All posts in On View
Third Time's the Charm
Third exhibition of the Cruising Pavilion goes institutional in Stockholm
This weekend, the third and final exhibition of Cruising Pavilion: Architecture, Gay Sex and Cruising Culture opened at ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm. The first two exhibitions took place in Venice, Italy (Spazio Punch) and New York City (Ludlow38), examining the emergence and evolution of cruising practices over time. The third iteration centers on the relationship between the architecture of urban spaces and sexuality.
Cruising is defined as the practice by which homosexual men search for sexual experiences and partners in a public space. Traditionally, cruising takes place in quintessentially urban spaces—city parks, public bathrooms, bathhouses, gyms, car parks, sex clubs, and other designated gathering points. More recently, however, the growing popularity of hook-up apps like Grindr, as well as increased pressure from large-scale property development in many cities, have prompted various adaptations among members of the LGBTQ+ community. The curators of the Cruising Pavilion at ArkDes—Pierre-Alexandre Mateos, Rasmus Myrup, Octave Perrault, Charles Teyssou, and James Taylor-Foster—sought to explore these tensions through the work of architects, designers, and artists from around the world.
In a critical acknowledgment of the diversity among those who have historically engaged in cruising, the installation in Stockholm explores it as a pursuit undertaken by groups other than cis-gendered gay men. According to ArkDes, “The exhibition presents cruising as the producer of a non-hetero architecture that closely mirrors the patriarchal nature of the built environment. Cruising is at once revealed as a resistance, and avant-garde and a vernacular, with an active relevance in and beyond LGBTQ+ circles.”
For the display in Stockholm, organizers have incorporated work from a wide variety of designers and firms, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Andrés Jaque's Office for Political Innovation, and S H U I (Jon Wang + Sean Roland). The exhibition is housed in Boxen, a studio gallery for experimental shows that opened at ArkDes in 2018. The Cruising Pavilion will be on display at ArkDes through November 10, 2019.
Stripping the Storefront
Storefront's Ministry for All breaks down Brasilia's socio-political infrastructure
Opening this Saturday, September 21, the showcase won’t look like a typical, polished art installation at Storefront. Instead, construction materials such as insulation foam and plywood boards will line the exterior, while the concrete panels will be rearranged to make new forms within the gallery’s interior. According to Juaçaba and Cidade, “this layered installation extrudes the facade inward and allows visitors to walk through it, providing a different reading of its panels now that they are no longer forming their intended function.” Juaçaba and Cidade’s interventions will serve as a reminder that spaces are often used differently than they were intended for when originally built, solely because their users vary widely and change over time. It’s both a conceptual and poetic critique, according to the curators, on the resilience of architecture and will force the viewer to think deeper on how societies around the world can ultimately build systems that do work for all. Ministry for All will be on view through December 14 and is the second exhibition in Storefront’s year-long program, Building Cycles, which explores the differences between building as a place and as a process.View this post on Instagram
ft. Big Chief Demond Melancon
Here's what to catch at this year's London Design Festival
Pull Up a Chair
R & Company's Chairs Beyond Right & Wrong exhibit surveys fresh interpretations of the typology
MOCA digs up its past in its Foundation exhibition
Smoke and Mirrors
A look at the flimsy architectural stage sets of William Leavitt
Second Time's the Charm
Rejected spotlights denied, trashed, and half-conceived architectural ideas
Humanity… All of my suffering on this world has been at the hands of humanity, particularly women. It has made me realize just how brutal and twisted humanity is as a species. All I ever wanted was to fit in and live a happy life amongst humanity, but I was cast out and rejected, forced to endure an existence of loneliness and insignificance, all because the females of the human species were incapable of seeing the value in me...My life didn’t start out dark and twisted. I started out as a happy and blissful child, living my life to the fullest in a world I thought was good and pure.[vi]Rather than a violent band of murderous incels, Team B is more aligned with the original incels, a benevolent and supportive sexless bunch. [Redacted][vii] Ironically, for Rodger, the incel community also did not start out as a twisted, sick group of internet creeps who threaten violence against people who are sexually active, which they call "Chads and Stacys." [Redacted][viii] The incel group was founded in 1993 by a Canadian student named Alana. "Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project" was a sincere community for "anybody of any gender who was lonely, had never had sex or who hadn't had a relationship in a long time." Alana eventually abandoned the project and handed it off to another user, but the group slowly devolved into the radicalized, misogynistic group we know today. Rejection at its best becomes a rallying cry for a group or an ideology. Denise Scott Brown, in the Rejected show, describes how the rejection of three Venturi Scott Brown & Associates' projects was a systematic disavowal of the postmodern architecture style.
We feel that renovation of Franklin Court and the planned renovation of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art exemplify a rejection not only of design but of a whole style. The renovations of these two landmark designs demonstrates a dismissal of the fun and playful spirit of postmodernism in favor of the minimalistic look of contemporary design.[ix]Philip Johnson also used rejection as a positive as he needled the Architectural League of New York, which eventually led to the International Style show at MoMA. According to Robert A.M. Stern,
In 1931 he co-curated (with [Alfred E.] Barr and Julian Levy) the independent show Rejected Architects, which created a public furor and paved the way for the International Style exhibit. It featured work by young architects that didn’t meet the requirements of the conservative Architectural League. The show was staged in a rented storefront and Johnson hired a sandwich-board man to parade in front of the League’s offices with the message “See Really Modern Architecture Rejected by the League.” The League was outraged and tried to have the man arrested, but the attendant front-page publicity insured the show’s success and brought modern architecture to the public’s attention for the first time in the United States.[x]In the Rejected show, there is no stylistic agenda, because architecture today has no singular, dominant ideology. Rather, the exhibition is a performative rejection of the culture of neoliberal psychopolitical acceptance. While some more conventional commercially successful architects actively rejected the invitation to be in the Rejected show, many of the participants proudly flaunt being rejected by the arbiters of institutional taste and the decision-makers of the capitalist development community. Who has the power to accept being a reject? For many of the participants in the show, the academic backdrop allows rejection to be taken as a positive, a wink-and-nod, that it is ok to fail. Outside of the capitalist modes of production, it is a much-needed respite and represents a strong bond between practitioners, if not stylistically, then in a way of operating within a certain lane of the current context. Instead of an architectural act of violence, what we have here is a group therapy session for the happy-go-lucky rejects who take pride in their status as architectural incels. [i] Urban Dictionary. “Reject”. Urbandictonary.com. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=reject (accessed August 5, 2019). [ii] This sentence was rejected for being insulting to the curators. [iii] 2knowmyself. “Does rejection mean you are ugly”. 2knowmyself.com. <https://www.2knowmyself.com/does_rejection_mean_you_are_ugly (accessed August 5, 2019). [iv] Byung-Chul Han. Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power. Brooklyn, NY : Verso, 2017 [v] This sentence was rejected for being too offensive in general. [vi] Elliot Rodger. My Twisted World The Story of Elliot Rodger. <https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1173808-elliot-rodger-manifesto.html> (accessed August 5, 2019). [vii] This sentence was rejected for being too offensive in general. [viii] ibid. [ix] Denise Scott Brown, email message to John Stoughton. July 1, 2019. [x] Robert A.M. Stern. “Philip Cortelyou Johnson (1906-2005).” The Architect’s Newspaper. <https://archpaper.com/2005/02/philip-courtelyou-johnson> (accessed August 5, 2019).