November 2009
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Archive for November, 2009

City of Complaint: Two Centuries of New Yorkers’ Grievances

museum of compalint letters largeArtist and editor of the new book The New York City Museum of Complaint Matthew Bakkom and Tamara Coombs of MAS take us on a nostalgic, yet grumpy, journey through New York City’s archives looking at letters of complaint to the Mayor from 1751 to 1969. Ranging in subject from the removal of dead animals to lost baseballs to accusations of corruption, the book’s 132 letters not only chronicle issues affecting New Yorkers through the ages but also the development of their voice as citizens. Join us on Tuesday, December 1, at 7:00 p.m. when Bakkom will be joined by director of the NYC Municipal Archives Kenneth Cobb and celebrated writer, poet and native New Yorker Philip Lopate who will read from selected letters from the book. Reservations and prepayment are recommended. Purchase tickets online or call 212-935-2075. A reception will follow the program during which signed copies of the book will be available from the MAS bookstore, Urban Center Books. Continue Reading>>

Doug and Mike Starn Receive 2009 Brendan Gill Prize

Last Thursday, MAS proudly presented the 22nd Brendan Gill Prize to artists Mike and Doug Starn for See it split, see it change, their site-specific permanent art installation at the South Ferry subway terminal in Lower Manhattan. Commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit Program, See it split, see it change was completed in December 2008 to wide praise. See slideshow below. The Brendan Gill Prize is named for the long-time MAS trustee, renowned New Yorker theater critic, author, and architectural preservationist. The cash prize, funded by a permanent endowment, is awarded annually to the creator of a work of art, book, sculpture, film, musical composition, or architectural design, accomplished the previous year, that best captures the spirit and energy of New York City. It was established in 1986 by MAS board members Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Helen S. Tucker and Margot Wellington. Continue Reading>>

MAS Vice-President to Lead 20th Century Modernism Panel

twa saarinen interior Frank Sanchis, MAS senior vice-president, will be joined by Nina Rappaport of DOCOMOMO/New York-Tristate and editor of Constructs, Belmont Freeman of Belmont Freeman Architects, Theo Prudeon of DOCOMOMO/US, and moderator Andrew Dolkart for Preserving 20th Century Modernism, a panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) on Wednesday, December 2 at 6:00 p.m. The panel will explore the preservation of the 20th century architecture represented by New York-area Eero Saarinen buildings such as the TWA terminal at JFK Airport, which MAS famously fought to preserve in 2003. The discussion is presented in conjunction with Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, currently on view at MCNY. Continue Reading>>

MAS Rewind: November in Review

November started with a bang here at MAS. The 2nd Jane Jacobs Forum on November 3 was heavily attended, with people coming out in droves to hear panelists Dr. Dickson Despommier of Columbia University, Nevin Cohen of the New School, Jennifer Nelkin of Gotham Greens, and architect Colin Cathcart of Kiss+Cathcart, discuss urban farming. Neal Peirce, of The Washington Post, moderated. If you missed the event, check out the video. We were very excited to have Denise Scott Brown with us on November 12, to discuss her new book, Having Word, followed by a discussion with fellow architects Sarah Whiting and Hilary Sample, moderated by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA. This evening was followed by yet another great author’s talk. On November 17, Roger Kennedy visited MAS to give an illustrated lecture on his new book When Art Worked, focusing on what artists and their work did for the United States during the Great Depression. MAS friend David Rockefeller, Jr., introduced Kennedy. On November 19, MAS was proud to award the 22nd Brendan Gill Prize to artists Mike and Doug Starn for See it split, see it change, a permanent installation at the South Ferry subway terminal. For more information on the prize click here. The end of November will see the publication of Unpacking My Library: Architect’s and Their Books, a co-publication of MAS and Yale University Press, edited by MAS’ own Jo Steffens, director of Urban Center Books. For more information on the book visit Urban Center Books. Be sure to join us next month, on December 8, for the book launch, featuring a panel discussion led by Barry Bergdoll, chief curator of design at MoMA, with architects Stan Allen, Bernard Tschumi, Tod Williams, and Billie Tsien, all of whom are featured in the book. Finally, some November tour highlights included: the Urbanists, MAS’ young members group, pub tour of Williamsburg (November 8), Powerhouse Arts District in Jersey City (November 8), Beyond Bauhaus, a tour of Midtown Manhattan and its role in modern architecture (November 14), Downtown’s Lost Neighborhood, a tour of Liberty Street down to the Battery (November 21), and Woodside Avenue, Queens (November 22). Check out our upcoming events, including a tour of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn on November 29, here. With about a month and a half left at the Villard Houses, before our move to Steinway Hall, stop by to see MAS’ old haunts! Our exhibit, “Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil,” is on view in our gallery through December 4, 2009. Click here for more information, including gallery hours. Also, MAS invites you to our Villard House holiday party farewell on December 10. Click here to sign up for the biweekly MAS e-newsletter, MAS Update, or our new, weekly events listing e-mail This Week at MAS.

The Bronx, A Place That Matters

greetings from bronx signGreetings from the Bronx — the birthplace of hip hop, the breathtaking site of the New York Botanical Garden and home base for the 2009 World Series Champions, the Yankees. Now the Bronx has even more to celebrate, as six of the borough’s notable locations will be recognized on December 3rd by Place Matters. The six honorees are: 52 Park in Longwood is a popular urban oasis run by the NYC Parks Department with the help of 52 People for Progress (52PFP). When the South Bronx experienced its bleakest period in the 1970s, the open space at 52 Park became a danger zone. Since 1980, 52PFP, a volunteer group formed by local residents Al Quiñones, Fred Demera, Eduardo Rivera and Victoria Medina, has committed itself to maintaining a safe and welcoming public park. Continue Reading>>