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Ursula: Issue 3

Our third issue of Ursula is full of time capsules that we encourage you to open—on the cover, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a momentous event for human consciousness and for the art world. Don Eyles, the pioneering software engineer who wrote the code that conveyed the lunar module safely to the surface that July day, sits down with Matthew Day Jackson, an old friend, to ponder the more transcendent aspects of an achievement the world has not duplicated since the Nixon administration.

We mark the centenary of another pivotal moment, the founding of the Bauhaus, taking you back to Dessau and Swiss design pioneer Max Bill’s early days as an expressionist painter. And we plunge into the history of the all-but-forgotten experimental New York art space 84 West Broadway, whose brief run involved insurgents like Daniel Buren, Louise Lawler, Dan Graham, Lawrence Weiner and Peter Nadin. Finally, on our parting page, we mark the 50th anniversary of Danny Lyon’s classic critique of New York’s equivocal relationship with its past, The Destruction of Lower Manhattan.

Along the way, you’ll be guided by theme music—the critic Ben Ratliff on bebop iconoclast Lennie Tristano; curators Matthew Higgs and Bob Nickas on record collecting; the avant-garde guitarist Rhys Chatham on heavenly harmonics.

As the great British theorist and music writer Mark Fisher once observed: ‘When the present has given up on the future, we must listen for the relics of the future in the unactivated potentials of the past.’ In this new issue, our ears are tuned. Happy reading.

Randy Kennedy
Editor in Chief

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Stories In This Issue

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Design by Function

An oral history of the forgotten art space known as 84 West Broadway, gathering the voices of many who were involved: Peter Nadin, Louise Lawler, Daniel Buren, Sean Scully, Rhys Chatham, Jane Reynolds, Lawrence Weiner and Julie Barnsley.
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Max Bill and the Dessau Bauhaus

A portfolio marking the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus, another revolution in thought and aesthetics, that takes you back to Dessau, the school’s second and best-known home, to follow Swiss design pioneer Max Bill and his little-known early days as an expressionist painter.
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With Matthew Higgs in the Record Store

Matthew Higgs, curator, artist and publisher, has built a reverent following over the past 15 years as the director of New York nonprofit White Columns. He is less known as an inveterate collector, primarily of records, which he has pursued from an early age. Bob Nickas explores Higgs’ personal art of collecting, and the ways in which ‘a personal world can connect up to the whole universe.’
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Anj Smith and Fornasetti: A wunderkammer collaboration
By Mayer Rus

Italian maestros Piero Fornasetti and Gio Ponti cultivated one of the most fertile and intriguing design collaborations of the 20th century. In a dramatic reimagining of this quintessentially Italian partnership, British artist Anj Smith joined with Barnaba Fornasetti, Piero’s son and artistic heir, to add her voice to the dialogue.
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The Period Eye: A passion play
By Alison Gingeras

From her upbringing in a working-class Irish Catholic family, through her devotion to classic theological art history, American curator and writer Alison Gingeras ruminates on her life-long personal experiences with Catholicism and visual catharsis in this three-part essay.
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