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Nov. 19, 2008 

Design Miami, the design-focused art fair set to go up in Miami opposite Art Basel Miami Beach, Dec. 3-6, 2008, is looking a little different this year. The organizers have announced that instead of its conventional home in the Moore Building, it will set up in a custom-designed 43,000-square-foot tent at the intersection of NE 39th Street and 1st Court in Miami’s Design District.

The tent is the brainchild of New York architects Aranda\Lasch. Features of the temporary structure include a "breezeway" perimeter area around the outside, offering "a subtle transition between inside and outside" and "a space to hang-out," as well as a central "palm court" engineered to accommodate a row of trees that exist on site. The court will host a special design installation by the Brazilian design duo of the Campana Brothers, who take Design Miami’s "Designer of the Year" award for 2009.

Aficionados may remember Aranda\Lasch from the "Design and the Elastic Mind" show at the Museum of Modern Art, where they offered Woven Rope (2005), a rope-like material composed using "a parametric equation to organize a series of sine and cosine curves in space." They are represented by Johnson Trading Gallery in New York.

Speaking of a "big tent" approach. . . Design Miami is expanding its program to take in high-concept jewelry design this year with the inclusion of Ornamentum Gallery, which is ordinarily found in Hudson, N.Y. Ornamentum is turning its Design Miami booth over to ten studio artists, including Dutch artist Ted Noten, whose "participatory jewelry" takes the form of "brooches cast in silver and gold from gum chewed by wearers-to-be."

Other notable Ornamentum artists include Jiro Kamata, who assembles glittering necklaces from used camera lenses, and Ruudt Peters, who creates "tribal fertility symbols for a post-Viagra world," worn at groin-level. The full list of jewelry designers at the fair includes Lisa Gralnick, Sergey Jivetin, Daniel Jocz, Camilla Prasch, Gerd Rothmann, Philip Sajet and Peter Skubic. See for full details.

Still another treat in the Design Miami program is new product from Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Murakami’s production company, Kaikai Kiki, is opening shop at 3930 NE 2nd Avenue for the duration of the fair to hawk a series of design works inspired by the maestro’s iconic sculptures and paintings. Look out for a "flower-encrusted knuckleduster" inspired by the artist’s work with hip-hop artist Kanye West. Also advertised are three varieties of cushions inspired by his "flowerball" reliefs; carpets and wallpaper with Murakami designs; sofas, chairs and ottomans; and jewelry, rings and charms employing "the Dokuro skull with flower eyes, and the Kinoko multi-eyed mushroom" motifs. Kaikai Kiki touts the all-out design blowout as "an important new direction" for the artist.

The 22nd edition of the already-monster-sized art-and-antiques fair in the Netherlands, TEFAF Maastricht, Mar. 13-22, 2009, is set to feature its largest-ever number of galleries, approximately 240 in all. Organizers have also announced that for the first time, they are dedicating a section of the fair to "20th century and contemporary design."

"If we identify certain trends in the market then we should try and go with them, and 20th century and contemporary design is an area where we need to strengthen the Fair," TEFAF chairman Ben Janssens is quoted as saying in an announcement. Among the design galleries to be featured are Philippe Denys from Brussels, and Frans Leidelmeijer of Amsterdam. More info at

The subject of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s big 2009 Costume Institute show is "The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion," May 6-Aug. 9, 2009. Organized by Harold Koda, the exhibition spotlights 70 "masterworks of haute couture and ready-to-wear" by designers ranging from Azzedine Alaïa and Giorgio Armani to Vivienne Westwood and Yohji Yamamoto. It also promises to display important fashion photography by the likes of Richard Avedon, Horst, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn and Mario Testino.

But, above all, as its title indicates, "The Model as Muse" promises to give the star treatment to models themselves, particularly those who are seen as reflecting their times. The complete list of beauties that Koda plans to pay homage to includes Nadja Auermann, Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Campbell, Janice Dickinson, Dovima, Linda Evangelista, Lisa Fonssagrives, Jerry Hall, Shalom Harlow, Sunny Harnett, Lauren Hutton, Iman, Dorian Leigh, Peggy Moffitt, Marion Morehouse, Kate Moss, Suzy Parker, Jean Shrimpton, Christy Turlington, Twiggy, Amber Valletta and Veruschka.

All of which means that tickets to the Met’s famous Costume Institute Gala Benefit, May 4, 2009, are likely to be in particular demand. Honorary chair this year is Marc Jacobs, with co-chairs Kate Moss, former boy-band star Justin Timberlake and Vogue publisher Anna Wintour.

Superdesigner Ron Arad is being elevated to the pantheon when he gets his first major museum solo retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Aug. 2–Oct. 19, 2009. Curated by Paola Antonelli and Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini, the show ranges over the breadth of his high-tech, high-concept furniture pieces. The travelling retrospective opens first at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Nov. 20, 2008-Mar. 16, 2009.

The MoMA/Pompidou show borrows from the collection of New York’s Friedman Benda gallery, which currently features its own show of new Arad works, "Ron Arad: Guarded Thoughts," Nov. 7-Dec. 20, 2008, in conjunction with the Paris opening. Included at Friedman Benda is Afterthought, a knotty polished aluminum seat that seems to change shapes from different angles, and Southern Hemisphere, a shell-like patinated aluminum rocking chair. Supercollector Aby Rosen’s Lever House, at Park Avenue and East 52nd Street near MoMA, is also giving visitors an advance taste of Arad with an exhibition that goes on view Dec. 11, 2008-Feb. 2009.

Also of note currently in Chelsea is "German Avant-Garde Design of the 1980s," Nov. 6-Dec. 20, 2008, at Demisch Danant. The show focuses on the heady interplay between German designers and artists in the 1980s, juxtaposing artworks by Helmut Federle, Gunther Forg and Imi Knoebel with design pieces by innovative German designers like Volker Albus, Cocktail, Wolfgang Laubersheimer, Moebel Perdu, Pentagon, Herbert Jakob and Weinand.

The special interest for cognoscenti is that the whole affair is curated by Josh Baer, the man behind the auction-world insider newsletter the Baer Faxt. Given that Baer has recently been quoted as saying that he has definitively been converted to a "bear" on the contemporary art market, could he be looking for a sideline in classic design? (Baer, actually, is a curator of some repute, having put together a Chris Burden show at Zwirner & Wirth in 2004, for instance.)

Ceramic artist Betty Woodman took the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Brooklyn Museum/Modernism Design Award on the occasion of the just-concluded "Modernism" art fair in New York, where she was highlighted by her gallery, Max Protetch, with a solo show. The award is given annually (last year, it went to furniture designer Wendell Castle).

On the occasion, Protetch also announced that Woodman had completed an installation for the American Embassy in Beijing, a dramatic 24-foot-high ceramic-and-canvas wall incorporating imagery from Chinese art history.   

The Tequila brand known as 1800 Tequila, which is produced by the fast-growing Proximo Spirits of Jacksonville, Fla., is inviting artists to design their own versions of the 1800 Tequila bottle. One winning design will be selected for a 2009 ad campaign, with a $10,000 prize going to the artist who came up with it. For more info -- and to see a gallery of prospective bottle schemes -- visit

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