8
Jul

Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum

Written on July 8, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Arts & Cultures & Societies

Jeff-Koons-Whitney-Museum-Retrospective-AM-83When Jeff Koons appeared on American TV satire The Colbert Report in 2012, the outlandishly narcissistic character played by Stephen Colbert knew he had found a soul mate. “A lot of them are shiny, you know,” Colbert observed about Koons’ sculptures. “So when I look at them I can see me, and then I’m really interested in it.” The satirical Colbert and cherubic Koons share a calling: to hold up a ruthless mirror to their viewers’ corruption, delusion, insecurity and desire.

Silvered surfaces beckon on all four floors of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s gargantuan Koons retrospective. The reflections come in giddy colours and queasy distortions. We see ourselves in the silhouettes of cartoon characters, and in the curved metallic surfaces of ice buckets, bottles, toy trains and aluminium balloons. Koons is a gleefully self-loving celebrity, posing naked and savouring his fame, but his point is surely that everyone else is narcissistic too. We’re all starring in our own movies.

He seduces through surface, gratifying viewers’ self-absorption on every scale, from the micro to the monumental. Yet his lustrous, perfect surfaces don’t show us only what we want to see. They reflect back at us the depths of our degradation. Like us, his art is by turns cute, cold, charming and repellent.

“I’ll be your mirror,” Nico croon-groaned in the Velvet Underground’s first classic recording, “reflect what you are, in case you don’t know.” That lyric emerged from Andy Warhol’s tinfoil-lined Factory, which also cranked out the Koons-ian worldview. Warhol set the template for the artist as entrepreneur and public relations guru. He repackaged society’s obsessions with sex, money and fame, then sold them right back to the public as art. Like Koons, he cultivated a persona as cipher, the man who lacks irony and refuses to be deep. “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it,’’ he deadpanned. Koons has adopted that bland façade, as seamless and unblemished as one of his metallic balloons. He describes his wares in a milky tone that never curdles.

Continue reading in Financial Times

7
Jul

ruinas-de-tiermes_344713La Unidad de Arqueología de IE University organiza el curso internacional “Arqueología y Arquitectura de las ciudades romanas del valle del Duero”, dedicado este año al bimilenario de Augusto, que se desarrollará del 7 al 18 de julio en  los yacimientos de Ávila, Segovia , Tiermes (Soria) y Coca, enclaves donde los investigadores de IE están llevando a cabo un proyecto de investigación multidisciplinar. Este taller internacional, que comprende sesiones teóricas y un conjunto de actividades prácticas, está dirigido por el doctor Cesáreo Pérez González, director de la Unidad de Arqueología de IE University.

Los alumnos que participarán en el curso son jóvenes investigadores de diversos campos como la arquitectura, la arqueología o la historia y proceden de diferentes países. A través de ponentes de prestigio, se acercarán al estudio de los materiales arqueológicos, fuentes clásicas, restos arquitectónicos y otras disciplinas que permitan la mejor comprensión de las ciudades romanas del valle del Duero y los avances científicos desarrollados en los últimos años. Además, los alumnos llevarán a cabo prácticas de campo y de laboratorio, orientadas a la caracterización, interpretación y análisis de materiales constructivos romanos, metálicos, cerámicos, óseos, etc. 

Unidad de Arqueología

La Unidad de Arqueología de IE University cuenta con una amplia y larga experiencia en la impartición de docencia especializada en sus áreas de conocimiento, como son la prehistoria, la arqueología clásica y medieval, la arqueología americana, la arqueología industrial y la arqueología de la arquitectura. La Unidad de Arqueología elabora y ejecuta excavaciones, proyectos, estudios y catalogaciones del patrimonio artístico-histórico e industrial. La complejidad de los trabajos hace que cada vez se implique más en ellos a diversas ramas del conocimiento, como la biología, la química, la geología, la historia, el arte o la arquitectura. En sus proyectos, la Unidad cuenta con la colaboración de otros grupos de investigación de IE University, y de profesores y alumnos de distintas universidades, tanto españolas como extranjeras.

4
Jul

‘Echo’s Bones,’ a Beckett Short Story Rediscovered

Written on July 4, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Literature

beckettWhen the British publisher Chatto & Windus agreed in 1933 to publish Samuel Beckett’s first book of fiction, a collection of 10 interrelated stories titled “More Pricks Than Kicks,” it asked him for one final story, a culminating wallop.

There was a problem. Beckett had killed off the book’s protagonist, a Dublin intellectual named Belacqua Shuah, in an earlier story. He had to be nonchalantly resurrected. A second problem arose. Beckett’s editor at Chatto & Windus, Charles Prentice, found the new story Beckett delivered, “Echo’s Bones,” to resemble less a comely infant than a troubling heap of placenta and broken forceps.

“It is a nightmare,” Prentice wrote to Beckett. This was the start of one of the great rejection letters in literary history. “It gives me the jim-jams.” He declared: “People will shudder and be puzzled and confused.”

It’s not you, Prentice continued. It’s me. “I am sitting on the ground, and ashes are on my head.”

Eight decades later, Grove, Beckett’s stalwart American publisher, is issuing “Echo’s Bones” for the first time. This is a handsome book, and a well-padded one. The 49 pages of Beckett’s story are tucked, and nearly lost, inside acknowledgments, an introduction, a note on the text, a scan from the original typescript, a selection of letters from Prentice to Beckett, a bibliography and 57 pages of (excellent) annotations from this volume’s editor, Mark Nixon.

