Review> If/Then, the Musical, Follows the Life of an Urban Planner

Art, East, On View, Review
Monday, April 14, 2014
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Idina Menzel and the cast of If/Then. (Joan Marcus)

Idina Menzel and the cast of If/Then. (Joan Marcus)

If/Then
Richard Rogers Theater
226 West 46th Street, New York
Scheduled to play through October 12, 2014

THINK OF EACH PLAZA, PIER, AND PUBLIC PARK—
HOW MANY SIT THERE EMPTY, LONELY, DARK—

The Broadway musical If/Then starts in Madison Square Park with its unmistakable folding seats, tables, and umbrellas, a signature of Janette Sadik-Khan’s overhauling of public spaces during the Bloomberg administration. In this musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (the team behind Next to Normal) city planner Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) returns to New York from Arizona where she’s just gotten out of a failed marriage—and urban sprawl.

Continue reading after the jump.

Review> 2014 Armory Art Week Improved With the Help of Architecture

Art, East, Review
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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Sheila Hicks, Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column, 2013-14, left, (Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co) and Zoe Leonard, Sketch for 945 Madison Avenue, 2014, right. (Courtesy Zoe Leonard)

Sheila Hicks, Pillar of Inquiry/Supple Column, 2013-14, left, (Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co) and Zoe Leonard, Sketch for 945 Madison Avenue, 2014, right. (Courtesy Zoe Leonard)

With the plethora of contemporary art on view in New York during Armory Arts week, it has been instructive to note the contribution by architects to the design of these temporary exhibition spaces, and the use of interesting architectural spaces. The fairs are often held in structures originally used for other purposes — piers, parking facilities, drill halls — so the task has been to not only carve out space for display, but to move viewers (and buyers) with flexibility and ease and to provide an enticing environment. Fair organizers have turned to young architects for these interior layouts, or have chosen compelling venues.

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On View> “Apex: Tip Toland” at the Portland Art Museum

Art, On View, West
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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04-portland-tip-toland-archpaper

Apex: Tip Toland
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon
Through May 11

Washington-based artist Tip Toland creates larger than life figures with painfully accurate details that highlight her subjects’ imperfections: wrinkles, sunspots, and other blemishes. Toland’s work has always dealt with figurative subject matter, though her approach has ranged from the surreal to the super-real. This exhibition focuses on the plight of albino children in Africa, many of whom face a never-ending nightmare of bigoted, superstitious persecution at the hand of the communities into which they are born. Deeply rooted in psychology, Toland’s carefully crafted portraits seek to disturb viewers, teasing out their deepest human sympathies only to clobber them with the cudgel of political subtext. The artist has said that her work “softens our hearts to what we are afraid of.” Unflinching in the face of terrible realities, it is certainly provocative.

On View> The Cincinnati Museum of Art Presents The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith

Art, Midwest, On View
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
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(Courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

(Courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith
Cincinnati Museum of Art
953 Eden Park Drive
Cincinnati, OH
Through May 18

From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith consists of twenty-four pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by the Brooklyn-reared modernist jeweler Arthur Smith (1917–1982). Smith trained at Cooper Union and opened his first shop on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village in 1946. Art was an active supporter of the black and gay rights movement and early black modern dance groups. He included these themes in his works.

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De Blasio Taps Queens Museum President for New York City’s Cultural Affairs Commissioner

Art, East, Shft+Alt+Del
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
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Tom Finkelpearl at the Queens Museum. (Courtesy ioby.org)

Tom Finkelpearl at the Queens Museum. (Courtesy ioby.org)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has selected Tom Finkelpearl, the Queens Museum president and executive director, as the city’s next cultural affairs commissioner. De Blasio made the announcement at the museum, which recently underwent a significant renovation led by Grimshaw Architects.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Pasadena’s Williamson Gallery puts Ray Eames in the spotlight

Art, Design, On View, West
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
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(Charles Eames / Eames Family Collection)

(Charles Eames / Eames Family Collection)

Ray Eames: In the Spotlight
Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery
Art Center College of Design, Hillside Campus
1400 Lida Street, Pasadena
Through May 4

Ray Eames: In the Spotlight features; letters, sketches, notes, photographs, paintings, films, process drawings, furniture, and collections that follow the great American designer’s interests and interactions with key places, people and institutions. Taken altogether, the presentation is an intimate study of Ray Eames’ world and seeks to get to the heart of her intensive hands-on creative process and the “way-it-should be-ness” that defined how Ray and Charles Eames lived and worked. In the Spotlight allows visitors to make their own connections to this great body of work, to explore their own creativity, and to apply Eames’ tools to their own lives.

