March 29, 2011

Modern Living

Life can change drastically and quickly.  Some recent events have forced me and my fiance to move to take a new job and start a new life.



This move has made me more familiar than ever with the new trend of modern living in historic renovation projects that are sprinkled throughout New England.  

These buildings tell a story of the regions manufacturing wealth and prosperity.  They symbolize both the tremendous opportunities of the past and the pain and desperation that was left behing when manufacturing found their way over seas. They symbolize so vehemently and graciously the absense of industry in the US. Slowly, very slowly these communities have struggled to rebuild and redefine themselves.  

People have taken note of the beauty and integrity of these old mills and mill communities.  Many of these communities  have been reborn an commuting cities or chic places for middle-income hipsters.




These buildings tell a story of the regions manufacturing wealth and prosperity.  They symbolize both the tremendous opportunities of the past and the pain and desperation that was left behind when manufacturing found their way over seas. They symbolize so vehemently and graciously the absence of industry in the US. Slowly, very slowly these communities have struggled to rebuild and redefine themselves.  

People have taken note of the beauty and integrity of these old mills and mill communities.  Many of these communities  have been reborn an commuting cities or chic places for middle-income hipsters



In the end I have fallen in love with mill living, and could probably write a short essay on all the benefits and joys of waking up to 14ft ceilings, 8ft windows, and wood and brick.  The purity is refreshing.  The history is utterly captivating. 

October 20, 2010

Has the art market thawed? Frieze thinks so.

5081576167_1d4cb53b79photo above from Everyday Lifestyle

Just in case you don't have your finger on the pulse of the art world, here's the skinny.  There are a series of "Art Fairs" in major cities all over the world that take place annually or biannually.  Galleries apply and pay a substantial amount of money to rent a "stall", and in turn sell artwork to the public. These fairs are massive cultural meccas - full of art, talks, panel discussions, performances, awards, and contemporary musings on current educational platforms and art-making in general. In short, it's a total playground for new and emerging ideas and practices as well as established ideas and concepts.

5079153001_9b52803812 photo above from Everyday Lifestyle

Each year, thousands of collectors come in droves to these fairs - so smaller fairs have popped up around the bigger fairs and are populated by the galleries who were rejected from the bigger fairs, or simply didn't want to pay the premiums. These smaller fairs have leveled the playing ground somewhat, but there is a status symbol to being included in the big-deal fairs like Basel, The Armory, Frieze, Cologne,...

For example, the Frieze Art Fair takes place every October in Regent’s Park, London. The fair showcases new and established artists to an international audience (the complete list of exhibitors is here) over 170 galleries were exhibiting work this year, with miles and miles of labyrinth-like temporary walls studded with works - some hung so heavily that you wonder how the wall stays vertical.

5092542699_b50e00448d_b photo above from Visionet

There are more galleries than ever this year and a higher quality of applicants,' says Frieze co-founder Amanda Sharp, who, when she set up the annual art fair eight years ago, never in her wildest dreams thought it would become such a London blockbuster. (from Wallpaper magazine)

Stories like this one are not uncommon: "New business is what makes fairs worth it, otherwise we could just stay in our galleries and work on our shows,” said Rachel Lehmann (B13). The gallerist sold only to new clients, including Jennifer Steinkamp’s Orbit 8, 2010 (shown below) (all three editions plus the artist’s proof), for $55,000 each." (From's article here)

1286654223_4f5ba118_iphone(above: Jennifer Steinkamp, Orbit 8, 2010)

Andreas Geiger at Sprüth Magers (B9) summed up the overall feeling: “People are acquiring, but there’s no more five-minute buying. The market has found a good pace, it’s not crazy, but it’s solid.” (The Art Newspaper)

But it's not all about selling - it's about seeing and learning. There are a series of talks and educational events, concerts and performances, and prizes awarded to Artists and Galleries. There are also a series of Artist Projects - including Jeffrey Vallance among others.

"The coveted Cartier Award is open to artists living outside of the UK, up to five years from graduating from an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or under thirty years of age. The Cartier Award is organized by Frieze Projects, sponsored by Cartier and presented in collaboration with Gasworks. The recipient of the prize will have the unique opportunity to present their work at Frieze Art Fair 2010, guaranteeing a major international audience. Additionally the prize will cover production costs of up to £10,000, an artist’s fee, per diems, travel expenses and a studio residency at Gasworks in London from August to October 2010." (from Art Knowledge News)

Bridget Riley was one of the featured "conversations" of the Frieze Art Fair, she spoke with Michael Bracewell about her lifetime of artmaking and development of her signature style. Many of the talks are available here as podcasts.

