Mid-Century Modern Furniture Then and Now - Paradigm Gallery Blog

Archive for the ‘Form and Function’ Category

Architects and Their Chairs “C”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On June 10th

        C is for Castiglioni

 

 

 “Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means”.

Achille Castiglioni (February 26, 1918 – December 2, 2002) was a renowned Italian industrial designer. He was often inspired by everyday things and made use of ordinary materials.He preferred to use a minimal amount of materials to create forms with maximal effect.

Achille Castiglioni was born in Milan and studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano University and set up a design office in 1944 with his brothers, Livioioni Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. In 1956, Castiglioni founded the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (Association for Industrial Design, ADI). Castiglioni taught for many years, first at the Politecnico di Torino, and in 1969 he led a class in Industrial Design at the Politecnico di Milano.

MoMA’s permanent collection in New York hosts 14 of his works. Other works may be found in the following museums: Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Kunstgewerbe Museum in Zurich, Staatliches Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Munich, Design Museum in Prato, Uneleckoprumyslove Museum in Prague, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, The Denver Art Museum, Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Angewandte Kunst Museum in Hamburg and Koln

 

 

 

Sanluca, designed in 1960 by Achille and Pier Giacomo, is a modern take on the traditional lounge chair - See more at: http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/three-best-italian-lounge-chairs#sthash.wLMLWGNv.dpuf

Sanluca, designed in 1960 by Achille and Pier Giacomo, is a modern take on the traditional lounge chair – See more at: http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/three-best-italian-lounge-chairs

 

 

Achille Castiglioni . sancarlo, for Tacchini http://www.tacchini.it/

Achille Castiglioni . sancarlo, for Tacchini
http://www.tacchini.it/

 

 

Achille Castiglioni, Sella telephone stool, 1957, for Zanotta (designed with Pier Giacomo Castiglioni).

Achille Castiglioni, Sella telephone stool, 1957, for Zanotta (designed with Pier Giacomo Castiglioni).

 

 

1980's 'vintage' Leonardo table, Achille Castiglioni Architectural trestle work table Pin by Ryan Tam on Tables | Pinterest

1980’s ‘vintage’ Leonardo table, Achille Castiglioni Architectural trestle work table
Pin by Ryan Tam on Tables | Pinterest

 

 

the achille castiglioni effect www.designboom.com

the achille castiglioni effect
www.designboom.com

 

 

The famous Arco Floor Lamp with its elegant marble base was designed in 1962 by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for the Italian manufacturer Flos.

The famous Arco Floor Lamp with its elegant marble base was designed in 1962 by Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for the Italian manufacturer Flos.

 

 

Design is one of the highest expressions of twentieth-century creativity, and Achille Castiglioni is one of its greatest masters. His objects stand as clear examples of rigorous method, technical skill, exuberant talent, and wit, combined to achieve a beauty that is fulfilling on both a rational and an emotional level. His work exemplifies the ideal of good design.

With his functional and purist yet playful objects, Castiglioni has shown that form and function, while certainly the main ingredients for successful design, cannot be a designer’s only concerns. He has thus contributed invaluably to updating modernist design to contemporary modern.

Paola Antonelli
Associate Curator
Department of Architecture and Design

Excerpt from MOMA exhibition

 

Overview of all products by designer Achille Castiglioni

 

We apologize if we have failed to credit a quote or an image to the correct source. Please let us know and we will correct the error.

 

Architects and Their Chairs “B”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On May 12th

     B is For Breuer

Marcel Breuer image via The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research

Marcel Breuer image via The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research

 

 

Marcel Lajos Breuer was born May 21,1902 in Hungary. He attended university at the Bauhaus School and later was a teacher in the carpentry department. When he came to the United States he was a professor at Harvard University (1937-46) in the School of Architecture.

 First recognized for his invention of bicycle-handlebar-inspired tubular steel furniture, he designed his most famous creation, the Wassily Chair, so called after being admired by artist Wassily Kandinsky. It was the first chair to feature a bent steel frame. Breuer designed a whole range of tubular metal furniture including chairs, tables, stools and cupboards. Tubular steel has lots of qualities; it is affordable for the masses, hygienic and provides comfort without the need for springs to be introduced. Breuer considered all of his designs to be essential for modern living. Design_Technology.org

 

 Democratic Affordable Furniture for the Masses

                    B 34  1928

 

B 34 1928 via http://www.loeffler.de.com/de/sammlung

B 34 1928 via http://www.loeffler.de.com/de/sammlung

 

