Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mr. Smith Goes to the Bauhaus of Omar Kayyam, But Doesn't Bring Vlad!


- Couple stole more than other artists' ideas : "A dress made of raw meat? A cut-up shark in formaldehyde? A doorway made of naked bodies? Yawn. It's not easy to impress an art critic these days. So how about a piece of contemporary art that consists of fragments stolen from priceless major modern works? Eva and Franco Mattes spent two years appropriating parts of works from top-flight artists (and documenting the thefts) to create their installation now on view in New York... Read the rest of the story


May 18, 1048: Omar Khayyám, Persian mathematician, poet and philosopher, was born. "Although he became established as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the medieval period, was recognized as the author of the most important treatise on algebra before modern times, contributed to the calendar reform and proposed a heliocentric theory well before Copernicus, Khayyám's poetic work has eclipsed his other achievements. He is believed to have written about a thousand four-line verses or quatrains (rubaai's), and was introduced to the English-speaking world through the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, a series of rather free-wheeling English translations by Edward FitzGerald."

May 18, 1883: Walter Gropius, German architect and founder of the Bauhaus, was born in Berlin. "Gropius, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. Born in Berlin, Walter Gropius, like his father and his great-uncle Martin Gropius before him, became an architect. In 1908 Gropius found employment with the firm of Peter Behrens, one of the first members of the utilitarian school. His fellow employees at this time included Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Dietrich Marcks. In 1910 Gropius left the firm of Behrens and together with fellow employee Adolf Meyer established a practice in Berlin. In 1913, Gropius published an article about "The Development of Industrial Buildings," which included about a dozen photographs of factories and grain elevators in North America. A very influential text, this article had a strong influence on other European modernists, including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, both of whom reprinted Gropius's grain elevator pictures between 1920 and 1930."

"Henry van de Velde, the master of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar was asked to step down in 1915 due to his Belgian nationality. His recommendation for Gropius to succeed him led eventually to Gropius's appointment as master of the school in 1919. It was this academy which Gropius transformed into the world famous Bauhaus, attracting a faculty that included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky. With the help of the English architect Maxwell Fry, Gropius was able to leave Nazi Germany in 1934, on the pretext of making a temporary visit to Britain. He lived and worked in Britain, and in 1937, moved on to the United States where he taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design."

May 18, 1897: Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker is published. "Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, featuring as its primary antagonist the vampire Count Dracula. It was first published as a hardcover in 1897 by Archibald Constable and Co. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, the novel's influence on the popularity of vampires has been singularly responsible for many theatrical, film and television interpretations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. When it was first published, in 1897, Dracula was not an immediate bestseller, although reviewers were unstinting in their praise. The contemporary Daily Mail ranked Stoker's powers above those of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe as well as Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights."

May 18, 1897: Frank Capra, American film producer, director, and writer, was born. "The best known of Capra's films are Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, the original Lost Horizon, You Can't Take It with You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life. His ten-year break from screwball comedy ended with the comedy Arsenic and Old Lace. Among the actors who owed much of their early success to Capra were Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant and Donna Reed. Capra won a total of six Academy Awards. He was nominated six times for Best Director and six times for Outstanding Production/Best Picture. Out of six nominations for Best Director, Capra received the award three times. He briefly held the record for winning the most Best Director Oscars when he won for the third time in 1938, until this record was matched by John Ford in 1941."


“Putnam Style”
By Stephane Gerschel.
Published by Assouline in 2005.

“A 20th-century Renaissance Woman, designer Andrée Putman is best known for her work on avant-garde furniture, an elegant concorde jet, Peter Greenaway film sets, and hotel-boutique The Morgans. The photographs in this volume show Putman throughout her career, surrounded by her works and such famous friends as Andy Warhol, Samuel Beckett, and Helmut Newton. Putman's most representative works are profiled, and numerous admirers and collaborators offer respectful tributes to the artist who has been called "the vestal of immaculate design”.


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