Nebelmeer, Nebelmeer

Untitled (Nebelmeer), 2024, 48 x 48 in., paint on canvas, installed on a wall painted in complementary Benjamin Moore color with a suitably atmospheric name, via zillow

In what, from the finishes, looks like the early 90s, A police station in Georgetown was converted into two townhouses. One of them is being sold with help from a little known version of Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above The Sea and Fog. The H on the throw on the sofa stands for Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Previously, related: Monochrome House, 2016
Untitled (A Painting for Two Rooms by Cactus Cantina), 2017
Untitled (Blurred Frida), 2020
LMAO I have works like this that I haven’t even posted, just grabbed the MLS image and declared it, talk about tree falling in the forest

Barnett Newman, Other (1963)

David Diao, Barnett Newman: Chronology of Work (Updated), 2010, acrylic & vinyl on canvas, 84 x 156 in., image via Greene Naftali

One of many epic paintings David Diao made about Barnett Newman’s catalogue raisonné is a yearly tally of work, sorted by category, into zips. Every time I see it I think, “Other? What was the one other?”

Barnett Newman, Model for a Synagogue, 1963, collection Centre Canadien d’Architecture

And then rewatching Diao’s 2013 Dia talk last night, I am reminded that Other is a synagogue Newman designed, Diao said, for an architectural competition. There’s a 2014 story at Grupa O.K. about Harald Szeemann wanting to borrow the model [fabricated by Robert Murray] for a show in 1983, and Annalee refusing to lend it. She left it to the in the CCA in Montreal in 1991.

LATER TONIGHT UPDATE: EXCEPT. Newman did not make this for a competition, but for an exhibition. In mid-1963 he was working on the Cantos print series when Richard Meier, of all people, invited him to be the only non-architect in a show at the Jewish Museum, Recent American Synagogue Architecture. Newman also wrote an essay for the catalogue about synagogue architecture in the postwar context. His relationship with the Jewish Museum soured a couple of years later when he opposed what he felt the museum was wrongly implicating him with constrictive labels of Jewish Artist or Jewish Art. Mark Godfrey gets into this and other early postwar artists’ reckoning with Jewish identity and culture a bit in his 2007 book, Abstraction and the Holocaust.

Kominka Renovation By Atelier Tekuto, 2009

and if you go through and to your left.. Jukou, 2009, image: tekuto.com

Traditional Japanese rural architecture was disappearing in the 1950s when Yukio Futagawa raced to photograph it and publish my favorite architecture book ever, Nihon no Minka. Some minka remain in states of reverent historic preservation. What it seems almost never happens, though, is that a minka is renovated. It feels like almost nothing gets renovated in Japan.

…and lie down in the kitchen, just next to the stove room, Jukou, 2009, image: tekuto.com

So it’s wild that in 2009, Yoshihiro Yamashita, working as Atelier Tekuto, did a modern update to a late 19th century kominka in Iwaki, Fukushima, using historically sensitive, if not preservationist, materials.

From the outside, the strongest gesture was replacing whatever metal garbage cladding was there with plaster panels. But the real breakthrough is on the inside, where drop ceilings were removed to reveal the roof and beams. It took me a minute to map this photo to the outside views, but the square paper lamp and stove help; this is just a two-story space photographed while lying on the floor.

Jukou, 2009, by Yasuhiro Yamashita/Atelier Tekuto [tekuto.com]
Previously, related: Kusakabe House, Takayama

Thank You For Your Silver Service, Donald Judd X Puiforcat

four of the eight sterling silver pieces in the Donald Judd dinner service, by Puiforcat

Saw the Donald Judd X Puiforcat silver dinnerware again on wildoute’s tumblr this morning and was reminded I’m apparently not living in a way that it will effortlessly cross my path. I will have to seek it out at the Hermès store [or the Judd Foundation?]

Donald Judd dinnerware, with other Puiforcat photobomb, at 101 Spring, from tiktok/graciewiener

Technically it dropped last spring. From this hilarious tiktokker [“also the building’s beautiful”] and the Vogue piece, it looks like the embargo for the fashion/influencer reveal at 101 Spring lifted on May 15th. But it kept getting announced/discovered through the fall. And the making of video on Puiforcat’s own page for the collection is only a month old. Anyway, I think you can no longer use the excuse that it wasn’t available.

Continue reading “Thank You For Your Silver Service, Donald Judd X Puiforcat”

Pepsi-Cola Christmas Ribbon (1959) by Robert Brownjohn

Robert Brownjohn’s Pepsi-Cola Christmas Ribbon, 1959, seen from inside the lobby of 500 Park Avenue, via Peter Huestis’ skeet

Designer/adman Robert Brownjohn had been pumping up the design of Pepsi-Cola World, the monthly corporate magazine sent to bottlers, for a couple of years when he was commissioned to create a sculpture for the lobby of the company’s soon-to-open world headquarters at 500 Park Avenue.

