Showing posts with label BMW Guggenheim Lab. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BMW Guggenheim Lab. Show all posts

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The BMW Guggenheim Lab finds a more upscale Berlin location to confront comfort

[The proposed BMW Guggenheim Lab construction at Pfefferberg.]

A few weeks ago, organizers for The BMW Guggenheim Lab, last seen on East First Street, canceled its stint in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin due to an "elevated risk" of threats toward the project.

However, organizers have found a new home in Berlin. According to a report at Spiegel Online:

"[I]t won't be in the famously counterculture district of Kreuzberg, where some residents had launched ferocious opposition to the project. Instead, the traveling lab sponsored by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and luxury carmaker BMW will now be located in the eastern Prenzlauer Berg district — an area known and sometimes even ridiculed for undergoing extensive gentrification, a hot button issue in Berlin. It's unlikely that the project will face quite as much hostility there."

The theme for the first two-year cycle of the BMW Guggenheim Lab is "Confronting Comfort." The Lab will be in Berlin from June 15 to July 29, then it's off to Mumbai.


[Image via Spiegel]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

[Updated] Report: Threat of violence cancels the BMW Guggenheim Lab show in Berlin

The BMW Guggenheim Lab packed up and left last October after its two-month-plus run here on East First Street. The Lab was then off to confront comfort in Berlin in the Prenzlauer Berg Kreuzberg neighborhood from May 24 to July 29.

However. In his *Everday Chatter column today, Jeremiah Moss points us to this item at The Atlantic: "BMW Guggenheim Cancels Its Berlin Exhibition Amid Threats of Violence."

The Atlantic post cites Bloomberg News:

"This decision was made as a consequence of threats to the project," the BMW Guggenheim Lab said in a statement. Police and local authorities said there was an elevated risk, it said.

Left-wing activists used the Internet to urge protesters to “derail” the project, according to the daily Tagesspiegel newspaper. Their protest was that the project would accelerate the gentrification of Kreuzberg, leading to higher rents and new luxury residential developments, the newspaper said.

One public meeting ahead of the Berlin debut reportedly drew "vociferous opposition." And depending how good your German is...


Here's the site where the Lab was going to set up... via Spiegel Online...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BMW Guggenheim Lab did great things here, BMW Guggenheim Lab says

From the EV Grieve inbox yesterday ... a news release titled "BMW Guggenheim Lab Site Officially Returned to the City of New York, Transformed into Community Park" ... Here are the three best passages...

Richard Armstrong [Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation] stated, “We are deeply grateful to the City of New York for joining with us in this adventure by allowing a Parks & Recreation property to be the inaugural site of the BMW Guggenheim Lab. We were convinced that the vitality and creativity of this dense, urban East Village location would be the ideal place to launch this experiment. Thanks to the understanding and cooperation of the City, this prediction was realized beyond our best hopes.”


The Lab’s wide range of programs encouraged community engagement and offered insight about today’s dense and changing urban environments, including the need for: the increased activity and involvement of community and neighborhood groups to institute urban change; stronger personal relationships and social interaction within cities to help achieve community cohesiveness; an increased focus on the reuse and revitalization of existing physical and organizational structures; and a growing interest in understanding urban interactions through the use of open-sourced data and models.

Love it when you talk about open-sourced data and models!

The BMW Guggenheim Lab New York received a highly positive response from the public, many of whom have praised its ability to bring individuals together, evoke a sense of community, generate positive energy, provoke questions and then listen to what people have to say, and ignite dialogue that can continue on long after the departure of the physical Lab structure.

Generate positive energy? They must have missed the comments here ... and here...

In any event, the Park is back in the community's hands... a subject we'll have more on later...

FRIDAY: BoweryBoogie has a rundown on Saturday's festivities here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Guggenheim wants our rat-infested First Street lot

Residents pitching in to help refurbish First Street garden

Designs for urban life apparently don't include trees

Continuing to question the BMW Guggenheim Lab's benefits to the local community

Saturday, November 19, 2011

About the First Street Green Cultural Park

Now that the BMW Guggenheim Lab has moved on to confront comfort in Berlin, what's happening to the lot? Gothamist got the scoop yesterday from the volunteers at First Street Green:

The lot-turned-park will host dance, sculpture, painting, readings, music, performance, film, and annual competitions to build temporary canopies to house all of those things.

There's a kick-off party on Dec. 10 ... as Gothamist noted, First Street Green will unveil a "wishing wall" ... where you can suggest ideas for the space. (And preferably ones that don't involve liquor licenses ...)

Bobby Williams took the photos here yesterday... workers are putting in a new gate and what not.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meanwhile, in Berlin...

The BMW Guggenheim Lab will be there May 24 to July 29, 2012. According to ArtInfo:

The BMW Guggenheim Lab Berlin will be located in the Pfefferberg Complex in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood in the northeast of the city.

