Living in Famous Art

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Archist Series. Federico Babina. 2014

Small and want to live in a Damien Hirst, Keith Haring, or Dali? Can be done. Bologna Italy’s architect-illustrator Federico Babina has designed 27 options from once trend-setting artists.

Let’s start with two obvious choices because of their true straight walls: cheerfully square Piet Mondrian and somberly upright Kazimir Malévich. Both lived through not one but two world worlds, but then as compensation also got the crazily hip years between the wars.  Malévich also had to face a revolution and undoubtedly as a result broke ranks and added circles to his straight lines and squares. East European food may account for the mournful colors, though Dutch sour herring and fries with mayo hardly explain Mondrian’s exuberance.


Dutch question: where do I leave my bicycle? Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944)

Piet was a neoplasticist. Almost but not quite like plastic. For Piet this meant painting black grids using primary colors. All three of them. It made him famous and led to the programming language Piet, which is written in colored blocks. It joins other exploratory and boundary bending, generally dysfunctional, programming languages, such as LOLCODE, Malbolge, and Brainfuck.


Should I jump, maybe I’m not high enough? Kazimir Malévich (1879 – 1935)

Confusing at point of origin, Kazimir Malévich, was a Russian of Polish descent, born in the Ukraine during the Russian Empire. (In short, a displaced Polski-Ruskie). The eldest of 14 children, he grew up on sugar-beet plantations in Ukraine. He is the original Suprematist. Not the Aryan hater kind but suprematism of the artist’s pure feeling, expressed through such emotionally charged shapes as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles, and a few mostly dark colors.


I’ll leave my bicycle here under the big white dog. Keith Haring (1958-90)

Best workplace ever? The kissing couple on the roof thinks so. After necking on high a visit to Haring Foundation’s Planned Parenthood of NY might be an idea. Haring was raised in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and had Andy Warhol as a mentor. But then he got AIDS and things went dark.


Now where do I leave my bicycle?! Richard Serra (1939 and going)

I love Serra but a whole building out of rusted steel? All that Fe2O3·nH2O, hydrated iron(III) oxide to the unscienced, and no windows. Shit. Skip this one.


Living in the Wrath of God. Damien Hirst (1965 and in mid-life crisis)

That is sexy! Living with a shark in a tank of formaldehyde, with happy dots. Hard to beat. Escape to the roof for last wish.  


Love the parking, thank you! Salvador Dalí (1904-89)

Never liked the guy and those supports look way flimsy. And who wants to walk up the stairs first thing, then slip and slide across concave floors? Good parking notwithstanding, the whole thing is just surreal.


Gerhard Richter (1932 and going)

The staircase problem remains but those colors are just the best and imagine the view from high above. Couple kissing is definitely missing out. Richter is nothing if not clean and orderly and he painted a mural at the German Hygiene Museum in hometown Dresden. It has 45,000 items and records the promotion of well bodies and superior personal hygiene.


Completely looks like MIT’s leaky Gehry Building. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Who’s not tired of cubist Picasso? Blue and rose Picasso were great, but this primitive form of neoplasticism, or suprematism, I forget which, just gets my goat. Its degrees of horror: early analytic cubism, late synthetic cubism, salon cubism, and so on. Praise the Lord Piet and Kazimir sorted this lot out. And by the way, that completely looks like the leaky, poorly designed, and law suit ridden (who pays for the water damage), Frank Gehry’s STATA Center at MIT. A place where IT and water mix freely.

By Rivaat Zarlif



  2. Rosenfield, Karissa. ARCHIST: Illustrations of Famous Art Reimagined as Architecture. 05 Mar 2014. ArchDaily
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Rivaat Zarlif


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