out sick

Be back soon. I hope.

:deviant art



I watched it again tonight. One of my favoritest bits of dialogue:

(Gandhi): I know a way out of Hell. Find a child, a child whose mother and father have been killed and raise him as your own. Only be sure that he is a Muslim and that you raise him as one.

Did you know? Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Bhanji near Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, the son of Annalyna Mary (née Goodman), an actress and model, and Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, a medical doctor. Kingsley's father, an Ismaili Muslim, was born in Kenya of Indian Khoja Gujarati descent. Kingsley's paternal grandfather was a spice trader who had moved from India to Zanzibar, where Kingsley's father lived until moving to England at the age of fourteen.

:film reference



in the dog haus

Made On North American (M.O.N.A.) recently presented the annual Dog Haus, a designer showhouse that benefits adoption programs for the Philadelphia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA). Located in the historic Chesnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, the home is a Victorian-era beauty with over twenty rooms transformed by some of the region’s top designers.

M.O.N.A.’s space, The Drawing Room, reinterprets the home’s lineage into a surreal, neo-Romantic boudoir with references to 19th-century themes that include decorative lacemaking, silver gelatin print photography, the Industrial Revolution and classic horror novels.

In order to highlight the broad capabilities of their professional network, M.O.N.A. produced every piece of furniture as well as the larger portion of decorative accessories for the room. Signature items include a white oak tête-à-tête (accent marks galore!), a silver-leafed rocking horse & buggy, an electroformed copper fireplace screen and an antique settee with hand carved, painted wood and patent vinyl upholstery.

A strong axis of half black/half white invites further drama into the space, creating an innovative play of texture and pattern.




interior fantasies: adam wallacavage

Inspired by an obsession with the ocean and a fascination with extravagant interiors of old churches, Adam Wallacavage transformed the dining room of his South Philadelphia Victorian brownstone into something from the pages of a Jules Verne novel.

Teaching himself the traditional craft of ornamental plastering, Wallacavage evolved his newfound skills into making plaster cast octopus-shaped chandeliers as the final touch to his underwater themed room. His idea for the use of octopi was inspired by Art Nouveau chandeliers—specifically, a glass jellyfish chandelier that he saw in a book.

Wallacavage's process for making the fixtures begins with creating a clay sculpture and then making latex molds of all of the parts. He casts the plaster around threaded pipe which gives strength to the sculpture and allows space for wires. Wallacavage paints the hardened molds and then coats them with a two-part epoxy resin to give them their glassy look.

Yup, that's Wallacavage-designed wallpaper.

In addition to his sculpture wizardry, Adam Wallacavage is also an accomplished photographer. He documents artists, musicians, daredevils and all things weird and wonderful. Wallacavage's first book, Monster Size Monsters (2006), spans fifteen years of his photography.

:images jonathan levine gallery and the selby; monster size monsters; wallacavage interview via life in a bungalo; © adam wallacavage.


(almost) lost new york

Walter Grutchfield is an archaeologist of signs. He has set himself the task of photographing every old sign in Manhattan between 14th and 42nd Streets, a 300-block area containing some of the most densely inscribed buildings in the world.

Mr. Grutchfield's specialty is what he calls the wall-painted sign—what others call mural signs or "ghost signs"—which are advertisements painted in huge letters across buildings. Most of these advertisements were painted more than 50 years ago. Once a business dies, moves or wants a new image, old advertisments are seldom saved.

As he sees his work, Mr. Grutchfield is assembling an enormous jigsaw puzzle, piecing together fragments and vagaries from the tiny trades that flourished in New York before World War II, the world of glass eyes and taxidermist supplies, where small businesses painted their names one on top of the other down to the nearest stretch of exposed wall. Sometimes the search to fill in the blanks of a weathered sign is easy: a company history, a title deed or an old photograph will supply the missing letters. Other times it presents a considerable challenge; in a few cases, the trail has gone entirely cold. But Mr. Grutchfield soldiers on.

