Posts tagged with "Guggenheim":

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You can use a solid gold toilet at the Guggenheim starting this weekend

If you have ever wanted to use a toilet cast in 18-karat gold, now is your chance.

Starting on Friday, September 16, Maurizio Cattelan's America opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. One of the public toilets in the museum will be replaced by a fully-functional gold replica. The super luxury product serves as social commentary on today's America by allowing the public to participate and giving them a very private, individual experience with the artwork. Cattelan is also taking aim at the art market and its extravagance as well as the American Dream (if your personal American Dream is to sit on a solid gold toilet). It's a signifier of wealth beyond what is comprehensible: Extreme luxury is coupled with a utilitarian bath product.

The toilet references Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) but with a new twist. Rather than provoking the way art is made and its meaning, Catelan assigns a new function to the toilet as an object of opulence and financial speculation. Additionally, he puts the toilet back in the realm of function, acting as an "artistic transgression." The piece also references Piero Manzoni’s Artist’s Shit (1961) in which Manzoni allegedly canned his own excrement and sold each container at a price equal to its weight in gold. A comment on the value of labor and celebrity in the art market.

For more on the piece and Cattelan's cheeky sense of humor, see this interview on the Guggenheim website.

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Guggenheim opens US’s largest László Moholy-Nagy exhibition in 50 years

As far as Western modern art pedigrees go, it's hard to beat László Moholy-Nagy: born in Hungary 1895, Moholy-Nagy spent his early years in Budapest studying Impressionism, Cubism, and Futurism. He then traveled to Berlin where he encountered Dada and Constructivism. He was at the Bauhaus from 1923 to 28, in Amsterdam for De Stijl during the 30s, then finally London and Chicago where he founded Institute of Design (later part of IIT). He dabbled in every medium imaginable: painting, film, sculpture, typography, graphic design, theatrical set design, and architecture. But what's most remarkable about Moholy-Nagy—and what shines through in the exhibit Moholy-Nagy: Future Present—is how consistently he explores the same themes across the breadth of his lifetime. Moholy-Nagy was clearly enthralled with light, transparency, planes, and depth—in the words of curator Karole P. B. Vail, who spoke at the exhibit's press preview, he was constantly trying to "materialize light" and "use light to dematerialize matter." As the exhibition moves up the Guggenheim's spiral, chronologically displaying his work, you can see him play with light in countless ways across multiple mediums, starting with painting and concluding with plexiglass (a material invented 1934, three years before he arrived in the US). Over 300 works, some from rarely-seen private collections, are on view. Despite their number, the works never feel densely packed. The Guggenheim spiral also has a natural affinity to Moholy-Nagy: one of his drawing/photomontages depicts a spiraling space not dissimilar from the Guggenheim itself. Moholy-Nagy was fascinated with photography, not least because photography's chemical process turns light into a physical image. Photography also plays with the idea of reproducibility and authenticity. Like putting a urinal into an art gallery, Dadaists love to play with conventions and challenge shared definitions of what constitutes art. That desire manifests throughout Moholy-Nagy's work. In what he called "photoplastics," he would collage photographs, draw over them, then photograph the ensemble anew—where does one photograph begin, the other end? Some of these pieces are genuinely absurd, and I even laughed out-loud at their Monty Python-levels of irrationality. In another famous work on display, Moholy-Nagy designed a set of porcelain enamel-on-steel paintings whose rectangles of color were governed by a series of formulas. This meant the painting could be printed in an industrial sign shop at different sizes without distortion—infinitely reproducible, consumable, and scalable. Works like that, along with his photographic experimentation, evoke a similar question we face today: from the Venice Biennale to Palmyra, we're still grappling with about ability to recreate artifacts. While that debate usually pertains to something lost or decayed, Moholy-Nagy flips the question on its head by starting with something intended to be infinitely duplicated. The exhibition features one project that exists an architectural scale: the recreation of Room of the Present (Raum der Gegenwart), conceived by Moholy-Nagy in 1930 as a space to show modern artworks across all mediums—film, photography, typography, sculpture, architecture, and more. Made with gleaming steel and glass, and filled by the curators with period-appropriate avant-garde works, it does feel like a time capsule from the past. It's no coincidence that the room is made from industrial materials: Moholy-Nagy was an avid experimenter. Gropius brought him to the Bauhaus precisely because his focus on modern materials coincided with the school's move toward creating and licensing designs to industry. From metallic paint to early plastics, it's stimulating to watch Moholy-Nagy play with new materials as they appear over the decades. The exhibition text concludes "Moholy-Nagy was always in pursuit of the “whole man,” seeking out new materials and methods in the steadfast belief that what mattered most were intellectual awareness and the necessity for the assimilation of art, technology, and education." As Vail remarked, he was a "truly utopian artist" who thought technology could improve society, though he was a true humanist as well. As Moholy-Nagy himself said, there was a “specific need of our time for a vision in motion.” As technology—smartphones, 3D printing, virtual reality, self-driving cars—rapidly changes our lives, and tech companies sell us on their utopian, people-friendly vision, we should ask: What exactly does a techno-humanist-utopia look like? The exhibit offers bracing insight into Moholy-Nagy lifetime of art-making, but leaves us to contemplate what Moholy-Nagy's vision for a utopian society looked like. Moholy-Nagy: Future Present will be at the Guggenheim from May 27 to September 7 before traveling to LACMA and the Art Institute of Chicago. Karole P. B. Vail, Curator, is the Guggenheim’s organizing curator for the exhibition, with the assistance of Ylinka Barotto, Curatorial Assistant, and Danielle Toubrinet, Exhibition Assistant.
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[UPDATED] Protesters light up New York’s Guggenheim to challenge working conditions in the Gulf region

