Posts tagged with "East Village":

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Target opens in the East Village with polarizing faux-urbanism

The East Village outpost of Target opened in lower Manhattan this weekend and kicked off the festivities by draping a vinyl facade of long-gone East Village institutions down a stretch of the street. The installation concocted Target-ized versions of long-gone cultural institutions, including riffs on CBGB, the Village Voice, a local laundromat, and more, drawing the ire of preservationists.
The 27,000-square-foot Target is a smaller, “urban” offshoot at the base of the Beyer Blinder Belle-designed luxury EVGB (“East Village’s Greatest Building”) tower at the intersection of 14th Street and Avenue A. The kiosks around EVGB’s base were all throwbacks to the neighborhood’s punk 1970s past and included a wrapping reminiscent of the tenement buildings that existed before Extell developed EVGB. The online responses were, predictably, divided. Preservationists viewed the stunt akin to a facadectomy and accused Target of appropriating the area’s past to promote a gentrifying store. On the other side, most of the visitors this weekend seemed happy to snag free swag the “TRGT”, fake pizza places, and “palm readers”. Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York was particularly scathing in his assessment, calling it a “Potemkin Village from Hell” and decrying the commodification of his formative experiences. Still, this kind of thing happens regularly, as facades and nods to an area’s past are frequently appropriated in the marketing for whatever comes next, whether it be an addition or wholesale replacement.
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Swiss Institute moves into Selldorf-designed building on St. Marks

The Swiss Institute for Contemporary Art has opened its new 7,500 square foot Selldorf Architects-designed location on St. Marks Place in New York City. Taking over four levels of a former bank built in 1954 and designed by Alfred Hopkins and Associates, the renovation is, in the words of Swiss Institute director Simon Castets, a “counter narrative” to the building’s former financial, low-occupancy use. The Selldorf redesign uses a seemingly minimal touch. Though there have been significant changes—full stairwells and elevators have been added along with a total plan rework—the overall architectural sensibility feels light and unimposing. White walls remain unadorned. Flooring is understated. On all ceilings, ductwork, lighting, and structural elements remain exposed—a departure from many recent galleries in the city that have instead focused on hiding every functional detail, even the lighting, as much as possible. Curators generally aren’t keen on losing space to the workaday trappings of administrative necessity. Swiss Institute has filled every corner, wall, stairwell, and even the elevator with art to allow “artists to reclaim the space lost to New York City building code” as part of the SI ONSITE program. Stairwells feature sculptures and frescoes by Shahryar Nashat and Latifa Echakhch. The elevator has been turned into an artwork, skinned in a welcoming pink from Sherwin Williams called “Memorable Rose,” which is taken from the color of a tongue by artist Pamela Rosenkranz for an installation appropriately titled Color of a Tongue (Director) (2018). A cellar gallery remains honest about what it really is with layers of gray paint applied by Dusty Baker. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkd-vN1FN80/?taken-at=1339491416095759 Like the building itself, the current exhibition, Readymades Belong to Everyone (open through August 19), is packed with art. The first floor, which features ceilings that soar over 17 feet, is dense with all variety of sculpture and 2D work. Despite lower ceilings, the new location's upper level is airy, wrapped in windows with exposed wood shining on the ceiling. There is a reading room, currently taken over by a project from Heman Chong in collaboration with Ken Liu. Chong and Liu’s Legal Books (Shanghai) features hundreds of books selected by Liu, a sci-fi writer and attorney, inspired by thinking on the Chinese legal system. The art instillation-cum-reading room features painted curtains by Jill Mulleady, another way in which the Institute is packing in the art. https://www.instagram.com/p/BkVg-UtlioO/?taken-at=5122362 One enters from Second Avenue to find a visitor welcome desk and a bookshop from Printed Matter. The entire space is decked out in the clean lines of USM’s furniture, and behind the visitor information desk is John Armleder’s Royal Flush (2018) installation of mirrored tiles reminiscent of a disco ball. https://www.instagram.com/p/BkYmINDnsN8/?taken-at=5122362 The Swiss Institute also takes the art outdoors with a terrace that places visitors in the midst of the city. The current plein air setup includes work by Valentin Carron, Nancy Lupo, and Michael Wang. In Wang's Extinct in the Wild series, the artist references Peter Stuyvesant's original orchard, composed of native plants that now only grow with human care and populated what is now the East Village. Signage on the building is multilingual, not merely with the four official languages of Switzerland, but also with the most spoken languages in the Swiss Institute's new surrounding area: English, Spanish, and Chinese. The Swiss Institute, which has free admission, has also been collaborating with local community organizations for artist-led workshops and is actively celebrating the artistic history and present of their new East Village location. The Swiss Institute’s new 38 St. Marks location opens with the exhibition Readymades Belong to Everyone, on view now, curated by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen. In addition to the artists described above, the show features many architects and designers including OFFICE, Rem Koolhaas, MOS Architects, and Sauter von Moos in collaboration with Herzog and de Meuron.
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Van Alen Institute’s spring festival focuses on getting around New York City

