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Archives for September 2014

Poking Koch: Meet the Metropolitan Museum’s Vibrant New Plaza & Its Detractors (with videos)

There's been a persistent Twitter backlash over the last week against the Metropolitan Museum's latest capital project, featuring (among many others) two prominent NY Times critics expressing displeasure over the lively, engaging new urban space created by OLIN's just concluded redesign of the museum's entrance plaza and fountains. (As far as I can see, the Times has published a photo but no review of this significant upgrade to NYC's cultural cityscape.) I can only think that the critics' view of the plaza may have been clouded by the … [Read more...]

Guggenheim Helsinki Gets 1,715 Architectural Submissions (with no assurance it can proceed)

The Guggenheim's open architectural competition for its proposed Helsinki facility has attracted "the largest number of entries recorded for a competition of this kind," according to today's press release by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Some 1,715 anonymous submissions from 77 countries were received, "according to voluntary data provided by 70 percent of competitors," the Guggenheim reports. Whether this astonishing quantity will result in quality remains to be seen. Some, if not most, seasoned practitioners may well have … [Read more...]

Meet the Smithsonian’s Incoming Secretary: Jazz Flutist David Skorton (with video)

Near the end of Cornell University's Sesquicentennial Celebration this Saturday at New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center, my jaw dropped at the unexpected entrance of the host venue's celebrated artistic director, Wynton Marsalis (who had attended Juilliard, not Cornell). Taking the stage with his combo, he launched into a lively set. "David Skorton (Cornell's president and the soon-to-be Smithsonian secretary) is going to play with them," I predicted to my husband, whom I met when we attended Cornell. I had previously seen the prez jam with a … [Read more...]

Art of 9/11: Remnants, Models, Memorial Tributes UPDATED

Every visitor to the 9/11 Memorial Museum brings his personal remembrances and unique sensibility to its viscerally powerful displays. While art is a peripheral player in that solemn space, the remnants of sculptures found at the site and the new works created in commemoration of the horrific event beckoned to me from the agonizing agglomeration of mangled metal and memento mori. (The museum was closed today to the general public, because of the by-invitation 9/11 anniversary ceremony at the site. But the Memorial Plaza opened to the public at … [Read more...]

Capital Choice: Jessica Morgan Named to Direct Dia Art Foundation

In naming as its next director Jessica Morgan, now curator of international art (which includes U.S. art) at London's Tate Modern, the Dia Art Foundation picked a deeply experienced contemporary art curator to succeed Philippe Vergne (named last January to direct LA MOCA). Assuming her new post this January, Morgan is also artistic director of the current Gwangju Biennale in Korea and was previously chief curator at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art and curator at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. She curated LA MOCA's Urs Fischer … [Read more...]

Brooklyn Museum in Transition: The Arnold Lehman Years

The museum world and the Borough of Brooklyn have caught up with Arnold Lehman. The 17-year, 70-year-old director of the Brooklyn Museum, who has just announced he would retire in mid-2015, was a populist before it became fashionable, an early proponent of community engagement and crowdsourcing, an advocate of youth-attracting museum parties and, above all, a native Brooklyn booster. Even his museum's latest digital initiative has a human touch---a planned new app that will "enabl[e] visitors to utilize their mobile devices to interact in … [Read more...]

“Bridgegate” Anniversary (with video): Fort Lee Mayor’s Candid Account of What Happened (plus latest on LG flap) UPDATED

With today's press conference in my hometown, marking the first anniversary of the infamous (still inadequately explained) George Washington Bridge lane closures, I thought I'd share my own video of a candid address delivered last May to borough residents by our mayor, a Fort Lee native, who was improbably thrust onto the national stage last September. Although he had indicated, early in this unfolding saga, that he had no idea whether or why he was being targeted, Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who had declined to endorse Republican Gov. … [Read more...]

Hear Me Now: My WNYC Riff on Monika Sosnowska’s Mies Riff (with video)

Yesterday I recorded a segment for New York Public Radio (WNYC) on the just opened exhibition of Monika Sosnowska's "Tower" at Hauser & Wirth (to Oct. 25). Fabricated for the gallery's sprawling space (a former roller rink) from steel I-beams and related hardware (including window handles), it's a riff on the frame of Mies van der Rohe's Lake Short Drive Apartments in Chicago, filtered through the sensibility of a Polish artist who grew up with a historical architectural landscape ranging from Polish constructivism to the Socialist … [Read more...]

Frank Gehry Works His Magic on the Philadelphia Museum (with videos)

While we're on the subject of Frank Gehry, all questions about why the Philadelphia Museum would hire such an out-there architect for a mostly underground expansion were, to my mind, decisively dispelled by the museum's brilliantly executed exhibition---Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I'm late in discussing this show. (It closed on Monday.) But it's not too late to discuss the promise of this capital project, since it's expected to take some 10-15 years to come to full fruition, in … [Read more...]

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