October 2013

WILLIAM GEORGIS MAKES IT FABULOUS

October 15 2013

Best known for his glamorous, irreverent, and layered interiors, architect and interior designer William T. Georgis will be at The Wolfsonian on October 18 for a reception and book signing to celebrate the recent publication of the first monograph on his work, Make It Fabulous: The Architecture and Designs of William T. Georgis (The Monacelli Press, 2013, $50).

“I love to shock,” he says in Make It Fabulous, which features sixteen residential projects designed to incorporate significant art collections. The title derives from what he says his clients often tell him: “Just make it fabulous.”

Examples? A New York City powder room lined with bullet-riddled mirrored panels for that film noir look. A dining room in which a Roman bust of Heracles is paired with—and in dialogue with—a nineteenth-century French crucifix. “You have to be able to coax a meaning from the dialogue that goes beyond visual splendor…There has to be an intelligent component,” Georgis says in an article in Introspective Magazine.

GOLDEN AGE OF WORLD’S FAIRS EXPLORED IN NEW EXHIBITION

October 15 2013

The newest products. The latest technologies. Futuristic buildings. The potential and promise of the world of tomorrow! World’s fairs showcased all of this and more in elaborate and popular expositions that took place in cities around the globe for more than one hundred years. A new Wolfsonian teaching exhibition, Crisis and Commerce: World’s Fairs of the 1930s, is on view at FIU’s Frost Art Museum through January 5. Curated by Peter Clericuzio, academic programs manager at The Wolfsonian and adjunct lecturer in FIU’s history department, the exhibition complements a history department graduate course on world’s fairs that Clericuzio is teaching this semester.

Included are approximately seventy items drawn from The Wolfsonian’s extensive materials on world’s fairs—posters, architectural drawings, photographs, sculptures, medals, souvenirs, ephemera, and more—that together convey a tension inherent, though largely unacknowledged, in the exuberant world’s fairs of the 1930s. During that decade, a kind of golden age for world’s fairs, there was an abundance of expositions, with seven world’s fairs: in Antwerp and Liège in 1930, Chicago in 1933–34, Brussels in 1935, Paris in 1937, and New York as well as San Francisco in 1939–40. But those years were also a time of increasing global unrest.

WHERE FASHION MEETS DESIGN

October 15 2013

Wolfsonian art director Mylinh Trieu Nguyen was profiled in Glamour magazine’s October issue, as part of its inaugural fashion column focusing on workwear. The article spurred a discussion with Nguyen on the intersection of fashion and design, and on items in The Wolfsonian’s collection that inspire her.

Q: What is your fashion style?

A: It’s a mix between the movie The Matrix and the 1980s Italian design group Memphis. Some days I prefer blacks and neutrals or clothes with an interesting shape or pronounced structure. I've always loved Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons, and Maison Martin Margiela for this reason. On other days, more often now since moving to Miami, I like bright colors and patterns that vibrate when paired together. Delpozo, Kenzo, Dries Van Noten, and Acne resonate. I'm finding that the push and pull between the two styles and being in such a tropical environment has made for an interesting and exciting time for experimenting with my wardrobe.

Q: What is your design aesthetic?

A: I love art and design that can change the way we see and interpret the world. Whether it is a subtle gesture or a hyperbolic interpretation, the way in which designers are able to continually contribute unique perspectives of the everyday is inspiring. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by the objects of these interpretations at The Wolfsonian.

ART AS CHANGE AGENT

October 15 2013

“I think art can change the world just like anything can change the world. We all make a difference every day,” says artist Elin O’Hara Slavick, who has produced a substantial body of work that explores the impact of political violence; another recurring theme is the nature of labor and the worker. Slavick will speak with artist Michele Oka Doner in a presentation at The Wolfsonian on October 24. The event, Practicing Political Art, honors the memory of Zena Posever (1911–2012), a Miami-based artist and activist, and is made possible with support from the Zena Posever Memorial Fund.

Slavick has taken on subject matter such as the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima and U.S. military interventions, work that is collected in the books After Hiroshima (Daylight Books, 2013) and Bomb after Bomb: A Violent Cartography (Charta, 2007). How to portray such topics in art? Slavick’s answer, as evident in her work, is to use beauty to lure the viewer into looking. “There are a lot of artists who deal with really ugly subject matter. I don’t want to put more ugly things out in the world. I think beauty is a strategy—if you make it ugly, people won’t look,” she says.

REBIRTH OF ROME: SERIES OF EXHIBITIONS

October 15 2013

This fall, The Wolfsonian presents Rebirth of Rome, a program of interrelated exhibitions that examines the cultural output of interwar Italy. Each exhibition addresses the alliance between art, design, and ideology in Italy under Benito Mussolini. Rebirth of Rome coincides with the Year of Italian Culture in the United States, organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC.

“Taken together, the exhibitions are a portrait of the country during the years of Fascist dictatorship. The works on view in these shows—decorative arts, public works, mural paintings, architecture, design—tell us a great deal about how Italy defined itself during this significant period in the country’s history and speak to the relationship between politics and aesthetics that influenced its identity,” explains Wolfsonian curator Silvia Barisione.

The exhibition Echoes and Origins: Italian Interwar Design and the library exhibition From Italy to the Americas: Italo Balbo’s 1930 and 1933 Seaplane Squadrons are currently on view. Opening on November 22 are The Birth of Rome and Rendering War: The Murals of A. G. Santagata. The Birth of Rome is accompanied by a publication, the first in a series exploring core themes in the museum’s collection.

ECHOES AND ORIGINS: ITALIAN INTERWAR DESIGN

October 15 2013

When the Fascist party seized power in Italy following the First World War, the regime set out to establish a unified political identity—one looking to the future while maintaining reverence for the past. Echoes and Origins: Italian Interwar Design explores how Italy’s designers, artisans, manufacturers, and corporations helped cultivate a style that embodied the regime’s concept of Italianità (Italianness), glorifying both the Roman Empire and the spirit of modernity.

On entering the recently opened exhibition, among the first objects one sees are two sculptures of Mussolini. “The juxtaposition of modernity and tradition is evident in these two sculptures. One [Benito Mussolini by Jo Davidson, 1927] looks like an ancient Roman emperor. The other [Profilo continuo del Duce (Continuous Profile of the Duce) by Renato Bertelli, 1933] is Futurist, a tribute to the machine age,” explains exhibition curator Silvia Barisione, who notes that when Mussolini conquered Rome in 1922, he was supported by Futurist artists.