May 4th through June 2nd
Bob’s donuts and coffee served between 4-6 on Sat May 4
Curated by Ricky Swallow in collaboration with Arts Project Australia
How would a comb that cannot untangle hair look? You can make the object dangerous, humorous, useless, sinister.
Alan Constable’s cameras are real ‘things’; they command constant attention from their audience and from their lucky owners. The resemblance of these sculptures to cameras is a starting point more than an end point, in the same way a swelling foot as painted by Phillip Guston behaves unlike any sensible foot, or a collage of a doorway by James Castle exceeds the expectation its structural simplicity presents.
Constable’s sculpture makes malleable mischief of both the form and function of the camera. In his hands it becomes an anthropomorphic character with endless variations and possibility. Specific types are modeled in clay from magazine advertisements with apt abbreviation and gesture, then glazed and fired in solid, sometimes soupy colors that further activate their surfaces and transform their sober dispositions.
The glazed surfaces are embellished with details so specific and beautiful they necessitate a tactile engagement with the object. As ‘things’ they still buzz with the handling and energy Constable employs in their making. Dials formed separately and thumbed into position, viewfinder windows cut directly through surfaces together with an oversized scale give Constable’s cameras the feeling of buildings or vessels. Scribed lines articulate both panels and seams, skewed inscriptions indicate model and make: all this information registers with efficiency to produce compelling objects.
The basic slab built walls forming the camera’s body also conceal one of the most interesting elements about these sculptures – internal chambers and walls have been built during the early stages of the works. Such entombed detail points towards Constable’s dedication to conceive and map a complete object, a total exploration of his subject based on unique invention and interpretation.
-Ricky Swallow, April 2013
South Willard is pleased to present Alan Constable|Ten Cameras as its next Shop Exhibit. Curated by Ricky Swallow in collaboration with Arts Project Australia, this is the first solo presentation of Constable’s ceramic sculptures in the United States. Now in his late 50’s, Constable has been producing his art at Arts Project studio’s in Melbourne since 1987, and has exhibited his camera sculptures in both gallery and institutional exhibitions to critical praise over the past 7 years.
The show will run from Sat May 4th till June 2nd-with Bob’s donuts and coffee served between 4-6 on Sat 4th May. For more details contact Ryan Conder- email@example.com
Constable is also participating in ‘Outsiderism’ curated by Alex Baker at Fleisher Ollman gallery in Philadelphia this month.
Ricky wishes to thank Alex Baker for his introduction to Alan’s work, and Sim Luttin and Melissa Petty at Arts Project Australia for their generous assistance.May 1st, 2013
By: James Gleick
New York Review of Books
Published: April, 29, 2013
There is consternation at Wikipedia over the discovery that hundreds of novelists who happen to be female were being systematically removed from the category “American novelists” and assigned to the category “American women novelists.” Amanda Filipacchi, whom I will call an American novelist despite her having been born in Paris, set off a furor with an opinion piece on the New York Times website last week. Browsing on Wikipedia, she had suddenly noticed that women were vanishing from “American novelists”—starting, it seemed, in alphabetical order. In the A’s and the B’s, the list was now almost exclusively male:
I did more investigating and found other familiar names that had been switched from the ‘American Novelists’ to the ‘American Women Novelists’ category: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ayn Rand, Ann Beattie, Djuna Barnes, Emily Barton, Jennifer Belle, Aimee Bender, Amy Bloom, Judy Blume, Alice Adams, Louisa May Alcott, V. C. Andrews, Mary Higgins Clark—and, upsetting to me: myself.
The word that came to mind—and the Times used it for the headline—was sexism.
And who could disagree? Joyce Carol Oates expressed her view on Twitter: “Wikipedia bias an accurate reflection of universal bias. All (male) writers are writers; a (woman) writer is a woman writer.” Elaine Showalter tweeted in response that this was not what she’d had in mind in titling a book A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers: “Wikipedia is cutting down on American writers category by taking women out of it! A new step backwards.”
At Wikipedia, all hell broke loose. (Let’s pause here to flag the phrase, “at Wikipedia.” Wikipedia is a notional place only. It is not situated in a sleek California corporate campus, like Google in Mountain View or Apple in Cupertino, but instead distributed across cyberspace.)
These kinds of debates are usually bruited and argued on Wikipedia’s “Talk” pages, which are set aside for discussion by editors. After the Filipacchi article, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s cofounder, created a new entry on his personal Talk page under the bold-face heading, “WTF?” Wales does not give orders or directly cause things to happen. He is more of a noninterventionist god. He is often referred to simply as Founder (capital F) or Jimbo. Anyway, he wrote:
My first instinct is that surely these stories are wrong in some important way. Can someone update me on where I can read the community conversation about this? Did it happen? How did it happen?
Heated argument broke out on a page set aside for discussion of changes to Wikipedia categories. Categories are a big deal. They are an important way to group articles; some people use them to navigate or browse. Categories provide structure for a web of knowledge—not a tree, because a category can have multiple parents, as well as multiple children. Wikipedia lists 4,325 Container categories, from “Accordionists by nationality” to “Zoos in the United States.” There are Disambiguation categories, Eponymous categories—named, for example, after railway lines like Norway’s Flåm Line, or after robots (there are two: Optimus Prime and R2-D2)—and at least 11,000 Hidden categories, meant for administration and therefore invisible to readers. A typical hidden category is “Wikipedia:Categories for discussion,” containing thousands of pages of logged discussions about the suitabilities of various categories. Meta enough for you? Some categories under discussion now are Avenues, Omniscience, and “Equestrian commanders of vexillationes.”
It’s fair to say that Wikipedia has spent far more time considering the philosophical ramifications of categorization than Aristotle and Kant ever did.
On Wednesday a formal proposal appeared for discussion: “Propose merging Category:American women novelists to Category:American novelists.” Nominator’s rationale: “As per gender neutrality guidelines, gender-specific categories are not appropriate where gender is not specifically related to the topic. This subcategory also creates the unfortunate side effect that Category:American novelists contains only male novelists.” Many users quickly posted comments agreeing. One user “struck out” two of these votes, on the ground that they appeared to have been submitted by “sock puppets”—new identities created by an existing user for purposes of deception—or at least by people who had created new Wikipedia accounts specifically for the purpose. Yet another user objected to the striking out of the votes:
These are people who have bothered to get involved. By pushing them out of this conversation, you are contributing to the continuing inability for newcomers to feel comfortable here. Especially women. Which is of course, the subject of the article being discussed.
Which, of course, it was. Wikipedia is periodically accused of being a boys’ club. “Around 90 percent of Wikipedia editors are men, and it shows,” New Scientist said earlier this month. Many Wikipedians agree and would like to do something about it. A large majority of commenters voted “Merge.” Some deployed the terms “ghettoization” and “back of the bus.” Then again, a few are voting for ghettoization—or as they say, “Diffuse women but not men,” diffuse being the term for sending members of a parent category out into a subcategory. At least it’s arguable that “women novelists” is a category of cultural and sociological interest. It was noted that Wikipedia features an extensive article on Women’s Writing in English, as part of Wikiproject Gender Studies and Wikiproject Women’s History.
“We should not let the media impose their view of political correctness on Wikipedia,” wrote Petri Krohn, who identifies himself as a Finnish “writer and Internet commentator.” He added—I think with a straight face—“We might also add some generic warning on American people category pages that they mainly contain white males and one should look into the subcategories.”
To ask Jimbo’s question: how did this happen? It turns out that a single editor brought on the crisis: a thirty-two-year-old student of history named John Pack Lambert, enrolled at Wayne State University and living in the Detroit suburbs. He’s a seven-year veteran of Wikipedia and something of an obsessive when it comes to categories. He creates a lot of them. Last year he briefly created Category:American people of African-American descent. Then he raised hackles by recreating the defunct category American “actresses,” a word that others felt belongs in the same dustbin as “poetess.”
On April 1 Lambert started working alphabetically through all American novelists and moving the women into Category:American women novelists instead. First he did Patricia Aakhus, at 5:44 PM. Two minutes later, Hailey Abbott. Then Megan Abbott—pausing also to add her to Category:University of Michigan alumni. Then Diana Abu-Jaber, Alice Adams, Lorraine Adams, Renata Adler…. He did English women novelists, too; also Australian, German, and Moroccan. At 8:51, he created a new category, Nigerian women novelists, and put Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie there.
By the end of the day he’d gotten to the D’s: so Daphne du Maurier is now an English woman novelist. Like most people, she falls into multiple categories; she is also a “bisexual writer,” a “British historical novelist,” a “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire,” an “English person of French descent,” an “English short story writer,” a “writer from London,” and an “LGBT writer from England.” But not (as of this morning) an English novelist.
And so it went. The next day Lambert was briefly sidetracked by a discussion of whether there should be a Category:Jeans enthusiasts (for “celebrities and famous people who are always wearing or frequently spotted wearing jeans”), but then he got back to work and A. L. Kennedy, till then a Scottish novelist, became a Scottish woman novelist. On April 3 he created a category for Greek women screenwriters; so far it has only one member.
