Blogs Centerpoints

Centerpoints 1.2

More lazy-man’s blogging: Chomsky G! “I is with none other than me main man, professor Norman Chomsky.” Andrew Lloyd Never: The Polish government has withdrawn permission for a theater company to perform the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The reason? The former Nazi death camp Majdanek was slated to be the venue. ABCs of letterforms: “Look […]

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More lazy-man’s blogging:

Chomsky G! “I is with none other than me main man, professor Norman Chomsky.”

Andrew Lloyd Never: The Polish government has withdrawn permission for a theater company to perform the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The reason? The former Nazi death camp Majdanek was slated to be the venue.

ABCs of letterforms: “Look at the letters in the words of this sentence. Why are they shaped the way that they are? Why did we come up with As, Ms and Zs and the other characters of the alphabet? And is there any underlying similarity between the many kinds of alphabet used on the planet?” Scientists studying 100 writing systems have concluded that the letters we use “can be viewed as a mirror of the features of the natural world, from trees and mountains to meandering streams and urban cityscapes.”

Culture clampdown? Shortly after the Smithsonian revealed plans to partner with Showtime to manage rights of its documentary footage (to the ire of prominent filmmakers), Google gets a cease-and-desist from Artists Rights Society and the family of Joan Mir for yesterday’s surrealist logo treatment:

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Fuselodge.

Frank Gehry was on to something: he revolutionized architecture by using aerospace engineering to create wavy panels of structurally sound stainless steel and titanium. But two new projects follow his inspirations in more literal fashion: by incorporating actual airplane parts into the structures. The 747 Wing House by David Hertz of Syndesis Inc. aims to […]

Frank Gehry was on to something: he revolutionized architecture by using aerospace engineering to create wavy panels of structurally sound stainless steel and titanium. But two new projects follow his inspirations in more literal fashion: by incorporating actual airplane parts into the structures.

The 747 Wing House by David Hertz of Syndesis Inc. aims to provide an ecological living arrangement that capitalizes on the feminine curves of a 747 body. Designed for Francie Rehwald, owner of one of California’s biggest Mercedes-Benz dealerships, the home in the Malibu hills will reuse airplane parts, including a nose cone that will become a meditation pavillion and wings that’ll form a roof supported by rammed-earth walls. The project isn’t cheap: BBC reports that the pricetag for plane parts won’t top $100,000, but total construction, starting in June, is “likely to cost several million dollars.”

Meanwhile, not so far away in Guadalajara, the design and architecture firm LO-TEK has conceived of a library made from fuselages of decommissioned 727s and 737s. As Worldchanging quotes:

The fuselage is the only part of a decommissioned airplane that cannot be effectively recycled. The cost of its demolition exceeds the profit of aluminum resale. A huge amount of fuselages lays in the deserts of the western states. Boeing 727 and 737 are historically the most sold commercial planes and therefore the most common in these graveyards. They are sold at very low prices completely stripped and in great structural conditions.

For more on the Jalisco Library, visit Noticias Arquitectura. LO-TEK’s Mobile Dwelling Unit, a modular housing system made from metal cargo crates, was part of the Walker’s 2003 exhibition Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life.

Centerpoints 1.1

A bulletpointed and somewhat random list of things we’ve been noticing. Each work in Ian Wright‘s exhibition Mass Production is made up of “2,800 one-inch button badges.” Appropriately, two of his works copy Chuck Close’s grid paintings and an image of Andy Warhol (above). How do Muslim astronauts pray in space? It’s a question Malaysia […]

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A bulletpointed and somewhat random list of things we’ve been noticing.

Each work in Ian Wright‘s exhibition Mass Production is made up of “2,800 one-inch button badges.” Appropriately, two of his works copy Chuck Close’s grid paintings and an image of Andy Warhol (above).

How do Muslim astronauts pray in space? It’s a question Malaysia is grappling with as it plans to send its first citizens into orbit.

Every spring, bioluminescent firefly squid surface in Japan’s Toyama Bay. Quite a sight, these 7 cm squid “shed light from around a thousand tiny light-producing organs located in the skin at the ends of their tentacles, around their eyes, and on their bodies (their mantles). It is speculated that this phosphorescence disguises the animal’s outline, or perhaps serves to intimidate or confuse potential predators.”

