PLACES : MITCHELL SCHWARZER
Is it possible to identify a type of Jewish architecture? An architecture that has to do not necessarily with Jewish programs, like synagogues or Holocaust memorials, but instead with Jewish architects and how their various works have been shaped by the historical memory of exile? Mitchell Schwarzer reviews the new book Building After Auschwitz
, which grapples with this thorny question.
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
I did not realise, I swear, that my talk in New York this week, which is about design in a gift economy, will coincide with the city's huge 35,000 visitor International Gift Fair. Someone out there in gift-land is on is on the marketing ball, because they sent me an email the day after my talk was announced.
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
Paunchy Gods, blank-eyed nutcases, violent nurses — David Shrigley
’s scribbly line and view of the world are dark, dysfunctional, and perfect for our times. Anyone who has seen his books or drawings won’t be surprised to learn that God and the Devil played a larger-than-average role in his early years. The subject of a major exhibition that opens this week in London, he is forever tempting and testing the viewer.
PLACES : DEBORAH GANS
In our era of heightened terrorist threat and political and economic struggle, the passage across national borders has become ever more fraught. Deborah Gans visits a digital exhibit by artist Maya Zack, on the theme of Jewish life in prewar Berlin, and travels to the In-House Festival in Jerusalem, which evoked the salon culture created there by European emigres. The experiences inspire her to probe the spatial and political dimensions of journeying from one's homeland, a space of family and citizenship, to a foreign land, where one is a stranger, perhaps a refugee.
OBSERVERS ROOM : JESSICA HELFAND
He rose as if from nowhere, a farm boy from rural Michigan — self-taught, fiercely driven, tall and handsome and unequivocally ambitious. He married, started a family and won the Prix de Rome
just before World War I. Part angry young man and part hopeless romantic, his is a fascinating story of remarkable accomplishment and ineffable tragedy. This is the first installment in a year-long visual biography of Ezra Winter — the most famous artist you’ve never heard of.
OBSERVATORY : OWEN EDWARDS
In my occasional role as a writer about motorcycles, I am currently testing a new Honda CBR250R. I’ve been delighted to find that this little moto is so beautifully engineered and designed (the two disciplines tend to merge in motorcycles) that it’s a terrific ride, only slightly slower from point to point on twisty country roads than much bigger machines.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.
OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER
In recent weeks, particularly after Rick Santorum's odds-defying surge in Iowa, his sweater vests have become the most widely scrutinized candidate-style object since Sarah Palin's glasses. The candidate now sells one emblazoned with his campaign logo. What is the real message of this particular garment?
OBSERVATORY : THE EDITORS
We are pleased to announce that the newest season of Design Matters with Debbie Millman will premiere on Observer Media today at 3pm with a video of Design Matters Live filmed by Hillman Curtis. Debbie Millman discusses the launch of Malcolm Gladwell's illustrated collection of The Tipping Point, Blink
. Guests included artist and illustrator Brian Rea, and designers Paul Sahre, Josh Liberson and DeeDee Gordon.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Conflict Kitchen, a project by artists affiliated with Carnegie Mellon to foster cross-cultural understanding through food.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1995
A tour of Splendid China, the "world's largest miniature scenic spot.