The Daily Pic: Lee Kit's found sculptures echo the beauty in photographs.
This is a detail from Lee Kit’s installation in the Hong Kong pavilion of this year’s Venice Biennale. Kit’s elegant accumulations of domestic objects look great in photos, because I think his aesthetic is influenced by the photographic. For much of the last century, photographers sought beauty glimpsed by chance in the everyday, and now, thanks to a strange feedback loop, artists like Kit are sculpting the everyday to conform to those found photographic ideals. It’s our modern picturesque – with Kit as the Capability Brown of domestic space.
Terrapin Stationers, which now makes stationery that says things like ‘FUCK OFF’ and ‘Cool Story Bro,’ found a little self-degradation was just what the business needed.
The phrase “fuck off” is the last thing one would expect to see printed on a business card. The point of those obsolete-yet-charming remnants of a time before iPhones is to get the person to call you back, right?
That may be. But in the past four years, 100-year-old hand engraver Terrapin Stationers has built a business out of off-colorisms, attracting New York’s media elite, fashion editors, and even specialty retailers like Club Monaco.
The man behind “Thanks for All the Shit You Do” stationery, “Cool Story Bro” business cards, and “WTF” stamps is 47-year-old Ted Harrington, who joined the family business in 1986, when it was still simply known as Stationers & Engraving Co. In 1990 Harrington and his parents, Lloyd and Cathy, bought Stationers from the original owners, whom Lloyd had worked with for many years.
Back then Stationers catered to bankers and lawyers who probably read American Psycho a few too many times and were obsessed with card stock. But America was going through a great recession then, too, and right around the time the Harringtons took over, the business fell apart. “It was a bloodbath,” Harrington says. To compensate, he contacted design firms and friends in creative fields. “We replaced all of the big billing with small businesses: single-practitioner attorneys, architects. And in the mid-’90s, we got involved with social stationery.” Suddenly the company was tasked with the invites for socialite fashion designer Lillian Wang von Stauffenberg’s 1998 wedding and Style.com’s 2000 launch party. Marc Jacobs and Bergdorf Goodman were frequent clients.
The Daily Pic: At MoMA, Otto Baumberger's 1923 poster does justice to the glories of cloth.
This is a 1923 ad (for the coat, I assume), drawn by the great Swiss illustrator Otto Baumberger, and now in a MoMA show called "Artist's Choice: Trisha Donnelly". (Click to zoom in on the image). I'm not sure that artist-chosen shows are of that much curatorial or art-historical use, and anyway they've become a cliche. In a way, they revert to the reactionary notion of the "connoisseur's eye", now genuflecting to the hero-artist as was once done to savior-collectors. Still, by avoiding curatorial serieux, they manage to pull amazing things out of storage that might not otherwise find a reason to be seen – and Donnelly's choices are plum. Baumberger's stunning color litho, a full 50" high, shows his amazing skill in rendering fabrics, and speaks of a time when everyday textiles where a subject of true connoisseurship, because they didn't come cheap from Asia.
The Daily Pic: Lanzavecchia + Wai design rugs that imagine post-meltdown bugs.
The new “Mutazioni" carpets, conceived for NODUS by the Italo-Singaporean design house called Lanzavecchia + Wai, recently went on sale at Rosana Orlandi’s space in Milan.They represent imagined new species of bugs, caused by fallout from our biggest nuclear accidents. This area rug – perfect, maybe, for a fission scientist’s den – portrays Tacua Fukushimae. Hard to know its scale (I like to imagine it frying-pan size) but its asymmetries speak to its origins.
Raises more money than the NEA.
Move over Medici, hordes of Americans with passion projects are coming. Since its inception, crowd-funding site Kickstarter has funded over $600 million in arts projects, and $323.6 million in 2012 alone. The National Endowment for the Arts, long a political target, has an annual budget of only $146 million, of which only 80 percent are grants. And while individual donors have long been the backbone of the art world (arts nonprofits spent $60 billion last year), the disparity in collective action supporting the arts on Kickstarter versus the government is stark.
The Daily Pic: Meiro Koizumi rehearses the dawn of a suicide flyer.
This is a moment from a video installation called “Portrait of a Young Samurai", by the Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi. I saw it a while back in Venice as part of the exhibition for the Pinchuk Foundation’s Future Generation Art Prize, but I haven’t had a chance to Daily Pic it until now. (Click on the image to watch a video clip.) In the piece, Koizumi gets a young actor to rehearse a monologue that has a kamikaze pilot saying a final fairwell to his parents. Offscreen, we hear Koizumi pushing the rehearser to ever more extreme emotional states, and we watch as the young man attempts to nail an unthinkable part. As we see the professional actor try, and mostly fail, to break through all normal limits of thought and feeling, we wonder how so many thousands of Japanese men once did precisely that. There’s also something brilliantly chilling about Koizumi’s calm tone, as he coaches his actor to inhabit breakdown.
The Daily Pic: Designer Adi Zaffran Weisler mixes scrap wood and tidy plastics.
