2011年1月27日 星期四

Drawing an Escape From the Chill of Winter

Art Review

January may be the cruelest month for people with serious art gallery habits. It snows, it freezes, it daunts. Still, this week brings alternatives. The Winter Antiques Show is in full swing at the Park Avenue Armory, and armchair art lovers can log onto the VIP Art Fair — which bills itself as the world’s first online version — although apparently its system is so taxed that digital browsing has been at times a challenge.

Lowell Libson Ltd., London

Master Drawings New York 2011 includes Edward Lear’s “Cedars of Lebanon” at one of two dozen participating art galleries. More Photos »




The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews, multimedia extravaganzas and much more. Join the discussion.

Monroe Warshaw, via Alexander Gallery

A 16th-century drawing by the Belgian artist Anthoni Bays found by the art dealer Monroe Warshaw. It is a study for a painting in a museum in the Czech Republic. A photo of the painting is also on display at the Alexander Gallery. More Photos »

Jill Newhouse Gallery

A graphite on paper drawing from 1921 by Lovis Corinth is at the Jill Newhouse Gallery. More Photos »

A third possibility is Master Drawings New York 2011, tailor made for those who prefer actual art galleries and art in the flesh, but need motivation in inclement weather. This annual confab, now in its fifth year, consists of some two dozen drawing exhibitions mounted in galleries mostly on or near Madison Avenue, and can be seen through Saturday (or a bit longer in some cases).

Organized by both local and European dealers, most of whom usually work privately, these shows amount to a geographically dispersed art fair while offering total immersion in the most intimate of art mediums, presented in some of the city’s coziest gallery spaces. European material from late Renaissance to early Modern predominates, although there are many earlier examples, as well as detours into American and postwar works as well as the odd oil study or painting. The quality is up and down; some shows are overall a bit sleepier than last year, but each has at least a few treasures the likes of which you don’t often see. (A complete list of shows is available at masterdrawingsinnewyork.com.)

For example, among much else of interest in the 19th-century European works at James McKinnon, a London dealer camped out at Clinton Howells Antiques at 150 East 72nd Street, you will encounter six small pencil portraits of soldiers made by Jean-Baptiste Wicar (1762-1834), a student of Ingres, during Napoleon’s Italian campaign.

Monroe Warshaw, a New York private dealer, has squeezed his display into a small, street-level space at the Alexander Gallery (942 Madison Avenue) where you may boggle at a very rare, elaborate study for a painting of a banquet scene from around 1578 by a Belgian artist named Anthoni Bays. Teeming with nearly 40 figures and intimating more than one vanishing point, it depicts the visit of a papal diplomat to the estate of Jacob Hannibal of Hohenem, in western Austria. With the help of a European curator Mr. Warshaw has located the painting — to which Bays added 14 more figures —in a municipal museum in Policka, Czech Republic, and included a photograph here.

Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art’s excellent display of 20th-century South American drawings at 23 East 73rd Street includes a fantastic if anomalous drawing by Frida Kahlo titled “The True Tease” (1946). A dense, extended doodle, it embeds a lexicon of Kahlo motifs — a hand, veins, some eyes, several breasts — in a geodesic constellation fraught with stars and spirals that seem straight out of late Kandinsky. Across the street, where the New York dealer Marianne Elrick-Manley has a show of drawings by 20th-century sculptors at Gallery Schlesinger (24 East 73rd Street), the same geodesic structure, greatly pared down, appears in a 1969 drawing by the Venezuelan artist Gego.

At Adler & Conkright Fine Art (24 East 71st Street) one of the main attractions among the mainly Russian and German early-20th-century works is “Bahnsteig,” a superb collage-drawing that shows Robert Michel (1897-1983) working brilliantly with ideas more familiar in the art of Hannah Hoch, John Heartfield and Max Ernst. A tribute to frenetic urban life, the work is dominated by an architectonic monster flanked by, among other things, two small color images of a man smoking — probably from cigar labels or lottery tickets — that suggest vacation-theme billboards.

This year’s Master Drawings shows resemble a pocketful of lenses, each offering its own magnified close-up of some aspect of drawings infinite variety. The perspectives range from narrow to broad according to style, period and nationality.

For highly focused I recommend the marvelous display of all things Dutch and Flemish (and the occasional German) that Mireille Mosler has assembled in her gallery at 35 East 67th Street, which features several dozen botanical watercolors of tulips clustered around an enticing facsimile of a cabinet of wonders. The works that Mia N. Weiner, has brought to L’Antiquaire & the Connoisseur (36 East 73rd Street) shine especially in the areas of French and Italian old masters, while Les Enluminures, the Paris dealer at C.G. Boerner (downstairs from Mary-Anne Martin at 23 East 73rd Street) only has eyes for miniatures and illuminated manuscripts. The star of its stunning exhibition of mostly 16th-century French material is a book of hours once owned by Francis I of France.

Lowell Libson, ensconced at Mitchell-Innes & Nash (1018 Madison Avenue, at 78th Street), has a nearly all-English presentation that includes several lively landscapes by Thomas Gainsborough and a small but majestic little study, “The Cedars of Lebanon” by Edward Lear, best known as the probable inventor of the limerick.

