BEHIND THE SCENES: BEDROOM AT ARLES

I remember when I first started working as an exhibition designer, I took a million photos during fabrication and installation. I've filled up countless hard drives with images of paint drying on gallery walls (literally) and more excitingly, images of preparators gently placing massive sculptures, shop visits with fabricators, and many in-gallery shots of the teams of people it takes to make an exhibition safe for the art and beautiful for the public. Nowadays, I find that I take fewer and fewer photos of this phase (still my favorite part of my job) , because after 13 years of doing this, the process often looks the same. There is a protocol we all follow and getting an exhibition off the ground is for me, now, a pretty standard practice, so find myself slacking off in the documentation process sometimes. BUT one of latest exhibitions I worked on was different!

Sitting at the edge of your seat? Your should be! The show, Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A., showcases many of the artist's great works, including some of his large paintings of interiors. One gallery is devoted to Lichtenstein's "re-imagining" of work by Picasso, Monet, and van Gogh. It's here that we designed and built a 3D version of Lichtenstein's painting Bedroom at Arles, which is a reinterpretation of van Gogh's The Bedroom. We set out to recreate the room entirely!

The first thing I had to do was turn the 2D painting into construction documents so that we could build the exaggerated perspective of the walls and all the furniture and decor and create all the wall and floor patterns to scale. The crew at the Skirball then built and painted everything by hand to match the angles, lines, and accents from the Lichtenstein painting.

The guys working on this with me were incredibly talented and fully embraced the challenge to build not-your-everyday-museum-furniture. The attention to detail, craftsmanship, and constant reference back to the original image was crucial and is essentially what made this installation the success it is. On opening night there was an hour long wait to get inside the gallery!

The Art Institute of Chicago, who owns The Bedroom paintings by van Gogh, did a similar thing earlier this year where they recreated van Gogh's bedroom in three-dimensions and made it an airbnb rental. It's pretty amazing. If you are in Los Angeles, the exhibition and Lichtenstein bedroom is up at Skirball Cultural Center until March 12, 2017.

You can see more photos of the entire exhibition here.

SHOP UPDATE

In May, when I posted that I'd be reopening the shop later this summer, I really meant it! What I didn't realize at the time was that I was going to really push the definition of summer, stretch it to its September limits. But technically, my friends, still summer...

For all you faithful beast lovers, thank you for being so patient. The wait is almost over. The beast factory (aka me) is finally catching up on attaching legs to bodies, stuffing heads, and sewing up butts. There are still more faces to put on, frowns and smiles alike, and lots and lots of photography and editing that needs to happen.

Long story short: the shop will be restocked and reopened around the middle of September. If you have signed up for the newsletter, you'll get the notification of exactly when. And this time I promise to send out the newsletter with a little more advanced warning!

BLURRY DREAMY

There was a time I was quite obsessed with taking Polaroid pictures and as a result I have a box of old shots that blurrily document 2000 through 2009 pretty darn well. The collection is an out-of-focus diary of sorts and lots of shots were taken on expired film (I would hoard the stuff when I found it for sale).

The box has been sitting on a shelf, untouched, for years, until a couple of days ago when I was hunting online for some dreamy summer stock photography for a project, when I suddenly realized that I am my own photo bank!

I've been working on some marketing materials for SIMON showroom in New York for the past year or so and was happy that they wanted to try something new with a multi-page format for the Spring Summer '17 mailer. A perfect way to showcase my stash of Polaroids!

HOUSE DREAMING

Eventually Mr. D and I will leave our idyllic little (rented) farmhouse and make the leap into home ownership. The plan is to find a little piece of land with an old house on it that we can fix up, or a little piece of land with nothing and then find an old house and have it moved onto the property. I'm fascinated with the logistics of moving houses.

BUT then I saw this lake house by JRKVC and it itched my inner architect and now I kinda want to build a house. Or at least put that into the house-hunting equation. Drastic renovation?

