Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi to be Auctioned at Christie’s

“What is known for certain is that it belonged to King Charles I (1600-1649), where it is recorded in the inventory of the royal collection drawn up a year after his execution.”

Considered the most-important art-find of the last century, Salvator Mundi, will be auctioned at Christie’s this November.  It is only one of twenty to be attributed to the hand of the great master himself.  This is cooler than the Da Vinci Code.

The Mediterranean Sea is really big | Why we are surprised

Wow.  This really caught us flat-footed.  The relative size of the Mediterranean Sea and Baltic Sea when superimposed over a map of North America, placing names over familiar locations, covers nearly the entire continent.  Why did this surprise us?  The answer lies in our subconscious.

Relative size of USA to African Continent

Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator, in 1569, designed maps to assist in navigation for European sailors by enlarging the poles to create straight lines across the oceans.  This dramatically distorts the relative size of the nations and continents as they approach the poles.

Even though we may all know that Greenland and Africa are not the same sizes, the Mercator Projection has created a Euro-centric geographical bias that many argue devalues the third world since we are conditioned to think that bigger is better.

Over the centuries, cartographers have accounted for the Mercator distortion but it is still used to teach geography across the world and it is also the standard for all web-based mapping apps including Google, Bing, and MapQuest.

You can check out the real sizes of our things here.


AD has chosen Buffalo’s Lower West Side’s PS198 as the most beautiful High School in NYS – The Plane was inspired

Paper Airplane

When I saw that Architectural Digest was doing a piece entitled “The Most Beautiful Public High School in Every State in America”, I was anxious to see if it would be one with which I am familiar.  Buffalo is internationally renowned for its 19th and 20th Century architecture but I didn’t have any expectations of seeing a Buffalo school chosen, so this came as a pleasant surprise for a few reasons.

First, when I think of Buffalo’s treasures, public high schools don’t jump out me.When I think of the wonderful architecture we have in Buffalo, I can visualize the H.H. Richardson complex with its soaring Romanesque spires, the sprawling green spaces of Olmstead’s parks system.  I can see the view from the top of the city’s art deco centerpiece, City Hall.  While living downtown, I would loiter in Sullivan’s Guaranty Building and Burnham’s Ellicott Square and try to act nonchalant while photographing the country’s earliest “skyscrapers”, built in the time when America was deciding what it was going to be; how it would look.

While FLW’s Buffalo body of work garners the majority of the attention, the 1895 Guaranty Building built by Adler and Sullivan is a better-kept secret. Considered one of the first skyscrapers, every inch of the building is adorned with elaborate filigree, carved terra cotta blocks, and art glass amaze mask what was sophisticated construction for its time.

Continue reading AD has chosen Buffalo’s Lower West Side’s PS198 as the most beautiful High School in NYS – The Plane was inspired

Grain Elevators: Lights are alright, Zeitz is better

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town, designed by Thomas Heatherwick will open to the public next week.  The structure served the better part of a century as both a grain elevator and Africa’s tallest building upriver of the pyramids and it has been reincarnated as the first major contemporary art museum in Africa dedicated to African art.

While cities like Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo struggle to figure out what to do with these massive and obsolete buildings, Heatherwick has architected a beautiful and environmentally conscious option (aside from a rock wall or a light show).


Charlie Hankin is doing it right

Paper Airplane

Charlie Hankin is renaissance man: artist, comedic writer, animator, painter,  who knows how to lay down the funny.  As evidenced in his New Yorker cartoons, which are arguably some of the best they have ever printed.  Check out his work.

What do James Van Allen, Fidel Castro, Liz Taylor and Ted Williams all have in common? Besides …

Besides the obvious?  The American space scientist and discoverer of the Earth’s magnetosphere, the Cuban revolutionary come communist dictator, the legendary movie Star often called the most beautiful woman to have ever lived and the last man to ever hit .400, World War II hero and frozen-head friend of Futurama, The Splendid Splinter himself, all share a unique and suprising distinction …

… their obituaries were all penned by authors who were dead long before they were.

Stephen Hiltner of The New York Times explains why.



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