12 August 2012

wang shu: ningbo

Today's arts section in The New York Times has an article about Wang Shu who won this year's Pritzker Prize. His architecture uses rough and sustainable materials and the shapes are sometimes simple, sometimes sculptural and complex like the Ningbo History Museum (pictured above, image from the About.com: Architecture site). Though I like this building for itself, I also like its evocation of new brutalism.

The Times article:

There has been critical press about the selection of Wang Shu as an individual even though his work is done in collaboration with his wife Lu Wenyu. Marcia Thorne, the Pritzker Prize's executive director, is quoted in the April 2012 issue of Architectural Record as saying that the prize committee looked at the individual as well as the team and decided that Wang Shu was "exceptional and worthy of the prize."

It has been great over the past few months to be doing my latest gig: indexing for the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. There too, I sometimes debate with myself about individual versus firm access points. As Weinberger said: both/and; it doesn't need to be either/or ... except perhaps for the Pritzker. Christie and I were talking the other day on the phone about the irreplaceable delight of working (being) in a good architecture or art library and having the periodicals at the ready for perusing. It's nice to have Architectural RecordOld-house JournalMetropolis, others on the "to do" stack rather than the "when I've got time" stack.

07 August 2012


Yesterday, my older sister asked me if I'd recommended the movie "The soloist" (no, it was my younger sister that recommended it to me). Today, I am reading Modern painters, July/August 2012 issue and come across the work of Alexander Seton in an article by Jeremy Eccles. The work illustrated above is entitled "Soloist" and is carved of Bianco Carrara marble, about three feet high. Seton's "own values can be discerned in his acknowledged influences: the craftsmanship of Bernini, the wit of Claes Oldenburg and the Swiss artist Not Vital, and the provocations of Christo. In 2006, Seton placed a sculpted marble figure of a man in a sleeping bag right outside the hotel where the Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award was being presented, prompting at least one guest to ask a guard, 'What are you going to do about that poor man sleeping on the lawn?'"

The 35-year-old Seton grew up, by the way, "with tree-changing (an Australian term meaning they retired to the bush) parents in rural Australia, surviving without electricity in an area close to the Wombeyan marble quarry and first taking hammer and chisel to stone at age 8."

The photo is appropriated from the Devid Sketchbook website and there are lots of views of the sculpture from various angles if you google "alexander seton soloist" images.