30 October 2013

Makoko Floating School

Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria. Designed by NLÉ, an architectural firm with offices in Nigeria and the Netherlands, founded 2010 by Kunlé Adeyemi. Picture from the NLÉ website which includes a slide show of this and other projects.

The building is a combination community center and school: community center on first level, school on second level, other educational facilities on top level. Learning about this was a gift from today's indexing for Avery. There's an article in the May 2013 issue of Abitare wherein the author compared the structure with Aldo Rossi's Teatro del Mondo but admitted it might be the particular view. Or maybe it's just a glorious wooden building rising above the still waters of a canal or lagoon. I love my indexing!

28 October 2013

utopian benches

Utopian Benches, 2011, by Francis Cape, illustration from the Murray Guy website.

"A bench is a social sculpture, and this is why it interests Francis Cape." -- Frances Richard, in a review of Cape's show at Murray Guy, New York, in Artforum, October 2013, p. 293

23 October 2013


As I listened in rapt attention at the UB Gender Symposium described in the next older post, I couldn't help but be distracted by the reflection of the Darwin Martin House behind the speakers. Here, Jack Quinan (retired architectural historian from UB) and Wanda Bubriski (Executive Director Emeritus, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation). Bubriski moderated a panel with Quinan and Beverly Willis after the film A Girl is a Fellow Here, with "here" being the Taliesin Foundation.

22 October 2013

case in point: Read Weber

As we artnacoisti get accustomed to the new fields in NACO records for attributes of the entity being established, the question of coding gender of persons has come up several times. I have told folks that they need to justify gender either by an explicit statement of gender or by use of a gendered pronoun. We should not assume that a Robert is male or a Susan is female. In most cases you'll be right but ...

I spent this afternoon, into the evening, at the "Building Talent: Women, Patronage, and Mentoring" symposium, coordinated by the University at Buffalo Gender Institute and held at the Greatbatch Pavilion at the Darwin Martin House. One of the features of the symposium, which was fantastic and inspirational, was a showing of the short documentary from the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation entitled A Girl is a Fellow Here--100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright.

One of the six architects featured in the film was Read Weber (1908-1990). She was listed as male in the registry of American architects of the American Institute of Architecture until 2008. The profile of Weber on the Willis Foundation page mentions this and below is an illustration of the Coney Island Hospital, designed in 1957 by Weber. (Photo credit: Stoller/Esto Photography)

In the film, several of the women are interviewed and express their appreciation of Wright's attitude toward women. That is, he was unwilling to give them any more credit than he gave his male associates.

The speaker that had me in the palm of her hand was Marika Schioiri-Clark, now principal of SOSHL Studio. I had seen some of her work with MASS Design Group as part of my Avery indexing. MASS did a hospital project in Butaro, Rwanda. Schioiri is now living in Cleveland and working on an artist housing and residency project among other things. Her key words are "empathic design" and her mission is founded in her studies at Harvard where aesthetics trumped social engagement.

They said they were filming the symposium. Perhaps it will be available one of these days.

06 October 2013

connect the dots

At the ARLIS/Western New York (aka the "upstate" chapter) meeting last week at the Watson Homestead, we had two artist talks. One was by Chris McEvoy who described the methodology he uses to make his paintings. It was intriguing. Here's "Some Kind of Nature" (2011) from his website:
I was doing some maintenance in the Scholes catalog and came across several forms of name for Mary McInnes, one of the art history professors here. One of the books attached to her name is Telling Histories: Installations by Ellen Rothenberg and Carrie Mae Weems, the catalog for an exhibition at the Boston University Art Gallery, 1999. It turns out that Chris McEvoy was a preparator for the exhibition, according the credits in the catalog.

I was sorely tempted going to see the Carrie Mae Weems show at the Cleveland Museum of Art which closed just a few days ago. I didn't make it and it is some consolation that it will be at the Guggenheim early next year. Weems has done a wide variety of work and is one of the new MacArthur fellows this year. If you don't know her work, I recommend a trip to her website and here's one of the "African Jewels" from 2009:
I saw some of Weems's photographs of Timbuktu at the Brooklyn Museum some years ago so it was especially troubling when the rebels were battling there. And that reminds me of Chris Huemer who went to Timbuktu one year for Christmas. Chris was then the librarian at the American Academy in Rome though I met her in 1969 or 1970 when we were both at Cornell libraries.

The other artist who spoke to us at ARLIS/WNY was Paul Bartow. Mostly he is involved with social practice and collaboration, with several projects having a nature and science bend. The last book I finished reading was What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation by Tom Finkelpearl (Duke, 2013). The social practitioners are strong around Alfred and I was surprised by a colleague's dismissal of Bartow as not an artist. Oh, well. I enjoyed Bartow's talk and Finkelpearl's book.

And if you read about my enjoyment of the Kyle Abraham concert at the beginning of the school year, it was good to read that he too was selected as a MacArthur Fellow this year.