The debate that broke out when Filipacchi’s opinion piece appeared is still running, and the issue appears to be more general and pervasive than most had originally thought. Throughout Wikipedia, in all kinds of categories, women and people of nonwhite ethnicities are assigned only to their subcategories. Maya Angelou is in African-American writers, African-American women poets, and American women poets, but not American poets or American writers. Many editors are saying that people need to be “bubbled up” to their parent categories.
Lambert vehemently disputes suggestions that he is motivated by sexism (or racism, as the case may be). He cites principles of Wikipedia categorization: arguing, for example, that huge categories should be broken up and “diffused” because they become useless for navigation. “This whole hullabaloo is really missing the point,” he told me. “The people who are making a big deal about this are not being up-front about what happens if we do not diffuse categories.” Others argued that laypeople are simply misunderstanding the purpose of a big category like American novelists. “It is really a holding ground for people who have yet to be categorized into a more specific sub-cat,” said a user called Obi-Wan Kenobi. “It’s not some sort of club that you have to be a part of.”
The editor who originally created the American women novelists category—a Londoner named Gareth E. Kegg—voted to merge it with American novelists and said that he had hoped the category would be “an inspiration to young women to know how many others have written before.” He was appalled, he said, “that there are less Wikipedia articles on women poets than pornographic actresses, a depressing statistic.”
A user called lmurchie created a new category: American men novelists. Immediately other Wikipedians objected. A distinctive feature of the Wikipedia culture is the development of shorthand for various rhetorical devices. For example, an editor has only to say, “A new user created this unhelpful WP:POINTy category, compounding our problems,” and everyone knows that WP:POINT is a link to a page describing a behavioral guideline, titled “Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point.” When one editor argues that it’s unfair to address discrimination only for the American category, another can retort, “Objection: This is the Slippery Slope Fallacy,” with the relevant hyperlink embedded. It’s all very efficient. You can write (and someone did), “It looks sexist, it sounds sexist WP:QUACK.”
For some reason the first two members of Category:American men novelists were Orson Scott Card and P. D. Cacek, who was also categorized in “American science fiction writers” and “American horror writers.” It took about fifteen hours for someone to realize that Cacek, whose full name is Patricia Diana Joy Anne Cacek, didn’t belong. As of this writing, she is back to being an American novelist and an American woman novelist. Ernest Hemingway is now officially an American man novelist—manly indeed. F. Scott Fitzgerald will be relieved to know that he, too, made the cut.
By the end of the week, swimming against the tide, John Pack Lambert was still removing names from American novelists and adding them not just to American women novelists but to Category:African-American novelists, Category:American historical novelists, Category:American surrealist novelists, Category:19th-century American novelists, Category:American Chicano novelists, some of which he’s creating as he goes. This morning, American Chicano novelists contains only one page, Oscar Zeta Acosta. Acosta also belongs to Hispanic and Latino American novelists, American writers of Mexican descent, American politicians of Mexican descent, Writers from California, People from Modesto, California, and People from El Paso, Texas.
People of Wikipedia! You have a problem.
And Amanda Filipacchi? It seems some Wikipedians need to check the policy on shooting the messenger. The article about Filipacchi is undergoing a flurry of editing, not all well-intentioned. Her categories keep changing. Lambert created a new category, American humor novelists, just so he could move her into it.May 1st, 2013
The Stedelijk Museum presents “Something They Have To Live With”: a new installation by Brussels-based Scottish artist Lucy McKenzie (b. Glasgow, 1977). It is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Amsterdam. The installation reflects the diversity of McKenzie’s artistic practice, in which painting, craft, fashion, and architecture intertwine in a dynamic relationship. McKenzie transforms the historic building’s IMC gallery (formerly the ‘Hall of Honor’, where all routes in the museum culminate) into a synthesis of contrasting visual forms and modes of presentation. As if browsing in a department store, the visitor can wander past various ‘displays’.
The installation is anchored by two monumental statements. On one side of the gallery, large paintings reproducing geometric patterns from the Alhambra palace in Granada dominate three walls, creating a dazzling juxtaposition of decorative forms. The opposite side of the gallery presents a large model of an interior of Villa Müller in Prague by architect Adolf Loos. Painted using the trompe-l’œil technique, the walls are treated with illusionistic marbled effect. McKenzie’s pairing of the archetypal Alhambra palace and Villa Müller invites us to consider monumental, closed structures as spaces where the world within is explicitly separated from the world beyond the walls. She explores how architecture can insidiously influence power relations and sexuality. In both Loos’s Modernist design and the Arabic architecture of the Alhambra, women can lead a confined, sheltered existence, and the female body is both hidden from the world and displayed to a select few.
McKenzie also looks at how exemplary interior design translates to more day to day living and working. This is shown in a series of small, detailed architectural models presented on plinths.
“Something they have to live with” is a journey, unfolding from the trace presence of dwellers in Unesco protected interiors, via stylization through fashion, to the artist’s own corporeality as the underpinning theme of the show.
Through September 22, 2013
Thanks to Rebecca MorrisApril 30th, 2013
Carol Bove’s sculptures are installed in the final undeveloped section of the High Line, from West 30th Street to West 34th Street. They will be seen on scheduled tours beginning on Wednesday.
Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times
By RANDY KENNEDY
NY Times Published Published: April 28, 2013
When the artist Carol Bove was a girl, growing up in Berkeley, Calif., she once helped a friend of her father’s build a fish-shaped junk sculpture on the mud flats of nearby Emeryville, in a kind of guerrilla art park that free-spirited sculptors kept alive and weird for decades beginning in the 1960s.
A 1982 article in The New York Times gave a snapshot of the pieces rising from the flats at the time: “a 25-foot wheelchair, erected by a group of handicapped sculptors; a quarterback preparing to throw a pass; a Jesus on a cross; a sailing ship; a dragon; a cake announcing ‘Steve Loves Susan’; a notice for a tall people’s convention; and a sign that says ‘Make Art, Not Ads.’ ”
“It was a Surrealist tableau of a pretty weird kind,” Ms. Bove, 42, recalled the other day in her Brooklyn studio. “Coming to that as a kid opened a huge channel for me about what art in public could be.”
If there is any scrap of Manhattan real estate left that could be said to feel as wild as the mud flats of an industrialized bay, it is the final undeveloped section of the High Line, from West 30th Street to West 34th Street, which looks like the rest of the elevated park did during decades of dereliction: beer cans, old birds’ nests, scraps of rusted pipe, splintered railroad ties and wild crab-apple trees sprouting from the track ballast.
Beginning in early May Ms. Bove will seed six of her own creations among this chance accumulation of urban fragments and flora, entering into one of her first experiments in public art. But the pieces will sit in a kind of limbo between public and private space: anyone wanting to visit will need to buy a $6 ticket online (thehighline.org) from the High Line, which will begin on Wednesday to schedule small-group tours of the sculptures over the next year, allowing access past the fence that now seals off the section.
Ms. Bove (pronounced bo-VAY) has become a highly sought-after artist during the last decade for work that sits at an unusual intersection of sculpture, Conceptual assemblage and design, evoking both a real cultural era — the 1960s and ’70s, as bohemian idealism was unraveling — and a kind of never-never land of Modernist fulfillment. A piece might simply be a spare arrangement of paperback books and magazines on minimalist wall shelves, accented with a peacock feather or a seashell sculpture, like something from an elegant Jungian therapist’s office.
Ms. Bove, who is to have a solo exhibition of new sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in July, said that when Cecilia Alemani, the High Line’s curator and director of art, approached her a couple of years ago about outdoor work, she found the idea of making what too often earns the epithet “plop art” almost comical.
“I think of public art as sort of fraudulent — something supposedly for everyone that uses a really elitist language that makes it seem as if it’s only for people already familiar with that language,” she said. “You never look right at them. You’re going to work and you pass them, and they repeatedly punctuate your consciousness. It’s like you have a relationship with them that you’re not even aware of.”
But then, she added, the preposterousness of the idea came to seem like a dare. “How do you get past it?” she asked rhetorically, smiling. “You just do it. You lean into it.” She made large-scale pieces for the Venice Biennale in 2011 and several outdoor pieces for Documenta 13, the art exhibition in Kassel, Germany, last year. But the High Line offered a rare opportunity to situate art where it was never meant to be seen, on near-wild land whose existence so close to Midtown made it seem almost like a Surrealist sculpture itself.
The section, which extends several hundred yards around the West Side rail yards, will not be completely renovated into parkland like the rest of the High Line but will be opened to the public in 2014 with only a walkway erected along its length to allow people to see what the line looks like in its feral state. “This will be really the last chance to see this part of the line this way before it changes for good,” said Ms. Alemani, who became interested in Ms. Bove for a project because “the landscape already has all these sculptural elements, stacks of iron beams, rolls of chain-link fence, that kept making me think in really unexpected ways about Carol’s work.”
Ms. Bove’s best-known pieces seem delicate enough to balance on a pin, but she has long been interested in the category of materials that Robert Rauschenberg, art’s great scavenger, called “what was available” — junk, primarily urban. During a reporter’s recent visit to her studio, near the Red Hook waterfront, the eroded springs of an old mattress that she had “harvested” from the street sat on the floor for her contemplation.