Hot on the heels of the perversely beautiful, working solid-gold toilet that will be installed at the Guggenheim, a group of protesters calling themselves the Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) projected the words "Ultra Luxury Art/Ultra Low Wages" onto the walls of the Guggenheim Museum to "send a message to the trustees of the Guggenheim Foundation." The group also took the message to the building of the chairman of the board. G.U.L.F. is the direct action arm of the Gulf Labor Coalition, an organization of activists and artists who have been pressuring museums building in Abu Dhabi to confront the mistreatment of migrant workers in the region by ensuring fair labor standards. The Guggenheim is a target of this message because "a museum that seeks to profit from forced labor will be judged in public. The cynical marriage of ultra-luxury art and ultra-low wages is null and void. The museum’s leaders broke trust by refusing further negotiations with the Gulf  Labor Coalition over fair labor standards in Abu Dhabi. As they try to walk away from justice, who will hold them to account?" In an email, G.U.L.F. signed off with

Every Day is May Day

A Storm is Blowing from Saadiyat Island

G.U.L.F.

UPDATE Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 4:52 PM The Guggenheim's Deputy Director of Global Communications Tina Vaz told AN in an email:

"This latest action by Gulf Labor is another example of their willingness to attack the Guggenheim for easy publicity versus pursuing a program of thoughtful advocacy. Their demands are not only beyond the Guggenheim's direct line of influence but beyond the influence of any single arts institution. We are leveraging our advocacy to its fullest, but the issues they are focused on are highly complex and involve many players. The Guggenheim and our UAE partner, the Tourism Development & Investment Company, have dedicated significant energy and resources to and made measurable progress on the issue of workers’ welfare."

UPDATE Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 6:08 PM Gulf Labor's Andrew Ross told AN in an email:

"Over the last six years, Gulf Labor members have devoted countless hours of uncompensated labor doing research in the field--taking testimony from workers and building contacts with them---writing reports, articles, and books (see The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor), making agit prop art (52 Weeks, and residency at the Venice Biennale), engaging in dialogue with a range of institutions, including NYU, the Guggenheim, and the Louvre, building partnerships with a range of NGOs (including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, ILO, and ITUC), and spinning off initiatives like Who Builds Your Architecture? Andrew Ross of Gulf Labor told AN in an email:

By contrast, the Guggenheim, despite the vast power of its brand name, has done little but dragged its feet. In the face of all our cumulative efforts to raise labor standards in the Gulf, its shocking to hear a museum representative seek to denigrate committed, hard-working artists and writers as publicity-seekers.The museum leadership and trustees should be ashamed. And, if they do not take action soon, the Guggenheim name will be further tarnished by its association with human rights abuses."

