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Eavesdrop: Anne Guiney


Forget about the mortgage crisis, folks—when shelter magazines fold, you know the economy is going to pot! The powers that be over at Condé Nast closed down the 106-year old House & Garden the other day, and doomsday scenarios have been flying fast and furious amongst those of us who think about toile wallpaper and the care and feeding of amaryllis. According to our Nast-y mole, H&G’s long-time editor, Dominique Browning, and publisher, Joe Lagani, were not particularly simpático, and the latter quit smack dab in the middle of the magazine’s first ever Design Happening, a series of events pegged to New York Design Week. Lagani had apparently been beefing up advertising sales, so his departure, the specter of coming economic trouble for H & G’s target demographic, and a world already overstuffed with shelter magazines seem to have spelled the end.


Imagine the surprise of the editors at Architectural Record when an obituary on New York Times critic Herbert Muschamp came in from their critic Joseph Giovannini. The first sentences: “When Herbert Muschamp died on October 2, at the age of 59, it was as though a planet dropped out of our architectural constellation. From his first book in 1974, File Under Architecture, he was a fixture in our sky of thought…” This, about the man whom Record had an-nounced its intention to sue for tortious interference just a few years before! Editor Suzanne Stephens had been working on a book about the rebuilding of Ground Zero, and Muschamp announced that she couldn’t include the work he had commissioned from various chic architects for an issue of the Times’ Sunday Magazine, though she had already received permission from the Times legal folks. The squabble reached a crescendo on a design world-packed flight back from the 2004 Venice Biennale, when Ms. Stephens was seated in the same row as our planetary critic, who bellowed, “I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO LOOK AT YOUR ******* FACE!” The lady had a sharp retort. Meanwhile, the architects involved were forced to take sides: Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Fred Schwartz, Charles Gwathmey, and Peter Eisenman, and all the younger firms withheld their permission, presumably at Muschamp’s bidding. Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, Rafael Viñoly, David Rockwell, and Alexander Gorlin felt no such compunction and gave the OK. Suffice it to say that the editors at Record toned the obituary down for the print edition, but posted the original online in all of its stellar style.

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Anne Guiney