Friday, April 23, 2010

the shepherd's dog.

yesterday was my birthday, so i decided to treat myself to a few of my favorite albums on vinyl, courtesy of the local independent record store, the exclusive company of appleton (there's one in green bay and another in oshkosh as far as this area is concerned).

it's opened a really huge can of worms. now vinyl records are all i want!

i was on the hunt for iron & wine's the shepherd's dog (sub pop, 2007) on vinyl, and was mostly looking online. i was hoping to find it used for a couple bucks cheaper, but alas, it's awesome, so no one is selling it for less. so i stopped by the record store, not really expecting to find it. but i did! all their other records were there, too, but this particular one is the one worth having on vinyl. there's something more adult about it (and the ep woman king, which i found at work) that resonates more with me than any of sam beam's previous work.

i have no interest in discussing the song "flightless bird, american mouth" being on the twilight soundtrack. but that is a genuinely beautiful, beautiful song. along with "carousel" and "boy with a coin"... wonders.

he really is a masterful songwriter, though. i would love to see iron & wine live. asap.

i also found jamiroquai's dynamite (sony, 2005) and death cab for cutie's narrow stairs (atlantic, 2008)... i listened to side a of narrow stairs and managed to split the lp cleanly in half, so i won't be listening to that again. sadness... every intention of replacing it eventually. what is with some of the holes in some records being smaller than others? ugh.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

cloud gate.

photo (c) katie mothes 2010

this is the only other thing that i wanted to mention post-chicago trip. i love cloud gate (aka. "the bean") by anish kapoor. i may have mentioned this before, even, because i so adore kapoor. and yes, that rhyme was on purpose. all hail the bean. see some of his other work here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

farnsworth house.

more photos after the jump.

last week i spent six days in the southern chicago suburbs for work. the saturday that i drove back to wisconsin, i took a detour to plano, illinois to see the farnsworth house, ludwig mies van der rohe's masterpiece of a residence along the fox river.

i was extremely impressed not only with the house, but with the visitor center and the staff. i was running fifteen minutes late for my tour when i got there, but it was absolutely no problem at all to move me over to the next one, and the woman in the gift shop cheerfully put in a documentary about the house for me while i waited.

the house is one of those iconic places that is pictured in every architecture and art history book you'll ever pick up. mies van der rohe accomplished great modernist architecture in this house, and it's no wonder at all that since it was first heard of, it's been world famous.

i'm a big fan of modernist and contemporary architecture, as you might already guess by some of my previous posts. i read dwell magazine to get an idea of the trends, i look at photos in house books and other periodicals... but nothing compares to being able to stand inside the house and experience it for yourself. a house is a 3-D object that can't be appreciated by looking at a photograph, just like a a sculpture can't be appreciated fully until you can walk around it. a house you have to be able to walk around, and walk inside of.

the outside of this house is impressive, but it's when you're inside that you feel you've been transported. standing anywhere inside the house, one cannot see any of the supports holding up the lower porch or any part of the I-beams that touch the ground. you're lifted five feet and some inches off the ground, and with the flawless floor-to-ceiling windows, you feel almost like you're floating through the woods.

mid-century modern = one of my favorite eras in 20th century architecture. this falls into that very broad category, but mostly it's in the international style. theory, of course, being an art history fanatic, is where it's all at. one of my favorite concepts that this house embraces, being an international style home, is the twofold juxtaposition of new-world and old-world. first, it's a modern house in a natural setting. new and old. in the materials of the house, mies used steel and glass along with roman travertine marble and rare primavera wood from guatemala.

it's flawless. i want one. :)

all photos (c) katie mothes 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

books and architecture and books on architecture.

andres serrano, piss christ, 1987

andres serrano is just one of many artists and illustrators discussed in s. brent plate's book entitled blasphemy: art that offends (black dog publishing). it was released in 2006, a decent-size art book with text that is easily readable... it was definitely interesting. every single image in the book has been considered offensive to someone at some time in history. it includes everything from early christian illuminated manuscripts to bansky, andres serrano's piss christ (a photograph which, at the time of its display, created an uproar in the united states government, calling censorship into question) to the demolition by the taliban of ancient bamiyan buddha statues.

this really is an excellent book. it's a pretty fascinating look at the concept of so-called blasphemous and sacreligious art. it discusses what blasphemy means to different cultures, their religions, and in different areas and eras. i was not personally offended by anything in this book. i'm not religious, so the concept of mixing capitalist imagery with religious imagery doesn't faze me as it might someone who was religious. the point is that it fazes a LOT of people, and this book sort of cracks the surface of why, not just how.

via contemporist

it's been a while since i've posted a house. i've looked at quite a few -- i even scored some back issues of residential architect magazine and architecture magazine at work the other day -- but this house just spoke to me. there's something to be said about the old being transformed into the new. i have an undying love for midcentury modern, as i've posted about before, and when houses from that era are remodeled i'm always really excited to see what they did. even more, i like when there is really old existing architecture and something ultra-modern is added on. i've noticed this moreso in u.k. and irish architecture -- their willingness to use the old, existing building and add on something that complements it without overshadowing it or ruining it altogether.

this particular house is in ballymahon, ireland. (see, there's something about those isles.) there's something particularly and wonderfully irish about this. maybe because the cottage-y aspect of it is not lost on the fact that this is brand-spankin'-new contemporary. odos architects designed this addition. they've done many projects -- the link is to their residential portfolio. there's a friary in there that's absolutely stunning... and while some of the houses look particularly irish to me, others are simply modern and stunning without looking like they belong only in the irish countryside. everything on their site is spectacular.

and last, but not least, i'm just about finished with this book, why architecture matters by paul goldberger (yale). it's a very concise, and at times personal, look at architecture and why it is important. plain and simple, and yet no less interesting. it's not a difficult read, not studded with architectural jargon that a person who hasn't studied architecture wouldn't understand -- the point is to give an overview about exactly what the title says, why architecture matters. why we need it, why we want it, why we love it and hate it and sometimes both at the same time. he discusses how it shapes us, how we expect it, how it impacts our daily lives. everything from the bicycle shed to chartres cathedral, it's here. and it's not too dry. very nice.