Next door at Graham Arader(1016 Madison Avenue, at 78th Street), José de la Mano, a Madrid dealer, appends a series of illustrations of the Spanish Civil War to several centuries worth of Spanish drawings. Commissioned in the late 1930s by none other than Gen. Francisco Franco and appropriately Social Realist in style, they are fascinating documents, full of muscular, heroic looking figures, even though they depict the misdeeds of the Republican opposition.

Andrew Wyld, a London dealerwho concentrates on English material and is visiting at Dickinson (19 East 66th Street), has several more alluring works by Lear, including an oil study of a sunny Sicilian shoreline that is a marvel of exquisite free-handedness. Also here: a small, eye-catching pencil portrait of a man appraising the world from beneath a wide-brimmed hat by George Romney.

At Shepherd & Derom (58 East 79th Street), Margot Gordon offers a judicious eclecticism that ranges from a sprightly ink drawing of two putti by Raphael to a strangely Symbolist-looking work in charcoal, chalk and ink from 1984-85 by the Arte Povera artist Giuseppe Penone. Crispian Riley-Smith, a British dealer sharing the space with Ms. Gordon, runs a slightly tighter ship, expanding beyond his focus on 17th and 18th-century European drawings, to include 19th-century Dutch drawings. Jan van Ravenswaay’s finely detailed farmyard scene, from 1822, pays tribute to a long national tradition but still achieves a life of its own.

In some instances the passion for drawings of all kinds seems to be the guiding principle. At Betty Krulik Fine Art (15 East 71st Street), Richard A. Berman’s material encompases both a mid-16th century study for “The Virgin Annunciate” by Andrea Meldolla (called Schiavone) so strangely mannered and modern looking it might almost be by Balthus, and “Stein 1964,” by Donald Evans (1945-1977), an American artist who specialized in delicate renderings of imaginary stamps. Those in this work commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons.” Each stamp quotes a complete poem.

A similar omnivorousness prevails at Richard L. Feigen (34 East 69th Street), where a strikingly varied handful of drawings by Jean Dubuffet mingle with much earlier works, including a wonderfully charged ink and watercolor rendering of St. Jerome praying in the wilderness, with lion, by the 16th-century Flemish artist Jan Wierix. And at David Tunick (19 East 66th Street) the extremes include a large landscape capriccio from 1701 by Hendrik Soukens that is every bit as busy as Mr. Warshaw’s Anthoni Bays banquet scene and a spare circus act, in wiry ink lines, reminiscent of Calder but actually by Chagall.

The offerings from Nissman, Abromson, of Brookline, Mass., who have taken over one floor at Jill Newhouse (4 East 81st Street), run the gamut from 16th- to 20th-century Italian works, including a dark, especially taut factory scene from the 1940s by Mario Sironi. Upstairs Ms. Newhouse is concentrating on the decades around 1900, with a spectacular drawing of a girl spreading her too-knowing hands across a book, by Lovis Corinth, and a strikingly modern study for a menu by Degas. A large landscape in distemper by Vuillard may encourage a kinder view of his late work.

Elaborating one medium in such random yet rich detail, Master Drawings New York shakes up, reshuffles and expands art history, never a bad thing.

2011年1月21日 星期五

Report: iPhone 5 Will Be 'Completely Redesigned'

This summer, Apple is expected to launch its next iPhone, and new reports describe it as a "completely redesigned handset" as well as a "total rethink from a design standpoint." To start, the iPhone 5's internals will be different - the device will run on a new, combined CDMA/GSM/UTMS chipset from Qualcomm, which will support both AT&T and Verizon here in the U.S., as well as other carriers worldwide - perhaps even an expanded lineup, as would now be possible. Along with the iPad 2, this chipset change represents the transition away from Infineon as the iPhone and iPad chipset maker. Going forward, Qualcomm will make the chips for all Apple mobile devices.

But as of this morning, it seems that the most notable thing about the iPhone 5 is not a sum of its features but the fact that it will be the first iPhone that will launch without Steve Jobs' daily presence. Although the ailing Apple CEO stated via press release this a.m. that he will continue his role during his medical absence, COO Tim Cook will be in charge of day-to-day operations at Apple.

Consider the iPhone 5's 2011 launch as Apple's dry run for a future without Steve Jobs at the helm. Can it still be "magical?"

From the sound of the note, there's no reason to expect this is any short-term illness for Jobs. He writes that "Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011" so he can focus on his health. Jobs previously had pancreatic cancer and received a liver transplant in 2009, so this news is not surprising. However, it's decidedly upsetting, both from a financial point of view and from the point of view from of someone who has upheld the CEO as one of our era's greatest visionaries.

