Archive for June, 2009

From LIFE archives, more unpublished glimpses of 1957 American Academy in Rome

June 13, 2009

AAR1957EllisonNew view of writer Ralph Ellison FAAR’57, at the Academy’s Casa Rustica. Credit: James Whitmore/LIFE

Last November, Google Inc. began hosting an online archive of LIFE magazine’s photographs. Many images in this archive—there are reportedly some 10 million in all—never saw print publication. It seems Google is now posting these photos a few million at a time. But many carry no caption, or even date. Plus typos are rampant. So a bit of detective work is often necessary to find what you want and then sort out what you are seeing.

In December the Society of Fellows Weblog reported on the first batch of images that the LIFE/Google partnership produced. That included about 125 largely unpublished photos of the American Academy in Rome in 1947, 1949, and 1957. Now half a year later, a few hundred new photos from the May 1957 LIFE photoshoot have cropped up via Google Images. You can see the full set here (Google search phrase: “American Academy in Home”!). (more…)


At Brooklyn Museum, ‘Harriet Hosmer, Lost and Found’, an exhibition of watercolors by Patricia Cronin FAAR’07

June 5, 2009

A group of twenty-eight watercolors by Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Patricia Cronin FAAR’07, inspired by the work of nineteenth-century sculptor Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), will be on view in the Sackler Wing of the Brooklyn Museum from today (5 June 2009) through 24 January 2010. Read the New York Times review here.

CroninSleepingFaunPatricia Cronin, The Sleeping Faun by Harriet Hosmer, 1865 (2006)

In an article for Artnet, Charlie Fitch sketches out the basics of this ambitious and unusually memorable show, entitled Harriet Hosmer: Lost and Found.

“After five years of hard work, one of which was spent in Rome under a fellowship from the American Academy, Patricia Cronin has completed her monumental recreation of the life of the renowned 19th-century American expatriate sculptor Harriet Hosmer. Cronin’s artwork consists of a catalogue raisonné of Hosmer’s work titled Harriet Hosmer: Lost and Found, just out from Charta Press, and a solo exhibition opening at the Sackler Wing of the Brooklyn Museum…”

cronin_coverThe Hosmer catalogue raisonné; on the cover, Cronin’s Medusa, 1854 (2006)

“Much of Hosmer’s work has been destroyed or disappeared, or was never realized”, continues Fitch. “Patricia Cronin has painstakingly recreated Hosmer’s body of work in a striking series of black-and-white watercolors, which appear as ambiguous ghosts of Hosmer’s main themes, strong women who often suffer through serious tribulations and fancy free men of nature surrounded by charmingly diabolical cherubs.”

But for the deep background to the Lost and Found exhibition, here is Patricia Cronin herself.

“In 2000 I received a large grant from the Kansas City, Missouri based foundation, Grand Arts, to make my dream piece—a 3 ton marble over life-size mortuary statue titled ‘Memorial To A Marriage’ of my partner, the artist Deborah Kass and myself, destined for our burial plot in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, designed in 1863 as America’s Père-Lachaise.”

“I began researching the history of sculpture in order to make mine. The history of sculpture is dominated by death, burials and memorials.  In fact, the history of sculpture IS the history of death.  While combing through every tome on sculpture, I stumbled across two statues I had never seen before.  They were extraordinary.”

“One was of Beatrice Cenci and the other was the Tomb of Judith Falconnet.  I fell in love.  I looked at the artist’s name below each reproduction and read the words ‘Harriet Hosmer.’  I said out loud, ‘hmmm, I’ve never heard of her.’  And then wondered, ‘WHY  had I never heard of her?’  I knew then and there she would be my next project.  While I was thinking about my own death when creating ‘Memorial To A Marriage,’ I found someone else’s life.”

CroninBeatriceCenciPatricia Cronin, Beatrice Cenci, 1856 (2007)


In Buenos Aires ceremony, architect Peter Zumthor RAAR’08 receives 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize

June 5, 2009

ZumthorPortraitPeter Zumthor RAAR’08. Credit: Gary Ebner

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor RAAR’08 received this year’s prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize at a ceremony last Friday (29 May) in Argentina at the Legislative Palace of the City of Buenos Aires.

Zumthor, aged 66, received a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion for what is widely considered as the “Nobel Prize of architecture”. The Pritzker Prize was established in 1979 by the Pritzker family, based in Chicago, to honor a living architect whose works produce “consistent and significant contributions to humanity.”

“His buildings have a commanding presence … showing us again and again that modesty in approach and boldness in overall result are not mutually exclusive,” the Pritzker jury of architects, academics, writers and designers wrote in their citation. “Humility resides alongside strength.”

“His work commands attention and respect the world over,” jury chairman Lord Peter Palumbo said at the Buenos Aires ceremony. He added: “He is not remotely interested in the cult of celebrity. Public relations, glamour, spin are to him an anathema.”

The Pritzker jury in particular highlighted Zumthor’s (1996) thermal baths in Vals, Switzerland, a maze of pools enclosed by concrete and stone mined from the surrounding hills, and the (2007) Kolumba Museum in Cologne, a building set in the ruins of a late Gothic church destroyed in the Second World War.

ThermeBaths at Vals. Sketch by Peter Zumthor

Peter Zumthor is the fifth Pritzker laureate since the prize was established in 1979 with a connection to the American Academy in Rome, and the third who has won the award as a member of the AAR’s Society of Fellows. The others (by Pritzker Prize year) are:

2005 Thom Mayne, AAR Trustee since 2007
1991 Robert Venturi FAAR’56, RAAR’66, AAR Trustee 1969-1976
1989 Frank O. Gehry, AAR Trustee 1990-1994
1984 Richard Meier RAAR’74, AAR Trustee since 1998

Said AAR Director Carmela Vircillo Franklin, FAAR’85, RAAR’02, “I am absolutely delighted by the award of the Pritzker prize to Peter Zumthor, who was a Resident of the AAR last Spring. Peter’s lecture at the Villa Aurelia was a packed, celebrity event. It attracted the entire architectural community of Rome—many aspiring architects mobbed him after his talk to get his autograph. He served as mentor and advisor to many of our Fellows and he engaged the entire community by his presence in the Dining Room and in our programmatic events.”

Born in Basel, Switzerland, Zumthor trained for five years as a cabinet maker before beginning his university studies, which included time at New York’s Pratt Institute. In 1979 he established his practice in the small Swiss town of Haldenstein, where he works with a modest staff of about 20 people.

Zumthor received the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association in 2008 and the University of Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture in 2006.

0274973BPeter Zumthor at the Pritzker ceremony. Credit: Charly Diaz Azcué