Tag Archives: New York

Inspiration and Advice from Sol LeWitt

Detailed, painstaking, strangely liberating.  These terms have often been used to describe Sol LeWitt’s large drawings and paintings that span entire walls in some of the most well-known museums in the world.  LeWitt came up with the concept behind the work, then employed hundreds of working artists, art students and art historians to execute them–allowing his works to be subject to new and unexpected changes throughout the process.

In this way, “each instantiation, each iteration, is a new interpretation, as is a new performance of a musical score” (Dia: Beacon, Riggio Galleries).

A New York Times article written after LeWitt’s death stated, “…Mr. LeWitt gently reminded everybody that architects are called artists — good architects, anyway — even though they don’t lay their own bricks, just as composers write music that other people play but are still musical artists. Mr. LeWitt, by his methods, permitted other people to participate in the creative process, to become artists themselves.”

LeWitt offers a refreshing approach to art, especially in some of his personal writing.  In a letter to fellow artist Eva Hesse, LeWitt wrote: “Stop it and just DO.  Try and tickle something inside you, your ‘weird humor.’ You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool… You are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work, so do it. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be.”

LeWitt started out as a graphic designer for the architect I.M. Pei, and later drew on this background to form his signature solid-colored, flat painting and drawing style.  Many of his earlier works were devoid of colors; later he switched to adding more colors and curves to his pieces in the 1980′s.  People questioned why the stark conceptualist suddenly switched, and he responded, “Why not?”

“A life in art is an unimaginable and unpredictable experience” (Sol LeWitt).

REA APPROVED! Excursion

Today our staff was sent out in pairs to discover the things we normally ignore during our hectic New York City lives.  The city is filled with wonders large and small that we miss on our rushed way to work.  This was a chance for us to walk aimlessly to search for the beautiful things the city has to offer–focusing on design, architecture, and street art.

The staff brought back a lot of photos in a mere hour’s time, so we’ll post them bit by bit.  Check out our REA APPROVED blog for Part I.

Do you have any suggestions of places in the city where we can find some inspirational street art work?

Carsten Höller’s “Experience” at the New Museum

A review by Lecia Bushak, REA Intern

The New Museum’s Carsten Höller exhibition, Experience, is “the first New York survey” of his works.  Höller has been creating artworks for the past 20 years, after abandoning his scientific career to pursue that of an artist.  The New Museum brings together a variety of Höller’s installations, sculptures, test sites, and drawings, transforming all 4 floors of the museum space into a participatory laboratory, in which viewers are encouraged to interact with the works—including a giant slide penetrating several floors, a mirrored carousel, and a sensory deprivation pool.

Höller does not intend his work to merely be viewed; rather he designs it to be experienced (hence the title of the show) and “explores the limits of human sensorial perception and logic” (New Museum).  However, despite the superficially imaginative qualities of the pieces, the experience of the viewer is controlled in an almost scientific-experimental way, not leaving much room for interpretation.  It seems like the viewers are lab rats in one of Höller’s larger scientific experiments, in which he interprets our actions as responses to his stimuli.

Upon entering the museum on the first floor, if wishing to participate, viewers must sign a waiver and are offered upside-down goggles, which immediately presents the exhibition as a sort of playground or funhouse with its own museum-imposed rules and regulations.  Although safety is certainly an issue (the day I went, it was also children’s day, which meant the slide and other interactive pieces were swarmed with kids), it immediately renders the exhibition as a regulated, controlled, and limited so-called “experience.”

The most visually effective piece is the mirrored carousel.  Silent and slow moving to the point of being imperceptible, yet illuminated and glowing, it is a bizarre counterpart to a familiar carousel.  Participants sit with comatose expressions, waiting for their seats to move ever so slowly; they become part of the spectacle.  It is paired with “Singing Canaries Mobile,” a structure of cages filled with chirping birds, which is hung from the ceiling and also moving slowly.  The two pieces provide the viewer with a strange and potentially nauseating, but also hypnotic, visual motion.

