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10.01.2008
Eavesdrop: Anne Guiney
Discretion, Self-Loathing, and Cinderella

NON-SENSE & SENSIBILITY

We are feeling rather serenissima ourselves after a trip to beautiful and improbable Venice for the Biennale. This benevolent mood will no doubt be of short duration, and will not keep us from our appointed rounds, which include a moment to marvel at the wall text that folks put up next to their installations. Remember, if it’s not really confusing, people won’t think you’re smart! Right, Juergen Meyer H.? We swear we hadn’t had a drop of Campari when we came across the Berlin architect’s very beautiful and very orange wallpaper based on data protection patterns in the first room of the Italian Pavilion. But perhaps we should have, because we’re wondering how it “thickens the skin of discretion.”

WIGLEY’S WHACK-A-MOLE

Don’t mess with the Mark, people: At an afternoon conference at the Biennale including the artist Matthew Ritchie, Paola Antonelli, and Greg Lynn, Columbia’s Mark Wigley declared that “architecture isn’t about people.” An outraged Brit in the audience wasn’t having it, however, and stood up and shouted, “Yes it is! Architecture is about people, and art is about metaphor—this is Rubbish!” Unfazed, Wigley responded, “If you would just self-loathe for a minute and let me finish…”

ARCHITECTURE BEYOND BUILDINGS, DINNER BEYOND TABLES

We managed to smile our way into a fancy dinner on the roof of the Peggy Guggenheim villa held by Thomas Krens in honor of Frank Gehry’s Golden Lion. Things were going smashingly until we were told to sit at table 16, only to realize that the table numbers stopped at 15. Feeling Cinderella-ish, we sat ourselves down at the table indicated by a frazzled if reassuring Guggenheim staffer. A glamorous Gallic guest had different ideas, however, and told us that her seating card indicated that we were interlopers, and implied that this would simply not do. We considered offering her the lap of our handsome young neighbor, Andrew Yang, thought better of it, and were about to suggest that everything would surely be fine when she declared, “WE are FRIENDS of JEAN NOUVEL!” Indeed! Since WE are NOT, we decided not to push our luck and skedaddled off to an empty-looking table before we got into any more trouble.

WE SHOULD HAVE HAD A SPRITZ: SEND GOSSIP AND CAMPARI BY THE CASE TO EAVESDROP@ARCHPAPER.COM.

Anne Guiney