Ray Eames: In the Spotlight Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery Art Center College of Design, Hillside Campus 1400 Lida Street, Pasadena Through May 4 Ray Eames: In the Spotlight features; letters, sketches, notes, photographs, paintings, films, process drawings, furniture, and collections that follow the great American designer’s interests and interactions with key places, people and institutions. Taken altogether, the presentation is an intimate study of Ray Eames’ world and seeks to get to the heart of her intensive hands-on creative process and the “way-it-should be-ness” that defined how Ray and Charles Eames lived and worked. In the Spotlight allows visitors to make their own connections to this great body of work, to explore their own creativity, and to apply Eames’ tools to their own lives.
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Doug Wheeler David Zwirner Gallery 537 West 20th Street, New York Entry limited to 6 people at a time Reservations to view the exhibition are available, 212-517-8677 Through April 5, 2014 When you enter the immersive Doug Wheeler installation at David Zwirner Gallery, it’s like daybreak. A domed space with a flat apex meets the horizon with a hidden line of LEDs that shed light in a gradual, two-minute cycle in what the artist calls a “rotational horizon work.” The effect is like looking into a clear blue sky, that on closer inspection has subtle gradations that change as the earth revolves. The floor is the same color and is coped so you are slightly off balance as you advance and retreat towards this unreachable horizon. The acoustical possibilities are as tantalizing as the visual. If you stand at the epicenter, the acoustics are as soaring as a cathedral. We clapped hands, rubbed fabric, and using an iPhone, played music and noodled on an app synthesizer. Placing the phone on the floor or waving the device around made for a delightful experiment. One of the pioneers of the “Light and Space” movement in Southern California in the 1960s and 70s along with James Turrell and Robert Irwin, Wheeler originally devised this piece for Leo Castelli’s gallery in 1971 but it was never built. The title deconstructs the work’s history: LC 71 NY DZ 13 DW, or Leo Castelli 1971 New York David Zwirner 2013 Doug Wheeler.
Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print Princeton University Art Museum McCormick Hall, Princeton, NJ Through June 8 Edvard Munch is best known for his 1893 painting The Scream. Like the majority of his work, this piece deals with psychological themes that were mainstays of late nineteenth century symbolist art, which greatly influenced German Expressionism. The symbols that Munch used contain universal meanings, but also meanings specific to his life. It is frequently forgotten that Edvard Munch was also one of the most skilled printmakers of his era. Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print: Masterworks from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, showcases twenty six of Munch’s most poignant prints drawn from MOMA’s collection of lithographs and illustrated books. Munch used printmaking to refine complicated imagery and symbols that continue to speak to bedrock human concerns. Edvard Munch’s works echo his personal philosophy. He “[did] not believe in the art which is not the compulsive result of Man’s urge to open his heart.”
On the Thresholds of Space-Making Sam Fox School, Washington University One Brookings Drive St. Louis, Missouri Through April 20 The work of Shinohara Kazuo (1925–2006), one of Japan’s most influential architects of the postwar generation, is surveyed in On the Thresholds of Space-Making. Shinohara gained popularity as an architect with his series of sublime purist houses designed over a thirty-year period that went through the 1980s. Shinohara scrutinized and reframed fundamental architectural conventions, such as public/private, body/space, and openness/enclosure. This exhibition contains original drawings and sketches that have rarely been seen outside of Japan. These drawings are enhanced by photographs of finished works and scaled models of imagined architecture. A featured work is Shinohara’s House in White (1964–66), in which he rearranges a familiar design palette—a square plan, a pointed roof, white walls, and a symbolic pillar—to give the main room almost oceanic spaciousness. His work has a poetic quality that combines simplicity and surprise. Also showcased in the exhibition is the enduring legacy of Shinohara’s work through projects by younger Japanese architects whom he influenced, including Toyo Ito (b. 1941); Ryue Nishizawa (b. 1966) of the firm SANAA; and Jun’ya Ishigami (b. 1974).