Housed in the same tent-like carbon-fiber structure that it was in New York, the Lab will host a similar array of lectures, exhibitions, and activities programmed by Guggenheim curator Maria Nicanor. The events will around the theme of "Confronting Comfort," which examines the conveniences and costs of urban living.

This is what the In York Pocket city guide has to say about the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood: "The Berlin suburb that was once all punk is now mostly yuppie, but it remains where locals tend to party hard."

[Photo via]

Monday, October 31, 2011

And now, First Park without the BMW Guggenheim Lab

Alos, a lot of people talk about how BMW/Guggenheim cleaned up the lot and curbed the rat population... Did BMW/Guggenheim hire exterminators to take care of this? Was it a city thing? It was never clear to me who was responsible. Anything preventing the rats from returning?

Photos by Bobby Williams.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mobile crane crew arrives to delab the BMW Guggenheim Lab

A crew arrived around 9 this morning to begin delabbing the BMW Guggenheim Lab... They're just getting started... so you have plenty of time to swing by and watch....

As of 9:25 or so, the delabbing didn't have any noticeable effect on the Prune brunch line... Prune opens at 10.

Friday, October 21, 2011

First Street closed this weekend for BMW Guggenheim Lab removal

Back in July, workers closed down East First Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue for a mobile crane to help put into place something or another for the BMW Guggenheim Lab...


The crane people will be back this weekend to remove the big pieces of the Lab...

What kind of impact will this have on the brunch line at Prune?

Parting thoughts on the 'Labbers' — or 'Blabbers' — on East First Street

Yesterday, EV Grieve reader CLAJR left this comment on our BMW Guggenheim toilet post... the comment/essay deserves its own post...

Thought folks might be interested in this, which I wrote in August.

The presence of BMW Guggenheim Lab on my block has me asking a lot of questions about the role of corporate foundations in policy development.

Predictably, Labbers insist their corporate patron is enlightened, unselfish, benign. In my experience, corporate philanthropic activity is always closely aligned with business interests. Cultural and academic institutions have been colonized by corporate money in a way that makes it hard to view them as independent agents in service to the public good. Or have I just been reading too much Chris Hedges, watching too much Inside Job?

One Labber told me that as a European, she was familiar with public distaste for corporate sponsorship. She patiently explained that, while in many European countries the state supported the arts and culture, it was because Europe lacked a "culture of philanthropy," like the one we have in the U.S. She argued that private patronage of the arts was an age-old practice (I think the Medicis were mentioned), and that there is "good" corporate sponsorship and "bad" corporate sponsorship. Presumably, McDonalds and KFC (whose logos were ubiquitous in the film shown last Thursday, Jem Cohen's "Chain") are "bad" and BMW is "good." This looks like plain old luxury branding to me. In fact, the Guggenheim itself could be considered an upmarket chain.

And it wouldn't be such a huge problem if, say, BMW helped to pay for the production of a film series or a music festival that was open to the public. But the BMW Guggenheim Lab purportedly exists to explore solutions to some of the biggest challenges our society faces: basic resource and infrastructure use, political use of public space, how to prevent cities from being "segrified" (a BMW/Gugg neologism I believe is meant to include both the ideas of gentrification and segregation).

The BMW Guggenheim Lab defines itself is "Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space" Do we really believe that a privileged class of PhD candidates in the pay of a luxury carmaker are the best heads to put together on these problems? And do we really believe that this is a "community center," when the reality is that BMW Guggenheim bought their way into our community by paying to get rid of the rats that had long made the site uninhabitable (residents had no success over 20 years in raising money to do so.) Talk about privatization of basic services!

Judging from the academic jargon spoken here, the "community" being addressed is the international "creative class," whose interests may not be directly aligned with those of our local community, or in fact, 88% of the world. I hear no Spanish. I hear no Chinese. I barely hear English, I mostly here Academ-ese.

The Labbers (or as I like to think of them, Blabbers) seem impatient with criticism about corporate branding and sponsorship, rolling their eyes when another old codger from First St. rails against the corporate takeover. Most denizens of the East Village these days are merely looking for more edgy cultural experiences or products, and they seem to become as quickly bored with BMW Guggenheim Blab as I do. But the good folks of Berlin may give them more hell. I hope so.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Breaking: BMW Guggenheim Lab ready to remove the toilets

Photo this morning via EV Grieve reader Steve Carter... and why not just leave them for the weekend (and Thursday night and...) party crowd?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Here's what's left of Roberta's at the BMW Guggenheim Lab

Workers continue to pack up the former BMW Guggenheim Lab ... Yesterday, workers dismantled the shed that once housed the Lab's local eatery of choice, the Brooklyn-based Roberta's ...