But for now, let's just focus on the iPhone 5. Without Jobs' daily involvement, Apple execs may be launching the most impressive device yet, if our suspicions play out. Here's what we know so far:

Details on iPhone 5 are Minimal

An Engadget exclusive from last week cites "reliable sources" in detailing the latest rumors about the upcoming iPhone 5 and iPad 2. The iPhone is currently being tested by senior staff on Apple's campus, it said. But even the sources aren't giving out details on what the phone will be like, only saying it's a "compete redesign."

However, we can put together a list of Apple's latest acquisitions, hires and patents to start giving us an idea of the iPhone's future.

iPhone 5 Expected to Support NFC

For starters, a 2010 Apple hire of a notable NFC (near field communication) expert Benjamin Vigier and the filing of several related patents, including one for a mobile payments service, suggest that the next iPhone will include an NFC chip inside - the same technology that Google's latest flagship Android phone, the Nexus S, has now. With Android's newest release, Android 2.3 (code-named Gingerbread), support for NFC has been built-in.

This short-range, high frequency wireless technology allows for data exchanges between two devices in close proximity to each other. It will soon form the basis of Google (and others') upcoming mobile payments initiatives.

But Apple, too, appears to have plans in this area. Patents point towards ideas for things like iPay, iBuy and iCoupons, all of which suggest Apple is building some sort of mobile wallet.

iPhone 5 Becomes Intelligent, Thanks to Siri?

Among Apple's other high-profile acquisitions was April 2010's buyout of Siri, a personal mobile assistant that was spun out of SRI International, and whose core technology came from a DARPA-funded artificial intelligence project called CALO. Siri was transformed into an iPhone application that could listen to questions either spoken aloud or typed in and then provide answers. At first, the focus was on the sort of out-and-about questions you may have, e.g. When does that movie show? What Chinese restaurants are nearby? Can I get a table at my favorite Italian place? What's the phone number for a taxi company?

Only a few months post-acquisition, the app was updated to integrate results provided by the computational knowledge engine, Wolfram Alpha. For those unaware, Wolfram Alpha is a new sort of search technology which can provide factual answers to questions, as opposed to a list of search results. It currently consists of 10 trillion-plus pieces of curated, objective data from primary sources, and it can perform calculations on the fly - over 50,000 types of algorithms and equations are now possible.

With this sort of technology built into Apple's next iPhone, assuming that's the case, the device could easily go head-to-head with Google Android's voice search and voice actions, the former which directs you to results from related Google Search properties and the latter which helps you perform actions on your phone, including sending text messages, routing a trip on a map, pulling up a map of nearby attractions or businesses, launching the phone's music player to play a certain song or artist and more.

Will iPhone 5 up the feature set of its competitor? It's likely. One of the interesting things about Siri is that it integrates with third-party data sources like OpenTable for restaurant reservations and Yelp for local business listings. Those services, incidentally, also exist as iPhone apps. What if Apple tied together this new voice interface to the device not only with the services themselves, but could also direct you to the appropriate app to learn more? You would then have a whole new interface for locating and launching apps - a search engine of sorts, even, where the focus isn't on what app name you need to find (as iPhone's native search does today), but on what action you need to take.

iPhone 5 Ships with "Cloud iTunes?"

Another Apple acquisition from April 2010, was Lala.com, a cloud-based music streaming service. No doubt this talent-hire was for the purpose of gaining insight and knowledge into the details of building a solid music streaming service like the popular, but now defunct, Lala.

iTunes, the centralized repository of music, videos, apps and more is quickly becoming outdated as new streaming-only services crop up left and right. Some, like Rdio, provide access to your own content library along with 7 million or so digital tracks while others, like MOG, forgo access to your own tracks entirely, offering only its catalog of 10 million songs. Rdio and MOG, as well as Napster, Rhapsody and (the still-yet-to-launch stateside) Spotify, are reasonably priced subscription services where around $10 a month provides you with all-you-can-eat access to music.

Apple has never offered a subscription model for iTunes, but with the Lala acquistion, that appears to be in its future. With iPhone 5, you may be able to purchase, download and stream everything from your phone, no desktop software required, and all for one low monthly fee.

iPhone 5 to Offer Facial Recognition?

In September, Apple acquired facial-recognition firm Polar Rose, whose technology was previously used in a consumer-facing service that automatically tagged your Facebook and Flickr photos with your friends' names. While speculation at the time focused on how Apple could use the facial recognition to improve its desktop products like Aperture and iPhoto, there's no reason why it would ignore its mobile products.

Integrating facial recognition into the iPhone could mean a device that knows its owner, for example, and unlocks the phone just for them. Or whose photos are automatically tagged with the names of friends and family, which are then synced to iPhoto on the Mac.

Can Apple Execs Deliver Jobs' Vision for iPhone 5?

In summary, that's a very smart smartphone we've just described: one that knows who owns it, unlocking just for them, one that can listen and respond to your questions, that can provide factual answers or point you to a related mobile app, one where your music library (and maybe more) is stored online, one that includes NFC for mobile payments, and one that works on whatever carrier you choose. Frankly, that sounds downright magical.

Steve Jobs has long been a visionary for this industry, and his ideas and creations have dramatically impacted how people interact with technology. iPhone 5, assuming it offers all the above, could do that yet again. But we'll have to see if Apple can pull it all off without Jobs' day-to-day presence at Apple.

