Well Hung | Richter Goes to the Pompidou

Monday, August 27, 2012 2 comments

He's a photo realist, he's an abstractionist, he's completely wonderful. Gerhard Richter's Panorama at the Centre Pompidou in Paris only runs through September 24. Even paintings make fun wallpaper patterns - but they make better paintings. If you're in Paris, get there!

(Above: 1995's S. with Child, flipped and duplicated over and over by me. Below: Roses, 1994)

It's all Relative

Thursday, August 23, 2012 7 comments

One of the subjects in our book - who has the most spectacular home I've ever seen in real life or other books - sees and arranges things in a way that - frankly - everyone should: in contrasts. Dark next to light, curved next to straight, smooth next to rough. It's so simple, but also profound. Einstein - had he been into interiors - would've been all over it. It's all about relativity. A curved line next to other curved lines will blend into the environment. Place it next to straight lines and right angles and that thing will pop. 

One of my fantasies in fashion magazines and Olympics coverage is that the super humans (models and athletes, respectively) would be compared directly to normal plebes some of the time. If models are only photographed with models and swimmers with other swimmers, our eyes and brains go wild and completely lose perspective. Want to use Ryan Seacrest in your coverage? Why not have him run against Usain Bolt? Or sink into the middle of the pool on meter 48 in a race against Michael Phelps (as Michael finishes dripping dry and prepares to crack open a Budweiser)? That would be legendary television.

What's also legendary is how long I'm taking to get to the point, which is: After all these years of vintage collecting and clutter, my mind and eyes need a rest. A little sorbet to cleanse my aesthetic palette. Some ridiculously simple and pure items to balance and calm all the madness. Thank god for this summer's Japanese and Scandinavian/Benelux invasion of the Accent on Design section of the New York International Gift Fair. 

Design House Stockholm's Rock Chair by Fredrik Färg was my favorite piece of the show. Made from four simple cut pieces of wood with a couple round leather disks for pads, this beautiful rocking chair embodies deceptive Scandinavian simplicity. The piece looks equally fitting in an old Swedish palace as a purely minimalist loft. 

I wanted all the rough, wrinkly linen at Japan's Fog Linen Work booth.

I'd also take almost every beautiful simple piece in Portland-based leather goods designer Sara Barner's leather bag collection, especially the Ford Bag.

Makoto Koizumi's enamel cookware for Kaico would look pretty wonderful next to the blue wolf, I think.

Make anything look Delft-ish and I'm all over it, especially Maxime Ansiau's collection of multiplates.
The $500 Kitchen Overhaul | Part I, the Walton Fordification

Monday, August 13, 2012 13 comments

Our loft is essentially one big room, so having a very oak colored Ikea kitchen hanging out in the back right corner has always been problematic for the eyes. Earlier in the week last week, I'd planned to do a pre-fall cleaning all weekend since Porter was back in KC for a wedding, but a wildly inspiring chat with an painter friend on Friday set my mind on fire with inspiration and left me thinking, Why clean the kitchen when I can completely remodel!?  So, I grabbed Porter's best friend, Chris, and we headed to Ikea for new cheap Swedish touches to enhance/replace the old ones. We left with: two butcher block counter tops, a porcelain sink, a new chrome faucet and some blue and white dish towels all for well under $500 (from a SKUs perspective, an Ikea miracle). It turns out that the old Formica was literally just stapled onto the "island" so we ripped that off in five minutes - and then discovered that the island was just sitting there, floating on the wood floor. So, in the next five minutes, it was in its new home, against the wall, looking awesome and adding about 100 square feet of scooting around space. Then Chris headed home and I went wild. I emptied all the drawers, scrubbed relentlessly, took off all the handles (that I'd always hated in the context of our place), applied spackle and painted it with the high gloss white left over from our floorboard painting project. It looked much better, but not special, so I thought, hey, why not try to make it look like a Delft tile mural? Yep. Always keepin' things simple. So, I whipped out my Walton Ford Pancha Tantra and thought a rabid-looking wolf might look great where people cook and make cocktails, so I started copying (see bottom pic). I still need to add in the fur details and additional drama on the left panel, but it's a pretty good start. I dug up the brass tassel pulls I bought out of pure joy and love on ebay a year ago and drilled them new homes. AND, keeping true to my goals, the insides of those drawers and cabinets are perfectly organized and sorted for the first time in about three years. Another miracle. Will let you see the final product once I find someone to put in that sink for me. Dinner party season is upon us!

The dark, heavy, oppressive "before"

no image

Monday, August 06, 2012 9 comments

For nearly quarter century now, I've had an ongoing wish (and diatribe that I've gone on and on about on the blog before) that schools would offer chronological curriculums where children could learn (eastern and western) history, literature, language, art and music in historical context. It's impossible to separate any of these things from the eras in which they emerged, yet we jam isolated factoids down kids' throats year after year and hope that they'll eventually connect the dots and be able to draw parallels to events today. Well, Israeli-born, London-based photographer Ori Gersht has spent his whole career investigating the interplay between cultural, political and art history and the often savage violence and beauty that define all three. This fall the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston launches the first retrospective of Gersht's mind-bendingly beautiful HD films and large-scale digital photography, as well as his first monograph. Through his images he reinterprets art history to show us all how political and cultural legacies repeat.

On Track

Friday, August 03, 2012 3 comments

When it comes to running, my life goal (which I'm not working very hard towards at all) is to out sprint an attacker or to just run freely through a meadow without panting or getting terribly sweaty (this must be somehow linked imagery seen in Ralph Lauren perfume ads or something).  To celebrate the start of track time in Londontown, here is a pair of vintage Adidas Avanti cleats that might help inspire someone to actually get kickin' on a track - but would never ever be on your feet at a time of an attack and would do nothing more than make you look really out of place in a meadow or a Ralph Lauren perfume ad. Bids start at 10 bucks.
Well Hung | MoMA's Century of the Child

Thursday, August 02, 2012 1 comment

Well Hung | a sporadically updated look at my favorite artistic spectacles on the walls of (and inside glass boxes within) galleries and museums around the world. 

The Museum of Modern Art has tracked the confluence of modern design and modern childhood during a century that included an industrial revolution, two World Wars, a nuclear age, suburban sprawl, a space age and a technological boom. Century of the Child is up through mid-October. If you can't make it to see the 1933 red Skippy Racer or toy Graf Zeppelin in person, the online companion site will leave your mind whirling for hours - or inspire you to make charts with wild deco wallpaper patterns.