Posts Tagged ‘Ron Arad’

Cars | Art-of-the-States

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Art of the Automobile
Sotheby’s Manhattan Galleries
New York, USA
Exhibition: 18th – 21st November, 2013
Sale: 21st November

Pistonhead: Artists Engage the Automobile
1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida, USA
3rd – 8th December, 2013

A couple of years ago, during one of her TV talk shows, American media proprietor, actress, producer, and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey handed out little sealed boxes to each of her 275 member audience. Deafening shrieks, screams and laughter filled the air when, invited by her to open them, each box contained the keys to a brand new German VW Beetle, which Oprah had given to everyone as a present.

It’s no surprise that, despite these turbulent economic times, in the country which boasts 16 lane highways, where the car is adored and deified, some of the most phenomenal, car-related events in the world take place there.

Another of these is due to happen next week, when the sky-high 10th floor galleries of Sotheby’s Manhattan headquarters building at 1334 York Avenue provides the extraordinary setting for an extraordinary exhibition of over 25 rare and historic cars from all the great makers around the world. All will go under the hammer in RM Auctions and Sotheby’s Art of the Automobile sale. The star attraction, one of the most coveted and collectible cars of all time, the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, with coachwork by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, which finished eighth overall and first in class at the 1968 24 Hours of Daytona, with the sale’s highest estimated price tag of $12m-15m, is ironically, again, not an American car. Alongside it, however, beautiful, legendary and rare US Lincoln, Chevrolet and Plymouth designs, as well as cars from many international celebrated producers – Aston Martin, Talbot-Lago, Mercedes Benz, Maserati – the list is endless – each with legitimate provenance and from every era of motoring history are well-represented.

Meanwhile, a little further south, but shortly after, Venus Over Manhattan, Powered by Ferrari, will exhibit 14 cars transformed into sculptures since 1970 by leading modern and contemporary artists in their exhibition Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile, at 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida, the dramatic open air parking structure designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. Piston Head is being organised in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach – the annual art fair considered one of the biggest events on the world’s art calendar. Works by an international array of artists: Ron Arad, Bruce High Quality Foundation, César, Dan Colen and Nate Lowman, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Virginia Overton, Olivier Mosset / Jacob Kassay / Servane Mary, Richard Phillips, Richard Prince, Tom Sachs, Salvatore Scarpitta, Kenny Scharf, and Franz West, will be on show. Prices for individual pieces will not be announced in advance, but will range from $250,000-7m. And while here, another Ferrari, the LaFerrari state-of-the-art hybrid supercar, unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, is likely to steal the show, one of the major highlights will be when Los Angeles-based artist Joshua Callaghan creates a new work in situ – a signature ‘rubbing’ of the car – as part of the exhibition.

Images from top
Ford Galaxie (Car), 2013, detail
Olivier Mosset, Jacob Kassay and Servane Mary
1964 Ford Galaxie

Ferrari 250 LM, 1964
Estimate $12,000,000-15,000,000

Plymouth Road Runner Superbird, 1970
Estimate $400,000-500,000

Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet, 1938
Estimate $8,000,000-10,000,000

Lincoln Indianaolis Exclusive Study, 1955
Estimate $2,000,000 -2,500,000

Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II ‘Supersonic’, 1956
Estimate $1,800,000-2,400,000

Vanishing Point (The Artist Cut) (Car), 2012 – 13
Richard Prince

Untitled (Car), 1986, detail, Keith Haring
Enamel on 1963 Buick Special

Photos top, 7&8 Courtesy Venus Over Manhattan

Photos 2-6, Michael Furman ©2013
Courtesy RM Auctions and Sotheby’s New York

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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Auction | 20th & 21st Century Design

Friday, June 7th, 2013

New York City, USA
Viewing: 5th–11th June, 2013
Sale: 11th June, 2013

On 25th April this year, auction house Phillips’ London Design Auction achieved the company’s highest ever result, totaling a humongous £6,109,375 / $9,286,250 / €7,147,969. Diego Giacometti’s (1902-1985) Torsade table and Marc Newson’s (b.1963) Orgone Stretch Lounge, each of which sold for£248,500 / $377,720 / €290,745, were the top two lots. Hoping to repeat that success in the forthcoming Design sale at their flagship galleries at 450 Park Avenue in New York, Phillips have gathered together some 115 interesting and diverse works by important, international 20th and 21st century designers.