Breuer's flat aluminum band furniture (1932-1934) Image: design_technology.org

Breuer’s flat aluminum band furniture (1932-1934)
Between these years Breuer experimented with flat aluminium in his furniture. It was not as strong as tubular steel but was considerably cheaper. The seats were targeted at the mass- market and were sold in Wohnbedarf in Switzerland. The concave bands at the back are structurally necessary but at the same time are aesthetically pleasing.
The seat above is named the Armchair, Model No. 301. It is made from painted aluminium with a painted and moulded laminated seat and back. Image: design_technology.org

 

 

 

Plywood Chair

Plywood Chair

 

 

Lounge Chair

Lounge Chair

 

 

As an architect, Breuer worked primarily in concrete. Breuer’s buildings were always distinguished by an attention to detail and a clarity of expression. Considered one of the last true functionalist architects, Breuer helped shift the bias of the Bauhaus from “Arts & Crafts” to “Arts & Technology”.

 

 

jvworks: St. John's Abbey jvworks.blogspot.com in Collegeville, Minnesota

jvworks: St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota
jvworks.blogspot.com

 

 

[Marcel Breuer's 1969 Armstrong (aka Pirelli) Building, pre-IKEA

[Marcel Breuer’s 1969 Armstrong (aka Pirelli) Building, pre-IKEA
Image and story http://archidose.blogspot.com/2008/08/ikea-1-breuer-12.html

 

1966 Whitney Museum of American Art. New York (with H. Smith)

1966
1966 Whitney Museum of American Art. New York (with H. Smith)

 

 

  •  The UNESCO building in Paris

  • Lecture Hall, New York University (1961, New York City )

  • Whitney Museum of American Art (1966, New York City ) ,

  • St. John’s Abbey Church (1953, Collegeville, MN ),

  • Ameritrust Tower (Cleveland, his only skyscraper)

Complete list: http://www.marcelbreuer.org/Works.html

 

 

We try to give credit for all information and images, but if there is an error please notify us and we will correct it.

Architects and Their Chairs “A”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On April 14th

          A is for Aulenti

Gae Aulenti 1927-1912

Gae Aulenti 1927-1912

We begin this retrospective with Gae Aulenti (December 4, 1927 – October 31, 2012) an Italian architect, lighting and interior designer, and industrial designer. She was well known for several large-scale museum projects, including Musée d’Orsay in Paris (1980–86), the Contemporary Art Gallery at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Palazzo Grassi in Venice (1985–86), and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (2000–2003). Information via Wikipedia

Quote: “advice to whoever asks me how to make a home is to not have anything, just a few shelves for books, some pillows to sit on. And then, to take a stand against the ephemeral, against passing trends…and to return to lasting values.”

 

                        Sparsal Rocking Chair 1962

Gae Aulenti Italian Architect , Industrial Designer Sparsul Rocking Chair 1962

Gae Aulenti Italian Architect , Industrial Designer
Sparsul Rocking Chair 1962

 

 

 

Gae Aulenti Italian Architect and Industrial Designer Tostapane

Gae Aulenti Italian Architect and Industrial Designer
Tostapane

 

 

tavolo con ruote

tavolo con ruote

 

 

Tour Table by Gae Aulenti Available through: www.mintshop.co.uk Pic: www.moggit.com


Tour Table by Gae Aulenti
Available through: www.mintshop.co.uk
Pic: www.moggit.com

 

Architect and Industrial Designer at Home Gae Aulenti

Architect and Industrial Designer at Home
Gae Aulenti

 

 

Architect and Industrial Designer at Home Gae Aulenti

Architect and Industrial Designer at Home
Gae Aulenti

 

Ms. Aulenti was one of the few Italian women to rise to prominence in architecture and design in the postwar years. Her work includes villas for the rich, showrooms for Fiat, shops for Olivetti, pens and watches for Louis Vuitton, and a coffee table on wheels that is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“I’ve always worked for myself, and it’s been quite an education. Women in architecture must not think of themselves as a minority, because the minute you do, you become paralyzed. It is most important to never create the problem.” Gae Aulenti

 

Vote: Architectural Curves or Right Angles

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On February 18th

 

National Congress of Brazil Oscar Niemeyer Architect via escuyer.tumblr.com

National Congress of Brazil Oscar Niemeyer Architect via escuyer.tumblr.comvia

 

Oscar Niemeyer was one of the most important architects of the 20th century and he did not like angles. “Right angles don’t attract me. Nor straight, hard and inflexible lines created by man,” he wrote in his 1998 memoir The Curves of Time. ” I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire universe, the curved universe of Einstein.” via theaustrailian.com.au and gizmodo  *great Niemeyer architecture images

Was he ahead of his time, anticipating the direction of architecture?

