Photo: Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Tayler Smith, Michael Hull / Courtesy Times Square Arts, Courtesy Flat Vernacular, Sean Davidson
Every two weeks, I will collect and share objects, designers, news and events to know.
There’s an 18-foot-tall sculpture in Times Square covered with 400,000 hot pink, lavender, and peach acrylic nails and fashioned instead… Enter and you’ll find a three-tiered fountain spouting Florida water, an eau de cologne. floral which would have healing properties. Pamela Council, the Bronxville-based artist behind the piece, sees the sculpture as an offering to survivors and, like the fountains they made in the past, a symbol of joy and resistance. The sculpture is an extension of Council’s exploration of blaxiderma, their term for a black vernacular camp aesthetic that represents things that are skillfully handcrafted. The sculpture is meant to be a space where individuals can reflect on their own survival, whatever their personal definition of it. Fountain for survivors is visible until December 8.
Photo: Nicholas Knight, courtesy Public Art Fund, NY
In the 1950s and 1960s, Diane Arbus regularly brought her Rolleiflex camera to Central Park and photographed the people she saw. Arbus is back in Central Park as a new sculpture by Gillian Wearing, supported by the Public Art Fund. The bronze statue represents the photographer in mid-stride, as if she is about to take her next photo, and is installed at the southeast entrance of the park. New York City, and Central Park in particular, have a rather embarrassing record when it comes to public monuments dedicated to female historical figures. Until the inauguration last year of the Monument to the Pioneers of Women’s Rights, there was no statue of a true historical female figure in the park. That of Arbus will be installed until August 2022 and is a much appreciated addition throughout his too short tenure.
Photo: Vernacular courtesy apartment
The latest removable wallpaper from Payton Cosell Turner and Brian Kaspr, founders of the Flat Vernacular wallpaper company, began with Cosell Turner’s watercolors depicting symbols of New York City. Too Much NYC Stuff is a loving, nostalgic ode to the landmarks and mundane things that make New York the city it is. You will see a few icons (the Washington Square Arch, the Staten Island Ferry, the Apollo Theater sign); a few street institutions, like the Mister Softee truck and the bodega awnings; objects that represent the history of New York City (a subway token, a 1980s boom box, a Seneca Village plaque); and items that are personally important to Cosell Turner, such as the street cats that hang out in a building in his neighborhood and a menu from Lady Mendl’s tea room. She has tried to include something from each neighborhood to speak to the history and culture of the city itself and hopes to add to it over time. “Whether it’s in fact or in fiction, most people have their own very specific relationship with New York,” says Cosell Turner. “It is a monumental task to try to capture the universal through the particular, but I have done my best.”
Zoe Schlacter, multidisciplinary artist and designer, is influenced by the Bauhaus – especially textile designers Anni Albers and Gunta Stolzl – not only aesthetically, but also philosophically. There was no separation between art and craft, which was revolutionary at the start of the 20th century. Schlacter aspires to do the same now, nearly a century later, working in fine art, fashion, graphic design, sculpture, and housewares and gleaning influences as broad as Bauhaus artists to queer craft traditions. On October 28, Schlacter will launch its largest collection of home goods to date, consisting of rugs, pillow cases, blankets and candles made in collaboration with Piera Bochner. I was especially won over by the covers in the collection (maybe also because the days are getting colder), especially their Peaks and Valleys colourway – which looks like scribble, checkered and striped cutouts – and the dazzling pattern in black and white.
Photo: Sean Davidson
Like many New York artists and designers, Christopher Al-Jumah was struck by all the plywood that mounted storefronts during the Black Lives Matter uprisings in 2020 and saw it as a particularly symbolic material. He was able to salvage some of the plywood panels protecting the windows of the Tenement Museum and turned them into a sofa, chairs and a coffee table that were part of an exhibition he organized on performative politics and direct action. . For Al-Jumah, activism moving into the realm of social media is not conducive to change. The furniture, supposed to be a place for real conversations about racial justice, is an invitation to a more direct dialogue.
Long-awaited second season of Curbed and Vox Media Podcast Network Good try! threw. The first season focused on failed utopias and how communities have designed their own value systems, rituals and beliefs, all in the service of a better life. The second season explores where many of these ambitions have been funneled: in design on a personal scale. The question of what constitutes a better life is inextricably linked with the history of design and architecture. One of the reasons I’m so excited about this new season is that it explores the history and culture surrounding many everyday items that promise to improve our lives to some extent, whether through a good night’s sleep or a cleaner butt. Of course, the real stories behind what these objects claim to do are much more complicated. The first two episodes have been released and new ones are released every Thursday. (Full disclosure, I’m the show’s producer.) Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.