Eye On Design: Thierry Mugler, Madonna Evening Ensemble

Thierry Mugler Madonna Evening Ensemble
All Photos By Gail

This ensemble by Thierry Mugler, entitled Madonna, served as the finale to his tenth-anniversary collection, which was staged at Le Zenith, and indoor in Paris. The model Pat Cleveland wore it as she was lowered from the ceiling of the auditorium in a cloud of dry ice, as if descending from heaven.

Madonna Evening Ensemble Installation View

Its placement this area —  a museum passage archway  — emphasizes links to ascension, and particularly the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, which asserts that her body and soul were assumed into heaven’s glory as her life’s end.

Thierry Mugler Madonna Evening Ensemble

The color of the dress refers to another dogma: the Immaculate Conception, or the belief that the Virgin Mary was born free from the stain of original sin. In artistic representations, (especially after 1854, when Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma), she often wears a white tunic with a blue mantle.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, On View Through October 8th, 2018 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (at both the Fifth Avenue and Cloisters Locations) in NYC.

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Yes, It Exists: A NYC Loft Apartment Filled With Dirt

New York Earth Room
Photo By John Cliett Courtesy of the Dia Art Foundation

Do you like discovering weird stuff in NYC that hardly anybody else seems to know about? I sure do. A couple of years ago, Geoffrey told me about a visit he made to an art installation in SoHo which consisted of one loft apartment filled, wall-to-wall, with a waist-high layer of dirt. And I was like, “That sounds pretty weird.” Then I basically forgot all about it, until earlier this week, when I was looking for a way kill an hour between leaving the office and attending an art opening. The gallery I was going to just happened to be located around the corner from what I had been referring to as The Dirt Apartment, which is officially called the New York Earth Room, so I decided to check it out.

NY Earth Room Sign

The Earth Room is located on the second floor of an otherwise nondescript building on a block mostly occupied by prohibitively expensive designer clothing boutiques, and you have to be buzzed in from the street. A sign in the lobby tells you to walk one floor up the narrow stairs to reach your desired destination, and then you really can’t miss it. There’s a small reception area at the far end, with the viewing area of the Earth Room just past the entrance, on your right. When you first enter the space, it feels like you are in a sauna: hot, humid, almost stifling — but, despite the obvious lack of air-conditioning, the docent on duty, Brian, who was wearing a wool sweater, told me that after being in the room for a few minutes, it actually starts to feel cold in there. I was skeptical, but he was right.

The Earth Room is a loft space that spans half a city block. There are two support columns piercing the soil to your left and you can see windows on both sides of the loft. The windows on the right face Wooster Street, and ones on the left probably face a courtyard or airshaft. There’s a small, separate room directly across from the viewing area. The dirt is retrained by a Plexiglas barrier

What does it smell like in there? It smells like the earth.

Some Statistical Background:

The New York Earth Room (1977) is the third Earth Room sculpture executed by the artist Walter De Maria (1935 – 2013), the first being in Munich, Germany in 1968. The second was installed at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany in 1974. The first two works no longer exist.

How Much Dirt Is in This Room:

250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters)
3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters)
22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters)
Total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos)

Brian was very enthusiastic about answering all of my questions and he explained that the space was formerly a commercial gallery, where the Earth Room was created as a regular exhibit. Somehow, the gallery owner decided to donate the loft  to the Dia Art Foundation so that the work could remain on long-term installation (or something like that. I am likely omitting many details). The New York Earth Room has been on long-term view to the public since 1980. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation.

The New York Earth Room is a work of art meant to be viewed, not entered. You are asked to not touch the dirt. Photography is not permitted, in accordance with wishes of the Artist.

Another interesting fact: the caretaker, Bill Dilworth, has taken care of the dirt for 28 years. The dirt is watered on a regular basis, and churned, so that the soil looks fresh.

You may not think that many people want to visit an apartment filled with dirt, but you would be incorrect. Brian told me that I was the 100th person to visit on that day, and most days there many more visitors.  I am not fronting when I suggest that being in the Earth Room may inspire you to engage in deep contemplation of the meaning of life and the existence of all things. I am now in love this exhibit and can’t wait to visit again many times. Earth Room!

