2012 – Ethan Greenbaum

Genzken_3_500px_500Isa Genzken, Filming Children III, Detail, 2005

Atelier Brancusi
Built by Renzo Piano and tucked quietly alongside the overblown
Pompidou, the Atelier Brancusi encases the artist’s studio, works and tools
in a circumnavigable glass cube. It seemed nearly forgotten on the day I
went, with just a handful of people moving through the space in hushed
tones. The peaceful and satisfied nap I took on one of the benches felt
entirely appropriate.

Cellblock I and Cellblock II
(An exhibition in essay form) curated by Robert Hobbs at Andrea Rosen
The end is just the beginning

Lydia Davis
Lydia Davis writes short, and sometimes really short stories that I don’t
want to dishonor by trying to recount. She is supremely self-conscious,
language obsessed and funny. The work defies genre and manages to be
both painfully hermetic and wonderfully alive. I got my parents her first
novel, This is the End, for Christmas and will be stealing it soon.

Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
Get your head right. Written in 1973 by a man who died within a year of
finishing it (just missing out on his Pulitzer-how perfect), this book is the
most comprehensive, frightening and ultimately empathetic account of
human motivations and failures I’ve come across. While there are some
arguable and dated moments, (Becker trying to explain the pathology of
homosexuality is a low point) you should read this if you’re worried.

Allen Edmonds
I’ve been picking these up on Ebay and they’ve revived my faith in the
pleasures of considered, well built objects. Handcrafted on the last with 360
degree Goodyear welting and shock absorbent cork insoles, they are sturdy,
beautiful and one of the few remaining American shoemakers still producing

Isa Genzken at the Museum Ludwig
I’ve always appreciated the way Isa Genzken draws out the uncanny and
erotic in pop culture. Looking at one of her installations in the somewhat
dilapidated Ludwig Museum, I saw something else. They looked old. The
ebony shellacked Donald duck was dusty and the skewered plastic coca cola
umbrella was yellowed and cracking. Seeing the manic sexiness of her work
tempered by time and decay left me a bit shaken. I wonder if Genzken
would consider this a success.

Bob Jackson Cycles
Steel frame bikes hand built by Bob Jackson in Leeds, England since the
50s. My chromed Bob Jackson was a gift after my last bike was stolen and
in addition to being a great ride, it is supremely cool looking and allows me
to have conversations with bike enthusiasts of my father’s generation.

Vincent Scully: Modern Architecture and Other Essays
I picked this up at CAA’s book fair and it has changed my life. Scully
condenses a lifetime of learning into incredibly concise and poetic essays
exploring the role of ideology and desire in the built environment.

Ethan Greenbaum


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