Sunday, November 30, 2008

Art Display

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Hollow Upbringings by Mindy Herrin; ceramic, vintage suede; silver, cheese cloth. The raven was found in Paris one Christmas season, displayed with its flock on a white tree.

This figure, more homunculus than baby, was originally displayed on a dark metal stand. We wanted something that did not require a table for display. A catalog came to the rescue again: Pottery Barn Kids arrived with a photo of this French highchair for a doll. We thought the chair would soften the edginess of this piece of art; however, Tall Husband's sister informed us that the contrast "disturbed" her "even more." Since I delight in disturbing her, I added the French corbeau (raven). It worked!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Displaying Unusual Art

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Persecution Remembered by Mindy Herrin; silver, fabric, parchment; wood; glass. The poem on a parchment scroll rolls up via a tiny crank on his side and the small silver door in his belly closes to hide the poetry behind a small pane of glass.

This small figure (approximately 8'' tall) came with an unanswered question: how does one display an edgy, serious work of art? The piece was kept in his box for quite some time while we explored methods of display.

One afternoon, I took my grandchildren to the local science museum. I noticed that small, ancient pieces of art were effectively displayed on small white wooden cubes within a case. That night, as I lay falling asleep, the trip to the museum and our little figure came together in my head.

The next day I found cubes in a West Elm catalog and showed them to Tall Husband and told him of the idea for our figure. He liked the solution and when the cubes arrived (they come in a trio), he fabricated a metal stand and attached it to the cube. Now our little guy can be easily removed for cleaning, then placed back on his cube, where he looks as important as he is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Philip Johnson: Chapel of St. Basil

This is an exterior shot of Philip Johnson's Chapel of St. Basil, University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas. The Chapel, though small, is awe inspiring due in part to its soaring walls, utter simplicity and natural light that enters through various architectural openings.

Geometric placement of bells

Note the contrast of materials: the white stucco wall, gold dome with cross and charcoal stone of the bell tower.

Just as you enter or exit, if you look upwards, you will see the perfection of combined geometry and light.

The interior of St. Basil has the simultaneous feel of ancient and modern, possibly due to the use of ancient materials in a modern design.

As you leave the Chapel, take a moment to experience the volume and light in the vestibule.

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Philip Johnson (July 8 1906-January 25, 2005)
Recipient of the first Pritzker Architecture Prize, 1979

Tall Husband and I visited the Chapel of St. Basil at the University of St. Thomas last weekend. It is one of my favorite Houston buildings by the Architect Philip Johnson. With its gold dome, it looks like a modern jewel dropped adjacent to the mid-century-modern campus mall that he designed earlier.

Johnson has always been a favorite architect of mine, so when I was invited to the dedication of his building at the University of Houston, back in the late eighties, I was excited to have the chance to finally meet him. Alas, Tall Husband and I came down with fever and flu on the day of the dedication, so we never met Johnson. Later, a French modernist designer who met him that night, gave us a colorful report of the event.

There are several of Philip Johnson's buildings in Houston. Here is a partial list:

  • The de Menil House, 1950
  • Pennzoil Place, 1973
  • Republic Bank Tower (now NCNB Center), with John Burgee, 1984
  • Transco Tower (now the Williams Tower), 1983
  • University of Houston, College of Architecture Building, 1985
  • Rothko Chapel, 1971
  • St. Basil's Chapel, 1995
  • University of St. Thomas Campus Mall, 1985

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Banana Bunkers

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Banana Bunker®
Paul R. Stremple, 2000

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has these available from their on-line store. I love bananas and wouldn't want them bruised; though, I think these Bunkers® look like too much fun!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Weekend Modern

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If you're looking for a hip, modern venue this weekend, you might want to check out Peel Gallery's show with Dror Benshetrit, a New York based designer. The event is Saturday November 8, 2008, from 6-9 PM at 4411 Montrose, Houston, Texas 77006.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Yes room at My Ranchburger
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Say it with letters: when typography accomplishes more than mere decoration.