the conversation pit

As to the origins of the conversation pit, they are fixed historically somewhere between the Turks and the Beatles, whose movie, "Help!" featured John Lennon pontificating about the meaning of life from a pit in the group's communal home. Some art historians blame perpetual Playboy Hugh Hefner; others credit everyone from fabric designer Alexander Girard to Frank Lloyd Wright to the American Indian. Terence Riley, chief curator of the department of architecture and design for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, thinks the sunken living room evolved from the European inglenook, "a cozy corner where people sat and had a chat." But he admits that James Bond movies and the "Dick Van Dyke Show" -- with the star tripping into his living room nightly -- gave the concept cachet with the public. Mr. Riley remembers sketching his first conversation pit in architecture school years ago and thinking "it was immensely cool."

Los Angeles artist Jorge Pardo had none of these cultural references in mind when he decided to include a 10-foot by 10-foot conversation pit in his 3,200-square foot house-cum-art-installation, commissioned by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. He just liked the look. "It inspires conversation," he says of his pit, sunk a foot and a half into the ground and featuring a fireplace and built-in, light-blue corduroy sofa. Mr. Pardo admits, however, that guests sometimes have different first reactions. "You get the chuckles," he says, "People come to the house and say, 'I had one of those in the '70s.' " The sniggering doesn't faze him. "It doesn't look funky in context," he says."

taken from here...

(inspired by the ever amazing ouno design... here!)

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Portrait of Hands
(the desire to communicate. connect, and uplift)

images from top to bottom
george lynes, jean cocteau 1934
bruce nauman
tauba auberbach
roger hiorns
ruby sky stiler
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Nicolas de Stael

"Many were attracted by the romance of this tall, lanky Russian aristocrat with the deep voice and quixotic disposition, a former Foreign Legionnaire, a remote relative of the French writer Madame de Stael, the orphaned son of a Czarist cavalry general. When in 1955, at the age of 41, de Stael threw himself from the balcony of his apartment on the Riviera - perhaps a victim of the pressure that accompanied his meteoric success - the critic and art historian Douglas Cooper was not alone in thinking de Stael had been ''the truest, the most considerable, and the most innately gifted painter who has appeared on the scene in Europe or elsewhere during the last 25 years.'' A decade later, in 1965, on the occasion of a big de Stael exhibition, Newsweek described him as ''the last of the great School of Paris painters.''

article here...

(nice, 1954)

Changing the Art on the Walls, read article here about the Obamas!

"The Obamas are sending ripples through the art world as they put the call out to museums, galleries and private collectors that they’d like to borrow modern art by African-American, Asian, Hispanic and female artists for the White House. In a sharp departure from the 19th-century still lifes, pastorals and portraits that dominate the White House’s public rooms, they are choosing bold, abstract art works.

Last week the Obamas decided to borrow “Nice,” a 1954 abstract by Russian-born painter Nicolas de Staël containing red, black and moss-green rectangles; a couple of boxy paintings from German-born Josef Albers’s famed “Homage to the Square” series in shades of gold, red and lavender; and “Dancer Putting on Stocking” and “The Bow,” two table-top bronzes by Edgar Degas. The museum also sent over New York artist Glenn Ligon’s “Black Like Me,” a stenciled work about the segregated South, among others that the Obamas are still considering, according to a White House spokeswoman."

"He was also, in his love of color, a natural heir to Matisse, and, in his enthusiasm for the sensuousness of paint, a follower of Braque, who in turn became one of his friends and admirers. As a painter, in other words, the Russian-born de Stael was unmistakably French, not least because finesse plays such a central role in his achievement."

(Les Footballeurs, 1952)
oil on canvas

"But by 1953, de Staël's depression led him to seek isolation in the south of France (eventually in Antibes). He suffered from exhaustion, insomnia and depression. In the wake of a disappointing meeting with a disparaging art critic on March 16, 1955 he committed suicide. He leapt to his death from his eleventh story studio terrace, in Antibes. He was 41 years old."

see more images of his work here..
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Alison Wilding

"Wilding belongs to a generation of sculptors whose work was seen, in the early 1980s, as being a notable departure from earlier practice. Her sculptures often consist of two separate elements, which suggest opposites such as positivenegative, male-female, light-dark. She sets up those contrasts with a wide range of different materials, including copper, wood, beeswax, lead, galvanized steel, transparent plastics, silk, fossils, rubber and paints."

taken from here..

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Saul Fletcher

22 MAY – 27 JUNE 2009

“In his photographs Saul Fletcher visualizes human
existence in all its temporal dimensions and physical fragility.
The scenes he depicts achieve a concentrated intimacy:
In order to take in every detail, the viewer is compelled
to get as close as possible to the work. His careful still lifes
draw attention to details; the discarded moments of the
everyday become the focus, and in this way are imbued
with new or altered meaning.”
Extract from catalogue for the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006)

see more of this show here, c/o alison jacques gallery
via design boom. here.

"These images represent a succession of moments which are precisely staged without ever seeming forced or contrived. They not only constitute a vague autobiography but also record isolated fragments from life: a birdcage, glass lantern, floral curtains - scenes and subjects imbued with Fletcherʼs haunting private mythology."
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two events of interests.

frank haines at lisa cooley, ny...
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top image: eddie clemens c/o sue crockford gallery
next image: evan holloway c/o the approach

Italy, 1950s
wood, brass, enameled metal

Italy produced some of the best lighting designs of the post-war period. The inventiveness of Italian designers is illustrated in this rare floor lamp featuring 22 individually adjustable shades in original yellow, red and gray enamel.

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James Blackshaw.
The Glass Bead Game.
listen here...

"My method of composing has, for the most part, to do with improvising and repeating certain sections until they seem right. I can't write in full notation, and I imagine it would take ages, anyway. Generally what I have a habit of doing is just picking up a guitar and playing. Sometimes it's not an immediate thing, but usually things emerge from that. Sometimes there will literally just be a chord, or one simple melodic line, or some finger-picking pattern in a certain tuning. If I like it, I've got an old four-track cassette recorder, and I'll play it roughly. Before I go into the studio, I usually end up with a 90-minute cassette full of little bits and stuff. I know in my mind what belongs where."

James Blackshaw
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in order......
rj messineo, every raw material (see his ucla show here.. )
alison wilding.... see more here...
minale maeda.... here..
lucie rie ....more...
Aiweiwei more here..
tables..... unknown...
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(tauber auberbach)

"The California Supreme Court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, ratifying a decision made by voters last year. The ruling comes at a time when several state governments have moved in the opposite direction.

The court’s decision does, however, preserve the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed between the justices’ ruling last May that same-sex marriage was constitutionally protected and voters’ passage in November of Proposition 8, which banned it."
read here....

(A long slow battle.... I have faith that wisdom, kindness, and love will prevail. )

Portrait of a Couple
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the dining room.
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