I got to hit the James Turrell retrospective at LACMA. And it is pretty dang wild. My story in ARCHITECT.
An installation view of As He Remembered It, 2011, by Stephen Prina, at LACMA. On view through August 4. (Courtesy of Galerie Gisela Capitain and Petzel Gallery, New York.)
- Must-read interview: Jaron Lanier on how the internet has destroyed the middle class.
- Putting a visit to Noah Purifoy’s desert installations at the top of my SoCal bucket list.
- From the Department of I Heart the Art Market: “It is hard to imagine a business more custom-made for money laundering, with million-dollar sales conducted in secrecy and with virtually no oversight.”
- A proposal to redo LACMA — this time by Peter Zumthor. More here.
- As someone who grew up going to LACMA (not to mention the Tar Pits), I have a deep nostalgia for the Pereira buildings — design warts and all. But I suppose their memory will always be preserved in Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles County Museum on Fire.
- Speaking of which, it sounds like MoMA is gonna think deeply about razing the Folk Art Museum before it razes it.
- Countdown on the Hirshhorn bubble: Will the museum’s puffy turquoise pavilion really happen?
- The first known painting of Southern California.
- Flashback: Peter Plagens’ cranky-pants L.A. rant published in Artforum in 1972 is all kinds of epic. (Mercy, Christopher Hawthorne.)
- Critical Theory Heads: The Pacific Northwest College of Art is looking for critical essays about stuff only 10 people care about. Winner takes home the Hannah Arendt prize and 5Gs. You’ve got ‘til the end of the month
- Plus: Create a work of virtual public sculpture. And make money. (If you win.)
Where I take a look at what’s going down with the sprawling MOCA architecture show that may be on the verge of being killed — and the architects who’ll be left holding the bag if it is.
MoMA to the American Folk Art Museum: Drop Dead. (Photo by Dan Nguyen/Flickr.)
- MoMA, a museum that has built its reputation on promoting modern architecture, has announced plans to raze the old American Folk Art Museum building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien…to put up more retail or another restaurant. Because what New York rilly needs is more retail or another restaurant.
- Part of the museum’s crazy pants rationale for removing this critically-acclaimed building is because the Folk Art Museum’s façade doesn’t match MoMA’s business-like glass skin. Ned Cramer in ARCHITECT writes: “It’s as though the board voted to incinerate a Gerhard Richter painting because it didn’t match the floor tile or fit through the doorway.”
- Critic Martin Filler has described the destruction as an act of “cultural vandalism.”
- Jerry Saltz, for one, hated the building — as he said back in 2011 — saying it was totally inhospitable to art. (I have to agree: while I’m in love with the façade, the gallery spaces were kind of a hot mess.)
- A great preview of the next round of Pacific Standard Time exhibitions: this time, it’s all about SoCal architecture!
- Is it me, or does this proposed building plan for the Domino Sugar Factory in New York look like a giant, 3D roller tag?
- From Mark Lamster, a very interesting bit about Phyllis Lambert — the woman behind New York’s iconic Seagram Building.
- Good slide show on the work of Oscar Niemeyer. This is a trip I would love to make.
- Hopi masks auctioned in Paris spark controversy and outrage. Comparing the eyes of a sacred mask to the logo of a Renault is pretty dang grody. European colonial attitudes: 1. Indians: 0.
- The decapitated Margaret Thatcher statue. I love everything about this story.
- Cracks and settling and bits that pop: the challenges of maintaining L.A.’s Watts Towers.
- Sensational art gets thoughtful consideration: Mary Louise Schumacher writes about Niki Johnson’s controversial condom portrait of Pope Benedict XVI.
- Coupla must-read reviews: Ben Davis on Basquiat and Christian Viveros-Faune on LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work at the Brooklyn Museum. Awesome writing.
- Crazy paintings that end up in museums, Frye edition. (Alternate story line: rich donor liked it, therefore it now shows in a museum.)
- Ripping off the artist: Art.com and Allposters.com, selling bits of art books as their own.
- Critical Riot has an open call for papers related to art, race and critical discourse — as well as pieces tied to the Ken Johnson review of Now Dig This!
- Sixty percent of PAC money is donated by 132 people. A must-watch TED talk from Lawrence Lessig.
- Children apprehended by immigration authorities often face judges without benefit of a lawyer. A staggering story.
- Shooting music videos in slums. It’s a thing. (Pairs well with the trend of street artists redecorating slums.)
- How the chess set got its look and feel. (Architect.)
Every once in a while I get to do an interview that blows my mind. This time, the mind-blower was Denise Scott Brown, a Philadelphia-based architect and theorist who has been the force behind seminal books such as Learning From Las Vegas. In 1991, the Pritzker committee awarded the prize to her husband, architect Robert Venturi — even though she and Venturi had been design partners for almost three decades at that point, collaborating on buildings, books and other activities. A petition out of the Harvard Graduate School of Design has called for Scott Brown to be belatedly recognized (and has been signed by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas).
In my Q&A with her regarding the controversy, she spoke openly and honestly — and very smartly — about her work and the way she has been treated because she’s a woman. Her stories are as fascinating as they are horrifying.
Find the interview here.
…on a new artist-designed bridge in Arcadia. For more, head over to KCRW.com or listen below. Thaaaaanks! And happy 2013!
A dredging operation in New York Harbor in August of 2010. The regular dredging of the harbor — to allow commercial vessels to navigate the rivers — make the city more susceptible to violent storm surges. (Photos by C-M.)
The more I look at images of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the more I think about a startlingly prescient exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art during the summer of 2010. Organized by architecture and design chief curator Barry Bergdoll, Rising Currents examined New York City’s vulnerability to rising sea levels and storm surges. For the exhibit, Bergdoll gathered teams of architects and designers to study the city’s infrastructure and propose changes.
In August of that year, I joined a group of architects and designers on an evening boat tour to study some of the at-risk sites in question, including Red Hook and the banks of the Gowanus Canal (areas which have since been devastated by Sandy). Many of the proposals that day emphasized “soft” infrastructure, such as the restoration of wetlands and seeding of oyster beds in the harbor, that could filter water and serve as wave attenuators in the event of large storms. (The Harbor was once filled with oyster beds — but overfishing and dredging have destroyed these.) As we discussed the eventual possibility of catastrophic storms and rising sea levels, the air was warm and the water in New York Harbor resembled glass. It was difficult to believe that any of this could happen any time soon. Yet, it did.
As New York rebuilds, it would be wise to go back and examine the findings from this exhibit. According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change, sea levels will rise approximately two feet in the next fifty years. By the end of the century, those numbers could be as high as four to six feet. This could place some areas of the city permanently underwater. And there’s no telling what would happen in the event of a storm.
As Bergdoll says in the short bits of audio I’ve embedded in this post, New York, like Venice, is a city that is in the water. Yet the city, so often, seems to be divorced from this reality. (Something that was made all too clear when I paddled around the city’s waterways with artist Marie Lorenz.) There is water all around, yet access to it is limited. Wetlands struggle to survive at the fringes. Vast tracts of condos were once patches of swamp. In all its fantastic urban artifice, sometimes it can be easy to forget that New York is really just an island — one that is more vulnerable than anyone would like to think.
Find photos from the boat trip after the jump.