Paul Noble – new work – interiors

Paul Noble’s latest work is now showing at the Gagosian Gallery in San Francisco – [Link]

G is for ear

Nobson New Town, Paul’s extraordinary world, appears in the drawings he has produced since the mid 1990s. I met Paul in 2013, wrote an essay for the great exhibition of his work at Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2014 [Link below], and we published an extended conversation about Nobson online – [Link] [Link – the exhibition]

One of the later large drawings of Nobson’s landscape/cityscape included a large leg emerging from a forest of leafless trees. In the foreground was a door in a frame, without a wall, just as the leg is without a body. In this latest series Paul is taking us into the interior world of Nobson by means of leg and door. It’s quite surreal, with word play, body parts, closed doors, and clocks stuck at Nobson’s universal time of 10.45 am, the time that daylight strikes an angle of 45 degrees. And a giant magic wand.

Wonderful stuff in the way of world building and cosmology.

Here are some posts and writings on and with Paul –

[Link] – Paul Noble – artist|archaeologist

The archaeological world of artist Paul Noble – a version of the essay I wrote for the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition of Paul’s work at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in 2014. Also at – [Link]

[Link] [Link] [Link] – Hylography

[Link] – media materialities

[Link] – Nobson Newtown – the guide

the future of the museum

The new Collections Depot for Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is under construction.

I visited a couple of weeks ago and had a chat with Sjarel Ex, Director of Boijmans.

This is opening the doors of the museum and gallery in a new way – all 150,000 items in the collection will be available to everyone in this great treasure bowl, reflecting the city, a singing bowl, as Connie Svabo sees it, resonating, re-sounding, punctuating a city mindful of itself. A project in Archive 3.0, or more – as Gabriella (Giannachi) would have it [Link].

There are more comments about this game-changing project, this daring cultural innovation on my Vimeo site – [Link]

Boijmans has an extraordinary record for addressing key questions about the future of museums and art galleries – for example, I was proud to be part of curator Annemartine Van Kesteren’s extraordinary “design Column” – a series of “critical design” exhibitions commenting on current events through the works of design studios – [Link]

Director Sjarel Ex and architect Winy Maas of MVRDV are coming to Stanford in December to share their ideas. Watch out for the events – a conversation and a workshop December 4,5,6.

Here is what we are saying:

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is one of the top art and design museums of Europe – [Link]

Under construction is a new extension that will change the way we think of art galleries and museums. We are calling it a Collections Depot.

Art is one of the greatest catalysts for change; it has the rare capacity to move us, to forge new connections, to inspire and provoke new ideas. Yet people rarely associate art museums with innovation. In Rotterdam we aim to change this by creating a new kind of building with the highest density of art works on earth, with 100% of our collection available to visitors through rich user-centered experiences, facilitated by the latest tech, where we can all connect our diverse interests in art, culture and design with our different hopes and visions for the future.

We invite you to join us in designing this museum of the future.

Why art matters

What truly moves people? A great painting, a singular sculpture or piece of music, a remarkable piece of design. Art has the rare capacity to speak to all of us about what really matters. Art reminds us of what it is to be human, what makes us who we are, and what propels us forward. Museums are laboratories of ideas and hubs of marvelous experience where creative effort from all periods and places can help us understand better our own place in the world.

Democratizing art

Museums worldwide show only 8% of their art to the public. The rest is locked away. At Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, when the time came to upgrade our storage, we let our imagination run free. We imagined a place where 100% of the collection is available to everyone, where people will be free to explore on their own, making their way through a buzzing beehive of activity where art works packed and unpacked, restored and studied in dazzling quantities.

We imagined how we might open up the museum to complete democratic access, with everyone as a curator.

Rotterdam architect Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, one of the world’s great architecture studios, has designed an extraordinary forty-meter high silvered bowl — the worlds first public art Collections Depot that breaks with museum standards and gives unlimited access to 150,000 treasures.

In 2018 the building will stand tall. We are now addressing the challenge to make the museum experience completely transformative for everyone.

Let your imagination run free

For this dream, there are no templates, no rules, no precedents. In true Rotterdam spirit, we are free to be pioneers – to do things differently. How might we navigate through a warehouse filled with more art than any other place on earth, and without a curator?

We invite you to push our ideas forward, to strengthen, challenge and question them. To make us reach higher so that we can connect with more people in more profound, moving and enduring ways.

Let your imagination run free. What kind of experience do you dream of?