Although the museum organized the show thematically floor by floor (i.e. the 4th floor focuses on movement, 3rd floor on utopian architectural spaces, 2nd floor on self-experimentation and confusion of senses), it is still rather disjointed.  I found the architectural structures such as the carousel, the slide, and the giant psycho tank to be more connected and effective together than the 2nd floor’s assaulting flashing lights paired with the low-lying, neon-colored creature sculptures, which leave the viewer in an overall state of annoyed confusion.  But perhaps that’s what the artist intended.

Strange colorful sculptures, although interesting pieces on their own, seemed out of place amidst the Dan Flavin-esque flashing lights.

Perhaps this idea of controlled experimentation on the viewers’ senses considers the way society itself controls much of our experiences.  Even the way we move—through buildings, on the street, up and down stairs, is controlled by social standards and norms, architectural infrastructures and human designs—similarly, Höller and the New Museum control the way we travel down the slide.  The slide then controls what turns our body makes and how fast it goes.  Beyond that, the way we move and interact with things is influenced by our own vision—and perhaps by giving us upside-down goggles, flipping the world over, Höller gives us a chance to escape our own limits (albeit in a controlled way, and in the limited setting of a ‘playground’ or constructed ‘funhouse.’)

The New Museum states: “Taken as a whole, Höller’s work is an invitation to re-imagine the way in which we move through the world and the relationships we build as he asks us to reconsider what we think we know about ourselves.”  For me, a true artistic experience is one that is not a cushioned playground or “testing” site, but the real thing, released into the wild.  This ideal raw experience would have no rules or safety helmets to buffer our risk of panic when presented with disorder and disruptive sensations.

Real Estate Arts HAS AN APP FOR THAT!

Here is a press release REA recently sent out, about a new online application we’re developing for the iPad.  What do you think?

Real Estate Arts showcases offering memorandum on the Ipad

taking the "OM" digital

New York, NY, November 4, 2011 — Real Estate Arts Inc, a leading real estate-focused branding and marketing agency based in New York, announced today its commitment to revolutionizing the way commercial property asset and investment sales are marketed.

Real Estate Arts (REA) is well known in the commercial real estate investment sales community for transforming the standard Offering Memorandum package from one of a simple pictorial word document to a fully-branded and highly-designed showcase marketing tool. REA’s work has won numerous awards for its innovative design, but more importantly has helped brokers and owners of the most prestigious properties command the highest prices per square foot in many markets across the US.

REA President Michael Goodgold said, “As the investment sales market comes back, many of our clients are again looking to us to improve the sales and marketing process. The introduction of tablets and especially the iPAD has given marketers like us a real reason to get excited.”

Technology takes the lead in REA’s innovative marketing approach, which allows potential acquirers to experience the property’s assets through the use of an online application.  The tablet opens up new possibilities for the disposition process, blending different types of technology, ranging from video and mapping to interactive informational graphics.  Unlike the foregone era, in which prospective buyers learned about properties only through static printed pages, the tablet provides a dynamic experience, with information that can be constantly updated.  Furthermore, it organizes all property information in one place, so buyers don’t have to jump from various sources—print brochures, websites, or booklets to accomplish their goals.

For the past 15 years, Real Estate Arts has helped owners and their brokers sell some of the most prestigious properties around the world—from luxury hotels and resorts to Class A Office towers and multifamily properties.  Goodgold added that REA continues to work with some of the smartest technology minds that have helped develop name brand applications that most people experience daily.

“From a user standpoint our focus is squarely on the experience of the acquisition professional,” he said.  “Those men and women are constantly looking at deals and want a tool where they can manage the entire process from one easy place.”

Stefan Sagmeister – Life, Works, Quotes & Tips on the Design Process

Stefan Sagmeister is one of the most well-known living graphic designers, currently based in New York and running his own small design agency.  Sagmeister is a hybrid of designer and fine artist, rooted in the belief that graphic design can be just as powerful as a painting: “You can have an art experience in front of a Rembrandt… or in front of a piece of graphic design,” he said.

Sagmeister is famous for his photo-based work and typography.  He often uses found objects to create typography, many of which can be found in his book“Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far.”

