Eavesdrop attended the opening of William J. O’Brien’s mid-career solo show on view through May 18 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago. 2014 is shaping up to be a strong one for Chicago-based artists, with this show clearly thrusting O’Brien into the upper echelon.
The Chicago Design Museum, our resident pop-up pantheon of graphic aesthetics, is looking for your help to mount the first exhibition in its new permanent home. They’re planning a centennial show for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (hey, AIGA’s as old as Wrigley!), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded (and time is really running out!). Eavesdrop’s been known to drop in on ChiDM’s shows since its inception, so we could be persuaded to part with some cash.
An odd confluence of global statecraft and local politics could reshape Manhattan super luxury real estate. The Russian/Ukraine conflict has pushed the U.S. to impose sanctions on many of Russia’s richest men, the so-called oligarchs surrounding Vladimir Putin. According to the Times’ Real Estate section, the sanctions are sending a “chill” through Manhattan’s luxury developers and the brokers who serve them, since Russian buyers have acquired some of the city’s priciest properties in recent years. Time will tell if the conflict is long lasting enough to depress prices or change the dynamic of Manhattan real estate, but with Mayor de Blasio’s relentless drive to create affordable housing the pressure is on for developers to start paying more attention to average New Yorkers, not just global billionaires looking to stash their cash in empty apartments overlooking Central Park.
Speaking of the architecture/celebrity complex, a source told Eavesdrop that Liz Diller is designing an Upper East Side apartment for entertainment mogul David Geffen. The once radical architect has gotten awfully cozy with the establishment. We guess all that time in Los Angeles designing The Broad is paying off.
The MoMA PS 1 jury process that selected the “100 percent organic pavilion Hy-Fi” for its 2014 pavilion may have been a contentious group. The museum announced last month that David Benjamin, the principal of Brooklyn-based firm The Living, would design the temporary structure. But several sources have told Eavesdrop that one of the short listed firms (Collective-LOK, PARA-Project, WOJR, over,under, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, LAMAS, Pita + Bloom) was in fact told that it—not Benjamin—had won the design competition.
Chicago’s urban planning history is epic and, therefore, it’s no surprise that the city draws young folks fresh out of school with their MUPs, MPAs, and MPPs in droves (yours truly was one these eight years ago). However, Eavesdrop had no clue how many of them were gay until a couple weeks ago. A young buck, Daniel Ronan—fresh (meat) off the boat from Portland, Oregon—started an LGBT social group for planner and policy folks called Moxie. The inaugural meeting, which took place at Hubbard Inn, was well-attended, including not one, but two AN contributors and Dr. Curtis Winkle, the department head at UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. And some hot guy from our gym whom Eavesdrop didn’t know was a planner—heyyy!
The next meetup takes place on Thursday, April 17 at the Vinyl Lounge Chicago. RSVP here.
Apparently, Chicagoans are bonkers for typography. Jeff Sanchez, Graphic Design Manager for the International Interior Design Association, invited us to Typeforce 5, “the annual showcase of typographic all-stars.” Hosted by the Co-Prosperity Sphere down in Bridgeport, this was the most well attended opening we’ve been to in ages. Eavesdrop bumped into old AN pals, like local designer Michael Savona and Gravity Tank power players Robert Zolna and Moritsugu Kariya. Robert, Eavesdrop wouldn’t mind a new day job, so, if you hire us, rest-assured we’d never use Comic Sans or Chiller in communications with clients. Call us!
As the economy continues to roll we’re again awash in shortlists and competition wins. The Santa Monica City Services Building has a shortlist that includes SOM and Frederick Fisher. Teams shortlisted for the Herald Examiner Building include Christof Jantzen and Brenda Levin. LA’s Wildwood School shortlist includes Gensler, Koning Eizenberg, and one unknown team. The UC San Diego Biological Building has gone to CO Architects (recent winners of the AIACC Firm of the Year award). EHDD has won the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, and Harley Ellis Devereaux has won the Long Beach Belmont Plaza Pool.
It’s beginning to sound a bit like a broken record, but for the umpteenth time, the conclusion has been drawn that the riverfront interstate, I-64, in Louisville, Kentucky, is a problem. That along with a lot of other advice—some insightful, some, like, “duh!”—was included in a new $300,000 master plan for the city developed by the firms MKSK, Development Strategies, City Visions, and Urban 1. The more insightful bits include ways of reconnecting Portland and west side neighborhoods with the urban core. The obvious, but still necessary, include the 42 million (that figure is a bit of hyperbole) surface parking spaces. Have you ever flown into Louisville? The downtown looks like a mall parking lot. Mayor Greg Fischer, don’t let this advice fall on deaf ears… again.
One of our favorite duos, Oyler Wu, recently completed its biggest installation to date: The Cube, a twisting, glowing steel and wire concoction for the 2013 Beijing Biennale. The dramatic project is now touring China, but when pressed for the latest news the firm admitted that it is not sure where it is. So if you spot a giant cube somewhere in the country, please give them a ring, will you?
Social media was abuzz recently over the reports by eavesdrop, the WSJ, and other major papers about the biggest recession scab over Chicago: the failed Spire designed by Santiago Calatrava. That Irish pie in the sky developer apparently found someone to bail the project out of its foreclosure. Everyone was all, “It’s back on!” Dear readers, until they start pumping the water out of the big hole in the ground, Eavesdrop is betting against this one.