Welcome to our newest feature NewsFile, where we give you bite-sized news of many things happening within ceramics, design and architecture. This week, our lead item is the death of Ricardo Porro, the 89-year-old architect and Cuban exile.
Above image: The National Art School of Cuba. Ricardo Porro, architect.
Ricardo Porro, 89, Dies
The New York Times states:
“Ricardo Porro, an architect who gave lyrical expression to a hopeful young Cuban revolution in the early 1960s before he himself fell victim to its ideological hardening, died on Thursday (Dec. 25, 2014) in Paris, where he had spent nearly half a century in exile. He was 89…
“Mr. Porro lived long enough to see his two National Art Schools — begun during a utopian moment in the Cuban revolution, then abandoned as counterrevolutionary — newly embraced around the world as the crown jewels of modern Cuban architecture.
“His School of Modern Dance and School of Plastic Arts erupt from the verdant landscape of what had been the Havana Country Club, in Cubanacán, a suburb of Havana. Premier Fidel Castro nationalized the course in 1961 to create a campus of five art schools. He all but ordered Mr. Porro to take on the design job. In turn, Mr. Porro recruited Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti.”
Porro fled Cuba in 1957 after his opposition to President Fulgencio Batista put him at risk for being arrested. He left for Venezuela, where he met Carlos Raúl Villanueva, an architect who had an influence on Porro’s work.
Cooper Hewitt Museum Reopens
From the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum:
“Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design, will open the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. When the transformed museum opens on New York’s Museum Mile, it will offer 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence.
“Ten inaugural exhibitions and installations, many of which draw from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 210,000 objects that span 30 centuries, will feature more than 700 objects throughout four floors of the mansion. For the first time in the museum’s history, the entire second floor will be dedicated to showcasing the permanent collection through a variety of exhibitions.”
Copenhagen Ceramics Gallery Closes
From the Gallery:
“After three fantastic years in the gallery space at Smallegade, Frederiksberg in Copenhagen the time has now come for Copenhagen Ceramics to move on and enter a new phase…
“The gallery space at the back premises of Smallegade 46, Frederiksberg in Copenhagen was closed by the end of season 2014 and the initiators of the Copenhagen Ceramics project are currently working to establish new ways of presenting contemporary ceramics in Denmark and internationally.”
Rookwood Pottery Works Rediscovered in Manhattan
From the New York Times:
“A ceramics historian has discovered traces of the work of a major terra cotta manufacturer from the 1910s at Lord & Taylor’s flagship store in Manhattan. The remnants had been part of a balconied boutique devoted to plants and cut flowers, said the historian, Michael Padwee. The space was lined in polychrome ceramic ornaments from the Rookwood Pottery factory in Cincinnati, known for decorating public spaces, including subway stations, restaurants and hotels.
“’Probably under there is all Rookwood,’ Mr. Padwee said during a recent tour, gesturing toward a plaster-encased ceramic railing in a stairwell leading to the boutique at the rear end of the ground floor. In a nearby corridor, some thickly painted-over Rookwood panels are molded with owls, quails, eagles, fruit, dragons and cupids. Both the corridor and former boutique space are now used for storage.”
If the discovery wasn’t shocking enough, read what the owners plan to do now that they know about the historic works:
“Lord & Taylor had previously used the balcony space as a hair salon and a fur boutique. A store spokeswoman said there were no plans to renovate it or further investigate the Rookwood trail.”
Malene Hartmann Rasmussen selected for Jerwood Makers
“Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Jasleen Kaur, Ian McIntyre and Studio Silo have each been awarded £7,500 to realise their proposals. The projects in the pipeline include a tonne of white porcelain stacked into towering columns, a surreal woodland setting and a trio of marbled plastic busts although we’ll have to wait until July to see the finished work.”
Wedgwood Collection Saved
From Art Fund:
“The Wedgwood Collection, one of the world’s most important industrial archives and a unique record of 250 years of British ceramics and social history, was saved from being sold off on the open market earlier this year following an Art Fund-led fundraising campaign.
“Our campaign to raise £15.75m for the purchase began in 2013, with an appeal for the final £2.74m launched on 1 September 2014: this met its target within just a month. Close to 7,500 individuals made donations, which and were matched pound-for-pound by a private charitable foundation.
“Following the success of the fundraising campaign, the V&A has taken guardianship of the collection to ensure it can never be put at risk again. The transfer of ownership marks the completion of a five-year campaign to save the Collection, after it was placed under threat following the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood in 2009. The collection has been gifted to the V&A by the Art Fund, and the final paperwork has been signed to lend the collection back to the Wedgwood Museum in perpetuity.
“The Wedgwood Museum will reopen in spring 2015 as part of the World of Wedgwood, a new attraction displaying the history, heritage and craftsmanship of the Wedgwood brand.”
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