Later, on a visit to the High Line, she showed a reporter a mound of trash that she described admiringly as looking as if “it had developed its own ecosystem.” A few of her six pieces on the rail line, which were installed last week, toy with the idea that they might have grown there — a minimalist geometric work, for example, using only welded-together I-beams, straddling the old rails. But other pieces, like two blindingly white tubular curlicues that she calls glyphs, look like things that wandered in from a Kubrick movie, utopian and sinister in equal measure. These works also play around, partly reverently and partly satirically, with some of the most admired plop art of the 20th century, by artists like Alexander Calder, Alexander Liberman and Tony Smith.
“Sometimes I’m in the ’60s, in a kind of late-flowering moment, but then sometimes I’m all the way back in the ’20s,” Ms. Bove said. “It’s a lot of fun — I’m a formalist now!”
The contours of the real world, however, keep crowding in. As she walked the High Line last week during the installation of her works, she stopped to look long and hard at a beautifully rusted roll of chain-link fence slumped on the side of the rail line that would eventually need to be cleared for the walkway.
Ms. Alemani seemed to intuit her designs. “If you want it,” she said, “it’s totally yours.”April 29th, 2013
Opening Reception Saturday April 27, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 8 PM
Won’t you join Cosmo Segurson for an evening of strange and mind bending cartoons? Root beer floats will be served up as his collection of 16mm animation prints entertains you beyond belief. From the United States and around the world, some from the Film Center’s own library, these cartoons are rare and well worth your attention. Tex Avery, The Fleischer Studios, and a couple of prints that he’s not sure who made, will be shown.
Thanks to the guy who handed me the flyer at the Light Up show tonight.April 26th, 2013
April 28 through June 9, 2013
Brennan and Griffin is pleased to present our first solo exhibition with Arthur Ou.
Ou’s work is rooted in photography, although he has explored notions of the photographic through other mediums, such as sculpture. This show departs from Ou’s recent photographic seascapes and gestural alchemical interventions by transposing the sensibilities of both into an engagement with painting.
Opticality is a porous term that assumes divergent meanings when considered within the realms of painting and photography. While a photograph is necessarily a stubborn index to light, through an “optic,” the optic in painting is retinal and therefore calls upon the mind image. One could also describe this difference as a dynamic between the indexical and the experiential. Ou’s new paintings interpolate friction within this overlapping and relational space. Through painting, an alternate path emerges where he extends and expands upon his interests in photographic latency, the analog, and abstraction, which he has previously addressed in his work.
In addition to the paintings, a ring binder on a custom-made table contains nearly one hundred contact prints made from four-by-five inch negatives is also on view. Made within the past year, the images here range widely from multiple-exposed pictures of ocean rocks, portraits of the artist’s wife, studio experiments, and photographs of the Wittgenstein House, which Ou made while on a trip to Vienna in January. These unedited “studies” reveal a diaristic view, like an artist’s notebook, or an inventory of trajectories, ideational investigations, and other possibilities. Perhaps a contrapuntal counter to the imageless paintings, these contact prints open up a latitudinal space from the paintings as a space for contemplation.
Arthur Ou has exhibited internationally, most recently in Photography Is Magic!, curated by Charlotte Cotton, as part of the 2012 Daegu Photography Biennial in Daegu, Korea, and has been featured in publications including Aperture, Blind Spot, Art in America, and The Photograph As Contemporary Art (2nd edition). He has published critical texts in Aperture, Afterall, Artforum, Bidoun, Fantom, Foam, Words without Pictures,and X-Tra. He lives and works in New York. Ou’s work is concurrently on view at P!, 334 Broome Street, New York.
Opening Reception April 28, 6-9PMApril 25th, 2013
Through August 4, 2013April 24th, 2013
Friday April 26th 6-9pm
Atelier de Troupe
3418 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90039
Ilse d’Hollander, Charlotte Posenenske, Jessica Warboys
Through April 27, 2013
Thanks to Bret WitkeApril 22nd, 2013
By AMY CHOZICK
NY Times Published: April 20
Three years ago, Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and supporters of libertarian causes, held a seminar of like-minded, wealthy political donors at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colo. They laid out a three-pronged, 10-year strategy to shift the country toward a smaller government with less regulation and taxes.
The first two pieces of the strategy — educating grass-roots activists and influencing politics — were not surprising, given the money they have given to policy institutes and political action groups. But the third one was: media.
Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.
By early May, the Tribune Company is expected to send financial data to serious suitors in what will be among the largest sales of newspapers by circulation in the country. Koch Industries is among those interested, said several people with direct knowledge of the sale who spoke on the condition they not be named. Tribune emerged from bankruptcy on Dec. 31 and has hired JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners to sell its print properties.
The papers, valued at roughly $623 million, would be a financially diminutive deal for Koch Industries, the energy and manufacturing conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenue of about $115 billion.
Politically, however, the papers could serve as a broader platform for the Kochs’ laissez-faire ideas. The Los Angeles Times is the fourth-largest paper in the country, and The Tribune is No. 9, and others are in several battleground states, including two of the largest newspapers in Florida, The Orlando Sentinel and The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. A deal could include Hoy, the second-largest Spanish-language daily newspaper, which speaks to the pivotal Hispanic demographic.
One person who attended the Aspen seminar who spoke on the condition of anonymity described the strategy as follows: “It was never ‘How do we destroy the other side?’ ”
“It was ‘How do we make sure our voice is being heard?’ ”
Guests at the Aspen seminar included Philip F. Anschutz, the Republican oil mogul who owns the companies that publish The Washington Examiner, The Oklahoman and The Weekly Standard, and the hedge fund executive Paul E. Singer, who sits on the board of the political magazine Commentary. Attendees were asked not to discuss details about the seminar with the press.
A person who has attended other Koch Industries seminars, which have taken place since 2003, says Charles and David Koch have never said they want to take over newspapers or other large media outlets, but they often say “they see the conservative voice as not being well represented.” The Kochs plan to host another conference at the end of the month, in Palm Springs, Calif.
At this early stage, the thinking inside the Tribune Company, the people close to the deal said, is that Koch Industries could prove the most appealing buyer. Others interested, including a group of wealthy Los Angeles residents led by the billionaire Eli Broad and Ronald W. Burkle, both prominent Democratic donors, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, would prefer to buy only The Los Angeles Times.
The Tribune Company has signaled it prefers to sell all eight papers and their back-office operations as a bundle. (Tribune, a $7 billion media company that also owns 23 television stations, could also decide to keep the papers if they do not attract a high enough offer.)
Koch Industries is one of the largest sponsors of libertarian causes — including the financing of policy groups like the Cato Institute in Washington and the formation of Americans for Prosperity, the political action group that helped galvanize Tea Party organizations and their causes. The company has said it has no direct link to the Tea Party.
This month a Koch representative contacted Eddy W. Hartenstein, publisher and chief executive of The Los Angeles Times, to discuss a bid, according to a person briefed on the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversation was private. Mr. Hartenstein declined to comment.
Koch Industries recently brought on Angela Redding, a consultant based in Salt Lake City, to analyze the media environment and assess opportunities. Ms. Redding, who previously worked at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, did not respond to requests for comment.
“As an entrepreneurial company with 60,000 employees around the world, we are constantly exploring profitable opportunities in many industries and sectors. So, it is natural that our name would come up in connection with this rumor,” Melissa Cohlmia, a spokeswoman for Koch Companies Public Sector, said in a statement last month.
“We respect the independence of the journalistic institutions referenced in the news stories,” Ms. Cohlmia continued. “But it is our longstanding policy not to comment on deals or rumors of deals we may or may not be exploring.”
One person who has previously advised Koch Industries said the Tribune Company papers were considered an investment opportunity, and were viewed as entirely separate from Charles and David Kochs’ lifelong mission to shrink the size of government.
At least in politically liberal Los Angeles, a conservative paper could be tricky. David H. Koch, who lives in New York and serves as executive vice president of Koch Industries, has said he supports gay marriage and could align with many residents on some social issues, Reed Galen, a Republican consultant in Orange County, Calif., said.
Koch Industries’ main competitor for The Los Angeles Times is a group of mostly Democratic local residents. In the 2012 political cycle, Mr. Broad gave $477,800, either directly or through his foundation, to Democratic candidates and causes, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Burkle has long championed labor unions. President Bill Clinton served as an adviser to Mr. Burkle’s money management firm, Yucaipa Companies, which in 2012 gave $107,500 to Democrats and related causes. The group also includes Austin Beutner, a Democratic candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, and an investment banker who co-founded Evercore Partners.
“This will be a bipartisan group,” Mr. Beutner said. “It’s not about ideology, it’s about a civic interest.” (The Los Angeles consortium is expected to also include Andrew Cherng, founder of the Panda Express Chinese restaurant chain and a Republican.)
“It’s a frightening scenario when a free press is actually a bought and paid-for press and it can happen on both sides,” said Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group.
Last month, shortly after L.A. Weekly first reported on Koch Industries’ interest in the Tribune papers, the liberal Web site Daily Kos and Courage Campaign, a Los Angeles-based liberal advocacy group, collected thousands of signatures protesting such a deal. Conservatives, meanwhile, welcomed the idea of a handful of prominent papers spreading the ideas of economic “freedom” from taxes and regulation that the Kochs have championed.
Seton Motley, president of Less Government, an organization devoted to shrinking the role of the government, said the 2012 presidential election reinforced the view that conservatives needed a broader media presence.
