Coffee Sketch Podcast

137 - 11/22 - JFK and Dallas' Architectural Fabric

December 03, 2023 Kurt Neiswender/Jamie Crawley Season 5 Episode 137
Coffee Sketch Podcast
137 - 11/22 - JFK and Dallas' Architectural Fabric
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Show Notes Transcript

Episode 137: Reflecting on Dallas Architectural Landmarks and Portraying JFK

Episode 137 of the podcast features a lively conversation between the hosts about the architecture of Dallas, the JFK memorial designed by Philip Johnson, and the importance of November 22nd. They explore various architectural marvels in Dallas and the city's conscious shift towards landmark buildings and urban fabric transformation. The duo also discusses a portrait of JFK, analyzes the technique used, and its significance. Additionally, they share their personal experiences and opinions on coffee from the Coffee Sketch Podcast and discuss their philosophy when shipping merchandise.


00:57 Talking About the Weather
01:04 Coffee Talk
06:36 Discussing the JFK Memorial
10:32 Architecture in Dallas
18:21 Sketching JFK's Portrait
21:17 Wrapping Up the Episode

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Kurt Neiswender:

Hey, Jamie, how's it going?

Jamie Crawley:

Welcome to the show.

Kurt Neiswender:

This is the show. Yes. And,

Jamie Crawley:

episode 137. I thought it was going to be 1. 36 tonight, but I realized Kurt slipped in a special 1. 36 episode so everybody can go back in time and listen to a very creative Green Room outtake, which I think we might have also done again tonight. So there might be an extra 38 episode of some real classic,

Kurt Neiswender:

I mean, it's not very long. It'll wind up being a little short.

Jamie Crawley:

It could be a shorty. Yeah. Short shorts. Like YouTube

Kurt Neiswender:

shorts

Jamie Crawley:

clips. Yeah. I don't, I don't need to see you in short shorts. Yeah.

Kurt Neiswender:

I don't need me either.

Jamie Crawley:

I love you, but that's not gonna, that's

Kurt Neiswender:

that. No, yeah, it's yeah, too cold for that

Jamie Crawley:

and it's cold. Yeah, it's cold

Kurt Neiswender:

too cold. So, um, so, I mean, as a, I mean, as a short episode, then I guess we can briefly talk about coffee. Yes. And then briefly talk about this. Sketches, but so what do you, what do you, what do you got going in the Neil mug?

Jamie Crawley:

Well, I actually, I, I opened up another bag of the good stuff. I went back to the coffee sketch podcast. I, I have another one. I have another one going out in the mail to someone in California. Not that she drinks coffee, but her husband does. So,

Kurt Neiswender:

yeah, I

Jamie Crawley:

got to write a note. Yeah, no, just that's getting that's getting checked off the to do list.

Kurt Neiswender:

Yes. And also we'll leave it alone. Well, we won't name names, but while not a coffee drinker. A mug user. So a mug will

Jamie Crawley:

be a user. Yes.

Kurt Neiswender:

And that's my job. The shipping,

Jamie Crawley:

shipping of the merch. Yeah. And I will also say quite the AI president elect.

Kurt Neiswender:

Oh yeah. Well, we're not

Jamie Crawley:

naming names. Not naming names.

Kurt Neiswender:

No, but I mean, we're, we're happy and excited for that. Yes.

Jamie Crawley:

And the, the so what do you, what do you have in your

Kurt Neiswender:

mug? Well, you know, I think I had some before, so I finished. The bag of coffee sketch coffee, I should put up the I swear I have a link for that,

Jamie Crawley:

you know, and, you know, like rootless rootless was doing some deals for cyber Monday and stuff.

Kurt Neiswender:

Yeah, yeah, they were, yeah, they were like, guess, guess how many coffee pots can fit in this giant box cardboard box. I don't know.

Jamie Crawley:

You follow along. You do follow all their

Kurt Neiswender:

stuff. Okay. I'm a lurker. I'm a social media lurker. Well, you know, they're, they're, they're close to home. The so I finished our, our a bag of that and we use, we, we, we, we order this food from misfits marketplace or misfits, whatever. I don't know what it's called. Misfits. And it's probably just misfits market, I guess anyway. So it's like the ugly fruits and veggies, but they also will deliver coffee, which I think they have a partnership with intelligentsia out of Chicago, which, so I don't really know if it means that like the, the beans are ugly. Or if like, it's just

Jamie Crawley:

where they got dropped on the floor

Kurt Neiswender:

or mix match, you know, I don't know. It's pretty good. You know, I forget the tasting nuts. Yeah, it's pretty good. That's an excited, you know, my voice goes up an octave or two when I'm really, I like a good deal.

