Barbican’s Modern Couples explores art, intimacy and the avant-garde

‘Some women fight and others do not,’ observes Joan Didion in her The White Album. ‘Like so many guerrillas in the wars between sexes, Georgia O’Keeffe seems to have been equipped early with an immutable sense of who she was and a fairly clear understanding that she would be required to prove it,’ the American author writes of the great American painter. Much like the handful of female artists struggling within a very male modern art... Read More

Marvin Rand captures south California’s unique modernism

Los Angeles was a kind of utopian dream in the mid-twentieth century. The sunny southern Californian city had attracted an open-minded set – experimental filmmakers, independent artists, writers and patrons of design came here for it offered freedom of expression. This coupled with urban growth and industrial expansion led to a period of exceptional architectural innovation. Marvin Rand was there to capture this spirit. Throughout the post-war... Read More

Residents: Inside the iconic Barbican estate

The Barbican, that twentieth century utopian vision, and one of the most documented housing projects in the world, is taking us for an intimate tour. A select group of its residence are letting us glimpse into their homes and hear their thoughts – all of which is documented in an intriguing new book Residents: Inside the Iconic Barbican Estate. #gallery-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top:... Read More

Book review: Chairs by Architects

Architects have a fondness for designing chairs. It stems from a long tradition – the pieces of furniture often acting as architectural manifestos, small tokens representing the ideology and style of the architect. David Adjaye says it is like a ‘testing ground for ideas that interest me’. The architect has worked with manufacturer Knoll on a number of projects including the 2013 Washington Skeleton and Washington Skin chairs. Furniture,... Read More

The World of Charles and Ray Eames

For designers context is destiny, writes Sam Jacobs half way through The World of Charles and Ray Eames. The time and place in which the designer happens to emerge is decisive in shaping their world, he argues. And in this context Charles and Ray Eames are intimately connected with mid-century California. It would be impossible to consider one without the other. Post war, California embodied the New World – the west coast became synonymous... Read More

Learning from the Eameses

‘Is design an expression of art?’ we hear a voice ask Charles Eames to which he replies ‘design is the expression of purpose’. The video completes The World of Charles and Ray Eames, a brilliant look into the life and work of Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988) Eames, two of the most celebrated designers of the last century. With its timeless modernist aesthetic and utopian vision, London’s Barbican Centre is a perfect set for... Read More

The Afterlife of Emerson Tang

There was so much to admire about Modernism. The art, architecture, design, the ideology of the early part of the last century informed our contemporary life. The automobile, the personal motorcar, too has been pivotal to our modern existence. To find new ways of living in a world that is so very different to that of the last century, one with its own pressing needs, requires not only an understanding of the past but the willingness to let go.... Read More

Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude

Limbs twisting and twirling, awkward bodies of skinny flesh, taut muscles and angular bone, explicit poses… images that by definition should be sexual but are instead raw, expressive, at times angry and disturbing, yet striking and hypnotic. Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude at the Courtauld Gallery is a terrific, tightly focused exhibition that reveals some of the most radical depictions of the human body created in modern times. It is also the... Read More

Oscar Niemeyer’s Algerian adventure

Writer and photographer Jason Oddy examine the relationship between man and the built environment in his latest series ‘Concrete Spring’, exploring the Algerian work of pioneering Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. When Niemeyer first visited Algeria 40 years ago, he encountered an optimistic country. Following the struggle for independence from France, the socialist president Houari Boumedienne was keen for Algeria to transform itself... Read More

Book review: The Furniture of Carlo Mollino

Carlo Mollino (1905-73), the maverick Italian designer, created site specific and commissioned pieces that are considered works of art – a 1948 table sold for around $4m at an auction recently setting a world record for a piece of twentieth-century furniture. #gallery-18 { margin: auto; } #gallery-18 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-18 img { border:... Read More