“A running joke among conservatives as we watched the G.O.P. establishment spend $500 million on ineffectual TV ads is ‘Why don’t you just buy NBC?’ ” Mr. Motley said. “It’s good the Kochs are talking about fighting fire with a little fire.”
Koch Industries has for years felt the mainstream media unfairly covered the company and its founding family because of its political beliefs. KochFacts.com, a Web site run by the company, disputes perceived press inaccuracies. The site, which asserts liberal bias in the news media, has published private e-mail conversations between company press officers and journalists, including the Politico reporter Kenneth P. Vogel and editors at The New Yorker in response to an article about the Kochs by Jane Mayer.
“So far, they haven’t seemed to be particularly enthusiastic about the role of the free press,” Ms. Mayer said in an e-mail, “but hopefully, if they become newspaper publishers, they’ll embrace it with a bit more enthusiasm.”
A Democratic political operative who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he admired how over decades the brothers have assembled a complex political infrastructure that supports their agenda. A media company seems like a logical next step.
This person said, “If they get some bad press that Darth Vader is buying Tribune, they don’t care.”April 21st, 2013
Through 12 May 2013April 21st, 2013
By JOHN ISMAY
NY Times Published: April 16, 2013
Shortly after the death of Joseph Stalin, President Dwight D. Eisenhower believed a rare opportunity existed to reset United States-Soviet relations, and he announced it to the world 60 years ago Tuesday in his 1953 Chance for Peace speech.
With a new Soviet premier taking office, and newly inaugurated himself, President Dwight D. Eisenhower believed that Stalin’s demise presented an opening to end the rapidly accelerating arms race between the two countries. Eisenhower directed his speechwriters to develop an address that clearly conveyed that desire to his Russian counterpart.
Eschewing the tired condemnations of the Soviet Union that had dominated recent presidential speeches, Eisenhower challenged his staff to present a new Pax Americana focusing on the idea of a future peace that unified Germany, removed occupying forces in Austria and talked in human terms of what both sides lost when spending so much of their wealth on armaments.
For this address, the president gave clear direction to the speechwriter Emmet Hughes.
“Here is what I would like it to say:
That jet plane over your head costs three-quarters of a million dollars. That is more than a man earning $10,000 every year is going to make in a lifetime. What world can afford this sort of thing for long?”
At that time, Korean War spending had reached its height. United States defense spending accounted for 14.2 percent of gross domestic product.
Eisenhower deliberately avoided giving this address to the United Nations because he did not want other delegates to immediately chop his words apart. Instead, he decided to deliver his message to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Mr. Hughes and Paul Nitze collaborated on a new draft that included this section, perhaps the most remembered part of the address:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half-million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
Unfortunately, there is no solid evidence as to how Mr. Hughes and Mr. Nitze came up with those figures. Historians at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kan., could not determine how the numbers were assessed. But a quick spot check of one commodity does give some confidence that the quantities were not completely pulled out of a hat.
A look at an earlier draft of the speech shows that the “fighter jet” cited would buy 170,000 bushels of wheat, versus a half-million as stated in the final version. With wheat running about $2 a bushel then, a quick search of United States Air Force aircraft of the time shows that the earlier draft might have referred to the F-86 Sabre, which cost $211,111 at the time. However, the higher figure in the final draft might have referred to the new F-84F Thunderstreak, which cost $769,330.
With some idea that the speechwriters might have been using reliable data, it is worth seeing what a modern heavy bomber, a fighter jet and a destroyer would buy 60 years later.
Introduced in 1951, the B-47 Stratojet is probably the aircraft the president referred to as “a modern bomber.” It cost $2,440,000 then. The most expensive bomber in use today is the B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber. Its price, adjusted for inflation, comes to $1,461,500,000.
The first item Eisenhower listed was a “modern brick school.” The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities places the national average for a 600-student elementary school at $14,800,000. A single B-2 would buy 99 of these schools.
Next on the list was electric power plants. Figures from the United States Energy Information Agency show that one megawatt of electricity will power 749 homes. That means about 80 megawatts are needed to meet Eisenhower’s goal of delivering current to 60,000 homes. Constructing an 85-megawatt conventional combustion turbine power plant today costs $78,800,000. The B-2 would today buy 19 of these power plants after considering inflation.
Determining the cost of a hospital is difficult because of a wide array of variables, but Eisenhower left a clue in his early drafts by referring to a 400-bed facility. Given that, we can determine a national average for constructing, not equipping, a hospital of that size today would easily cost $231,000,000, according to the American Hospital Association. We could buy six of these hospitals with a B-2.
Building roadways is similarly subject to varied factors in cost. One thing that officials at the Federal Highway Administration ruled out right away was the president’s choice of material. According to them, no one builds roads out of concrete anymore. With so many variables, I chose to price out two lanes rural interstate over flat terrain. Were the father of the Interstate Highway System to buy 50 miles of that roadway today, it would cost $222,400,000. The Air Force’s current premier bomber would buy 328 miles of that kind of road.
A half-million bushels of wheat might have been enough to buy a fighter jet in Eisenhower’s day, but that is not quite the case at present. Trading at roughly $7 a bushel today on the commodities markets, that half-million bushels costs $3,500,000 in 2013. Looking at the data on today’s fighters, that much money would buy only spare parts at best.
On the high end of today’s fighters, the F-22 Raptor has a range of prices depending if you choose unit cost or lifecycle cost. Officials at the Air Force’s public affairs office put the price at $214,000,000 per plane. That would buy more than 29,500,000 bushels of wheat today.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median price for a single family home (each houses four people) is $173,600, as of February 2013. Building enough of them to house 8,000 people would cost $347,200,000. Or put a different way, about a quarter of the cost of the Navy’s current Flight IIA DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The money spent on a single DDG, roughly $1.5 billion, would put durable roofs over the heads of more than 34,000 Americans. The proposed “Flight III” Burkes have an estimated delivery cost of $3 billion to $4 billion apiece. Or another way, it is enough to rebuild all the homes in New Jersey damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Are there any parallels to present day? Osama bin Laden has been dispatched, but was he the same kind of existential threat that Stalin embodied? Are any politicians looking at the terrorist leader’s demise as an opportunity for the United States to take a different path? Is it time for an American president to give a new speech?
In this comparison of the past 60 years, one important data point not yet discussed is the current total defense spending. For all the debate over the size of the defense budget, it represents 4.3 percent of G.D.P. Compared with spending in 1953, that is three times smaller — relative to the gross domestic product — than what Eisenhower dealt with.
But while defense spending as a percentage of the G.D.P. has shrunk, the cost of each military item Eisenhower cited has grown enormously even after accounting for inflation.
As a former five-star general, Eisenhower had a keen appreciation for military thinking and strategy, and he often pushed back on requests made by his admirals and generals. This included proposals for new weapons systems.
In light of the continuing sequestration fight, the minutes of one National Security Council meeting in 1960, the last year of Eisenhower’s administration, give an idea of what he might have thought of the current morass:
“He believed it was the duty of military officers to get along with less if at all possible. He realized it was also the duty of military officers to ensure the military safety of the U.S., but he believed that no absolute assurance on this point could ever be given.”
What Eisenhower shows us today is that while we cannot completely assure safety given any amount of spending, we can definitively show what that spending could otherwise accomplish. And that is valuable.April 19th, 2013
Drifts of perennials, including Agapanthus Donau, line the stone path.
Photograph by Dana Gallagher.
By Noel Kingsbury
NY Times Published: April 10, 2013
Thousands of people walk New York’s High Line every day — and for many of them it is not the views they have come to see, or the architecture, or each other, but the plants. The same could be said of Chicago’s Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, where extensive drifts of flowering plants in permanently planted borders constantly draw in passers-by. These are examples of a new kind of urban planting, one with incredible public appeal — it is colorful but somehow also wild looking; there is plenty of seasonal change although the plantings are permanent, and they pull in urban wildlife too. Piet Oudolf, the Dutch designer who is responsible for the planting in both of these public projects, is also much in demand for planting private gardens, like this one in Nantucket, which showcases his horticultural philosophy.
Once upon a time, planting in the city meant beds of brightly colored flowers that lasted for a few months before being dug up, disposed of and replaced with something else. It was all very labor intensive, resource-hungry and unsustainable. Oudolf’s work is part of a movement that seeks to use long-lived, perennial plants, which need minimal management. In some projects, like Millennium Park, his first public commission in the United States, or at Battery Park in New York, volunteers get involved in basic maintenance work, providing an outlet for gardening energies and the desire to be close to nature. The city may have become our habitat, but we are increasingly learning how we can share it with other species — and the new perennial planting is central to how we are doing this.
Oudolf’s career as a garden and landscape designer has mirrored the growth of this new planting movement, of which he has been a pioneer. Born in the Netherlands in 1944, he has worked in garden design for most of his life. The tradition he came from balanced strong shapes, often formed from clipped evergreens, with rich planting. The flowering plants available, though, tended to emphasize color above all else and to be high maintenance. Oudolf found himself increasingly drawn toward plant varieties that kept the proportions and grace of their wild ancestors. In this he was not alone, for a whole generation of gardeners and garden designers in the Netherlands, Germany and Britain was looking at the visual possibilities of using wildflowers and nature-inspired plant combinations. In Germany, a number of publicly financed research bodies were applying plant ecology science to the management of public parks, while in Britain, a growing network of small specialist nurseries was steadily increasing the number of perennial plants in cultivation. Researchers in Britain also began to work on using seed mixtures to create extensive long-lived plantings — as was appreciated by visitors to last summer’s spectacular Olympic Park in London.