Now! (Or yesterday afternoon!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Packing up the BMW Guggenheim Lab

The BMW Guggenheim Lab wrapped up its 10-week East Village run on Sunday... and now, workers are taking down the structure for its next stop: Berlin, in the spring of 2012. (After that — Mumbai!)

Bobby Williams stopped by yesterday to monitor the deconstruction process...

We're very curious what kind of reception the Lab receives by "Confronting Comfort" in Berlin. (Paging people who can read German!)

I was never a fan of this whole endeavor. Regardless, I'm wondering how BMW/Guggenheim will measure the success of this first stop. I haven't talked with many people who really bought into what they were trying to do. Not that anyone actually understood what they were trying to do. Any thoughts about the Lab — pro or con?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Closing celebration at the BMW Guggenheim Lab last night

The BMW Guggenheim Lab ended its 10-week run last night with a closing party. And we were there to capture the last dance.

Technical difficulties, folks. Apologies!

Meanwhile, we'll have plenty more on these 10 weeks.... and what it all meant — if anything. Soon.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Guggenheim wants our rat-infested First Street lot

Residents pitching in to help refurbish First Street garden

Designs for urban life apparently don't include trees

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today at the BMW Guggenheim Lab: Natividad Zirate

As BoweryBoogie noted back in May, the city tossed the tools belonging to Natividad Zirate, the homeless bicycle mechanic who worked near the BMW Guggenheim Lab. This happened as workers were preparing the lot for the BMW Guggenheim Lab. (We discussed that and other matters about the Lab here.)

In any event, a reader noted one of the programs today during the First Street Green day at the Lab:

Fix Your Bike with Natividad Zirate

Join First Street Green and the BMW Guggenheim Lab as we celebrate and learn from neighborhood bicycle hero and repairman Natividad Zirate. Zirate, well known in the neighborhood as the “go-to” guy for bicycle problems, will lead a how-to workshop on bicycle repair and mechanics.

This program is 2-4.

Meanwhile, EV Grieve reader Steve Carter noted the arrival of balloons at the Lab this morning. Someone celebrating a birthday?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Envisioning the future beyond the BMW Guggenheim Lab; plus, rat cookies!

From the EV Grieve inbox ... slightly edited for length...

Since 2008, First Street Green’s mission has been to transform the Parks Department–owned, vacant lot at 33 E. First Street from a rat-infested derelict space into a community culture park.

Our phase 1 goal to remove the rubble and create a simple-to-maintain plaza and cultural space has been achieved. First Street Green’s efforts with the Parks Department have led to the hosting of the BMW Guggenheim Lab at the lot this year. The Guggenheim has provided an at grade plaza that will remain after the Lab moves on. Now, we are working with the BMW Guggenheim Lab team to plan for the future of the lot.

As part of this effort, First Street Green will be hosting the Lab’s September 10, “What’s Next” workshop to get your ideas on what should happen in the future park. Please come and give us a piece of your mind.

10 a.m. — Meet and greet with volunteers and participants
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. — History of First Park and 33 E. 1st Street Site
2 - 5 p.m. — It’s My Park videos: producer, Adrian Sas Visioning Wall workshop: Modular inspiration/idea sculpture Community survey and balloon run: to canvas neighborhood, invite participation
5 -7 p.m. — Reception: presentation of completed visioning wall. Refreshments, music
7 – 9 p.m. — PUBLIC NOTICE: AN EXHAUSTED FILM + LIVE-CINEMA PERFORMANCE: Ofri Cnaani, Cheryl Kaplan and Kathryn Alexander

Meanwhile, there was a little behind-the-scenes dramaabout this event involving ... cookies. The organizers wanted some locally produced cookies; BMW bigs said no, that this was the domain of its sole food vendor, the Brooklyn-based Roberta's. Roberta's people dittoed that.

Anyway. It all worked out in the end... The Lower Eastside Girls Club will be serving free “rat” cookies and truffles to the first 500 community rodentologists who participate in the First Street Green envisioning “What’s Next” workshops.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The BMW Guggenheim Lab, broken down and secured

On Saturday, workers started securing the BMW Guggenheim Lab in advance of Hurricane Irene... given its rather temporary build, it seemed as if this thing had the potential to blow over to Houston...

Not so, of course! Dave on 7th took this shot this morning... all snug as a bedbug in an urban lab...

The place is always closed on Mondays and Tuesdays... and reopens on Wednesday with, among other things, a conversation with (or by?) "David Simon on The Wire, Treme, and Capturing Cities on Film."

Monday, August 22, 2011

BMW Guggenheim Lab removes poop just like everyone else

[Photo by Steve Carter]

Well, with all that think tanking going on here, we figured they'd have come up with a novel urbanistic, sustainable solution for waste removal by now. But, to be fair, they still have until Oct. 16 ...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

[Updated] A recap of Saturday night's protest at the BMW/Guggenheim Lab

[Photo by Steven Hirsch]

On Saturday night, I posted some photos by Bobby Williams of the "Let Them Eat Cake/Eat the Rich/No Comfort Zone street party." (The comments section is still smoldering.)