UPDATE  Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 12:16 PM Vaz told AN in an email:

"The facts do not support Gulf Labor's attempts to revise history. Those who are knowledgeable about the Guggenheim's engagement in Abu Dhabi - including artists, diplomats and NGOs - are all too familiar with the resources we have dedicated to this issue since 2007, including countless meetings, contributions to the Employment Practices Policy that governs working conditions on Saadiyat Island, and visits to see the workers' accommodation village ourselves. Meanwhile, most of Gulf Labor's work has been dedicated to generating media attention that is singularly focused on the Guggenheim, instead of a sincere effort to develop an advocacy program to address labor rights. Their continued attacks on us underscore the unproductive nature of their approach, which is precisely what led us to discontinue direct meetings."

UPDATE Sat, Apr 30, 2016 at 2:56 PM Ross told AN in an email:

"Look behind the museum's PR facade and you will still find the grim reality of workers conditions in Abu Dhabi. Every investigative team to visit the Gulf states has reported that there is near-zero political will to enforce labor regulations. If the Guggenheim leaders continue to put their trust in the UAE authorities and shun NGO expertise, then they will be stepping away from the obligation to improve the welfare of hundreds of thousands of workers by setting a fair labor precedent."

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You can now explore the Guggenhiem museum using Google Street View technology

If you can't make it to Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, fear not: Google Street View has a solution. Though not quite as fulfilling as visiting in person, their self-guided virtual tour offers insight into the museum's iconic architecture while letting you view some of its exhibitions and artworks. This isn't the first time Google Street View's engineers have added masterpieces 0f art and architecture. In fact, as a member of the Google Cultural Institute, the Guggenheim is one of almost 750 museums and collections available to explore online. Google also offers walkthroughs of famous world wonders such as the Taj Mahal. With the Guggenheim museum, online tourists can view 120 pieces of artwork on display and travel up and down the building's famed spiral ramps. Attempting to keep the virtual tour as realistic as possible, Google only allows you to click one step forward at a time, though it's also possible to jump from floor to floor. Because of Wright's layout of the museum, it wasn't easy for Google to create its virtual walkthrough. Drones, tripods, and Street View “trolleys” captured a patchwork of images to create 360-degree views. The experience is best accessed via the Google Cultural Center (available here) rather than entering from Google Street View (as shown in the image). Selecting the latter leaves you stuck halfway up the Museum. Exhibitions from the Guggenheim Foundation currently available online are No Country: Contemporary Art For South and Southeast Asia and Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim. For architecture enthusiasts, Google is exhibiting Photography and Modern Architecture in Brazil at its online cultural center, available here.
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Endgame: An Open Letter to the Guggenheim Helsinki Finalists