Oudolf began to use more and more “unconventional” plants in the gardens he made for clients. He was particularly drawn to plants with strong visual structures like grasses and members of the Queen Anne’s lace family; he once said, only half-jokingly, that “a plant is only worth growing if it looks good when it’s dead” — in other words, plants whose seedheads or winter foliage have strength and character are every bit as valuable as vibrant summer flowers. Finding commercial sources of these plants difficult, in 1982 he set up a small nursery to supply his design work. Run by his wife, Anja, the nursery developed a momentum of its own — soon British gardeners were finding their way across the Dutch countryside to visit and buy plants.
Meanwhile in the United States, a similar process had begun with the work of Oehme van Sweden, who favored romantic drifts of ornamental grasses and blocks of perennial flowers rather than the trees, shrubs and lawn grass look that dominated American landscapes. Elsewhere in the United States, primarily in the upper Midwest, ecologists had begun to promote native wildflowers as an alternative to the conventional lawn. The idea of the garden was becoming steadily wilder.
For large public projects, Oudolf collaborates with landscape architects, so that he can concentrate on the planting. In Chicago, he worked with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and the set designer Robert Israel on the Lurie Garden: five acres of public garden above a parking garage. Small groups of perennials and grasses, over half of them Midwest natives, are intermingled on gently rolling ground. It is clearly a garden, but looser and less controlled than most of us had seen before. The garden created a huge amount of public interest, with people strolling through and bombarding garden staff with questions.
The New York High Line was a collaboration between Oudolf and the landscape architects James Corner Field Operations (who also did the master plan for the Nantucket garden). Wilder still than the Lurie Garden, the High Line again used a very high proportion of regionally native plants. Oudolf devised a method of precisely planning the distribution of the plants so that it looks almost as if nature had put them there. Wild grasses tend to form a matrix in areas, with flowering perennials interspersed between them. Small trees and shrubs are used in other areas, with an underlayer of the kind of plants that are very similar to those that might be found beneath trees in natural woodlands. For many a city dweller, this is about as close to nature as they will ever get. For urban bees, butterflies and birds, this is nature.
The garden on Nantucket also uses drifts of mostly native American grasses to create the effect of wild grassland, but on a far more expansive scale; visually they tend to complement and even highlight the flowering elements as well as have their own intrinsic beauty — one especially appropriate to the open coastal landscape of the island. The evocation of natural habitats may look carefree and unplanned, but this is the result of many years of research, and the latest stage in a continuing and collaborative journey.
Thanks to Nate LentzApril 18th, 2013
ARTS PROJECT AUSTRALIA
THE CREATIVE VISION FACTORY
April 18-June 8, 2013
Grand re-opening reception:
Thursday, April 18, 6-8pm
Thanks to RSApril 17th, 2013
The Photographs of Hiroshi Hamaya and Kansuke Yamamoto
Through August 25,2013
Thanks to TakaApril 16th, 2013
By JAMES LIVINGSTON
NY Times Published: April 14, 2013
HERE’S an idea: why not tax corporations as if they were natural persons, in accordance with their newly discovered rights of free speech? That move would solve any impending fiscal crisis.
Indeed, we used to do just that. For most of the 1950s, corporate income at large companies was taxed at 52 percent, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The federal government, meanwhile, collected about a third of its revenues from this source. Today, thanks largely to the “reforms” ushered in by President Ronald Reagan, the ostensible tax rate on corporate income is no higher than 35 percent — and the corporate-tax share of federal revenue has fallen to about 9 percent.
For a view as to how this happened, consider General Electric. Back in the 1950s and early ’60s, when Reagan was a company pitchman, G.E. was a manufacturer of consumer appliances. It employed hundreds of thousands of people, and it paid millions of dollars in taxes every year. Now, it makes jet engines, wind turbines and other kinds of capital equipment, but its real profit center is financing the sale of these products overseas — because income generated here is tax exempt if it remains offshore.
In 2010 G.E. employed more than 130,000 people in the United States, and earned $14.2 billion, $5.1 billion of which was generated in the United States. And yet its American tax bill for that year, according to a report by The New York Times, was zero. (G.E. said in a news release last year that its “global tax rate” in 2010 was 7 percent, but did not disclose how much of that went to the I.R.S.)
Meanwhile, federal spending steadily increased, in line with the growth of the welfare state. As corporations lobbied and learned to avoid taxes, the government began to close the revenue gap with payroll taxes. These were negligible before the creation of Medicare in 1965, but they now account for more than a third of federal revenue — in effect, they replaced the income taxes once paid by corporations.
Personal income taxes (which have stayed at about 45 percent of federal revenues since 1950) and payroll taxes now provide the federal government with almost 80 percent of its yearly revenue.
Unlike personal income taxes, Medicare and Social Security taxes — which are jointly known as FICA (for Federal Insurance Contributions Act), or payroll taxes — are plainly regressive. Because of the payroll cap on Social Security contributions, the bottom quintile of income recipients pays a 7.3 percent FICA rate, while the top quintile pays a 6.8 percent rate and the top 1 percent of earners pay a rate of just 0.9 percent.
So, by slashing corporate income taxes and forcing a new reliance on payroll taxes to finance government spending, we have redistributed income to the already wealthy and powerful. Our tax system has actually fostered inequality.
The fiscal problem we face is not, then, a lack of revenue sources. We can finance any amount of transfer payments and “entitlements” by taxing corporations’ profits in the same way we tax personal income, using a progressive formula. If necessary, give them a mortgage deduction — they already get something like it in the form of accelerated depreciation allowances on their purchases of capital equipment — but make them pay higher taxes on their income. Do that, and the federal deficit goes away.
The now-familiar objection to a tax increase on corporate profits is that it will discourage private investment and thus dampen job creation. The retort is just as obvious: since when have tax cuts on corporate profits led to increased investment, faster job creation and higher per capita consumption out of rising real wages? It didn’t happen after the Reagan Revolution, it didn’t happen during the Clinton boom of the 1990s, and it sure didn’t happen under George W. Bush.
Nor is it happening now, as corporate profits soar and full-time job creation languishes. American corporations are now sitting on $4.75 trillion in cash, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The other well-worn objection to an increase of corporate income taxes is that it would encourage companies to invest and hire overseas, where tax rates are presumably lower. Here, too, the retort is obvious: the tax code already works exactly this way by postponing taxes until profits from investment overseas are repatriated. American companies routinely avoid taxation by moving their idle cash offshore.
In view of these facts, there’s no downside to replacing payroll taxes with increased taxes on corporate profits, wherever they’re made or held. By doing so, we make the tax code more progressive, and mobilize capital that is otherwise inert. In other words, we can lay solid foundations for economic growth simply by going back to the tax principles we used to have. What could be more conservative than that?
James Livingston, a professor of history at Rutgers, is the author of “Against Thrift: Why Consumer Culture Is Good for the Economy, the Environment, and Your Soul.”April 15th, 2013
By DAVID NETTO
NY Times Published: April 12, 2013
There’s something to be said for developing a signature style. In most areas of design it can be a great career move, but particularly in the field of architecture. Clients know what to come to you for, people know your buildings when they see them, and, as with Frank Gehry or Richard Meier, they cheer you on when you deliver the goods again and again.
In cinematic terms, if Renzo Piano, Gehry and Meier are the reigning Spielbergs of contemporary architecture, producing successful (or almost as successful) versions of an initial winning formula over and over, Rafael Moneo might be its Mike Leigh: highly talented and critically revered, but in the age of the star architect, in the United States, at least, we barely know his name. During a career of more than 40 years, the Madrid-based Moneo has produced buildings of startling quality, no two of which are alike. Working mainly in his native Spain, which has regarded him as something of a national hero since his National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida opened in 1986, Moneo has approached commissions with the goal of making architecture that is simultaneously an ornament to the Old World and a beacon of the new. His buildings are extremely site-specific, usually physically elegant and charged with experiential surprise, often in the plan or through internal manipulations of natural light. Always born of some well-considered relation to context, Moneo’s buildings are not objects meant to promote themselves, nor do they condescend.
There are a handful of projects by Moneo (whose full name is José Rafael Moneo Vallés) in the United States, some of which, like the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, or Columbia University’s recent Northwest Corner building, are among his best works and have received major attention. But it’s clear that the buildings that get raves here are more often the undulating, glassy or flashy ones — proponents of their own manufactured drama and shrill assertions of relevance. If we as Americans think about architecture at all, we praise buildings that speak in headlines. As a culture we have a tendency to defeat the kind of architectural subtlety Moneo has been able to so successfully bring to European cities. There was a time, in the 1950s and ’60s, when the patronage existed for intellectual modernism by architects like Philip Johnson and Marcel Breuer, albeit with mixed results. But in the United States, our design DNA — architectural and otherwise — has always tended toward big ideas: big breasts, big cars, big, easy-to-read gestures. Moneo makes architecture that refuses to show off. His buildings are woven into cities rather than imposed upon them, and might as easily be about texture rather than form. For Americans, now used to being entertained by architecture in the vein of freedom towers, PATH stations and titanium, his kind of excellence can be easy to overlook.