While another of Newson’s Orgone series, produced around 1993 in aluminum and made by British coachbuilders specializing in the restoration of Aston Martin cars, is included, Ron Arad’s (b.1951) polished aluminium Important unique ‘Afterthought’ chair, 2007, (below) will also be sold.

Prominent amongst the Scandinavian items on sale is a large, double-spiral wall light – one of only 26 originals – from the Scala Cinema and Concert Hall, Århus Theater, circa 1955, by Danish architect, Poul Henningsen (1894-1967), or PH, as he is better known, who, synonymous with Danish lighting design, produced more than 100 lamps in his lifetime.

French designers will be strongly represented by, among many other items, a pair of doors designed by Jean Prouvé (1901-1984) for the Maisons Tropicales project, circa 1949. Prouvé’s studio produced Charlotte Perriand’s (1903-1999) architectonic Bibliotheque, circa 1954, that is also included in the sale and for which, incidentally, artist Sonia Delaunay chose the colours. French sculpture has a presence in the form of Alexander Noll’s (1890-1970) carved, abstract, elm wood piece, Untitled, circa 1970, and François-Xavier LaLanne’s (1927-2008) patinated bronze, Singe Avise (Grand), circa 2005, which, estimated at £613,560-920,160/$400,000-600,000/€523,480-785220, leads the auction.

Images from top
Poul Henningsen
Large double-spiral wall light, from the Scala Cinema and Concert Hall, Århus Theater, circa 1955
Estimate £230,014-383,325/$150,000-250,000/€114,630-327,150

Charlotte Perriand
Bibliothèque, circa 1954
Estimate £306,700-460,080/$200,000-300,000/€261,720-392,550

Alexandre Noll
Untitled, circa 1970
Estimate £184,030-276,085/$120,000-180,000/€157008-235,530

Ron Arad
Important unique ‘Afterthought’ chair, 2007
Estimate £306,700-460,080/$200,000-300,000/€261,720-392,550

Images courtesy of Phillips

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The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Books | Creative Salvage

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Cut & Shut: The History of Creative Salvage
Gareth Williams & Nick Wright
Published by Williams Wright
Stockists: Paul Smith, Tom Dixon, Dover Street Market,
Themes & Variations, KK Outlet, and Bonhams
Available from 4th December, 2012

In an opening essay to Ron Arad Associates, One Off Three (Artemis, 1993) the late Italian design maestro, Ettore Sottsass, described the 1983 Milan season as being very strange. ‘Ron Arad appeared in a show with that immense, rusted armchair, strange antique animal, strange fossil, probably from a generation destroyed by a meteorite.’ Sottsass went on to say that the sudden presence within the landscape of his thoughts of a being so different, of an animal that seemed to have been built by someone with large hands, working inside some dark grotto with Nordic fires, was a huge shock: ‘I was really frightened.’

I was pretty scared myself in about 1980, when, a young designer on The Sunday Times Magazine, I decided to approach Arad at his workshop – dark, forbidding, elemental, in a mews just a few hundred meters from our offices, that seemed no place for the faint-hearted – to design a trophy for The Sunday Times Young Computer Brain of the Year competition, so I waited around and grabbed him when he popped outside for a tea break. Keen to break the mould, I wanted to go for something edgy by someone new but perhaps I was naïve in not taking into account Arad’s philosophical approach and taste for ambiguity. His suggestion – the raw, amorphous lump of melted metal he brought in to show the science editor and myself a week later – as visually unimpressive as a bit of dusty moon rock – failed to emote the precious quality that was an essential requirement of the brief. Deemed unsuitable by us as an object for presentation, it was not a thing that might sit proudly on anyone’s mantlepiece. I ended up designing the trophy myself and, although it saw many years of use, it didn’t win any prizes.