The following is an abridged version of an open letter by Chicago architect and urban planner Marshall Brown, which was originally presented at the The Design Competition Conference by the GSD and the Van Alen Institute. It follows a previous comment by the author for AN about the state of design competitions in the 21st century. It is in direct response to the Guggenheim Helsinki Competition, which attracted 1,715 submissions before the winner was announced yesterday My Dear Colleagues, I would like to extend sincere congratulations for your recent achievements and the recognition it has brought to your practices. I suppose you may be wondering about the cause for this letter since, at least that I can recall, we have never formally met. One year ago I wrote an essay for AN that criticized the current state of architectural competitions. It concluded with the melodramatic, yet also sincere invitation for likeminded architects to join me in “early, complete, and permanent retirement” from such contests. In the meantime I have mostly managed to follow through on my retreat from the design competition industry, despite several invitations from colleagues to collaborate. Instead of speaking negatively about the Helsinki contest, I would like to speak to the finalists, in hope that some of us might grow in the process, or at the very least, avoid undermining each other in the ways that architects too often do. In 2009 I worked briefly with J. Max Bond, David Adjaye, and Phil Freelon on the competition for the National Museum of African American History, until Max Bond’s untimely passing, after which I withdrew from the project. In 2012, my team was a finalist in the Navy Pier Centennial competition in Chicago, after which I consulted with the winners, James Corner Field Operations. But for various reasons, and despite some measure of success, participation in both of these contests, among others, left an assortment of bad tastes in my mouth. Without airing too much dirty laundry in public, I will say that I trace many of the problems to the nature of design competitions themselves: Competitions create a culture that devalues our labor. Competitions often cultivate animosity among colleagues. And competitions often preference spectacle over substantive architectural development. Your contest is an interesting case, since it involves an American institution staging a competition for a private building on public land in a European country. After examining the Competition Conditions, I found it evident that the competition is not for an architectural commission. The only prizes explicitly guaranteed to the winners are bragging rights and a small stipend. I look forward to being corrected if necessary, but the following passage from page 8 in the conditions seems to disclaim any obligation or commitment of the organizers to build the winning proposal: “A decision on whether to proceed with the construction and development of the museum is expected to be brought to the City of Helsinki and the State of Finland for consideration following the conclusion of the competition and the public announcement of the winning design.” So it appears that yours is actually an ideas competition and marketing campaign that might inspire a building project by someone, somewhere, sometime, in the future. Okay. Fine. The winners will receive enough money to recoup some portion of their actual costs. The rest will console themselves with whatever prestige falls from the brief afterglow of the whole spectacle. As I wrote last year, many architects don’t care that competitions are bad business. That discussion has been well covered by others with deeper knowledge of professional practice, and is not the point of this letter. I am only trying to ask: Where does it all end? How much of our careers and lives are we willing to give? How far will we bend for the ever more limited promise of increasingly uncertain rewards? Despite my early retirement, I had a recent reengagement with the competition industry. Against better judgement, I attended the final presentations for a major design competition in Chicago. It was a closed session for the organizers and a few members of the political and design communities. As usual, each team presented their requisite manifestos, slides, and video animations. I found the entire show to be excruciating, not because of the design proposals, but because of the architects’ performances. Their faces were a mixture of desperation and barely masked contempt for their self-imposed captivity. At one point I found myself head down, ears covered, and overwhelmed by the pathos of the whole scene. One contestant from a well-established Chicago firm actually stripped to reveal a t-shirt with their project logo. Free t-shirts were provided for all in attendance. I left the building that night feeling personal shame, not disappointment in those other architects, after realizing that I had subjected myself to the same indignities on a similar stage just two years ago. At the time I had felt privileged and honored to sit alongside so many accomplished and notable professionals like Bjarke Ingels, Martha Schwartz, and James Corner. But only after witnessing a similar scene from the outside do I now realize that I was just another sad prisoner in the lineup. So what is the end game? You will all submit your projects. After the submissions, you will likely be asked to give public presentations. These performances could be broadcast to the entire world. The jury will meet and hand down their decision. Prizes will be awarded. Critics will pass judgement. Some of you will receive more prestigious academic appointments. A museum may be built. Another blockbuster competition will probably be announced later this year. And we will all move on. Yet while writing this letter I have begun to imagine other endings to the story: What if you had decided not to complete your projects? What if you had completed the projects, but staged a group exhibition instead of handing them over? What if you had insisted on renegotiating the terms of the competition before submitting? What if you had all just walked away? Some will accuse me of being cynical, sanctimonious, overly judgmental, or naive. They may be right on all counts. But in my own defense, these words come from a colleague who has been where you are at this moment, and wishes that he could have sooner had the resolution and foresight to turn from this path we architects are expected to follow. As I wrote one year ago: “The old argument that competitions drive architectural innovation is no longer credible. Developers, cultural institutions, and government agencies have mastered the use of design competitions as publicity campaigns. Their claim of searching for the best ideas is just an alibi that unfortunately continues to seduce too many of our best talents… The real justifications are simple. Developers and institutions gain fantastic and relatively affordable publicity from the mad traveling circus of design competitions. By helping them attract financing and donors, we encourage the proliferation of these sham exercises where enormous projects are fully rendered without contracts, necessary approvals, or even clear programs.” From what I have been able to surmise from a brief examination, the GHDC submits fairly well to this assessment. But most of you probably knew this from the beginning, and soldiered forth regardless of the real odds or evident risks. Therefore I conclude this letter with thanks for your time, an open invitation to respond, and two simple words: Good luck. MARSHALL BROWN
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This alternative Guggenheim Helsinki competition is challenging global luxury museum brands