 

EDIFICIO COPAN STAIRS by Oscar Niemeyer

EDIFICIO COPAN STAIRS by Oscar Niemeyer

 

People are far more likely to call a room beautiful when its design is round instead of linear. What about architecture, curves versus angles? The reason may be hard-wired into the brain. There have been recent studies by neuroscientists that conclude, “Curvature appears to affect our feelings, which in turn could drive our preference.” It’s also critical to point out that just because people have a natural neural affinity for curves doesn’t mean round design is always superior. If researchers asked people to rate architecture based on functionality instead of beauty, for instance, they might get different results.

CoDesign, in their post Why Our Brains Love Curvy Architecture shared: When the great architect Philip Johnson first visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, he started to cry. “Architecture is not about words. It’s about tears,” Johnson reportedly said. Something about the museum’s majestic curves moved him at an emotional level.

 

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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Architect Frank Gehry image via scarflove.tumblr.com

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Architect Frank Gehry
image via scarflove.tumblr.com

 

Curves are making big statements on skylines around the world from the exquisite (in my humble opinion) Guggenheim Bilbao to London’s “Gherkin” ,  the “Marilyn Monroe” Towers in Ontario, many of Zaha Hadid’s Designs, Calatrava, and the Apple Campus 2 — its massive new headquarters designed by starchitect Norman Foster.

 

The Gherkin, Architect Norman Foster Curved buildings can point to nature, whereas angular buildings contrast with it Paul Silvia, assistant professor of psychology

The Gherkin, Architect Norman Foster
Curved buildings can point to nature, whereas angular buildings contrast with it
Paul Silvia, assistant professor of psychology

 

Monroe Curves, Absolute Towers by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects

Monroe Curves, Absolute Towers by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects

 

Calatrava via voguevoyager.tumblr.com

Calatrava via voguevoyager.tumblr.com

 

 

Curved or angular, do you have a preference?

Some of the rooms had a round style like this Courtesy Oshin Vartanian via CNN

Some of the rooms had a round style like this
Courtesy Oshin Vartanian via CNN

Others had a rectilinear form, like this Courtesy Oshin Vartanian via CNN

Others had a rectilinear form, like this
Courtesy Oshin Vartanian via CNN

 

In short, what we learned from our research and fastco.design’s work, “Time and again, when people are asked to choose between an object that’s linear and one that’s curved, they prefer the latter. That goes for watches with circular faces, letters rendered in a curly font, couches with smooth cushions–even dental floss with round packaging.

Cheers and Chairs 2014!

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On December 31st

Paradigm Gallery is proud to offer products from several new partners. While we are restyling our website we have not shown the full  array of our new modern furniture options, but they will be coming soon. The new year, 2014, is an important beginning for Paradigm Gallery’s emphasis on modern designs manufactured in the USA and Europe. The emphasis is on environmental awareness in sourcing the materials and quality furniture.

 

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The Osaka Chair

 

 

Lounge22 retail furniture and rental furniture is hand crafted in Los Angeles, California. Lounge22′s product is designed and fabricated with the highest level  of integrity.

Osaka Chair:  The Osaka makes use of future-forward technology to literally bend matter; in this case, sustainable bamboo. This beauty’s smart design and unequaled craftsmanship make it a timeless addition to any room. A signature addition to our collection, the Osaka Chair is part of Lounge22′s Green Line. Made from sustainable bamboo.

 

 

 

 

 

B&T       B&T B&T

The Nuans Collection is very young, utterly attractive modern furniture collection.Commercial grade, minimally designed, very unique furniture line. Nuans Collection specializes in hospitality seating in general and dining chairs in particular. The entire line is manufactured under one roof in our factory in Turkey, following European specifications.

B & T Design the words better, desirable, and worthy of choice lie at the heart of the brand

 Kubicoff artgallery

With use of modern materials Kubikoff Italy was able to reinterpret authentic icons of design. In this restyling, they collaborated with brilliant young architects, such as Sander Mulder, Ruud Bos, Jutta Friedrichs and the Stolt Design group.

