Frank Lloyd Wright Temporary Pavilion(s)

Two oak veneer clerestory window panels from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Exhibition House, 1953, built on the site of the Guggenheim, dismantled, stored, parted out, now selling at Toomey

Seeing these Frank Lloyd Wright clerestory window screens from the New York Exhibition House, and being like, New York Exhibition House?? And I guess I somehow never clocked that the Usonian project kicked off with a fully furnished, 1,700-sq ft house built on the site of the Guggenheim Museum in 1953. The Usonian Exhibition House was supposed to be sold off and rebuilt somewhere, which didn’t work out [see above], and the plans were executed twice—for the Feimans in Ohio, and the Triers in Iowa—but that’s not important now.

Frank Lloyd Wright Office sketch of the Exhibition Pavilion, called a “Temporary Structure,” built on the corner of Fifth Avenue & 89th St, at the Guggenheim Museum, in Oct-Dec 1953

Because also—or rather, first—FLW built a pop-up, 10,000-sq ft exhibition pavilion, on Fifth Avenue.

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Destroyed Ellsworth Kelly Floor Painting

OK, I guess it’s clear I was not paying close enough attention when I posted about Ellsworth Kelly’s Red Floor Panel (1992) in 2022. I recognized that Kelly made five floor works. They began in 1990, Matthew Marks wrote, with Yellow Curve, for Portikus and were followed by “two in black, one in blue, and this one in red.” I’d assumed that Glenstone purchased Yellow Curve (1990), but of course, it was later made clear that Kelly did not recreate Portikus’ Yellow Curve, but made it anew as an autonomous work, Yellow Curve (EK 808), 2015, for an identically dimensioned—and purpose-built—space. Which means technically, Kelly made six.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curves, 2011, installed at Haus der Kunst, photo: Wilfried Petzi

Red Floor Panel was reconstitutable and not site-specific, and Yellow Curve was not. Which are two potential conditions a floor piece can have. And now while researching Kelly’s 1955 painting Bar, I surfed across the 2011 exhibition, Ellsworth Kelly: Black & White at Haus der Kunst in Münich. For this venue Kelly was commissioned to create a floor panel the Haus called Black Curves [though Artforum called it Two Curves For Floor]. This panel extended 11 meters across a bay of the museum, and was destroyed when the show moved to Wiesbaden.

Ellsworth Kelly, Black Curves, 2011, lithograph, 197 x 261 mm, ed. 100, this ex. 61/100, sold at Neumister, was flipped upside down for schematic effect

It lives now only in proportion, memorialized in the diminutive fundraising edition created for the exhibition. Though with the dimensions and the plan, it feels ripe for recreating; all you need is a space with an 11m hypotenuse.

Previously, related:
Ellsworth Kelly Red Floor Panel (1992)
EK 808: The Making Of

In Conclusion, Buffalo AKG Is A Land Of Contrasts

Maybe it’s living on the border, or the multiple additions, but my strongest sense of visiting the Buffalo AKG, the museum formerly known as the Albright-Knox, is of marveling at the things they put next to each other.

By entering through the parking lot and the new Gundlach Greenhouse, I ended up walking backwards, chronologically, through the museum, beginning with a gallery of large paintings made in 2013. Then there was the 90s room, then on back, to the room with this pairing of a Rothko and a Frankenthaler that just felt wild for some reason. But at least I got a picture. The mid-70s pairing of a Susan Rothenberg horse next to a blurry pre-squeegee abstract painting by Gerhard Richter was so unexpected, I forgot to photograph it.

The Coenties Slip room, though, was pleasantly sublime, with Ellsworth Kelly’s 1950s NY NY living across from Agnes Martin’s Tree just like old times. That’s a detail below, obviously; just imagine that extending in infinity.

There were some other nice moments in the permanent collection—the Stanley Whitney retrospective was spectacular, btw. Those little paintings he makes at the end of the day with his leftover paint!

Olafur’s pavilion tree situation was nice, and better than the courtyard it replaced, for sure. Is it worth having to have the Gundlach wing, too? I will defer to the Buffalovians, who did seem pleased with the place.

But the surprise and delight was the Jacob Kassay installation, developed in collaboration with the visually impaired education folks, where he lined the outer edge of the handrail with the letter H in Braille, creating a tactile onomatopoetic evocation of breathing, or sighing, as visitors drag their hand along. It was the perfect opposite of spectacle.

Uncut

Some people wanted to make art in the gap between life and art.

Some people, meanwhile, are interested in the gap between if you move it you destroy it and actually we didn’t cut it up because it has little tongues and grooves and just slots together.