In any event, here are some links that offer more of a narrative of what happened that evening. Bob Arihood has posts from the three stops on the tour: the Economakis Dream Mansion ... the BMW Guggenheim Lab ... and Mars Bar.

Goggla has a nice summary here. Including video.

Marty After Dark was around for the Mars Bar portion here.

Gothamist had a summary post here.

From a distance anyway, the most interesting part of the evening came when the group — 25 strong or so — arrived at the BMW/Guggenheim Lab near closing time. I've heard several variations of what happened. This isn't everything that happened, just a brief summation.

Several people spoke out about the history of class warfare in the East Village and why the BMW/Guggenheim Lab is a self-congratulatory project for a few and doesn't address the needs/talents of the community at all, as Goggla put it. A sober LES Jewels read a poem. Unfortunately, at this time, there wasn't much of an audience, save a few Lab administrators and curators.

[Photo by Gil Robichaud]

Rob Hollander, who arrived just after the demonstrators entered the space, described the reaction this way: "I would not call it 'friendly,' but maybe 'acquiescent.'" Those in attendance said that the Lab curators stuck close by to prevent the Guggenheim from inciting an incident that might have brought them ugly press.

According to witnesses, the only time things got heated occured when John Penley lit a cigarette. One administrator reportedly yelled at Penley to put out the cigarette; that the Lab is on Parks Department land and smoking is illegal in city parks. Several other people in the group also lit cigarettes. One of the curators was said to whisper something in the administrator's ear. She then left the immediate area.

And, thanks to Goggla, we have some video. (She has more here.)

I asked Penley on Sunday for his thoughts on his reception to the Lab/Community Center.

"The management was angry and and didn't listen to what we said. They were typical of people in authority who, when confronted, ignore you but look pissed off since they couldn't call the cops, which I asked them to do because the publicity would be bad for them. They let it go. The workers loved it."

As Rachel Pincus reported for Gothamist:

"The Lab itself greeted the protest with a mixture of appreciation and utter annoyance, sympathizing with its cause but finding its aggressive tone objectionable. 'This space is meant for dialogue,' said Lab team host Kristian Koreman, who has roots as a squatter in Rotterdam. 'If they had acted in a way where they wanted an answer to their questions, we would have answered.'"

I followed up with the press contact that I had for the Lab. "As quoted in Gothamist, the Lab is about dialogue – of all kinds," said Eleanor R. Goldhar, deputy director and chief of global communications. "The protesters have a point of view to express which we respect. We also appreciate the courtesy they showed while engaging with staff and visitors at the Lab."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Revisiting the BMW Guggenheim VIP opening-night party

Last Wednesday morning, I posted a photo that Bob Arihood took outside the VIP opening-night party at the BMW Guggenheim Lab. The photo showed a drunken man slumped on the sidewalk.

There are some stories making the rounds now telling how partygoers were concerned, and eventually helped get the man medical attention. The story made it into a blog post by Linda Tischler at Fast Company. Here's a passage:

But for the fact that the poor guy barely seemed to be breathing, it might have been a clever bit of street theater to illustrate the Lab’s provocative theme: comfort — and discomfort — in the city. There was the line, with party-goers queuing up to get green wristbands qualifying them to choose between the Soave and bubbly rose, while next to them, a local resident lay sprawled on the pavement.

The tableau could also have been a question in the project’s signature game, Urbanology, which asks players to confront uncomfortable questions. In this case, “Should you leave a party, where you’re talking to somebody who could be important to your career, to help an inebriated man collapsed in the street?

To their credit, a number of attendees were clearly agitated by the scene, passing bottled water through the fence, and frantically dialing 911 until FDNY’s rescue team finally showed up...

I asked Bob about it. He saw things a little differently. Bob figures the guy was on the ground an hour before anyone from the party tried to do anything to help. (For his part, Bob tried to speak with the fellow, and help get him off the sidewalk — with little success.)

Bob shared photos from the night that he didn't use to help illustrate what happened...

Eventually, two women from the party tried to give the man water.

Just before 8 p.m., a Guggenheim representative, who saw Bob taking photos, came outside to speak with the man. The rep called 911.

At 8:05, the FDNY responded to the scene, and they took the man away...

Back to Fast Company, where Tischler describes the FDNY's arrival.

"Those guys were clearly perplexed, not by the man on the ground, but why a bunch of up-towners were partying on a site that until last month was nothing but rats and rubble. As a final act, the FDNY righted the man, and he staggered off to an ambulance. Party on, dudes!"

So, what have we proved here? Nothing, really. Just felt the need to address the growing urban legend at the Urban Think Tank.