Michael Wang

  • Left: Julius Shulman, Spencer Residence—Richard O. Spencer, 1950, color photograph. Right: Julius Shulman, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum—Frank Lloyd Wright, 1964, color photograph.
    film October 09, 2009

    Modern Love

    MODERN ARCHITECTURE found its greatest proponent not among its designers and manifestoists, but in a twenty-five-year-old college dropout with a penchant for pictures. Or at least so goes the claim of Eric Bricker’s directorial debut, Visual Acoustics (2009), a documentary portrait of the architectural photographer Julius Shulman. In 1936, Shulman, wholly ignorant of anything to do with architecture, accompanied a draftsman from Richard Neutra’s office on a visit to Neutra’s recently completed Kun residence in Hollywood. Shulman sent his snaps to the architect and unwittingly jump-started a

  • Frank Lloyd Wright, Herbert Jacobs House #2, 1943–48, Middleton, WI. Interior. Photo: Ezra Stroller. © Esto.

    Frank Lloyd Wright

    HALF A CENTURY AFTER PHILIP JOHNSON acidly proclaimed Frank Lloyd Wright “the greatest architect of the nineteenth century,” a new traveling retrospective makes the case for Wright’s relevance to the twenty-first. “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward,” organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, explores Wright’s expression of interior spaces on his buildings’ exteriors, as in the perfect example of the Guggenheim’s concrete coil. With a generation of architects modeling building shapes with functionally coded blocks of blue foam, external form is

  • Left: Artists Ryan Trecartin and Liz Rywelski. Right: Whitney Biennial curator Francesco Bonami with “Generational” cocurator Massimiliano Gioni. (All photos: Ryan McNamara)
    diary April 12, 2009

    Oh Jesus

    New York

    I ARRIVED TUESDAY EVENING at the New Museum’s inaugural triennial, “The Generational: Younger than Jesus,” an appropriately Eastertide roundup of fifty vernal artists, to the sounds of stomping feet, shattering glass, and the twangs of Shahzad Ismaily’s noise performance—all part of artist Liz Glynn’s 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project. The hullabaloo marked the sacking of Rome by the Visigoths, which, according to Glynn’s accelerated history—her cardboard and hot-glued Eternal City had been “founded” the previous evening—was timed to occur precisely as the “Generational” opened its doors for

  • Amie Siegel, DDR/DDR, 2008, still from a color video, 135 minutes.
    film April 10, 2009

    Form and Function

    SUCCEEDING THE NEW YORK UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL after its fifteen-year run, “Migrating Forms,” organized by former NYUFF programmers Nellie Killian and Kevin McGarry, continues the late festival’s focus on recent experimental film and video while widening its international scope. The festival name, borrowed from filmmaker James Fotopoulos’s skeletal tale of sex and cysts, also alludes to the programmers’ desire to relocate moving-image work originally developed for gallery audiences into the context of cinema.

    Several films structured around the unraveling of national memory clearly benefit

  • Left: Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi. Right: The Lieb House.
    diary March 18, 2009

    Show Boat

    New York

    TWO MONTHS AGO, when architect Frederic Schwartz learned that the Lieb House—one of Pritzker Prize–winning architect Robert Venturi’s earliest buildings and an icon of postmodernism—was slated for demolition by developers, his reflexive response took the form of a question: “How much?” Too much for him alone, it turned out. But with the help of Venturi’s son, Jim, he tracked down a couple of Venturi aficionados who eagerly accepted an unusual proposal: The house would be lifted off its original beachfront lot in Barnegat Light, New Jersey, where it had stood for exactly forty years, and floated

  • Yael Bartana, Kings of the Hill, 2003, still from a color video, 7 minutes 30 seconds.
    picks January 16, 2009

    Yael Bartana

    “Space is not the background for their actions,” writes architect Eyal Weizman in reference to the inhabitants of the Israeli-occupied territories in Palestine, “but rather the medium that each of their actions seeks to challenge, transform or appropriate.” In her latest museum exhibition, Yael Bartana shows video work that documents this politicized contestation of space. Overpass traffic grinds to a halt during the nationwide minute of silence honoring Israel’s fallen soldiers (Trembling Time, 2001), SUVs compete in the working-class sport of mounting rocky bluffs near Tel Aviv in a possible

  •  Jean-Gilles Décosterd and Philippe Rahm, Hormonorium, 2002, mixed media. Installation view, Swiss pavilion, Venice. From the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo: Niklaus Stauss.