This “RAWtation" table was conceived by the Israeli designer Adi Zaffran Weisler, during his studies at the venerable Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. By inserting natural detritus into the jig for the table’s rotationally-molded plastic top, Weisler managed to inject some happenstance into an industrial process that’s usually all about preplanning and perfect control – like a bit of Jackson Pollock added to the procedures of a Josef Albers. (The “Fish" designs by Gaetano Pesce got there first, I know, but Weisler makes more outlandish messes.)
Fears the loss of funds.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been what some call a “mayor of the arts.” Contributing $200 million of his own fortune, and a significant amount of political capital, Bloomberg has been a prominent supporter of the arts in the nation's largest city. From staging outdoor exhibitions to helping museums complete ambitious renovations, since the beginning of his tenure the mayor has constantly moved the art community forward. Now, as he prepares to leave office in six months, many fear that his replacement will not be as benevolent, or as deep-pocketed.
Timed with the opening of Fendi’s new Parisian boutique, the house teams up with Lagerfeld on an exhibit that pays homage to Rome's fountains.
The Eternal City is in need of a face-life, and its calling on old friend Fendi for help. The luxury goods company, which was born in Rome in 1925, is sponsoring the restoration of the Trevi Fountain in a philanthropic endeavor appropriately named “Fendi for Fountains.”
To further celebrate both FENDI’s legacy and its hometown appreciation for Rome, the design house commissioned Karl Lagerfeld to shoot images of the city’s renowned fountains to be presented in an exhibition in Paris near Pont Alexandre III. The project, named The Glory of the Water, is timed with the opening of the brand's new Avenue Montaigne boutique in Paris and will be shown in recreations of the cupolas unique to Rome’s skyline along the Seine from July 4th through July 14th. With music of Vivaldi and sounds of streaming water in the background, the exhibit plays homage to some of Rome’s most iconic sites. The exhibition will also include the restoration of the 1977 short film Histoire d’Eau by Jacques de Bascher.
In a release issued to press, Karl Lagerfeld said, “Rome has a very unique atmosphere. In my life, I have already been to Rome over 740 times, I feel part of it ... Rome is eternal, therefore, there is no better place: Rome has changed and has not changed.”
The Daily Pic: Jonathas de Andrade demonstrates the path from single to double bed.
In a group show called "Better Homes", at the Sculpture Center in New York, the Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade provides instructional photos for rejigging two single beds as one double one. His 2010 piece, called "2 em 1" ("Two in One") seems like a good distillation of many of the exhibition's larger themes: Domesticity and its material goods; coupling and the social structures that surround it; the very different access that developed and developing nations have to the disposable trappings of modern middle-class life.
Sure, you can by posters and other cheap wall-hanging on Amazon. But the huge e-tailer is preparing to offer expensive art for sale online.
The artist is unveiling ‘We Think Alone,’ a 20-week project that blasts out private emails from Lena Dunham, Kirsten Dunst, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and more to the public. She talks to Isabel Wilkinson.
Miranda July is in your inbox. Literally. The filmmaker/writer/director/artist has launched a new project, We Think Alone, which will bring emails from her friends, many of them well known, into your inbox.
(L-R) Lena Dunham, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Kirsten Dunst. (RJ Shaughnessy)
The project, which rolls out over 20 weeks, will send subscribers an email blast every Monday morning. In it will be an assortment of emails curated from her friends on a range of subjects—from “angry emails” to “emails to your mom.”
The first batch of emails came on Monday—and all were about money, presented without context. The first was an email from Kirsten Dunst to someone named “H” (all email addresses and recipients’ names have been redacted): “My friend Jessica is buying my car for 7,000 I gave her your info for payments. She’s going to pay 2,000 up front and then pay the rest as fast as she can. Don’t know the paper work involved, but Warren mentioned he had something. Thanks, Kirsten.” The next is an email from Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy: “can we get our money back on the wrong pins?” There’s also an email from photographer Catherine Opie about an upcoming project, and an email from Lena Dunham to her assistant, “LD Assistant,” about a $24,000 couch, about which she writes simply: “decided it’s just too expensive.” Reacting to the project, Dunham tweeted Monday: “I have never felt more raw than sharing an email about my finances.”
The Daily Pic: At the Met, an ancient Greek bronze gives a golden view of boxing.
The image at left shows a lovely Hellenistic Greek bronze, made around 300 B.C. and now on loan to the Metropolitan Museum from the Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome. If this is late, “decadent" Greek art, I’ll take more of it, any day. It’s an extraordinarily powerful thing, and gives a really touching view of an aging but still powerful boxer. The wall texts claim that Greek aristos themselves used to box, as a sign of martial prowess, and I love the idea that this represents an elite figure rather than a “mere" athlete. It also seems that this statue, which we would classify as a lesser “genre" subject, was so highly valued in ancient Rome that it was deliberately buried to protect if from marauding hordes. One thing the Met’s texts don’t broach: That it may be that ancient bronzes were originally presented highly polished, like brass (or gold), rather than with the dark patina we’re used to seeing on them. That’s what the manipulated image at right presents, and it seems to make sense to me, as a different image of the pomp of antiquity – of a piece with the fully painted marbles that we know were also the norm.