New York City subways and buses serve eight million riders per weekday. However, the transit system that many New Yorkers rely on encounters frequent delays and suspensions. As a response, New York-based Van Alen Institute will bring together city planners and participants to imagine new approaches towards seeing, navigating, and moving through the urban environment, with a series of events ranging from bus and bike tours to a flash design competition, from June 17 to June 23. The Van Alen-organized spring festival, "FLOW! Getting Around the Changing City" seeks to rethink the consequences of the 15-month-long L-train shutdown, among other transit issues in New York City. They will host “The Williamsburg Challenge,” where participants will test out what it’s like to travel from Union Square to Williamsburg without using the L train. The institute has also invited professional teams to propose creative solutions to solve the over-ground congestion created by the L train shutdown, in a one-night-only design competition. On June 20, AN’s very own Assistant Editor Jonathan Hilburg will moderate the talk, “Mind the Gap: Improving Urban Mobility through Science and Design." Participants include author Susan Magsamen, Perkins + Wills Associate Principal Gerald Tierney, Gehl Studio Associate Julia Day, and Multimer Strategy Associate Taylor Nakagawa. Other events include an East Village-to-Harlem bus tour led by sociologist and author Garnette Cadogan, a four-hour Brooklyn bicycle tour, a screening of the William Holly Whyte-produced The Social Life of Small Urban Space, and an interactive Urban Mobility Variety Show at Figment NYC featuring dance, music and other performances. Check out this link for a full schedule and tickets.
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Deborah Berke Partners reveals East Village community arts center

  New York's Deborah Berke Partners (DBP) has just completed interior work, unified by a subtle side-lot addition, on 122 Community Art Center, a space for theater, painting, and health services in the East Village. The five-story building, a former schoolhouse at 150 First Avenue, cheerily commands the corner of 9th Street. In the 1970s and 80s, arts groups occupied the building: actors from P.S. 122 (now Performance Space New York) converted the column-filled ground floor into a theater, and artists affiliated with Painting Space 122 worked under the light from tall classroom windows. Despite their long residency, the two groups, plus theater company Mabou Mines, legalized their occupancy only ten years ago. Working in collaboration with these groups, plus a health nonprofit, the Alliance for Positive Change, the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Design and Construction initially tapped DBP to bring the performance spaces up to code, but the project evolved into something bigger: Over a year of talks, the stakeholders developed a unifying program that would enhance inter-group collaboration while improving their individual workspaces. All four nonprofits wanted a room for meetings, and an ADA-accessible entrance lobby, as well as a common roof space. "They said, 'don't make it too nice—keep the grit,'" Maitland Jones, a partner at the firm, said. "There wasn't extra money for anything too fancy." To meet their needs, DBP carried the building, lightly, into an adjacent lot. Their addition, essentially circulation and a new entrance, hugs a former masonry schoolhouse designed in 1894 by C.B.J. Snyder—New York's go-to school architect at the time. The addition, clad in a perforated steel scrim and tucked carefully into the north wall, lightens the school's heavy red-brick facade without compromising its classical symmetry. On the fourth floor, the largest theater belongs to Performance Space NY, a company founded in 1980 in the building. Previously, the group staged performances on a first-floor space littered with structural columns, a charming but challenging arrangement. Now, actors perform in a double-height theater with a black-painted sprung floor—one of the extras the city paid for over the five-year-long construction process. On the second floor, Mabou Mines was staging a show in the smaller, 99-seat theater, and a puppet show had just wrapped in an adjacent studio. The second and third floors host Painting Space 122's studios, while the ground floor is home to their gallery and the Alliance for Positive Change clinic. Shop space, offices, studios for dance group Movement Research, and an as-yet-unfinished roof deck round out the program. Throughout, the color palette is simple: black for the floors, grey services and mechanicals, and white walls. To further unify the groups' individual workspaces, Berlin-based artist Monika Goetz crafted two light installations on multiple floors that dim and brighten rhythmically, like calm breath. Inhale/Exhale and Independent Lines, installed as architectural lighting on the cornice, and in the lobby and third floor addition, were visible from across the street on an overcast day, understated reminders of the creative frisson inside the building. The space is half-open right now, but Jones stated that renovations will be complete sometime before summer 2018.
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Selldorf Architects to renovate new St. Mark’s Place location for Swiss Institute

