Escape from Studio Lockdown: Tom Cruise has good taste

The best way to make a dramatic leap as an artist is to stop working. After Hilary Harkness' show at Mary Boone Gallery in 2011, she laid down her brushes for a full month and went to southern India. Personal transformation aside, she will never evaluate art the same way again.  Here are some ideas for ways to push your practice forward from the subcontinent.

Tom Cruise has good taste!
Jin Mao Tower
I’m a Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill junky!
This architecture firm has brought us the Time Warner Center in NYC, the Jin Mao Tower, and the lovely alabaster Beineke Rare Books & Manuscripts Library at Yale. 

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

They also designed the current tallest building in the world, the heaven-piercing Burj Khalifa in Dubai. You know this building - Tom Cruise climbs it in Mission: Impossible. Sexy assassins cavort in its tight curving rooms reminiscent of mitochondria. The Burj Khalifa is all about the pressure between intricate, minute interior details and the infinity of the desert sky.

Park Hotel, Hyderabad
 I recently made a pilgrimage to the S.O.&M 2010 creation, the Park Hotel in Hyderabad. This Indian metropolis is a hi-tech capitol known for its unbridled love of the clean, the modern and the futuristic. I was attracted to the hotel by its mix of soft-core sci-fi and Indian kitsch (I secretly wished to run into Captain Kirk lounging in Siek attire sipping a Klingon mocktail).  
Carbon Bar, Park Hotel, Hyderabad

Unfortunately, the Park Hotel did not deliver.  Here’s why Tom Cruise passed on the Park Hotel:

Overworked and under-felt: Hyderabad is known as the jewel box of India as it was once the center of the pearl and diamond trade. The hotel’s fa├žade references jewelry designs of the Nizam’s legendary jewellery collection (at the behest of the owner of the hotel). The jewelry box details are too fussy for the strong shapes of the architecture. Inside, elements (such a laser-carved golden coffee table) end up looking cold and untouchable. Decorative wallpapers are visual static – the busyness doesn’t add to the greater whole.

It’s a bad idea to build interior spaces from tableaux. The photos look great, but the interior spaces are clunky.  Two-dimensional tableaux should be products of great 3-D spaces, not the other way around. The photo-op should not be king.

Interiors, Park Hotel, Hyderabad
Two trites don’t make a right. This mash-up of the futuristic International style and historic jewelry bring out the weaknesses in both. The owner of the building should have backed off and let S.O.&M. do what they do best.

I recommend saving your money to visit the future tallest building in the world (soon to be built in Azerbaijan) - it will be 27% taller than the Burj Khalifa!

What is your favorite building, in NYC or otherwise? 
Any disappointments? 
Please feel free to chime in!


  1. I had dinner at a corner table in the Jin Mao Tower and it was pretty spectacular. There is an interesting book of behind the scenes photographs by Wang Dagang taken during the building phase and then once completed. Many of the distinct elements of the building become incredible complex abstractions.
    Have to say I am a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright but the Guggenheim would not top my list of favorite NYC buildings.

  2. My fave is the Pantheon - no need to splain why... I wish Penn. Station was still around!

  3. My fav was Minority Report... Its crazy how "Pre-Crime" is slowly becoming a reality through bills such as SOPA, ACTA, and the NDAA!!!

  4. I spent a surreal afternoon examining an ancient manuscript in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. I remember coming back up from the basement into the beautiful glowing cube. I felt like i was in some ancient heart; a petrified organ from the time of giants. The walls are made of immense marble slabs "leaded" into a huge wall like stained glass. The sunlight radiates through them in a warm orange way. It is a fabulous place. Go during the day.