Praying Lightly (SW5), 2016
ceramic and glaze
21 x 17 x 5
Last day to see June 1, 2016May 28th, 2016
Nomads and others at a carpet production center owned by a family of carpet traders outside Shiraz. Credit Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times
By THOMAS ERDBRINK
NY Times Published: MAY 26, 2016
SHIRAZ, Iran — For centuries, Iran’s famed carpets have been produced by hand along the nomad trail in this region of high plains around the ancient city of Shiraz.
Sheep grazed in high mountain pastures and shorn only once a year produce a thick, long wool ideal for the tough thread used in carpet making.
But high-quality production of hand-woven carpets is no longer sustainable on the migration route of the nomads, said Hamid Zollanvari, one of Iran’s biggest carpet makers and dealers.
Instead, he had built a factory with 16 huge cooking pots, where on a recent cool, sunny spring day men in blue overalls stirred the pots with long wooden sticks, boiling and coloring the thread. As the colored waters bubbled, they looked like live volcanos. The air smelled of sheep.
Another room was stacked with herbs. Eucalyptus leaves, indigo, black curd, turmeric, acorn shells and alum, ingredients for the different colors. “The Iranian carpet is 100 percent organic,” Mr. Zollanvari declared. “No machinery is involved.”
It is a scene that seems as ageless as the women who sit before the looms and weave the rugs, a process that can take as long as a year. And now even the factory is threatened. With six years of Western sanctions on the carpet business and punishing competition from rugs machine-made in China and India, these are hard times for the craft of Persian rug making. Many veterans wonder whether it can survive.
Over the centuries invaders, politicians and Iran’s enemies have left their mark on Iran’s carpets, said Prof. Hashem Sedghamiz, a local authority on carpets, sitting in the green courtyard of his restored Qajar-dynasty house in Shiraz. The outsiders demanded changes, started using chemicals for coloring and, most recently, imposed sanctions on the rugs. Those were blows, he said, damaging but not destructive.
But now, Mr. Sedghamiz said, the end is near. Ultimately he said, it is modernity — that all-devouring force that is changing societies at breakneck speed — that is killing the Persian carpet, Iran’s pride and joy. “People simply are no longer interested in quality.”
Or in paying for it, he might have added.
This year, after the nuclear deal was completed, the United States lifted six years of sanctions on carpets. But even with that, the Persian carpet is in a critical state as fewer and fewer people buy them.
“These days, everyone is seeking quick satisfaction and simplicity, but our carpets are the complete opposite of that,” Mr. Sedghamiz said.
His message was not what officials of the Iran National Carpet Center had in mind when they organized a tour for a group of foreign journalists last weekend. Still, none of them could really argue with Mr. Sedghamiz’s conclusion.
One thing is for sure: Iran’s carpets are among the most complex and labor-intensive handicrafts in the world.
It is on the endless green slopes of Fars Province, in Iran’s heartland, that the “mother of all carpets,” among the first in the world, is produced: the hand-woven nomadic Persian rug.
The process starts with around 1.6 million sheep grazed by shepherds from the nomadic Qashqai and Bakhtiari tribes, who produce that tough, long-fibered wool so perfect for carpets.
Women take over from there, making thread from the wool by hand, twisting it with their fingers. The finished thread is bundled and then dyed, using natural ingredients like pomegranate peels for deep red or wine leaves for green. After days of boiling on a wooden fire, the threads are dried by the cool winds that blow in from the north each afternoon.
Only then does the weaving start. Weavers, almost all of them women, spend several months to a year bent over a horizontally placed loom, stringing and knotting thousands of threads. Some follow established patterns, some create their own. When the carpet is finally done, it is cut, washed and put out in the sun to dry.
“It’s so time consuming, real hand work,” said Mr. Zollanvari, the carpet dealer. “A labor of love. And what does it cost?” he asked, before answering the question himself: “Almost nothing.” A 6-by-9-foot handwoven carpet costs around $400 in Shiraz, depending on the pattern and quality.
Mr. Zollanvari, who speaks fluent English, stood alongside two other carpet dealers, Habib Bayat and Mohammed Ali Dideroushan, both of whom are United States green card holders and self-declared carpet lovers.
The sanctions were really painful, Mr. Dideroushan said, and to him, at least, inexplicable. “Let’s face it, what do carpets have to do with our nuclear program?”
The worrisome part, Mr. Bayat said, is that business still has not picked up even after sanctions were lifted early this year. With international financial transactions still a problem, he said, “even the tourists that come to Iran cannot pay us, unless they bring plenty of cash.”
