Category:architecture

aue_pavilions_kassel_robbrecht_daem.jpg
Aue Pavilions in Karlsaue, 1992, Robbrecht & Daem, image: documenta.de

While poking around documenta 9 (1992), the year Cady Noland and Bob Nickas did their amazing thing in the new parking garage, I found these nice pavilions in the Karlsaue. Documenta director Jan Hoet commissioned five temporary exhibition pavilions from Ghent-based architects Paul Robbrecht and Kristien Daem.

aue_pavilion_int_daem.jpg
Aue Pavilions interior, 1992 Kassel, image: Kristien Daem

The corrugated steel shells read a bit like train cars, but with an entire wall of glass, which made them perfect, someone figured, for showing painting. Which, Isa Genzken actually showed a resin sculpture. Gerhard Richter enclosed his gallery in walnut paneling. Adapted from simple, prefab industrial structures and raised on wooden pylons, were built to last the summer. They're still with us.

paviljoens_almere_gmap.jpg
images: google streetview from 2009

After documenta wrapped, the pavilions found their way to Almere, a planned Dutch city east of Amsterdam built on reclaimed land.

paviljoens_almere_gmap_kids.jpg

For nearly twenty years, they housed an arts center, and eventually a municipal museum called--De Paviljoens.

paviljoens_almere_gmap_school.jpg

The architects compared it favorably to a caravan (trailer) park. It was the kind of place where kids could hang out underneath, no problem. It even looks to have inspired the modular manufactured insta-architecture of the school across the street. [Speaking of streets, I thought the museum being located on the corner of Odeonstraat and Slapstickpad was a fluke, but surfing around Google, Almere has the greatest street names in the world. The next neighborhood over is Comedy Caperstraat, which intersects streets named for Abbott, Costello, Laurel, Hardy, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin. There's even a David Nivenweg. Another neighborhood's named after directors, including Fassbinder, Tati, and Pasolini.]

paviljoens_almere_gmap_fire.jpg

Not sure what happened here, though. Looks pretty edgy!

The artist-themed neighborhoods include a Marcel Duchampstraat, but now the city has no museum. Dutch culture budget cuts hit The Pavilions hard, and though its website lives on, the museum closed for good in 2010. Developers [bought? got?] them, and In 2012, plans were announced to move the pavilions to the center of Nieuwe Stad (New City), an adapted reuse development of a former industrial site in Amersfoort, a city between Almere and Utrecht.

nieuw_stad_paviljoens.jpg

That finally happened, and just this summer, the pavilions hosted some big festival. Nieuwe Stad's slogan, DOE MEE IN DE PAVILJOENS! sounds hilariously worse in English.

Aue Pavilions, Kassel, Almere, Amersfoort, 1992- [robbrechtendaem]
documenta 9 archive [documenta.de]
De Paviljoens [depaviljoens.nl]
Doe Mee In De Paviljoens! [denieuwestad.nl]

harlem_on_my_mind_photomurals_metmus.jpg
Photomurals in the 1900-1918 section of Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America, 1900-1968, Metropolitan Museum, 1969, image: The Met

It's been a while since I've written about them, but photomurals still have a wide, quasi-artistic place in my heart. And so it's great to run into them in the most unexpected places.

Like in Holland Cotter's story of seeing the Met's botched attempt at racial appeasement, the 1969 exhibition, Harlem On My Mind.

I knew the show was controversial, and that black artists had rallied against it and similar flawed, tokenist shows in the works at the Whitney. But I never knew what the Met actually showed: basically, no art, just 2,000 photographs. Which, to the Met, in 1969, were emphatically not Art.

Which is not entirely fair. The show was conceived by the Met's hot new director Thomas Hoving, a former NYC Parks Commissioner who had been known, as Life magazine put it, as a proponent of "be-ins, love-ins, traffic-free bike rides, Puerto Rican folk festivals, and happenings." Harlem on My Mind was seen as a way to make the museum relevant to African American audiences, but also to bring the stodgy institution into the contemporary cultural discourse.