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2011年1月20日 星期四

Designers Anonymous/ Michelle Obama’s Signals in a Red Dress

Fashion Review
Vittorio Zunino/Getty Images

Thom Browne took on a fox-hunting theme for Moncler. More Photos »


BANKSY said it best: “In the future, everybody will be anonymous for 15 minutes.” The British graffiti artist and prankster’s inversion of the weary Warhol dictum about fame comes as a tonic in an age of self-promotion and so-called social media. No one thinks Twitter or the Situation are about to go away anytime soon, but a growing number of people find themselves seeking relief from a culture of doofus semi-celebrities and henpecking P.D.A.’s.

Right now few things seem as appealing as having a random thought and deciding to keep it to oneself. Suddenly anonymity, the kind that lets you blend into a crowd, looks pretty desirable, too. It certainly did during a week of Milanese fashion shows that were so unostentatious as to be generic. Almost across the board, designers here chose a low-key approach, one that was not merely commercial (that’s expected in Milan) but almost self-deflecting.

Miuccia Prada, who called her show a personal statement (whatever that means), was characteristically in tune with the spirit of a particular contrarian and countercultural moment. In the past Ms. Prada has had her way with men, making them puppets in an ongoing exploration of gender norms, or else giving them unaccustomed roles to play in the anachronistic garments of earlier eras. But this time she built a silhouette from generic and neutralizing volumes.

A big square-shouldered black overcoat of fingertip length, scaled to slipcover a refrigerator, was paired with narrow trousers or knickers and worn with striped knee socks and shoes with round heels. Mentally erase the styling gimmicks, and the clothes conveyed the message that the wearer would rather you not take particular note of him. In some cases, they looked as if, should you undo the coat buttons, you would find nobody inside.

There can’t be any more overused word in fashion than modern. But if by modern one means culturally attuned, then the Prada collection was particularly well judged; the clothes looked protective without being armoring. They were mostly without gimmicks (about the Lurex sweaters, the less said the better) or even gadget pockets. There were, though, some strange Hitchcockian valises of just about the right proportions to contain a portable typewriter or perhaps even a severed head.

It would be stretching things to draw connections between designs at labels as unalike as, say, Gucci or Versace or even Dsquared. But at all three of these houses there seemed to be a determination on the part of designers to stick to basics. Consumers have too much on their minds, even in this post-recession, to be caught up in fashion theatrics and folderol.

At Gucci, Frida Giannini made an obedient nod to the 1970s and the brand’s “heritage,” as if someone in corporate had jerked her leash and given a command: “Tom Ford!” But Ms. Giannini is shrewder than that and, after several years of heading the design team, more independent. Yes, there were vaguely retro bell-bottom trousers and satchels and coats made from materials (crocodile, lizard and sheared beaver) that would send Bambi racing to the forest to sound the alarm. But there were also straightforwardly tailored garments made from modest materials (mainly corduroy), in sensible proportions, as well as shearling coats that might as well have “Christmas present” printed on the lapel.

At Versace, the vagrant design course of the last few years — oligarch enforcer meets Vegas pimp on the way to Promises Treatment Center in Malibu — was dispatched in favor of almost martial severity. As you can tell from looking at her, Donatella Versace favors shapes that are tightly controlled. Her own strenuously achieved Barbie figure found its masculine counterpart in rigid suiting and long coats with the holster-style belts that so many people have “borrowed” from Helmut Lang (who got them from the military, of course) over the years that the designer should be paid some kind of royalty.

The stern styling — the models, seemingly cast for their knife-edge cheekbones, had rouge-tinted lips and hair pomaded to resemble patent leather — was the one bit of theater in a show that was held at the Versace palazzo. With the exception of a humming Prussian blue, the palette was limited to what you might see if you split a coal sack and dumped it on the ground.

Similarly at the Dsquared show, the usual loony backdrop (a camping wagon in the snowy Western woods) and clever styling tricks that are the stock in trade of Dean and Dan Caten (blacksmith aprons, cotton surplices, bad-guy Borsalinos right out of Sergio Leone), when stripped away, revealed a fairly characterless selection of dark wool jackets and artificially banged-up jeans. Is it damning with faint praise to say of the black coats that they looked sensible and warm? Given that these are the designers who pioneered style innovations like plunging necklines for men and plumber’s cleavage, it probably is.

A complaint often voiced here is that stylists rule the roost because so few designers design. Even at venerable labels like Giorgio Armani — still so potent a force in Hollywood that he led the pack of designers in the number of stars to be seen wearing his clothes at the Golden Globes —silly gestures like sarongs printed with Mr. Armani’s face and knotted over cargo pants barely obscure a general paucity of new ideas. It seems clear from Mr. Armani’s commercial dominance that the consumer base for this powerhouse brand comes to him for the familiar, not for innovation. But even the most devout Armani customer might gripe about the curious proportions of double-breasted jackets buttoned high and tight across the rib cage and trousers with expandable balloon pleats that make even snake-hipped models look broad in the beam.

