Category:architecture

March 28, 2012

Mass, Grass & Claes

hirshhorn_grass_claes.jpg

Yes, we now have Doug Aitken, which might help, and there's an After Hours party every quarter, but the Hirshhorn's outdoor space has always struck me as one of the most potentially interesting and under-utilized public spaces for contemporary art in Washington.

But just when I think nothing ever gets moved around here, I stumble across this interesting pattern burned into the lawn behind Claes Oldenburg's Geometric Mouse. It looks like it could be a Paul Chan floor projection or something but it's just the bleached out footprint of whatever zig-zag sculpture used to be there. I'm trying to remember what was...

hirshh_aitken_test1.jpg

We came out of the Hirshhorn tonight after the surprise [to me] screening of Space is Process, a 2010 documentary about Olafur Eliasson, only to find they were testing Doug Aitken's Song1, a 360-degree projection on the barrel of the museum.

hirshh_aitken_test2.jpg

I had been worried about how well buff-colored aggregate would hold up as a projection surface, but I tell you, it looked pretty great. Amazing, even.

And seeing it suddenly makes you wonder--and by you, I mean me--why doesn't the Hirshhorn project things on the surfaces of the buildings more often? You know what, why not all the time?

hirshh_aitken_test3.jpg

And that leads to the next logical question: what should be projected on the Hirshhorn?

Song1 is a hypnotic, laconic, melancholic sequence of closeups of an LA Basinful of people singing "I Only Have Eyes For You," intercut with abstract CG motion graphics. Its narrative doesn't seem anywhere as complex as the multi-screen Sleepwalker, projected on MoMA, but it seems thoughtful, and definitely works as a beautiful proof-of-concept.

But. So.

What else is going on the Hirshhorn Channel? The potential [or maybe the temptation] for agitprop and politically charged artworks seems either irresistible or anathema, depending no how involved one is in wooing Congress. The Hirshhorn and the Smithsonian at large are likely not interested in actually biting any hands that feed them.

hirshh_aitken_test4.jpg

And starting Thursday night at 8pm, that strategic non-engagement pact will be on view from the Mall in full, dazzling force.

March 12, 2012

Leonardo Photomural

leonardo_photomural_thuburn-afp.jpg
image: DARIO THUBURN - AFP/GETTY IMAGES, see washpost for fullsize

There has been much talk among such circles about the possibility of a lost, unfinished mural by Leonardo da Vinci hidden behind a fresco by Giorgio Vasari, in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

Leonardo's original work, The Battle of Anghiari, executed in 1504, was replaced in 1564 by Vasari's 5-fresco cycle. But art historians following an interpretation of a clue in one mural discovered it was painted on a false brick wall, and there was an airspace behind it.

And now there is also paint. National Geographic, which purchased the exclusive first rights to the controversial investigation, today announced the discovery of Leonardo-era pigments in the hidden airspace.

The press conference was held in front of the mural[s], which were covered by a giant, digitally printed photomural, actually a detail of a Rubens drawing of the Leonardo original.

If there is, in fact, a Leonardo back there, which has been hidden, or even lost, for nearly 500 years, I honestly don't see the hurry to uncover it now. Critics of the project are right to protest the possible damage or destruction of the Vasari the search--or worse, the discovery--may inflict. But if we have, in just the last few years, developed the tools to detect the space and the Leonardo, isn't it best to sit tight, and wait for technology that can preserve both artworks intact?

At least just wait like a hundred years or so, for the current crop of Da Vinci Code knuckleheads to die off. And in the mean time, why not just put up a giant photomural version of Rubens' copy? 99.9% of the 8 million visitors who'd see it each year wouldn't mind--or even notice.

leonardo_vasari_yoder-getty.jpg
Sen. John Kerry and team use a probe to look for what they believe may be Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari behind a fresco at Florence's town hall. Photograph: Dave Yoder/AFP/Getty Images

Art historians say they have found evidence of 'hidden' Leonardo da Vinci [guardian via galbraith's twitter]

andrea_bosio_gsv_domus.jpg

Jon Rafman's got his 9 Eyes, but maybe what we really need is a 5 Stages of Google Street View, something to account for the process by which people awaken to the aesthetic, social, conceptual, and ultimately, political implications of Google's worldmapping project.