Brick House: Glass House Sex House

Exterior of the Brick House at the Glass House, photo: Michael Biondi via Town & Country

As an architecture fan and a survivor of a visit with him to the Glass House, I feel like I can say it is really too bad Philip Johnson was such a Nazi. Because the ancillary content would have been amazing.

It is still so worth checking out Spencer Bailey’s report in Town & Country on the restoration of the Brick House. Though it is right in front of the Glass House, and connected to it underground—it contains all the plumbing and mechanicals that make the Glass House possible—the Brick House has never been open to the public.

Which is not the same as not open to visitors. The Brick House was originally conceived in 1949 as a three-bedroom guest house, but it was quickly remodeled. And as everyone from Frank Lloyd Wright to Andy Warhol to Paul Goldberger readily acknowledge, it was Johnson’s sex shack. And it seems like it was hopping.

The butch boudoir interior has been restored to its 50s Fortuny-draped glory; the library has its uncomfortable number of fascism-related titles; and the halls are filled with regular rotations from Johnson’s collection of modern art. And now it is finally open for visitors, both those who head back to the city before nightfall—Johnson’s favorite kind—and the special ones who stay over. Like the Glass House, the Brick House is available for fundraising sleepovers. The mind reels.

Inside the Brick House, Philip Johnson’s Private Playground [townandcountrymag]
Previously at the Glass House, related; Au Bout de La Nuit

Sling RO/LU Chairs: A Lot

RO/LU Aluminum Rauschenberg Chairs, 2011, Lot 179 in a Patrick Parrish-curated sale 11 Apr 2024 at Wright20

NGL, I chose this among the many great RO/LU lots in Patrick Parrish’s upcoming sale at Wright20 for the headline. Even though I got stuck on the ending.

Matt Olsen calls these Rauschenberg Chairs, because they were realized by one of Robert Rauschenberg’s original fabricators. He was one of the first artist/designers to do a residency at Captiva, too, in 2013. So maybe there was some carefree hammock or sling inspo there on the deck, too; I have not asked.

RO/LU Primarily Primary chair, 2011, fir, textile, rope, image via Patrick Parrish

But I think he took the form with him to Florida. RO/LU showed fir and fur-based sling chairs in late 2011, with ropes holding up a wild felt seat element by Ashley Helvey. Their full title was Primarily / Primary (after Carol Bove, Scott Burton and Sol Le Witt), namechecking three artists that had been on/in their minds while making them.

Scott Burton Marble Armchair, 1987-89, as sold at Rago in 2023

It is unsurprising now, but a refreshing (re)discovery at the time that in exploring the gap between art and furniture, RO/LU would find Scott Burton.

RO/LU, Settee X Three (After BURTON Photo, In Private, Public + Secret), 2012, Lot 169 at Wright20

Which, now that I bring it up, I can’t not post the greatest Burton-referenced piece in the sale, this group of walnut forms called Settee X Three After BURTON Photo (Private, Public + Secret). I’ve been staring at the 360-degree photos, and the pull-aparts of the the four pieces for ages, and still cannot quite process or piece them together.

I first got to know RO/LU as a blog before I got to know them as people, and one of the most amazing things they did was experiment with moving from digital/visual contemplation to real world experience when so much of the culture was trying to do the opposite.

Scott Burton, Granite Settee, 1982-83, coll. DMA, photo: Mary Ann Sullivan via Sight Unseen

So an object (Private) that was produced by eyeballing an old photo of a Scott Burton granite settee at the Dallas Museum, that is temporarily cast in concrete on a Williamsburg sidewalk (Public), and replicated somewhere else (Secret), that you can only understand in person, feels very on the mark.

11 Apr 2024 Lot 179: RO/LU, Aluminum Rauschenberg Chairs, 2011 [wright20]
Lot 169: RO/LU, Settee X Three (After BURTON Photo, In Private, Public & Secret), 2012 [wright20]
2012: RO/LU’s Settee X Three at Sit and Read Gallery [sightunseen]
RO/LU | “Primarily / Primary (After Carol Bove, Scott Burton + Sol Le Witt) Chairs”, 2011 [patrick-parrish]
Previously, related: Scott Burton Marble Armchair

Matisse Chapel Facsimile Object

replica of Matisse’s Rosary Chapel in Vence installed at National Art Center Tokyo, via mon oncle

The exhibition, Henri Matisse: Forms in Freedom, at the National Art Center Tokyo includes a full-scale replica of la Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence (1947-51). The experience incorporates simulated daylight on an accelerated loop, as if the replica stained glass windows were the ceiling of the mall at Caesar’s Palace.

photomural of Matisse’s tile Virgin & Child installed at National Art Center Tokyo, via mon oncle

In the caption Chie Sumiyoshi’s Mon Oncle article about the exhibit, it calls the above image a reproduction [再現] of a tile mural. But the only thing tiled here are the sheets of the photomural. The stained glass windows opposite, then, are also photos of the windows, and the wrought iron grates and landscaping behind them. Matisse’s candlesticks are on the replica altar, but Matisse’s crucifix is not.

