Monday night the Storefront for Art and Architecture threw a benefit party at the new home of the Paul Taylor Dance Company on the lower Lower East Side. Arguably the city's most experimental architecture venue, Storefront can count some of the city's major architecture names as supporters, or at least as party goers, including Steven Holl, Brad Cloepfil, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, and Bjarke Ingels. Younger designers like Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu of SO-IL, and John Hartmann of Freecell were also in attendence. AN Editor-in-Chief and Storefront board member William Menking and fellow Archigrammer Dennis Crompton honored Michael Webb, Storefront board member Belmont Freeman cut a rug, and Charles Renfro urged on bidders in the silent auction, which includes works by artists, designers, and photographers ranging from John Baldessari to Iwan Baan. Even with all the people watching, dancing, drinking, and snacking, one person stood out: Storefront's dynamo director Eva Franch Gilabert, ablaze in a fuschia mermaid dress. Has the architect's black uniform finally been banished?
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Margaret Russell, the editor-in-chief and vice president for brand content at Elle Decor, has been named editor-in-chief of Condé Nast's Architectural Digest. She will succeed Paige Rense who has edited Digest for nearly 40 years. Russell has made Elle Decor a credible rival for Digest, and is respected for her taste and discerning eye. Digest remained virtually unchanged for much of Rense's long tenure there, so many expect Russell will update the magazine's image as well as bring new architects and designers into its pages. The magazine's offices will relocate from Los Angeles to New York. Russell will take over in September.
Central Park Conservancy founder Elizabeth Barlow Rogers and Friends of the High Line founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond will receive this year's Jane Jacobs Medals, presented by the Municipal Art Society and the Rockefeller Foundation. Rogers founded the Central Park Conservancy in 1980 and served in the dual position of president and park administrator till 1995. The conservancy became a model for public/private park restorations that has been emulated nationwide. Since its inception, the conservancy has raised $500 million for restoration and maintenance of the park. A writer and scholar on landscape history, Rogers is currently the head of the Foundation for Landscape Studies, another organization she founded. She will donate her entire $80,000 prize to the Foundation. David and Hammond fought successfully to preserve the High Line, which was slated for demolition during the Giuliani administration. Enlisting the support of politicians, gallerists, celebrities, and the public, they raised raised awareness, and millions, to transform the dilapidated structure into one of the country's most innovative urban parks. Friends of the High Low now operates as a conservancy and will to cover 70% of the High Line's operating costs. The High Line's second phase is now under construction. Hammond and David will each receive $60,000 and will each donate $20,000 to the Friends.
Today, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago announced the appointment of Michael Darling as the James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator. Darling is currently the modern and contemporary art curator at the Seattle Art Museum and was previously an associate curator at LA MOCA. "Michael Darling is the perfect creative leader to evolve the MCA as a preeminent contemporary art destination in terms of reputation, influence, relevance and visibility," said Madeleine Grynstejn, the Prtizker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, in a statement. Darling replaces Elizabeth Smith who stepped down last year. Under Smith, the MCA organized or hosted numerous architecture exhibitions and programs including Sustainable Architecture in Chicago, Garofalo Architects: Between the Museum and the City, as well as serving as the Chicago venue for Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe. Darling is well positioned to continue MCA's architecture and design programming. While at MOCA he co-curated the exhibition The Architecture of R.M. Schindler.
Wellington “Duke” Reiter, the president of the School of the Art Institute, has announced he is stepping down and returning to Phoenix, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. Reiter, an architect and former Dean of the College of Design at Arizona State University, arrived at SAIC in 2008. In his brief presidency, he oversaw the opening of the new Sullivan Center Galleries in the old Carson Pirie Scott building as well as curricular reorganization in a sluggish economy. In an email to students and faculty Reiter said he wanted to return to his practice: “I have decided to return to my ongoing work linking the fields of art, design and sustainable urbanism. These issues have always been my passion and I look forward to devoting my full attention to the creation of sustainable city models on a global basis.”