Architecture

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

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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

Speeches

The Oratory of Peter Brant and Lawrence Weiner: a Comparison

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Heiner Bastian, Celine Bastian, Julien Schnabel, Peter Brant and Tony Shafrazi

Superficially, Lawrence Weiner would appear to have little in common with Peter Brant. The former is a onetime dockworker turned conceptual artist with long white beard, bald pate and stooped posture, rarely to be seen without scuffed red leather jacket and hand-rolled cigarette; the latter, a dashing newsprint mogul who lives in a Greenwich, Conn., manse with his supermodel wife and is given to tailored suits and polo teams. And yet, it turns out they both give pretty good speeches. Read More

Museums

Trilingual Lawrence Weiner on View at the Jewish Museum

Lawrence Weiner, 'NO TREE NO BRANCH,' 2011/12. (Photo by Bradford Robotham/The Jewish Museum)

The Jewish Museum just sent over this little Friday delight, a new work by Lawrence Weiner that will hang in the entrance lobby of the museum through May 13. It’s called NO TREE NO BRANCH (2011/12), and is based, according to the news release, on the Yiddish saying: “All the stars in the sky have the same face.” Mr. Weiner spelled it out in Arabic, English and Hebrew, and broke it into pieces. Read More

public art

Jay-Z, Ed Ruscha and Marilyn Minter to Design Water Tanks in New York

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The Art Newspaper reports that nonprofit organization Word Above the Street has signed up a bevy of artists for a 12-week project to transform 300 of New York’s water towers into public artworks. Ed Ruscha, Lawrence Weiner, Marilyn Minter, E.V. Day, Tony Conrad, Andy Goldsworthy and Tony Oursler, as well as rapper Jay-Z are just some of the artists on board with the aptly named Water Tank Project, an effort to increase public awareness of the need to conserve water. Read More

Museums

Menil Collection Puts Its Interview Archives Online

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The Artists Documentation Program, a branch of the Menil Collection, has opened the doors on its impressive collection of artist interviews and placed the whole archive online. Previously only available to curators and art historians, the online project was funded in association with the Whitney and the Harvard Art Museums’ Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art. Read More