The New York Earth Room is Located at 141 Wooster Street (Between Prince and Houston), 2nd Floor, SoHo, New York City. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 12–6 PM (closed from 3–3:30 PM). The New York Earth Room closes for the summer on Sunday, June 17th, 2018. It will reopen on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018. The installation is also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission is Free.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Duane Hanson, Housewife

Housewife
Photo By Gail

Sculptor Duane Hanson (1925 – 1996) often identified the figures in his artworks by their occupation or social roles, rather than their names. His photorealistic sculptural portraits — cast from life, painted and dressed in clothes corresponding to their roles — are thus transformed into ethnographic types. Their positions subtly critique their social realities as well as the context of their display. Hanson’s typically lower-and-middle class characters are empathetically portrayed in private or mundane moments, and their appearance is at once startlingly present, yet distinctly at odds in a gallery setting, where they are encountered almost voyeuristically, thus amplifying their isolation.

Housewife Detail

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body, at The Met Breuer, NYC.

Housewife

Video Clip of The Week: Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, “The May Queen” (Live)


Do you like Led Zeppelin? I sure do. You may be excited to know that the legendary, and eternally soulful, Robert Plant, backed by his band, the Sensational Space Shifters, has released a new, live video for the song “The May Queen,” which is this week’s Sunday Jam. The video was shot during a performance at the O2 Apollo in Manchester, England, during the group’s sold-out UK tour in November of 2017. I’m not going to say too much else about it except to say that it is pretty sweet, and you can listen/watch and judge for yourself. Because Led Zeppelin! “The May Queen” is the fourth in a series of videos from the new album filmed at this same concert, and is directed by Ryan Mackfall while being produced by Crashburn Media.

“The May Queen” can be found on Plant’s latest album, Carry Fire</strong> released by Nonesuch/Warner Bros. Records in October of 2017. Enjoy!

Robert Plant Carry Fire

Pink Thing of The Day: Discarded Abby Cadabby Doll

Abby Cadabby Doll
Photo By Gail

Oh man, what is sadder than an abandoned toy? I spotted this rag doll,  a Sesame Street character who is a magical fairy called Abby Cadabby, tossed between a dumpster and a garbage bag near Campos Plaza on East 14th Street. Her Bright Pink yarn hair caught my eye immediately. I feel sadness. I’m sorry I could not save you, littler Pink-haired fairy muppet doll!

Spring Cleaning in the Chickpad: New Products to Help Keep Your Home Looking Great!

Tools Display View
All Photos By Gail

If you live in a NYC apartment, then you understand that the phrase Spring Cleaning doesn’t so much refer to a yearly ritual as it does to an ongoing process. Some type of deep-cleaning in one room or another is really necessary every couple of weeks in order to combat the dirt and grime that sneaks into the home from the street. Because it really is a jungle out there. Ugh. Don’t even get me started on the Sisyphean task of keeping the dust off of every interior surface even if you have the best best air purifier for dust it´s still a pain in the butt.

The upside of tackling the dirty jobs — which exist everywhere, not just in the kitchen and the bathroom — is that the dirtier things get, the more satisfaction there is to be gained in seeing them return to their natural, albeit too brief, state of cleanliness. And nothing makes cleaning easier (and dare I say, even a little bit fun) than having the right tool for the right job. Recently, I attended a Press Preview for the IHA-sponsored International Home + Housewares Show, and came home with bag of gadgets, cleaning tools and home products that might just give you the inspiration you need to get started on your own Spring Cleaning — before summer hits!

Tools Display View
Check Out All of These Goodies I am Going Tell You About.

Sink and Tub Shroom Packages

Rug in Packaging

Bliss Gloves and Package

When it’s time to clean up from meal prep, I never put my hands in water without wearing a good pair of dishwashing gloves; but honestly, nearly all household chores should start with protective gloves to keep your hands safe from chemicals, minor cuts, or burns from hot water. Mr. Clean (a trusted brand for decades) has introduced Bliss latex-free gloves, which are ideal for all types of household cleaning, and safe for individuals who are allergic to natural rubber latex. Bliss gloves maintain the feel of latex, so they fit great, and they are lined with a pillow-soft plush material that helps to keep your hands soft and dry. Take a look:

Glove Lining Detail
Pillowy Softness

Bliss gloves also have an embossed palm grip, to help you hold on to soapy-wet, slippery dishes — because who hasn’t chipped a plate or broken a wine glass because it slipped from your grasp and dropped back into the sink?

Cleaning Tools in Basket

Another new tool for dishwashing time is the Dawn Scrubtastic Duck!

Scrubtastic Packaging

This uniquely-shaped scrubber has what is called a Thermal Scrub Technology for customizable cleaning. When used in cool water, the scrubber becomes firm. In warm water, it becomes softer. Amazing!