“He is the architect’s architect, and very underrated here,” the visionary design patron and hotelier Ian Schrager says. Schrager, who has made it a business to know what’s good before anybody else, has been a fan since he saw Moneo’s National Museum of Roman Art. A couple of years ago, he discussed doing a residential project in Manhattan with the architect, shrugging off the fact that Moneo is something of an insider’s secret. “Rafael doesn’t covet attention the way some architects do,” Schrager said. “But in terms of talent, he’s second to none. His work elevates the spirit.”
The way modernism usually gets talked about is in highly intellectualized architecture-school speak: intimidating and dense. Moneo himself was chair of the architecture department at Harvard from 1985 to 1990, and his writing about his own work can be a tough read, academic and laden with theory. He’s entitled to it. He won the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor, in 1996. But let’s just put all that aside for a moment, look at a few Moneo buildings and try to understand why they’re revered in Europe and not so well known on this side of the Atlantic. And what we’re missing.
“Crispy rocks.” This is how Moneo describes the jumping-off point of his proposal for an auditorium complex and convention center near the ocean in San Sebastián. With this design, won in competition and completed in 1999, the architect sought to make a connection between his pair of buildings and the large boulders piled up along the sea wall, which the asymmetrical glassy cubes convincingly do. At night, these become lanterns that beckon, signifying that the Kursaal is a place for performances and public gathering. The light projecting through ribbed and textured glass conveys a feeling of happiness, but somehow nostalgia as well. (San Sebastián, now a surfing and tapas mecca, was once a belle époque seaside playground.) To this is added the humanizing effect of having poised and angled each cube as if to imply movement, like a dancer’s plié, before making a leap toward the sea. These are some of Moneo’s few “object” buildings, but once context is explained, you can’t help but look at them as indeed having sprung from the terrain. Can you imagine if the Javits Convention Center in New York, instead of quoting 19th-century Crystal Palace exposition architecture in banal contemporary materials, had been designed like this?
Iglesia de Iesu
To learn about an architect’s philosophy, sometimes it’s best to start small. Moneo recently completed a jewel-like church in San Sebastián, Spain, the Iglesia de Iesu. Stark and cubelike on the outside, with a supermarket in the basement where the crypt would usually be, this modest parish church is a masterpiece, and expresses everything Moneo has come to stand for. The simplicity of the interior sets up the main experience, which comes from above: natural light emanating from the perimeter of the ceiling, which is suspended, sculpture-like, in the form of a distorted Greek cross (similar to the lighting effects Tadao Ando has mingled within concrete). So minimal it sparkles, the spartan church is in every way the opposite of Moneo’s own Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, whose architecture had similar minimalist intentions but has been decorated and accessorized to the point of obscuring them, at least on the inside. At the Iesu, the results are uncompromised.
Murcia City Hall
This building, which is essentially a facade, was designed in the mid-1990s, and has spawned a host of descendants. (Among the most faithful and ironic is the luxury apartment building at 25 Bond Street in New York.) Not one of them, however, has the power of Moneo’s original site-driven premise: the unapologetic and, at the time, innovative modernist rhythms of the Murcia facade form the fourth wall of an intimate and historic piazza. It’s a mysterious composition: the bar-code-style screen of staggered columns and irregular openings present a building that almost looks as if it doesn’t exist. Windows are glimpsed, but little clue is given as to what is really going on internally. What is clear is that Moneo’s intent for the facade of his building is to engage in a dialogue with the Baroque exterior of the Murcia Cathedral it directly faces. Hayden Salter, an associate in Moneo’s Madrid office, explains that the Murcia facade also refers to the composition of images in church altarpieces. Moneo can always be counted upon to encrypt his motives rather than simply reveal them, and here it is no different. The visual liveliness of this project is taken by most to be an aesthetic exercise, but in fact it’s an intellectual one.
National Museum of Roman Art
At first sight it’s hard to realize that this museum, the first to put Moneo on the international map, is even a new work of architecture. With details like buttresses, relieving arches and windows with divided lights and shutters, it looks regional. And the architecture is not so much modern as naked. It’s also hard to read the facade (seen on Page 107), which resembles some kind of early-20th-century industrial building (with a thread of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art running through it). Miracle of miracles, given the ’80s timing and the quite literal embrace of classical forms and materials: it’s not postmodern. Mérida is a complete original outside and in. Although the interior is what it’s known for — a series of monumental arches of thin Roman brick of which the whole museum is made (the same brick the Romans used under stucco), there really isn’t a division between inside and out. Moneo’s structure is about the material itself. He insisted that the clay for these bricks be sourced locally, applying to architecture something akin to the “terroir” theory of cooking. A museum hovering over an archaeological site, Mérida is a building that teaches us about Roman antiquities, Roman construction methods and also modernism — specifically its potential to be expressive in the hands of a designer who is unafraid to engage the past and be inventive at the same time.
Why doesn’t the United States make them like this? Everybody knows Los Angeles’s Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, but not many people can name the architect of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels a few streets away. Moneo may be the only living designer whose work, in its versatility and conceptual sensitivity, comes closest to epoch-defining talents like Alvar Aalto and Paul Rudolph. And yet in the United States we seem to be in a moment — well, it’s been a lot longer than a moment — when important buildings are either expected to generate spectacle or belong to a recognizably branded style. Context, suitability and intelligence are considered secondary to provocation. The problem with this is that the built environment is something we have to live with for a long time, and excitement, once tasted, has a tendency to distort the other ways a building can be important.
On a visit to the United States last year, Moneo gave a lecture at the New Orleans Museum of Art in conjunction with Tulane University, where Grover Mouton is the director of the regional urban design center and an admirer of his Spanish colleague. “Rafael is so humanistic,” Mouton said, “which comes out not just in his buildings, but when you speak to him.” Asked about the state of architecture in America today, and why there isn’t more room for buildings that take the risk of speaking softly, Mouton, who was awarded the Rome Prize in 1972-73 and is known in architectural circles for being something of a provocateur, abandoned the pleasantries and offered an answer whose bluntness lived up to his reputation: “That kind of architecture doesn’t happen so much here because the vocabulary doesn’t lend itself for the American mind to understand. We don’t have the base for it, as the Europeans do, or the lifestyle for it. Here, it’s more about the value of the cost than the value of the work — like a fancy contemporary art collection.”
Winston Churchill was not talking about architecture when he famously said of us that “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other alternatives.” If we are talking about the alternatives of architecture, it may first require a trip to Spain.April 14th, 2013
Through May 4, 2013
Thanks to Rodney HillApril 13th, 2013
By HOLLAND COTTER
NY Times Published: April 11, 2013
Pop Art is basically about two things: ordinariness and eating. It’s about daily consumption; the democratic appetite, ravenous for meat, sweets, life on the street, and getting more of everything, cheap. No artist cooked up a tastier version of the primal Pop recipe than Claes Oldenburg did in New York in the late 1950s and early ’60s.
The art he made in that brief, fecund time is the focus of a two-meals-for-the-price-of-one Oldenburg feast at the Museum of Modern Art beginning on Sunday. One show, “Claes Oldenburg: The Street and the Store,” is installed on the museum’s sixth floor; the other, “Claes Oldenburg: Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing,” in the second-floor atrium. Together they give a good sense of his distinctive version of Pop: obstreperous, messy and rude, the equivalent of grimy mitts and a belch in MoMA’s clean white halls.
Mr. Oldenburg, who was born in Sweden in 1929 but raised in the United States, arrived in New York from Chicago in 1956. He settled on the East Village, then a sooty immigrant neighborhood filled with kitchen smells and storefront shops spilling over with cut-rate goods. He himself was spilling over with information and ideas.
He was reading Rimbaud and Freud, looking at Pollock and Dubuffet, writing poetry, composing collages and taking pictures of street life — not just the lives of people, but of tossed-away odds and ends: plumbing fixtures, toys, scraps of cardboard, wire and wood, all of which he hoarded as raw materials for art.
Contemporary art in New York was in transition then. Abstract Expressionism, with its soul on its sleeve, was passé. Younger artists, like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, had brought a new, mordant, Dada-infused spirit to the table.
Disciplinary boundaries were in fruitful disarray: artists were collaborating with dancers and filmmakers, and creating tableau-vivant something-or-others called happenings.
Mr. Oldenburg was up on all of it, so when he was offered gigs in a basement gallery at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square starting in 1959, he didn’t hold back. He mixed painting, sculpture, street junk, poetry and performance together in a floor-to-ceiling environment called “The Street.” It is work related to that event that opens the show on MoMA’s sixth floor.
His stated intention, or one of them, was to bring the urban outdoors indoors, and he did. Using nonart materials — torn and cut cardboard, chicken wire covered with paste-soaked newspaper — he made miniature cars and tenements, street signs and figures, painting all the forms black around the edges, as if they’d been singed by fire, an apt suggestion of vulnerability at a time when the vast stretches of the city were being demolished in the name of urban renewal.
