Studio Life: Modernists in Squares by Tavener and Weber – review

Two young, multi-disciplinary, and well-known artists are renovating a 19th-century West Village tenement into a salon where, they hope, they can have the kind of conversation with each other that is almost impossible when…

Studio Life: Modernists in Squares by Tavener and Weber – review

Two young, multi-disciplinary, and well-known artists are renovating a 19th-century West Village tenement into a salon where, they hope, they can have the kind of conversation with each other that is almost impossible when they live in complete, solitary enclaves. Todd Meurer writes, illustrates and produces corporate and television advertisements. Phil Weber, trained as a painter, composes and paints semi-abstract, quiet, primitivist, minimal images that had no place among everything else that was going on in modern New York.

Meurer and Weber have spent the last few years living or working in their own glamorous silos in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It is in combination, perhaps, that they must seek inspiration as they enter their new home to write a forthcoming volume about the public vision of modern art from the 1920s to the 1960s, produced in part as The Home Stages of Modernism: Exhibition, Embellishment, Fiction. It was conceived while they were both working for Man Ray, and they hope to discuss the inspiration of his pioneering book Exploring New York, made in partnership with one of the most important minds in the history of conceptual art.

The week this pair moved into the house, the Norwegian architect Geir Lippestad won the Stirling prize with his icon of a building: a house with a small living room for its inhabitants, whose “real” social life is in the spacious, tranquil grounds surrounding the house.

In their black-and-white photo, the poet Don Paterson tells his fellow bluecoat: “During much of the last few years I have been living in galleries, and more and more galleries. I’ve been living in a giant glass-dome restaurant. And I’ve been a gallery owner. But this is home.”

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