Like Alice, men mysteriously shrink and grow in Milan. The body type favored by most designers remains ectomorphic. The coltish models cast for shows are uniformly narrow and delicate of bone. “Luckily I had the cheeks, and that’s what counts,” the Michigan-born English model Sebastian Sauve said before the Dsquared show. He also has all-important suction-cup lips.

“I’m 6-foot-3, and I weigh 190 pounds,” Mr. Sauve said. “That’s too big for the business, really. My agents used to say, ‘You need to get smaller legs.’ ” And I said: ‘Sure, no problem. I’ll just put myself in a coma and then come back in six months.’ ”

One remembered this when revisiting the Jil Sander show online, attempting to conjure again that imaginary consumer who happens to have a boy’s pencil thighs and an adult’s line of credit. As in the past, Raf Simons showed clothes of deceptive simplicity: cardigans, sleek skimmers, clothes that favor micro-quilting and the bonded fabrics that are the sine qua non around here. And as in the past, he employed sharp colors that make it seem as if he got first pick of the good Crayolas while other designers were stuck with black and granite gray.

Well, not everyone. Mickey Mouse primaries were a feature at Dolce & Gabbana’s cartoony show, and Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta seemed more than usually influenced by his life in the Sunshine State. Yet as amusing as those sharp chemical hues may look in shop windows (and the neon clothes in the window of the Jil Sander store here exert a kind of weird magnetic pull), it is a rare consumer willing to risk standing on a street corner looking like a traffic cone.

The somber austerity of Jil Sander stood in contrast to the jokiness at Thom Browne, who, having already mined aquatic and wheeled sports for his Moncler collection, turned to equestrian ones. Five dressage riders atop big-rumped horses opened the show, held in a freezing cold dirt-floored arena. There followed a fairly ludicrous selection of garments based on fox-hunting gear worn by models leading leashed beagles. Or maybe it was the other way around.

A dramatic slash of red, the kind one associates with Manet, was the first thing to greet the eye at the McQueen show, which was held beneath a typically hectic crowd scene in a Tiepolo fresco adorning the ceiling of the Palazzo Clerici. It was the red of a handsomely exaggerated fur-collared redingote designed by Sarah Burton, a modest woman of outsize talents who took charge of the label she had long helped Alexander McQueen design in the years before his suicide.

There were many signs this week that the capacities of the tailoring trade are undiminished and still available to produce wonders. This seemed true of the perfect and perfectly nondescript two-button blue suit that was an adjunct to a small, three-piece collection presented by Umberto Angeloni under his Uman label (sold exclusively at Barneys New York). It was true of a singularly smart duffel coat in an off-white 1970s blanket plaid and with rope toggle closures, designed by the former J. Press designer Mark McNairy for Woolrich Woolen Mills.

And it was certainly true of the many subtle touches in Ms. Burton’s assured first collection for the McQueen label, which pulled off the impressive feat of advancing the design brief of her brilliant mentor — there were off-kilter jacquards, gorse-colored blazers worn over woolen track pants, jackets with mildly exaggerated pagoda shoulders, theatrical cloaks with military frogging, and unabashedly kooky Heathcliff capes — without in any way impersonating him. In the modest spirit of the moment, Ms. Burton chose not to take a bow at the end of her show, holding on to her anonymity while she still can.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 19, 2011

An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated the designer of Woolrich Woolen Mills as being the former designer of J.Crew.


January 19, 2011, 8:11 pm

Michelle Obama’s Signals in a Red Dress

state dinnerMandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Mrs. Obama wore a red silk organza dress, with a streaky print of black petals, by Sarah Burton of the London house Alexander McQueen.

Michelle Obama’s gown for the state dinner for President Hu Jintao of China sent out a number of signals. Fortunately, they were not mixed.

The red silk organza dress, with a streaky print of black petals, invited the suggestion that the color was chosen in honor of the Chinese leader. Mrs. Obama has worn black and red before — memorably, on the night her husband was elected president.

The full-skirted design of the dress — by Sarah Burton of the London house Alexander McQueen — recalled some of the opulent state dinners of the Reagan era. Made for the McQueen’s 2011 resort collection, the style originally came with short sleeves, which Mrs. Obama evidently had altered to suit her taste. Most of all, her choice had a just enough pomp to signal the importance of this state dinner.

Among the guests at the dinner were the designer Vera Wang, who has family ties to China and also produces some of her clothes there, and Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of American Vogue. Not on the list were designers typically associated with Mrs. Obama, like Jason Wu and Thakoon Panichgul.

2011年1月12日 星期三

Los Angeles 新地貌


Architecture Review

Not All Sweetness in a Honeycomb Museum

Hugh Hamilton for The New York Times

A composite photograph showing Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The parking lot is where Eli Broad’s proposed museum is to be built. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is at far right.

Experience tells us that it would be unwise to build up expectations for Eli Broad’s proposed new museum, whose design was unveiled at a ceremony in downtown Los Angeles last week.



