Sunday, July 31, 2011

Graphite Drawings Installed at Characters Restaurant, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

From Right to Left, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Christopher Reeves, and Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe), all (32" x 40") pencil and graphite powder

Marlene Dietrich (32" x 40") pencil

After thirty years the drawings have been resurrected from their cardboard box coffins. They are once again hanging, this time in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Some have been buried for as long as thirty-five years, others only twenty-eight. These are some of the drawings I have left from my 15 minutes of (if not fame) success (as Clark Klomp) back in the late 1970's and early 1980's.* I had no idea that I would feel so wonderful upon seeing them brought back from the dead. Thank you Meghan, Jose, and Character's Restaurant for bringing these iconic character images back into the light of day!

Marlin Brando, (32" x 40"), pencil

*"Clark Klomp" was the alias given to YT by certain adopted family during those too few minutes of success in New York City and Philadelphis.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kunsthaus Graz

Peter Cook and Colin Fournier


This piece of “blobitecture” - to use the vernacular for free form architecture created solely or mostly with computer programming - sits in the historic section of Graz, Germany, near the Clock Tower of the Schlossberg. The Kunsthaus' Amoeba like form flows around its historical partner. Most importantly to this journal, it has a metamodern presence, like a time machine with a broken “flux capacitor” oscillating between and among past, present and future.

“With respect both to urban planning and to its purpose, the Kunsthaus functions as a bridgehead at a point where the past and the future meet.” *2

This museum is all over the place - a simplified statement about its complex program! While It meets the most demanding requirements for contemporary art exhibition spaces it also accomplishes much more. It manages to be integrated with the historical past of its surroundings despite the unusual design, and is connected directly to the oldest cast-iron building in Europe, the historical monument Elsernes Haus. The amazing exterior wall is like a chameleon’s skin. Not only does it change color, it is capable of direct visual communication with it’s urban environment using a system developed by “realities limited” called BIX. The system is capable of displaying type and moving images. The museum manages to meet, complete and go beyond the old “Modern” saw, “form follows function” better than any contemporary art museum out there. I’d make an expensive trip just to visit this structure and its immediate environment. I want more!

The alter ego chimes in with, “Such an emotional response, John!”

“Yes, I know. I should attempt to remain objective, but - admitting my own parochial past - this is my first look at Twenty-first Century architecture beyond our own borders. The fact that this building was in the planning stages back in the 1990’s and completed in 2003 is amazing!” In fact, I’m surprised that Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin Van den Akker didn't site this structure when discussing their ideation about the Metamodern because it is such a wonderful example of a three dimensional model of metaxis. See the reductive model From this journal, June 2nd, 2011.

The Architects

Professor Sir Peter Cook is founder of Archigram created in the 1960's to be an avant-garde architectural group with a futurist concentration. Colin Fournier is a professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Bartlett School of Architecture, part of the University College of London.


* "Kunsthaus Graz" in UrbARama: Atlas of Architecture,, contributed by dpr_Barcelona, April 20, 2009, Viewed 10:00 AM EDT, Sunday, July 24, 2011. It is thought that one time use of an image for intellectual purpose is acceptable within United States copyright law.

*2 Kiser, Kirsten, “Spacelab Cook-Fournier Kunsthaus Graz,” in arcspace, Posted January 12, 2004, viewed 9:20 AM EDT, Saturday, July 23, 2011.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Daniel Libeskind

The first in a survey of Twenty-first Century Architects

Danish Jewish Museum, interior

"The Danish Jewish Museum will become a destination which will reveal the deep tradition as well as the future of the unprecedented space of Mitzvah. The intertwining of the old structure of the vaulted brick space of the Royal Library and the unexpected connection to the unique exhibition space creates a dynamic dialogue between architecture of the past and of the future - the newness of the old and the agelessness of the new." *

Danish Jewish Museum, exterior

Limited by time and work, this will necessarily be brief, reductionist and to the point. It does not indicate any limitation to the importance of Daniel Libeskind as a late Twentieth and early Twenty-first Century architect.

Libeskind first came to my attention in 2003 when his design was chosen for the new World Trade Center in New York City. His design universe is based in distorted 3 and 4-sided polygons that look crystalline to this observer, and may be considered to some extent organic (or not). Often his work is collaborative - I question whether by choice - he never the less seems to welcome the limitations placed by interaction with others. So many of the designs also include an interaction of his contemporary design concepts with historical structure. Initially critics claimed his work to be too assertive, though his subsequent international success demonstrates approval of his bold designs. Libeskind was born in Poland of Jewish/Polish survivors of the Holocaust, and became a U. S. citizen in 1965.

This brief summary is indicative of a Metamodern position based in metaxis. However, the question remains, is the indication based on my own position?


• Libeskind, Daniel, The Danish Jewish Museum, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Construction completed September, 2003, opened June, 2004, Viewed 10:20 AM, EDT, Wednesday, July 20, 2011

• Libeskind, Daniel, The Danish Jewish Museum, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Viewed 10:20 AM, EDT, Wednesday, July 20, 2011. The one time use of images for intellectual purposes is thought to be within the legal limits of United States copyright law.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Perfect Day on Cape Henlopen

Yesterday, we took a visiting friend out to our little cape. July cooperated by giving us the most delightful summer weather imaginable.