Politically (if I may editorialize), things feel a bit medieval these days, and now perhaps this confirms it: a woman in LA has contracted bubonic plague! But don’t worry, say health officials. Simple tactics, like using flea repellant, can help prevent the disease, which is carried by squirrels.

George Bush invented the iPod? Well, not quite, but he says the government helped. (Al Gore was not named.)

While the metaphor is direct, Peace Art Cambodia‘s efforts to turn swords into ploughshares is admirable: to deal with an abundance of surplus and illegal weapons, the government began metalworking classes so artisans can convert small arms into art, all while promoting a weapon-free society and taking 160,000 guns off the street.

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Ou Vanndy’s Elephant

Huang Yong Ping: “A star of elusive luminosity.”

House of Oracles installed at MASSMoCA Holland Cotter’s New York Times‘ review of the Walker’s Huang Yong Ping show, now on view at MASSMoCA, puts into words what I couldn’t about the show–the almost archeological timelessness of the work, the restive diversity of Huang’s themes and media, and an apparent disinterest in themes and styles […]

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House of Oracles installed at MASSMoCA

Holland Cotter’s New York Timesreview of the Walker’s Huang Yong Ping show, now on view at MASSMoCA, puts into words what I couldn’t about the show–the almost archeological timelessness of the work, the restive diversity of Huang’s themes and media, and an apparent disinterest in themes and styles that are driving much of the art market’s current fondness for Chinese contemporary art. Two snippets:

It has a complicated sense of newness: you have never seen anything quite like this art before, yet it feels musty and archaic, as if excavated from tombs. And unlike his earlier work, it carries a dense, particular content of stories, myths, esoteric lore and political commentary.

. . . . . . .

[H]is art is very different from what topped the charts at Sotheby’s: post-Maoist Pop paintings that adhere to Western formal preferences and to an ideological view of China still locked in cold war formulas.Most of the painters whose work sold at auction have been producing the same images for 20 years. Mr. Huang, restlessly moving among themes and forms, has not. His art is about change, and it changes, and changes again. Duchamp and Cage, those adepts of Taoist modernism, would surely have understood this. And they might have recognized Mr. Huang for what he is: not one of the crouching tigers of the new Chinese art, but one of its hidden dragons.

Check out the visual arts blog for behind-the-scenes glimpses of this Walker exhibition.

Also in the Times: Carol Vogel writes on our new collaboration with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A favorite from the Walker collection, Franz Marc’s The Large Blue Horses (1911), will go on long-term loan (along with the Rudolf Belling sculpture Kopf In Messing (Head in Brass) and West African masks and pre-Columbian artifacts from T.B. Walker’s collection) to the MIA, just in time for display in the inaugural installation of their new Michael Graves-designed expansion. In exchange, we’ll borrow select drawings for a 2007 exhibition.

“Our public doesn’t care who owns things,” says Walker director Kathy Halbreich. “They just want the experience of seeing them.”

Swedish design/designing the future

Two fascinating local events for designers, artists, and thinkers: Fresh off its Year of Design (2005), Sweden is sending one of its top design cheerleaders to Minnesota. Ewa Kumlin, director of the Svensk Form (the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design), will speak at Minneapolis’ American Swedish Institute at a lunch talk on May 1. […]

Two fascinating local events for designers, artists, and thinkers:

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Fresh off its Year of Design (2005), Sweden is sending one of its top design cheerleaders to Minnesota. Ewa Kumlin, director of the Svensk Form (the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design), will speak at Minneapolis’ American Swedish Institute at a lunch talk on May 1. Entitled “Year of Design in Sweden: Trends and Leaders,” her illustrated discussion will address the YOD campaign and Scandinavian design.

The annual PUSH conference, highlighting “people who are working at the center of discovery and guiding the way to what comes next,” comes to the Walker June 11–13. The midwest’s answer to TED, the conference aims to address “reality, its virtual variations, genetics, politics, biological miracles, ethics, emerging forms of social organization, and the questions such change raises for us all.” Speakers include: Julian Dibbel, WIRED contributing editor and author on digital culture; Ze Frank, performance artist and creator of the viral email “How to Dance Properly“; Chinese new-media artist, Feng Mengbo; SmartMobs author Howard Rheingold; keynote speaker Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity; and many others. I’ll be live-blogging the event here at Off-Center.

