A Connecticut Exhibit Highlights the Murals of Hans Hofmann

There are several ways to appreciate the work of  Hans Hofmann, an exuberant Abstract Expressionist who influenced generations of artists…..

Along the ground-floor facade of the former High School of Printing, is a boldly scintillating 64-by-11 1/2-foot mosaic mural designed by Mr. Hofmann and executed brilliantly in 1958 by L. Vincent Foscato of Long Island City, Queens. New York’s treasury of public and semipublic artwork is so rich that it sometimes takes an out-of-town institution to remind us…..the Bruce Museum (Greenwich, Conn.)…has opened an exhibition called “Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann,” curated by Professor Kenneth E. Silver of New York University.


Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann

The Museum will be awash in the vibrant hues of Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann in this first-ever exhibition to focus on the artist’s varied and under-appreciated public mural projects. The centerpiece of Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann will be nine oil studies by Hofmann, each seven feet tall, for the redesign of the Peruvian city of Chimbote. This was Hofmann’s extraordinary collaboration, in 1950, with Catalan architect José Luis Sert – the man who designed the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair in 1937, for which Picasso’s great mural Guernica was conceived. Although never realized, this visionary project was to include a huge mosaic wall – a freestanding bell tower in the town center – designed by Hofmann, which would incorporate not only his own highly evolved notions of Abstract Expressionist visual dynamics, but also forms symbolic of traditional Peruvian culture, religion and history.


Adoption Made Visible

Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies

Exhibition: April 16 to December 31, 2015 – Presidio Officer’s Club (San Francisco)

Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies explores the diverse experiences and lasting impacts of a dramatic airlift that removed more than 2,000 Vietnamese children from their war-torn country to be adopted by American families as Saigon fell in April 1975.

The extraordinary story continued at the Presidio, where more than 1,500 of these children were transferred before being placed with adoptive families. As more than 5,400 volunteers in the San Francisco Bay Area cared for the children, Operation Babylift itself was being debated across the country.

OBL000 Exhibition Title Graphic


‘Operation Babylift’ exhibition opens at Presidio in S.F.

The exhibition was organized by the Presidio Trust and the Adoption Museum Project in Berkeley. It includes artifacts representing this local angle to South Vietnam’s collapse, such as news clips and documents that accompanied the infants. There also are interviews taped during the past year with participants.

People are silhouetted against a photo of Vietnamese adoptees in an airplane at the opening of an exhibition on Operation Babylift at the Presidio Officer's Club in San Francisco on Thursday, April 16, 2015. The exhibition explores the events of 1975 in which more than 1,500 Vietnamese children traveled through the Presidio to adoptive families in the U.S. during the waning days of the Vietnam war. Adoptees, and people who helped relocate them, came out for the event. Photo: Terray Sylvester, The Chronicle

Cath Turner (40) of Sydney, Australia, looks at a display during the opening of an exhibition on Operation Babylift at the Presidio Officer's Club in San Francisco on Thursday, April 16, 2015. In 1975, during the waning days of the Vietnam war, Turner was among 1,500 Vietnamese children transported through the Presidio en route to adoptive families in the U.S. as part of Operation Babylift. Photo: Terray Sylvester, The Chronicle

A man takes a photo at the opening of an exhibition on Operation Babylift at the Presidio Officers Club in San Francisco. Photo: Terray Sylvester / The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES


Adoption Museum Project

The Adoption Museum Project envisions a museum where all people can explore the story of adoption. It is a place for those who are personally connected to adoption and those who are not.

The museum will look at three dimensions of adoption: the lived experience, policy and practice, and the many themes that connect adoption to our larger society such as identity, race, and civil rights. These ideas will be considered through many forms of expression including physical exhibitions, oral histories, objects, performance and art. History and current events will give context. Educational programs will deepen learning for specific communities. A physical museum space will create the container. A website will extend the work.



Market Street Hosts Prototyping Festival

The three-day event brings 50 community-driven designs to life in various locations along San Francisco’s Market Street.

Last fall, an open call from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Planning Department, and the Knight Foundation yielded more than 200 project proposals, of which 50 were selected for their potential to make Market Street more engaging, and built for the three-day public showcase.

Fogplane, by HOK SF.

Fogplane drawings.


A City and an Art Center Design the Future: Reflections on the Market Street Prototyping Festival

Nina Simon: Museum 2.0:

“The arts are future-making.”

I wrote this down when Deborah Cullinan said it at a meeting of arts leaders about a year ago. We were discussing the potential for cultural organizations to have significant impact across communities: on planning, health, education, and quality of life. Deborah’s vision for the arts leading the way to stronger future inspired me. But I couldn’t fully imagine how a museum or an arts center could embody it.
Last week, I got to see Deborah’s vision in action. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (which she directs) teamed up with the San Francisco Planning Department and the Knight Foundation to host the Market Street Prototyping Festival. Over three days, 52 artist teams erected experimental projects along San Francisco’s biggest thoroughfare. They turned Market Street into a playground, a performance hall, and a meeting place. The result was a true experiment in designing the future–right here, right now–with artists and planners and civic leaders at the helm together.

Celebrating the Life of Artist and Curator Susan O’Malley (1976–2015)

This is personal: yesterday was my birthday and I attended the memorial of a friend, Susan O’Malley.

At the Montalvo Art Center in Saratoga, CA, several hundred family and friends became a colorful community to celebrate the life of an extraordinary person.  We cried, we laughed, we waved jazz hands, we sang and had a pep rally (Susan……O’Malley)…..

