HERZBLUT XXX....O (Herzblut: in German means passion, heart blood, lifeblood)
OPENING RECEPTION: 12 February 2015
ARTIST • POET • ARCHITECT • DESIGNER
The Hilton Asmus exhibition is a curated collection of two- and three-dimensional artwork and jewelry inspired by forty years of musing on the contemporary American culture of romance …
From Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" to Thoreau, vast irrational buildings of Romantic artist Piranesi to the Mythologies, Jordan Mozer's heart imagery, sculptures, drawings and paintings emerge. Working for Universal Studios in the 1990's, Mozer was asked to design stage sets for a romantic rock opera for Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. The aesthetic research for the Stones was revisited when Mozer was invited to design a nightclub in Hamburg, Germany in the Reperbahn (in St. Pauli) Hamburg's Red Light District called HERZBLUT...
Stanley Tigerman called him “a Renaissance man.”
Justin Henderson described him as “visionary, idiosyncratic and utterly original”, “a poet, an artist and a maker of magic” and “a springboard into the realm of architecture as art.”
Sleeper Magazine referred to him as “one of the hotel industry’s most innovative and provocative designers.”
Bob Puccini said Jordan is “the thinking man’s designer.”
In Crain’s Chicago Business, Barbara Bucholtz dubbed him “Chicago’s other Jordan.”
Jordan Mozer is the founder, co-owner and principal of Jordan Mozer & Associates, Limited (JMA). Prior to earning a degree in architecture, Jordan studied painting, sculpture, english literature, fashion design and product design, all of which inform his work on a daily basis.
Since founding JMA in 1984, Jordan and his namesake firm have built an international reputation for consistently original, successful and newsworthy designs for clients as varied as Disney, Marriott, Volkswagen, Universal Studios, Asprey & Garrard, Steve Wynn, Lettuce Entertain You, Barney’s New York and The Rolling Stones (to name just a few). For more than twenty five years, his work has been included in books, magazines, newspapers, internet articles, museum and gallery exhibitions and both public and private collections.
Jordan has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois Chicago and the University of Illinois Champaign, sat on numerous design juries and panels and continues to guest teach, and to lecture extensively throughout the United States and in Europe.
When I was 15, a Chicago kid, our family went to Asia for business and leisure. The cultural shift overwhelmed me. I felt big and pink and sweaty, suffering from jet lag and cultural vertigo, the undecipherable text and antiquity amplified by anxieties about restaurant etiquette and the unfamiliar ingredients in the dishes. Our fashionably colorful clothing felt cartoonish, as locals turned in their seats to stare unabashed as we fumbled with chopsticks.
In the midst of this awkwardness one thing calmed me. The Taiji (the yin yang symbol). Familiar and friendly, it felt soft, dynamic, like something from Fantasia.
A few months after we returned my father passed. The shock was isolating. I tried to make sense of it drawing and sculpting and mulling over Jung’s collective consciousness. I thought, ”What would jazz look like?” and
“Why are my dreams like Borges’ stories? Is the Ramayana an Odyssey?” Wondering over the philosophies of Lao Tsu and Dr. Seuss I found that Tai Chi was good for my Frisbee throw.
I wondered what Taiji would look like in three dimensions, animated.
I read and wrote stories at UWMadison, sculpted and painted at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, apprenticed to sculptor and jazzman Bud Furch. Throughout these efforts our conversations focused on the feelings associated with the work. After completing degrees in industrial design and architecture I realized we never discussed the emotions evoked by buildings and functional objects.
I formed a design firm with two classmates, and then went off on my own.
Mariko, a samurai choreographer in Kyoto, introduced me to the notion that nature is sacred; in Kathmandu ancient erotic temple carvings suggested that lovemaking can be a spiritual pursuit, both compelled artistic research …
It took about six years to wrangle the disciplines of storytelling, art, industrial design and architecture into walk-in artworks; gesamprkunstwerks.
1989 -1991 GEORGE LUCAS AND THE CYPRESS CLUB: AMERICAN STUDIES
In 1990 my dog died,
my girlfriend and landlord both said “bye”
and Georgetti’s Gene said, “live in the firehouse”,
So I got a pig, not a Pinscher
and met Karen
Who signed her hugs and kisses XOXO
Working back and forth in San Fran with George Lucas
Charlie Trotter said,
“Meet John Cunin”
“Let’s built a New American Brasserie
Down the Street from Citylights Beat Bookstore,
nestled among forties taverns.