Robert Brownjohn, Pepsi-Cola Christmas Ribbon, chicken wire and Christmas ornaments, Dec. 1959, detail, installed at 500 Park Ave., image: robertbrownjohn.com

The result was Pepsi-Cola Christmas Ribbon, described by Brownjohn’s official site as “a giant wave supported by pilotti” which was “elaborately constructed with thousands of multi-coloured Christmas baubles embedded in an armature of chicken wire.”

Robert Brownjohn, Pepsi-Cola Christmas Ribbon, chicken wire and Christmas ornaments, Dec. 1959, exterior view, installed at 500 Park Ave., image: robertbrownjohn.com

From the exterior views on Brownjohn’s site, the sculpture seems to have filled almost the entire 100-foot wide facade of Natalie de Blois’ building. The Pepsi-Cola Building is, along with Lever House, the Seagram Building, and the Manufacturers Trust Building (510 Fifth Ave.), one the greatest International Style building in New York. It is certainly the most quietly elegant.

Ezra Stoller, Pepsi-Cola Building, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1960, silver gelatin print, 20×16 in., ed. 20 +4AP, via Yossi Milo

The lobby, entirely open, was originally designed as an exhibition space, but no exhibition mentioned in the building’s history sounds remotely as successful as Robert Brownjohn’s chicken wire sculpture that went on view for a couple of months before the building even opened. And which I had never heard a peep about until this morning, when Peter Huestis posted it on BlueSky.

Richard Rogers Tomigaya Exhibition Hall, 1990-1992

Tomigaya, Richard Rogers, Project Partner: Laurie Abbott, 1990-1992, unbuilt. images via RHSP

Just as the bubble was popping, a developer asked Richard Rogers to make a building on a tiny, triangular lot in Tomigaya, on the southwest corner of Yoyogi-Kōen. The zoning permitted a 45m height, but only three stories. And project partner Laurie Abbott came up with this all-glass, wedge-shaped exhibition space with movable mezzanines and an external crane to lift yachts and helicopters and such into place.

earlier iteration of Tomigaya exhibition hall concept with adjustable mezzanine heights and external elevators, made from Erector sets or whatever, 1990-1992, Richard Rogers/Laurie Abbott

Obviously, it was never built, because if it existed, I would have already reconfigured my life to have bought it in the overlapping window of post-bubble malaise and dotcom bubble madness, and I’d be living in it today. Probably with a crossfit studio or something renting out the lower level.

Google Maps looking east: I think the site is the triangular bldg on the right with the white marker? Obviously they got a zoning variance to build more than three floors of vanilla condos

Shoutout to Philip Oldfield for identifying the Tomigaya tower as his favorite unbuilt high-tech building on social media, and for Kate Wagner for the tip.

Tomigaya [rhsp]

Now (And Then) And Forever

“With gratitude for the imagination, creativity, and vision of Kerry James Marshall in his design for the Now and Forever Windows, on behalf of the Windows Replacement Committee and the Fabrics and Fine Arts Committee, we present to you these stained glass windows, fabricated by Andre Goldkuhle, to be set apart for the people of God.”

I watched the dedication ceremony Saturday, but I wanted to see the stained glass windows Kerry James Marshall made at the National Cathedral in person before writing about them.

It is, of course, impossible to consider the windows outside of their multiple contexts, including: the fleeting, classical Episcopalian spectacle of the dedication ceremony, whose explicit purpose was to inspire, and which has already floated away from the physical present now of the installation. The Cathedral and its institutional apparatus’ reckoning with the white supremacist symbolism literally built into it, over decades; the incremental recommendations and changes made in the wakes of multiple instances of anti-Black violence; the official committees formed amidst the activism of Black students at the Cathedral’s schools; and the seemingly relentless drumbeat of white Christianist fascism beyond the Cathedral’s walls.

Kerry James Marshall is surely aware of all this. He’s been making compelling art all his career for cathedrals built to exclude him. The National Cathedral knows all this, too, obviously; it’s what they chose him to do. In a way, or in part. What was the commission, and what, actually, did Marshall do?

Continue reading “Now (And Then) And Forever”

Kerry James Marshall’s National Cathedral Windows Dedication

In 2021 Kerry James Marshall was commissioned by the National Cathedral to create stained glass windows to replace windows that depicted Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Marshall’s Now and Forever Windows will be unveiled and dedicated on Saturday morning, Sept. 23, and a public open house to celebrate them will run all day.

