Friday, June 25, 2010

Stanford White Shot; Gaudi, Venturi & Henri Offered as a Lot-


-Shouldn’t a Museum’s Collection Include its Designed Landscapes? "Flush economic times in the past decade resulted in ambitious museum expansions and expansion plans, while the recent economic downturn has led to the downscaling of some plans and a pause for others. This hiatus [is] an opportunity for expansion-minded institutions to engage in a more holistic reevaluation of their proposed building and site expansion programs; one that would result in built work in which curatorial values previously placed solely on architecture and collections would be extended to include landscape..." Read more...

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June 25, 1852: Antoni(o) Gaudí, architect, was born. "Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet, often referred to by the Spanish translation of his name, Antonio Gaudí, was a Spanish Catalan architect who was famous for his unique and highly individualistic designs. Gaudí's first works were designed in the style of gothic architecture and traditional Catalan architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style. French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who promoted an evolved form of gothic architecture, proved a major influence on Gaudí. The student went on to contrive highly original designs – irregular and fantastically intricate. Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Família, have an almost hallucinatory power."

"Gaudí's originality was at first ridiculed by his peers. Indeed, he was first only supported by the rich industrialist Eusebi Güell. His fellow citizens referred to the Casa Milà as La Pedrera ("the quarry"), and George Orwell, who stayed in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War, admittedly loathed his work. As time passed, though, his work became more famous. He stands as one of history's most original architects. Gaudí, among others, promoted the Catalan movement for regaining sovereignty from Spain by incorporating elements of Catalan culture in his designs. Gaudí was involved in politics since he supported the Catalanist political party Regionalist League. For example, in 1924 Spanish authorities (ruled by the dictator Primo de Rivera) closed Barcelona's churches in order to prevent a nationalist celebration (11 September, National Day of Catalonia), Gaudí attended to Saints Justus and Pastor's church and was arrested by the Spanish police for answering in Catalan."

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June 25, 1865: American painter Robert Henri was born. Henri (born Robert Henry Cozad in Cincinnati, Ohio) "began teaching at the New York School of Art in 1902, where his students included Joseph Stella, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, George Bellows, and Stuart Davis. In 1906, he was elected to the National Academy of Design, but when painters in his circle were rejected for the Academy's 1907 exhibition, he accused fellow jurors of bias and walked off the jury, resolving to organize a show of his own. He would later refer to the Academy as "a cemetery of art." In February 1908, Henri organized a landmark show entitled "The Eight" (after the eight painters displaying their works) at the Macbeth Gallery in New York. Besides his own works and those produced by the "Philadelphia Four" (who had followed Henri to New York by this time), there were paintings by Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, and Arthur B. Davies."

"These painters and this exhibition would become associated with the Ashcan School, although the content of the show was diverse and that term was not coined until 1934. Henri was at the heart of the group who led the depiction of the tough, exuberant city. Having spurned academic painting and Impressionism as an art of mere surfaces, Henri wanted art to be akin to journalism, and, 'for paint to be as real as mud, as the clods of horseshit and snow that froze on Broadway in the winter.' Looking at Henri's Salome of 1909 the critic Robert Hughes observed: " Her long legs thrust out with strutting sexual arrogance, and glint through the over-brushed back veil. It has far more oomph than hundreds of virginal, genteel muses, painted by American academics. He has given it urgency with slashing brush marks and strong tonal contrasts. He's learned from Winslow Homer, from Édouard Manet, and from the vulgarity of Frans Hals."

"In 1910, Henri organized the Exhibition of Independent Artists, a no-jury, no-prize show modeled after the Salon des Independants in France. Works were hung alphabetically to emphasize the egalitarian philosophy. Henri admired anarchist and Mother Earth publisher Emma Goldman, and taught from 1911 at the Modern School. Goldman, who later sat for a portrait by Henri, described him as "an anarchist in his conception of art and its relation to life." From 1915 to 1927 he was a popular and influential teacher at the Art Students League of New York. His ideas on art were collected by former pupil Margery Ryerson and published as The Art Spirit (Philadelphia, 1923). Henri's other students include George Bellows, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. In the spring of 1929 Henri was chosen as one of the top three living American artists by the Arts Council of New York."

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June 25, 1906 – Beaux-Arts architect Stanford White, partner in McKim, Mead and White and designer of townhouses and mansions for the rich and very-rich, was shot to death while dining at Madison Square Garden (which he had designed) by Harry Thaw, the drug-addled & jealous husband of Evelyn Nesbit, actress, chorus girl and one the most famous models for Charles Dana Gibson's "Gibson Girls".

"During the suggestive chorus song, "I Could Love a Million Girls," at the premiere performance of the musical revue Mam'zelle Champagne at the Madison Square Roof Garden, Stanford White was shot point blank in the face and killed by Harry Kendall Thaw. Thaw was the mentally-unstable millionaire husband of Evelyn, with whom White had had a sexual relationship many years before she had met Thaw. William Randolph Hearst's newspapers sensationalized the murder, and it became known as the Trial of the Century. The first trial resulted in a hung jury, the second, a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity."

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June 25, 1925: Architect Robert Venturi was born. "Robert Charles Venturi, Jr. (born June 25, 1925 in Philadelphia) is an American architect and founding principal of the firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. Robert Venturi and his wife and partner, Denise Scott Brown, are regarded among the most influential architects of the twentieth century, both through their architecture and planning, and theoretical writings and teaching. Venturi was awarded the Pritzker Prize in Architecture in 1991. He is also known for coining the maxim "Less is a bore" as antidote to Mies van der Rohe's famous modernist dictum "Less is more".

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