More about the collections of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Located in the heart of the city of Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands, built from the passions of private collectors. It is the only art museum in The Netherlands where visitors can travel through time, exploring art from the 14th century to the 21st; from Bosch, Rembrandt and Cézanne to Dalí and contemporary Dutch Design. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is international in focus, including works by American artists such as Warhol, Rothko, Basquiat and Serra and is widely known for its design collection, surrealist art, for its prints and drawings, and for its daring experiments in exhibition design. [Link]

materiality of the invisible

Yesterday I had the great honor to open a remarkable exhibition of artworks at the Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht.

multiform institute for fine art, design and reflection

Curators: Lex ter Braak, Director of Van Eyck and Huib Haye van der Werf, Head of Artistic Program. The exhibition runs through The Van Eyck Academie, Marres, and Bureau Europe in Maastricht.

I have no doubt that this is one of the most sophisticated explorations I have encountered of what I call the archaeological imagination. Stunning!

I have expanded the talk I gave at the opening – and I am still hardly doing justice to this gathering of artists, works, ideas, provocations … and so much more. Here is the slide deck.


Sema Bekirovic – Ovid’s Pygmalion — cold plaster coming alive through the touch of a warm hand

RAAAF – models in a basement of WWII bunkers

Fernando Sánchez Castillo – Franco’s yacht

Daniel Silver – we rework, revive, reinvent, remediate ancient monumental forms

stone body

In Elsdon churchyard (Northumberland) with Mike Pearson.



Anthony Gormley – Allotment – Concrete boxes made to measure for residents of Malmo [Link]

history’s ruin – the case of an automobile – 2

Damian Ortega – Cosmic Thing (2002)

(thoughts on the manifestation of history’s ruin – [Link])



a visit to a studio – cultural entanglements

This evening Molly and I visited the studio of Ghiora Aharoni.

I had been here in November, as part of the class on antiquarians and design – [Link]

Then it was a visit through Peter’s iPad camera – on Skype.

This evening the occasion was a reception to celebrate Ruby Namdar’s novel, ten years in the writing, and winner of the Sapir Prize – Israel’s biggest literary award [Link]

Not only does Namdar live outside Israel, but his award-winning “The Ruined House,” (HaBayit Asher Necherav) while in Hebrew, takes place outside Israel (in New York) and is about an American protagonist. Emphasizing the non-Israeli nature of the book, its cover features a historic photo of New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

Ghiora gave me the catalogue to his new work – [Link]


Three years ago, the discovery of a trove of love letters – written by my mother in the 1950s as an adolescent girl in Israel – became the catalyst for Missives. My mother passed away almost twenty years ago, and reconciling the woman I knew with her adolescent words inspired me to explore universal notions of desire, ritual and courtship as well as the experience of retroactive memory.

All of the works are collages: the letters (or fragments of their text) are combined with drawings and photographs, embroidered onto vintage phulkaris or floated above installations of vintage snapshots and letters that I collected in India. They fashion a narrative cycle encompassing history, symbolism and imagination.

Enlarged and printed on fragile Japanese paper, the letters are transformed into precious objects/artifacts, amplifying their earnest, teenage yearnings. Crumpling the letters preserves my mother’s privacy and only reveals random threads of phrases– creating a tactile yet ephemeral metaphor for concealed feelings. The crumpled letters, combined with vintage photographs from India that document random, specific moments in the lives of others, connect my mother’s sentiments to a universal and elusive landscape of memories.

Snippets of the letters are integrated with drawings of symbols, of architecture and images of daily life that I have observed during my travels throughout India over the past decade. The drawings, decontextualized from their original setting, evoke a visual vernacular that is both personal and communal. Printed on handmade Japanese paper in the collages and embroidered on the phulkaris (shawls from Punjab which are often given to a bride at the time of her marriage), the imagery has the potential to signify anticipation, love, memory, spirituality and the passage of time – all of which eluded my mother and the object of her desire. Integrating these embroidered drawings with the phulkaris’ precise geometric compositions creates a visual language that traverses time, geography, cultures and reaches beyond my own family history.

Individually, these dialogues represent fragments of retroactive, yet unsentimental memories, and they also express my passion for India and its culture. Collectively, they embody the experiences – from the quotidian to the sublime – that occur at the intersection of travel and memory.

studio space – hybrid third space


The visit in November – images courtesy of Ghiora Aharoni and featuring his Genesis Sculptures [Link]