Not only that, but Persian carpets have fallen out of favor even in Iran, with many middle-class Iranians preferring cheap plastic laminate floor covers. Those who still like carpets often go for cheaper Chinese and Indian knockoffs.
“We are selling around 10 percent of what we used to sell over a decade ago,” said Morteza Talebi, the head of the council of the Shiraz bazaar. The century-old bazaar was filled with carpet shops, but there were no buyers.
Even the original producers of carpets, the nomads, are becoming harder to find. Mr. Zollanvari took the reporters to a nomadic camp outside Shiraz. There, men cheerfully blew trumpets and shot rifles into the air to celebrate the visitors. Women in colorful traditional clothes were spinning wool, others weaving a carpet.
But it turned out that several of the “nomads” were recovering drug addicts from other parts of the country who were entertaining tourists as part of an attempt to stay clean.
“Many nomads are in search of jobs and better salaries,” said Mina Bahram Abadian, a member of an Iranian group that helps nomads and drug addicts. Their situation is not that different from the problems many indigenous people have worldwide, she said.
“Divorce rates are up, as is drug use,” she said. “They cannot cope with all the changes. They get depressed and stop making carpets.”May 26th, 2016
28th May – 3rd July 2016
Preview: Friday 27th May 2016, 6 – 9pm
Proposed by Evan Holloway
In an age when the virtual is often privileged over the actual, the works by Harry Dodge (b. 1966), Evan Holloway (b. 1967) and Peter Shelton (b. 1951) make a case for the delight in object-making as opposed to conceptual and de-materialised art. Since the 1990s, Holloway has advocated for an “analogue counter-revolution” through his commitment to the material experience of objects as the primary site of art practice. The physical object stubbornly occupies space and can only be experienced by proximity. Although the three artists emerged from slightly different worlds at different times, their practice shares the importance of building a corporeal relationship between the artwork and the viewer. This space becomes a site for engaging ideas about time passing, being physically human, and the pleasure of experiencing materials holding space.
Shelton’s weighty Ironlongbag from the late 1980s is scaled to the body and made manifest by the visitor’s motion in space, in what the artist calls a “tight-fitting architecture.” The work occupies a realm between abstraction and figuration; where it functions not as a depiction, but clearly speaks to bodily empathies. Ironlongbag recalls art historian Briony Fer’s description of Eva Hesse’s visceral works, where an abstract semisphere, albeit a material substitution, is more like a breast than a picture of a breast could ever be. The Ironlongbag, a soft vessel or a solid organ, resembles the body not in an anthropomorphic way, but in how it occupies space with the mass and weight of its voluptuous form. The work presents a juxtaposition between the physical weight of the bodily form and the existential lightness of what it means to be a body.
The metal joint of Holloway’s Faces (described by the artist as an elbow), functions not only as a support for the plaster appendages, but recognises the human body as a set of possibilities for the engineering of sculptures. As in Shelton’s work, the formalist steel structure nods to abstraction, whilst making reference to the human figure. Wheel features pigs’ trotters arranged on a set of spokes. Some touch the floor, performing as supports, while others reach out to the viewer as if beckoning or threatening. Reminiscent of the Orwellian metaphor in Animal Farm, this work might induce a self-reflexive awareness of our own savage or barbarian animality, even down to our beast-like appendages.
Dodge’s Emergency Weapons, made in response to the USA Patriot Act of the early 2000s, appear as desperate, whimsical extensions of the human body. During a short time period, the artist’s daily practice was supplanted by the compulsive construction of an urgent, scrappy armoury. The tool or weapon, as the most archaic form of prosthetics, is a supplement to our hands, allowing them to exceed our corporeal boundaries. In the face of an ever-present politics of fear, Dodge’s weapons offer a combination of wit, paranoia and comic resolve.
Classical sculptural materials such as iron or bronze are juxtaposed with ordinary materials and found objects in this exhibition, where the makeshift meets a polished finish reminiscent of industrial manufacture. Holloway’s sculptures include hand-made plaster faces, pigs feet, and stacks of heads, which are treated like found objects incorporated into formalist structures. Dodge’s weapons were each made in under five minutes and with items found at his house – rusty nails, broom handles, butter tins, paper cups. The resulting contraptions are dirty, brutal, humorous, pathetic and decisive, recalling freakish, beggarly hand-tools.
