Posts Tagged ‘studio’

Photo: Leong Leong.
Leong Leong’s Ray Fishtown in Philadelphia is meant to surround residents with art. A Russian philanthropist is collaborating on the project.

I thought this article about including original art and artists’ studios in residential buildings was interesting. I confess, however, that the extreme wealth of the young Russian woman who is behind the concept makes me uncomfortable. She’s the daughter of an oligarch, and it’s hard for me to believe anyone makes a fortune in Russia without workers suffering. Of course, we also have guys like that.

As Taylor Dafoe reported at Artnet News, “Russian collector Dasha Zhukova, who founded Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, has launched a new real-estate venture with the aim of bringing residential apartments, art studios, and exhibition spaces together under one roof.

“Ray, as Zhukova’s new business is called, already has two major developments underway, in Manhattan and Philadelphia. Its website describes them as ‘vertical villages’ and notes that prices will be ‘accessible.’ …

“Mexico City-based architect Frida Escobedo, who in 2018 became the youngest architect ever commissioned to build London’s Serpentine Pavilion, will lead the design of the 21-story development Ray Harlem.

“The building’s first four floors will serve as the new home of Harlem’s historic National Black Theatre, founded in 1968 by Barbara Ann Teer, and will include spaces for performance, events, and retail. The rest of the building will feature 222 apartments, artist studios, co-working spaces, as well as communal kitchens and libraries. …

“Ray Fishtown, a 110-unit building in Philadelphia designed by the architecture firm Leong Leong, is under construction now and boasts a similar slate of amenities, including a half-dozen street-level artist studios. New York artist Rashid Johnson will create a living greenhouse in the building’s lobby while Philadelphia-based artist Michelle Lopez will add a text-based intervention on the split brick facade. Lopez will also work out of a studio at the development and become its inaugural artist in residence when it opens. …

“Designer Suzanne Demisch, who’s been recruited by Ray to work on the upcoming projects, tells Artnet News that the firm will look to work with ’emerging and established artists, designers, and architects’ who are ‘local’ and ‘forward-thinking.’

“Demisch, who’s worked with Zhukova on various projects for a decade, says the philanthropist first articulated her vision for Ray five or six years ago. … ‘She asked me if I would join her in defying the traditional boundaries of architecture and design in the residential field and [creating] more equitable access to the built spaces of the future.’  

“Zhukova seems to have taken some inspiration for Ray from the Garage Museum building, which was designed by Rem Koolhaas and has proved to be as big a draw as the programming inside, Zhukova told the Wall Street Journal. … 

“ ‘Even if [visitors] had seen all the shows that we had on, they would just stay and hang out in our lobby,’ she said. ‘They would hang out in our cafe for hours on end—just come back day after day because they wanted to be in that environment.’ 

“Each of Ray’s developments will offer its future inhabitants a grip of perks calibrated to the creative culture of their respective cities and neighborhoods, including workshops with local artists and live events sponsored by nearby arts organizations.”

More at Artnet, here, and at Ray Fishtown, here. The pandemic undoubtedly slowed the Ray timeline, but I’m going to keep an eye on it and see how it turns out. I’m especially curious how they plan to deliver the “equitable” aspect as I feel sure they’ll be able to get high-paying buyers with a concept like that.

Read Full Post »

Back in January, I read Michelle Herman’s Slate column about taking up ballet late in life, and I’ve been wondering if she’s kept it up during the pandemic. Even professional ballet dancers have found it challenging to practice.

Here is how Herman got into ballet at age 62.

“The dance studio had just opened on my corner — I didn’t even have to cross a street to get there. So what I asked myself was just how lazy I would have to be not to try a class. I had fond, if vague, childhood memories of the weekly modern dance classes I took for five or six years at the famous Marjorie Mazia School in Brooklyn. …

“It had left its mark: The thought of a dance class did not fill me with despair or fury the way a Pilates class or the contemplation of a gym membership would have. Plus, I enjoyed dancing at parties. So maybe this would be fun, I told myself. Maybe I wouldn’t hate it.

“I didn’t hate it. I didn’t hate it so much that almost right from the beginning I was in tears. … There is no reason it should have felt so right to have one hand on the barre as I extended a foot that I was concentrating very hard on simultaneously turning out and pointing — concentrating not only on that pointed foot, but also on muscles throughout both that leg and the other leg, the one that was supposedly just standing still. And on my right arm in second position.

“I believe what happened that day was that I fell in love.

“There were only four of us in the room that first day. Three students (two old, as in over 50, and one young, as in under 20) and Filippo Pelacchi, the teacher (who was very young himself, although not in dancer years—he had just turned 28).

“If I cannot recreate every one of the 75 minutes of that first adult beginner class I took in the summer of 2017, it’s because by now I’ve spent approximately 84,000 more minutes in that studio—that is, 1,400 hours, something like 950 dance classes plus rehearsals for performances, and those minutes run together in my mind. But I do know this—that in that very first class, …  I had a moment of what seemed like perfect clarity: My body and my mind were working as one. …

“I’m a writer and a teacher, so all my work is mental work. But in ballet there was what seemed to me a remarkable twist: I was living that mental work in my body. In my body — with which, even more remarkably (even more improbably), I was making art. …

“In ballet, there is no separating the body and the mind. I have to think hard to create the shapes, to make the movements, of ballet. Even standing still in first position — which to the observer doesn’t look like anything — requires the engagement of muscles that will not turn on without my express command, muscles that do not engage reflexively the way my muscles do when going about ordinary tasks. There is nothing ordinary, nothing of the daily life, about ballet. …

“And there is this: Almost from the start I saw that ballet would fulfill a longing I’d had as far back as I could remember, a longing that accounts for the pleasure I take in hosting and leading a Passover Seder although I am a firmly nonbelieving Jew. …

“Sometimes the ballet advice sounds a lot like life advice.

  • Build a solid structure, Filippo tells us, and then find the open spaces where you can experiment, be yourself, and make it your own.
  • With stability comes freedom. If you are strong in your center, the rest can move freely around it.
  • Everything is connected. Everything you do is informed by what you have done before.
  • Commit to the transitions, he urges us. Even though they are not the highlights, they are the platform for the highlights.
  • And: No matter what happens, stay in it. Even if you forget or make a mistake, keep moving. “Here I am!” Own it. And then find your way back in.
  • Search every moment for what is there. Especially in the pauses, you have time to find something new, the next thing.”

More at Slate, here.

Art: Natalie Matthews-Ramo

Read Full Post »

I met Dedalus Wainwright when he was collaborating with a colleague of mine on an exhibit about carbon fiber. He is an artist, a sculptor.

Dedalus is having an open house this weekend at the Allston studio he rents from Harvard University.

In the studio, three tables full of models trace the origin of the full-sized painted aluminum sculptures you see here. He created the canes, or strips, in his models by cutting up drawings he had done in the past. Then he painted the blank sides with bright colors. I was intrigued by that multilayered approach and by what I could see by bending down and looking through the strips. I liked one model with especially intricate and colorful drawings and another that from the back reminded me of an Edvard Munch forest of ominous skinny trees.

I learned that a bird planted the seed that grew into the sculpture project.

Dedalus had been listening to a bird singing outside all day long. It may have been a mockingbird because it had so many different songs. At night, counting 47 different calls without one repeat, he dozed off, and when he awoke he had an idea for a sculpture with upright pieces such as you see here. If you look behind him, you also can see his studies of his pillars. Some are rising from what might be destruction, others from something more luminous.

There is a short bio of Dedalus at the Kinodance site. Read it here.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: