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2004.09.06 10:53
Re: Famous or obscure? A quiz.
Olafur Eliasson in Ottopia.
Great fun for the fanclub.
another Trumbauer powerhouse stays true to form.
hyper that—find all the golden rectangles in Otto's house.
before the after
The Expeditious Expedition Through Beuys Haus

2004.09.07 12:10
Re: "restoring the skyline"
Date: 2004.09.07 12:10 "...the Ezeri Mester Memorial design, a memorial designed and executed by 1000 artists over the next 1000 years." --excerpt from Re: 1000 Kunstler, 16 August 2002
I love the thick of reenactment season, i.e., 31 August - 14 September.

2004.09.07 16:52
Re: New cycle

2004.09.08 10:50
Re: New cycle
Well, today is the first anniversary of Leni Riefenstahl's death, so a bunch of the gang is spending the day in Bavaria. First stop Nuremberg, then Altötting, and ultimately Franziska's holding tea in the Chinese Room. Overnight accomodations at Herrenchiemsee.
The thick of reenactment season just keeps on getting thicker. It's almost a miracle.

2004.09.13 18:20
I can't wait to paint the rest of my...
I Can't Wait to Paint the Rest of My Mother's Hummel Collection is Artifact of Ottopia No. 74, forthcoming...
Hey, feel free to finish "I can't wait to paint the rest of my....." anyway you design to do so.

2004.09.14 12:18
Holy Cross Day - 14 September 325
real or virtual history?
I remain curious of a combined history of the 'authentic' and the 'legendary'.
"It is long believed by native Christians in the Near East that Helena announced her discovery of the True Cross by means of a relay of bonfires. The late Professor Hitti, a native of Lebanon, reports that "native Christians, particularly in Lebanon, still celebrate on September 14 a feast with bonfires re-enacting Helena's traditional announcement of the discovery to her son at Constantinople by means of bonfires from hilltop to hilltop." Professors Hitti's report is based on personal observation, one may assume, and has been independently verified."
--Hans A. Pohlsander, Helena: Empress and Saint, page 199.
According to Timothy D. Barnes, The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine, Constantine resided at Nicomedia (today's Izmit, Turkey, not far from Istanbul) from 25 July 325 to circa 15 September 325. This chronology is based on passages in the Codex Theodosius. (footnote 126, p. 76: ...Constantine was still in or near Nicomedia when he exiled Eusebius of Nicomedia, "three months" after the Council of Nicaea.)

2004.09.20 13:47
reading MOBILE
"Considered by many to be his greatest book, Michel Butor's Mobile [first published in 1962] is the result of the six months the author spent traveling across America. The text is composed from a wide range of materials, including city names, road signs, advertising slogans, catalog listings, newspaper accounts of the 1893 World's Fair, Native American writings, and the history of the "Freedomland" theme park. Butor weaves bits and pieces from these diverse sources into a collage resembling an abstract painting (the book is dedicated to Jackson Pollack) or a patchwork quilt that by turns is both humorous and quite disturbing. This "travelogue" captures--in both a textual and visual way--the energy and contradictions of American life and history."
"A gifted disciple of French anti-novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet, Butor is notable because he uses a different technique with every book and turns out intense and interesting fiction just the same."--Time
"Mobile is not only a memorable experience, accomplishing that rich task of all true art--providing the reader with new eyes--but it is also work which fellow writers and artists can profit from because it supplies the best of all ingredients: stimulation."
New York Herald Tribune
"With a lexicographer's zest for words, Butor . . . captures the tone of American clichés, suggests an almost dizzying sense of space and variety, and brings into ironic juxtaposition elements of primitiveness and sophistication that are part of the American myth."
New York Times

2004.09.20 14:37
Julian Abele wept 20 September 1938
Racial bias was to remain a constant of [Julian] Abele's professional career. [Alfred S. Branam, an architectural historian, has concluded that Abele was the first Negro to practice architecture professionally in the United States. He was undoubtedly the first American Negro to study architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.] "There was a great deal of feeling against Mr. Abele because of his color," Mrs. Fennessy has recalled from conversations with her stepfather [Horace Trumbauer], whom she called Père, a reflection of her schooling in France. "Père was widely criticized for hiring Mr. Abele, and the bias extended right in the office--even after the years had passed. I remember him saying there was an office dinner once, and when several of the men found out that Mr. Abele was coming, they deliberately stayed away. But Père never backed down. He thought very highly of Mr. Abele. And they worked very closely for such a long time. I remember that when Père was buried, Mr. Abele broke down. He was a very reserved man, but that day he wept."
--James T. Maher, The Twilight of Splendor: Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces, p. 372.
Horace Trumbauer died 18 September 1838, and was buried 20 September 1938.
We were driving in the red VW sedan I had for a year or so. We were playing a game--we couldn't leave the cemetery until we each spotted a tombstone with our respective first names on it. That's when I suddenly saw TRUMBAUER on a rather nice pink stone plinth. I hit the brakes, jumped out of the car, knelt before the tombstone and shed fake tears of lament, albeit out of all respect. Who knew I was also reenacting Julian Abele?