Sophisticatedly primitivizing, Mr. Oldenburg’s images are witty but rarely cute. To the contrary there’s something creepy going on here. A cardboard-and-burlap figure called “Street Chick (Hanging)” is a skull-faced ghoul in a miniskirt; “Rag Doll” is needle-thin and wired as if with electrodes to the brain; “Street Head I” is a five-foot-wide sphere as dark, blank and ominous as a meteorite. And there are pieces identified as guns, one being “Empire (‘Papa’) Ray Gun,” a bulbous, branching, phallic thing suspended from a wire. The original ray gun was a weapon in a science-fiction comic, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D.,” that Mr. Oldenburg had known from childhood. He not only made sculptural versions of it but gave its name to an alter-ego character, part oaf, part brute, that he played in a series of performances using “The Street” as a stage.
Seen in photographs, the performances look every bit as aggressive and abject as the trash-filled installation itself. Certainly Pop Art’s historical reputation for optimism is not confirmed by Mr. Oldenburg’s early output. And this remained true even as he went on to adopt bright colors and more accessible images.
In the summer of 1961 he set up his studio in a storefront on East Second Street and temporarily went into business under the name Ray Gun Manufacturing Company. The business was both an actual shop, open to the public, and an art installation called “The Store,” in which Mr. Oldenburg daily created sculptural variations on items available in the surrounding East Village neighborhood.
His inventory included papier-mâché versions of coffee-shop menu choices — fried eggs, burgers, pie slices — as well as one-off editions of off-the-rack discount-store clothes, from men’s jackets to women’s lingerie. Some pieces were free-standing; others took the form of wall reliefs. Most were made to actual scale, but more than a few were exaggeratedly large: cigarettes the size of drainpipes, sneakers as big as suitcases.
Gigantism really took over once Mr. Oldenburg began making soft sculptures of sewn and stuffed cloth. (His first wife, Patty Mucha, did the sewing.) This flexible, resilient medium resulted in, among other things, an 11-foot-tall ice cream cone and a foam-rubber-filled hamburger big enough to seat a party of four. (Both are in the exhibition, organized by two MoMA curators, Ann Temkin and Paulina Pobocha, and Achim Hochdörfer of the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in Austria.)
As he had done earlier, in “The Street,” Mr. Oldenburg was again playing with the physical city around him, portraying it as both pungently flavorful and repellent. His supersize comestibles are richly revolting, his dresses and shirts at once brash and ruined. The overall effect is of an embalmed vitality, of organic matter still charged with life but turning to rot.
There are other contradictions too in the work Mr. Oldenburg made for “The Store.” In statements written at the time he declared his solidarity with the city’s working-class poor, and his studio was indeed open to the street. But while the goods he depicted were cheap and available to all, he charged art-world prices for his versions of them. His East Village neighbors could window-shop, but the merchandise was aimed at buyers with discretionary cash.
As if to acknowledge, with humor, the elitist bias of his activities, Mr. Oldenburg began in the mid-1960s to assemble his own museum in the loft where he lived, initially calling it the Museum of Popular Art, N.Y.C., and later the Mouse Museum. A selection from it, encased in an architectural unit shaped like Mickey Mouse ears, has been transported to MoMA’s atrium, along with a second, smaller container devoted exclusively to the “Ray Gun” theme.
The two collections constitute a kind of smorgasbord menu of Mr. Oldenburg’s early tastes and obsessions as embodied in small-scale objects that he found and preserved intact, found and tweaked, or created from scratch. The Mouse Museum includes hardware-store oddments, souvenir-shop monuments, joke-shop candy, a footlong toothbrush and sculptures made from clothespins and tea bags. The holdings of the “Ray Gun Wing” range from store-bought toys to scraps of metal or plaster that happen to form right angles. It’s as if, in Mr. Oldenburg’s New York of yesteryear, almost everything was, potentially, a magic gun.
Certainly little of the city’s constituent material escaped his devouring but inventively discriminating hunger.
The evidence is there in the mini-museums, but also in the work upstairs. Most of the 1950s and ’60s sculpture is relic fragile now; maybe it always was. But it still does at least a couple of things Pop Art was meant to do. Like advertising it makes the everyday world look larger — grander, grosser — than life. And it confirms that art, with all of its deceptions, contradictions and empty ethical calories, is a form of nourishment we can’t seem to get our fill of.
“Claes Oldenburg: The Street and the Store” and “Claes Oldenburg: Mouse Museum, Ray Gun Wing” open Sunday and run through Aug. 5 at the Museum of Modern ArtApril 12th, 2013
By ALICE RAWSTHORN
NY Times Published: March 22, 2013
BERLIN — She must have felt so optimistic. When Gertrud Arndt arrived at the Bauhaus school of art and design in 1923, she was a gifted, spirited 20-year-old who had won a scholarship to pay for her studies. Having spent several years working as an apprentice to a firm of architects, she had set her heart on studying architecture.
No chance. The Bauhaus was in tumult because of the long-running battle between its founding director, the architect Walter Gropius, and one of its most charismatic teachers, Johannes Itten, who wanted to use the school as a vehicle for his quasi-spiritual approach to art and design. Arndt was told that there was no architecture course for her to join and was dispatched to the weaving workshop.
Not that she was alone. Most of the other female students had been forced to study the supposedly “feminine” subjects of weaving or ceramics too. The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin is now trying to make amends to the women like them, who felt marginalized at the school, by celebrating their work in the “Female Bauhaus” series of exhibitions, the latest of which is devoted to Arndt.
As well as her student work in textiles, Arndt’s exhibition, through April 22, includes the photographic experiments she began at the Bauhaus and continued for the rest of her life. She is the third female Bauhaüsler to be featured in the series that started with a fellow textile designer Benita Koch-Otte and Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp, who forged a career in theater design, illustration and color theory after leaving the school. The Bauhaus Archive plans to continue the series with more shows in the future.
All three of the first “Female Bauhaus” subjects were unusually talented, determined and resourceful, yet each would have been justified in feeling that she faced greater professional obstacles than her male contemporaries both at the Bauhaus and afterward. Why did a supposedly progressive school turn out to be so misogynistic?
The Bauhaus, which ran from 1919 to 1933, was not always unfair to women. It was only in the early years that female students were relegated to particular courses, despite Gropius’s claim in the school’s manifesto that it welcomed “any person of good repute, without regard to age or sex.”
“The Bauhaus had progressive aspirations, but the men in charge represented the prevailing societal attitudes of the time,” said Catherine Ince, co-curator of the recent “Bauhaus Art as Life” exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in London. “It was simply a step too far to bring about equality across the board.”
The situation improved after Gropius succeeded in ousting Itten in 1923 and replaced him with the radical Hungarian artist and designer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Having ensured that female students were given greater freedom, Moholy encouraged one of them, Marianne Brandt, to join the metal workshop. She was to become one of Germany’s foremost industrial designers during the 1930s.
But Arndt, Koch-Otte and Scheper-Berkenkamp were unfortunate in having joined the school before Moholy’s arrival. Koch-Otte was the only one of the three to persevere with her original course of study, eventually becoming an influential figure in both textile design and art education. Whereas Scheper-Berkenkamp dropped out after marrying a fellow student only to help out at the Bauhaus Theater when he returned to the school as a teacher several years later. Similarly, Arndt abandoned weaving after completing her course in 1927 but forged informal links with the Bauhaus at the turn of the 1930s when her husband, who she had also met as a student, accepted a teaching post there.
Even so, all three women ended up working in areas that the male-dominated design establishment did not deem to be as important as, say, architecture or industrial design, partly because they were seen as female preserves. Fewer books and exhibitions have since been devoted to them than to other disciplines. And even the most successful Bauhaus textile graduates, including Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl and Koch-Otte, have featured less prominently in histories of the school than their male counterparts, who studied “weightier” subjects, have done.
Not that gender stereotyping by the Bauhaus was the only professional problem they faced. As Ms. Ince pointed out, the school’s initial ambivalence toward women reflected the prejudices of the time. Each of the trio faced the same challenges as other working women in juggling domestic responsibilities with their careers. For them, those problems were aggravated by the risk of being overshadowed by their husbands, who worked in similar fields.
Arguably, they and their spouses also suffered professionally from staying in Europe during World War II, rather than seeking refuge in the United States like Gropius and other prominent Bauhaüslers. Remaining in Europe not only isolated them from Gropius’s circle, which has since dominated historic accounts of the Bauhaus, but left them to deal with the brutal consequences of the continent’s mid-20th century politics.
Worst off were Koch-Otte and her husband, who were banned from teaching in Germany by the Nazis and fled to Prague. Tragically, he died in an accident there, leaving her to return to Germany to rebuild her life. Neither Arndt nor Scheper-Berkenkamp suffered as severely as Koch-Otte, or Brandt, who ended up on the East German side of the Iron Curtain, but they and their families faced the trauma and hardship of life in Nazi Germany.
The “Female Bauhaus” series is a touching way of acknowledging their achievements and the difficulties they faced during and after their studies. It also reflects the growing interest in the work of female designers, both inside and outside the Bauhaus, by a new generation of design historians and curators, like Ms. Ince.