Urban architecture photographer Andrea Bosio has passed Stage 1: Looking up your own house on GSV, and has managed to turn Stage 2: Visiting famous places--in his case, name brand architecture--into a photo essay for Domus:

I have always used Google's Satellite and Street View system to view cities and principally to identify the urban drift areas featured in some of my photographic projects. In these cases, I use software as if it were a map made of pictures to find my way through the reality at times of direct experience. This is also the approach I adopted for the photographic project presented here although, on this occasion, the subject of my shots was the representation of the city supplied by Google Street View on my computer screen. I treated this new pixelated reality as a territory up for exploration and managed to compile a true photographic record of it by selecting different points of observation in this virtual space. I photographed the city without ever actually being there.
Which, shooting screens, hmm. Also: "We are able to experience the reality in an objective and non-interpretative portrayal." Which, hmm.

At least Bosio demonstrates the potential of GSV for creating postcard views.

I've never been there, by Andrea Bosio [domusweb.it]

John Powers has been on me for months to read ">Nicholas de Monchaux's Fashioning Apollo, the incredible and unlikely history of the development of the Apollo spacesuits.

And I have been meaning to, I swear, but this insane photo may be just the thing to push me over the edge. Because in his otherwise heady interview with de Monchaux, Geoff Manaugh only captions the images as being from the book.

Which I will have to buy, to find out what this three-story dolly was doing in this massive, origami-ended space lined with sound-deadening foam pyramids. Because seriously, holy smokes.

Spacesuit Interview with Nicholas de Monchaux [bldgblog]

riedel_zwirner_artinfo.jpg
[image via artinfo]

A little Anastasi, a little Lawler, a little Shore, a little Fischer, a little Albenda. I wonder what color Michael Riedel's awesome photomural in Zwirner's booth will be by the time I get to the Armory show?

riedel_zwirner_install_artnet.jpg
[image via artnet]

February 28, 2012

Delirious Ningbo

Iwan_Baan_Wang-Shu-NingboMus.jpg

I've been busy as all get out, and only now do I realize I haven't actually posted here for a few days. I blame Twitter.

Anyway, I'm not a real believer in the Pritzker Prize, except when it's totally awesome, like right now, when they just announced Shanghai-based Wang Shu as the winner of the 2012 architecture award.

Since last night, when LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne tweeted the news, and promptly began livetweeting Wang's lecture at UCLA, I've been trying to think where it was that I first discovered what's probably the architect's most significant work so far, the Ningbo History Museum.

Wang indeed seems like one of the smartest, most sensitive practitioners of architecture in China right now. I say seems, because I really don't know what's going on on the ground, below the Western starchitect marquee projects from CCTV to that awful opera house, to that other awful opera house to that Steven Holl Ground Zero-in-Beijing mess, to that one housing development where everyone was brought in to make a Shigeru Ban house on spec? I remember Alvaro Siza telling about designing a building in Guangzhou back in the day, and visiting it as it neared completion, only to find out when he returned for the ribboncutting that the developer client had hurriedly doubled it without telling him.

And then everything else seems like generic futureschlock, and a wholesale disregard for history that'd do the Cultural Revolution proud. And then there was Koolhaas's presentation on the Pearl River Delta which envisioned all of Hong Kong as basically the future Lower East Side/Astor Place of a massive, 100-mile-wide New York City on the South China Sea.

So that's my context, with nothing but raw spectacle with a modernist/internationalist veneer.

And then Wang's Ningbo History Museum, which is surfaced with several million reused bricks, laid in patterns of the laborers' devising, literally built from the rubble of the past it displaces--and repackages as museum content.

Wang turns out to have trained on construction and renovation teams, giving him an unusual sensitivity to material and process as they express themselves in form and space. I found myself nodding when Hawthorne compared him to Koolhaas, but then I thought, yeah, well, maybe the Koolhaas of Delirious New York, not CCTV and Put Me On The Cover Of Time Magazine. If anything, after this most recent OMA/AMO Venice show about the threat of History, Wang might be the anti-Koolhaas.

Anyway, I'm just rambling here without a plan, only because Wang Shu seems pretty amazing; his projects and proposals bode well, not just for China, but for the world with a modern China in it; and because I want to post one of Iwan Baan's many illuminating photos of Wang's built work. This one is the dramatic, hidden interior courtyard of the Ningbo Museum.

And thanks to Brian Sholis, who points to a nice collection of Wang Shu project images and information on the Pritzker Prize's own media site [pritzkerprize.com]

Look, I don't care if you ARE Domus and you have Paola Antonelli herself as a judge; it is no small thing to call your design competition Autoprogettazione 2.0:

Autoprogettazione 2.0 is an invitation to consider the potential of a diffused, localised manufacturing network combined with the self-build ethos proposed by Mari for the future of furniture design. It is an open-ended process that seeks to leverage the combined intelligence and talent of the design community and collaborative, open-source networks. Selected projects will be exhibited by Domus in an exhibition exploring the future of manufacturing hosted in Palazzo Clerici, one of Milan's most prestigious palazzi.

