You may have noticed that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City contains strange rooms. They are tucked away in the European Interiors section or back in the American Wing. These rooms do not display simply art or artifacts; they display other rooms. Or you could say that the rooms themselves are the display. In the American wing, you can see the interior of an old colonial house, or something tasteful from the  Edwardian era. There is an entire living room designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, originally part of the Little House in Wayzata, Minnesota. In the European section of the museum, the interiors give you a glimpse of palace life in the 17th century and the salons of the 18th century.

Still, Obama is not George Bush on a practical as well as a policy level, and he spends a lot of time in the Oval Office. Given that he is prone to more substantive talk than his predecessor, things like couches and chairs seem important accessories. The taupes and beiges of the new décor, moreover, are in keeping with his style: Let all those commentators asking for more passion look at the room and acknowledge that the man doesn’t work in primary colors; he likes the muted and the neutral. It’s who he is.

Obama also has young children, not to mention a puppy. You’ll say that the Oval Office ought to be off limits to children and animals, but the barn door was opened ever since the world saw the photo of John-John under the Oval Office desk — a tradition, I might add, that continued with the entertainment… More…

 

 

Let’s get one thing straight: The International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which just finished its run at the Javitz Center in New York City, is nothing like the Philadelphia Home Show I wrote about earlier. For one thing, it’s not in Philadelphia, and for another, it’s not about the home, at least no home that I know.  Instead, it’s about furniture in the Platonic sense. Take a piece of furniture out of the context of all restrictive impediments, forget even about the fact that it’s supposed to be used, and you’ve got an ICFF piece of furniture.

Who are the furniture philosophers? Clipped-haired men in cinched jackets and Philip Johnson spectacles, and hollow-cheeked women in linen shifts with a resemblance to Cruella de Vil. These are the people with the creativity and chutzpah to produce asymmetric… More…