Matt Chaban


Dia’s Downtown Dreams: Art Foundation Returns to 22nd Street With SOM-Approved Designs

Clad in the same redbrick, the three structures are meant to look unified while also expressing their unique character and history.

“Not to be critical of others, but a focus on art and a way to display art are hard things to find in the world,” Roger Duffy said during a recent tour of the Dia Foundation’s three buildings on West 22nd Street. “When I meet many artists, I ask them what their favorite museums are, and there aren’t many. There’s a lot of investment going on, but not much else.” Read More


Roger Duffy’s Art Houses: A Dozen Designs From Dia’s Daring New Architect

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Condé Nast Cafeteria

The international architecture firm SOM is best known for its stolid glass towers, but partner Roger Duffy has shown that is not the only way. One of his favorite modes is collaborating with the Minimalist artists he admires to create experiential (and experimental) spaces, buildings not unlike the installations of these artists—James Turrell, Lawrence Weiner, Rita McBride. But that is not the only work this daring designer has created. Here are a dozen of his projects from the past decade, ranging from schools to luxury condo towers and international airports. Read More


The Art Handler: SOM’s Roger Duffy, With the Help of His Artist Friends, Thinks Outside the Old Glass Box


When he was 11, Roger Duffy had his first encounter with art. It was 1966 and he was thumbing through one of those big Time-Life picture books about America at his home in Oakmont, a town on the outskirts of Pittsburgh famous for its golf course of the same name. He came across a picture of a drawing by Diego Rivera hanging in the guest room at Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s wooded retreat 60 miles away. Mr. Duffy asked his father what it was, and Duffy père responded laconically, “It’s art.”

Even today, as one of the most canny combiners of art and architecture, Mr. Duffy, in his reserved way, said he saw no great significance in this awakening. He had come to realize the power of a piece of art, as well as that of its surroundings, even though he did not know it at the time. “I thought of art as magic, and I still do,” he said. “But the two of them together, in that moment, I never really thought of that, now that you mention it. I was just focused on the picture in the picture.”

It would take a few decades for his appreciation of art to develop, and years more for him to incorporate it into his work as a partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, but his focus never really wavered. “He may not have known it, but I think this sensitive genius was always there inside him, just waiting to come out,” said Robert Whitman, the renowned multimedia artist and friend and collaborator of Mr. Duffy. Read More


Gagosian Gimlet, Anyone? Gagosian Plans ‘Restaurant Concept,’ Will Serve Alcohol, May Open This Fall

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Gagosian at 976 Madison

The tasty morsels keep coming from the kitchen of Larry Gagosian.

In an interview with Gallerist’s sister publication The Commercial Observer today, restaurant consultant Steven Kamali, who is working on the the dealer’s forthcoming space at 976 Madison Avenue, on the ground floor of the 980 Madison building, said that it could be a restaurant, and not simply a cafe, as Gallerist had previously reported.

“I can tell you we are consulting with the Gagosian Gallery, and we’re helping him curate a restaurant concept for their venue at 980 Madison Avenue,” Mr. Kamali told The CO. The only other detail he would reveal is that the project has applied for a liquor license from the local community board.

Meanwhile, Gallerist stopped by the Landmarks Preservation Commission last week for a look at what Mr. Gagosian and his architect Annabelle Selldorf have planned for their new space. Read More


Chez Larry Is a Go-Go: Annabelle Selldorf Designing New Cafe and Gallery Space for Gagosian at 980 Madison

Gagosian, coming to a cafe near you. (Wet Jet)

For decades, Larry Gagosian has been a fixture at Sant Ambroeus, the Upper East Side cafe around the corner from his flagship gallery 980 Madison Avenue, which he opened in the late 1980’s. He even has a regular table, where he can watch the rest of the art world stream by, many stopping to pay their respects before taking their own seat inside the eatery that has long been the art world’s living room.

But soon Mr. Gagosian will be sipping his espresso closer to home—and it will be curious to see how many of his fellow connoisseurs will follow him.

As Gallerist reported in February, Mr. Gagosian plans to open a cafe in one of the storefronts at 980 Madison, and work is now underway on the project, which will include space for a gallery. In April, permits were filed with the Department of Buildings for demolition, plumbing and renovation work to the storefront previously occupied by the Spot Shop, where tchotchkes connected with the Damien Hirst show (books, prints, cufflinks) had been on sale.