Canstruction LA: The City’s Most Architectural Food Drive Has a Record Year

Art, Design, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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"FOOD FIGHT!" by PCL Construction Services, Inc., KPFF Consulting Engineers, and Callison won Jurors' Favorite at Canstruction LA 2014. (Benjamin Ariff Photography)

“FOOD FIGHT!” by PCL Construction Services, Inc., KPFF Consulting Engineers, and Callison won Jurors’ Favorite at Canstruction LA 2014. (Benjamin Ariff Photography)

Every year at about this time, Los Angeles’ design community comes together for a good cause—and a chance to show off their ingenuity working with an unusual building material. We’re talking Canstruction LA, which just wrapped its eighth outing. Like other Canstruction events nationwide, Canstruction LA invites teams of architects, engineers, builders, and designers to design and build sculptures entirely out of canned food. The 2014 competition produced an array of impressive designs and—most importantly—donated 28,551 cans of food to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

More after the jump.

On View> Doug Wheeler’s Light Installation Shines at David Zwirner Gallery Through April 5

Art, East, Lighting, Newsletter, On View
Monday, March 31, 2014
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(Courtesy David Zwirner Gallery)

(Courtesy David Zwirner Gallery)

Doug Wheeler
David Zwirner Gallery
537 West 20th Street, New York
Entry limited to 6 people at a time
Reservations to view the exhibition are available, 212-517-8677
Through April 5, 2014

When you enter the immersive Doug Wheeler installation at David Zwirner Gallery, it’s like daybreak. A domed space with a flat apex meets the horizon with a hidden line of LEDs that shed light in a gradual, two-minute cycle in what the artist calls a “rotational horizon work.” The effect is like looking into a clear blue sky, that on closer inspection has subtle gradations that change as the earth revolves. The floor is the same color and is coped so you are slightly off balance as you advance and retreat towards this unreachable horizon.

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On View> Princeton Art Museum presents “Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print”

Art, East, On View
Friday, March 28, 2014
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(Courtesy Princeton University Art Museum)

(Courtesy Princeton University Art Museum)

Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print
Princeton University Art Museum
McCormick Hall, Princeton, NJ
Through June 8

Edvard Munch is best known for his 1893 painting The Scream. Like the majority of his work, this piece deals with psychological themes that were mainstays of late nineteenth century symbolist art, which greatly influenced German Expressionism. The symbols that Munch used contain universal meanings, but also meanings specific to his life.

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Where is that Sculpture? Oyler Wu’s “Cube” Adrift Somewhere in China

Art, Design, Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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(Courtesy Oyler Wu)

(Courtesy Oyler Wu)

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?

On View> The Graham Foundation presents “Chromatic Patterns” through April 5

Art, Interiors, Midwest, On View
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

(Courtesy Graham Foundation)

Chromatic Patterns
Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, IL
Through April 5

Judy Ledgerwood’s Chromatic Patterns is a site-specific work that transforms the lower galleries of the Graham Foundation’s historic Madlener House in Chicago. The house was designed by Richard E. Schmidt and Hugh M. G. Garden and built in 1901–02. Judy Ledgerwood is a Chicago-based painter and educator. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, a Tiffany Award in the Visual Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and an Illinois Art Council Award. This exhibition surrounds the visitor in vibrant colors with a vibrant floral motif that almost mimics the house’s prairie style ornamentation. This installation examines the effect of paint on architecture, specifically the wall covering’s ability to produce new effects and feelings about a space. In this work, Ledgerwood uses ornamentation to change visitors’ perception of the ornamentation in the Madlener House’s lower galleries, highlighting the divergent ways that pattern, color, ornamentation, and surface have been coded, gendered, repressed, and embraced in art and architecture.

On View> “Focus: Fred Tomaselli” at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth ends Sunday

Art, On View, Southwest
Friday, March 21, 2014
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(Courtesy Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth)

(Courtesy Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth)

FOCUS: Fred Tomaselli
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth
Through March 23, 2014

FOCUS: Fred Tomaselli highlights works created by the artist in the past ten years, including his New York Times collages. Tomaselli is known for his work on wood panels where he combines unorthodox materials that are suspended in a thick layer of clear, epoxy resin. The materials used in these pieces range from field guides to marijuana leaves. In Tomaselli’s hands, they form a hybrid of subjects and cultural references. The artist tries to represent the transcendental and utopian capabilities available within art. His work comments on suburbia in the 1960s and 70s and the quest for escapism. The images that are depicted relate to his California upbringing during those decades. Of his work, Tomaselli said, “It is my ultimate aim to seduce and transport the viewer into the space of these pictures while simultaneously revealing the mechanics of that seduction.”

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