    MICHAEL WANG

    IT WAS IN 1943 that R. Buckminster Fuller made his famous announcement that during the preceding two years he had slept for an average of two hours a day, napping for thirty minutes at six-hour intervals. This “Dymaxion Sleep,” as he called it, followed the Dymaxion House, the Dymaxion Car, and the Dymaxion Map. For Fuller, whose global enterprise relied on the utopian logic that design might intervene consistently across any scale, the body itself was a “complex pattern integrity”—a reproducible structure rather than a physical entity. Obliterating the line between architecture and the

  • Left: Robert Beavers (at far left) and guests at Temenos. Right: The guests walking to the site of the screening. (Photos: Michael Wang)
    film July 12, 2008

    Silent Nights

    IT IS DIFFICULT to separate the form of Gregory Markopoulos’s Eniaios, his eighty-hour magnum opus, from his idiosyncratic biography. At the vanguard of the American experimental film scene in the 1950s and ’60s, Markopoulos emigrated to Europe in 1967 and withdrew his films from circulation. Two weekends ago, and sixteen years after Markopoulos’s death in 1992, the second installment of the film, cycles three through five of the twenty-two-cycle work, was projected, for the first time, at the site outside his ancestral village of Lyssaraia in the Peloponnese specified by him as the only suitable

  • Merce Cunningham, Beacon Event, 2008. Performance view, Dia:Beacon, Beacon, NY. (Photo: Anna Finke)
    diary July 12, 2008

    Country Dance

    Beacon, NY

    After the Friday-night premiere of Mark Morris’s interpretation of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet—in which, faithful to the recently unearthed pre-Stalinist score, the star-crossed lovers survive for a last dance—I followed the Hudson down from Bard to Beacon on Sunday to see the Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform amid Dia’s monumental Richard Serra Torqued Ellipses. It was my second “Event,” as these performances are billed, in a year (I saw another at the grounds of the Philip Johnson Glass House), and the fourth in a series at Dia, each held in a different gallery. Here the staging, with

  • Left: A view of Philip Johnson's Glass House. Right: Artist Frank Stella. (All photos: Patrick McMullan)
    diary June 26, 2007

    Canaan Ball

    New Canaan, CT

    Last Saturday, A-list arts patrons, the usual Whit Stillman–esque twentysomethings, and a smattering of artists and architects descended on New Canaan, Connecticut, to celebrate the public opening of Philip Johnson’s Glass House. The exclusive (and expensive) gala picnic doubled as a fund-raiser, with the goal of purchasing several acres north of the property, thereby preserving the Glass House’s famous view. “Two McMansions were slated to be built on that hill,” announced Christy MacLear, executive director of the property, in her welcoming address. “Not on our watch,” she added to scattered

  • Left: Performance view from Freelance Stenographer. Right: The Kitchen director Debra Singer with artist Kelley Walker. (All photos: David Velasco)
    diary April 02, 2007

    Copy Cats

    New York

    On Thursday evening, artists Seth Price and Kelley Walker presented their first-ever collaboration, a performance titled Freelance Stenographer, to a capacity crowd at The Kitchen. Receiving special permission from director Debra Singer to “not share very much about the work in advance,” many audience members wondered—perhaps nervously—whether their participation might be required. The performance, an exercise in instant archiving and accelerated obsolescence, paired a video with an unassuming stenographer who quietly recorded the evening’s dialogue (on-screen and off-) on a machine, which

  • Left: LTTR coeditor K8 Hardy. Right: Bragan Thomas and Chris Spinelli. (All photos: Michael Wang)
    diary December 24, 2006

    Cover Story

    Brooklyn

    Instead of the raucous, magazine-launch-as-a-good-excuse-for-a-party atmosphere I expected last Monday, when I slipped inside LTTR’s latest appropriated event space along the river in Williamsburg (for the release of the radical, lesbian, gender-queer publication’s fifth issue) I found hushed crowds pressed against the walls of the Glasslands Gallery. Artists James Tsang (going by Ingrid, his given name, in the magazine), in a black one-piece and heels, and Ashland Mines, in a hoodie and waistcoat, moved slowly through the performance space, clapping their hands and reciting what they described