My life intersected with Susan’s when I worked with her for her Palo Alto Arts Center exhibition Community Advice.  Her social art practice was deep listening to unearth wisdom and present these words through vibrant text colors.  In this project she asked: “What advice would you give your 8-year old self?” AND “What advice would you give your 80-year old self?”  Using excerpts from recorded interviews, she created ten text posters displayed throughout the community as well as within the PAAC exhibition gallery. She looked to blur the line between art space and life space.

We remained connected after the project: Susan became a mentor and a muse.  I looked to bring her into a design workshop I was running for The Crosses of Lafayette.  I wanted to connect her listening and art to the fiery words of Korean War Veteran turned anti-war activist and poet Fred Norman.  The connection was missed.  I worried that it would be 80- year old Fred who would pass before the project would be completed, never thinking it would be Susan.

Dear friend, I will miss your light and delight.


The Dawn of Branding

Paul Rand’s Work Exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York

The designer’s exhibit encompasses the six decades of his career as a visionary of modern branding. Paul Rand, whose most iconic work includes the design of corporate logos, was a man whose name itself had been re-imagined as a corporate identity. Two- 4 letter names, easily remembered and difficult to escape from one’s memory—similar to his ABC logo, seen by millions on television screens for generations… Launching his professional career with magazine covers, he revolutionized advertising as an art director on Madison Avenue. The exhibition, on show at the Museum of the City of New York, is comprised of six entities, and features 150 pieces of Rand’s work, including his pioneering rebranding campaigns for IBM and UPS (unusual color combinations, bold typefaces, straightforward company messages).

<p class="p1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">IBM pavilion at the  New York World's Fair, 1964. IBM logo and graphic identity designed by Paul Rand.</p>


 How Paul Rand Pioneered The Era Of Design-Led Business

We live in an era that acknowledges the business value of good design. Research proves it. But it wasn’t always so. Everything is Design: The Wrok of Paul Rand, a new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, reveals that today’s design-led businesses owe much credit to the work of visionary graphic designer Paul Rand. Paul Rand was the first and only designer Steve Jobs looked to.


“Everything is Design. Everything!”

Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand features more than 150 advertisements, posters, corporate brochures, and books by this master of American design. It was Rand who most creatively brought European avant-garde art movements such as Cubism and Constructivism to graphic design in the United States. His philosophy, as expressed in his work and writings, including the recently republished 1947 Thoughts on Design, argued that visual language should integrate form and function. Born in Brooklyn in humble circumstances, Rand (1914-1996) launched his career in the 1930s with magazine cover design and, starting in the early 1940s, he worked as an art director on Madison Avenue, where he helped revolutionize the advertising profession. He later served as design consultant to leading corporations like IBM, ABC, UPS, and Steve Jobs’s NeXT, for whom he conceived comprehensive visual communications systems, ranging from packaging to building signage, all grounded in recognizable logos, many of which are still in use today. Rand’s influence was extended by students he taught at Yale University. His visually stimulating, yet problem-solving, approach to graphic design attracted devoted admirers during his own lifetime and he remains influential today.


Light Conservation Trick of Time

Reviving Rothko

A cutting-edge conservation tool uses light to erase 50 years of damage to Harvard University’s famed murals by Mark Rothko.

Every day at 4 p.m., visitors standing in the special exhibition gallery at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Mass., can watch as a suite of Mark Rothko murals age 50 years in an instant. In that moment, a digital light projector switches off and what was a cohesive series of painted panels, known collectively as the Harvard Murals, suddenly looks disjointed. A beautiful, plum-colored background fades to different hues and the ravages of light and time on a delicate painted surface stand out. In an impressive trompe-l’œil, the murals painted in the 1960s by the famed abstract expressionist suddenly lose their luster.

This trick of time is the result of an innovative conservation tool created by the Harvard Art Museums and the for a special exhibition called “Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals,” on display through July. Rothko’s paintings had originally been commissioned for a penthouse dining room at Harvard’s Holyoke Center…The murals hung there until they began to fade. In 1979, they were rolled, put into storage, and rarely seen by the public. That is, until now.

Panel One, Panel Two, and Panel Three (Harvard Mural Triptych).


Sound Architecture

Wooden poles randomly strike the ground at Zimoun’s installation in New York

Vertical wooden laths cyclically pummel the floor of a cavernous New York factory building in this installation by Swiss artist Zimoun…(has) hung 250 wooden poles from thin ropes attached to the 12-metre-high ceiling beams of the Knockdown Center NYC – a 1903 factory building in Queens that has been restored as an art and music venue. This process is repeated at random intervals, creating a choreography of uneven jostling and a cacophony of thuds.

Studio Zimoun installation at Knockdown Center NYC


Zimoun uses motors to create moving cardboard installations

Zimoun collaborated with architect Hannes Zweifel to install 81 boxes between two levels of a room at the Mannheimer Kunstverein gallery.

Zimoun interiors installation



“Using simple and functional components, Zimoun builds architecturally-minded platforms of sound. Exploring mechanical rhythm and flow in prepared systems, his installations incorporate commonplace industrial objects. In an obsessive display of simple and functional materials, these works articulate a tension between the orderly patterns of Modernism and the chaotic forces of life. Carrying an emotional depth, the acoustic hum of natural phenomena in Zimoun’s minimalist constructions effortlessly reverberates.”