The show was curated by Allon Schoener, and designed by Harris Lewine and Herb Lubalin, who basically tried to remake their popular 1967 Jewish Museum show, Portal to America: The Lower East Side, 1870-1925, but for Harlem, circa 1900-1968. The show was explicitly didactic, a one-hour experience immersed in what Bridget R. Cooks, in her 2007 study of the exhibition, "a multi-media extravaganza."

In this sense, it hearkens back to World's Fair pavilion modes, or the immersive photo exhibitions of Edward Steichen-era MoMA, including the WWII shows and, obviously, Family of Man. Never mind that Roy deCarava and Gordon Parks, who'd actually been included in Family of Man, boycotted Harlem on My Mind, and then mobilized against it.

Anyway, the point is, there was a context for this show, several contexts, in fact, including for how the exhibition was designed, and what the experience of it was intended to be. And those contexts, especially the activism and protest the show engendered, have displaced the content and form of the show itself. The content was a paternalistic, problematic mess, in so many ways a failure, but the form was apparently successful--and is now lost and mostly forgotten.

harlem_on_my_mind_photocubes_metmus.jpgphenomenal photocube totem columns in Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America, 1900-1968, Metropolitan Museum, 1969, img: The Met

Here are some of Cooks' descriptions:

Various wall layout designs were used throughout the galleries to display more than 2,000 photographs. Some walls held large-scale black and white photomurals eighteen feet in height and of varying widths.

...

Some walls were used dramatically as dark screens for projected images of Harlemites and street scenes from slide projectors suspended from ceiling tracks. Four-sided columns displayed photographs of Harlem buildings, streets, and residents in both formal portraits and informal community scenes. Some columns, topped with large photo-text cubes, stood over ten feet high in selected galleries as if they were free standing sculpture. Several of these towers highlighted notable Harlem figures such as elder resident Alice Payton "Mother" Brown and Billie Holiday in their respective decade galleries.

Speakers camouflaged in large cylinders, hung throughout the galleries, delivered Harlem street sounds and music to visitors. Films and videos were interspersed through the galleries to provide further information, and a closed-circuit television showed the real-time activity at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and 125th Street in Harlem. Photographs punctuated with text were suspended from the ceiling to create billboard-like visual timelines that marked important national events, such as the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, 1954. The exhibition was designed to provide a one-hour experience for each visitor. [emphasis added for awesomeness, awesomeness, and lol srsly?, respectively.]

Though some art critics bailed, calling the show sociology, not art, Grace Glueck weighed in:
To this viewer, there is something terribly American about "Harlem." It panders to our penchant for instant history, pack- aged culture, the kind of photojournalistic "experience" that puts us at a distance from the experience itself. Instead of the full, rich, Harlem brew, it presents a freeze-dried Harlem that does not even hint at flavor.
Harsh, but admit it, the Harlem-cam had it coming.

Anyway, I want to make these photototems now, or rather, see them exist again. I'd hope not, but I think they'd be all kinds of problematic all over again if I made them. I just hope they could exist again, as the alluring, outraging failures they were. Because they do feel terribly American to me, too, and terribly New York. I think a trip to the Met's archives is in order.

What I Learned From a Disgraced Art Show on Harlem [nyt via @JenGraves]
Bridget R. Cooks, "Black Artists and Activism: Harlem on My Mind (1969)",
Amer. Studies, Spr. 2007 [pdf floatin' around on project muse, go get it! oh wait, blackcontemporaryart has a clean link and the abstract all ready]

informedspace_plastic_furniture_1.jpg

Realtors and developers pay several thousand dollars/month to stage properties for sale. Staging companies move out the seller's accumulated lifetime of crap and move in a whole array of tastefully bland furniture and accessories to make the place look or feel bigger or nicer. Remember that aristo hobo couple in Charleston in the Times a few years ago who basically live for free by moving themselves and their heirlooms into the plantations and spec homes they stage?

informedspace_plastic_furniture_3.jpg

Wow, that was 2011, too. Which turns out to have been peak staging? Because I just found this bonkers story from Curbed in 2011 about InFormed Space, a staging startup that provides gatorboard ghosts of high end furniture, starting with a $14 million townhouse gutjob in Chelsea. From a NYDN story:

it's easy to move the ultra-lightweight prop furniture in and out of spaces and it minimizes the pitfall of turning off potential buyers because of questionable décor choices.

