Tuesday, October 31, 2017

DESTINATIONS: "Blossoms of Light " at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Lighting extravaganzas set in gracious gardens seem to
be all the rage these days. The spectacular glass
exhibition Chihuly Nights, set on the grounds of the New York
 Botanic Gardens, drew nearly a million awestruck 
visitors during its recent six-month run.

Coming up next month, the Denver Botanic Gardens
will pull out all the stops for its much-anticipated annual holiday 
lights show. The show, which is set on a 23-acre landscape,
 will run from Nov. 24-Jan. 1, 2018 (open Dec. 24, 25 & 31), 
and will include
  • An interactive light display, featuring a large field of 
  • sound-reactive, animated LED lights
  • Holiday treats (warm drinks and a souvenir mug)
  • Professional carolers
Below are some pics from past Denver celebrations,
for your viewing pleasure.
As the Rain Man would say, "Sparkly (yeah)!"

Note: admission is timed, and a limited number of visitors
are allowed in per day, to prevent overcrowding.
Advance tickets are highly recommended!

For more info, link here

Friday, October 20, 2017

WHIRLYGIGS: Calder's "Hypermobility" at Whitney in NYC closes on Monday, Oct. 23

"Rare and slightly wobbly motorized works form an exhibition at the 
Whitney Museum of American Art that recaptures 
Calder’s guile and joy."
                                                                                              ... NY Times review

Above: Hanging Spider

There are still three more days to see the whimsical mobiles of Alexander Calder, whirling to specially composed music, on the top floor of the Whitney Museum in NYC. This exhibition focuses on the striking richness of movement and sound in Calder's work. It brings together a wide-ranging sampling of key sculptures, and provides a rare opportunity to experience the works as the artist intended—in motion.

"Capturing motion in art was a Modernist obsession. Yet by treating dynamics itself as a means of expression, whether with a motor or by suspending elements in space, Calder negated the possibility of perceiving these sculptures in a single fashion. Where sculpture had once aspired to monumentality, 
Calder proposed an art in three dimensions that took infinite forms."  

...New York Times
Aluminum Leaves, Red Post, Calder, 1941

A selection of mobiles is activated regularly for visitors. There will also
be one-time displays of rarely seen works, as well as motorized sculptures 
that haven’t been viewed in motion for decades. 

Sea Scape,1947

This mobile reminds me of glass artist Dale Chihuly's 
Persian Ceiling at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, FL.
See "Jewel Boxes" feature here

untitled, Calder, 1947

See a bit of the exhibition, with motion and music, here.
The song "Turn, Turn, Turn" was written by Pete Seeger. 

~ oOo ~

EXHIBITION: Great women of 20th century design at MOMA

I've been thinking a lot about the fascinating MOMA/NY exhibition I saw two years ago: "Designing Modern Women 1890-1990". I was quite smitten with nearly everything I saw, and thought it would be fun to repost about it. Hurray for unsung design hero Margaret Knight, who came up with the idea of the flat-bottomed paper bag! 

Other special favorites were Art Nouveau designs by Margaret MacDonald (more on her later), silver work by Marianne Brandt, Eva Zeisel's elegant white ceramic bowls and whimsical tableware, Greta Von Nessen's "Anywhere Lamp", Eileen Gray's high gloss black lacquer room screen and round occasional table, and the whole section called "Kitchen Transformation". The latter demonstrated how sensible it was that women -- who were always concerned with esthetics, efficiency, and hygiene -- would rise to the forefront of design in this area. Charlotte Perriand's pod-like Unité kitchen is a standout in this department.

            Marianne Brandt coffee and tea service

     Eileen Gray screen and famed E1027 table

Von Nessen's "Anywhere Lamp"

Eva Zeisel's "Shmoo" salt & pepper shaker

A slightly puzzling feature of the show was its first item, a chair 
by iconic British designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
CRM was the husband of artist Margaret Macdonald; 
the two collaborated closely through the course of their careers.
He famously said of her "I have talent, but she has genius."

Margaret MacDonald's gesso
"The White Rose and the Red"

(To read an excellent BBC article entitled
Margaret MacDonald: the talented other half 
of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, link here .)

       Unité kitchen,  designed by Charlotte Perriand           Unité kitchen seen from the living room
with Le Corbusier 

A group of four humble paper bags was included in the show, because ...

... the flat-bottomed paper bag was Invented in 1871 by Margaret Knight,
one of the first female inventors ever to receive a US patent.
It replaced the flimsy envelope-style type and 
revolutionized grocery shopping forever. 

I was baffled by the omission of Art Deco ceramics maven Clarice Cliff. A phenomenally successful designer, entrepreneur and all around Zelda-esque bon vivant, she was best known for her Bizarreware line. Here's a touch of Clarice for you.


See my article "Clarice Cliff: Jazz Hot Baby
of Art Deco Ceramics" (Modernism magazine, Spring 2007)

CC Bizarreware, Branch and Square pattern.

~ oOo ~
This posting was originally published on Mad for Mod on 8/8/15