Archive for June, 2011

Exploring Harlem’s Black and Jewish Music Culture

Thursday, July 21 at 6pm

Join OHNY and Harlem One Stop on a cultural walking tour which will take you through sections of Sugar Hill-Hamilton Heights and Central Harlem. Tour will explore connections and highlight sites associated with Harlem’s Black and Jewish music culture.

The tour will be led by John Reddick and will feature discussion of artists and venues showcased in an upcoming exhibition he’s curated on the subject that’s scheduled for Harlem this fall.

For many, the prevailing music history associated with Harlem evolves around the Apollo Theater, beginning with Frank Schiffman and Leo Brecher taking over the Apollo in 1935. However, beginning in the early 1900’s Harlem’s 125th Street hosted several theaters, including Oscar Hammerstein’s , Harlem Opera House, Hurtig & Seamon’s Burlesque, Weber & Fields’, West End Theatre and the Alhambra Theater.The tour will start at 125th Street and St Nicholas Avenue and end at 145th and Riverside at the Tian at the Riverbank Restaurant with its “Rainbow Room” ambiance and breathtaking views of the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge, for an evening of Swing Dance and Big Band Music of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra.

The ticket includes the walking tour, live music and Swing Dance, and a Tian Special complimentary drink. Participants should have a MetroCard. (Meal not included.)

In collaboration with Harlem One Stop and Tian at the Riverbank.


Field Trip Friday: Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne

Hae-In, OHNY’s Program & Education Coordinator, recently took a trip to Germany, stopping in Berlin, Nuremberg, Füssen and Munich. Today’s post focuses on the Pinakothek der Moderne museum in Munich. The museum is the most recent addition to Munich’s three big art museum cluster (along with the Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek), and is part of Munich’s “Kunstareal” or “art district.”

museum exterior

Designed by German architect Stephan Braunfels, the Pinakothek der Moderne was completed in 2002 after seven years of construction. The minimalist white and gray concrete facade is dominated by large windows and narrow columns. The four corners of the building meet in a central rotunda and each corner is dedicated to a special collection.

design wall display

The Museum unites four different collections and is divided into Art (Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst) with paintings, sculpture, photography, and video; Architecture (Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität) with architectural drawings, photographs, and models; Design (Die Neue Sammlung) highlighting design and craftwork; and Works on Paper (Staatliche Grapische Sammlung) with an extensive collection of prints and drawings.

Ron Arad TW3 rocking chair

With around 70,000 objects, the “Neue Sammlung”or design section is one of the world’s leading collections of 20th century applied art and industrial design. Located in the basement level, the exhibit starts with an immense wall of items displayed floating in separate units (see above) and is a wonderful introduction to the collection. TW3 rocking chairs, designed by Ron Arad, welcome you to sit down!

exhibit of cars

There is also a dramatic display of motorcycles and automobiles, including early model Porches. Items range from Art Nouveau furniture by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Bauhaus shelving units to a collection of typewriters and computers that chronicles the rise of our modern computer culture.

chair design

The concept of a modern art museum in Munich began in the 1990’s and although the site and design were selected by 1992, the plan was put on hold by the Bavarian government for financial reasons. Supporters set up the Pinakothek der Moderne Foundation and provided 20 million+ Deutsche Marks (about 10 million Euros) of private funding to help build the museum. In September 1994 the project received the green light with additional state funds to help the foundation reach its goals. The foundation, supported by individual contributions, still plays an important role in the operation and maintenance of the museum today.

vases, bowls and other objects displayed

Instituted in 1758, the “Staatliche Graphische Sammlung” collection has more than 400,000 prints, drawings and works on paper dating from the 15th century to the present. It was housed in former Nazi administrative headquarters on Königsplatz, from 1948 to 1981, but this was never intended to be used as an exhibition or conservation space. It was moved to the Neue Pinakothek in 1981 before finding a permanent home at the Pinakothek der Moderne.

artwork of Max Beckman

The museum also has a wonderful collection of early modern art, with a whole room dedicated to painter Max Beckmann, as well as works by Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso and René Magritte and many masterpieces of German Expressionism. Later 20th-century work by Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning and Francis Bacon are also here, and installations by Joseph Beuys and Dan Flavin round out the contemporary exhibit.

river surfing on the Eisbach, a small canal that flows through the Englisher Garten (near the museum)

The Pinakothek der Moderne houses a great collection of modern art and design, beautifully and creatively displayed in it’s 12,000 square meters of exhibition space, and is definitely worth checking out when you are in Munich.

