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.
On any typical day, the pedestrianized Rua Luís de Camões in the small Portuguese town of Águeda is a charming place to experience the city, but this July, a cultural festival called AgitÁgueda (Stir Agueda) rolled out the green carpet, suspended hundreds of colorful umbrellas overhead, and invited residents to see the city in a whole new light.
In the middle of a lightly populated island in the middle of a French reservoir—the Ile de Vassivière—an eerie green glow rises from the crest of a hill at dusk, indicating that you’ve found OTRO, a phosphorescent skate park of sinuous bowls and tunnels. Designed by artist Koo Jeong-A, L’Escaut Architectures, and skateboard consultants Brusk and Barricade, the project is described as “skateable artwork” and located near a large chateau housing the International Center of Art and Landscape, a light house designed by Aldo Rossi, and a humanoid piece of land art only visible from high above.
They’re being phased out in Europe and in many other countries around the world (but not in the U.S.), but there’s no denying that the soft, yellow glow from incandescent light bulbs—especially the low-Wattage Edison original that’s a staple in any Brooklyn-chic bar or restaurant—hasn’t been matched by fluorescent or LED alternatives. Until now. Lancaster, PA-based artist Luke Anderson partneres with a ceramicist and a glass blower to create a larger-than-life modern version of the Edison bulb called Alva—the famous inventor’s middle name—built with modern LED technology but with the nostalgic glow of the original.
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.
Berlin’s Museum der Dinge (Museum of Things) is home to the Werkbundarchiv, a collection of objects produced from 1907 up until the midcentury by the Deutsche Werkbund (German Work Federation), an association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists. Even though the Werkbund is attributed with being the precursor of Modern architecture and industrial design and had a significant influence on the Bauhaus school, it wasn’t a creative movement, but a state-sponsored initiative to pair traditional crafts with mass production techniques to gain a competitive edge in manufacturing everything – as their motto states: Vom Sofakissen Zum Stadtbau (from sofa cushions to city building).
The collection is as fascinating as it is overwhelming, packed to the gills with objects that are rightfully described by the museum’s curators as “designed by very famous artists and anonymous designers, individual pieces and mass production, functional and puristic objects and so-called ‘error in taste’ or ‘Kitsch,’ substantial ‘honest’ things and material surrogates, branded articles and no-name products.”
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.
The shortlist for the coveted annual Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has been announced! With six contesting projects to choose from, judges will begin visiting all six sites and will convene for a final vote on October 13, 2012. Among the six shortlisted projects are Maggie’s Cancer Centre and New Court Rothschild Bank, both by the OMA, London’s new Olympic Stadium by Populous, and David Chipperfield’s Wakefield, the Barbara Hepworth sculpture gallery in Yorkshire.