If you’re stuck on a project, Sagmeister suggests going to a busy cafe or restaurant and bringing only a piece of paper and pencil (a technique he picked up from film director Steven Soderbergh). Sitting there by yourself with nothing to do will automatically “shame” you into writing or drawing to look busy.

Censoring yourself, or assuming that a client won’t approve your idea, is “stifling.”  Sagmeister also believes that taking a year-long sabbatical every 5 years is essential to the design–or any work–process.  After doing a lecture at Cranbrook Academy, Sagmeister noticed the graduate students there experimenting with design — and realized he should experiment as well, for one “year without clients.”  Sagmeister believes design is more than just selling work… It can educate, tell stories, and create an artistic experience.

During his TED talk, Sagmeister shared several tips on how he keeps his ideas fresh during the design process:

- Thinking about ideas and content freely – with the deadline far away.

- Working without interruption on a single project

- Using a wide variety of tools and techniques

- Traveling to new places

He also shared his list of things he has learned in his life:

- Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.

- Helping other people helps me.

- Organizing a charity group is surprisingly easy.

- Over time I get used to everything and start taking it for granted.

- Money does not make me happy.

- Traveling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life.

- Assuming is stifling.

- Keeping a diary supports my personal development.

- Trying to look good limits my life.

- Worrying solves nothing.

- Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.

- Having guts always works out for me.

Cabernet, Chardonnay and Geothermal Power – Finger Lakes Wine Country “LEEDing” the Way

By REA Project Manager Ellen Bonalsky

I recently spent a few days in the Finger Lakes region of our country.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Finger Lakes are a pattern of 11 lakes in the west-central section of Upstate New York — about a 5-hour drive from the New York City area.  Early map makers who drew this region nicknamed this region the “Finger Lakes” since each lake has a long and thin shape to it.  During my visit I spent time on one of the largest lakes — Seneca Lake — which is 40 miles end to end and 3.5 miles wide.

There are over 100 wineries in the Finger Lakes Wine Country based on the “lake effect” climate being ideal to support lush vineyards.  The grapes are protected from the first frost of the winter, since the lake retains the residual summer warmth, and are also immune from the spring frosts that can occur, as it carries over the winter cool into spring.  The main grape varieties grown in this region are Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and many Vitis labrusca, which are American Native grapes, aka the fox grape.  Seneca Lake is home to 34 of the above mentioned wineries.

One of the wineries on Seneca Lake that caught my attention ahead of the rest was the Red Tail Ridge Winery.  They are written up as being “LEED Gold Certified.”  At first I thought I was having trouble disconnecting from work, as we constantly partner with our clients to smartly highlight their LEED Gold status in marketing materials (should they be fortunate enough to have reached this benchmark).  But as I investigated further I realized this winery was savvy, cutting-edge and put their best foot forward for the environment.

The LEED Gold certification was announced in early 2011 — and it is the first LEED Gold certified winery in New York State.  The owners said they faced the small business dilemma that many other industries face – which is the challenge of fiscal reality and balance with their environmental ideals.  They were lucky enough to find themselves in a win/win situation — they could be “green” and save over 50% in energy consumption.  Red Tail Ridge’s LEED Gold certification was based on a number of their green design and construction features that positively impacted the project and the broader community.  They partnered with Edge Architecture PLLC, from Rochester, NY for the building design, Chrisanntha Construction as general contractor and the LEED commissioning agent was Halco.  Here is the specific list of what the full team did in order to achieve LEED Gold status:

  • All heating/cooling requirements for wine processing is provided by geothermal energy
  • The building was constructed from recycled materials
  • All winery processing waste is recycled
  • Natural lighting in winery eliminates need for artificial lighting during the daytime
  • Low energy light fixtures are used throughout the winery
  • 70% of total wood based building materials were harvested from FSC certified forests

Robert Mondavi once said, “Making good wine is a skill.  Fine wine is an art.”  I would like to personally ‘Salute!’  Red Tail Ridge Winery in Penn Yan, NY for creating an “art” that we can all feel good about when consuming.

Ellen Bonalsky is a project manager at the branding and digital marketing agency REA also known as Real Estate Arts.