Posts Tagged ‘architecture’
SFMOMA, Cantor Arts Center, LACMA
This week, SFMOMA released additional renderings of its eminent expansion including new views of the interior. Snohetta (the chic, Norwegian architects) and SFMOMA haven’t been apologetic or really skirted the issue about plans to basically gut the entire existing building, keeping only Mario Botta’s postmodern façade. Climbing SFMOMA’s imposing stairs is literally my first memory of being in a museum. As a kid, I tried to recreate the alternating bands of polished and flame-finished black granite of these stairs with a set of sleek dominoes on my living room floor. A friend and I lamented the demise of Botta’s staircase the last time we visited SFMOMA and we brainstormed potential artist projects that might utilize the soon-to-be-dismantled stairs. (The SFMOMA expansion is going to be LEED Certified so maybe some of the black stone will be reclaimed.)
Alas, the released images show all of this will be eliminated in the expansion, sacrificed for the sake of greater street presence and improved openness to pedestrian traffic flow. (The $555 million expansion will also double the current amount of gallery space, so there is that.) New public space includes a multi-storied, glass-fronted gallery open to Howard Street. In the renderings, this gallery space is filled with a massive Richard Serra corten-steel sculpture. This isn’t just a filler “scalie” artwork; Serra’s Sequence (2006) will be installed in the new space when the Snohetta expansion opens in 2016. Sequence is part of the Fisher collection, the donors who generous donated many buckets of ducats for the expansion, and who are kinda-sorta donating their incomparable trove of contemporary art to the museum.
Recognize this image? You might, it’s been featured in numerous movies. On the right is a concrete textile block from the Ennis House in Loz Feliz, on the left is what the brick originally looked like. Suffice to say this brick, and the Ennis House at large needs lots of conservation, and I’m not just a little nip tuck. How much is this browlift going to cost?—Well a bunch of stabilization work was done by the Ennis House Foundation to keep the house from slipping down the hill, but there is still an additional $5-7 million needed. The additional conservation cost is probably the reason why the house sold for WAY below its initial asking price. The Ennis House Foundation made the decision to sell the house to a private owner way back in June 2009 and put it on the market for $15 million. There weren’t any biters, so in February 2010, the price was chopped to $10.5 million. Still no takers, and another chop in May 2010 to $7.5 million. The Ennis House has sat on the market at the price since. Until last week when it was announced that supermarket magnate Ron Burke had purchased the Ennis House for just under $4.5 million. Thanks Ron, one more price cut, and it could have been in my price range. (Yes, all of these links have been to curbed, and here’s another one, full of pretty pictures.)
And in case you still don’t recognize the Ennis House, here are some of the Ennis House’s onscreen appearances:
AAM Conference Expo
Everyone knows the United Arab Emirates are going through some serious development. Dubai first captured my imagination when “The World” was featured (years ago) on Vh1’s Fabulous Life Of series. Currently Abu Dhabi and Qatar (not an emirate) are going head-to-head to see who can build the most and more lavish museums. In Doha, Qatar, there is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, and the National Museum designed by Jean Nouvel. In the other corner is Abu Dhabi where a whole island of museums is being constructed. Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island (now just a glorified sandbar) will get not only a Performing Arts Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, and a Foster+Partners-designed Zayed National Museum, but also a branch of the Guggenheim (designed of course by Frank Gehry), and a branch of the Louvre (also designed by Nouvel). I wrote a piece about an artists’ boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over immigrant labors rights, or lack thereof. You can read the whole story here.
Pasadena Museum of California Art
It’s CDB time once again at the PMCA! CDB, or California Design Biennial has been organized by PMCA since 2003, and focuses on new directions in design from California designers. There are two significant changes to this Biennial’s format. One: along with the categories of product, graphic, transportation, and fashion design, the category of architecture has been added this year. Two, instead of a juried panel, each category has an invited specialist serve as curator. The curators are Louise Sandhaus from CalArts (graphic design), Rose Apodaca fashion journalist (fashion design), Stewart Reed from Art Center (transportation design), Frances Anderton of Dwell magazine (architecture), and Alissa Walker (product design).
Each category has great work, but the show is not organized into these categories. The PMCA galleries are filled with mannequins, products, architectural models, and other goodies seemingly at random. While the objects have been elevated to the level of fine art because of their inclusion in this show, the method of display (very democratic and not highlighting one work over another) also acknowledges the works’ real functions as houses, clothing, and advertisements. These are everyday objects whose artistic design is often unnoticed. This show is an opportunity to notice.
While there is so much on display, two projects dominate the show right away because of their size and positioning. First is the Saatchi and Saatchi-design Toyota Prius Harmony Florascapes, represented here by a cheeky, playful model. The project was meant to be a green way of advertising the third generation prius—a replacement for a billboard. This work is exemplary of the theme of Action/Reaction, which explores how designers are dealing with or inspired by challenges and uncertainties involving the economy, politics and the environment.
Another work inspired by environmental concerns is the project Where Does It Go? by Indhira Rojas and Ellen Keith. The conceptual map in vinyl is placed across the length and breadth of the gallery. It is always underfoot and therefore unavoidable through the show, but at the same time it does not distract from the other work. A person can choose to follow the whole map or not, the same way a person can choose to recycle or not. It’s a well-designed educational tool.
Other favorites included First Earth Battalion by fashion designers Michel Berandi and Simonida Tomovic, and the Metro Neighborhoods Posters. The Lady Gaga costume (accompanied by large dramatic sketches) was displayed alongside the Metro posters, even though the two things have little or nothing to do with each other. But they are in dialogue: the fashion design is highly theatrical (not everyone is going to be wearing this, I mean hopefully) and demand attention, whereas the posters are unobtrusive, but are nonetheless well-designed.
Other methods of display were used for the architecture category. Many well publicized and well-known projects were included in the show: the Baldwin Park Scenic Outlook, Inner-City Arts, the Annenberg Community Beach House, and the well-publicized 747 Wing House. The displays included large concept posters with plenty of photos, and models of the projects. The 747 House display even had a portion of reclaimed aircraft displayed alongside it.
Another multiple-faceted display was the Esquivel Shoes. Some shoes were presented in vitrines and display cases, while in front of this a work table had been place on which shoes in various states of construction had been placed. This display revealed the craftsmanship and artistry that curator Rose Apodaca identifies as qualities that constitute the “Reaction” to the “Action” of mass produced, cheap clothing.