Sotsass’s reaction and mine probably reflected the bulk of the design establishment’s attitude to reports of what were considered to be bizarre phenomena related to the London furniture scene at the dawn of the 80s. One of these described how Funkapolitan band members Tom Dixon and Nick Jones joined by Mark Brazier Jones, began putting on parties in pirated buildings across the city’s industrial deadlands, and how, inspired by the sparks that flew as Mark cut up cars to provide a light show and fuel-spewing wrecks were crashed, the trio came up with the idea of welding waste metal into furniture. Buying a tonne of scrap, they had it dropped into a gallery and began welding it in the window, continuing up to the moment when their exhibition was opened at the end of the week. And that was just the start…

With contributions from the main perpetrators, among others: Tom Dixon, Ron Arad, Nick Jones, Mark Brazier-Jones, André Dubreuil, Danny Lane and Nigel Coates, and with a wealth of previously unpublished picture material, Nick Wright and Gareth Williams’ new book Cut & Shut: The History of Creative Salvage, being launched at London auction house, Bonhams, on 3rd December, charts, the story of ’some of the most anarchic design ever produced’.

The potent mixture of nihilism and raw energy released in the punk explosion of the late 70s, of which the creative salvage movement was a consequence, undoubtedly threw up a lot of talent across the whole creative arena. A few of those who had the ability to grow and to develop their ideas sometimes achieved great success.

Tom Dixon, who soon began to be taken seriously on the international stage started a long term collaboration with Italian furniture company, Cappellini. Items he has designed are included in museum collections around the globe, including that of MoMA in New York. From 1997 until 2008 he was creative director of Habitat, and he has served as creative director for London’s 100% London event. He set up the Tom Dixon company in 2002 which sells products in over 60 countries.

Perhaps needless to say, Ron Arad went on to become, and remains, one of the world’s most influential and idiosynchratic designers and architects. His designs have been produced by, among others: Moroso, Swarovski and Vitra. He has completed architectural projects for clients as diverse as Yohiji Yamamoto, Maserati, and the Holon Design Museum in Israel, and had numerous one man shows at such prestigious institutions as Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou and London’s Barbican. A miniature version of Vortext, his 17m high spiral sculpture with 24,000 LEDs embedded into its surface – by day, bright red, by night, a shimmering mutli-coloured, multi-language public art piece – would certainly make a damn good trophy for something.

Images from top
Tom Dixon, Chair, 1984
Unique. Fire grate, door hinges, wire and other found objects
Photo: Bonhams Auctioneers

Ron Arad, Big Easy Volume 2, designed 1988
Edition of twenty. Cut and welded sheet steel
Photo: Ron Arad Associates

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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Design | Swarovski Goes Digital at Design Museum

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum
The Design Museum, London, UK
5th September – 13th January, 2013

When, in 1989, Terence Conran whose concept it was to create ‘the first museum of modern design’, in London, and whose company converted a 1940s banana warehouse into the Design Museum, his involvement may have had a little to do with personal vanity but probably wasn’t an exercise in brand awareness for his then-burgeoning string of high-quality retail outlets and smart restaurants. Along with Conran, the project was funded by many companies, designers and benefactors whose aim was to raise design awareness and the general standard of British design.

Its founding principles being to make works of art available to all, to educate working people and to inspire British designers and manufacturers, it was royal patronage that provided the driving force behind the Victoria & Albert Museum, set up in 1852 in the wake of the enormous success of the Great Exhibition the previous year. In a boom time for British industry, generous Victorian benefactors and a less competitive art market than today’s meant that the young museum was able to make many very important acquisitions and quickly build up the most astonishing collections. Although it set out to acquire the best examples of metalwork, furniture, textiles and all other forms of decorative art from all periods, it also acquired fine art – paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture – in order to tell a more complete history of art and design but recognising, and this is key, that there was a significant difference between the two. Commercial sponsorship of design would follow in the 1890s when Arthur Lasenby Liberty built strong relationships with many leading English designers who were prominent figures in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements. Liberty himself, through his commissions, became instrumental in the development of Art Nouveau and in consequence his shop, Liberty, became one of the most prestigious in London.

Everyone is getting in on the relationship/benefactor/sponsor/collaborator act these days, and in particular there’s an ever growing crossover between luxury goods brands, architecture, design and the arts. It’s difficult to see where it will all end up. On the one hand, if fashion companies flirt with fine artists, inviting them to collaborate – as, notably, Marc Jacobs did at Louis Vuitton in 2002 with one Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami (who had already worked with Issey Miyake) and more recently with another, Yayoi Kusama – they blur the line between fine art and commerce. On the other hand, it can be said that in modern times the practice has been going on since the 1960s, when Pop art turned commercialism on its head, Op art visual illusions were applied to fabrics that were turned into dresses and Yves St Laurent designed his 1965 Mondrian dress. Taking hold of the baton in 2003, milliner Philip Treacy put Andy Warhol images on to his hats.

