So, at 10:29 PM on Monday, the 22nd of September, summer officially came to a close. Fall is here and with it comes a litany of preview lists from every publication and every blog, usually filled with all the same stuff in a different order. But you rarely see anyone compile a greatest hits list of the season that just wrapped. That’s where we come in. While the so-called tastemakers hunt for “the new” like the crowd at a Black Friday piñata party, we’re content to just hang back and—once the dust settles—collect and savor those truly great moments. So without getting too wordy, let’s get to it:
That’s right, not one exhibit, but the whole thing. We were there for the Sigmar Polke retrospective (and the stellar permanent collection, of course), but MoMA was stacked top to bottom with solid exhibitions. We totally hit that sweet spot where the start and end of various shows overlap for a week or two. Good news, because we were able to take in other surveys on our short list like the Lygia Clark retrospective and Christopher Williams’ “The Production Line of Happiness”. And yet the the museum just kept on giving: a Robert Heinecken show, Toulouse Lautrec prints, and an experimental photography survey were rounded out by the Design Department’s short review of classics by faves like Anni Albers and Massimo Vignelli.
Oh, yes, and our apologies to Ray. Sorry we missed you. It was late, we were tired and they really didn’t make it easy to find you.
Love him or loathe him, this career survey—Koons’ first in New York—delivered with cheap thrills and high production values. Bursting at the seams with day-glo colors, industrial sheen and naked bodies, the Whitney’s Breuer building buzzed with cheers, boos and a lot of head-scratching. Unlike some critics, though, we choose to buy-in and accept the premise. Why resist when the results are so ridiculously satisfying? To suggest, as some have, that Koons is not an artist because he doesn’t act like one seems completely short-sighted and missing the point. Or that his work doesn’t count because the subject matter is fluff (Did they miss that “what is art?” discussion in Art History 101? Somehow sleep through the 1960’s?). Yes, the work is flashy and intoxicating (and the artist is flashy and intoxicating), but that doesn’t mean that it’s/he’s lacking in substance. Why, all of a sudden, are the critics so willing to take a work at face value? Koons is complex and his work is complex. Scratch below the surface and you’ll find lots to love, lots to hate and much to debate.
Tasty pockets of fried goodness jam-pack the menu at this shoebox of a restaurant. And the watermelon lemonade was pretty tasty, too.
The High Line
Abandoned rail line turned urban oasis delivers on its promise to offer a quiet, contemplative experience with a new view of the city.
Hatch Show Print
A meet-up with the family in Nashville let us indulge in a trip to this legendary print shop. We’ve hosted Hatch for lectures and exhibits, bought their books and prints, and basically know their work inside out, yet we’ve never made the pilgrimage to the source—until now. Though the shop is now housed within the confines of the sparkling Country Music Hall of Fame, it still burns with an unvarnished, youthful energy as they continue to crank out prints repurposed from their historic archive of vintage wood type, dingbats, and hard-carved artwork.
This House in Strathmere
We happened upon a new modernist beach house while on a bike ride through Strathmere in July. “Pure” and “simple” are not words that typically come to mind when you think Shore architecture, but this minimal, compact beach retreat (by Ambit Architecture) feels right at home amid the stark, severe landscape of sand, sky and water.
A little late to this party, but, hey, better late than never. This electro duo shocked the withering soul of industrial back to life with a confrontational style and minimal aesthetic that owes more to Belgian EBM greats like Klinik or Vomito Negro than guitar-obsessed icons like NIN or Ministry. Pardon the cliche, but “electro-punk” does sum it up pretty well. And they’re hot with the kids, so if YC can turn indie-inclined Crystal Castles fans onto EBM classics, all the better.
Aphex Twin – “Selected Ambient Works II”
This is an oldie that somehow saw a lot of play this summer. Odd, not only because it’s been sitting dormant on my shelf for quite some time, but also because it has more of an introspective, autumnal vibe than a loud, pumping (if somewhat abstract) one you associate with summer. Maybe it was a reminder from deep within that AFX’s first album in 13 years, Syro, arrived in September. In any case, it’s packed with somber electronic goodness perfect for dreaming or dozing.
Suita Sofa Chaise Lounge by Antonio Citterio (in Yellow)
Our new favorite sofa, even if it’s an old design for Vitra. At NeoCon 2014.
HBF Textiles – Chicago Showroom Redesign
2×4 reimagined the HBF showroom as a cozy, intimate studio. Less glitzy showplace and more residential library, it feels like the perfect place to really focus and get to work.
More NeoCon 2014
Clean, simple and arguably pretentious experience and product design from Arper, new rugs by textile masters Maharam, and the poppy, geometric Wallace Sewell collection for Designtex.
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