The windows are accompanied by a stone plaque engraved with a poem, commissioned from Elizabeth Alexander, titled, “An American Song.”

The dedication and reading will be streamed live on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel:

A history of the confederate windows, the task force that convened to study and remove them, and the project to replace them, is at cathedral.org/windows.

Concrete Stamp from Swiss Post

Art in Architecture stamp, 2023, via Swiss Post

For 2023 the Swiss Post Office launched a concrete wall stamp printed with cement pigments in an ultra-matt finish for tactile effect. The only thing more Swiss is the stamp’s entire product description, which details how this stamp aligns with the three pillars of Swiss Post’s art support policy [revised in 2020], and how that policy aligns in turn with Swiss Post’s ongoing policies for supporting the arts.

Canvas stamp, 2021, via Swiss Post

In 2021, to announce this newly updated art policy, and to draw attention to Swiss Post’s art collection and architecture, Swiss Post introduced a blank canvas stamp. It is sold out, but when augmented by a CHF0.10 stamp, is still valid for use. The making-of video is as sublimely boring as one could hope; it must have been a great source of comfort in the midst of pandemic uncertainty.

The concrete stamp is available in single, 4-, or 8-stamp sheets. [post.ch, thanks Bruno]
Previously, related: Destroyed Gerhard Richter Stamps
Thomas Hirschhorn Stamps

This Is (This Is) Air

(This Is) Air, rendering of Nic Brunsdon & ENESS’s 2023 architecture commission for the National Gallery of Victoria’s 2023 Triennial, image: NGV

Perth architect Nic Brunsdon’s inflatable and undulating sphere, (This is) Air, will be realized in the garden of the National Gallery of Victoria this December, as part of the 2023 Triennial.

It will respire, inflate and deflate, to help make air visible. As it “exhales” it will transform “into an array of cloud-like configurations.” On first, second, and third glances, it does resemble the satelloons and sculptural, inflated spheres that are the never-dissipating obsession of mine for the last 16+ years. It is comforting and encouraging to have astute friends and colleagues like Andrew Russeth see a 14m balloon ball project in Australia and think, “Oh, I need to send this to Greg.”

Paul Chan, Khara en Penta (Joyer in 5), 2019, image: Greene Naftali via Walker Art Center, where a show of Chan’s Breathers was on view until last month

As I type this up, the nature of Brunsdon’s project seems to relate even more closely to Paul Chan’s Breathers, whose undulating sculptural shapes are created by the flow of air through them. (This is) Air feels like a massive, Platonic solid (sic) version of Chan’s contorted, figural objects.

Martin Creed’s Work No. 2821, (half the air in a given space), 2017, was acquired by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which illustrates it thus.

It also brings to mind Martin Creed, whose “half the air in a given space” series uses smaller balloons, and obviously involves an enclosed space. Of course, a 14m-diameter sphere contains almost exactly half the air, by volume, of a 14-meter cube. So in a way, Brunsdon’s outdoor project also makes it possible to imagine, not just the air, but the space it would be given.

2023 NGV Architecture Commission: Nic Brunsdon, (This is) Air [ngv.gov.au]

FS: Wall, Dreams

It’s hard to imagine that the cheapest real estate listing in Georgetown still feels overpriced.

A wall was listed for sale yesterday, for $50,000. If the dimensions, 22 square feet, are accurate, that is $2,273/sf, more than twice the going rate for premium renovated townhouse space.

Of course, the difference is, there’s no space here; 22sf is the entire lot [sic] and structure [sic]. The wall is solid brick. It’s a one-foot wide party wall that used to belong to some building that got torn down and replaced by a 1980s bank parking lot. And yet, it does not belong to the bank.

This seeming surveyor’s error of a property barely justifies the term, and yet, there it is.

“Own a piece of Georgetown. This wall located at 30 and M NW. The opportunities are limitless,” the listing hilariously lies.

What opportunities exist for the owner of this wall? The opportunity to abide by centuries of law regarding party walls, for one. So you could you tear it down and build a 1×22 foot, three story fish tank, as long as it doesn’t pose any risk to the house next door.

You could paint a mural on it—the wall is fairly visible from Georgetown’s main drag, M Street—if you wanted the opportunity of subjecting yourself to the nitpicky conservative tastes of the Old Georgetown Board, which advises the federal Commission on Fine Arts, the bodies which review basically any construction, sign, or visual art proposal that is visible from these historic streets. If it were possible or profitable to paint or wrap something on the wall, I’m sure the current owner would be doing it.

I think the most realistic opportunity is for the owner of the neighboring townhouse to buy it for something between $50,000 and a dollar.