Riley_largeweb(above: Bridget Riley)



September 19, 2010

The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus Ohio, Mark Bradford, and me.

Happy Monday - Blog2Modern Readers,

I haven't had a chance to post an entry in a while, due to the fact that I am currently in Columbus, Ohio at the Wexner Center for the Arts (!!!)  I was invited (in August) to do a large-scale solo installation in the lobby area of the Deconstructivist gem, designed by Peter Eisenman - one of the New York Five.  (For you architects out there, you've probably seen the Wexner every contemporary Art History and Architecture book out there.)

(Below: Main façade of The Wexner Center for the Arts)

Thanks Wikipedia for summing up the mission of the Wexner and doing all my links for me:
"The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, screenings, performances, artist residencies, and educational programs, the Wexner Center acts as a forum where established and emerging artists can test ideas and where diverse audiences can participate in cultural experiences that enhance understanding of the art of our time. In its programs, the Wexner Center balances a commitment to experimentation with a commitment to traditions of innovation and affirms the university’s mission of education, research, and community service. The Wexner Center opened in November 1989, named in honor of the father of Limited Brands founder Leslie Wexner, who was a major donor to the Center."

Currently on view is Mark Bradford's mid-career retrospective.  They don't allow any photos in the galleries, but he did an installation in the lobby (below)


Bradford and his assistant projected his name onto the wall, traced it and then painstakingly removed portions of the wall, exposing the myriad of past colors that the wall has been painted.  This wall will be removed and will travel to each of the venues (
Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) following its debut at The Wexner Center for the Arts.  Bradford is a recent recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award. (new recipients to be announced September 28).  His show is on view at The Wexner until October 10.


My installation will run concurrently with the remainder of Mark Bradford's show as well as the next round of exhbitions titled Six Solos which will open in November and run through February. I'm particularly excited to be showing with Erwin Redl, who works with LED lights and will be outdoors on the grid-façade.  I absolutely adore his work. I'm also excited for the Tobias Putrih/MOS show too!

(below: Erwin Redl, "Flow" 2007)


I am working directly with the lobby, which is known for its "floating column".

(below: Eisenman's "floating column")


We're still working on the installation, which was designed spontaneously on-site via 3D modeling software. Here are some teaser shots of my work in progress, title is still in the works.



My website will have photos upon completion of the project. The installation opens on Tuesday, please come and see if you are in the Columbus Ohio area, or like to travel or drive.

This installation was inspired primarily by the supposed "death of print" and therefore, CMYK design. Thus my selection of cyan, yellow and magenta as my palette. The "off register" look of the striped walls was highly inspired by mis-printed cartoons, the printing process, mathematical progressions, the use of lines to create space, and the inherent translucency of the material, flagging tape. 

Oh, and "Go Bucks!"

And just in case you wanted some gift ideas - Check out this really rad CMYK inspired dishes and this neato pen "for designers" - I want all of the above!

September 14, 2010

Looking to the Past for Inspiration and Motivation

This weekend was spent participating in an annual family tradition that dates back long before anyone can remember.  The change of the season is marked by sudden cool snaps, shorter days, and a bountiful fall harvest.  Each fall in early September vine-ripened grapes make their journey from vineyards around the world to small produce markets where amateur and professional wine makers alike oggle at their beauty. 

Having finally participated in this tradition I can't help by recognize how the current economic and political climate has a lot of people looking towards traditions of the past. Many are looking to live a more simplistic life and learning to appreciate the small wonders around us. What could be more modern than that? 

Here are a few fun finds to get you in the mood to go and make your very own Vino della Famiglia. 


 Modern Cellar - CURIO Wine Server


MuNiMulA - Wine Tray 


 Burlap Wine Bottle Bags


August 26, 2010

It's hot, get naked.

Spencer Tunick, an artist who is famous for working with hundreds of nude bodies in his photographs since the mid-90's is in the midst of several current projects including tackling each state in the US.


above: "Mexico City 1 (Zócalo, MUCA/UNAM Campus)", 2007

His work has spawned an unofficial website/blog too -  his "installations", as he refers to them, are EPIC. They require thousands of participants getting naked and arranged in groups. So understandably, he's get a huge fan base of supporters.