The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews, multimedia extravaganzas and much more. Join the discussion.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Broad Art Foundation An architectural rendering of Eli Broad’s proposed museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

A rendering of the lobby.

Diller Scofidio+Renfro.

A rendering of the gallery floor, set up for a show, with temporary partitions.

Despite the tens of millions he has poured into the city’s art institutions, Mr. Broad’s reputation as a cultural patron is, to put it politely, subpar. Among architects he is known as someone with a gift for getting the worst buildings from the most highly regarded talents — a reputation that was pretty much cemented with the opening of the $50 million Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a bland, uninspired travertine box by Renzo Piano that ranks somewhere near the bottom of that architect’s achievements.

Just as bad is his failure, in the view of many (myself included), to grasp the peculiar beauty of Los Angeles, its oddly hypnotic blend of flimsy houses and muscular freeways, raw nature and metropolitan grit. His urban ideal, to the degree that he has one, seems to be based on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or on central Paris — models that, however attractive, have little to do with Los Angeles’s sprawl.

Some of us saw the new museum building, which will be called the Broad Art Foundation and will occupy a site on Grand Avenue in the city’s downtown, as this 77-year-old philanthropist’s best — and perhaps last — chance at redemption. And there is something alluring about the design, by Diller Scofidio & Renfro. Its honeycomblike exterior is a smart counterpoint to the swirling forms of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall next door. And the sequence of spaces that leads you through the building makes subtle but important nods to the city around it — not only to other, nearby cultural institutions, but also to the Latino community a few blocks to the southeast, which many of those institutions historically ignored.

But too many critical aspects of the design miss the mark. The galleries, in particular, are deeply flawed; other important elements were either scrapped during the design process or never fully thought through, so that the overall impression is of a project that falls, with an unpleasant thud, well short of its potential. As in so many of Mr. Broad’s architectural adventures, early promise gets lost in a muddle of bad or careless decisions — and the city loses.

The museum is likely to be the final component of a kind of cultural acropolis conceived for this hilltop stretch of Grand Avenue more than 50 years ago by Dorothy Chandler, the powerful wife of the Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler. That vision involved bulldozing hundreds of Victorian houses to make room for a chain of cultural monuments and corporate fortresses, and by the late 1980s the area was an emblem of the city’s social polarization, an enclave of faceless towers and windswept plazas barricaded against the vibrant Latino shopping corridor just down the hill.

Since then an army of civic leaders, urban planners and architects have struggled for ways to draw wary Angelenos to the avenue and reverse its elitist image, with varying degrees of success. The delirious stainless-steel exterior of Mr. Gehry’s Disney Hall, opened in 2003, added some desperately needed vitality to the street, but the chiseled concrete of Rafael Moneo’s 2002 Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels created a sacred precinct walled off from the avenue.

Other projects have dragged on for years, like a new park that would extend from Grand Avenue several blocks down to the foot of City Hall, and a vast Gehry-designed retail-and-residential tower complex, which both have the potential to begin breaking down the physical and psychological barriers between the culture mavens who visit the top of the hill and the residents of the neighborhoods at its foot.

On its surface, at least, the Diller Scofidio design seems a thoughtful addition to that story. Its subdued square form is not only a nice contrast to the exuberance of Mr. Gehry’s hall; it is also in keeping with the mood of the avenue, which over the years has developed its own kind of eerie stillness, especially at night, when it is mostly barren. A porous steel skin wraps around the building, pried up from the ground at two corners to create the main lobby entrances on Grand Avenue. The relatively straightforward interior layout — a 35,000-square-foot, column-free gallery space on top of a floor of art storage, a ground-floor lobby and three levels of underground parking — allows for an elaborate architectural narrative. Visitors arriving from the direction of Disney Hall will cross the lobby and ride a 97-foot-long enclosed escalator that cuts diagonally through the storage floor on its way up to the top-floor galleries.

Once they are through looking at art, they will funnel down a broad staircase with big windows that overlook the racks of paintings and storage containers — a kind of back-room view of the curator’s process — before they are deposited back in the lobby.

It’s a seductive sequence — and one as controlling, in its way, as Wright’s Guggenheim spiral. By orienting the main escalator from the Second Street entrance, the architects are not only striving to link the museum to the string of cultural institutions that extends from Disney Hall to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Mark Taper Forum; they are also seeking to connect with the mainly Latino shopping strip along Broadway, which lies two blocks down Second Street to the east. At the other end, the staircase points departing visitors toward the entry of the Museum of Contemporary Art, an institution of which Mr. Broad was the founding chairman.

But as attractive as some of the ideas behind the overall narrative are, they tend to fall apart once you begin to examine them one step at a time. The porous skin, which covers the roof as well as the four sides of the building, is intended to fill the top-floor galleries with sunlight. But the main windows there face southeast toward Grand Avenue — and the harsh morning light that is anathema to viewing art. (The northern walls, which would let in the kind of indirect sunlight artists and curators love, are largely blocked by mechanical systems and a freight elevator.)

