Tony Vaccaro, LIFE, 1966 Bobulate: John Ptak explores the history of the handbag after seeing a photo of 1920 woman, who couldn’t seem to put one down: The pocketbook that we think of today came into being in the mid/late 19th century … and that article of necessity hasn’t looked back since. It seems to me that the pocketbook of the 19th century might’ve been an advertising platform too...
THE bite THATS rite
Just gorgeous. Photograph by John Szarkowski from Looking After Louis Sullivan at the Art Institute. Reviewed by Blair Kamin here. Always hoping to find the 1956 edition of this book in a second hand shop.
Where Have All the Windchimes Gone?
I have to admit, I am a little sad the Emerald Isle house my family rented this week is so tasteful. Oatmeal wall-to-wall, oversize blue cotton sofas, Pottery Barn plates. What is a beach rental coming to when the dishes are without fish? Sure, there’s a painting of a marina with a grizzled sailor on the dock above the fireplace, and I had to clear a number of rowboats and metal frog...
A Return to Modern Roots
I’m in North Carolina this week, mostly on Emerald Isle (where the water really is clear and green and 80 degrees), and finally got a chance to see the new North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, by Thomas Phifer & Partners, which opened this spring. My first impression was wow, I can’t believe they built this in the Triangle. I know that sounds snobby, but despite the...
Diana Center & Architectural Bull----
Rave reviews (Architect, Metropolis, previously New York) are rolling in for Weiss/Manfredi’s Diana Center at Barnard College. I toured this semester with my NYU students (who were as blown away by the grass and campus as they were by the building, poor things) and thought it was a fine piece of work. But every review has praised two things that I quickly dismissed as the most basic...
In Metropolis: Blue Sky Thinking
What’s really happening at Inland Steel? An ambitious LEED Platinum master plan by SOM, the 1958 building’s original architects, attracted the press, but the economy and landmarks regulations created a more modest reality. SOM wanted to create new potential for Inland Steel (and new value for its owner) by making a landmark as innovative now as when it was new. The...
Make Me A Mini Monograph
In my many encounters with publishing last year, when I was trying to sell a book on Alexander Girard (Todd Oldham got there first) and architecture criticism (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011), the thing I found most depressing was the sense I got that one could only write a book about designers that were already famous. Girard was borderline, but because his estate has contemporary...
"We Can't Really Pay"
I have spent about the last two months complaining about this, on the phone, to my friends, at length, people who have done nothing to deserve it, who deserve better. I am also motivated herein by your new, MSM, astonishing inability to pay. Because all of you print people who scorned bloggers but have moved into blogging and helm publications that “blog”, Earth to you: You don’t pay. And...
Op Art Eye Candy
I’m lucky that I get to live with a Julian Stanczak painting, bought by my father-in-law in 1968, when Op Art was really something. I saw a show on Stanczak in Chelsea a few years ago, and was blown away that he is still producing Op Art Out of Ohio. Now the D. Wigmore Gallery is having a show on Stanczak, his better-known Yale Art School classmate Richard Anuskiewicz, and several others...
Pomo Time Machine
I’m writing more about Warren Platner, my favorite terribly wonderful or wonderfully terrible architect, this time for Dwell, so I have been on the hunt for other critics who share my alternating appreciation (1981 interview on YouTube) and dismay (Paul Goldberger on Pan Am) over his glittering and geometric oeuvre. I thought Herbert Muschamp might be able to roll with it, seeing as how he...
I saw this photo in the New York Times this morning and thought, That’s Carly Fiorina’s campaign poster? That seems kind of … girly. Lightweight, lowercase, sans serif type. Two tones of red or pink (I can’t really tell on screen) on white? Is she trying for a little iCarly crossover? I’m surprised no type geeks have weighed in on this yet, but if any of you are out...
AIA Guide, Family Style
On page 627, upper right corner, of the new AIA Guide: [C52] 191-193 Luquer Street (apartments), bet. Court and Smith Sts. 2005. Mark Dixon and Peter Guthrie. In three parts: a 19th-century row house in the grasp of flanking modernist glass-and-concrete twins. The effect is one of an elderly fellow at a cocktail party cornered by two chatty, well-dressed young gents. That Mark Dixon is my...
Marigold, Goldenrod, Egg Yolk
In other words, yellow. I am doing some research on lifestyles of the mid-century and fabulous, and checked out fellow D-Crit professor Russell Flinchum’s book on the MoMa’s American Design collection. I was immediately struck by the color of the cover, so close in hue to that of my D/R book. Russell says, just by coincidence, it is the same hue as the (R.I.P.) Kodak Carousel boxes...
My .02 on the Whitney
OK, so I am obsessed with the Whitney. It seemed like everyone had taken their shot at outrage, pleasure, conspiracy theory regarding the museum’s move from their Marcel Breuer building on the Upper East Side to a (thankfully not neo-classical, or beloggia-ed) Renzo Piano building at the base of the High Line, and perhaps there was nothing more to say. I did some outraged Tweeting. But I...
Bloggers in the Archive
I’m trying to figure out why Geoff Manaugh’s announcement, on BLDGBLOG, that he would be blogging from the CCA this summer irritated me. I can’t wait to see what he turns up. The images he posted were fabulous (my favorite above). And the idea of bloggers in archives is terrific. Sign me up. It was partly that the idea is not brand new. The Smithsonian has been digitizing...