Pinakothek der Moderne
Barer Straße 40
80333 München

Five Year Volunteer Appreciation Event Re-Cap

By Robert Moore, Volunteer Council member

It was a dark and stormy night…well, it was one of those steamy summer nights when unexpected, evening thunderstorms hurl themselves upon unsuspecting commuters. However, on this Tuesday evening the rain relented just too late to allow the open roof to be used for the festivities for the presentation of the special OHNY pins to the volunteers who have assisted with the October OHNY weekend for five or more years.

2011 five year volunteers

Nevertheless, our honorees together with OHNY staff and Volunteer Council members gathered in the gallery of the Central Park Armory, just adjacent to the zoo. A wonderful old building, the Arsenal outdates the Park itself by some years and started off– as its name implies– as an Armory for the City militia. In subsequent incarnations it became the Museum of Natural History and finally, its present role as the headquarters of the New York City Parks Department.

2011 OHNY Volunteer Council

Parts of the building are open to the public and house rotating art exhibits. Presently in the gallery there are photos associated with the recreation by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei of the animals which formed a famous fountain clock in the European-style gardens of the Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, near Beijing in China. Unfortunately the fountain clock was destroyed and looted in the 19th Century. Some of the originals have been found but Ai Weiwei has recreated all the Chinese Zodiac animals which can now be seen in the plaza opposite the Plaza Hotel (see below).

Ai Weiwei artwork

Shortly after everyone arrived and had fortified themselves with some wine and delicious finger food the presentation of the pins took place and the volunteers received their special OHNY 5-year pins from Andrew Watanabe and Leah Strigler, co-leaders of the Volunteer Council.

pin ceremony

After the presentation, we were lucky enough to have a short talk by Jonathan Kuhn, the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Director of Antiquities. Jonathan is one of those New Yorkers who just oozes enthusiasm for the city and its hidden gems. He was full of interesting stories including the fact that the reservoir in Central Park, which once supplied water to the city, could now only supply a matter of hours-worth of water–so greatly has the city expanded.

Leah and volunteers

We were then conducted on a tour of the Armory building by Gary Rozman, Cultural Affairs Liaison at the Department of Parks and Recreation. This took in the Boardroom, formerly Robert Moses’ office which contains the original drawing of the Park as it was conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Their design won a competition and was far ahead of its time, as much of the area around the Park at that time was not developed. The Boardroom also, curiously, has a clock which is counting down until the end of the present City Administration. Before ascending to the roof areas, male and female members were permitted to see the gentlemen’s toilet also known as the ‘Septagon’ due to its unique shape!

view from the top of the Arsenal

From here we ascended to the various roof decks from which, even on a cloudy, drizzly night gave wonderful views out over Central Park. Despite being ill-shod for it, we all managed to climb the vertical ladder to the very top of the building where a register of visitors is kept in a waterproof case and everyone signed this as a record of their visit. We were very lucky to have been given this opportunity and everyone was most grateful to Gary and Jonathan for their generosity and very informative commentary.

Hae-In with Tama and Sy

After our tour and some final farewells, we exited the building via the main hall which is decorated by some wonderful murals – a spectacular end to a wonderful evening, which the weather was not able to dampen in the least!

By the City / For the City

This spring, the Institute for Urban Design asked New Yorkers how they thought the city’s public realm could be improved, and they responded with more than 500 ideas across the five boroughs.

Now it’s your turn: We’re asking architects, designers, artists, and urbanists to respond to the challenge! From now through July 14th, you can visit the By the City / For the City website, define your site based on what you find most interesting from New Yorkers’ ideas, and then develop a brief proposal. Nothing too technical—our goal is to find great ideas that can capture the public imagination and start conversations, so even a single rendering qualifies. And, since we’re going to publish as many of the entries in An Atlas of Possibility for the Future of New York, we recommend keeping it light!

After submissions are in, the IfUD will convene a jury to select ten projects to receive $500 prizes: one for each borough, and five at the judges’ discretion. Together, all of these ideas will form a collective portrait of how we imagine the future, and will be the subject of an exhibition at the heart of the first-ever Urban Design Week festival in New York City this September 15-20. Don’t wait — get started on your proposal today at!

Open House Tel Aviv continued

Highlights from Tel Aviv continue this week. As you may recall reading two weeks ago, OHNY’s Executive Director, Renee Schacht, visited Tel Aviv in May to attend Open House Tel Aviv and take part in the inaugural Open House Worldwide Conference. Her first day in Tel Aviv began with coffee and champagne on the roof of the Brown TLV Urban Hotel with her fellow Open House colleagues from the around the world. The group spent the day visiting a long list of sites which included the First International Bank of Israel by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the Ohel Moed Synagogue, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s new addition designed by Preston Scott Cohen, the Peres Center for Peace, and a private residence in the Jaffa.

