Not in the AIA Guide
The latest issue of the AIA Guide to New York City is out. As expected, it contains all the old favorites. But the recent work of one quasi-architect, this weekend's darling of the movers and shakers (not the Shakers), is not to be found in this "Classic Guide to New York's Architecture."
The artiste, Leonard Reklame ("Rek") Kaufmann, variously known to the architectonic cognoscenti as the Frank Lloyd Wright of Gotham, le nouveau Basquiat of Trendy Towers, and the inspiration for the Star Trek (original series) episode, "The Trouble with Tribbles," is particularly renowned in one circle for his daring use of unconventional construction materials, often in the teeth of vigorous criticism - sometimes legal action - by city planners, public health officials, structural engineers (whom Rek is fond of referring to as "mere engineers" or "buzzkills"), and, in at least one instance, prosecutors. His latest phenomenon cabins a residential space in the daringly imagined guise of a large appliance carton, the effect trumpeted by bold emblazoning of its faux faun exterior with huge bar code labels, corporate logos, and bright red tape bearing a lone word in noirish Bauhaus 93 font: SOLD. Adding to the boundary-busting elan of the work, Kaufmann employs a minimum of load-bearing elements, and those he does incorporate are fabricated from recycled dental floss and Sunday coupon flyers hand-woven by his grandmother's quilting bee and contract Native American craftspersons.
This post-post-postmodern sensation - hailed in a multimedia blitz comprising equal shares of breathless wonderment, fulsome fawning, and dyspeptic tut-tutting as Rek's greatest work yet- is already creating an Ambien-fueled buzz on the entire city block bounded by Franklin, Hudson, Harrison and Greenwich Streets. The lone reviewer to date has none too originally, and unfazed by concerns of intellectual property protection, dubbed this latest creation "Foulingwater." (Using another screen name she set up using her former roommate's Wi-Fi, the same reviewer praised the appellation as "stirringly bold," "an act of empowerment for women and other non-males," and "totes rad." Fortunately, this flummery was captured by despamming software, and has been lumped together with the "personal" appeals one gets from that Nigerian bank representative who wants to make sure you get your lottery winnings.)
Situated on the east side of West Broadway, hard along the route of the No. 1 train and just north of Reade Street (famed for Aeolian currents that waft some of the aroma of ordure from the location, leaving just a hint of fragrance which many mistake for Brad Pitt on a hot summer day), the open-floor plan delivery container of a Coldtech three-door, 72 cubic foot commercial refrigerator is cantilevered over the curb where it incorporates the flange of the sewer grating, so that on rainy days the occupants are sensorily transported by the emotionally cathartic lullaby of rushing waters to a meditative awareness as rewarding as a National Geographic special on the Amazonian rain forest - insects included.
Structurally, the residence is anchored by several gallon-size mayonnaise jars, cursorily rinsed out and re-filled with the urine of the owner and selected guests, which are positioned at the opposite end from the street entrance, directly over the subway grate. This innovative use of technology-created geothermal currents harvests the maximal green value on cold winter days when the contrast between the frosty air and the much warmer effluvium radiating from the grate, with essences of the multitude of undiscriminatingly equal life forms below, catalyzes a not-fully-understood reaction in the excretory counterweights, turning them into spiritually uplifting light sources, wellsprings of consciousness-expanding energy, and immeasurably efficient space heaters.
Other noteworthy elements of Rek's soaring conceptual triumph would be beggared by their reduction to mere symbols on a printed page or smart phone screen. They disdain representational iteration in the cryptic mimicry of language. They demand instead to be experienced, felt, suffered, ingested, absorbed - for the price of admission, of course.
So dig deep, be swept up by a lilliputian ripple that not even Mnemosyne will remember, and be prepared to stare at your next bank statement in abject horror. But hie thee, culture consumer, hie thee with the greatest haste, because the Department of Sanitation strike could end any day - and when it does, so ends this once-in-a-weekend opportunity.
Art uber alles.