Tire skids, L.A., Leimert Park


L.A. rainbow today, for Labor Day

Exclusive tour of Mies van der Rohe Lake Shore Drive apartments in Chicago

    Ever want to get inside the 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive Apartments?
    Here's your chance!
    Join the Mies Society for


    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    5:30 pm

    Take an exclusive tour of four artistically unique homes in the 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive Apartments. These units have never been open to the public, and they are full of design inspiration. After the tour, join us for a wine reception in the apartment of Don Powell of Powell/Kleinschmidt. His apartment reminds one of the Barcelona Pavilion and is a rare treat. This will be a sell-out event and space is limited, so please make your reservations quickly.

    $250 for members
    $300 for nonmembers

    Proceeds go toward the restoration of Carr Memorial Chapel at Illinois
    Institute of Technology.

    Reservations are required by Monday, September 12, 2011.

    RSVP with credit card payment to 312.567.5042 or at
    Rare treat is right! 
    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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Can't wait for 1100 more cars in L.A.!

    Love this film of this work of Chris Burden, soon to be seen where the banked turns and slots of the Richard Serras stood in BCAM at LACMA in L.A.

    Click to play. Best enlarged to full screen. 

    Burden's installation will measure 20×30 feet and feature about 1100 matchbox cars traveling in 18 lanes at speeds up to 230 scale mph! Plus 13 toy trains and tracks, all coursing through a landscape of futuristic buildings made of wood, tile, Legos and Lincoln Logs! The sound, as you hear in the film, is as mesmerizing as a Steve Reich - or Elmer Bernstein - soundtrack. "Anxiety-provoking," says artist Chris Burden. Metropolis II, as it's called, will run and run and run at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art beginning this fall.

    Shades of Fritz Lang's Metropolis

    Charles and Ray Eames's films of toys

    Walt Disney's Autopia at Disneyland

    and of course, the best of all

    childhood memories. 
    Mattel Hot Wheels Disneyland Walt Disney model cars road racingSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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Next in Chicago: sculptures "in the throes of sex"?

    Vanity Fair has the well over-the-top story of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, "notorious playboy brother of the Sultan of Brunei, (in) a world of orgiastic wealth: 250 companies, 2,000 cars, luxury hotels, planeloads of women and polo ponies, colossal diamonds." Well, the man's in court, and this came out:
    Before the trial began, the defense had released photographs to the press of sculptures Prince Jefri had commissioned from J. Seward Johnson for $800,000, allegedly portraying the prince and his fiancĂ©e at the time, Micha Royale Raines, in the throes of sex.  

    The artist is the same J. Seward Johnson who designed the statue of Marilyn Monroe and her underpants, on view in Chicago.

    It seems the work for Prince Jefri, designed for his 28-acre Long Island, New York estate Sunninghill, was designed to shock and appall. Marilyn too, a little bit, just maybe?
    (Jefri's attorney Geoffrey Stewart says) Jefri commissioned J. Seward Johnson to make the sex statues to shock his brother. “Mohamed loved to buzz Prince Jefri’s palace in his helicopter, and Prince Jefri decided that the thing to do would be to have these life-size statues made and put them around the pool. The next time Mohamed buzzed the house, he’d be appalled and shocked.” 
    Johnson created four to six pieces for Prince Jefri.

    Sculptor J. Seward Johnson has an extensive body of G-rated public works, controversial only for whether or not they are good art. Pioneer Court in Chicago previously displayed his tall sculpted homage to Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic," and a 20-foot tall "King Lear." 

    He is reported to claim he was unaware the more X-rated commission came from Prince Jefri. "The sculptures were a commission specifically featuring positions of the ancient public domain Kama Sutra," his spokesman told The Daily Beast. "Artists’ models were used and there was no reference to any collector, buyer, or other individual in the making of the pieces. The project was commissioned anonymously via a holding company and the sculptor was not told the identity of the buyer."

    A little more from Vanity Fair's Prince Jefri: The Prince who Blew Through Billions:

    (A 1998 lawsuit) described Jefri’s “sex parties” at home and abroad. (The manifest on his 747 usually comprised mostly young women.) An attorney called him a man of “unlimited tastes,” a “one-man walking market,” who bought practically everything he saw, including a rug woven with jewels in threads of solid gold ($7 million), 10 jewel-encrusted wristwatches that depicted on the hour a couple copulating ($8 million), and similarly erotic fountain pens ($1.3 million). In London alone, the Manoukians charged, he kept 40 prostitutes at the Dorchester hotel and spent $34 million for the former Playboy Club at 45 Park Lane—more than four times the market price, according to the brothers—so that he could house more hookers and secretly indulge his passion for gambling. (Jefri denied employing prostitutes.)
    Read more here. 