Matisse’s Stations of the Cross in Vence, from a photo accompanying a 2013 review of a book by the longtime director of the Musée Matisse, in Architectural Review

I can find no images of a Tokyo replica of Matisse’s Stations of The Cross, which occupies the wall that would be directly next to the photographers of the images above. It is a tense and janky tangle that replaces a physical procession with a halting visual search for the next number and the next step. Matisse drew it at scale, with charcoal on the end of a bamboo pole. So the physical experience being replicated would have been not just that of a tourist, but of Matisse himself, standing in front of his work.

If I can find any relevant Brice Marden comments, or if someone gets married in there, I will update this post immediately.

マティスの仕事の集大成がここに, which I cannot help but read as, “Here is the culmination of Matisse’s job” [mononcle.art s/o 鈴木芳雄]
Henri Matisse: Forms In Freedom runs through 27 May 2024 [nact.jp]
Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence [wikipedia]

Cattelan Cappelletta Sistina

detail from plate 4 of Cattelan: The 11th Commandment, published in 2024 by Three Star Books

After a thirteen-year gap in which the artist retired and unretired, Three Star Books, of Paris, has released a fourth volume in their Maurizio Cattelan trilogy, appropriately titled, The 11th Commandment.

Begun in 2007, each of the TSB books comprises an interview with the artist and one of his curator-collaborators, and images of recent works. This year it is Nancy Spector, who curated both Cattelan’s Guggenheim retrospective—prominently featured in the 2011 title, The Taste of Others—and the gold toilet vortex we’ve been swirling around in since 2015, otherwise known as America.

The interview is fine. The books continue to be remarkable because they are published in portfolio format, and each page is a facsimile of a hand-painted and hand-lettered watercolor original. The 11th Commandment is credited to Qi Han, whose renditions are comparable to previous editions, which were painted by Fu Site.

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled, 2018, fresco, pine wood, steel, 343 x 693 x 242 cm,
as installed in 2021 at UCCA in Shanghai

Above is the best one, conceptually. During Shanghai Fashion Week in 2018, Cattelan curated The Artist Is Present, at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, an exhibition for Gucci inspired by the idea that, “The copy is the original.” Cattelan included a work of his own in the show; Untitled (2018) is a 1:6-scale replica in fresco on wood of the Sistine Chapel. The image reproduced in The 11th Commandment, which includes a human figure for scale, was published on Gucci’s Facebook page. The only thing that would make Untitled better is if it were an edition.

Maurizio Cattelan titles and editions by Three Star Books [threestarbooks.com]

Sold Separately: Cane Acres Dining Room, f/k/a Tonguewell

Furniture sold separately: the so-called Cane Acres Plantation Dining Room, as last seen at the Brooklyn Museum, image via Brunk Auctions

[UPDATE: Reporting on the rooms sale for Artnet, Brian Boucher got a comment from Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak: tl;dr, they’re mid!]

It is at once extraordinary and the most logical thing in the world—admittedly, a low bar these days—but the Brooklyn Museum is selling two of its period rooms at auction next week. It’s actually selling much more, including most of the majorand minorfurnishings of those rooms, hundreds of other antiques, and woodwork elements from two other interiors. [Shoutout to David Platzker for the heads up on the sale.]

The most significant, or historic, or problematic, is now known as the Cane Acres Plantation dining room, which was the Brooklyn Museum’s largest period room, and the first from the South. The museum acquired it a hundred years ago near Summerville, South Carolina, in the middle of what turned out to be a museum period room arms race. Though it’ll be recognizable to anyone who’s been to the museum, what you’re actually bidding on is very different and specific:

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Donald Judd Cama del Taller Chihuahuense

El Taller Chihuahuense, Donald Judd’s metal fabrication shop in Marfa, as published in Donald Judd Raume/Spaces, 1994, from the Museum Wiesbaden, all photos: Todd Eberle

After several years of executing works in Cor-Ten steel, Donald Judd opened a welding and fabrication shop in 1988 in the disused Ice Plant building on the northeast side of downtown Marfa. He called it El Taller Chihuahuense (The Chihuahuan Workshop), and he hired local welders, including Raul Hernandez and Lee Donaldson to make his works.

