Today the Graham Foundation revealed the winners of its 2018 grants to individuals. The Chicago organization is disbursing more than half a million dollars to 74 artists, architects, and academics the world over who are working on books, exhibitions, and artistic endeavors that investigate spaces and environments, real or imagined.
Per the Foundation’s mission to develop ideas around architecture, many of the winners will use their grants on projects that straddle disciplinary boundaries between architecture, art, and history. Although the depth and reach of each of the 74 selected projects is too rich to cover in one post, The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) did its very best to survey this year’s winners and pull out an interesting (but by no means comprehensive) assortment of proposals from architects, historians and critics of the built environment.
Of these, at least five architects won grants to further their practices. Zeina Koreitem and John May, co-principals of MILLIØNS, the Los Angeles–based experimental architecture firm, got a grant for an exhibition on their speculative projects at the A+D Museum. On the other side of the country, Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS are publishing an “anti-monograph” on their firm. (Philippe Rahm, though, is taking the traditional path with a book on his own practice.)
Many will bridge art and architecture to bring performances and exhibitions to the public. In collaboration with Norman Kelley, artist Brendan Fernandes is creating a performance series and installation on Madlener House, the Prairie Style mansion that the Graham Foundation calls home. Both Fernandes and Mark Wasiuta, co-director of Columbia GSAPP’s CCCP program, are two of this year’s four Graham Foundation Fellows, which means that, in addition to their projects, they will be mounting exhibitions of their work at the foundation’s Chicago headquarters.
More than a few grantees are focused on the Bauhaus. Grantees Alysa Nahmias, Petter Ringbom, Marquise Stillwell, and Erin Wright are producing a documentary on Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, the Hungarian painter and photographer. Karen Koehler is writing a book on Walter Gropius, while Ben Thorp Brown is producing Gropius Memory Palace, a film set in the architect’s Fagus Factory (full disclosure: Karen was this author’s college advisor). Ines Weizman, professor of architecture theory at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, is collecting case studies on the Bauhaus, a movement whose history she calls an “entangled problem.”
Other projects span terra firma—and outer space. Performance artists Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly of Gerard & Kelly are making a film centered on Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 in southern France to investigate queer and feminist space in modern architecture. Fred Scharmen, an assistant professor of architecture at Morgan State University and AN contributor, is using his Graham money to author a book on a massive space settlement design initiative spearheaded by NASA in the 1970s.
While many of the proposals engage well-known practitioners, other grantees are studying architects that are not well known. Christopher Domin and Kathryn McGuire are writing a book on influential Arizona architect Judith Chafee, Joseph Litchfield Conteh is researching a book on Nigerian artist and architect Demas Nwoko, and Vikramaditya Prakash is writing a biography of the Indian modernist Aditya Prakash. Curator Carl-Dag Lige, meanwhile, is exploring the life and work of Estonian precast concrete expert August Komendant, an engineer and architect who worked with Louis Kahn on the Salk Institute and Moshe Safdie on Habitat 67.