The Swiss Institute (SI) announced this morning that it will be moving to the corner of St. Mark’s Place and Second Avenue in Manhattan’s East Village. Selldorf Architects will be renovating the preexisting building, a former bank. The new 7,500-square-foot building will house four levels, including a basement, ground floor, second floor, and roof. This scheme will contain spaces for exhibitions, projects, public programs, a library, a bookstore, and a rooftop. It is slated to open spring 2017. "This new building offers tremendous opportunities to expand upon our mission and serve a growing audience, to whom we will continue to offer forward-looking exhibitions and public programs, always free of charge," said Swiss Institute director Simon Castets in a press release. "We look forward to joining and contributing to the diverse community of cultural organizations and artists that have called the East Village home for many years." The SI is a nonprofit contemporary art institution with a focus on experimental art that promotes forward-thinking artists and designers with exhibitions and programs. So, part of the draw to its new location is its proximity to Anthology Film Archives, Cooper Union, Danspace Project, ICP, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, New Museum, New York University, The Poetry Project, and The Public Theater. In addition to announcing its relocation, the SI said that nine new trustees will join the board and that Maja Hoffman will be taking over the role of chair. "I am thrilled to begin my tenure as chair with the support of such a stellar, expanded and international Board of Trustees, at the start of an exciting new era for the organization. I am looking forward to working with the exceptional Swiss Institute team as they thoughtfully develop the institution and its program in the context of such a storied, creative neighborhood,” Hoffman said in a press release.
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Quick Clicks> Zigzag, Walking, Movies, Retro, Rail

[ Quick Clicks> AN's guided tour of links from across the web. And beyond. ] Zigzag. In April 2009, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed a painted zigzag stripe where a road and a bike trail intersect. Wash Cycle reports that VDOT has since studied the effects of the experimental installation and determined the lines have improved safety and reduced speeds at the trail crossing. These zigzags common overseas, but could they be coming to a street corner near you? Distracted Walking? Better watch where you walk with those headphones. ABC reports that legislators in New York and Arkansas have proposed banning pedestrians from using cell phones or wearing headphones at crosswalks under penalty of a $100 fine. Proponents claim it will increase safety, but it seems to be a classic blame-the-pedestrian response to traffic fatalities. Any chance this will one day hit the books? Starchitecture? Well, sort of. With the Academy Awards right around the corner, Curbed rounded up a collection of design from this year's contenders including the decaying interiors in The King's Speech to the temple-like Inception dining room to Lowell, Mass.'s blue-collar homes in The Fighter. You might also remember AN's recent look at movie architecture. Back in '87. With the proliferation of shiny condo buildings across Manhattan, it's easy to forget the grittier ghost of New York past. EV Grieve uncovered a series of photos of the East Village from the late 1980s showing boarded and burned buildings in Alphabet City. State of the Rail. After last night's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., Transportation Nation takes a look at continued plans to criss-cross the nation with High Speed Rail. In his Speech, the President set a goal that 80 percent of the U.S. population would have access to High Speed Rail in 2036.