Competition or PR stunt? That's up to you to decide, but there is no debate that the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition has provoked some interesting conversations around issues of the cultural institution in the globalized 21st century. On June 23, the Guggenheim will announce a winner, from the 1,715 official entries, all of which you can see here. However, the most interesting parts of the competition will probably be auxiliary to the building chosen on next Tuesday. In October 2014, the list was trimmed to a more manageable (and anonymous) six finalists. One of the spin-offs of the Helsinki competition is Next Helsinki, an alternative call-for-proposals that solicited new ideas about how the museum can bring its centrally located, waterfront site to life through the continuation of emergent urban trends. Rather than simply create another icon, Michael Sorkin explained on the website, organizers initiated the competition because of an “outrage at the march of the homogenizing multi-national brand culture emblematized by the imperial Guggenheim franchise—the cultural equivalent of Starbucks—was what launched us.” However, they also did it because they care about the city of Helsinki. “The feeling of love came from our mutual affection for Helsinki, from a sense that it is a singular place, unique in setting, form, and culture. Understanding the impetus to acquire a Guggenheim as a pursuit of the vaunted Bilbao effect, the idea that some gaudy global repository would put a tired place on the map, we wondered why a city so indelibly fixed in the urban firmament, so superb, would ant to surrender such a fabulous site to some starchitect supermarket,” Sorkin continued. For more on the Next Helsinki project, and to see the shortlisted projects, see their website.
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Video> Frank Gehry on his eccentric Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum

Up-and-coming architect Frank Gehry recently sat down with the New York Times to discuss his  Guggenheim museum under construction on Saadiyat Island near Abu Dhabi. The eccentric or idiosyncratic or whimsical structure totals 450,000 square feet, making it 12 times larger than the Guggenheim in New York. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi  is defined by multiple cones that Gehry says were influenced by teepees because of how they remove hot air. The design is also supposed to evoke the domes of mosques around the Middle East. Although that's a bit harder to discern. On Saadiyat Island, Gehry's museum will be joined by other lavish projects from Zaha Hadid, Rafael Viñoly, Tadao Ando, and Jean Nouvel. These architects, and their clients, have faced scrutiny for the notoriously bad labor conditions in the region. But back in September, Gehry addressed these concerns in an interview with Architectural Record. In a statement, the architect's firm said, “Gehry Partners has been engaged in a substantial and on-going dialogue over many years now that has involved government, the construction industry, architects, project, sponsors and NGOs." Record added, "Gehry may be the first prominent architect to take steps towards labor reform on Saadiyat Island." If you like, give the video a look, but be warned there's a lot of self congratulations and opining on world affairs.
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One of these six firms will design the new Guggenheim Helsinki