Undress circle - bruges theatre

above: at the Bruges Theatre; below: The artist, Spencer Tunick


Check out his website for more images - he is constantly repositioning naked people in large groups. Instead of this being strange and disturbing for the common person - it is more like looking at a landscape and then only realizing that it is made of people. There is a Soylent Green joke in there somewhere...


Above: On pink rafts in a Miami pool!; below: Tunick talks about his work and past installations.

Stay cool!

August 22, 2010

The New Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, by Enric Miralles & Benedetta Tagliabue &

Edinburgh. One can readily imagine, even if they have not yet been there, a historic city full of monumental stone buildings, narrow cobbled streets, myth and stories winking at them at each way they turn their heads to. When one does visit, like I did a week ago, the sense of history and legend overcomes you at first, wandering around the streets of the Old Town awestruck and gaping with wonder as I did. Yet, I discovered that modern architecture is alive and well in the Scottish capital, waiting for the architecture buff to discover it. Most characteristic example of course is the New Scottish Parliament by the late Enric Miralles & his wife Benedetta Tagliabue along with RMJM architects.


Unfortunatelly Miralles did not live long enough to see his masterpiece finished. The sprawling complex of buildings lies in front of the palace of Holyrood, at the end of Edinburgh's main street, the Royal Mile, at the feet of the imposing Salisbury Crags. Made from a mixture of oak, granite and steel, all materials that define Scotland, it is a building that has attracted heaps of praise as well as controversy. It has won many prestigious architecural awards in Great Britain and beyond, most notably the RIBA Stirling prize, the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award for Architecture and the Architecture Grand Prix at the Scottish Design Awards. 


  Miralles said he drew inspiration from the surrounding area, Rennie Macintosh's flower painting and images of upturned boats ashore, to make a building growing out of the land and carved into the land. In the architect's words: "This is not a building in a park or garden but rather the form for gathering people. Instead of a building as an overwhelming monument, with rhetorical forms and classical dimensions, this building is conceived by a psychological approach. The Parliament is a fragment of a large gathering situation. This natural amphitheatre that slopes, is what the land is offering us to build on. It is a diagram that could be explained in many ways...This social concept could have many "forms".A story definition is needed; Citizens sitting, resting, thinking but in a similar place and position as the parliamentarians".


The New Scottish Parliament is comprised of five buildings: The Cannongate building (seen above), which encompasses the façade of the old building situated at the site, and also the Cannongate wall, seen at the bottom of the building , which incorporates inlaid stones with phrases and lyrics by famous Scottish writers, the Queensberry House, a 17th century listed building integrated in the new buliding, the Media Tower at the corner of Horse Wynd (see first photo) which has many of the characteristic panels found throughout the building (described by Benedetta Tagliabue as "curtains"), the MSP building housing the MSP's offices and the Tower Buildings, fanning behind the Debating Chamber.


Surrounding the building is a great landscaped garden, partly made in the style of a Scottish knot garden. Lots of indigenous trees and plants have been used throughout, and using water and slate tiles is also a major theme. Surprisingly enough, the huge complex fits well with the surrounding traditional building and makes a very welcoming contrast with the opposing stuffy building of Holyrood Palace. It is a testament to the architect's talent that the building fits so well with the nearby buildings, proving the success of their original concept. One can visit the building for free and especially the  Debating Chamber (only on Thursdays), made of wood, glass and steel, to enjoy the Parliament in session and admire the design of the building.


All photographs courtesy of Stratos Bacalis except the last one by Klaus with a K.

August 04, 2010

Art inspiring Art every 24 hours, or Rebecca Campbell and Nicole Walker pick up the telephone

WhisperdownthelaneThis week kicked off a game of sorts between artists that references the childhood game of Telephone. I had played it under a different name, Whisper down the lane. (Other handles the game is known under include Chinese Whispers, Grapevine, Broken Telephone, Gossip, Arab Phone, and probably played around the world under many more names.)

The basic concept is the same - someone whispers a phrase to their neighbor and so on, down a line of people. At the end of the line, the phrase is said out loud and giggles ensue as it has been radically changed from person to person along the line.  

This game of telephone is a little different

Titled "7 Days, 7 Artists, 7 Rings", the project began with a painting by Rebecca Campbell, titled "Wake Them When It's Over",


painted in response to the headline, "Wake Them When It's Over", by Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post , where the project is being hosted (all images pictured here were sourced from the main project page). 