    Kind of makes the Marilyn look not too bad?  More on Chicago's Marilyn here.

    Update: see comments for obligatory comparison to work of Jeff Koons.
    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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The Seven Year Itch meets Kitsch

    Forever Marilyn 
    Chicago, Illinois 2011

    Madonna of Mercy  
    Siena, Italy (c. 1308)
    Simone Martini  


    Marilyn in Chicago means curves against grid, which is always exciting!

    From top: Barcelona Pavilion with Georg Kolbe's Dawn
    Federal Center Chicago with Alexander Calder's Flamingo 
    Cell from "Mad Men" opening sequence
    Forever Marilyn photo from Business Week 

    But not always tasteful.

    The sculpture of Marilyn Monroe on Chicago's Michigan Avenue, erected by the management of the Equitable building behind it and not by the city, is only temporary, thank goodness. Based on the famous subway breeze scene in Billy Wilder's 1955 film, "The Seven Year Itch," Seward Johnson's twenty-six foot tall sculpture is due to be removed next spring. I wonder if other cities will want it?

    Milton H. Greene, photographer, Marilyn Monroe, 1956 

    Andy Warhol understood curves against grid.

    In greater Toronto, Ma Yansong and MAD Studio's new Absolute World South tower, like Jeanne Gang's Aqua Tower in Chicago, blends the grid and curves. Ma's is known as "Marilyn Monroe." Wonder why?

    Japanese architect Arata Isozaki put in the "Monroe curve" in his Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

    A Marilyn reference makes more sense in Los Angeles, where she's from and worked in Hollywood. The Seven Year Itch takes place in New York. But there is a Chicago possibility. They might have sculpted her pose from Hugh Hefner's Playboy issue Number 1, from December, 1953.

    This, as a 26 foot high statue, would have been less vulgar. Interesting how the layout of this cover places squares and rectangles against her curves in modernist fashion. 

    This reminds me of what Rem Koohaas wrote in "Miestakes," around the time he was designing the  student center at the Mies-designed campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology-
    In all my visits to Chicago, I learned only one new thing from the Miesians, or actually two. 
    One, Mies had received a letter from Hugh Hefner once, asking him to do the Playboy Headquarters–Mies had said no, for reasons no longer accessible. 
    Two, Mies’ model shop had a (frequently exploited) view of the photo studios of Playboy Magazine–all during the Fifties and Sixties, Mies’ architecture and the first generation of playmates had been fabricated in voyeuristic proximity.
    Mining for meaning in Marilyn, aren't we all?

    Richard Serra, "Marilyn Monroe - Greta Garbo," 1981, Cor-ten steel 


    Niki de Sainte Phalle, Jean Tinguely and Per Olof Ultvedt 
    "hon-en katedral," 1966 

    Former New York Times architecture critic, the late Herbert Muschamp called Frank Gehry's Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, "the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe."

    Howard Finster, "Marilyn Monroe" 

    Willem De Kooning, "Marilyn Monroe," 1954  

    Claes Oldenburg, "Ghost Wardrobe (for M.M.)"  
    Photo © Thomas Wagner, Stylepark

    Click on this "Church of Marilyn Monroe" scene from Ken Russell's 1975 film "Tommy," for the full mind-blowing effect.

    As awful as the iconography is in that video, at least it "uses" Marilyn to say something, about idolatry and religion gone amok. That's more message than you'll find in Chicago's Marilyn. At best it speaks of desire, like many a modern building and plaza; alas, this, in the most simplistic way.

    Chicago is becoming a more feminine city, all dolled up with flowers and newer buildings that are less hard-edged; you've come a long way, baby, from your past as "hog-butcher to the world." Is this Marilyn mascot then the Colossus of Chicago, a modern dance partner, perhaps, for the Colossus of Rhodes?

    And art as commerce-- is she so different from those Calvin Klein underwear ads seen in cities around the world?

    To sum up, I can only extrapolate from Barbara Kruger's piece on Marilyn. 

    We have met the meaning of Marilyn, and it is us.

    More on Chicago's Marilyn, here.

    And while we're at it, let's pit the Second City against New York. On view in New York through September, on the Mies van der Rohe-designed Seagram Plaza, in front of his Seagram Building, sits this tall sculpture.