Jamie Crawley:

Yeah. Now why I do know you'd like a good deal.

Kurt Neiswender:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Almost free. So there's that. So I'm, I'm working through that.

Jamie Crawley:

Like bruised bananas, you know, beat up peaches, like miscolored apples, cracked cucumber, strange tasting notes for my coffee.

Kurt Neiswender:

It's a good one. It's a chocolatey medium roast of something. No, that's good. I mean, intelligence, you know, it's a pretty

Jamie Crawley:

good, pretty good brand. No, that, that is pretty good. Yep. I agree.

Kurt Neiswender:

So that's, that's, that's my, and I, I did kind of, I have a few bags. You know, in the basement of coffee, sketch coffee. And I, every time I walk past, I, I, I start, you know, ever after going for bag number two, now I'm like looking for bag number three.

Jamie Crawley:

So personally, for those who are only listening to the podcast and not here with us live. I like, I appreciate so much that Kurt is like, I'm like right there with you because you're like, you're using your hands and your eyes and your head motion to describe like your own sense of space. You're like downstairs in the basement and you're like, you're like, you've got the whole motion to it that um, yeah, it's,

Kurt Neiswender:

it's a lost art. Well, you know, it does remind me as I flip on these sketches, it reminds me of when we first started this podcast and did everything 100 percent audio with no video. And and some might argue some of our best

Jamie Crawley:

work.

Kurt Neiswender:

It was pretty good. How many episodes like 80 episodes we did, I think, without video 60 or so. I can't remember now

Jamie Crawley:

a lot more than say, so,

Kurt Neiswender:

yeah, so we but, yeah, now we have visual cues that help it's like a crutch. So, given that we just passed, november 22nd um, Jamie did something, you know, we kind of circled back to some sketches pretty regular, I guess, almost on an annual basis. I suppose. Now, I'm trying to remember on the left is the memorial by Philip Johnson, right? Correct? And then the right is JFK himself. But did I remember we did talk about the JFK memorial before that filled Johnson design. Was that last year? Two years ago. Was it two

Jamie Crawley:

years ago already? Years already.

Kurt Neiswender:

I know. Didn't we talk about that

Jamie Crawley:

particular sketch? Yeah, well, and that's the sketch from two years ago. What?

Kurt Neiswender:

Oh, no, I thought the I thought there was a detail. No. No, we were looking at photos.

Jamie Crawley:

Oh, man. We were looking at photos because we were really kind of digging into, like, all the assembly and the potential assembly of this thing. Right. It, it's, it's It really, truly is an interesting piece by Johnson, and it's, it's relatively close to Dealey Plaza but it's, it's not, it's not immediately at, at the site they are, you know, they are separated by about two and a half, three blocks. It's, you know, and it's, it's a big, it's a, it's a pretty monumental piece and really, you know, it's, it's visible as you're seeing it here in the sketch from the street or the sidewalk. You know, this is sort of that vantage point but then it, it occupies quite a lot of space on the city block as a cenotaph as an empty tomb. And when you, when you get inside it, um, there is sort of a uh, plinth kind of in the, in the center that it's a different material and. Darker and oftentimes when you go in there, you'll find, uh, roses laid or flowers laid on on the surface of it notes, you know, just kind of, um, things that you would kind of associate with you know, a memorial that you can kind of pass by on the street kind of very impromptu, but. When you get inside this sort of empty tomb, it doesn't have a roof on it. Um, the city, the sound of the street really gets completely obscured. aNd so you really feel like as you go through this kind of slippage. Or the slipping space between these two kind of heavy, heavy forms, um, and you get inside, you know, really the sound, all your senses, everything really change, your vantage point changes and really kind of focus on where you are and that you're in this space. And so it was just in, there's a stillness about the sketch, what a cherry be like, and there's a stillness about the, the monument itself. Well,

