Friday, December 21, 2007

MIT’s John Maeda named RISD president

John Maeda, associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab, has been named the 16th president of Rhode Island School of Design, the Providence school announced today. He’ll begin work in June 2008.

Maeda will fill the shoes of RISD President Roger Mandle, who has lead the school for 15 years.

"John's research is the structural foundation of design experimentation worldwide," said Paola Antonelli, curator of design at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, told the International Herald Tribune in May. "What makes him extremely influential is not only his enormous aesthetic talent, but his capacity to extend a rigorous design philosophy, based on simplicity and clarity of purpose, to the most important tool of the contemporary design process, computer software."


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sol LeWitt at Mass MoCA

Yesterday, I toured Building 7 at Mass MoCA, which is being renovated to host 93 Sol LeWitt wall drawings. Workers are busy putting up sheetrock walls in the old 27,000-square-foot, three-story brick factory building, which is currently not part of the North Adams museum’s exhibition spaces.

The numbers make it clear that this is a big project. For comparison, the 1999 LeWitt retrospective featured more than 200 works in all media. But perhaps the largest current installation of LeWitt’s wall drawings is the 14 on view at Dia:Beacon through September 2008.

Seeing row upon row of empty gallery bays at Mass MoCA, what’s clear is that this will be the monument to LeWitt’s wall drawings. It could make Mass MoCA one of those art pilgrimage meccas – maybe a bit like Donald Judd’s installations at Marfa, Texas.

The LeWitt project, covering his work from 1968 until his death this year, is a collaboration between the Yale University Art Gallery and Mass MoCA. Drawing is expected to commence in April or May. And the whole thing is slated to open in November 2008 – and then remain up for at least 25 years.

For more details see this Mass MoCA press release.

Ernest Morin: Gloucester Fire

During the early morning hours of Dec. 15, a fire broke out in a four-story apartment house in downtown Gloucester, gutting the building, killing a 70-year-old resident inside, and leaving many people homeless. And then the flames spread to the neighboring Temple Ahavat Achim and completely destroyed it too.

Gloucester photographer Ernest Morin, a pal of mine who has spent a half dozen years photographing his city, was of course there as a witness. He’d gone over to check on friends who lived in the apartment building (see bottom) and nearby. Yesterday he e-mailed me this astonishing, haunting photo of the synagogue (above).

Morin writes:
It was haunting knowing friends might still be in the [apartment] building - Terrifying at times - 16 were unaccounted for when I got there at 12:45 - I left at 1:45 to help others - so the acceleration was insanely fast - most intense fire I have ever witnessed. You couldn't stand 300 feet away for the heat - telephone pole transformers were going up like roman candles from the heat …

The Temple I shot between 230 - 4 a.m. Sunday morning 24 hrs later with a Super Speed Graphic 4x5 on a tripod - it was still on fire - fire burning behind it and the front left wall had reignited at the top - it was as desolate and haunting as it feels - It struck me hard when I first saw it - that it was "The Photo " that summed up the whole experience - I walked back home to get the speed graphic and tripod - It had already started to snow and my hands were numb trying to work the camera and film holder - I took several 2 minute exposures - the ice was from the fire hoses. The town was dead silent. Only the occasional crackle from burning timbers and icy limbs falling...The sense of loss is staggering.
The synagogue site has long been a place of worship in Gloucester. The building which burned was erected in 1828, and originally served as a Unitarian Universalist church. It was built on the site of the demolished First Parish Meeting House, which had been there since 1738.

For information on how to make donations to help the displaced residents or to help rebuild the temple click here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Greg Cook, Kari Percival, Anne Elizabeth Moore

My pal Kari Percival and I are having a teensy tiny art show at the Magpie emporium in Somerville from Jan. 5 to Feb. 3 – and you’re all invited. (Pictured is a lovely owl painting by Ms. Percival.)

In the meantime, I collaborated with Anne Elizabeth Moore on her “Catalogue of This Exhibition” project, which is on view in the exhibition “Remote Sighs from a Desert Island” at Chicago’s Green Lantern gallery through Dec. 22, 2007. You can see my bit here.

And here’s a recent Greg Cook comic.