Baghdad and Beyond
The Center for Architecture opens two exhibitions today on architecture in the Middle East: one mourning the destruction in its recent past and the other tracking the rapid changes that are carrying it into the future. “City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952-1982,” organized by the Col-legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya in Barcelona and making its U.S. debut, examines what’s left of the Iraq capital’s modern architectural history through the eyes of the architects and engineers who created it. Meanwhile, “Change: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000-Present” looks at how the Middle East has responded to the challenges of urbanization that affected the entire world during the past dozen years. Both exhibitions involve a host of public programs, including collaborative events with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and an Iraqi film series (536 La Guardia Pl., nr. 3rd St.; 212-683-0023; cfa.aiany.org; through 5/5 and 6/23 respectively).
The Brooklyn Museum’s 23 historic rooms are full-scale dioramas of life as it once was for Americans. For the “Playing House” exhibit, four artists—all women—were asked to consider the lifestyles of the people who once lived in eight of these rooms, which range from modest to decadent, and they creat site-specific installations to give them a dose of life as it is now. The results include Anne Chu’s patchwork birds and flowers in a stuffy drawing room; videos about place and memory by Mary Lucier; an aristocrat’s parlor transformed into an artisan workshop by Ann Agee; and Betty Woodman’s revival of an old dining room with new-fashioned place settings (200 Eastern Pkwy., nr. Washington Ave.; 718-638-5000; brooklynmuseum.org; 2/24-8/26).
Byte by Byte
One of the great challenges of the Information Age is how to organize it all, and as a result, the field of data design has been flourishing. This Thursday, the Museum of Arts and Design partners with the New York chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts for a discussion on “data visualization” with principles from two young firms, Tictrac and Hyperakt, that are in the business of gathering and arranging information into forms that are both meaningful and beautiful. Cliff Kuang, the editor of Fast Company magazine’s Co.Design blog, will moderate the discussion (2 Columbus Cir., nr. Eighth Ave; 6:30 p.m.; $30, $20 members, $10 students; 212-255-1856; madmuseum.org).
The UES Goes Rustic
Boho-girlie juggernaut Anthropologie opened its first location on the Upper East Side last week, featuring an expanded selection of antiques and limited-edition pieces exclusive to the location, as well as original artwork for sale from some of the company’s favorite artists, including Lee Borthwick, Rob Southcott, and Yangyang Pan (1230 Third Ave., nr. 71st St.; 212-288-1940; anthropologie.com).