Over 1,700 proposals were submitted in the Guggenheim Foundation’s open-call competition to design a new museum in Helsinki—and now, just six teams remain. In a statement, the competition’s 11-member jury said it shortlisted these schemes because they would each “expand the idea of what a museum can be.” The teams that made the cut are AGPS Architecture (Zurich, Los Angeles), Asif Khan (London), Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, Barcelona, Sydney), Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart), Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris), SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Western Australia). While the names of the teams have been unveiled, the six proposals are only known by individual registration numbers. Physical models of these plans will be produced in March and a single winner will be selected in June. But as AN reported earlier this fall, what happens next in Helsinki remains to be seen. This news comes as the Guggenheim makes a renewed push into the world of architecture. In November, the Foundation named Troy Conrad Therrien as its first-ever curator of Architecture & Digital Initiatives. He will likely play a significant role in the further rollout of this competition. You can read about the six finalists below, with descriptions courtesy of each team. For more on these proposals and what happens next, visit the competition's website. From the design team:
GH-76091181 comprises a ring of slender, sculptural towers faced with timber shingles, reminiscent of vernacular architecture, gathered around a cathedral-like central space. The towers, with their play of light and shadow, create an architectural beacon, visible by land or sea, while the central space, sheltered from extremes of weather yet part of the quayside, provides an exceptional new site for public events on the waterfront. Exhibition galleries are housed in timber cabinets stacked within the towers. Bridges connecting the towers offer respite space for visitors between experiencing art and offer new viewing points over the city and harbor.
From the design team:
GH-5631681770 reconfigures circulation and use of the East and West Harbors to establish an area of industrial activity and an area of cultural activity, with the museum as the link between the city and the waterfront. In a critical shift from the idea of a building as static object to a building that accommodates the flux of daily life, a city street runs through the interior of the museum, opening it to appropriation by the citizens and creating a combination of programs: a museum program and an unpredictable street program, in which visitors may become productive and creative users of the space.
From the design team:
GH-04380895 links the museum to the rest of the city through a pedestrian footbridge to Tähtitorninvuori Park and a promenade along the port, including a food hall and a market during the warm months. The museum programs are housed in pavilion-scale buildings treated as independent, fragmentary volumes within this landscape, allowing for a strong integration of outdoor display and event spaces with interior exhibition galleries. The ensemble is made to stand out from afar by being composed around a landmark tower. The use of charred timber in the facade evokes the process of regeneration that occurs when forests burn and then grow back stronger than before.
From the design team:
GH-121371443 drapes a skin of textured glass panels over a bar-like, two-story interior structure, creating an environmentally sustainable public space between the facade and the gallery volumes, with natural light diffused throughout. In an unusual innovation, the element that makes the building sustainable—the intelligent glass wrapper, which uses technology such as Nanogel glazing and rollable thermal shutters—is also the element that distinguishes the project visually, giving the building an ethereal presence. Within the building, an annex for the work of younger Nordic artists is paired with a market hall, and a service pavilion encloses a sculpture garden.
From the design team:
GH-1128435973 creates two facilities in dialogue with each other. The ground floor is an adaptive reuse of the existing Makasiini Terminal, conceived as a public space that extends the pedestrian boardwalk into the building. This is a place for education, civic activity, and incubating ideas. The second floor is an exhibition hall on stilts, which hovers above the terminal building, partly removed from everyday life. The long rectangular volume offers a flexible space for all types of exhibitions and adheres to the notion of a museum as a space apart. Through this dual scheme, the proposed museum could engage its public to co- create value and meaning.
 From the design team:
GH-5059206475 reuses the laminated wood structure of the Makasiini Terminal to rebuild a wooden volume that exactly follows the geometry of the original, and preserves the current views from the park and the adjacent buildings. Within this structure—essentially an undisturbed network of existing conditions—the project creates 31 rooms: eight of them measuring 20 x 20 m, 18 of them 6.5 x 6.5 m, four of them 10 x 10 m, and one 40 x 100 m. This rigid set of spatial conditions is combined with a deliberate distribution of climates based on the program and principles of sustainability, with each room acclimatized independently so that the galleries together form a 'thermal onion.'
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Slideshow> Proposals unveiled for Guggenheim’s planned Helsinki campus

As AN recently reported, the Guggenheim Foundation has unveiled more than 1700 proposals for its planned campus in Helsinki. All of these submissions have been kept anonymous and made available to the public through an online gallery which displays two renderings and a brief description for each plan. Given the amount of proposals the Guggenheim received, the gallery can be a little—let's say—hard on the eyes. If you're not up for scrolling through all of it, we picked out some interesting renderings that stood out to us. Yes, we undoubtedly missed some good ones in the process—there are 1,700 after all. If you're looking for Guggenheim's comprehensive list, head on over to the full gallery.
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Eavesdrop> Take a secret peek inside the secret Guggenheim’s Helsinki competition room

