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Monthly Archives: July 2010

I am entering the Sukkah City competition and it has certainly kept me busy. If selected, 12 finalists get to build their Sukkah at Union Square!


On Thursday, I had the privilege of attending the first of this series of ‘Summer Samba & Jazz‘ concerts in the new Cooper Union building by Thom Mayne. Not only was it the first of the series but I believe the first time the space has been used for music. Even though I teach inside this building, I hadn’t been into Rose Auditorium in the basement. My enthusiasm for the building was renewed as I realized that not only was it a great space acoustically, but the acoustic paneling was unique. Sculpted mesh panels surround the auditorium, detailed exquisitely. I couldn’t resist touching them.

Liberty does it again. They have teamed up with Richard Weston, a British architect and landscape designer, for these beautiful Weston scarves. These scarves are digitally printed using his photographs. They look like they hold secrets of the world’s history. The photographs are of natural materials and minerals, and named accordingly. He was selected by Liberty through their ‘Best of British design’ open call this year. Now I need to work on finding out when that next open call is!

Every time I see Shirin Neshat and/or her work it just gets better and better. She truly keeps maturing and challenging herself, as well as challenging those around her, with a delicate, humorous touch. I saw her speak at 192 Books in Chelsea, and her new monograph is truly a treasure. This is no coffee-table book. She urges artists to lead the art world and not be purely lead by art dealers. I couldn’t agree more. I’ll be showing ‘Turbulent’ in class tomorrow.

Blackboard abstractions:

(From left)-Sean McDonald, Misha Volf, Ileana Mendez-Penate, Mikaela Gros, Christine Gross, Soyoung Pak

Last week I asked my students to sum up their projects on a piece of paper with a fat pen in four minutes. Then I asked them to do the same thing on the blackboard with the opposite hand to the one they normally use. They were able to abstract better with their opposite hand, which wasn’t really news to me, but a reminder that I too have to draw more with my left hand (I am right-handed).

“Mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of man”

(quoting Bioy Casares recalling the heresiarchs of Uqbar)

Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones

I have been to this new restaurant a couple of times now and it has good, basic food at a very reasonable price. I also like what they’ve done with their interiors. It’s a very clean, timber-and-white walls (with some B&W paintings) kind of aesthetic with some coppery perforated light fixtures. Again, a good basic that I’m sure had a reasonable price tag. The only thing I have to complain about is the upholstery, which seems to have come from nowhere. I can’t say I really understand how the designer or whoever is responsible came to this decision. Perhaps it was a case of the designer recommending one thing, and the owner deciding on something else because it was cheaper or they found it somewhere. This happens a lot, and it’s just too bad.

My students get their project brief a week before the midterm, so their midterm is when I witness the birth of their projects. (Prior to that they develop abstract concepts and ‘drawing’ skills). The midterm feels like a bit of an explosion of creative activity and often students give birth to a model that never existed before. This semester’s midterm saw a lot more dialogue between students than I have seen in the past. Aside from McQueen, Wong, Arakawa, students were referencing Aalto, Coop Himmel(b)lau, Buckminster Fuller. And I did see the fantastical, the bright and the colorful. I look forward to witnessing more births and rebirths.