Serving local organic food. Seasonal,
riffed together USA-style
with Chinese, Indian, Latino and French techniques.
Served with local wine.
New American food, irreverent, hybrid…
But what is American design?
Not imported Bauhaus,
It’s the fat happy lovechild of the tavern next-door and a ‘48 Hudson
Kerouac at the wheel going 90
(Cassidy haggling to stop for jazz or apple pie)
& named Cypress Club for a Bogart-movie nightclub
Screenplay by Faulkner
Dime store detective story by Chandler
Pudgy, like that Hudson and the pig and a Thomas Hart Benton mural,
With lamps like breasts,
Our first sustenance…
Built fat when materials were flat
Every component from scratch
like small-batch American bourbon
In ’89 I worked with George Lucas in San Francisco, constantly to-ing and fro-ing. Charlie Trotter said, “meet Cunin, he wants to open a New American brasserie riffing on San Fran dishes composed of regional and seasonal California food and served with California wine. The success of the Cypress Club brought us commissions in Japan and Germany and Hollywood…
Working out the meaning of ‘American’…
Fusion restaurant inspired by manga and cartoons
Front door equipped with a bronze hand,
demanding that Japanese ‘shake’ to get in
(and a high-five to leave)
In Japan 1,000 years of monoculture,
At once comfortable and restrictive
Contrasting with relentless American hetero-culture
morphing every season
1995-1997 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS AND THE ROLLING STONES
ROMANTIC UNDERPININGS OF HOLLYWOOD AND ROCK AND ROLL
Romantic versus Romance
When we were asked to create venues expressing the “soul” of Universal Studios we looked back to it’s foundation, films like Frankenstein, Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera. These Romantic narratives protested the relentless changes enabled by industrial scientific revolutionaries like Isaac Newton and contrasted an ideal and ordered world of with irrational passions of nature; the great and the good in the symmetrical theater and the phantom in the shadowy bowels of the opera house; the idyllic world of Burgermeister Frankenstein’s home and the Arctic, peopled by monsters; the crisp ordered day versus the night of the seductive Vampyre.
The Romantics celebrated aesthetic by emotional virility, not by efficiency or perfection. Shelly and Thoreau celebrate nature – the Industrial Revolutionaries dominate it. They found artist’s handwork and folktales more compelling than rationalism and the precision of science. They preferred imagination to realism. Distilling this we sculpted vast irrational buildings.
I got through late-night architecture school projects drawing one mark per beat of Stones songs. It was exciting when the Universal projects led to a request to design stage sets and a traveling rock-circus for a new Rolling Stones tour.
To get there, we considered the nighttime wildness of rock and roll…the irrational Romantics again. We imagined a Jagger-esque Romantic rock opera in three acts. First, a breakup—and an empty search through a blue, distorted XXX district, crystalline, alienating and cold. Then a soaring amber lab set second act, with a patched and rusty heart-form furnace vented through an enlarged gramophone horn, a littering incomplete compositions of organs and mechanicals. At the climax the set explodes in pyrotechnics to reveal enormous, fleshy, red pneumatic sculptures, pierced heart-breast forms, corseted and twisted hearts and tattooed buttock forms.
When I finished the presentation Mick asked, “Jordan, what is your home life like?” He wasn’t amused by the Lip-o-potomus portrait I made of him. The Stones Project fueled more investigations into romance versus eroticism, X’s and Hearts…
2003 HERZBLUT IN HAMBURG
Images of hearts and piercings and corsets and tattoos were revisited when we were invited to design Herzblut, a nightclub-restaurant built in Hamburg’s St. Pauli harbor-side red-light district.
Herzblut, which literally translates from German as “heart-blood” but means “passion”, is located on the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli where the Beatles found their beat in the early 1960’s. As Herzblut was sponsored a neighborhood beer with an anchor-pierced heart logo, it seemed consistent to further explore with passionate hearts images in paintings and sculptures.
The success of Herzblut paved the way for the Romantic-irrational East Hotel just a couple of blocks away in Hamburg, a direct descendant of the Universal research.
2008 XOX TIMES (Xs) SQUARE
Asked for a provocative design for the Renaissance Times Square hotel, JMA revisited the blue Rolling Stones rock-opera sets, which had been generated, in part, by Times Square. The “X” images from the rock-opera fit a hotel overlooking the “X” of Times Square, especially considering the XXX signs from the sex shops that once populated the square before Rudy Giuliani.