2004.09.20 15:12
Julian Abele and James Stirling
As an undergraduate, he had to confront a racial cruelty so remarkable in university discourse that one may cite it without risking the self-righteousness of most rebukes to the past. In the tradition of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, young architecture students at the University of Pennsylvania were expected to perform a number of routine tasks for the elder students--redoing a drawing in a larger scale, laying out mechanical work, inking in pencil drawings, and so on. The quid pro quo was that the older students would lead the apprentice-newcomers to the architectural documents they needed to complete assignments, help them with their renderings, and tutor them in other practical ways.
Under this system the younger students were called "niggers" and their services "niggering." After long use, the terms were formalized in the university's textbook on architectural design, chapters of which were published as early as 1921. Abele and Louis Magaziner, a white classmate who was to become Abele's closest friend and confidant, were thus both called "niggers," without discrimination one might add. The danger of our absurdities, one might further add, is that they sometimes seize us by the throat.
--James T. Maher, The Twilight of Splendor: Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces, p. 372.
I realize that I am the product of a latter-day Beaux-Arts training received at Liverpool School of Architecture in the late 1940s. Renderings were executed on stretched Wattman paper, flood-washes were used and graded shadows were normal. In first year we did full color compositions of the classical orders. The final year thesis was the ultimate test and it was customary to get help from junior students--the 'atelier' system. This system was referred to in those days--is it still now at Liverpool, I wonder?--as 'niggering': ie "Who have you got niggering for you?" "Who is your nigger?" Colin Rowe and I have fantasised quite often on the making of a conversation along these lines at the rarefied revues at Yale or Harvard. Would we dare ask a bad project student, "Couldn't you get any niggers to help you?"
--James Stirling, "Beaux-Arts Reflections" in Architectural Design (1978, vol. 48, nos. 10-11), p. 88.
Abele and Stirling are to present Parkway Interpolation, a reurbanization design for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, at the Horace Trumbauer Architecture Fan Club Convention. No doubt John the Baptist Piranesi will have something to add, especially since Stirling (in 1979) said Piranesi was surely a MFA, a megalomaniac frustrated architect.]
James Stirling was born 22 April 1926.
Julian Abele died 23 April 1950.

2004.09.21 13:32
Philip Johnson didn't die yet...
More recently, one of Trumbauer's New York houses has been singled out for praise by a widely admired contemporary architect, Philip C. Johnson. "The Duke house," he has said, "is almost more dignified than its French forebears. It is the one revival house that is a total success."
--James T. Maher, The Twilight of Splendor: Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces, p. 368.

Otto asked Maria, "Philip Johnson didn't die yet, did he?"
"No, he's still hanging on, but, who knows."
"It would be great fun to have him talk at the convention about creating one's own virtual museum of architecture."
"Oh dear! Whatever you do, don't tell your brother. He's already mad enough as it is."

2004.09.22 12:27
piss elegant
As soon as the paint was dry to the touch, Jackson broke down the stretcher, rolled the canvas, and transported both to Peggy's apartment building on East Sixty-first Street. When he reassembled it in the low, ground-floor elevator lobby, however, he discovered it was too long-by almost a foot. Sleepless, distraught, and close to panic, he telephoned Peggy at the gallery. "He became quite hysterical," Peggy recalled. That was before he began to drink. Knowing that Jackson would be in her apartment that day, and "knowing his great weakness," Peggy had hidden her liquor before leaving for the gallery. But Jackson soon found it. His calls became more and more frantic. He pleaded with her to "come home at once and help place the painting." Finally, she called Marcel Duchamp and David Hare and persuaded them to rescue Jackson. "Peggy wanted us to tack it up," Hare recalled, "but it missed by eight inches so we cut eight inches off from one end. Duchamp said that in this type of painting it wasn't needed. We told Jackson, who didn't care." By then, Jackson was too drunk to care. Weaving and incoherent, he walked into the apartment where Connolly's party was already under way, crossed the room, unzipped his pants, and peed in the marble fireplace.
The demons were loose again
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, Jackson Pollack: An American Saga (New York: Harper Perennial, 1991) pp. 468-9.
Between studies there were a good few parties at Yale: parties in the Rogerses' house when their old lady was away in Florida; parties in Eldred's attic, parties given by other students, and above all a big party given by Paul Rudolph for Jim, which has become legendary. Richard Rogers vividly remembers the crucial episode at it: 'He had this amazing modern, real extreme modern, slightly Hollywood apartment, with steps coming in at the higher level, marble steps cantilevered off the wall. At the end there was a double-height wall of glass, and outside this there was probably seven foot of open space before a big white wall. The wall had a great light on it so you looked at it as though it was the screen of a cinema, and the light reflected back into the room -- absolutely white. And everybody else was there. There was a piano, and let's say a hundred people. An hour later, still no Jim. No Eldred. Door opens up at high level, there's a commotion, yells and giggles and so on, and then suddenly there come Eldred and Jim, down these cantilevered slightly marbly steps, giggling because they're canned, literally just rolling down these goddamn steps, drunk. It was a great entry. Paralytic. And like a lot of these paralytic situations, they didn't hurt themselves. A few minutes later Jim says "Where's the loo?" Somebody says, "Oh, it's upstairs." Jim says, "Fuck the loo" or something, goes into the space outside, in front of this unbelievable white screen, turns round and pisses against the glass, with about a hundred people who could look nowhere else. Like on a cinema screen.'
This story is endlessly retailed. It is the best known of the many stories about Jim. All the versions are a little different, not surprisingly, as everyone was well stocked up with drink when it occurred. It has been improved on -- it seems likely, for instance, that the people at the other end of the room remained unaware -- but it happened. Rudolph hated to talk about it. Other people have different theories about why Jim did it: Rudolph had flayed Jim at a crit, as was sometimes his way with critics as well as students, and this was Jim's way of getting back at him; it was a 'sod you' gesture against the Yale establishment; it was just because Jim was drunk and happy. Perhaps it was a bit of all three, perhaps mostly the last. Explanations vary, but the basic image remains: Jim, with a big grin on his face, peeing against the glass.
Mark Girouard, Big Jim: The Life and Work of James Stirling (London: Chatto & Windus, 1998), pp. 124-5.
In the future, everyone will piss for 15 minutes.
--the posthumous Duchamp



Stephen Lauf © 2020.10.27