The Kubikoff project is the result of international spirit and Italian labor. The winning commercial idea is to release immediately recognizable products at an accessible price. Today, Kubikoff manages to be one of the most attractive European design firm. Kubikoff is manufacturing tomorrow’s classics.

KubikoffLab

 

 

 

Zifg Zag Armchair Designer: Shell: Kubikoff lab / Base: Jutta Friedrichs

Zifg Zag Armchair Designer: Shell: Kubikoff lab / Base: Jutta Friedrichs

 

 

 

diamond_patchwork_rock_1208300

Diamond Patchwork Rock

 

 

 

 Made In Detroit  Möbel Link

 At Möbel Link, the passion for design is matched only by an unflagging commitment to operate in a manner that preserves and protects the earth’s resources. All Möbel Link furniture is made from sustainably grown and harvested, formaldehyde-free, multi-veneer Baltic birch plywood. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has certified the plywood used in Möbel Link furniture as environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable for  management of the world’s forests

Founder Alan Kaniarz is known around Detroit as a brilliant craftsperson and an innovator in the world of furniture design. Alan’s furniture can be seen at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the Modern wing. He was also recently chosen to re-create furniture for the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Turkel-Benbow House in Detroit.

 

 

The ZagZig chair responds to your movements. Handcrafted in Detroit, and made from sustainably grown and harvested plywood

The ZagZig chair responds to your movements. Handcrafted in Detroit, and made from sustainably grown and harvested plywood

 

 

 

mod-furniture-7

Made in Detroit: Impeccable Craftsmenship

Made in Detroit the new modern look of American Furniture

Paradigm Gallery wishes all of our readers a New Year of Peace, and good health….cheers!

 

Gotham Lounge Chair from J Persing made in Pennsylvania

Gotham Lounge Chair from J Persing made in Pennsylvania

Architectural Lighting Nuances Nature

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On December 18th
ljusarkitektur-solvesborg-bridge-designboom01-1

The beautiful Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

The beautiful Solvesborg bridge in Sweden       

 Completed in 2013, the Solvesborg Bridge in Sweden is the longest pedestrian bridge in Europe. The bridge consists of a higher part made out of three characteristic vaults and a long wooden bridge for pedestrians. ljusarkitektur has developed a unique lighting scheme to enhance its landmark status. the use of color changing LED fixtures from lumenpulse graze the suspension cables of what is considered Europe’s longest bicycle and pedestrian viaduct.

The team of architectural lighting experts planned the lighting “with respect for the birdlife and is inspired by the migration of the birds during the whole year. In this way the character of the bridge changes over the year and the night. In addition to this there are a number of scenarios to be used for different events in the city.” http://www.ljusarkitektur.com/en/portfolio/solvesborg-bridge/

“The overall design was achieved without impacting on the local wildlife – to limit glare, the firm integrated deep, custom glare shields, which also hide the light sources. influenced by the surrounding fauna and flora, ljusarkitektur pushed the fixtures’ flexibility and controlability to program different color sequences throughout the year. managing to be both dynamic and understated, the glowing, reflective installation has turned the bridge into an attraction in its own right.” http://bit.ly/1hlrDLJ

 

I close with the words of Louis Kahn who was an architect known for his philosophy of incorporating natural light in his architecture. Indeed this project is LED lighting but the use of light takes it to another level and enhances the architectural grace of the structure and it’s setting.

“I sense a Threshold: Light to Silence, Silence to Light – an ambiance of inspiration, in which the desire to be, to express, crosses with the possible … Light to Silence, Silence to Light crosses in the sanctuary of art.”

Those who cross this bridge may not say these exact words but I am certain they experience “the sanctuary of art” this bridge gifts to the world.

 

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

 

 

Due to the length of the bridge, at intervals along the way parts of the nature have been accentuated with light, for example trees and reeds are lit.

Due to the length of the bridge, at intervals along the way parts of the nature have been accentuated with light, for example trees and reeds are lit.

 

 

 

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

The Essence of a Miesian Dwelling

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On November 22nd

A winter view of the house in 1971, showing the original insect screening of the porch, and the roller shades added by the owner after the curtains were damaged by flood waters. image via Wikimedia Commons

A winter view of the house in 1971, showing the original insect screening of the porch, and the roller shades added by the owner after the curtains were damaged by flood waters. image via Wikimedia Commons

The Farnsworth House is a 1,500 sq.ft home designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945-51. It is a one-room weekend retreat in a once-rural setting. The design is recognized as a masterpiece of the International Style of architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, after joining the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.  The cost of project was $74,000 in 1951 ($648,000 in 2012 dollars). There was a cost overrun of $15,600 over the approved pre-construction budget of $58,400.  This created havoc,  lawsuits and counter lawsuits  ensued until the courts ordered Dr Farnsworth to pay her bill.