The submission deadline is 27 March 2012.

The categories are table, chair, lamp, and storage, and the designs will be judged in part by how awesomely they exploit the fancy CNC and 3-D printing setups in the FabLab.

Frankly, it sounds interesting and on the up and up, but all a bit out of my league. And anyway, I don't quite get how these new, cutting edge technologies are really the optimum solution for the space's adaptable, quick & dirty, utilitarian, functional program. Not to be a curmudgeon about it, but my gimmicky meter is redlining right now.

Call for ideas: Autoprogettazione 2.0 [domusweb.it via, uhm, I forget. remind me?]

4/14 UPDATE And we have some winners. Nice stuff. You quiero El Gringo. For all the fab FabLab capabilities, it looks like plywood is still the go-to material for knock-together utilitarian furniture. [via @cityofsound]

panton_vilbert_ragoarts.jpg
image: ragoarts

A couple--wow, almost three--years ago, when I was deep in my IKEA colabo phase, I posted a roundup of explanations for why Verner Panton's melamine-on-MDF Vilbert chair didn't sell that well when Ikea launched it in 1993-4.

Now, on the occasion of Rago's upcoming auction of five Vilbert chairs, with an estimate of $3-4,000, another version of the chair's origins has come to my attention: that the Vilbert was a limited edition, a low-production collaboration with a high-profile designer, dreamed up by Ingvar Kamprad as a brand enhancer, like Karl Lagerfeld's H&M collection. In this scenario, selling only "about 3,000" Vilbert chairs worldwide was not a failure, but part of the plan.

panton_vilbert_quittenbaum.jpg

In any case, despite a lot of onesies selling--or not--for far less, I will guess that Rago hopes its set of five is worth twice the EUR 1600 Quittenbaum got for six Vilbert chairs in 2006. Perhaps someone with a chairless Guyton/Walker breakfast nook will prove them right.

UPDATE: the chairs sold for $2,875.

superstudio_quaderna_sitin.jpg

Maybe it's because I was reading about Jean-Pierre Reynaud and Superstudio's Quaderna furniture last night, but for the first time, I suddenly noticed the incredible, grid-like mesh gabion fortification and construction system that defines the forward operating bases in Afghanistan: HESCO.

hesco_afghanistan.jpg

The HESCO Bastion Concertainer, obviously just called Hesco, is a galvanized steel mesh cage lined with non-woven polypropylene geotextile, which can be deployed with local fill ten time more quickly than sandbags, and with 90% less manpower.

hesco_raid_scr.jpg

It's light enough to deploy by hand. It folds flat for easy transport. A shipping containerized system called RAID [Rapid In-Theatre Deployment] can be rolled out 1000 feet at a time from the back of a moving truck.

hesco_obs_tower.jpg

It protects against bullets, car bombs, and artillery fire, and it's structural, so you can build with it. It's water- and erosion-resistant, so you can do flood control with it. It's ubiquitous in Afghanistan to the point of invisibility.

hesco_gym_au_lowres.jpg

Which is where it starts getting really interesting. Here is a gym, constructed with Hesco pilings and a flattened out Hesco floor, built at a Hesco'd-out Australian forward gunnery base in Helmand last February.

pallet_table_militaryphotosnet1.jpg

When Hesco meets the ingenuity that produces awesome, homebrewed field furniture knocked together from shipping pallets [above, below]

pallet_lounge_militaryphotosnet.jpg

You end up with an entire Hesco living room set, including sofas, a TV stand and side table,

hesco_lounge_au_lowres.jpg

and club chairs and even a garbage can--all apparently noteworthy enough for a visiting commander to photograph and explain in 2010.

hesco_chair_au_lowres.jpg

It's like the Amerafghan love child of Staff Sergeant Frank Gehry. Admit it, wouldn't you have paid more attention to the war if you'd known the troops were hacking such awesome design all this time? Please send more pics!

HESCO Bastions [hesco.com]
Field Furniture, from the Iraq & Afhanistan theaters [pallet images via militaryphotos.net]
12 February 2010 | Commander Joint Task Force visits Aussie gunners in Helmand Province Afghanistan [defence.gov.au]

Previous 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 ... 47 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: architecture

recent projects, &c.


pm_social_medium_recent_proj_160x124.jpg
Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

madf_twitter_avatar.jpg
Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

chop_shop_at_springbreak
Chop Shop
at SPRING/BREAK Art Show
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

do_not_bid_or_buy_iris_sidebar.jpg
eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

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" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots


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