Cobb Gatehouse with Judd steel bed and table by, as published in Donald Judd Raume/Spaces

The workers of El Taller also fabricated beds and slate-topped tables of square tubular steel, which Judd designed in 1991 and 1992.

Continue reading “Donald Judd Cama del Taller Chihuahuense”

Hector Guimard Art Nouveau House Numbers

Lot 148, Hector Guimard, house numerals, 1900-08, painted cast iron, at Christie’s 12 March

I don’t think I’ve ever been in an emotionally wrung out state where I get choked up by the beauty of house numbers, but here we f’ing are.

Hector Guimard had these absolutely exquisite numbers cast, like everything else, at the Fondries Saint Dizier. These are painted, which is fine. The set the de Menils bought in 1971 are just naked iron, which is better. The 25yo surmoulage bronze replicas being sold on 1st Dibs look like they’re wearing a gold lamé sweatsuit. It’d be less embarrassing to tape a hundred dollar bill to your door.

[A few excited minutes later update: as recently as a 2016 blog post, le Cercle Guimard reviewed the history of these numerals, which were available as products basically up until WWII. In 1971, some of the earliest connoisseurs rediscovering Guimard obtained the original counter-models from Saint-Dizier, which Dominique de Menil acquired, some for her own collection, and others she donated to the Musée d’Orsay. Their counter-models long gone, Saint-Didier began producing the surmoulage casts in the 1980s.]

12 March 2024, Lot 148: Hector Guimard, House Numerals, est. $3-5,000 [update: whoops, missed this, and they’re gone. were they withdrawn? or did they not sell?] [christies]

This PS1 Slide Was Not A James Turrell; It Was A Patrick Killoran

Honestly I have no idea how it got lodged in my head, but for at least fifteen years, and probably twenty, I was certain that James Turrell made two pieces at PS1.

One is the famous, iconic, even historic skyspace known as Meeting, which has gone through several iterations—perhaps upgrades, perhaps not—since Turrell first created it in 1980 and opened it in 1986.

Turrell’s skyspace, Meeting, under construction in 1986, via MoMA’s interactive timeline that kind of glosses over the dramatic changes of adding an LED lightshow to the work in 2016, just before it was formally accessioned into the collection.

The other was a far rougher, more primitive, but also more visceral, individual experience, just down the hall. A single viewer climbs onto a wooden platform, lays down, and then the platform is slid through an open window just enough for their head to stick out. For a moment, the viewer has a disorienting and somewhat disembodied view of the sky from an extremely unfamiliar vantage point.

This permanent installation began in a gallery, but the space was then taken over for* was in PS1’s administrative offices, which were open to visitors who would take turns having their heads pushed out the window.

Then this piece was gone, and no one spoke of it again, it was the lost Turrell, that I began to wonder if I’d hallucinated it, a Klaus-era fever dream, or janky Turrell erasure? No, I was just wrong.

Observation Deck (Queens) was a 1996 work by Patrick Killoran, first installed in his studio in Williamsburg, and then installed at PS1’s reopening in 1997. It stayed in place until 2006 2010, mostly missing the Phonecam-brian Explosion. One of the few images of it online (above) is at Rhizome’s archive of VVORK. So thank you for that.

Patrick Killoran, Observation Deck (Birmingham), 2016, installation at IKON Gallery,
photo: Stuart Whipps via IKON

A version of it, Observation Deck (Birmingham), has been installed at IKON since 2016, and has far more photo documentation. They appear to have added a safety harness, which makes sense. Birmingham’s just-announced 100% culture funding cuts, while devastating and myopic, are a small enough source of IKON’s budget that access should not be too affected.

As for how and why I conflated Killoran’s and Turrell’s work, maybe it was some resonance of the sky, the sliding mechanisms, the proximity, and the timing? I can only say it was a compliment for which I am truly sorry, and for which I’m glad to finally be corrected.

* MARCH 2024 UPDATE: And corrected again. Killoran reached out to clarify the work was always in PS1’s office; I concluded wrongly from the VVORK documentation photo that it was in a gallery space at some point.

He also explained the work’s dates related to its studio vs. public installations. Versions would later be installed in Sydney, Nantes, and London.

As for my retconning Observation Deck as a Turrell, Killoran suggested that may have arisen from a 2004 Village Voice article [long since corrected] that called it a Turrell. I’d already experienced Observation Deck several times since then, but memory is a wild thing. Anyway, now we know a little more.