Wishing everyone all the best this holiday season. See you again in 2012.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
This autumn's been quite a season so far. Several architecture and design community events took up much of my time (thus my long absence), and the hunt for design opportunities continues apace. A broken heart threatens to waylay me yet again, but I've resolved to carry on.
Not to worry: I did have some fun. I've been taking pictures when I can, and a couple of day trips provided healthy and welcome respites.
Storm King Art Center
A couple of friends and I made our way to the Storm King Art Center, in New Windsor, NY, on a day that started out warm and turned humid and hot, an obscenity in October. Sprinkled with large-scale works by some of contemporary art's most prominent artists including Mark Di Suvero and the late, great Donald Judd, the park grounds—located about an hour north of New York City—are extensive and beautiful, no matter the weather. I can't show you any of the artwork—strictly forbidden by the Storm King folks—but the fall images are from in and around the center. If you're looking for a tryptophan-hangover remedy, the outdoor galleries are open through this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The Glass House
|The Glass House and brick-clad Guest House, with the round pool dominating the landscape|
He and historian/curator Henry-Russell Hitchcock coined the term International Style to describe European modernism, which Johnson explored firsthand in the late 1920s and early 1930s. As the Museum of Modern Art's founding curator of its architecture and design department, he mounted the first retrospective of European design and architecture, in 1932. Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and others found haven in the U.S. at the rise of Nazism in the 1930s partly because of MoMA's influential show, and Johnson was a tireless advocate of modernism until the 1960s, when he broke from the confines of steel and glass to explore Pop Art, postmodernism and other schools of design thought.
His New Canaan estate was his laboratory, and the various buildings show his unending curiosity. The brick guest house, less than 100 yards from the main house, echoes the Glass House's measurements (it is in fact a twin in all but materials and interior space plan). A library/studio and Ghost House are visible to the left of the grounds' entrance and driveway. The gallery buildings explore different structural elements, including skylights and rotating interior walls for displaying art both small and large scale. The last building completed, an unused visitors center nicknamed Da Monsta, was completed in 1996 and boasts the Dr. Suessian curves and colors of postmodernism and deconstructivism.
|Johnson's library and study, which he used daily until shortly before his death in 2005|
|The Ghost House was originally built to protect a lily garden from the plentiful deer. It didn't work.|
|The living room. The landscape—by French Renaissance painter Nicolas Poussin—was the only work Johnson showed by an artist he didn't know personally.|
|The only walls that reached the ceiling housed the well-used fireplace and bathroom. The brick was the same used for the floor, which boast radiant heating, a rarity in the 1950s.|
|The artwork, this one by Elie Nadelman|
|The views from the Glass House|
|The path from the entrance, around the main buildings . . .|
|. . . to the Sculpture Gallery . . .|
|A Frank Stella|
|A bronze replica of humble but proud driftwood|
|. . . and the underground Painting Gallery.|
|Andy Warhol portrait of Johnson|
|More Stellas adorn the movable walls. The mechanics are partially visible in the gallery's ceiling.|
|Inside Da Monsta|
|Visitors center entrance. A steady drizzle kept the air chilly.|
|A final look down the path. 'Til we meet again.|
Monday, October 10, 2011
I didn't know how to pay tribute to Apple CEO and visionary Steve Jobs, who died at age 56 on October 5. Then I finally figured it out. Here now a personal history of Apple in my life. All photos courtesy webdesignerdepot.com, unless otherwise indicated.
Thank you, Mr. Jobs.
Thank you, Mr. Jobs.
|The first Macintosh I ever worked on. As a writer and editor, it was a godsend: easy to configure and use.|
|Next came the LC II, which I loved 'cause it was named for me!|
|Towers dominated magazine publishing for years. They got progressively sleeker and more powerful.|
|As a freelance writer, I needed a Mac at home. My choice: the lime. Delicious and fun. A cousin inherited it after I moved to the MacBook. She used it until it wouldn't turn on anymore.|
|The only thing I didn't like about my beloved Lime Machine was the mouse.|
|Wanted one of these clamshell MacBooks, but waited too long. . . .|
|. . . and ended up with the colorless but more powerful update. My brother inherited this one when his HP laptop died after only a year. He killed this one too, but it took a lot longer.|
|I wanted a faster machine without the tower, so it was back to the iMac, this time a 20" beauty. Five years later, it's still going strong, but Lion is biting at my heels. . . . (courtesy kolimbo.com)|
|I had an earlier version of the iPod, but adored my G5 Classic.|
|The Shuffle remains the perfect workout companion.|
|Somewhere out there, my G5 iPod is still mourning our separation. But I had a new love: the iPod Touch.|
|When Verizon finally got its hand on the iPhone, I started counting down, in minutes, to my upgrade. Worth the wait. (courtesy digitaltrends.com)|
|Still don't like the name, but want it bad just the same: the iPad 2. (courtesy wondrouspic.com)|
|Yes, Mr. Jobs, you sold me on the MacBook Air. It's my next Apple machine. (courtesy blogsdna.com)|
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Stillspotting NYC, an interdisciplinary project curated by the Guggenheim Museum, explores ways of finding quiet in the cacophony of senses that is urban living, especially in New York. Partnering with architects, artists, designers, composers and philosophers, assistant curator David van der Leer (from the museum's Architecture and Urban Studies program) and project associate Sarah Malaika steer the two-year project through its various incarnations in all of the city's five boroughs.
|The sign to the will-call gallery at Castle Clinton, just paces from our first stop.|
From the first, tentative steps into Labyrinth at the Battery (just west of Castle Clinton) through a short journey to Governors Island and back to Manhattan and the World Trade Center, emotion ruled. I had traveled to Battery Park by bus from uptown Manhattan to take in the urban morning expecting nothing more than to listen to the music of a composer I'd admired for years. There was so much more.
For New Yorkers (and Washingtonians and Pennsylvanians), the wounds of September 11 remain remarkably fresh, even as the ache of loss dulls. My best friend pointed out recently that the reliving of the attacks by the media and the constant streams of visitors who have turned the World Trade Center into a tourist destination represent a constant "retraumatization" for those of us who witnessed the attacks and carry the knowledge that we knew someone—either directly or indirectly through friends, family and coworkers—who died on that awful day (sometimes New York is an incredibly small town). After hours of making sure that my family was safe (I have a cousin who worked in the North Tower—miraculously, her entire office was uptown for a conference at the moment the first plane hit), I made my way to the magazine where I worked and spend the next 15 hours reading, editing and piecing together an issue that covered that day's events. Even years later, a beautiful sky—a blue, impossibly bright and crystalline clear one that only happens in the fall—can make my heart race, and I reflectively search the sky for the plane that will end it all.
|Entering Stillspot A, the Labyrinth at the Battery|
|"Silentium," from Arvo Pärt's Tabula Rasa, accompanied visitors on the walk.|
|These weather balloons marked each Stillspot.|
|Manhattan from the Governors Island ferry|
|From the haunted magazine chambers of Fort Jay . . .|
|. . . to the open space at the Southeast Bastion, with the skyline as backdrop|
|On our way to the Woolworth Building|
|Photos aren't allowed inside the Woolworth, but I snuck in a couple on my iPhone.|
|The views from the 46th floor of 7 World Trade Center|
|"Reflecting Absence," Michael Arad's design for the 9/11 Memorial Park|