"This helps you understand the space without confounding you with design," [InFormed Space founder Douglas] Pinter said. "This shows you scale and volume in a way that doesn't get in the way of your thinking."

informedspace_plastic_furniture_4.jpg

The "cool and minimalist" design of Pinter's creations - many which are modeled after real pieces but aren't legally copyright infringements because they are faux - may turn off diehard fans of, say, Queen Anne furniture. [emphasis added for awesomeness]

But wait, there's more. There is art. Or as InFormed Space's website [tagline: "A Stylish Quickie®"] calls them, "art panels."

informedspace_plastic_furniture_2.jpg

After Ad Reinhardt's last paintings, after the monochrome, after the final declaration of the death of painting--for good this time, really, stake in the heart--the ghosts of paintings remain to haunt the walls of the living, until they are released by the exorcism known as the closing.

$14 million Chelsea townhouse gets decked out with fake furniture [nydn via curbed]

city_desk_skyway_in_situ.jpg
Skyway in situ, before the U of MN bought it for $1, and City Desk Studio bought it for $5,000

City Desk Studio is still selling the epic skyway they rescued in 2006. They originally planned to adapt it into a timeshared Skyway Retreat lakefront cabin for $1.2 million. Then when the economy imploded they offered it for sale for just $79,500. A year later they dropped the price to $49,500.

And now they're willing to pay $5,000 to whoever removes it from the vacant lot near the UofM where it's been parked for nearly a decade. There's an RFP, and if no qualified bidder steps forward by the end of the month, the skyway is slated to be demolished.

skyway_bing_scr.jpg
bird's eye view via bing

The skyway, designed by Ed Banks, the "father of the skyways," is W20 x L83 x H14 ft and made of steel, glass and concrete. It weighs 280,000 pounds, roughly half of which had been attributed to the 12-inch concrete floor. But using the standard for reinforced concrete of 150 lb/cu ft, I get a weight for an 18x80 ft floor of 218,000, more than 75%. Maybe the floor's not an actual foot thick. Or maybe it's smaller than I've estimated. Either way, a significant weight reduction can be achieved by removing the concrete floor before transport.

Which is significant. Because City Desk Studio says it cost them more than their $5,000 purchase price to move the skyway two blocks from UMN to the vacant lot near the railyard where it still sits. But that means it had moved nearly four miles, and across the river, from Nicollet Mall & S 5th St to somewhere near the university stadium site. So put it on a barge and float it down the Mississippi.

load_skyway_onto_barge_here.jpg
load_skyway_onto_barge_here.jpg based on google maps' hunchback brother google earth

The train right of way goes west and gets very close to the river near a commercial/industrial waterfront site under the 10th Ave Bridge. That's where you bring your barge and load it on. BAM. Your skyway is now connected to the entire world. You have two weeks to work out the details for removing it, and plenty of time after that to figure out where to take it.

I say you because I have been forbidden from pursuing this perfect plan. But it must happen, and soon. If you use my detailed schematic in your successful rfp, I expect an invitation to your skywaywarming.

Salvaged Minneapolis skyway could be your next home [startribune]
Previously:
2009: Minnesota NICE: Skyway For Sale On Craigslist
2010: That Minnesota Skyway For Sale Again/Still

January 19, 2015

Ben-Day Trees

benday_trees_katz_gmap_det.jpg

Wow, I'm sure they'll grow in--what's the date on this Google Maps image? Maybe they already have--but the trees at Katzenberg's place have an incredible, all-over, Ben-Day dots feel, like they were laid out by Sigmar Polke. Hope that's what they were going for.

katz_courts_gmap.jpg

Bonus points for those courtyards, though; that's a landscape photo for our times.

gio_ponti_time_auditorium_ext_esotericsurvey.jpeg

Amazing, how did I never know this? Gio Ponti designed a business pavilion and auditorium for Time-Life in 1958, and it's still there, perched mostly out of view on the north side of the 8th floor setback of 1271 6th Avenue. It's covered with crystalline facets and triangles on the roof and terrace [though the photo above also seems to include some overpainted elements. Also it was flipped, so I fixed it.]