What’s more, the perforations in the skin will make the sunlight mottled and uneven. And forget hanging art on most of the exterior walls. My guess is that after the first show, the entire wall will simply be boarded over, and you’ll never see it again.

Then there is the descent on foot. Opening the back of the house to public view has become a fashionable idea since the 2003 opening of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Schaulager museum in Basel, Switzerland, where visitors can schedule private viewings of storage rooms organized by individual artists. But in the Diller Scofidio design you will have no direct connection to the art itself, and it’s doubtful that snapshot views of artworks arranged on racks will be compelling enough to merit the length of the walk (or, alternatively, that repeat visitors will want to wait in line for the single, overcrowded elevator).

Finally — and as critical to the design’s overall success — there is the relationship between man and car. In their original proposal, Diller Scofidio included a parking entry at ground level along Second Street, which would have cut underneath the lobby and spiraled down to the underground parking. This entry added a crucial dimension to the narrative: the interweaving of pedestrian and automotive life that is central to the experience of Los Angeles generally, and of Grand Avenue in particular, with its views onto nearby freeways. But the entrance was removed during the design process, and what was once a more complex reading of urban mobility has been reduced to something more banal.

This isn’t just bad news for Mr. Broad.

Grand Avenue has never really worked as an idea — not only because it was elitist but also because the idea of a singular, dominant cultural hub runs so counter to the city’s nature.

Still, in many ways the avenue’s fortunes have also come to embody Los Angeles’s continuing struggle to define its civic identity in an era when its cultural status continues to rise. A successful Broad museum would go a long way toward cementing that status, which makes the possibility of its failure that much more of a blow.

2011年1月11日 星期二

Oresund builds innovation bridge

European Business Week | 08.01.2011 | 00:30

Oresund builds innovation bridge

In an advanced economy like Europe, many business and policy leaders believe innovation is the key to success. New technology and markets have been acknowledged as central pillars of what the European Commission calls the ‘Knowledge Economy.’ The Oresund region in Scandinavia is one example of a IT cluster corssing national borders and building innovative bridges - in more ways that one.

Report: Jonathan Gifford, Malmo

2011年1月6日 星期四








而自從人類出現後,立方體就隨處可見,幾乎很少離開它:無論是上班、上課、下班、睡覺統統都沒有離開過立方體。有一天人死掉了,也是用立方體的東西把你埋 葬,但是幾十年之後,大自然也會把這個立方體的東西化成各種形體,但是絕對不可能是立方體,由不得你不相信立方體是一個有害物體。



自從有鋼筋、水泥,加上「立方體」的概念,就能蓋大型房屋了,一蓋就是幾百間,形成了自囚式的住家,這種大樓只有外圍少數有窗,其他的沒有窗,連門都沒 有,它是用電梯來輸送的。這種立方體的建築造成了自囚式的房間,把自己關起來的那種自囚,所以左右鄰居都不認識,住了幾十年,鄰居姓什麼和做什麼也都不知 道,這種自囚式的住家會造成人情疏離、道德淡薄。現在社會所發生的事大家都知道,多看一眼就被殺、看不順眼可以打、父子相殘,這也是這幾十年的事,剛好時 間吻合,這也是一個「立方體」的概念所致。





生物是非常嚴格的,對於不好的東西一點都不放過。以我們吃東西為例,至少有三層的把關,第一關就是吃到不該吃的東西時,就會吐出來;第二關是如果已經吞下 胃裡,也會藉由拉肚子把它排出來。這兩關若是沒有把持住,就會被吸收,身體會把這個異物堆放在某處,如膀胱、膽、腎臟等,這就叫作石灰質,就是所謂的結 石,讓你痛,你就會拿掉,再不拿掉,就會痛死你,有一天你一定會把它拿除的。生物就是那麼嚴格,異物不能共存,就是這個道理。




人類長期生活在「立方體」的環境中,有形的「立方體」會影響無形的心靈,日子久了一定會產生「立方體」的概念,根植在腦中,造成思想的偏差。所謂「立方 體」的概念是限制、壓制、強制、戰爭、侵略……因為我們一直住在從來沒有離開過的「立方體」,慢慢養成這「立方體」的概念,「立方體」的概念使一切的行為 變硬,如果能以柔軟的主張,人間便是天堂。





2011年1月1日 星期六

The Brooklyn Museum is preparing to return about 4,500 pre-Columbian artifacts taken from Costa Rica roughly a century ago.

Museum Wants to Return Objects, but There’s a Hitch

The Brooklyn Museum is preparing to return about 4,500 pre-Columbian artifacts taken from Costa Rica roughly a century ago.

Brooklyn Museum

A pendant from Costa Rica, in the Minor C. Keith Collection at the Brooklyn Museum.




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Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

The Brooklyn Museum wants to return to Costa Rica several thousand pre-Columbian bowls, above, and other artifacts that have been kept in storage for decades. The national museum there wants the items, but lacks the money to cover packing and shipping.

Costa Rica had made no claim to the objects, which were exported in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Minor C. Keith, a railroad magnate and a founder of the United Fruit Company. And there were none of the conflicts, legal threats or philosophical debates that sometimes accompany arguments between museums and countries that claim ownership of antiquities in their collections.