In both Dodge’s and Holloway’s works, references within and outside the Western art historical canon are at play. The cast aluminium Head-Stack is a totem referencing vertical hierarchies, but also a distribution of power through the light traveling up and down the caricature-like bulb noses. Dodge’s tools resemble archaeological findings that could attest to a high level of human advancement, but appear absurdly analogue in light of the threats of the virtual age. Similarly, Shelton’s work evokes archaeology or primitivism: the beginnings of evolution, when beings were barely formed amoebic entities, limbless encased organs.
Triples immediately nods to the ‘golden rule of three’ with its inclusion of three artists; but – in a more abstract sense – to illuminate the binary between the virtual and the physical. Importantly, a triple is at once the subject and object, as well as the relationship that exists in the space between those two things. If a triple is always the state of being, then one always exists in relation to something else/Other. Similarly, metadata (that is, stored data used to make information findable by algorithmic search functions) is based on ‘triples’, and can be thought of in terms of recognisability: a face, interface, or a kind of metaphorical sociality. Triples extends to both the direct relationship between the viewer’s visceral encounter with an art object, as well as to the group show scenario, where artists’ works are brought together in a space based on the intuition that they will ‘speak to each other.’May 22nd, 2016
By Benjamin Madley
LA Times Published: May 22, 2016
Between 1846 and 1870, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Diseases, dislocation and starvation caused many of these deaths, but the near-annihilation of the California Indians was not the unavoidable result of two civilizations coming into contact for the first time. It was genocide, sanctioned and facilitated by California officials.
Neither the U.S. government nor the state of California has acknowledged that the California Indian catastrophe fits the two-part legal definition of genocide set forth by the United Nations Genocide Convention in 1948. According to the convention, perpetrators must first demonstrate their “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such.” Second, they must commit one of the five genocidal acts listed in the convention: “Killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
It is not an exaggeration to say that California legislators also established a state-sponsored killing machine.
California’s Legislature first convened in 1850, and one of its initial orders of business was banning all Indians from voting, barring those with “one-half of Indian blood” or more from giving evidence for or against whites in criminal cases, and denying Indians the right to serve as jurors. California legislators later banned Indians from serving as attorneys. In combination, these laws largely shut Indians out of participation in and protection by the state legal system. This amounted to a virtual grant of impunity to those who attacked them.
That same year, state legislators endorsed unfree Indian labor by legalizing white custody of Indian minors and Indian prisoner leasing. In 1860, they extended the 1850 act to legalize “indenture” of “any Indian.” These laws triggered a boom in violent kidnappings while separating men and women during peak reproductive years, both of which accelerated the decline of the California Indian population. Some Indians were treated as disposable laborers. One lawyer recalled: “Los Angeles had its slave mart [and] thousands of honest, useful people were absolutely destroyed in this way.” Between 1850 and 1870, L.A.’s Indian population fell from 3,693 to 219.
It is not an exaggeration to say that California legislators also established a state-sponsored killing machine. California governors called out or authorized no fewer than 24 state militia expeditions between 1850 and 1861, which killed at least 1,340 California Indians. State legislators also passed three bills in the 1850s that raised up to $1.51 million to fund these operations — a great deal of money at the time — for past and future anti-Indian militia operations. By demonstrating that the state would not punish Indian killers, but instead reward them, militia expeditions helped inspire vigilantes to kill at least 6,460 California Indians between 1846 and 1873.
The U.S. Army and their auxiliaries also killed at least 1,680 California Indians between 1846 and 1873. Meanwhile, in 1852, state politicians and U.S. senators stopped the establishment of permanent federal reservations in California, thus denying California Indians land while exposing them to danger.
State endorsement of genocide was only thinly veiled. In 1851, California Gov. Peter Burnett declared that “a war of extermination will continue to be waged … until the Indian race becomes extinct.” In 1852, U.S. Sen. John Weller — who became California’s governor in 1858 — went further. He told his colleagues in the Senate that California Indians “will be exterminated before the onward march of the white man,” arguing that “the interest of the white man demands their extinction.”
Beyond premeditated, systematic killings of California Indians, other acts of genocide proliferated too. Many rapes and beatings occurred, and these meet the U.N. Genocide Convention’s definition of “causing serious bodily harm” to victims on the basis of their group identity and with the intent to destroy the group. The sustained military and civilian policy of demolishing California Indian villages and their food stores while driving Indians into inhospitable mountain regions amounted to “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Because malnutrition and exposure predictably lowered the birthrate, some state and federal decision-makers also appear guilty of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”
Finally, the state of California, slave raiders and federal officials were all involved in “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” Thousands of California Indian children suffered such forced transfers. By breaking up families and communities, forced removals constituted “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.” In effect, the state legalized abduction and enslavement of Indian minors; slavers exploited indenture laws and federal officials prevented U.S. Army intervention to protect the victims.