gio_ponti_time_auditorium_int_esotericsurvey.jpeg

Dubbed "the most versatile and complete business-meeting facility in Manhattan," the pavilion was commissioned by Henry Luce at the instigation of his wife Clare Boothe Luce, who wanted to make Ponti a thing. Writing about a 2010 show of Ponti in New York curated by Germano Celant, Suzanne LaBarre described the pavilion as "the closest thing to a playground a stark, midcentury office building had seen: green-and-blue marbleized floors; saucers and brass strapwork in the ceiling; obelisk sconces; and a smattering of irregular nooks, foyers, and bars." Green & blue marbleized floors? Yow. Sounds like proto-Memphis to me, and makes me curse black and white photography.

ponti_time-life_pavilion_bing.jpg
Gio Ponti Time-Life Pavilion/Auditorium, on the north side of 1271 6th Ave, looking S/SE on bing

Unfortunately, LaBarre reports that Ponti's interior has been destroyed and remodeled two times over. [The top two images come from Esoteric Survey's extraordinary survey of the 1958 Time-Life Building's interiors, from the likes of, basically, everybody.] Time is out of or leaving the building this year, so who gets the Ponti?

leonni_brussels_masey_ext4.jpg

What is most surprising to me, though, is the similarity of Ponti's design to the Unfinished Business Pavilion, created in for the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. In an attempt to head off Soviet criticism of the US's discrimination against African Americans and the civil rights protests it spawned, the State Dept. and USAID asked Luce's Fortune Magazine to create a pavilion addressing 'the Negro Problem.' Fortune creative director Leo Lionni's three-part design moves from the "chaotic crystal" of the past to the bright happy square future where children of all races play together in harmony. Which was considered such an insult to the segregationist Dixiecrats in Congress, they demanded Fortune close the pavilion as soon as they got wind of it.

Which is interesting that in color and form, Ponti's pavilion most closely resembles the chaotic crystal section, or vice versa. Maybe Ponti's came first, and Leonni used it as a stand-in for the shameful past we were all trying to overcome. Anyway, this warrants further investigation.

Time-Life [esoteric survey]
Gio Ponti's New York [metropolis]
Previously, related, and devastatingly, depressingly timely: The Unfinished Business Pavilion, by Leo Leonni
None of Your 'Unfinished Business'

November 25, 2014

Hong Kong Police Street View

hk_pepper_spray_platform4_krischeng.jpg

Police in Hong Kong have deployed a new mobile pepper spray platform against protestors near Mong Kok.

I start with this image via @krislc, Kris Cheng, because it gives nice context, also the guy is watermarking it with his face? I'm filing that trick away for future use.

At first it looked like it's made out of PVC pipe, but it's surely painted steel. Actually, it looks like a smaller variation of the stairs in Home Depot.

hk_pepper_spray_supersoakers_galileocheng.jpg

Most of the info comes from @galileo44, Galileo Cheng. Like this picture of the police conferring on Portland St. With their pepper spray cannons on their backs. Unless those are #umbrellas.

Here is krislcc's Vine of the new platforms in use on her. Galileo calls them castles. They're hand pumped. Like Super Soakers or something. Incredible.

Here's another. What is most striking to me about this one is how the two police officers move together: one with the pepper spray, the other with a video camera. Kris Cheng says the the pepper spray isn't that strong; the effects didn't last more than 45 minutes. But the police will play a long game with those images.

Speaking of long game, holy smokes. I thought I'd scout out the Mong Kok streetscape on Google Maps, and this is what came up:

mongkok_gmap_201409_njohn.jpg

It was startling to be met by an unblurred face. And the vantage point was so high. But turn around. This is a pano. Or a "Photo Sphere." From September, of the intersection blocked by a sit-in. It's credited to nJohn.

mongkok_gmap_201411_kaulam.jpg

There are more recent Photo Spheres, too. Including November, by Kau Lam. The protestor-decorated police barricades are stitched together pano-style. Google Maps as a reporting platform. When will it go live? Will Google get castles of its own, or will cameras on long sticks suffice?