In Classical times, columns represented men or women. For the Times Square hotel we sculpted voluptuous double-x female chromosome columns, meditating on the emotional flavoring new genetic research has infused in our sense of self and our relationships.
Jordan Mozer is a Chicago artist with degrees in industrial design and architecture. He is the founder of Jordan Mozer and Associates, Limited (JMA), a 30-year firm responsible for richly imagined public art works throughout North America and the Europe taking the form of public sculptures, hotels, entertainment environments, shops, restaurants and the components within them…To infuse projects with consistently idiosyncratic personalities JMA invents and manufactures all of the design components they use in Chicago, employing socially and environmentally sustainable materials and methods.
JMA projects include:
East, a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar in Hamburg Germany, created from the ruins of an old iron foundry, in which almost every architectural component was created using foundry images and techniques to evoke the feeling of a Westerner in Asia for the first time. East has received numerous awards for design and business in the US, England and in Germany.
Bangkok Joe, a Thai restaurant and dumpling bar in Washington D.C.
A shop for Garrard on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills ,California
A memorial sculpture at the Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center in Chicago
Karstadt, a 500,000 square foot prototypical department store near Düsseldorf, Germany, based upon JMA’s work for Disney and Universal Studios, Steve Wynn and the Venetian
A bronze and copper sculpture called ‘Now’s the Time’ at Bellagio Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada exploring synesthesia
Canter’s , a modern deli located at T.I. Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada
Prototypical grocery stores for Marsh based upon an inverting fifty years of programmatic hierarchies to create a customer-centric environment
Wow Bao restaurants for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago
Public spaces for the Renaissance Times Square Hotel, in New York
Gamba Ristorante, a new restaurant building composed of brick and copper centered upon an interior courtyard located just outside Chicago
Copper Bleu, a new copper-clad restaurant building in Minneapolis inspired by the landscape, built with wood and illuminated by 25,000 glowing test tubes.
Shops for Asprey, the Crown Jeweler and luxury goods brand,
on Bond Street in London and on Madison Avenue in New York
Bob San, a pop American-Japanese restaurant, lounge and bar in Chicago’s young Bucktown neighborhood, inspired by creatures celebrated by Jacques Cousteau and dined upon in Japan
Americas, River Oaks
A 9,300 square foot chef-owned restaurant in Houston
And the new Oak + Char at 217 W. Huron in Chicago…
PARTIAL JMA CLIENT LIST
Absolut, Stockholm, Sweden
Apple REIT, Richmond, Virginia – Hotel 57, New York
Asprey, London, England and New York, New York
Barneys New York, New York, New York
Campbell’s Soup, Camden, New Jersey
Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, Calabasas, California
Cirque de Soliel, Montreal, Canada
Cordua Restaurants, Houston, Texas
Design Hotels, Berlin, Germany
East Hotel, Hamburg, Germany
Frank Fleischer Resort Hotels, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Garrard, London, England and Beverly Hills
Gastro Consulting, Hamburg, Germany
General Growth Properties, Chicago, Illinois
Holsten Brewery, Hamburg, Germany
House of Blues Hotels, Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California
H2O+, Chicago, Illinois and New York, New York
Karstadt AG, Essen, Germany
Kimpton Hotels / Kimco, San Francisco, California and Chicago, Illinois
Kreye und Partners, Hamburg, Germany
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago, Illinois
McDonald’s Corporation, Chicago, Illinois
Marsh Grocery Stores, Indianapolis, Indiana
MGM / Mirage Resorts, Las Vegas, Nevada
Beau Rivage, Biloxi, Mississippi
Bellagio Resort Hotel, Las Vegas
Treasure Island, Las Vegas
Moevenpick Restaurants, Zurich, Switzerland
Outer Circle Products, Chicao, Illinois
Pino Luongo Restaurants, New York
Real Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Renaissance Hotels and Bill Marriott, Washington, DC
Sands Hotel/Venetian and Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas, Nevada
Salita Development, Chicago, Illinois
Seaton, Chicago, Illinois
Sendai Aquarium, Sendai, Japan
Skywalker Development and George Lucas, Larkspur, California
Steve Wynn, Bellagio Resort Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
Tamai Restaurants, Matsuyama, Japan
The Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger, London, England
Universal Studios, Hollywood, California
Urayasu Hotel Partners, Tokyo, Japan
Walt Disney Company / Walt Disney Imagineers, Burbank, California
Viacom, Los Angeles, California
Volkswagen, Ag, Wolfsburg, Germany
XS Entertainment / Tokyo, Japan and Orlando, Florida