If I were only twenty-something again, I’d be out there in a second. Air temperature 80 degrees Fahrenheit, water temperature, 73 degrees Fahrenheit, Sun intense, waves, medium, Cape Henlopen magnificent! We sat on the rocks for an hour watching the young folk do their surfing. I created a little story in my head, that the younger man sitting on the rocks in front of us was actually a dad, watching protectively over his children in the water.

We also went for a long walk on the beach, and drove out to the end of the cape to look at the lighthouses out in the Delaware Bay and the dunes wrapping around from the bay to the Atlantic Ocean.

Capes End, (Pastel) Yours Truly, 2007

Just throwing in a little known fact here - the dunes on our little Delaware cape mark the highest point on the Atlantic beaches between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Metamodern, Architecture, and World Architecture

I discuss current trends in Architecture with a new series of blog entries.


Metamodernism is limited to a Western and Eurocentric conceptualization. As such, does it indicate a period after dominance of the Arts by the United States? Or is it simply one piece in a larger picture that indicates a more inclusive Western movement, or perhaps one that is inclusive, cross-cultures and worldwide? I propose an answer to these questions, and perhaps others as I explore architecture from the (4 corners of the globe) - this last, a purposeful use of the inaccurate pun/trope that indicates a preliminary if rudimentary understanding of Contemporary World Architecture.

In their discussion “Notes on Metamodernism,” Vermeulen and Van den Akker, use the Swiss Architecture firm, Herzog and de Meuron as a primary example of the metamodern. * Their design for the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, completed in 2005 has a bulbous silhouette that predisposes the observer to describe the firm’s style as “blobitecture.”*2 However, a thorough examination of the various buildings designed by the firm reveals a broad oeuvre that includes standard rectangular solids reminiscent of various historical design periods. I choose some rectangular examples including; 1) Miami Art Museum, and Lincoln Road Garage, Miami, 2) 40 Bond Street, London (reminiscent of Antonio Gaudi), 3) The rectangular addition to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and 4) The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, N.Y. Often the buildings are a mixture of two seemingly opposite styles, a surreal pastiche of an existing or imagined history with a fanciful curvilinear, rectangular, and/or abstracted trapezoid like form. Examples include; 1) CaixaForum, Madrid, 2) Goetz Collection, Munich, 3) Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, and 4) VitraHaus, Weil am Rhein, the archetypal house mixed with stacked forms.

The partners, Jacques Herzog, and Pierre de Meuron, both born in 1950 are Swiss, both having attended the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, have designed buildings all over the world, but are perhaps best known for their use of the Bankside Power Station as the major part of their design for the new Tate Modern. That building, a long rectangular structure built in stages beginning in 1947 through 1963 is massive, longer than two football fields, providing the perfect interior space for contemporary art installations. That mid 20th Century fortress like structure is wedded to a stack of rectangular forms of various sizes and at various angles incorporated within a giant trapezoidal structure at the southern end. Thus, the museum is an excellent example of the second type of mixed oppositional style structure described above. The Tate Modern then provides a perfect visual and structural metaphore for Vermeulen and Van den Akker’s description of the metamodern as inhabiting the space between and among and (I suspect) limitless series of oppositions including the Modern versus Postmodern, perhaps pointing out that these things are not necessarily conflicted. Instead, they may even be complimentary when integrated in a well thought out program. This last, perhaps the architects’ method of visual and spatial instruction to a culture caught in a conflagration of oppositional forces.


* Pearman, Hugh, "Tate Modern Tate 2: Herzog and de Meuron go gothic," in The Sunday Times, London, © Copyright 1998-2009 Hugh Pearman. Viewed 11:00 AM, EDT, Saturday, July 9, 2011. It is thought that one time use of an image for intellectual purposes is within copyright law of the United States of America.

*2 Blobitecture - I've linked to the Wikipedia description of "blobitecture." Blobitecture is also known as "waveform" architecture and is achieved mostly/completely (as I understand it) with computer design. I also located a book, Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design, by John K. Walters, Rockport Publishers (2003).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Turtle Tracks

In June, before we left Juno for Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, we went to the beach one morning and found that a turtle had laid her eggs leaving fresh tracks behind. Someone had marked the spot with a stick so that the Loggerhead Marine Life people would be able to tag the spot. I took the photograph, one of 15 using different shutter speeds, f-stops and changing the spot on which I focused in order to make sure that at least one image was focused several feet out from the camera lens to infinity. It was fairly early in the morning, so the sun was low and reflecting off the water and shining directly into the camera lens, which often creates problems. Instead, the intensity if the light worked to enhance the tracks, and the shadow from the stick pointed out of the photograph toward the viewer.

The image reminds me that we have a responsibility to preserve the environment for the creatures of this earth.