[Morning After, How Could I Have Been So Wrong? Update: The Wall will be the site of limitless radical and innovative visual experience, commissioned from the most daring artists, advertising agencies, political actors, and hypebeasts, which are presented regularly to the Old Georgetown Board for review and disapproval. Proposals for The Old Georgetown Billboard will be performed as part of the public discourse. Renderings will circulate in the stakeholder community, and will be collected online as a visual archive. For IRL visitors, Augmented Reality technology will provide scintillating, sponsored spectacle. This joint is about to go from an orphaned party wall to a global wall party. Let the bidding commence.]

[Week After Update: Artist Michelle Banks posted a deep dive on The Wall from Georgetown Metropolitan on Bluesky, and guess what, it’s messy, and kinda shady!]

[7/25: The Washington Post writes around my proposal like I’m not even here. The ignominy. Also, the seller of the wall, who has a $2.14 basis [!] is like, I didn’t rub two brain cells together to come up with this price. He really should just give the wall to the neighbor at this point. This whole thing is messy and hilarious af. Let this site eventually memorialize what might have been.]

related: ‘Too big, too bold’: No-Go For Peck Mural in Georgetown [wcp]
‘Unexpected pops of color, unique origin stories, and Instagram-worthy backdrops’: Georgetown BID list of murals [georgetowndc]
Board says Georgetown Transformers have to go [dcist]

Tobi Wong Glass Chair No. 1 or 2

Tobias Wong, Glass Chair No. 1 or 2? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, 2002 produced later, at LA Modern 18 July 2023

I think the first place Tobias Wong’s Glass Chairs were available was in 2002 at Troy. The SoHo design store commissioned Wong to make a holiday collection. I love them, they’re like Judd chairs for ghosts.

Tobi was always getting in trouble for his knockoffs and reworkings, but more than 20 years later, and 13 years after his death, these chairs are actually still available. So I guess the ghost of Judd doesn’t mind. [Troy was literally across the street from Peter Ballantine’s place, the guy who made Judd’s plywood pieces—but not the chairs.]

At Troy they were sold as a pair, as Chair No. 1 and No. 2, but the picture from the NY Times, and the one on Twentieth, the LA design shop who sold this one, are flipped. So if you want to complete the set, be sure to confirm which $9000 chair you’re ordering.

18 July 2023, Lot 139: Tobias Wong, Glass Chair, 2002, via Twentieth, est. $2-3,000 [update: sold for $4,410] [lamodern]
Well this article still feels a little raw, tbqh: The Life of Tobias Wong, Designer [nyt]
From A to Wong and back again, a nice 2015 reminiscence/revisit by collaborator Item Idem [flashart]
Wong’s website is still up. Oh wow, I’d forgotten about Warhol Gift Wrap using actual prints from Ronald Feldman [brokenoff.com]
Previously, related: Perfect Lovers (Forever), by Tobias Wong
Previously, unrelated: All Respect For My Judd Furniture Knocking Off Kings

Craig Pride

Whoops, not me having to change the folksy billboard lede to past tense when I found a 2022 Google Streetview shot from the highway

You know the gravel pit on the east end of town? Where there used to be the big vinyl billboard you could see from US-40, that says Welcome To Moffat County? The one that made Gail from the Chamber of Commerce tear up with delight first time she saw it because it “really says Moffat County”?

Well that wedge-shaped building, which the Chamber helped paint white a ways back, wasn’t always a billboard. It used to be the screen for a drive-in movie theater. On the other side, of course. And til the projection booth and snackbar burned down, and 3B Enterprises expanded the pit.

from @fromkindra’s western photolog, as regrammed by @ndybeach

In fact, this used to be a typology: drive-in movie screens with interiors. Do a reverse Google image search of @fromkindra’s Instagram road trip posts if you don’t believe me; they’re all over.

Anyway, maybe it’s time to repaint that thing.

My Husband Bought The Whitney

Look, I absolutely get it. If I was an architect, or even an architectural designer, and my husband just bought the Whitney Museum, I’d be psyched, too.

And if he and his company was getting roasted for it, and people were freaking out over Marcel Breuer’s iconic brut luxe spaces being gutted and turned into a showroom for NFTs and Kelly bags, I could imagine giving him a pep talk when he came home.

I could not imagine, however, paying to promote my Instagram post praising his “vision and determination.”

And I would not say in a promoted Instagram post, “As someone who has an architectural practice that values and specializes in preservation, conservation, and restoration, I see so much value in this stunning acquisition.” Especially if my little studio had previously made fixtures for my husband’s company’s showroom above its East Hampton real estate office, and I wanted to get a piece of that sweet Breuer gut job.

But apparently, that is just me.

Previously, related: The Whitney House