First International Bank of Israel

First International Bank of Israel

The building is situated diagonally between two historic buildings, the HESEG House from 1924 and the Beit Va’ad Hakehila, along Rothschild Blvd.  Construction of the tower began in early 2003 and the building was completed in 2009.

After visiting one Tel Aviv’s most contemporary new buildings, the group toured the Ohel Moed Synagogue,  one of the city’s first synagogues from 1931.

Ohel Moed Synagogue

Ohel Moed Synagogue from 1931

The synagogue was founded in the 1920s by Ben Zion Hai Uziel, the head Spanish rabbi of the City of Tel Aviv, and is used until this very day by the Spanish ethnic group in Tel Aviv.

situated in the center of the synagogue, the dome is made of 15 steps.

Currently under construction and due for completion in the late 2011, the group later visited the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s new addition designed by Preston Scott Cohen.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Tel Aviv Museum of Art built in 1971

Exterior of the new addition

the exterior of the museum's new addition (still under construction)

Interior of the new addition

guided tour of the museum's new addition

exiting the new addition

After having the extraordinary opportunity to experience Preston Scott Cohen’s use of shapes, space and light to create beautiful gallery spaces, the group made its way to Jaffa to visit the Peres Center for Peace.  The building serves as the new headquarters for the Peres Center, a non-profit organization that works to build peace in the Middle East through socio-economic cooperation and development. Designed by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas, the structure is situated along the Jaffa coast next to an old Arab cemetery.

Front Facade of the Peres Center for Peace

front of the Peres Center for Peace facing the Mediterranean Sea

side facade of the peres center for peace

side facade of the Peres center for peace

Construction began in 2003 and the building officially opened in December 2009. The Center houses the Shimon Peres historical archives and library- for the benefit of researchers and students.

Peres Center for Peace library

the library on the first floor

Interior staircase in the Peres Center for Peace

Rick Bell and others ascending the stairs inside the center

The building also acts as a conference center enabling the Peres Center to host conferences, talks and arts events.

view from the the terrace

view of the Mediterranean Sea and the old Arab cemetery

Special thanks to Leonardo Mayol, Director of Open House Rome, for his fantastic photographs! And an incredible thanks to the Israeli Consulate for inviting OHNY to be a part of and organizing this incredible event.

Summer Interns Needed!

Looking for a summer internship or know someone who is?

OHNY is looking for summer interns to help us prepare for the 9th Annual OHNY Weekend, October 15 & 16, which will welcome 225,000 visitors to explore and experience over 150 programs and 200 sites throughout the city — all free of charge. Our sites and programs underscore the breadth and depth of New York’s architecture and design, and chronicle the city’s architectural, cultural, and urban development.

Interning at openhousenewyork is a great opportunity to acquire wide-ranging experience working with a small, creative team in a pleasant, supportive working environment!

The Program Intern will be responsible for working with staff members on a wide variety of projects including:
• researching and writing proposals to foundations, corporations and individuals
• researching site and program ideas for OHNY Weekend, October 15 & 16, 2011
• assisting in program development and special events including year round programs, the OHNY Weekend Launch Party, etc.
• maintaining database
• administrative duties

Ideally, the intern should possess:

  • excellent attention to detail
  • interest in architecture, not-for-profit arts management, urban planning, NYC history
  • ability to handle a variety of administrative responsibilities, and to work independently and creatively
  • excellent organizational, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
  • experience writing funding proposals/researching funders
  • experience in print & electronic research
  • computer proficiency in Microsoft office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • additional helpful skills: WordPress, Photoshop and other graphic design related software, fluency with social media

Internships are usually 2 days a week, but we are flexible!

Email cover letter and resume (Word Document or PDF) to:
115 West 27th Street, 9th Floor, NY, NY 10001

Explore South Williamsburg/Los Sures with El Puente this Saturday

El Puente, South Williamsburg/Los Sures
Saturday June 18 at 1pm
El Puente is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness & environmental action. As a place-based organization with deep roots in the neighborhood, El Puente’s six sites have grown into hubs of community action in multiple areas—in line with El Puente’s principle of Holistic learning.

Walk Los Sures (The Southside of Williamsburg) with us to experience the rich history of indigenous arts and culture that springs forth from self-determination. We honor the history and vibrancy of artists and artisans living & working in North Brooklyn by visiting local landmarks such as the beautiful outdoor murals of Los Muralsitas, our local community garden Espiritu Tierra, and the favorite haunts of El Puente CADRE (Community Artists’ Development & Resource Exchange) members.

Buy tickets here.