Selfridges and Primark owner the Canadian, Weston family claimed the top fashion spot in The Sunday Times Rich List, 2012. No strangers to art sponsorship, through the Garfield Weston Foundation, they are among the most generous supporters of the arts in Britain. Selfridges’ creative director Alannah Weston is quoted as having said: ‘My goal is to make Selfridges a destination where people can have an extraordinary experience. I have to surprise, amaze and amuse them.’ And by transforming and opening up the store’s interiors, establishing a gallery in the basement and by inviting well-known artists and young hopefuls to create cutting edge window displays, since she took on the role in 2003, she has certainly done that. And, if that wasn’t enough, she’s appointed The Shard’s architect Renzo Piano to redesign the entire store.

We’re in the middle of a confusing time when architects – Rem Koolhaas, 2009, United Nude – launch fashion footwear collections and design the stores they are sold in; when designers of the Olympic Torch, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have shown non-functional designed objects at the Haunch of Venison gallery and Farrow & Ball are the official paint sponsor of Manchester City Galleries. Last year Swarovski, collaborators with the Museum of the forthcoming exhibition Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum, worked with the Hello Kitty brand and Manhattan-based, Taiwanese Canadian Jason Wu’s Resort 2013 fashion collection, will contain hundreds of Swarovski crystals. Shared core values: artfulness, simplicity, creativity and beauty, apparently make it a safe bet to presume that Hello Kitty and Jason Wu customers will appreciate Swarovski’s creations and vice versa. Maybe, in the post-analogue era ‘when our relationship with objects and even with time is changing’ these same reasons are behind Swarovski and the Design Museum’s joint project, because  with these sorts of temporary partnerships it’s always a quid pro quo situation – nobody’s in it for nothing.

Swarovski, the world’s leading manufacturer of cut crystal was established in Austria in 1895 and has a long tradition of links with the fashion and jewellery industry, collaborating in the 1950s with Christian Dior and Coco Chanel to create avant-garde crystal jewellery. 42-year-old Nadja Swarovski, vice-president of international communications at the company began her career at the Gagosian Gallery, which probably explains a lot about her interests and the areas she’s taken the company into.

Now in its tenth year, the Swarovski Crystal Palace project – one of Nadia’s initiatives – has commissioned some of the world’s foremost  designers including Zaha Hadid, Yvés Behar, Studio Job, Ross Lovegrove, Tom Dixon and more. Initially, the idea was to reinterpret crystal chandeliers but the project has evolved into an experimental design platform allowing designers to conceptualise, develop and share their most radical works. In 2009 Nigel Coates, Professor of Architecture at the Royal College of Art designed 43 Swarovski ‘Cloudeliers’ for the restaurant at Glyndebourne and in 2011, St Paul’s Perspectives, was created by architect John Pawson, who used a precision-made Swarovski Optik lens and a suspended spherical steel mirror to reflect a new vision of the Geometric Staircase of St Paul’s Cathedral. As well as others, Ron Arad, Yves Béhar, Paul Cocksedge, Troika and Fredrikson Stallard – who actually include a section called Sculpture on their website – have been asked to take part in the Design Museum exhibition, reworking existing pieces commissioned from them by Swarovski, in response to the exhibition brief.

At the end of the analogue era Digital Crystal is intended as a catalyst for debate about the changing nature of memory in the digital world but may also force us to reassess our ideas about the role of designers and architects, and especially the role of fine artists in relation to the commercial world. And certainly there are questions to be asked. There’s something uneasy about design masquerading as art, but is that what it’s doing? Are designers and architects capable of producing great art? Is it all just business as usual? The sponsorship of design and architecture can certainly be said to usefully contribute to innovation when it provides the necessary funds to accomplish experimental projects, large and small, that otherwise might only be dreamt of, and while it can be seen to have democratised art – which must be a good thing – if it also leads to art’s total commoditisation, it remains to be seen whether it will be to art’s long term benefit.

Images from top
Ron Arad, Lolita, originally commissioned in 2004
Redesigned to receive tweets and text messages that can be displayed
on its spiral form

Paul Cocksedge, Crystallize, originally commissioned in 2005
Via single crystals mounted onto a tubular glass frame, trajectory
beams fill the room as light cascades from each crystal

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