Hints for Scrub Duck Use

Its shape is also extra useful for cleaning utensils and drinking glasses. The wing cut-outs are perfect for cleaning dried food off a spoon, and the area behind the Duck’s neck folds over the rim of glasses and bowls to clean with ease.

Dawn Saves Wildlife

Not mention, but you can see I am about to, the Duck shape pays homage to Dawn’s longstanding efforts to help save wildlife!

Scrub Brush Package Detail

Hands down, my least favorite household task in clean the shower. Here is an are where have an excellent scrub brush can really cut down on clean time. Sometimes it seems you need at least two different types of brushes to get at both the flat surfaces and into corners, so this new Clorox multi-purpose Flex Scrub Brush provides an excellent cleaning solution!

Scrub Brush Handle Removal Detail

First of all, it has an easily removable handle, which lets you move the brush into difficult to reach areas.

Scrub Brush Package Detail

The brush fibers are also made from an antimicrobial material, to protect against odor, mold, and mildew, which love to lurk in the bathroom!

Scrubber with HandleScrubber without Handle

Tile Before

The bristles on this brush are excellent for scrubbing mold out of grout. They get right in there!

Tile After

Look how clean! I want to take a shower right now!

Sink and Tub Shroom Packages

Now that the shower is clean, let’s move on two two areas you might not think much about . . . until you have a clog; those areas being your tub and sink drains. I have very long hair, so when I have a slow running drain, a hair clog is usually the culprit. Why not save yourself a call to the Super or, worse, the plumber, by using the TubShroom or SinkShroom?

Sink Shroom Ad

The TubShroom and SinkShroom strainer / drain stoppers (from Juka Innovatios Corporation)  are a revolution in drain protection. Unlike regular plugs that go over there drain, the TubShroom fits inside, neatly collection hair around it. Like This:

Sink Shroom

Just remove the SinkShroom, clean it off, and use again and again. It’s easy to install in seconds and comes in a variety of colors and finishes to match any decor! You can find them in any home improvement or hardware store!

Lint Flip Display View

Here’s something else that comes in lots of colors, that you need for your purse or desk drawer right now; the Lint Flip compact lint roller (from Evercare)!

Lint Flip

Lint Flip is super compact, so it’s perfect for traveling, and always there when you need it to keep your clothes free of hair, pet fur, lint and fuzz.

Lint Flip Open

Just Flip, Roll and Go!

Rug in Packaging

And now, let’s talk about a way to maybe keep more dirt from getting into your home in the first place: with a stylish entry way rug. My apartment door opens right onto a busy street, so it’s absolutely necessary to wipe your shoes on the mat I keep outside the door before entering the Chickpad. This year, Spring Cleaning meant replacing that well-worn mat entirely with a gorgeous new multi-colored Hearts-patterned Studio 67 Designer Floor Mat!

Hearts Patern Detail

This rug is a real dirt magnet! Its plush nylon fibers brush and trap dirt, moisture and allergens, so it’s are perfect for the variable weather we have here in New York City. Studio 67 Designer Mats and Rugs come in a variety of patterns to complement your decor. This one is so beautiful, I almost hate to wipe my shoes on it! Fortunately, it is machine wash-and-dry-able, so just pop it in the machine with a Tide Pod and you’re good to go. Each rug or mat is backed by a five-year warranty.

Flipside of Rug

A skid-resisitant rubber backing keeps the Studio 67 mat in place.

Rug from Inside

Check it out: the mat fits perfectly in the space between my security door and front door, and it has a low profile so the door closes smoothly over that extra inch of mat.

Rug from Outside

Welcome to the Chickpad! I just cleaned up for you!

Thanks to Butler Home Products, Studio 67  Designer Mats, TubShroom / SinkShroom and the IHA for the Products Reviewed in the Post!

Eye On Design: Ziggurat Black Stripes Storage Boxes By Oeuffice

Ziggurat Black Stripes Storage Boxes
Photo By Gail

The research laboratory called Oeuffice was estalished by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and Jakub Zak to develop innovative objects in limited editions. The designers met in Milan after studying in their native Canada and attending university in Berlin. Like Ettore Sottsass, they share a vision of a contemporary utopia in which they refashion architectural design on a domestic scale. The Ziggurat, an iconic architectural form that Sottsass revered, provided inspiration for this stack of Wooden Storage Boxes inlaid with acrylic and solid stained wood (2012). The ziggurat’s form and masterful wood inlays originate in the Near East and were executed by Lebanese artists specialized in the technique.

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.