Chromatic Patterns Graham Foundation 4 West Burton Place Chicago, IL Through April 5 Judy Ledgerwood’s Chromatic Patterns is a site-specific work that transforms the lower galleries of the Graham Foundation’s historic Madlener House in Chicago. The house was designed by Richard E. Schmidt and Hugh M. G. Garden and built in 1901–02. Judy Ledgerwood is a Chicago-based painter and educator. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, a Tiffany Award in the Visual Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, and an Illinois Art Council Award. This exhibition surrounds the visitor in vibrant colors with a vibrant floral motif that almost mimics the house’s prairie style ornamentation. This installation examines the effect of paint on architecture, specifically the wall covering’s ability to produce new effects and feelings about a space. In this work, Ledgerwood uses ornamentation to change visitors’ perception of the ornamentation in the Madlener House’s lower galleries, highlighting the divergent ways that pattern, color, ornamentation, and surface have been coded, gendered, repressed, and embraced in art and architecture.
Elizabeth Duffy & Cheryl Yun: Apartment 2B dm contemporary NYC 39 East 29th Street, 2nd Floor New York Ended March 15, 2014 On the 2nd floor of a luxury 34-story highrise between Madison & Park avenues designed by architect H. Thomas O’Hara is a gallery called dm contemporary NYC. Although the gallery is located in an apartment, it is usually a white-walled exhibition space without the trappings of a domicile, save for the kitchen island. Artists Elizabeth Duffy and Cheryl Yun decided to transform the space back into a domestic environment with a twist for her recent exhibition Apartment 2B. The patterns found on the walls, floors, furniture, fabrics and artifacts are those found on the inside of security envelopes used to mail bills transforming all the surfaces on furnishing she has chosen in this “staged” apartment. Duffy scans, prints, and embroiders these patterns—she wears hand-made silk clothing sporting these motifs—and even laser etched the black leather cushions. The furniture ranges from a Castiglioni Arco floor lamp to a modernist tubular steel leather sofa that reinforces this sophisticated urban lifestyle. Note amusing touches like the decorated sleep mask and patterns on a bar of soap in the bathroom.
FOCUS: Fred Tomaselli Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth Through March 23, 2014 FOCUS: Fred Tomaselli highlights works created by the artist in the past ten years, including his New York Times collages. Tomaselli is known for his work on wood panels where he combines unorthodox materials that are suspended in a thick layer of clear, epoxy resin. The materials used in these pieces range from field guides to marijuana leaves. In Tomaselli’s hands, they form a hybrid of subjects and cultural references. The artist tries to represent the transcendental and utopian capabilities available within art. His work comments on suburbia in the 1960s and 70s and the quest for escapism. The images that are depicted relate to his California upbringing during those decades. Of his work, Tomaselli said, “It is my ultimate aim to seduce and transport the viewer into the space of these pictures while simultaneously revealing the mechanics of that seduction.”
The upcoming 2014 Venice architecture biennale, Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014, will question the notion of national identity in architecture and investigate the degree to which national styles have been "sacrificed to modernity." To the credit of the Venice curators, they asked national pavilions to investigate ways in which this "seemingly universal architectural language… in significant encounters between cultures... can find hidden ways of remaining 'national?'" Clearly the internationalization—and some would say flattening—of culture is one of the more complicated forces in contemporary culture. It will be interesting to see how the various pavilions in the Venice giardini answer or grapple with this problem. Of course, architectural theorists (Kenneth Frampton, Alexander Tzonis, and Liane Lefaivre, etc.) have long seen the problems and potential of the national or local and the modern, but a new exhibition has just come to our attention that grapples with this problem in a direct and completing way. The exhibit Samskara at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi is a project created by the Be Open Foundation and the Indian architect Anupama Kundoo, whose two-year research initiative Made in...India investigates craft in the modern world. The exhibit, like Kundoo's practice, claims to be driven forward by the past and creates an exhibit space that is a "reflection of the potential for heritage skills not to be swept away by technology and business, but to move forward, hand-in-hand with them, and shape the future." Kundoo points to the inclusion in Samskara of an exhibition plinth created by a community of granite stone-chippers in Tamil Nade. These artisans "originally produced the grinding stones found in every Indian household for grinding fresh masalas—another endangered product in an urbanising India," but today electric grinders are increasingly replacing them. Kindoo's designed stone plinths are created by the workers "tirelessly chipping away at hard slabs of local grey white granite, in order to achieve a very specific effect, which would be impossible to achieve by a machine." This technique naturally creates distinct textured surfaces, quite the opposite of the shiny, reflecting granite surfaces that machines deliver. It is such a beautiful convincing display of a modern idea that drives the traditional and hand-made forward.
