"MODERN" MAG TO DEBUT
The magazine industry is a troubled one, but that isn’t stopping Brant Publications from launching a new title this month, MODERN Magazine. Guest editor of the debut issue is Greg Cerio, a former editor at House & Garden who does a monthly feature on modernism for Brant’s Magazine Antiques. Among the topics covered in the first issue are sculptor Harry Bertoia, designer Paul Evans, auto designer Harley Earl, California studio furniture, the 80th anniversary of the Barcelona Chair, and a behind-the-scenes discussion of the record-breaking auction of an Eileen Gray armchair at Christie’s Paris for $28 million.
MODERN is a quarterly, and the current plan calls for each issue to have a guest editor, working under the guidance of Magazine Antiques editor Elizabeth Pochoda. The first issue boasts 118 pages and a distribution of 50,000, and is being "poly-bagged" with the June issue of Art in America. The publication has also snagged the spot as "media sponsor" of the Museum of Modern Art’s new "What Was Good Design?" show. Individual copies are $8, and U.S. subscriptions go for $19.99. MODERN’s publisher is Jennifer Roberts.
NEW GEHRY BENCH FOR TWO
An undulating bench of super-lightweight aluminum by the celebrated architect Frank Gehry goes on the block this summer at Sotheby’s New York, June 12, 2009, with a presale estimate of $250,000-$350,000. The one-of-a-kind bench-for-two, dubbed Tuyomo ("Yours and Mine" in Spanish), weighs 122 pounds and is made of 80 percent recycled aluminum by the Spanish firm Emeco, a top maker of aluminum furniture.
The bench debuted at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Apr. 22-27, 2009. Proceeds from its sale benefit the Hereditary Disease Foundation research fund established in 2008 in honor of Gehry’s late daughter, the Leslie Gehry Brenner Award for Innovation in Science.
INDUSTRIAL ORNAMENT IN PHILA
The modernists tried their damndest to banish ornament from industrial design, all for naught, as an assortment of pattern and other doodads gradually snuck back in. Or so argues "Visual Delight: Ornament and Pattern in Modern and Contemporary Design" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Research assistant Diane Minnite has selected more than 30 works from the museum collection -- we’re in a recession, after all -- including some patterned enameled-steel panels made by Robert Venturi for the façade of a Best Products Showroom and a 2006 chaise by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola covered with seductive red felt flowers. The exhibition opened on May 16 and remains on view through December 2009.
MAGEN H. GALLERY OPENS
Magen H. Gallery, the 12-year-old design gallery that has specialized in top French post-war designers as well as the SoHo-based Art et Industrie movement of the 1970s, has moved down the block to a new space at 54 East 11th Street. The new facility, which doubles the exhibition space, is designed by New York architect Alan Wanzenberg.
The debut exhibition showcases works by Forrest Myers (b. 1941), Terence Main (b. 1954), Howard Meister (b. 1953), Franois Stahly (1911-2006) and Pierre Székely (1923-2001), in what the gallery calls an "abbreviated preview of upcoming shows." Proprietor April Magen is upbeat about the expansion in what she calls "uncertain times," saying that their "curatorial approach" is designed to assure that "the objects we represent are of lasting inherent value." The gallery website is www.magenxxcentury.com
NO FALL DESIGN FAIR IN NYC
London-based fair organizers Brian and Anna Haughton have canceled the International Art & Design Fair that was scheduled to bow in New York, Oct. 2-7, 2009, reports the Antiques Trade Gazette. The Haughton organization also recently called off the planned Asian Art Fair scheduled for New York in March, and, according to the gazette, "almost certainly lost money" on the International Fine Art Fair that was on view at the Park Avenue Armory in New York in early May 2009. Last year’s installment of the design fair, its eighth iteration, presented 40 exhibitors; the Haughtons promise the fair is coming back in 2010.
Jasper Johns proved that the U.S. flag is one fantastic piece of design art. Now, for its special May issue on design, Paper Magazine has invited more than a dozen top designers and design-oriented artists to take a stab at fashioning a new look for the good old red, white and blue. The results of "Rebranding America," as the project is called, are nothing if not controversial, especially the version of Old Glory concocted by Alex Bogusky, the head of the hip ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky, in which the stars in the field of blue are converted into a global panoply of symbols, from the Islamic moon and the Jewish cross to the ankh and the question mark.
Other contributions express regret, such as Andy Spade and Anthony Sperduti, owners of the NoHo shop Partners & Spade, who drape the letters of the word "sorry" with patriotic bunting, and graphic designer Peter Buchanan-Smith, who does the same with a pair of band-aids. Additional participants in the project include the Bruce High Quality Foundation, Ivan Chermayeff, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Jonathan Horowitz, Chris Johanson, Alex Kalman, Mike Mills and Stephen Powers. The entire lineup can be seen at www.papermag.com, or at the Tommy Hilfiger store on West Broadway in SoHo, which hosted a launch party for the mag on May 19, 2009.