As we’ve mentioned before, the biggest competition in town is not in the United States. Virtually every design firm in California and everywhere else has entered the competition for the Guggenheim Helsinki. Proposals were due on September 10, and Eavesdrop received a secret picture of the storeroom where they are being kept. Let’s just say it is FULL. There appears to be several hundred submissions. Only six of the proposals will advance to stage two of the competition, a list that will be announced later this fall. The winning entry will eventually be chosen next June. So stay tuned, there’s plenty of Guggenheim madness left! (And why doesn’t the Guggenheim open a branch in Los Angeles already?!)
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Obit> Mildred “Mickey” Friedman, 1929–2014

Mildred Friedman, the longtime design curator of Minneapolis' Walker Art Center and a prolific architectural author, died Wednesday at her home in New York City. She was 85. Friedman, whose friends called her “Mickey,” ran the Walker for 21 years with her husband, Martin, who was its director. Together they made it “America's leading design museum,” according to a tribute from Architectural Record on the occasion of the couple's “retirement” in 1990.

As the museum's design curator, Ms. Friedman also edited its publication, Design Quarterly, which she managed deftly, according to Andrew Blauvelt, the Walker’s senior curator of design, research, and publishing. "With its singular focus, generous reproductions, and smart design, it was decidedly not one of those dry and often poorly designed, peer-reviewed, academic journals,” wrote Blauvelt in a remembrance. “Although it’s been more than 20 years since DQ ceased publication, the void that it left has never been filled.”

Much of her work curating and editing Design Quarterly would spin off into publications. Friedman wrote or co-wrote dozens of books, including Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History, the first large-scale museum survey of the field.

Since 1990, she and her husband had lived in New York City, where Ms. Friedman continued writing and curating at institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Under Friedman, shows at the Walker were not just shows but immersive experiences.

“In Mickey’s hands, a design show was never simply about a subject, but drew upon the principles and power of design itself to create a compelling experience,” wrote Blauvelt. “ This particular strategy of restaging, wherein visitors can not only look at works of art on view but also experience them directly and even viscerally, certainly drew upon Mickey’s skills and experience in interior design but also signaled a powerful new curatorial technique.”

In the Twin Cities design community, her influence was profound. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune quoted Dan Avchen, chief executive of HGA Architects and Engineers:

Mickey was instrumental in defining the architectural landscape of the Twin Cities by connecting patrons to architects … She was the design maven of the Twin Cities for many years and she had a huge impact— huge.

Friedman's legacy is inextricably linked to those of many 20th century architects. Her 1986 exhibition of Frank Gehry's work bolstered the architect's career—a feat she replicated by championing the likes of Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Tod Williams, Billie Tsien and César Pelli, whom she also helped win commissions in the region by suggesting them for local landmark projects.

Born Mildred Shenberg in 1929, Ms. Friedman grew up in California. She met Martin Friedman at UCLA, where her future husband was teaching drawing as a graduate student in art history and painting. They married in 1949.

In 1980 she started the Mildred S. Friedman Design Fellowship, a program to give recent design graduates experience in her design studio at the Walker Art Center.

Her survivors include her husband, three daughters, and six grandchildren.

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Guggenheim to Launch Competition for Helsinki Site

The Guggenheim will launch a competition in early June to design their new branch in Helsinki. Working alongside the Finnish Association of Architects, the Foundation is seeking proposals for a currently vacant site alongside the city’s South Harbor. The competition comes three years after the city expressed interest in a Guggenheim outpost. But, according to the Art Newspaper, despite the competition, a new branch is not certain. The paper reported, “The Guggenheim announced that a decision to go ahead with the project would be taken after the architectural competition is completed." The competition comes as the Guggenheim faces heated backlash for their planned museum in Abu Dhabi, which has a dismal record on workers’ rights.