September 22, 2014

Google Glass Art Project

google_art_praha_01.jpg

From the moment it launched, I've been trying to figure out what the Google Art Project would look like in real life, what the relationship is between the physical world we inhabit and the spaces and objects we encounter and the digitized pano simulacrum of Google Street View.

google_art_praha_03.jpg

What would these blurred Picassos at MoMA look like IRL? Or these pano-distorted Kellys, or this blur-encased Noguchi table in Chicago? Or this clock, or table, or borrowed bust at the Getty?

google_art_praha_02.jpg

Though a few slipped in at the beginning, even a year ago Google seemed conscientious about avoiding or removing images of its Street View crews at work. In the Spring, the Google camera cart and its operator were still being blurred out of panos at the Getty.

Well, now I wonder if Google's wondering about itself. This morning Google Art Project tweeted these panos from the Votive Hall of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, and I swear, I've never seen a more Google Mapsian space in my life.

The lighting, the reflectivity, perspectival polygons in the air, the glass vitrines with text stenciled on them, little placards floating on wiry stands, the crispy way these matte-finish urns get backlit by the vitrines and end up looking like digital renders of themselves. And then holy crap, what is this thing in the doorway? Now it's like they're just trolling us. Us and Dan Graham.

google_art_praha_04.jpg

Google Maps is not hiding anymore; it's taking selfies. And it's remaking the world in its own image. Googleforming.

google_art_praha_05.jpg

Click the arrow, come on in.

google_art_praha_07.jpg

Turn around, look back, see where we were. Where you were. Where we were.


Getty Museum View, or Seeing Google Seeing
Man With A Pano Camera

marseille_foster_01.jpg

Marseille fixed its Vieux Port for their stint as European Capital of Culture last year, and it turned out pretty great. The biggest win was to pedestrianize it. It's now wide open and full of people.

The flashiest change is the addition of a kind of ridiculous mirror-finish awning on the east end. I guess if you're going to stick a giant awning/pavilion structure on your vast, bare waterfront, you should make it pop, and it does. It actually steals all the attention from what was my favorite element of the port's makeover: these awesome little timber clubhouses that line the north side, along the Quai du Port.

marseille_foster_clubhouse_04.jpg

I was ready to move into one on the spot, even before I realized they were designed by Foster + Partners.

Now that I've read up on it, and on the philosopher's harrowing last days, I think I experienced the Walter Benjamin Memorial in Portbou, Spain the only way it really should be experienced: by total accident. Which is almost impossible.

We'd been visiting family in Provence, and one of the kids, the one who has been taking Spanish, not French, was wanting to go somewhere they spoke her language for a change. Plus, they wanted to go to the beach. Relenting, I pulled up the last town I knew in France, Banyuls, and looked to see what, if anything, was across the border.

The answer was Portbou. Google Maps said it was 3.5 hours away; we figured we'd drive to Spain for lunch and a couple of hours on the beach, send a postcard, and head home for dinner. Extraordinary traffic which had the autoroute backed up for several kilometers before the border, and the caravan of caravans winding along the 1.5 lane coastal mountain road, easily doubled our drivetime, and we arrived in Portbou starving and almost late for lunch.

memorial_benjamin_map_det.jpg

We quickly parked in a massive tunnel-turned-one-way parking lot, and wandered back through town to find any open cafe. And that's when I spotted the Walter Benjamin information panel. It turned out to be No. 2 on the town's four-stop Ruta Walter Benjamin, the Hotel de Francia, where Benjamin and his fellow refugees stayed after sneaking across the Spanish border in September 1940. And where he, where, well, as the panel puts it, "What happened over the next few hours is a striking illustration of all of the tragedy of barbarism."

This town has erected a plaque in front of the hotel where Benjamin killed himself.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 46 Next

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Category: art

recent projects, &c.


do_not_bid_or_buy_iris_sidebar.jpg
eBay Test Listings
Mar 2015 —
about | proposte monocrome, rose
bid or buy available prints on ebay

shanzhai_gursky_mb_thumb.jpg
It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

therealhennessy_tweet_sidebar.jpg
TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -
about

sop_red_gregorg.jpg
Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

weeksville_echo_sidebar.jpg
"Exhibition Space"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC


HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.


drp_04_gregorg_sidebar.jpg
Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

czrpyr_blogads.jpg
Canal Zone Richard
Prince YES RASTA:
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99

archives