Change is underway at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. At a press conference Friday MCA officials revealed that the institution is working on a new image, new programming and even a new master plan for the museum's space led by Los Angeles–based design firm Johnston Marklee. The announcement was timed to coincide with the last push of a major fundraising campaign. The museum has quietly raised $60 million in recent years, nearing a “vision campaign” goal of $64 million. Today they revealed their latest donation: $10 million from Kenneth Griffin, an MCA trustee who is also the richest man in Illinois. MCA's fourth floor galleries will now bear his name. “We've been thinking about what a 21st Century museum looks like,” said Madeleine Grynsztejn, MCA's director. Citing figures from the National Endowment for the Arts, Grynsztejn said the museum needs to become more “responsive” to the community—“a civic institution of local necessity and international distinction.” Part of that mission includes converting the cafe space into an “engagement zone” for public events, performances and education. Museum goers looking for a snack will have to find it on the first floor, where a new restaurant will front onto Pearson Street. Those and other changes to the 1996, Josef Paul Kleihues–designed building's programming are part of a new masterplan currently in development at the offices of architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee. Dutch designers Armand Mevis and Linda Van Deursen of the firm Mevis & Van Deursen also designed a new logo for the museum—part of a larger campaign to rebrand the museum and reengage with a public tempted to seek out art online or otherwise outside the Streeterville museum's walls. MCA has had some success reinvigorating popular conversation about contemporary art with its David Bowie Is exhibition, which recently wrapped up its run at the museum after drawing nearly 200,000 visitors—an MCA record, according to Grynsztejn. “The Bowie show challenged the MCA to raise our game,” she said. That could include expanding hours or more drastically reconsidering the museum's model, Grynsztejn wondered aloud Friday. But it will definitely include more shows for young artists on the cusp of a breakout, said curator Michael Darling, as well as more interactive exhibitions. Darling pointed to an upcoming residency by the Grammy-winning chamber group Eighth Blackbird, which he said would include unannounced and improvised performances throughout the museum, with the intent to connect the public with contemporary music and the process of creating it.
Posts tagged with "Johnston Marklee":
The architecture of Johnston Marklee's recently-unveiled Menil Drawing Institute has wowed most observers and critics, including our own. But an equally significant element of the $40 million project is its lighting, a combination of innovation and subtlety, natural and artificial light. Much of the lighting design will be about transition, since visitors will be transferring from the bright Texas sun, measuring about 18,000 foot candles, into a drawing-friendly environment measuring only about five foot candles. The scope begins outside the building, with slanted exterior plate steel rooflines that extend beyond the building, modulating outdoor light while also shifting the building from an institutional scale to a more intimate one. Aggregate concrete pavers on the ground are rough, less reflective, to create a more muted light. Inside, qualities of light "choreograph and orient you through the buildings," described Johnston Marklee principal Sharon Johnston. Light will react differently with varied surfaces, and in different settings. In the "living room," at the front of the building, light will be "volumetric," said lighting consultant George Sexton, combining vertical and horizontal lighting planes to provide more depth.When necessary, display rooms will have artificial light sources, which will be as inconspicuous as possible. But inside the study room natural light will be introduced via a sail cloth, which will allow for the perception of changing light conditions. "We wanted, in the tradition of The Menil, to use intelligent materials and to use the way light and architecture come together to create a wide range of experience but not through super elaborate means. We want it to have a very natural, elemental feeling about it," said Johnston.
The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas has announced a shortlist for the new Menil Drawing Institute, which includes David Chipperfield Architects, Johnston Marklee, Tatiana Bilbao/mx.a, and SANAA. The building will be the largest freestanding space devoted to drawings. The competitors certainly have a high bar to meet. Renzo Piano's building for the Menil collection is considered one of the best places to view art in the country. “In this year, when we observe the 25th anniversary of our great museum building by Renzo Piano, we are pleased to begin realizing our vision for the future by selecting the next architect to design a major building for the Menil campus," said Josef Helfenstein, director of the collection, in a statement. "By taking on the challenge of designing MDI—the only facility of its kind—the architect will create a home for our largest, fastest-growing but most delicate collection of artworks, while also providing an important new focal point for the entire campus.”
BRINGING SEXY BACK Johnston Marklee was already one of the hippest architecture firms in LA. But now they’ve catapulted several spots up the ranks. How, you ask? By designing new stores for Justin Timberlake’s clothing brand, William Rast, that’s how. The firm has already designed pop-up stores in London, Paris, and New York (to a chorus of screaming girls when Timberlake came by) and is designing more in Palm Springs and San Jose. And in November, the firm will open the brand’s flagship store in the Century City Westfield Mall. The architects haven’t met Timberlake yet, but will finally see him at the Century City opening. “I hear he’s very nice,” said principal Sharon Johnston, coyly concealing any desire to start screaming and desperately trying to rock JT’s body, as she darn well should. GERBIL CHATEAU Speaking of important celebrity news, we hear from the most reliable gossip source we know, Britain’s Sun, that architecture fanatic Brad Pitt spent $82,000 building a house and racetrack for his kids’ gerbils at his estate in the south of France. According to the authoritative story, the complex includes “a maze of tunnels, seesaws and platforms.” French gerbils. Brad Pitt. A racetrack. Mon dieu. We can’t make this stuff up. HOME TOUR HICCUPS AIA home tours are always an adventure, but rarely do they produce as much drama as the AIA SF’s fall home tour did in September. First, SB Architects’ Alabama Street residence ran out of money just prior to finishing up, so the firm reportedly worked out a deal with furniture store Room & Board, producing a staged effect that looked more like a showroom than a real house. There was also a last-minute switch in the itinerary when a loft in the Oriental Warehouse by Edmonds + Lee ended up with major water damage from a leak next door. The project was replaced by Cary Bernstein’s Liberty Street Residence. Perhaps getting your home on the AIA’s tour has become like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Beware, all you tour-aspiring architects. Send tips, gossip, and gourmet gerbil food to Eavesdrop@archpaper.com
When BP opened their eco-friendly Helios House gas station on Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, it was touted as the future of such facilities, and a coup for a brand whose image was all about conservation. The station, designed by Office dA and Johnston Mark Lee, featured a metal-clad, geometric design, low-flow toilets, solar panels and a floor made of recycled glass, among other features. (it didn't, however, offer alternative fuels..) But it appears that BP may not have had such high regard for their endeavor. A recent drive-by revealed that the station, still unchanged, was no longer a BP but an Arco. Yes, Arco, the Wal Mart of gas. One of the helpful guides at the station explained that BP actually owns Arco, and that the change of label was “an internal business decision,” whatever that means. Looks like green marketing just took one on the chin.