Kurt Neiswender:

you know, what I'm reminded of, well, a, you know, your description and, and the, the structure of this thing is sort of precast nature, this very concrete planks and things like that. And the, the care in the dimension. Of all the panels, but then I recently was describing a, well, explaining to my students, a project, actually, the Perot. No, was it Perot? Yeah. Perot Museum, the Morphosis building

Jamie Crawley:

and which is about a 10 minute walk

Kurt Neiswender:

from this site. Yeah, and, and then I explained to the students, it's like, you know, there's actually quite a bit of great architecture in Dallas that, like, I haven't been to, I've only flown through the airport. So, you know, I haven't been to Dallas long enough. To to visit some of these things and I said, you know, there's like a bucket list of good architecture all over Dallas with, you know, walking distance and Rex, whichever branch of the office you want to talk about. NOrman Foster, right? This, you know, this Johnsonville, I mean, plenty. And then the, the

Jamie Crawley:

Morphosis project. Legaretta has a museum in, in also within Allied Works um, you know, variety of different, you know, very, very notable firms all kind of at the height of, of some of their really, really great work. And then you have, you know, multiple IM Pei buildings. And, you know, and then you have the, the Nasher Sculpture Garden by Renzo Piano the DMA is the, the Dallas Museum of Art is, is a, has a really great collection to begin with as a museum, you know, start there the building was really starting to get tired. And really needed a refresh and an expansion and sort of reprogramming of it. So they just they just went through a very competitive international architecture search. And, and I can't remember the name of the firm, but. It was, it was also a very public display. Dallas is sort of known for that. In the last 20 years or so, at least with some of these works that we're talking about in architects is that there's a real consciousness about the local architects and patrons of art and architecture to try and include the public in that process. Or at least let them engage with if multiple architects are vying for a Come and do a lecture, you know, come and do some interaction with the public. So the public really gets, you know, you know, as much bang for their buck, so to speak. You know, with with a particular project, even if that architect isn't necessarily selected, um, some of the projects you just were naming John Neuvel, like, was was vying for 1 of those projects. Daniel Leib skin was vying for 1 of those projects. I mean, there's a variety of different other firms. I don't think so. You

Kurt Neiswender:

know, well, Michael, the D, the The D was a DMCA or the DMA, the Dallas museum of art. I think that's the recent shortlist that included

Jamie Crawley:

Michael Maltzman. Yeah. And they didn't get it.

Kurt Neiswender:

Oh, did they select a

Jamie Crawley:

winner? Actually? Yeah, they did select a winner. It was a firm out of Spain that I'm not, not necessarily familiar with. But I really, really liked their, their presentation. And very

Kurt Neiswender:

intriguing. Are they online now, the presentations?

Jamie Crawley:

Yes, we can, we can save that for a new episode. That

Kurt Neiswender:

would be great. Yeah, yeah, that would, that would, actually the shortlist would be fun to talk about. And isn't there Morphosis has more, is the Crow Museum, is that also in town? Or am I thinking of another city? They're building something right now. That I thought was in Dallas, but I could be wrong. I'll have to circle back on that. But anyway, yeah, there's a lot of interesting and, and I mean, yeah, it's like a greatest hits almost like a downtown full of super superstar architect. Projects well, and high profile cultural

Jamie Crawley:

projects to what I've always liked about it is that, you know, even though amidst all these sort of high profile architecture firms, you know, kind of parking really good work in Dallas. It is really good work. Most of it is, is really, really remarkable. Good. You know, it's, it's some of their good stuff in their portfolio. And I think that that part of that is the patronage, you know, for, you know, whatever that's worth. yoU know, Dallas, there is a lot of money. And so I think the patronage and not necessarily sophistication, but I think the, the attention to what Dallas needs in some of these kind of cultural icons is, I think there's a, there's a strong ethic to that. But at the same time, too, the city itself has some really, really interesting urban transformation strategies kind of going on. And I think some of that, you know, relates to this history we're seeing on the screen right here is November 22nd, 1963 um, Dallas, Texas is, you know, one of the, if not one of the biggest turning points in American history. You know, it's, it is a, um, it's a, it's a, you know, for, for whatever your political persuasion, um, it is one of those turning points. Yeah. And I think that for the city of Dallas, it was also an incredibly shameful moment um, that I think really changed its, the, the public perception. Of itself as a city, and I think a lot of things sort of shifted whether completely intentional or not from that point, and you can start to see it in the architecture. You can see it in the urban planning. You know, I mean, there's a Frank Lloyd Frank Lloyd Wright's one of Frank Lloyd Wright's last buildings is in Dallas. It's the Kalita Humphreys Theater that Diller Scafidio was working on a master plan and a preservation rehabilitation strategy for, so And it's currently working on still. I mean, they're, they're trying to fundraise and kind of get some of the funding for um, so there's some, and that building itself is tied to this urban strategy. I'm talking about where the parks in Dallas, the green space and the relationship of the river to the city and how it divided communities, um, initially geographically and, and also with some intentionality, of course, um, is then seen Excellent. In succeeding decades as an opportunity to start to stitch these things back together, um, some more successfully than others, but in the last 10, 15 years that that level of consciousness to some of that has really started to play into how architects are selected, which projects are getting funded, which ones are moving forward. And so I think it's, you know, for for a Texas city to be thinking that way about landmark buildings as well as sort of the urban fabric, um, is is really pretty unique.