Instead, the museum simply decided that its closets were too full, overstuffed with items acquired during an era when it aimed to become the biggest museum in the world. So it offered the pieces to the National Museum of Costa Rica, which accepted but has yet to raise the $59,000 needed to pack and ship the first batch.

The objects that the Brooklyn Museum plans to let go are primarily made of ceramic and stone; they include bowls and other vessels, figurines, benches and ceremonialmetates, or grinding stones. They are among 16,000 artifacts, some made of gold and jade, that Keith and his workers found on his Costa Rican banana plantations. About 5,000 of these pieces ended up in Brooklyn.

The museum plans to keep some of the most valuable pieces, including gold and jade animals and anthropomorphic figurines and pendants. It is unlikely that many of the items being returned have ever been exhibited, although the museum’s records are not precise in that regard. Earlier efforts to give them to Costa Rican and American museums were unsuccessful.

“It’s exciting to find a home” for the objects, the museum’s curator of the arts of the Americas, Nancy Rosoff, said. “Hopefully they can come up with the money.”

The decision to part with most of the Keith objects is part of a culling of the Brooklyn Museum’s collection that has been under way for a decade. Museum officials once estimated the size of its collection as 1.5 million items, although they are revising that downward as records become computerized.

The goal of the culling is to remove works that are not being exhibited or do not fit the museum’s mission, and to reduce storage costs and to conserve staff members’ time. Kevin Stayton, the Brooklyn Museum’s chief curator, said it was an effort, at a time of strained budgets, to make sure that “we’re not overextending ourselves.”

The largest group of items to leave the Brooklyn Museum so far is its collection of costumes, 23,819 that were transferred to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009. About another 4,400 objects have been deaccessioned already, including 983 Keith pieces. Ms. Rosoff said she expected ultimately to transfer 90 percent of the museum’s Keith objects to Costa Rica.

Like many American museums founded in the late 19th century, the Brooklyn Museum had an almost insatiable appetite for material. Known in its early years as the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, the museum was conceived as Brooklyn’s answer to the Metropolitan, and then some, with departments focused on natural history and the sciences as well as on art. It was designed to be the largest museum in the world, but after Brooklyn was consolidated into New York City in 1898, the effort lost momentum, and only a sixth of the planned structure was finally built.

The museum acquired the Keith collection in 1934, five years after Keith’s death. Keith, who was born in Brooklyn, had gone to Costa Rica in 1871, at 23, to join his brother in building a railroad from San José to the Caribbean Sea. During the project’s construction — which took two decades — Keith also established himself as one of the biggest growers and exporters of bananas in Central America. It was on one of his Costa Rican plantations, called Las Mercedes, that his workers first came across pre-Columbian gold ornaments, spurring the start of his collecting.

When the Brooklyn Museum first contacted the Costa Rican museum several years ago about the possibility of transferring most of its Keith objects, it received no response, so it reached out to American museums that had their own Keith collections: the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian. Perhaps unsurprisingly, since the Brooklyn Museum was planning to keep the cream of the collection, the other museums were not interested.

The Brooklyn Museum reached out to the Costa Rican museum again last year and that time got a positive response — though, in the absence of money to ship the objects, it leaves the timing of a transfer up in the air.

Since beginning a review of the Keith objects in Brooklyn several years ago, Ms. Rosoff has tackled only the ceramic materials and has not gotten through all of those. Among the objects she has chosen to keep are a vessel ornamented with the head, feet and tail of a tapir (a hoglike mammal with a long snout) and another piece, of unidentified function, embellished with a sculptured figure of an armadillo. The objects being sent back to Costa Rica are not of exhibition quality, at least not in an art museum, Ms. Rosoff said, but do have potential value to students and researchers.

To the Costa Rican museum, though, the transfer seems to be of primarily symbolic importance. Sandra Quirós, director of the National Museum of Costa Rica, said in a telephone interview that the museum did not have immediate plans to display the objects, even if it found the money to ship them. Instead the items would probably go into storage, where they would be available to researchers. She was enthusiastic, however, about regaining part of the country’s cultural patrimony.

“This wasn’t an initiative of ours — it came from outside — but once we were informed of it, of course it was of interest because this is part of Costa Rica’s history,” she said, speaking through an interpreter.

In some ways the transfer is not unlike the Metropolitan Museum’s recent decision to return to Egypt 19 artifacts from Tutankhamen’s tomb. In that case the Met concluded that the objects had come to the museum in violation of an agreement intended to keep the contents of the tomb in Egypt. However, the objects’ minor significance — some were little more than bits of wood — made the return seem to be partly an easy way to garner some goodwill with Zahi Hawas, the forceful secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt.

Ms. Quirós said there were no legal issues surrounding the Brooklyn Museum’s ownership of the objects, since they left the country before a 1938 Costa Rican law restricting export of archaeological artifacts. Still, she said, she looked forward to repatriating the pieces whenever the museum could find the money.

repatriating, expatriate