 

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At his inaugural lecture as director of the department in 1938, Mies stated:

“In its simplest form architecture is rooted in entirely functional considerations, but it can reach up through all degrees of value to the highest sphere of spiritual existence into the realm of pure art.”

  This sentence summarized what had become Mies van der Rohe’s consistent approach to design: to begin with functional considerations of structure and materials, then to refine the detailing and expression of those materials until they transcended their technical origins to become a pure art of structure and space.

The dominance of a single, geometric form in a pastoral setting, with a complete exclusion of extraneous elements normally associated with habitation, reinforces the architect’s statement about the potential of a building to express “dwelling” in its simplest essence.

 

As Mies stated on his achievement, “If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature—it becomes part of a larger whole.” Farnsworth House is the essence of simplicity in the purest form, displaying the ever-changing play of nature.

 

 

 

image via farnsworthhouse.org http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

image via farnsworthhouse.org http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

 

Information for this post was obtained from the following resources:   Wikipedia          http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm

Starchitecture’s Positive Impact on Museum Traffic

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On October 16th

 

 

Maman by Louise Bourgeois in front of The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain image via koikile on Flickr

Maman by Louise Bourgeois in front of The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain image via koikile on Flickr

 

Today’s museums are as much about the architecture as they are the collections within. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain was designed by Frank Gehry and was the starting point of a trend that still continues, often referred to as the Bilbao Effect. Simply put, Bilbao’s $200-million gamble bringing the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to the Basque region of Spain paid off, culturally and economically.  The Guggenheim Museum’s success in Bilbao did more than perhaps any other cultural institution to convince leaders and developers that where mega-projects go, economic transformation follows. (The Atlantic Cities.com.).

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill writes that over the past fifteen years, other cities sought to imitate Bilbao’s success by building new museums or museum additions designed by starchitects as part of civic renewal projects. Examples include the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland designed by Steven Holl, the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England and the Royal Ontario Museum addition in Toronto, both designed by Daniel Libeskind, the Denver Art Museum addition designed jointly by Daniel Libeskind and a local architecture firm, and the Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration in Hartford, Connecticut designed by César Pelli. The Ars Aevi Museum in Sarajevo designed by Renzo Piano is to be opened in Sarajevo in 2014. All of these projects are meant to use the drawing power of a spectacular building to attract tourists and other visitors to cities that would not otherwise be major destinations.s, by OMA. (Philanthropy Daily).

To learn more about the Guggenheim Bilbao: visit little aesthete wonderful images and information….

 

In addition to being an architect, Steven Holl is also a watercolorist who uses this medium to explore the possibilities of light. Above is a watercolor "sketch" of one of his studio's latest projects, the Nanajing Museum. Read more: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: 7 Questions with Architect Steven Holl

In addition to being an architect, Steven Holl is also a watercolorist who uses this medium to explore the possibilities of light. Above is a watercolor “sketch” of one of his studio’s latest projects, the Nanajing Museum. Read more: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: 7 Questions with Architect Steven Holl

 

I offer to you, just for fun, Wikipedia’s lists of: Starchitects, Former Starchitects, and Canonic Architects

Starchitects: feel free to offer any names you feel should appear on these lists

Former Starchitects

Canonic Architects

 

Royal Ontario Museum-Studio Daniel Libeskind

Royal Ontario Museum-Studio Daniel Libeskind

 

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (beeld en geluid).Image by Iwan Baan

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (beeld en geluid). Image by Iwan Baan

 

Museum of Biodiversity (or Biomuseo) Panama City, located in the alleged epicenter of biodiversity, Panama’s Biomuseo strives to tell compelling stories about nature’s wonders and thus stress the importance of their safeguarding. Architect Frank Gehry

Museum of Biodiversity (or Biomuseo) Panama City, located in the alleged epicenter of biodiversity, Panama’s Biomuseo strives to tell compelling stories about nature’s wonders and thus stress the importance of their safeguarding. Architect Frank Gehry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Watermill Center is a wondrous world. It was founded in 1992 by stage director, playwright and visual artist, Robert Wilson. With a degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute  and enormous talents in painting, sculpting, furniture and lighting design, he is a genius in many arenas.