This month, artist Jim Campbell will be taking over New York City. First, an exhibition of new works by Campbell will be on view at the at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in Chelsea from March 7–April 19, 2014. Titled New Work, the show will focus on Campbell's latest series of sculptural light installations. The exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery coincides with another expansive New York exhibition of Campbell’s work at the Museum of the Moving Image. That exhibition, Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception, will be on view from March 21 through June 15, 2014. In addition, the Joyce Theater will present Constellation, a collaboration between Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Campbell, from March 18–23, 2014. The performance will feature an installation comprised of 1,000 light spheres programmed in synchronized interplay with the dancers. Jim Campbell began his career as a filmmaker before switching to interactive video installations in the mid-1980s. He uses LED technology to create an illuminated sculptural environment to record the presence of time in relation to light space and the human condition. The viewer’s perception is constantly shifting through pieces that create acts of observation, reflection, and engagement in an all-encompassing pictorial realm, Campbell deconstructs these grand optical illusions by revealing the mechanisms at play.
CATALIN The Contemporary Austin 700 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas Through April 20th Charles Long’s latest exhibition CATALIN—aptly named after a toxic plastic material fabricated in the 1930s—uses a multi-media approach to simulate a feeling of impending doom. In this Gesamtkunstwerk, Long combines sculpture, film, music, fragrance, theater, performance, and grand spectacle to create a mystical and magical Wagnerian world. The artist was inspired to create CATALIN by the writings of Timothy Morton, a leading thinker in ecology and philosophy whose canon is focused on the ultimate demise of the environment and art’s reaction to this loss. During the exhibition’s run, Long will interact with local organizations and artists while engaging the Jones Center’s second floor space for films, lectures, theater, and community events. To complement the exhibition in downtown Austin, there will be an outdoor installation of his 2012 work Pet Sounds at Laguna Gloria (3809 West 35th Street). This installation, which takes its name from a 1966 Beach Boys album, contains a multitude of morphed blobs that let out faint murmurs when touched. CATALIN and Pet Sounds walk the thin line between dignity and humor while asking many questions—most of which are left unanswered—concerning the fragility of the human condition.
Isa Genzken: Retrospective Museum of Modern Art New York Through March 10, 2014 In the home stretch before it closes on March 10, Isa Genzken: Retrospective at MoMA shows a sculptor whose work is infused with architecture from her sleek early works of lacquered wood in the engineered Hyperbolos and Ellipsoids series to rougher experiments in plaster, concrete, and steel which resemble architectural maquettes on pedestals including Bank (1985), Rosa Zimmer (Pink Room) (1987), Galerie (1987), Kleiner Pavilion (1989), and Fenster (Window) (1990). The architecture of Berlin and New York inspired some of her most significant work. It tackles subjects like the disposable global culture, the relationship between architecture and site, form and space. Fuck the Bauhaus, New Buildings for New York (2000), New Buildings for Berlin (2004), and Der Amerikanische Raum (The American Room) (2004) are the result: colorful, energetic, and made of many found and industrial materials. Genzken has lived in New York and was there on 9/11, which prompted a series of installations, Ground Zero (2008), and a play called Empire/Vampire (2003) with two protagonists, the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (video and sculptural set designs). On a more personal note, she has made architectural personification of artist friends including Dan Graham and Wolfgang Tilmans, titled by their first names: Andy, Isa, Dan, Wolfgang, Kai. Catch it.
Traverse A.I.R. Gallery Brooklyn, New York Through March 2, 2014 Traverse is an exhibition of new works by Melissa Murray and Erica Stoller at A.I.R Gallery in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood. Murray’s work focuses on pausing her daily life to examine personalized images that are swiftly tucked away in her subconscious. Stoller makes wall related sculptures that relate to the plane of the wall and garners meaning from the surrounding area. Murray and Stoller frequently exhibit together. The biggest shared element in both artist’s works—the line—represents aggression and physical restraint. The environments created in the artists' work relate and transcend their varied media. Stoller’s newest works mark her transition from two to three dimensional works. Stoller’s compositions in Traverse are made from converting unconventional materials including foam insulation, PVC conduit, plastic fencing, and swimming noodles into visual art. Murray creates large two dimensional works that strive to freeze an active moment of thought. She uses a stream of consciousness process to present an honest work where each piece is collection of coded memories. The works in this exhibition contrast each other to create a thoughtful conversation on the line. This exhibition is accompanied by a soundscape of ambient noise created by Impala Static.