Then yesterday, poet Nicole Walker responded to Campbell's painting with "This is not a poem".

Screen shot 2010-08-04 at 2.50.43 PM

Campbell and Walker, both from originally from Mormon families in Salt Lake City, became friends - flash forward 25 years and you've got a project spawned by a lifetime of correspondence and collaboration between the two artists.

Confused? The Huffington Post sorts it out for us, "Each week the painter and the poet will create a work of art to begin the game. Each week they'll then invite 5 more artists from a variety of disciplines --writers, artists, musicians, etc.-- to join the conversation by making a work in turn, just as in a game of telephone. Artists will have 24 hours to respond to a previous artist's work or "Ring". Everyday on the arts page, you will see a new work of art branded as 7 rings."


Today is day 3 and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, has uploaded "Rebecca's Dream" (pictured left)

This process will continue with a new response being inspired by the work of art posted the day before (poem, painting, song, sculpture, ...).

Every 24 hours, 7 days a week a new response will be posted. The game is planned to go on for 60 days, but with the amount of support already surrounding this project, it could go on indefinitely. 

Be sure to check in every day here.

You can also follow the project on twitter.

November 24, 2009

Design Community and the Economy

Based on some positive response from my last posting regarding the economy and some indications of further interest on the topic, I will be randomly posting tidbits that I hope you all find useful. If not, please just ignore and scroll down for other great posts on modern design.

It is off topic for this blog a bit...but in the end, we are all part of a community and network and I think it is our job to collaborate to find solutions, rather than just watching helplessly from the sidelines.

Today's highlight (via zerohedge)

The list below highlights the firms that are on the hook to the FDIC in the form of implicit government-backed guarantees. The top five financial companies consist of CNBC's parent company (not for long) General Electric at $88 billion, Citi at $64.6 billion, Bank of America at $44.5 billion, JPM at $40 billion, and Morgan Stanley at $25 billion. Goldman is just out of the top five at the 6th position, with current outstanding TLGP borrowings at $21.3 billion - nearly a dollar for dollar match with what is expected to be the firm's end of year bonus accrual.

It is only fair to propose to (CEO) Mr. Blankfein that instead of paying $20 billion in bonuses, the firm uses the bonus accrual to immediately repay every single last cent of its TLGP borrowings. If the firm wishes to approach the private (non-taxpayer subsidized) market subsequently, and reissue the full amount refunded, it may of course do so. Since the firm has repeatedly stated that it is not indebted to the US taxpayer any more, it would be very hypocritical if the firm proceeds to pay $20 billion in bonuses while it is still receiving the implicit interest rate benefits courtesy of having over $20 billion in debt on its balance sheet funded at virtually risk-free rates.

TLGP List_0

P.S. What is General Electric doing on this list anyway?!?

November 18, 2009

Federal Deficit

Slightly off topic...but I found this wait...concerning. I hope you do as well since it doesn't seem like many are interested in Congress given the empty seats in this video...It gives you a little peek into why we just surpassed 12 trillion dollars in debt ($12,000,000,000,000).

Oh...and in case you are wondering...It took about 250 years to get to 6 trillion dollars of US debt and only 7 years to get to double it to 12 trillion. I think it is in our best interest to start paying attention. This debt is OUR debt. Please contact your representatives to see if they can try the unsustainable spending.


December 31, 2008


I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

2009 will certainly go down as a very memorable one, to say the least. I think there will be a lot of reflection on what exactly transpired over this past year. There is no need to rehash it all, the Media does a great job at keeping us up to date with every detail possible.

I guess the one thing that I can decipher from all of this is this...if you are in a position of power, and your decisions impact several people, then make sure that you are acting with other people's best interest in mind. Make sure that your integrity is in check and that you are as concerned with other people's well-being as your own.

CEO's, Politicians, Hedge Fund Managers (Ponzi Scheme Operators), Teachers, Parents, etc...we all inherently know right from wrong. We all know when we are looking to 'just get ours', regardless of the end result of our actions on others.

I am sure I am preaching to the most of the people that are the root cause of some of these current global concerns will likely never read this, let alone have it sink in. Maybe if we start giving more attention to the people that are doing good things for people, doing the right or selfless thing when no one is even watching, then things will start to change in a positive direction. I hope that good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior isn't in 2009. That is my wish.

I sincerely hope that all of you out there have a very Happy, Healthy (and Conscious) New Year!


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