The Hotel Irvin for Women was named for Mary M. Irvin, president of the organization that worked for many years to create this residence. As early as 1916 the group planned a hotel "where self-supporting girls and women with small incomes could be accommodated comfortably and well at little cost." (NY Times, 1916.)

The Martha Washington Hotel, 29 E. 29th St., was built in 1902 as a hotel for women. But, as the sign says, men could eat in the restaurant.

The Griffon Cutlery Works was founded in 1888 by Albert L. Silberstein. They manufactured razors, nail files and a great many types of scissors, including (as the signs say) pinking shears, nippers and manicure sets, as well as "Ladies' Button Hole" scissors. Their trademark registration also mentions embroidery scissors, poultry shears, barber shears, tweezers, pushers, blackhead removers and nose scissors.

(top image) Seely Shoulder Shapes was originally called Seely Shoulder Pad Corp. They were located in this building at 263 W. 40th St. from 1945 until 1955.

:14 to 42


curiosities, part I: 2Ist century

:the selby

curiosities, part 2: I8th century

Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the 18th century's greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time.

Though it was common for men of his profession to collect natural specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665-1736) had a passion that led him far beyond the call of duty. His amazing, unprecedented collection of animals, plants and insects from all around the world gained international fame during his lifetime.

In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba commissioned illustrations of each and every specimen and arranged the publication of a four-volume catalog detailing his entire collection—from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, insects and butterflies, as well as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon.

Seba's scenic illustrations, often mixing plants and animals in a single plate, were unusual even for the time. Many of the stranger and more peculiar creatures from Seba's collection, some of which are now extinct, were as curious to those in Seba's day as they are to us now.

:albertus seba; the old print shop


eleventh month eleventh day eleventh hour

Edith Shain, a 90-year-old who says she's the woman being kissed by a sailor in Times Square in one of World War II's most famous photographs, reunited in town with the Navy on Sunday — days before she is to serve as grand marshal of New York City's Veterans Day parade.

:the kiss at times square, alfred eisenstaedt; bbc news; associated press


national treasure

Roger Fenton
Moscow, Domes of Churches in the Kremlin
, 1852

In December 1948, when Georgia O'Keeffe was deciding where to place the largest and most significant collection of photographs by her late husband, the seminal American photographer Alfred Stieglitz, she visited the National Gallery of Art. Astutely observing both small details as well as the larger symbolic importance of the still relatively new museum, she wrote to a friend a few days later, "as you probably know, [the Gallery] hasn't a speck of dust anywhere," and she noted, "Stieglitz worked for the recognition of photography as a fine art—the National Gallery means something in relation to that." The museum, she concluded, "seems like a peak—something finished—standing alone." One year later, O'Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Estate donated 1,311 works by Stieglitz, an auspicious beginning for the collection of photography at the Gallery.

Bill Brandt
Street Scene, London, 1936

William Henry Fox Talbot
The Boulevards of Paris, 1843

John Moran
The Wissahickon Creek near Philadelphia, c. 1865

Francis Frith
The Ramasseum of El-Kurneh, Thebes, First View, c. 1857

Eugène Atget
Etang de Corot, Ville-d'Avray, c. 1900

:national gallery of art, current exhibitions

hold on to your hats

I don't understand the astrological underpinnings here, but the promising outlook of today's horoscope - in combination with these charming, whimsical illustrations and the transforming events of the past week (with one huge, glaring, profoundly disappointing exception) - has me all determined and hopeful:

9/9: The Moon enters courageous Aries at 12:24 pm EST. We may be eager to move on and we finally get our chance to push into new territory. This new wave is supported by the Sun's sextile to confident Jupiter early tomorrow morning. Whatever looked okay yesterday looks even better today. Taking decisive action is a wise move now while the good news keeps coming over the next
few days.

:someone please help with the link for this gorgeous art! i can't find it. eeek!