Last week, the construction permits were approved by the city, and they reveal that the new cafe will be designed by Annabelle Selldorf. Additional city records filed with the Landmarks Preservation Commission provide definitive proof that Gagosian Gallery is opening a cafe in the multi-story storefront, along with additional gallery space. Read More


Marina Abramovic Wanted to Open Her Performance Art Institute in Bushwick, But Brooklyn Was Too Toxic

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The Abramovic Method

Marina Abramovic, the iconoclastic performance artist (aren’t they all?) was in Queens today to talk about her “legacy” in Hudson, N.Y., a project that it turns out was nearly built in Brooklyn. “It was impossible to find the right location,” she explained to a crowd of nearly a hundred arts journalists assembled inside the giant Kraftwerk dome in the MoMA PS1 courtyard.

Instead, she settled on the upstate town along the river with which it shares a name, for the new Marina Abramovic Institute, the embodiment of her life’s work, but also more, she insisted. “Why I didn’t want to make a foundation?” she asked herself. “Because a foundation shows only your own art. For me, it was important to create a situation for other forms, as well.”

“Why my name?” she continued. “I feel like I could become a brand, like Coca-Cola, or Levis for jeans. My names is now about performing art.”

But will crowds truly flock to Hudson to engage in long-duration art, as Ms. Abramovic characterizes the work to take place at her institute, where “who is the performer and who is the audience is impossible to tell,” Serge Le Borgne, the institute’s director, said. Read More


Redrawing the Drawing Center: Soho Staple Stays Put Inside $8.6 Million Renovation

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Redrawing the Drawing Center

A decade ago, Soho watched as one by one its galleries and arts institutions left and were replaced by boutiques, bistros and condos. How ironic that the Drawing Center, one of the neighborhood’s oldest and most venerable institutions, should reverse the trend.

In December 2010, the 35-year-old gallery paid $2.4 million for a loft on the second floor of its long-time home at 35 Wooster Street. The purchase provided the space necessary to facilitate a consolidation and reorganization of its facilities at 35 Wooster, ensuring the gallery’s future in Soho.

“We decided to stay, that we have this asset, let‘s build on what we have,” Brett
Littman, executive director of the Drawing Center said during a recent tour, referring not only to his building but the still thriving if somewhat stultified neighborhood surrounding it. “We settled on a gradual, incremental growth, one we can actually sustain.”

Mr. Littman said he hoped the project, known as ReDraw, could even serve as a model for other institutions, the recent demise of the American Folk Art Museum still fresh in so many nonprofits’ minds. He even said it was possible for the Drawing Center to slowly colonize the building, buying up condos as they become available. Read More


Chez Larry? Gagosian Considering Cafe to Replace Spot Shop at 980 Madison

Chez Larry? (WetJetSet)

For the past month, fashionable New Yorkers and art world connoisseurs have been streaming through a storefront at the 980 Madison Avenue building to pick up spotty souvenirs from a Gagosian-branded “spot shop” that was opened to coincide with the globe-spanning 11-gallery “Complete Spot Paintings” exhibition by Damien Hirst. With the spot show upstairs closing in less than two weeks, the Upper East Side may soon trade spots for espresso as Larry Gagosian is in talks with his landlord, Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty, to open a cafe in the space (call it Cafe Gilbert). Read More


The City as Canvas: Bored With Models and Drawing, Museums Turn Artists and Designers Loose on the Streets

Long Island City 2.0. (The Noguchi Museum)

Imagine that, in the spring, Long Island City is transformed by the artists who have for decades called the neighborhood home.

Running down Broadway, one of the Long Island City’s main axes, is a green lawn from curb to curb. It stretches from the shore to the elevated subway station three-quarters of a mile away. A High Line at street level, the refashioned road is traversable by cars and trucks, thanks to special pavers installed by Rirkrit Tiravanija. Occasionally, the east-west thoroughfare is closed, for movie nights and flea markets, all the hallmarks of a burgeoning post-bohemian neighborhood.

A few brave souls, rather than ambling along the new grassy causeway, fly over it, suspended in one of Natalie Jeremijenko’s hang-glider like Flightpaths, a project she successfully installed two years ago in Toronto. There are mechanized duck decoys floating in the channel between here and Roosevelt Island, monitoring the biodiverCITY. Visitors take in the East River from a new waterfront esplanade designed by George Trakas, stretching from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, along the old industrial waterfront and past Socrates Sculpture Park.

From the esplanade, visitors observe the new quality-of-life indicators installed by Mary Miss on the Big Allis stacks. The red-and-white striped chimneys have dominated the Ravenswood skyline since 1965, when the power plant, then the world’s largest, opened. (As a name for the neighborhood, Ravenswood dates back almost two centuries. Ms. Miss and her collaborators are trying to revive it, setting the northern half of the neighborhood off from its condo-covered south.) Read More