The issue of genocide in California poses explosive political, economic and educational questions for the state, California’s tribes and individual California Indians. It is up to them — not academics like me — to determine the best way forward.
Will state officials tender public apologies, as Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did in the 1980s for the relocation and internment of some 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II? Should state officials offer compensation, along the lines of the more than $1.6 billion Congress paid to 82,210 of these Japanese Americans and their heirs? Might California officials decrease or altogether eliminate their cut of California Indians’ annual gaming revenues ($7.3 billion in 2014) as a way of paying reparations? Should the state return control to California Indian communities of state lands where genocidal events took place? Should the state stop commemorating the supporters and perpetrators of this genocide, including Burnett, Kit Carson and John C. Frémont? Will the genocide against California Indians join the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust in public school curricula and public discourse?
These are crucial questions. What’s beyond doubt is that the state and the federal government should acknowledge the genocide that took place in California.
Decency demands that even long after the deaths of the victims, we preserve the truth of what befell them, so that their memory can be honored and the repetition of similar crimes deterred. Justice demands that even long after the perpetrators have vanished, we document the crimes that they and their advocates have too often concealed or denied. Finally, historical veracity demands that we acknowledge this state-sponsored catastrophe in all its varied aspects and causes, in order to better understand formative events in both California Indian and California state history.May 22nd, 2016
Thanks to Steve HadleyMay 20th, 2016
Matt Paweski at Ratio 3 May 20 through July 2, 2016May 18th, 2016
By Steve Lopez
LA Times Published: May 18, 2016
For months, I’ve been hearing the same question over and over from readers following the ongoing festival of the absurd at the California Coastal Commission.
Where in the name of the father, son and holy coast is Gov. Jerry Brown, and why doesn’t he say or do something?
Brown’s Coastal Commission is thrashing about, and lawmakers have rushed to the rescue with several reform bills.
But the governor is quieter than a California field mouse.
Let’s go back to February, when Brown’s four appointees to the commission voted along with others to guillotine Executive Director Charles Lester, despite objections from hundreds of public officials and environmental stewards.
It was a shocking, confidence-shaking moment for one of the nation’s most powerful regulatory agencies, whose simple and sacred duty is to protect 1,100 miles of coastal treasures.
But Brown had nothing to say.
I reached out to him again this week to talk about any one of umpteen swirling controversies involving the commission, but his staff, again, wasn’t able to squeeze me in.
You know what I think?
I’m just guessing, but Brown must be fine with a trend in which several commissioners, including his appointees, often seem as if they’re placing development lobby interests over the public interest, even if that means aggressively challenging the recommendations of their own expert staff.
“I assume that he knows what’s going on, and that he’s OK with it,” said Commissioner Mary Shallenberger, one of eight commissioners who do not serve at Brown’s pleasure. “Otherwise he would weigh in.”
Brown, who many years ago referred to coastal commissioners as “bureaucratic thugs,” may believe that too much interference awaits those who want to slap another hotel on the coast or add a cabana onto a beach compound, or build five humongous mansions on a Malibu hillside (like U2 guitarist David “the Edge” Evans).
And I think that his appointees to the commission and his top administrative deputies are doing exactly what they think the boss wants them to do.
Well, if you’re going to err on the side of development, that’s one thing. I’d have thought Brown would have insisted on higher standards of decorum and integrity.
My Sunday column focused on Commissioner Martha McClure, a Brown appointee. I called to ask if it was true that she stayed at the Tuscan-style Malibu villa of a heavyweight coastal development consultant.
Sure, she said, and she saw nothing wrong with it. But she took issue with me, and let loose an impressive stream of unprintables — explaining in a Northern California newspaper Tuesday that if she cussed me out like a sailor, it was because she was raised by a logger. (I think I’m starting to like her.)
McClure also told me about a call she got from someone in the governor’s office asking if she was “OK” amid the storm of criticism that followed her vote to dump Lester. That was considerate, though to my knowledge no one on the governor’s staff called to console commissioners who wanted Lester to continue his fierce defense of the Coastal Act.
Actually, I like the idea of the governor or his staff asking the commissioners questions, and I can think of a few.
Ask Commissioner Greg Cox about that $3,000 conflict-of-interest fine he paid for voting on a Sea World permit when his wife owned stock in the company.
Ask Commissioners McClure and Erik Howell (another Brown appointee) about the ethics investigations into their receipt of campaign donations from the domestic and business partner of the state’s most influential coastal development lobbyist.
And speaking of potty-mouthed commissioners, the governor might ask Mark Vargas why he recently F-bombed attendees at a hearing.
Vargas, by the way, is the guy who hobnobbed at an Ireland concert last year with U2’s Evans just before voting on the musician’s cluster of habitat-crushing Malibu monstrosities.
Commissioner Wendy Mitchell, who owns a consulting business, was recommended to the commission by her buddy Susan McCabe, the most prolific consultant in the coastal application business.
Anybody in the governor’s office see anything wrong with that?
Or with the fact that Mitchell voted last year on a Santa Barbara project that involved one of her clients, or that she posted a photo of herself and the U2 guitarist on Facebook, along with an apology for how long it took the commission to let him massacre the mountain.
Finally, maybe the governor could ask commission Chairman Steve Kinsey why he failed to report, as required, two visits in the last several months with developers at the site of the controversial Newport Banning Ranch development, a project for which Kinsey challenged the staff’s science on the anticipated damage to an environmentally sensitive habitat.
It’s no wonder that state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson has introduced a bill banning so-called ex-parte communications, the private sessions between commissioners and interested parties.
To be fair, on any given day, maybe half the commissioners do a difficult job extremely well.
But it’s no wonder readers keep writing me to ask what they can do about the others.
You can go to the monthly Coastal Commission meetings and speak your mind. But be forewarned. Some commissioners have been known to privately trash environmentalists and others who dare to hold them accountable.
You can also Tweet about this fiasco using #Saveyourcoast — and make sure to include @JerryBrownGov and let him know the commission needs a house cleaning.
And maybe throw in @Rendon63rd, for state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and @kdeleon, for Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, each of whom controls four commission appointments. They don’t have the authority, as does Brown, to fire commissioners, but they can certainly light fires if they so choose.
Or you can call the governor’s office at (916) 445-2841, and remind him that the Coastal Act took effect during his first term as governor, in 1976.
Our coastal zone, says the elegantly conceived document, “is a distinct and valuable natural resource of vital and enduring interest to all the people and exists as a delicately balanced ecosystem.”
It states that “the permanent protection of the state’s natural and scenic resources is a paramount concern to present and future residents of the state and nation.”May 18th, 2016
Quiet Mind (SW7), 2016
ceramic and glaze
21 x 14 x 4.5 inches
Through June 1, 2016May 13th, 2016
By Paul Krugman
NY Times Published: MAY 13, 2016
This seems to be the week for Trump tax mysteries. One mystery is why Donald Trump, unlike every other major party nominee in modern times, is refusing to release his tax returns. The other is why, having decided that he needs experts to clean up his ludicrous tax-cut proposals, he chose to call on the services of the gang that couldn’t think straight.
On the first mystery: Mr. Trump’s excuse, that he can’t release his returns while they’re being audited, is an obvious lie. On the contrary, the fact that he’s being audited (or at least that he says he’s being audited) should make it easier for him to go public — after all, he needn’t fear triggering an audit! Clearly, he must be hiding something. What?
It could be how little he pays in taxes, a revelation that hurt Mitt Romney in 2012. But I doubt it; given how Mr. Trump rolls, he’d probably boast that his ability to game the tax system shows how smart he is compared to all the losers out there.
So my guess, shared by a number of observers, is that the dirty secret hidden in those returns is that he isn’t as rich as he claims to be. In Trumpworld, the revelation that he’s only worth a couple of billion — maybe even less than a billion — would be utterly humiliating. So he’ll try to tough it out. Of course, if he does, we’ll never know.
Meanwhile, however, we can look at the candidate’s policy proposals. And what has been going on there is just as revealing, in its own way, as his attempt to dodge scrutiny of his personal finances.
The story so far: Last fall Mr. Trump suggested that he would break with Republican orthodoxy by raising taxes on the wealthy. But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax cuts on the rich. And it would also, according to nonpartisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.
Now, the inconsistency between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his specific proposals didn’t seem to hurt him in the Republican primaries. Neither did the wild irresponsibility of those specifics, perhaps because all the major contenders for the G.O.P. nomination were proposing huge, budget-busting tax cuts for the rich. True, none of them were quite as off the charts as the Trump plan, but such distinctions were probably lost on primary voters — $4 trillion, $10 trillion, who cares?
