Eye On Design: Bryan Hunt’s Coenties Ship

Coenties Ship
All Photos By Gail

Just across Water Street from the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a tiny circular plaza, lined with shops and cafes, known as Coentis Slip. In the center of the plaza you will find the similarly-named Coenties Ship by renowned sculptor Bryan Hunt. The 20 foot tall stainless steel vertical form that stands upon a circular dome of cast glass is impossible to ignore.  With the Spaceship-like form of this sculpture, Hunt has stated that he intended to invoke buoyancy and nautical nuance poised for a future. The sculpture was erected in October of 2006.

Coenties Ship

The sculpture was originally commissioned by the Art Commission of NYC as part of the Percent for Arts program. In order to resolve certain structural logistics issues, Hunt partnered with the firm of Jaroff Design, who specilalize in custom architectural metal and glass design and fabrication services to the architecture, interior design construction and art communities. Hunt wanted to balance his curving metal sculpture with a bell-shaped pedestal made out of custom cast glass, but he was unsure whether that could be done. Drawing on their expertise in combining integrated lighting and custom glass fabrication, Jaroff Design developed, and then fabricated the solution – casting the bell in numerous individual pieces installed around a supportive metal core.

Coenties Ship Base Detal

The pedestal appears to magically support the massive sculpture and its interior lighting system (not seen here, due the sculpture being photographed during daylight hours), devised by lighting designer Dale Knoth, illuminates the surface with a glowing green tone. Additional light comes from below the ground, where a mirrored finishing on the base of the inlaid decorative backpainted glass pavers reflects the light from the pedestal upward. Together, the cast glass and architectural lighting components provide the perfect accentuation for the upward swirl of the cast stainless steel.

Coenties Ship

Coenties Ship was awarded the New York City Design Excellence Award in 2006.

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Nerds Candy Store Display With Dress

Nerds Candy Store Display
All Photos By Gail

On its own, Nerds candy is a somewhat unremarkable, microscopic-in-size hard candy with a popular sweet/sour flavor profile that The Kids love. But as you can see by this entirely over-the-top store display that brings in pop culture references from every angle, Nerds are about two things: packaging and marketing.

Mannequin with Nerd Dress

The mannequin is even wearing a tank-style mini-dress with a bright pink and purple pattern the emulates a box of Nerds, while sporting a pink wig and holding a Pusheen backpack. You’re not buying candy, you are buying an image.  How cool is she? Answer: so cool. Nerd Cool. You can buy the jumbo box of Nerds candy (which will take you one human lifetime to eat) and the Pusheen backpack at It’s Sugar. The Nerds Dress is sold as a part of a “Nerd Girl” Halloween Costume at Walmart.

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Death Of Orpheus By Jean Delville

The Death Of Orpheus
Photo By Gail

The Belgian artist Jean Delville (1867 – 1953) was among the participating artists that feverishly shared Josephin Peladan’s beliefs in the spiritual power of art.  Delville exhibited in the first four Salons de la Rose+Croix, earning particular admiration in 1894 for The Death Of Orpheus (1893). During the 19th century, Orpheus, the supernaturally talented poet of classical Western mythology, was a popular paradigm for the artist as enchanter, seer, and martyr whose creations transcend death. In one myth, after Orpheus is dismembered by wild female followers of Dionysus — the god of wine, fertility and madness — his head floats downriver, still singing, and becomes an oracle. Orpheus’s androgynous features, reportedly modeled after the artist’s wife, manifest the Symbolist belief in androgynes as ideal beings that represent the synthesis of opposites into a beautiful and perfect whole.

Photographed as part of the exhibit Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897, at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Video Clip of The Week: The Shins, “Half a Million”

Hey what’s up? Summer is on the way out (Wha!) and I’m in the lovely Berkshires for the weekend, relaxing as much as possible, and eating almost non-stop. Which means that this week’s awesome jam, “Half a Million” from The Shins, is just going to be presented here without much comment. Maybe I’ll come back and add some insightful commentary later. But probably not. “Half a Million” can be found on The Shins fifth album, Heartworms, which is out now. Enjoy!

The Shins Album Art

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Medieval Child’s Dress

Pink Medieval Child Dress
All Photos By Gail

If you have a young daughter whose heart’s desire is to be a medieval fairy princess for Halloween, you can pick up this very lovely period costume in the gift shop at the Cloisters Museum in Upper Manhattan! Floral Headwreaths are sold separately!

Pink Medieval Child Dress

Jonathan Borofsky’s Human Structures at Plaza 33, Penn Station

Human Structures
All Photos By Gail

We were just arriving for a fun press event at The Pennsy Food Hall in Penn Plaza, just out front of Madison Square Garden, when I spotted this fantastic, towering public art work by Jonathan Borofsky. Entitled Human Structures, the sculpture sits where Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke Group sculpture previously stood. Human Structures closely resembles a tower of colorful, interlocking paper dolls. I like it.

Human Structures Detail

Aside from its obvious purpose as  selfie-magnet, Human Structures is part of Plaza33 Inc’s efforts to turn the no-man’s land outside of Penn Station into a welcoming pedestrian plaza hosting seasonal live music and performances.

Human Structures

Jonathan Borofsky’s Human Structures can be found at Plaza 33, on the East side of 33rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, in NYC.

Human Structures

Eye on Design: DCW Side Chair By Charles and Ray Eames

DCW Side Chair
Photos By Gail

This modern and affordable dining-room chair was designed by the American husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames. Built after an exhaustive period of testing, the different parts of the chair were fabricated using heat and pressure to bend the plywood. The DCW Side Chair (1946) was lauded for being both ergonomic and comfortable

The Eames‘ pioneering use of new materials and technologies transformed the way people decorated their homes, introducing functional, affordable, and often highly sculptural objects and furnishings to so many middle-class Americans.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

DCW Side Chair