Right now our house is this lovely little square, too small for corridors and each room flows into the next. Perhaps that is why I love this rectangle house with no corridors: each room is accessed from the central shared space, with extra sleeping and play spaces above.

The color of the built-in shelving alone convinced me I loved this house, but it just got better and better: the wall behind the wood-burning stove is masonry, absorbing heat, and the door jamb details on the bedroom interior is a nice surprise, not to mention more built-ins.

And of course the canoe storage and view. I'm rather obsessed with getting a canoe these days (especially after these devastating non-stop storms in Central Texas) and I'm a sucker for a porch and large overhang.

At the risk of making this my longest post ever, my extended dream would be to marry this house with another house by the same architect.

Again, the porch and the recessed door details and color! I do love the history, quirks, and the wear of old houses, but I'm surprising myself here by suddenly wanting something new. And I am totally in love with the charm of these traditional building forms, the warmth of the materials, and the smart, unfussy details.

via dezeen
lake house, here, and small glazed gable house here

SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS

This newly installed land art piece in the Nevada desert just about made my day.
Well, this and the fact that Mr. D almost finished building the tool shed today, but more on that another time.

Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

Installed just outside Las Vegas, it's called Seven Magic Mountains by artist Ugo Rondinone, and consists of fluorescent limestone boulders stacked vertically and standing between thirty and thirty-five feet high.

"Located a short distance from Nevada’s legendary Jean Dry Lake where Jean Tinguely and Michael Heizer created significant sculptures, Seven Magic Mountains is one of the largest land-based art installations in the United States completed in over 40 years. The work pays homage to the history of Land Art while also offering a contemporary critique of the simulacra in nearby Las Vegas."

I'm also excited to learn about the Nevada Museum of Art and it's Center for Art + Environment which is "becoming known for its expertise and holdings in materials related to art and the land, not just in the United States but around the world."

Next time I have bit of free time when I'm in California, I may just have to drive up so I can stand next to a huge pink boulder...and then I may just have to drive up to Reno to visit the museum. I feel a road trip coming on.

p.s. I have to say that I'm reminded of the work by Chioazza and their Domestic Monuments series and Cairn, which they installed last year.

p.p.s And I know not everyone thinks painted rocks are as cool as I do, take Mr D. for example, who gave me a huge eye roll when I showed him the pic of Seven Magic Mountains. To each their own.

 

BEASTS IN PRODUCTION

Whenever I am in Los Angeles for work, I always stop by my favorite thrift store, the Goodwill at Hollywood and Sunset, to peruse the sweater aisles. I have found the best sweaters there and so many beasts can thank this store for helping to bring them to life.

On my last trip I picked up these three. The patterned one in the middle looks like it had been shrunken, accidentally probably, and thus given away. And of course, I accidentally shrunk it again after I brought it home and washed it again. It's going to make a great medium sized beast pillow! And full disclosure: I may end up keeping and wearing the pink cardigan because the color is just so great. I can't decide. I often have this problem... I find some really great sweaters that I really have trouble cutting up.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying that new beasts are in production! I've been getting lots of emails and Etsy convos lately and I wanted to let y'all know that I'm working on it! I've closed the shop down until I get a chance to restock and will be reopening later this summer.

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AIRCRAFT BONEYARD

What I love about my job is that every project is so different. And the research often leads me to some very interesting places. Most recently the Aviation Warehouse in Adelanto, California.

We were looking for airplane parts to include in a display for an aviation-themed restaurant, a project I've been working on for a while.

While we were looking for smaller bits, like panel instruments, nose cones, propellers and such, I was really taken by the eerie shells of planes. Many of them crashed, many of them decommissioned.

I certainly have a thing for boneyards. Remember my trip to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas? For me, there is something so beautifully melancholy about the discarded, broken, and forgotten objects in our everyday lives that we memorialize by gathering them in one spot.