 

IMG_6659

 

He has been described as a pioneer in the art world who has changed the way we look at theater, art and design. Here is a classic example of Robert Wilson’s unique approach and extraordinary vision.

When Robert Wilson sent his ‘shopping list’ for the contents of his installation for the Isamu Noguchi: Scultpural Design exhibition at the Design Museum in summer 2001, it included: nine tons of silver sand; six tons of black lava sand; numerous sacks of broken glass; scores of aluminium squares; several dozen of bales of fireproofed straw; and enough loose hay to build a haystack.

The result was a sensational sequence of galleries: one shrouded in darkness, the next brightly illuminated, followed by stepping stones tripping across an elegantly raked sea of sand and the icy white set elements from Martha Graham’s 1944 Herodiade standing in a lake of shattered glass.

It was an extraordinary tribute to the work of Isamu Noguchi, the American-Japanese designer-sculptor whom Wilson had befriended in the 1960s and 1970s while making his name as a promising young theatre director and designer in New York.

 

Isamu Noguchi Installation by Robert Wilson

Isamu Noguchi Installation by Robert Wilson

The Watermill Center describes themselves as an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities. They also are loosely, a museum. The Watermill Collection of over 7,000 art and artifact pieces spanning the history of humankind is integrated into all aspects of the building and grounds as a reminder that the history of each civilization is told by its artists.

One of the artists is Robert Wilson himself. When you visit the museum you will see some of the chairs he has designed. As of 2011 the collection of chairs numbered 1,000, including his designs and many international classics.

The center is set up as a laboratory for the arts and humanities to support the work of emerging artists. Watermill is a global community living and working together among the extensive collection of art and artifacts. If you are fortunate enough to be accepted into the Residency Program, then this is what you have access to: in Wilson’s words, “I maintain the space and allow others to interface with it, change it, and develop their own work in an aesthetic that can be completely different from my own.”

 

IMG_6679  IMG_6737

 

 

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Two Tourists

 

In conclusion we quote Robert Wilson from a story in Artspace , A Place Where We Ask Questions

When I was a student, I was assigned to design a city in three minutes. I handed in a drawing of an apple with a crystal cube in the center. When asked, I explained that it was my idea for a city—that our communities need centers like the crystal cube that can reflect the universe, the same way the cathedral was the center in a medieval village. It was the tallest building, the place where people congregated to exchange ideas; where artists showed their work; and where people came for contemplation and spiritual growth.

Watermill is such a center: a place where we ask questions. We must always ask, “What is it?” But we must not say what it is—for if we know what we are doing, there is no reason to do it.

I share Watermill with artists who are doing what no one else is doing. They continue to inspire me year after year.  Robert Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The accessibility of art to all classes of society is an important subject amid a frightening landscape of budget cuts. One of the core beliefs of the Bauhaus movement suggested that art should strive to meet the demands of every member of society (from doctor to janitor) and that there should be no division between form and function. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were two artists who insisted on working in environments that would share their creative talents with everyone. Subway stations, city streets and abandoned industrial warehouses all were cloaked in the beauty of their work. From teenage graffiti artists in New York City, to highly acclaimed painters, both men helped to usher in a new style of artist who conveys the electrifying pulse of large metropolitan areas through their inspiring work.

Jean-Michel Basquiat added his distinctive creative voice to both the Neo-expressionism and the Contemporary art genres. Note how he walks a fine line between radical spontaneity and restricted control in the three examples below. Many of Basquiat’s works contain a captivating political message such as poverty versus wealth, or the surprising similarities between the Atlantic slave trade and the Egyptian slave trade.

glennking-alphonsoobnoxious-liberals

Keith Haring is known for his vibrant contributions to both the Pop art and the Contemporary art genres. The graffiti influences of his teen years stand out in the colorfully bold cartoon figures seen below. Haring enjoyed conveying the importance of life and unity through his work, and later in his career, also included socio-political themes, such as anti-Apartheid and AIDS awareness. The painting, “Andy Mouse”, is a playful representation of his own friendship with renowned artist Andy Warhol.

Haring.AndyMouse.sk haringkeith_haring

Mid-Century modern furniture reflects the dreams of Gropius and many of the Bauhaus era to provide a functional, affordable and consistent product that reunites both arts and crafts in an artistic form that any socioeconomic class can enjoy.  Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring shared their creative genius with the public in a similar generous manner and should be celebrated for their impact on keeping the joy of art free.