Having secured the nomination, however, Mr. Trump apparently feels the need to seem more respectable. The goal, I suspect, is to bring the headline numbers down enough to let the media’s propensity for false equivalence kick in. Hillary Clinton has a plan that actually adds up, while Donald Trump has a plan that will cost $4 trillion, but which he claims is deficit-neutral? Hey, it’s the same thing!
Oh, and meanwhile he suggested once again that he might raise taxes on the rich, then walked it back, with credulous media eating it all up.
But what’s really interesting is whom, according to Politico, Mr. Trump has brought in to revise his plans: Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation. That news had economic analysts spitting out their morning coffee all across America.
For those who don’t follow such things, Mr. Kudlow has a record of being wrong about, well, everything. In 2005 he ridiculed “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes in Las Vegas or Naples, Florida, to bring down the consumer, the rest of the economy, and the entire stock market” — which was exactly what happened. In 2007 he predicted three years of “Goldilocks” prosperity. And on and on.
Mr. Moore has a comparable forecasting record, but he also has a remarkable inability to get facts straight. Perhaps most famously, he once attempted to rebut, well, me with an article detailing the supposed benefits of state tax cuts; incredibly, not one of the many numbers in that article was right.
So why would Mr. Trump turn to these of all people to, ahem, fix his numbers?
It could be a peace offering, an attempt to reassure insiders by bringing in Mr. Kudlow and Mr. Moore, who are influential members of the Republican establishment — which incidentally tells you a lot about their party.
But my guess is that the explanation is simpler: The candidate has no idea who is and isn’t competent. I mean, it’s not as if he has any independent knowledge of economics, or even knows what he doesn’t know. For example, he keeps asserting that America has the world’s highest taxes, when we’re actually at the bottom among advanced nations.
So he probably just went with a couple of guys he’s seen on TV, assuming that they must be there because they know their stuff.
Now, you might wonder how someone that careless and incurious was such a huge success in business. But one answer is, how successful was he, really? What’s in those tax returns?May 13th, 2016
Untitled (blk.ppr.gld.spry.crdbrd.shps.), 2016
Gouache, graphite, spray paint, glue, paper, cardboard, aluminum and wood panel
25.51 x 19.61 in
May 13 – July 9, 2016May 11th, 2016
Thanks to Steve HadleyMay 9th, 2016
The undulating lobby ceiling by Isamu Noguchi that was unveiled recently at a U-Haul in St. Louis. Credit U-Haul
By EVE M. KAHN
NY Times Published: MAY 3, 2016
An undulating lobby ceiling that Isamu Noguchi sculpted in the 1940s has emerged at a U-Haul branch in St. Louis, two decades after it was hidden by partitions and dropped ceiling panels. Noguchi designed the feature, known as a lunar landscape, for the building’s original owner, the American Stove Company. Its amoeba-shape channels, originally meant to conceal light bulbs, were recently unveiled.
Stephen Langford, the president of the U-Haul Company of St. Louis, said he ended up slathered in dust as he helped uncover the artwork. “It’s something that needed to be shown,” he said, adding that the Noguchi surface needed only minor repairs.
Last fall its fate became something of a local cause célèbre. A plaster model of its contours, which had belonged to the building’s innovative modernist architect, Harris Armstrong, went on display in the St. Louis Art Museum’s exhibition “St. Louis Modern.” News coverage including a radio program alerted the public that the actual artwork survived unseen at the U-Haul facility, and calls for its preservation arose on social media.
David Conradsen, the museum’s decorative arts and design curator, who worked with the show’s co-curator, Genevieve Cortinovis, said experts over the years had contemplated removing the sculpture to transfer it to the museum, but had concluded that “it would be basically destroyed in removal.”
Dakin Hart, the senior curator of the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens, described the ceiling as a “hugely important” and early example of the artist creating an “all-encompassing artistic environment.” Mr. Hart added, “I can’t wait to see it.”
Mr. Langford said that people are now “more than welcome to walk in” to view the work overhead.
The lobby is at the U-Haul at 1641 South Kingshighway Boulevard, St. Louis; 314-773-1400.May 7th, 2016
May 6th, 2016
Magnetische Landschaft (Magnetic Landscape), 1982.
Acrylic and iron mica on fabric,
117 11/16 x 115 3/4 inches
May 7 – June 25, 2016May 3rd, 2016
DRAWINGS & MAQUETTES
2004 – 2016
Through 4 June 2016May 3rd, 2016