced that Mark Robbins the current dean of the school will become its next Executive Director. Robbins worked tirelessly to utilize Syracuse’s intellectual and design resources to bring life and new ideas to the dying college city and will be hard for the school to replace. But perhaps his skill at jump starting building projects will be useful in helping ICP find a new Manhattan gallery space befitting their mission and world class collection. Robbins will move out of his dramatic Syracuse bank townhouse and back to his hometown by July 1.

Join Open House New York Saturday for a Day at the Yard

East
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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(Courtesy Space for Art and Industry)

(Courtesy Space for Art and Industry)

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is home to New York’s most spectacular collection of industrial buildings, warehouses, and 19th century dry docks. The Yard is normally closed to the public, but this Saturday Open House New York will open the gated industrial park to the public and many of its artisans, designers, and fabricators will be on hand to conduct tours of their studio spaces. The Navy Yard has just opened Building 92 with a spectacular museum of the facility’s history and an adjacent exhibition space featuring an exhibit of the collected steel dies (called hubs) of Mathew Lewandowski who was tool and die maker based in the Yard. The hubs on display represent 30 years of Lewandowski’s production and are beautiful objects in their own right as well as being tools for mass production. This Saturday is supposed to be beautiful weather so join Open House for a day in the Yard and its after party with the artists and artisans on the tour.

More exhibition photos after the jump.

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