Tuesday 24 November 2015


Exhibitions in SKYE,  HUDSON,  MANHATTAN
Large shows, small exhibitions? All necessary. Studios can be 1 person on a hillside on Skye; another with 160 assistants in London or a photography gallery in upstate New York. Creators big & small.
The Cooper Hewitt design museum in Manhattan was recently remodelled after 3 years at a cost of many millions.  We went to see the new Pixar display on the ground floor but found it very disappointing. Gimmicks mostly. 

So up to the top to see an astoundingly impressive full floor installation of provocative, imaginative, inventive work by British London-based designer THOMAS HEATHERWICK. 
 Born 1970, he established his workshop in 1994, & designer Sir Terence Conran has called him ‘the Leonardo da Vinci of our times’ for his complex ideas and keen sense of construction.No wonder! I was quite bowled over by the panache, beauty & elegance of his creations. In the UK we all saw his graceful copper shaped torches for the Olympics in London, one on show here.  
It's his first museum exhibition in the US. Heatherwick is known for his unique design concepts for all sorts of structures, (organised on his website as small, medium & large!) as well as huge architectural projects frequently combining novel engineering with new materials & technology. His forms are very sculptural. He created the famous & visually thrilling U.K. Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, (made by 66,000 illuminated clear acrylic tubes - like a porcupine -)  plus many provocative projects - like 

the Learning Hub at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological Universitythe 2014 Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Laverstoke, Englandthe 2012 redesign of London’s double-decker buses.;the cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games torch. Now he is working in NY on Pier55, a public park performance space to be constructed sitting on mushroom-shape columns in the Hudson River on Manhattan’s West Side.

London Olympic Cauldron 2012 He likes bridges and - one - a Garden Bridge - will span the Thames soon. 
The show includes an old fashioned cranking machine which spits out a length of card - one side full of info on his projects, the other asking questions, questions. Is it possible to make a bridge out of glass? Can a student make a real building? How can a building represent a nation? How do u turn the back door of a hospital into a front door? Can u make objects out of long of zipper?? (Yes he proves u can.)
 He is also working on Google's Mountain View Campus in California. Keen on landscape, & extensive greenery, fun + a winsome way with things, plus an astonishing range of wild creations, he is a wonderful addition to far too sober architecture! 
The Cooper Hewitt is housed in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion. Built 1899-1901 by Scottish industrial magnate - a 13 yr old immigrant from near Dundee - the house is a fascinating study in innovative design, the first private residence in the US to have a structural steel frame & one of first in New York with an Otis elevator, also both central heating a precursor to air-conditioning. It became US National design museum in 1976.
This week its revamped garden features new terrace & transformed northwest garden opens to the public. Free from 8 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends. This marks the final phase of Cooper Hewitt’s renovation of the Carnegie Mansion. 

In the USA, The Davis Orton Gallery, established August, 2009, is located not far from our country house, on historic Warren Street in Hudson, NY. Specialising in photography & artist-published photobooks, it sits on an architecturally rich street famous for its antique shops, many art galleries and restaurants.
The goal of the gallery's director Karen Davis, herself a photographer, is to present a wide range of contemporary artists, from emerging to mid-career to established. She succeeds amazingly well with a wide range of top standard work. 
Gallery view - toward warren st

gallery view towards prison alleyThe space is small but recently housed a couple of fascinating displays. I was especially intrigued by portraits from GAIL SAMUELSON.
 Her show, All Dresssed Up, riffs on Cindy Sherman of course, but she uses her mother's & aunts clothes - kept for luck. Both worked in the rag trade in NY and Samuelson celebrates their lives in quietly determined fashion, with cool restraint but definite emotion. I guess we all feel that pull to things from our youth, especially fond family clothes. It's hard to let go. Samuelson has found a clever way to hang on. 

.                       Currently the gallery shows Photobook 2015 – Sixth Annual International Juried Exhibition – Twenty Photobooks & Photographs by Best of Show artistsJuried by Paula TognarelliCurator, Griffin Museum of Photography, & DavisMeanwhile on a hill top of Skye near Ardvasar, with a breathtaking view, Patricia SHONE makes lovely hand-made ceramics inspired by, she says "the powerful landscape around me on the Isle of Skye & to a feeling of connection with the passage across the land of its past inhabitants. I make mostly functional forms, boxes, bowls, jars, rather direct representation of the landscape, because they are innately human vessels of containment."

I recognised an elegance & restraint that seems Oriental, Japanese in origin; maybe influenced by her monochromatic palette? 

On Skye the surfaces of the land are eroded by forces of climate with traces of the past scratched all over the hills, remaining as monuments to the communities who worked the land. 
Shone's clay techniques reflect these processes. The pieces are made by throwing, texturing or beating, stretching & carving. Colours come from slips, oxides & glazes but most of all by the firing processes."As society advances technologically the surfaces we touch become increasingly synthetic and machine finished. What challenges us now is the reality of landscape & nature: wild, uncomfortable, dirty, unpackaged, visceral experience.“
 Lovely pots. She shows in London & in UK - but visit her mountain top kiln if u can. 

1 comment:

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