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House of Soy and Spinach

The winner of the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s C2C Home design competition is a single-family home with a twist: it has a photosynthetic and phototropic skin made with spinach protein and produces enough energy to run a household and then share the excess with neighbors. Designed by Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum, the building features soy-foam […]

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The winner of the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s C2C Home design competition is a single-family home with a twist: it has a photosynthetic and phototropic skin made with spinach protein and produces enough energy to run a household and then share the excess with neighbors. Designed by Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum, the building features soy-foam wall panels and a natural water treatment system:

This design integrates building with landscape, a vegetated roof system collects and filters stormwater into the building core. The core collects and supplies all household plumbing elements contained within it. Black and grey water are released to a primary septic tank below the core and eventually released as effluent to the “living garden”. Garden beds along the entry receive irrigation and nutrients to provide site-yield vegetables. This system is engineered to accept and treat residential wastewater from neighboring homes in addition to the primary residence to lessen off site dependency.

The contest’s title, C2C, and the core principles its entrants must abide by are taken from William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s book on sustainable design, Cradle to Cradle. Coates and Meldrum’s house, unlike designs for other competitions, will actually be built.

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Sustainable Tourism: The first ever Minnesota Conference on Sustainable Tourism will take place next week, April 19 and 20, at the University of Minnesota. Speakers include explorer Will Steger, National Geographic columnist Costas Christ, and Auden Schendler, director of environmental affairs at Aspen Skiing Company.

Virtual Peace

The Peace Tower, created by Mark di Suvero and Rirkrit Tiravanija for the Whitney Biennial, now has an online version: Jon Hendricks, artist and archivist for Yoko Ono (along with former Walker Education staffer Meredith Walters and others), has created a virtual tower, made of works submitted via the internet by artists (click here to […]

The Peace Tower, created by Mark di Suvero and Rirkrit Tiravanija for the Whitney Biennial, now has an online version: Jon Hendricks, artist and archivist for Yoko Ono (along with former Walker Education staffer Meredith Walters and others), has created a virtual tower, made of works submitted via the internet by artists (click here to add your own). Before you go, make sure to sign the peace petition.

Centerpoints

A bulletpointed list of things we’ve been noticing: The “Nobel Prize of Architecture,” the Pritzker Prize, just named its newest winner: Brazil’s Paulo Mendes da Rocha. “Architecture is a human endeavor inspired by the nature all around us,” he’s said. “We must transform nature; fuse science, art and technology into a sublime statement of human […]

A bulletpointed list of things we’ve been noticing:

The “Nobel Prize of Architecture,” the Pritzker Prize, just named its newest winner: Brazil’s Paulo Mendes da Rocha. “Architecture is a human endeavor inspired by the nature all around us,” he’s said. “We must transform nature; fuse science, art and technology into a sublime statement of human dignity.”

Painter, assemblage artist, and inventor of the Happening, Allan Kaprow died at his home in Encinitas, California on April 5. He was 78.

Online footage of Yoko Ono’s 1965 performance of Cut Piece.

A member of Muzak’s marketing department, quoted in a New Yorker profile of the company: “Our biggest competitor is silence.”

Italian porn star (and former collaborator with then-husband Jeff Koons) has an offer for Osama bin Laden: “[H]e can have me in exchange for an end to his tyranny. My breasts have only ever helped people while Bin Laden has killed thousands of innocent victims.”

Do you know the blog gang sign?

Holzer shines a light on Beckett

Starting at 7:30 pm GMT tonight, Jenny Holzer will bring her famed truisms to building facades across London. Presented as part of the Barbican’s Beckett Centenary Festival, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Irish poet Samuel Beckett‘s birthday (April 13), the light projections will feature words drawn from the writings of Beckett and others. Jenny Holzer: […]

Gonzalez-Torres to represent US at Venice.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled, 1995 Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) has been selected by the State Department to represent the US at next year’s Venice Biennale. Tyler Green has more. Update: Greg Allen points out an interview Robert Storr did with the artist in 1995, and here’s what Storr had to say about Gonzalez-Torres’ work (and other topics) […]

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