Friday, January 30, 2009


As many know, pre-fab housing is is having its time in the spotlight right now--and likely into the future. Thanks to Dwell Magazine, an early champion of pre-fab, hosts of young architechts and designers took to the drawing board (computer) and have put out some fantastic, original modernist designs that can be quite affordable and of course, easy to move! The February 2009 Dwell is "the Pre-Fab Issue," with a cover of architect William Massie's American:08 prototype, which is now on display at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan(where is currently architect-in-residence). There are many features in this issue that I like, but American:08 is truly outstanding (and the most expensive at this point). Computer programmed laser cutters which he helped develop, are able to essentially sculpt your average building materials to create surprising dips, curves, and ellipises, that redefine the idea of what an elongated white rectanglular structure can be. Check it out:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Andrew Sean Greer

Great reading last night at the American Library(is it intentional that this library feels like a public library in 1978 in small town Kansas?). Anyways, Andrew Sean Greer read from his book "Scenes from a Marriage," a novel set in 1953 San Francisco about a couple and an old friend who comes back into their lives. He read some beautiful, very sensual (as one audience member noticed), lines-repressed 1950s dialogue, but full of mystery and detail. I have not read the book yet, but it has been on my list and listening to the reading last night confirmed my imminent reading. The book before this one was "The Adventures of Max Tivoli," praised by John Updike in the New Yorker when it was released. Updike was also honored last night at the beginning of the reading.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Exhibitions around town

A few shows worth taking a look at this weekend:
"Le Futurisme a Paris," at the Pompidou Center, closes on the 26th. Timed around the 100th anniversary of the Futurist Manifesto by Italian poet/artist/facist and masochist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published in Le Figaro (February 20th, 1909), this thorough exhibition brings together the a selection of the "classic works" from the Futurist movement and how it spread into France/London/Russia and of course within Italy. The paintings are amazing windows into history and the passion of the early 20th century. Man and machine, politics, architecture, urban was macho, pompous, sincere but short-lived due to the advent of WWI. Most of these burly men so in love with machine and war all enlisted only to very soon die or become traumatized and trivialized by the reality of war and death. It is perhaps a small lesson about the need for balance and of course, women--whom most of these men felt were irrelevant and painted either as prostitutes or being engulfed by machines...a subject typically overlooked in the general study of Futurism but clearly worth pointing out...which they do not in the brochure.

A couple of gallery shows of note:
Fiona Rae-a London based, abstract painter, who was linked back in the day with the Young British Artist and was a Turner Prize nominee. At Galerie Nathalie Obadia.
Kay Rosen-an American artist who explores the possibilities of text and language in her paintings and prints and wall installations. very poetic and smart. At Yvon Lambert,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Americans in Paris celebrate the inauguration

Americans in Paris celebrate the inauguration....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Weight of a Mustard Seed

The Weight of a Mustard Seed, by Wendell Steavenson, is a book about Iraq, but it is not your typical war/journalist horror story. The book traces the life of a former Iraqi general during the Iran-Iraq war named Kamel Sachet. Through years of meticulous research and interviews Steavenson puts together a unique portrait of a man, who also happened to be a ruthless general and served as one of Saddam’s military stooges during the 1980s, who inflicted torture and worse on many a civilian. The Weight of a Mustard Seed sheds light on the times before the US invasions in Iraq, the realities of this country and the countless fighting, devastation and suffering that the Iraqi people have endured. Her interviews with Sachet’s family, friends and associates allow the reader to grasp a more profound psychological portrait of how people deal with war, death and dictatorship, particularly how average citizens, doctors, lawyers, etc. can enter into brutal circumstances and the real price of loyalty. It’s certainly not a romantic book but it is real and insightful, and definitely worth a read.

Friday, January 16, 2009

no groove

I just can't seem to find my blogging groove post-holidays. I think I need to re-bond with Paris, but winter blues are making it difficult. Even with a sunny day yesterday and the mega-sales everywhere...well, it will come. So for now, just some photos from california...