Kurt Neiswender:

Yeah. I mean, again, you know, all you're doing right now is making me. More jealous and want to, to visit Dallas sooner. Yeah. This, the buildup of all that and and the cultural assets and things like that. So, so I'm sure someday soon there'll be a good excuse to go to Dallas. I mean, good enough excuse beyond this to tip, tip me over to the, to the, to the big D

Jamie Crawley:

as they say, right? The, the, the, but the second sketch. To, to kind of come full circle to your original question, second sketches is was done on the 22nd of this year. So 1, I've never done before. I don't do a whole lot of. Like famous people portraits. I mean, that's just not sort of my thing. Yes. Yeah, that's true. But This was this particular presidential portrait Even when it was when Jackie Oh Kind of commissioned this work even then it was controversial And because it was so different than traditional presidential portraits um, and, you know, it was, it was all, you know, kind of unveiled, you know, obviously after his death and whatnot, but it's, there's a stoicism about it. There's a reflection. There's a, there's a heaviness to it, you know, both I think emotionally, but also just when you think about his, you know, very short presidency, as well as what that presidency was potentially leading us to. In terms of kind of vision, you know, both, you know, as, as a country and sort of the struggles but also sort of the aspirations. And so I just, I always loved that portrait and it's, if you go on a White House tour, it's, it's so prominently displayed in the White House. Even though some of the portraits do move around but it's yeah, it's just, it's, it's a beautiful painting. And so I was happy to try and try and do my best to sketch it in pencil.

Kurt Neiswender:

Oh, that's great. I mean, I mean, I can see clearly. I mean, I recognize the position, the positioning and the. The posture, the pose, and yeah, it's really nicely done. A lot of nice uh, hatch, you know, hatching technique and rendering. So was this how, how long, I mean, we, we kind of talk about it from time to time, but how long did this one take?

Jamie Crawley:

25 minutes. A little

Kurt Neiswender:

longer. Little longer. You think it's because it was because you don't do portraits

Jamie Crawley:

as much and pressure. Yeah, like, um, you know, a lot more pauses because I mean, a lot of for those who've seen me sketch and you've seen me sketch when I do my fast stuff that, you know, the pen or the pencil rarely comes off the page.

Kurt Neiswender:

Right. Yeah. You don't, once you start, it's not really. Yeah. It's until

Jamie Crawley:

you're done. Yeah. And I mean, I'll talk when I'm drawing, but I don't, I don't pause. Don't think about it. This one. I this one. I gave myself some moments of reflection.

Kurt Neiswender:

Oh, it's really nice. Nicely done. It's fun to not skip over this for the, the, the memorial, I guess, you know, sort of The, the date, you know, since we just passed the date, you know, wrapped right around the holiday of Thanksgiving. So it's been kind of a quick week, I suppose, in the, in the sense of holidays, but yeah. So, yeah, even though you, you intended for us to talk about it briefly, but we couldn't, we had to do enough justice to, to talk about both, both sketches and the, the idea of Dallas. So I think, yeah, thanks for, pushing me to go that go that and go in go in that direction. And you know, we'll, post that and then we'll I guess I'll talk

Jamie Crawley:

to you soon. Yeah, and add it to your travel itinerary.

Kurt Neiswender:

Oh, yeah To the list.