Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On Hybrids and the planet

There a lot of hype about purchasing a Hybrid vehicle to help save fossil fuel and lessen toxic emissions. But if you really want to help the planet: buy secondhand. 50% of the energy an automobile consumes is in its manufacture. Though only 10% of the lifetime of a vehicle's toxic emissions are involved in the manufacture, I believe it's still better for the planet if you buy a used regular gas engined vehicle!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Double take

Fritz Peutz designed this Glasgalerie in Holland in 1935. Timeless (relatively timeless) buildings from the early part of the 20th Century are intriguing. There's the initial realization that the work is not from this year, or decade. But then one realizes they are from a time when buildings simply didn't look like this. An electrical outlet or Victorian toilet is enough to realize the design context in which they were built. The early villas by Le Corbusier were sometimes photographed with modern automobles outside, which now look comically out of sync with the buildings:

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Paul Evans

Paul Evan's work (hot, suddenly, after forty years) is sometimes very good, sometimes godawful. I like this chrome and brass patchwork "Cityscape" dining table.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Minimalism to Constructivism

One of the sweet objects in the Modernism show at the V & A, London, right now:
Nikolai Suetin's Cup and Saucer. Black Cross and Circle, 1923. Malevitch's Black Cross, now at the Centre Pompidou, was painted in 1915. (I've had the postcard, below, by my bed for years).
Minimalist or Constructivist? "Suprematist", in fact. There's actually a huge difference between these two artifacts, showing the minimalising/reducing of Malevitch's Suprematist black square on white plaster, and the constructing/adding/composing in the Constructivist design on the cup.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

One large rabbit

Wonders of the internet

My son James just asked me (in our quartz world) if London's Big Ben needed winding. Within a few seconds via Google I had an actual picture of the Mr. Smith winding it up.
The large size of the movement makes it very accurate. There is a system whereby a penny is added as a weight to change the accuracy and it adds 2/5ths of a second every 24 hours. Not bad.
This I've added simply because it's a cool constructivist-like image of part of the clock:

Monday, April 03, 2006

Void as mass

Rachel Whiteread's work is basically presenting spaces as mass, and sometimes she creates wonderful objects. I liked "House" (above) where she poured concrete in the rooms and tore the house down. It gives architect students a way to see at least one dimension they are dealing with.
Her new piece in the Tate takes the ticket for me, though, as it gives a sense of the lightness and thinness of what's missing. It's piles of the interior space of cardboard boxes, stacked high.