    "Untitled (Lamp/Bear)", by Swiss artist Urs Fischer.

    (The pairing recalls Mark Wallinger's bear, seen in 2007 below the gridded ceiling of Mies van der Rohe's New National Gallery in Berlin.) 

    So, which do you prefer, Chicago's "Forever Marilyn" or New York's yellow teddy?

    And tell us your thoughts on the new kitsch on the block, Chicago's "Forever Marilyn."

    Hello Beautiful!

    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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Happy 100th Birthday John Lautner!

    Happy Birthday, Iconoclast! No one has designed L.A. residential architecture quite as spectacular since you've been gone (1911-1994). One of my all-time favorites, for his reverence of nature, that his spaces make me gaze at the heavens and see connections, with stars and celestial beings, he blurs land, sky and water, mixes solid and air, practices a humane modernity based on nature, finds low-cost solutions with progressive engineering, he infuses his work with optimism despite his own crankiness. John Lautner was born one hundred years ago today.

    See a calendar of events to honor him here.  

    My childhood (in rural Michigan), I had a hundred miles of beaches, private beaches, you know: no people, no nothing. I mean, just go swimming anywhere you want, and no problem. The coast here to me is just ugly, you know, it's crazy. Malibu is nothing to me, it's just crazy." ... Oh it was depressing. I mean, when I first drove down Santa Monica Boulevard, it was so ugly I was physically sick for the first year I was here. Because after living in Arizona and Michigan and Wisconsin, mostly out in the country, and mostly with good architecture ... this was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen ... If you tried to figure out how to make a row of buildings ugly, you couldn't do it any better than it's been done [here]. I mean they're just ugly, naturally ugly, all the way. There isn't a single, legitimate, good-looking thing anywhere.

    From "Responsibility, Infinity, Nature" — John Lautner interviewed by Marlene L. Laskey, Oral History Program, University of Los Angeles, California, 1986

    CarmaggedonSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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If the Chicago Tribune had built Adolph Loos' design for Tribune Tower

    Computer generated, here

    Via John Crosse, who reminds us that Loos' design was surely tied to a Louis Sullivan Kindergarten Chat:
    His design makes an obvious reference to Sullivan's chapter, "A Doric Column" which derided in great detail a design competition for a memorial for the 200th anniversary of the discovery and founding of the City of Detroit. (Note: Sullivan disparaged the Doric Column throughout the Chats). Loos must have been quite pleased with the triple entendre his entry presented and must have had great fun with it's design, obviously knowing that his hero Sullivan would see it and realize his inside joke. Sullivan ended his Doric Column chapter chastising the unnamed architect and the selection process with,
    "So much for decay, so much for cynicism, for pessimism, for the downfall of the sturdy American pioneer, the hunter, the trapper, the woodsman, the riverman, the greatest in the world, the hardiest, the truest and the best - and their memory to consummate in what? A "Doric" Column! In any other land, in any other time, this would seem a fairy tale, so faithless sounds the story - so inhuman a response." (Kindergarten Chats by Louis Sullivan, Scarab Press, p. 62).
     Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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Hello Beautiful Fourth of July!

    Expand to full screen for best view

    Video Flag Z
    Nam June Paik

    (recently restored)
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    On view through July 4.

    "This arrangement of eighty-four television sets in Video Flag Z 
    creates a vision of America from found video footage. "

    More than ever, do your part to keep America great.
    Happy Fourth!  

    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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Feeling light in a Lou Kahn stairwell in Richards Medical Research Laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania

    In a stairwell at Richards Medical Research Laboratories by Lou Kahn
    at the University of Pennsylvania.

    A mysterious place,
    with light from the corners. 
    A place to be alone. 
    A place to rise.  

    I step and realize again, 
    Kahn does more with a stairwell, 
    than most do with a cathedral.

    Richards / Goddard Laboratories
    Louis Kahn, Richards Medical Laboratories, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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Mies photo- caption contest

    Your caption here. 
    Be creative! Leave your caption in the comments.  

    Can you top these?

    Anonymous M. Jurick said...

    Every Monday morning, I have a Bacardi hangover.
    Anonymous wilfried said...

    Miesian power nap,
    two fingers still in correct position
    for the obligate cigar.

    Anonymous Leanne said...

    Dreaming about almost nothing

    Anonymous LHS said...

    Dreaming of almost nothing

    Anonymous LHS said...

    "I told Edith she didn't need a closet — or a bed, or a pillow . . ."

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Less is a snore.

    Mies van der Rohe sleeping by antiquities photo caption contest
    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/
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