A group of them is to meet at the inaugural International Gender Design Network conference in New York March 28 and 29 to discuss an equally thorny issue: the degree to which the sexism that blighted the early years of the Bauhaus persists in design today.
Thanks to Lecia DoleApril 11th, 2013
By JOSEPH BRINGS PLENTY
NY Times Published: April 11, 2013
THE Lakota Sioux word “takini” means “to die and come back” but is usually translated more simply as “survivor.” It is a sacred word long associated with the killing of scores of unarmed Lakota men, women and children by soldiers of the United States Army’s Seventh Cavalry in the winter of 1890.
Wounded Knee was the so-called final battle of America’s war on its Native peoples. But what happened was hardly a battle. It was a massacre.
A band of several hundred Lakota led by Big Foot, a chief of the Mnicoujou Sioux, was intercepted and detained by troops as they made their way from the Cheyenne River Reservation to Pine Ridge for supplies and safety. After a night of drinking, the bluecoats were disarming warriors the next morning when a shot went off. Soldiers opened fire with their Hotchkiss machine guns. At least 150 but perhaps as many as 300 or more Lakota died.
Our fight to survive as a people continues today, a struggle to preserve not just our culture and our language but also our history and our land. Though I now live on the western reaches of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, I grew up in Pine Ridge, among my Oglala kin just a few miles from Wounded Knee. One member of my family survived the killing; others died.
The killing ground stirs great emotion in all of our people — memories of bodies frozen into twisted shapes, of those who were hunted down and murdered as they fled, and of those who escaped in bitter cold across wind-swept plains. These stories have been handed down to us and live within us.
One story I remember vividly was told to me when I was about 8 by a tribal elder, a very old woman whose mother had survived the bloodshed as a child. The old woman’s mother told her how her own mother had gathered her up when the bullets started flying. Just then, a young horse warrior galloped past and took the child up in his arms to help her escape. As she looked back, she saw her mother shot down, her chest torn open by bullets. She told her daughter that she remembered tasting the salt in her tears. The old woman told me all this after I had knocked over a saltshaker. Salt still reminded her of her mother.
There are many such stories. The spiritual power of the place explains why members of the American Indian Movement took it over in 1973 to call the nation’s attention to the economic and cultural injustices against our Native brothers and sisters.
Now, our heritage is in danger of becoming a real-estate transaction, another parcel of what once was our land auctioned off to the highest bidder. The cries of our murdered people still echo off the barren hills — the cries we remember in our hearts every day of our lives. But they may finally be drowned out by bulldozers and the ka-ching of commerce.
The Wounded Knee site passed from the Oglala into private hands through the process known as allotment, begun in the late 1800s, by which the federal government divided land among the Indians and gave other parcels to non-Indians. The idea was to shift control of our land from the collective to the individual and to teach the Lakota and other Native Americans the foreign notion of ownership. But to us, the policy was just another form of theft.
The private owner of the Wounded Knee site, who has held title to the 40-acre plot since 1968, wants to sell it for $3.9 million. If the Oglala of Pine Ridge don’t buy it by May 1, it will be sold at auction.
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is one of the poorest places in the United States, and the Oglala, who are deeply in debt, would be hard-pressed to meet the price. Many elders properly ask why any price should be paid at all. The federal government should buy this land and President Obama should then preserve it as a national monument — just as he did last month at five federally owned sites around the country, including one in Maryland honoring Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
The massacre site has great meaning not just for the Lakota but for all First Nations — and every American. Wounded Knee should remain a sacred site where the voices of the Ghost Dancers, who more than a century ago danced for the return of our old way of life, still echo among the pines, where the spirits of our elders still walk the hills, and where “takini” still has meaning: the survival of our collective memory.
Chief Joseph Brings Plenty, a former chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, teaches Lakota culture at the Takini School on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.April 11th, 2013
By FRED A. BERNSTEIN
NY Times Published: April 10, 2013
Paolo Soleri, a visionary architect who was best known as the designer and oracle of Arcosanti, a settlement in the Arizona high desert that became a symbol of hippie-era utopianism and a prescient environmentalism, died on Tuesday at Cosanti, his home in Paradise Valley, Ariz. He was 93.
His foundation, also named Cosanti, announced his death.
Dr. Soleri, who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1940s, developed a philosophy he called arcology — architecture coupled with ecology — that some saw as an answer to suburban sprawl. It involved building densely packed, bee-hive-like buildings that “held out a promise of not just an alternative architecture but alternative culture,” the architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote in The New York Times in 1989.
Dr. Soleri’s basic idea was that architecture and ecology are inseparable in their effect on people. In his view, technology always moves toward miniaturization, just as nature tends toward complexity and compactness. Human habitation, he believed, must also move toward more compact, multilayered and multidimensional spaces instead of scattering or spreading across the landscape.
Dr. Soleri pursued his philosophy with a single-mindedness into his 90s, stepping down as president of the Cosanti Foundation at 92. Even as his ideas seemed to go out of fashion, he continued to work on Arcosanti — his “urban laboratory” — about 70 miles north of Phoenix.
The settlement, which is still operating and expanding, drawing thousands of visitors a year, has been described as Buck Rogers meets Buckminster Fuller — a 1960s version of the future set on a vast parcel highlands amid basalt mesas, juniper and prickly pear cactus and crossed by the Agua Fria River.
Notable for its poured-concrete domed structures and soaring apses, the village combines multiunit housing with a bakery, a foundry, a ceramics studio, an amphitheater, a swimming pool and other features.
Originally designed to house 5,000 people, Arcosanti has never grown large enough to accommodate more than a few hundred followers at a time, some of whom have supported themselves by selling wind bells designed by Dr. Soleri.
To tourists, Arcosanti is part of a trio of Arizona utopias, along with Wright’s Taliesin West and the University of Arizona’s Biosphere II, a geodesic dome in which people prepared to live extra-terrestrially in the early 1990s.
The critic and author Alastair Gordon once likened Dr. Soleri to “a desert Obi-Wan Kenobi” who spoke “in elliptical bursts peppered with words like vegativity, vectoriality and stardust.”
In Arcosanti’s heyday, in the early 1970s, visitors paid for the privilege of working there for five-week stints. “With his lean good looks and Italian charm, Dr. Soleri had no trouble attracting volunteers,” Mr. Gordon wrote.
Dr. Soleri wrote books and essays, and his drawings have been shown in museums and published in lavish volumes. Reviewing one exhibition, at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington in 1970, the Times critic Ada Louise Huxtable called the renderings “some of the most spectacularly sensitive and superbly visionary drawings that any century has known.”
Paolo Soleri was born on June 21, 1919, in Turin, Italy, the second of three children of Emilio and Pia Soleri. His father was an accountant. Paolo Soleri spent part of World War II in a unit that built and maintained Italian military facilities.
In 1947, after receiving a Ph.D. in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Turin, Dr. Soleri traveled to Arizona to apprentice with Wright at Taliesin West for 18 months.
In 1949, he designed the Dome House in Cave Creek, Ariz., for a divorced woman from Philadelphia. Made from cast concrete and natural stone, the house featured a sunken living area and a glass dome overlooking the desert. He ended up marrying the client’s daughter, Corolyn Woods (known as Colly).
In 1950, while the newlyweds were traveling in Italy, Dr. Soleri was hired to design a ceramics factory in the hillside town of Vietri sul Mare; he came up with the idea of using fragments of pottery for walls. Returning to Arizona in 1956, he designed a studio, gallery and foundry for a Scottsdale site he called Cosanti. In the late 1960s, he purchased 860 acres of desert north of Phoenix, near Cordes Junction, and began building Arcosanti.
Dr. Soleri’s few buildings outside Arizona include the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater, an eccentric performance space in Santa Fe whose stage design evokes Salvador Dalí. In recent years it has sat unused, and preservation groups have been fighting to prevent its demolition.
Dr. Soleri hoped Arcosanti would show other cities how to minimize energy use and encourage human interaction. “He was part of a flock of utopian dreamers who designed mega-structure cities in the 1960s, but he had more of a social and ecological agenda than the others,” said Jeffrey Cook, a professor of architecture at Arizona State University, in a 2001 interview. “When so many others were theorizing, Soleri went out into the desert and actually built his vision with his own hands. That’s the reason he became such a counterculture hero.”
Some critics detected a contradiction between Dr. Soleri’s communitarian ideals and what they perceived as an authoritarian insistence on a singular aesthetic. Mr. Goldberger saw “an arrogance” to Mr. Soleri’s designs, “a certainty that he knows what is best for all of us.”
But Dr. Soleri’s work also showed a generation of younger architects an alternative to corporate modernism.
“Paolo’s mind was always going out into the cosmos,” said Will Bruder, a Phoenix-based architect who apprenticed with Dr. Soleri in 1967. “I learned how much you can do with very little, the potential of simplicity and the ability to make unbelievable things from modest means, to dream huge dreams.”
Dr. Soleri is survived by two daughters, Kristine Soleri Timm and Daniela Soleri, and two grandchildren. His wife died in 1982 and, at his request, was buried on a hillside at Arcosanti in view of his studio window. His foundation said it would honor his wishes to bury his body beside hers.
Thanks to Rodney HillApril 10th, 2013
Thanks to Andy GoldmanApril 9th, 2013