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1. It doesn’t get any better than this Modernist masterpiece by Richard Meier.

esigned by the world renowned architect Richard Meier, the 11,000-square-foot “White Castle” was built in Old Westbury, New York, in 1972. A minimalist study in Meier’s signature white, the dramatic home features glass walls and a skylit gallery hall -- ideal for displaying a stunning art collection. The striking home is situated on five sprawling acres and features six bedrooms, a tennis court, a pool, and a pond. The “White Castle” will...

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Friday, 30 May 2014 08:02

Modernist Icon Massimo Vignelli Remembered

Massimo Vignelli, a preeminent figure in nearly all fields of design, passed away in his Manhattan home Tuesday, just several weeks after it was revealed to the public that he had a terminal illness. He was 83.

“Massimo had an incredible eye for all things,” longtime friend and collaborator Richard Meier told ARTINFO in a phone conversation yesterday. Vignelli, best known for his graphic design, did all of the architect’s books, and they shared not only an office building on the far-western reaches of midtown, but an aesthetic ideal. “The reason we enjoyed working together so much is that we sort of had a similar vision of what architecture should be in the 21st century. It had to do with a certain modernity, attitude, light, and space, and how it relates to nature.”

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American sculptor Richard Serra has won the the Architectural League of New York’s 2014 President’s Medal. The award is the League’s highest honor and is bestowed, at the discretion of the organization’s President and Board of Directors, on individuals to recognize an extraordinary body of work in architecture, urbanism, art, or design. Recent recipients of the award have included Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Serra is best-known for his large-scale steel sculptures that explore the physical and visual relationships that exist between the viewer, the site, and the work. He has produced a number of site-specific sculptures that engage with a particular architectural, urban, or landscape setting. Serra’s latest work, “East-West/West-East,” is a set of four standing steel plates placed in the middle of the western Qatari desert. It is his second public commission in Qatar.

Serra, who is the first visual artist to win the Architectural League’s President’s Medal, will be given the award on May 6 in New York City.

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The nonprofit Architectural League of New York is the latest party asking the Museum of Modern Art to reconsider their decision to raze the former home of the American Folk Art Museum. The organization wrote an open letter signed by members of its board of directors to MoMA on Monday, April 22, 2013. Prominent architects such as Richard Meier, Thom Mayne, Steven Holl, Hugh Hardy, and Robert A.M. Stern voiced their support against the demolition of the building, which was designed by notable New York-based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

The monumental building, which features a sculptural bronze façade, was erected twelve years ago on West 53rd Street by the American Folk Art Museum. After the institution fell into financial turmoil, the building was sold to MoMA and the Folk Art Museum moved to a smaller location. Now, as plans for an expansion gain steam, MoMA has announced their decision to level the building. Officials justified the ruling by claiming that the Folk Art Museum’s former home didn’t mesh with MoMA’s sleek glass façade and that structure’s location was logistically problematic as it is slightly set back from MoMA’s main building.

The decision to demolish the structure, which has quickly become a Midtown landmark, has been met with a wall of opposition. Last week, a New Haven, CT resident, Robert Bundy, launched a petition against MoMA’s decision and garnered over 2,000 signatures in a matter of days.

As it stands, MoMA expects to begin renovations in 2014 by which time the Folk Art Museum’s former home will be destroyed.

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When Gudmund Vigtel was named the High Museum of Art’s director in 1963, it was a sensitive time for Atlanta’s art world. More than 100 members of the Atlanta Arts Association and their family members had died the year before in a tragic plane crash. The city’s civic leaders hoped that Vigtel could turn the museum into a living monument of sorts.

Vigtel came to the High Museum from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington where he served as the assistant director. Civic leaders turned to Vigtel to spearhead the fund-raising campaign they started with hopes of remaking the museum. As it turns out, they chose the right man for the job.

During his 28 years at the High Museum, Vigtel transformed it from an unsuspecting, modest institution to one of the U.S.’s most renowned art museums. Vigtel oversaw the museum’s move from a small brick building to an architecturally groundbreaking 135,000-square-foot postmodern structure designed by Richard Meier. While the relocation happened in 1983, Vigtel began fund-raising and seeking out an architect in the mid-1970s.

Vigtel tripled the size of the High’s permanent collection and implemented an art appreciation program for children. He also started one of the country’s first African-American art collections. The decorative arts collection he opened at the museum has gone on to become one of the finest in the country. After acquiring hundreds of works by 19th- and 20th-century American and European artists, Vigtel left the High Museum with a $15 million endowment, which has since grown.

Vigtel died at his home in Atlanta at the age of 87. His wife, two daughters, four grandchildren, and a profound legacy survive him.

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