It’s worth cleaving this oyster to get at the pearl. “Echo’s Bones” is a relatively minor work, but it’s pungent early Beckett, written while he was still under the sway of his mentor, James Joyce, but with a soundscape all its own: rude, surreal, death-haunted, sex-addled, dry as bone. It helps to have read “More Pricks Than Kicks” before consuming it, but the story stands on its own.

Its pleasures border on the painful; you will have to like the sound of breaking glass. You may wish to exclaim about “Echo’s Bones,” as Belacqua does about his re-emergence on earth, “My soul begins to be idly goaded and racked, all the old pains and aches of me soul-junk return!”

Continue reading in The New York Times

3
Jul

El Cholismo

Written on July 3, 2014 by Rafael Puyol in Arts & Cultures & Societies

INSTITUTO DE EMPRESA.  PROFESORESPor Rafael Puyol, Vicepresidente de Fundación IE

En el panorama de apatía y mediocridad en el que sobrevive la sociedad española, la luz del cholismo se ha convertido en referencia de éxito y hora de ruta para muchos ciudadanos. Diego Pablo Simeone, el Cholo, ha refrendado sus mensajes llevando al Atlético a cotas de excelencia desconocidas desde hace años. Su filosofía es clara, sencilla y directa. Sus frases más repetidas la resumen perfectamente. He aquí las más difundidas: “partido a partido”, “siempre hay que creer”, “voy a muerte con mis jugadores”, “el esfuerzo no se negocia”, “este equipo es un bloque”…

En muchas de ellas laten sentimientos y actitudes poco frecuentes en estos pagos por lo que afirmaciones tan simples han sido elevadas a la categoría de referencia espiritual para ciudadanos, asociaciones y partidos políticos. El “siempre hay que creer” realimenta la esperanza en una sociedad descreída de sus instituciones y sus representantes. El “voy a muerte con mis jugadores” significa que los grupos humanos no pueden funcionar sin confianza, sin fe y sin la esperanza que se deposita en sus miembros. El “esfuerzo no se negocia” es un compromiso de exigencia para la buena marcha de las cosas. Es una virtud expatriada por la cultura del pelotazo que infectó nuestra sociedad y que es preciso recuperar en todos los ámbitos de esa vida colectiva. “Este equipo es un bloque” enfatiza el trabajo conjunto de las asociaciones al servicio del bien común y no las actitudes individuales o los particularismos excluyentes. El “partido a partido” es la expresión del empeño permanente, de la lucha constante, de no dejar al albur del mañana lo que claramente debe hacerse hoy.

El cholismo no es una filosofía ni nueva, ni revolucionaria y sé que muchos la considerarán demasiado doméstica y hasta barata. Pero que en un mundo tan simple y ramplón como el del futbol, existan personajes, como el Cholo, que han sabido trascender con su lenguaje, los estrechos horizontes intelectuales del balompié. Creo que en la sociedad española actual necesitamos reforzar la esperanza, redoblar la cultura del esfuerzo, promover el trabajo común y luchar cada día para conseguirlo. Yo entre el Cholo y “el podemos” prefiero al Cholo.

2
Jul

Design award for Zaha Hadid exposes architects’ moral dilemma

Written on July 2, 2014 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Film

heydar-aliyev-center-baku-z141113-hc3The announcement of Baku’s Heydar Aliyev Centre as the overall winner of this year’s Design Museum Designs of the Year is sure to provoke strong reactions.

The building, completed in 2012, is a wildly impressive and determinedly sculptural structure designed by London-based architect Zaha Hadid. Its fluid, white forms seem to emerge from the landscape of the city centre, the ground plane folding and swelling to become the building itself.

But it is a controversial choice. The cultural centre is dedicated to the father of the president, Ilham Aliyev. Heydar Aliyev was a divisive figure who was once a member of the Soviet politburo and gained such a reputation for corruption that he was expelled from his post as leader of the Azerbaijan SSR by Mikhail Gorbachev before becoming president after the collapse of communism.The current president has followed in his father’s footsteps, with the country now regarded as one of the most corrupt in the world while its authoritarian power structures and allegations of torture and elections widely criticised for their lack of transparency have further damaged its reputation.

As if that wasn’t enough, the city centre site for the cultural centre (and its increasingly grandiose surroundings) has been cleared through mass evictions, forcing citizens out of their homes and towards the outskirts.

The chairman of the awards jury Ekow Eshun, a writer, journalist and broadcaster, said of the building: “It’s beautiful. It’s inspiring. It’s the clear vision of a singular genius and we thought it was a remarkable piece of work.”

A fellow judge, architect Piers Gough, said: “It is as pure and sexy as Marilyn’s blown skirt”, while another judge, designer Kim Colin, did at least allude to some debate between the jury members. She said they “argued heatedly for and against, and then . . . finally agreed unanimously that the project deserves our utmost respect”.

The awards are split into categories, Architecture, Digital (whence last year’s winner, the UK Government’s website, emerged), Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport. Hadid’s building won against competition from, among others, the PEEK Portable Eye Examination Kit (an app for diagnosing eye problems in developing countries), a collection by Prada, a chair by Konstantin Grcic and Volkswagen’s XL1 car.

It might seem an unenviable task to merge these wildly differing categories and find an overall winner. How can you compare a poster – Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” for Barack Obama’s election campaign won in 2009 – with a car? It does, on occasion, sound a little meaningless.

Ms Hadid has faced criticism already this year when she dismissed questions about the dire safety record for labourers working on the construction of her designs for the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, where 500 mostly Indian workers have died since 2012. She said architects “have nothing to do with the workers” on site.

In refusing to accept any responsibility for working conditions on site, Hadid has relegated the role of the architect to a kind of lone creative genius, divorced from the social and political conditions in which their architecture is realised.

Continue reading in Financial Times

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