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The United States has honored Frank Lloyd Wright -- widely considered the father of modern architecture -- by nominating ten of his buildings for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the first time that the U.S. has included works of modern architecture on its ballot and the first time that it has nominated a new site since 2013.

According to UNESCO, to be included on the World Heritage List, a site must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of the ten selection criteria, which includes “representing a masterpiece of human creative genius” and “serving as an outstanding example of a type of architectural building, which illustrates a significant stage in human history.” If added to the World Heritage List, the buildings would join the ranks of such iconic modern structures as the innovative Sydney Opera House by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s sculptural works in Barcelona, including Parque Güel and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia.

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Nearly three years after Garage Museum of Contemporary Art founder Dasha Zhukova and architect Rem Koolhaas first revealed designs for the Moscow museum’s new building in Gorky Park, Garage has announced that its new home will open on June 12.

When Zhukova first opened the institution circa 2008 as the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, the art center was housed in the 1926 Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, an icon of Russian avant-garde architecture designed by Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Shukhov. In 2012, the museum announced it would be relocating to the city center, and commissioned Shigeru Ban (this year’s Pritzker Prize laureate) to construct a temporary cardboard pavilion in Gorky Park while Koolhaas and his Rotterdam-based firm OMA worked on the museum’s nearby permanent home.

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An exhibition with the formidable title "Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist" opened this week at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The show comes to us from the Prado Museum in Madrid by way of the Getty in Los Angeles. It consists of four huge 17th-century tapestries along with the small (very small by comparison) paintings by Rubens that served as their designs, plus assorted other things that I'll mention later. Houston is the last stop before everything is shipped back to the owners, mostly in Madrid, perhaps never to travel again, almost certainly not all together.

The tapestries, only four of a full series that numbers 20, are from Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (Convent of the Barefoot Royals) in Madrid, and they are indeed spectacular, as the title says -- large enough to cover walls many people high, woven by some of the finest tapestry factories of their day and of a quality seldom equaled.

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Friday, 13 February 2015 11:08

Meijer Gardens Acquires Ai Weiwei Sculpture

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei co-designed the Beijing National Stadium or "Bird's Nest" for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

The dissident and human rights' activist also has been imprisoned repeatedly by the Chinese government.

ArtReview in Oct. 2011 declared him "the most powerful artist in the world," placing him in the No. 1 slot on its annual Power 100 list of the world's most influential figures in contemporary art.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has acquired a work by Weiwei, one of the world's most venerated and vilified artists working today.

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The Shaker Museum│Mount Lebanon will be featured in a new book, "Shaker: Function, Purity, Perfection," to accompany an all-Shaker exhibit at the prestigious European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, The Netherlands in March. The exhibit is being organized by art dealer Philippe Ségalot and Paris furniture dealer François Laffanour. The accompanying book will be published this month by Assouline Publishing.

Mr. Ségalot spearheaded the project. Celebrated for his work in contemporary art, he first became interested in Shaker design and began collecting Shaker objects eight years ago. He approached the Museum earlier this year about borrowing collection items to add to the privately-owned objects to be exhibited at the Maastricht Fair, which runs from March 13 to 22, 2015, and enlisted the Museum’s help in producing the new companion book on Shaker furniture.

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Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, which specializes in modern and contemporary art and design, has received a major gift from the Swedish-born sculptor Claes Oldenburg and his late wife and long-time collaborator, Coosje van Bruggen. The couple met in 1976 while van Bruggen was working as a curator at the Stedelijk. Together, they created a swath of colorful, large-scale public sculptures, including "Flashlight" in Las Vegas, "Clothespin" in Philadelphia, "Spoonbridge and Cherry" in Minnesota, and "Shuttlecocks" in Kansas City.

Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s gift includes 175 works by 34 artists and spans a wide range of media -- from correspondence material and archival documents to installations, collages, sculptures, photographs, works on paper, books, and posters. van Bruggen served as a member of the curatorial staff at the Stedelijk from 1967 to 1971, a breakthrough period for conceptual and minimalist art.

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During their 30-plus years in the design world, William and Phyllis Taylor, the husband-and-wife team behind the Miami Beach-based firm Taylor & Taylor, have cultivated a lush, tropical aesthetic that has become their signature style. William, a fifth-generation Floridian, creates architecture that forges strong connections between nature and the built environment, while Phyllis, a native New Yorker, designs interiors that complement and respond to the coastal climate and vibrant landscape.

Inspired by the area’s indigenous elements -- both natural and constructed -- the couple believes that Florida is not only a state but a state of mind. Though the Taylors travel widely seeking design inspiration, they always retain their first love -- Florida’s historic architecture -- from breezy seaside bungalows to brightly colored Art Deco hotels and stately Italianate palazzos.

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The impact of 18th century art and design on the work of distinguished British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is celebrated in a new exhibition at Danson House this spring. "Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past" brings together for the first time a number of her ground-breaking designs, and explores the collections that proved to be her turning point both critically and commercially. The exhibition runs at Danson House, Bexleyheath from April 1 – October 31, 2015.

Danson House, a splendidly restored Georgian villa, provides a tailor-made backdrop to the exhibition which highlights Westwood’s seminal work of the 1990s which was influenced by the 18th century. Designs and outfits on show make particular reference to the Rococo paintings of French artists Watteau and Boucher. Westwood’s passion for 18th century design is also reflected in some earlier pieces from the ‘Cut, Slash and Pull’ and ‘Mini Crini’ collections, and the Malcom McLaren and Vivienne Westwood ‘Seditionaries’ Collection.

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On February 13, 2015, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Hollyhock House will reopen to the public. Located in Hollywood’s Barnsdall Art Park, the Hollyhock House was the first Wright-designed residence in Los Angeles. Commissioned by Aline Barnsdall, an eccentric oil heiress, the structure recently underwent a comprehensive conservation that cost $4.35 million to realize.

Built between 1919 and 1921, the Hollyhock House originally served as Barnsdall’s own venue for producing avant-garde plays. It later became a performing arts complex that included Barnsdall’s private home. In 1927, Barnsdall deeded the site and its structures to the city of Los Angeles.

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The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has announced that the American architect and museum aficionado Steven Holl will lead its monumental upcoming expansion project. Holl, whose eponymous firm has offices in Beijing and New York,  has designed structures for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO), the Bellevue Arts Museum (Bellevue, WA), the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (Herning, Denmark), and the Sifang Art Museum (Nanjing, China).

The $450-million, 14-acre masterplan will  transform the MFAH into one of the largest museum campuses in the country. The expansion includes two new buildings by Holl and one by the Texas-based firm, Lake Flato Architects.

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