“Is it not enough that we are sheltering a dangerous revolutionary, Mrs. Hughes? Could you not have spared me that?” asks Carson, the butler, midway through last night’s episode of “Downton Abbey.” That is not the mention of the word prostitute at Downton, the Earl’s middle daughter being jilted at the altar, or even the revolutionary Branson appearing at dinner in his daytime suit. That is an electric toaster, a pincher model according to the Cyber Toaster Museum, with a nickel-plated toast rack on top. “I’ve given it to myself as a treat,” says Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper, placidly. “If it’s any good, I’m going to suggest getting one for the upstairs breakfasts.”
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/01/its-toasted-modernity-and-downton-abbey.html#ixzz2IcZ2kvm6
Lunch With The Critics: Second-Annual Year-End Awards
How will 2011 be remembered in architectural history? A year in which the public reclaimed public space? The last hurrah of starchitectural extravagance? After long deliberation, Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange offer you their awards for the year.
The Silver Star Award: Michael Kimmelman, for his conversation-shifting debut as The New York Times’s new sheriff in town. [ML]
Old[er] Dog, New Trick Award: Paul Goldberger, for his engaging engagement with the architectural masses on Twitter. [ML]
Best Impersonation of Jane Jacobs Award: @jane_jacobs, tweeting news on planning, neighborhoods and public space, and exploiting social media, just like her namesake would have done. [AL]
And many more, from Architect Barbie to Jeanne Gang, dead museums to shameless self-promotion by a building at Design Observer.
The Daily Pic: The front of a welded-steel sideboard, crafted by Paul Evans in 1967 and now in the Todd Merrill booth at the Pavilion of Art and Design, a new Manhattan art fair that closes around dinnertime tonight. Evans’s piece is one of the few objects in the fair that can stand up against an overwhelming sense of glitz and conspicuous consumption. The booths mix art and design in settings that are supposed to be domestic – which I suppose they are, if your idea of domesticity is a Park Avenue apartment from hell, or a home that feels like the inside of Imelda Marcos’s jewel box. Instead of elevating design by showing it with art, most of the halogen-lit booths at this fair make both art works and design objects feel like empty baubles of the idyl rich – like polo ponies that happen to stay put. And yet the Evans holds its own, by somehow accepting the decorative side of abstract fine art, while also insisting on the unprecedented notion that a sideboard can be tough as any David Smith.
The Daily Pic, along with more global art news, can also be found on the Art Beast page at TheDailyBeast.com.
Always interesting when the art critics take on design. There is a tendency (seen also in this Sebastian Smee review of what sounds like an amazing Shaker show) to dismiss modern and contemporary design as so much tinsel. Or is it just in the display?
How happy was I to see this in Lisbon? (Can’t remember if I’ve confessed my love of Hello Kitty before.) I spoke at Experimenta Design 2011 on the theme “Useless Architecture.” More urban observations here.
Chase Manhattan Bank signage, Chermayeff & Geismar, 1961 [via AdamsMorioka]
A real meeting of mid-c design greats: Gordon Bunshaft building, Chermayeff & Geismar graphics, Isamu Noguchi fountain, and all for one of modernism’s best patrons, David Rockefeller.