Unfrozen Music Santa Monica Main Library Saturday, October 26th, 2013 7:00-9:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA It's that time of year again: time for local architects to put down their laptops and pick up their musical instruments. This Saturday, October 26, Shimahara Illustration will hold its fifth annual Unfrozen Music concert at the Santa Monica Main Library. The concert program includes six short sets performed by Los Angeles architects. AN's West Coast Editor, Sam Lubell, will MC the event. Performers include Alice Kimm (principal of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects and Director of undergraduate programs at USC) on piano, Jonathan Ward (Partner at NBBJ) on acoustic bass, Terence Young (Design Director for Aviation, Transportation, and Retail Entertainment at Gensler) on cello, and many more. The concert series takes its name from a quote by theorist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "I consider architecture to be unfrozen music." This year's event will feature digital animations corresponding to each piece, a new wrinkle that will bring in a visual element; fitting considering who is performing.
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Beyond the Assignment: Defining Photos of Architecture and Design Julius Shulman Institute 7500 Glenoaks Boulevard, Burbank, CA Through November 1 Beyond the Assignment celebrates the work of ten of today’s leading architectural photographers in the United States who draw inspiration from their image-making predecessors, such as Julius Shulman and Ezra Stoller. The exhibition, curated by Bilyana Dimitrova, is being showcased at the Woodbury University Hollywood Gallery, and will be running from October 5 to November 1. Our experience of architecture is so often shaped by the photographers who document it. These photographers move “beyond the assignment,” helping to immortalize and define architecture and the built environment. Beyond the Assignment pays homage to this fact, casting a spotlight on an art form of great power that is too often overlooked. Featured photographers include Peter Aaron, Bilyana Dimitrova, Joe Fletcher, Timothy Hursley, Alan Karchmer, Jon Miller/Hedrich Blessing, Tim Street-Porter, Undine Prohl, Paul Warchol, and Lara Swimmer.
2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street New York 212 941-2001 “Erecting a building is like making a movie….both processes involve blending light and movement into space and time. A model is like a script: at best it’s a promise and at worst it’s a safeguard. And, as with a script, a moment comes when you have to test your model against reality. You must start shooting the film, start erecting the building." —The Interior Passage We can see these starts when the two art forms come together in the 4th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival at the Tribeca Cinemas where 25 films will be screened through October 20. This year, the trend is toward process films that chronicle movements and initiatives (planning, education, preservation), portraits of buildings more than individuals, and Modernism referenced even when it’s not the direct subject. The festival kicks off with The Human Scale (which also opens at the IFC Center on October 18). The film asks, “What is the scale for measuring happiness in a city?” and uses Danish architect and urban design theorist Jahn Gehl’s work concentrating on the pedestrian and cyclist to pose answers. Referencing Corbusier, Gehl said, “If anybody at any time wanted to pay professionals to make a city planning idea which would kill city life It could not have been done better than what the Modernists did.” The film focuses on Copenhagen, New York, Dhaka (the fastest-growing city in the world with 1,000 new residents per day), Christchurch, NZ, Melbourne, and Chonqing, China. “You Measure What You Care About” shows how data sets of people’s behavior led to pedestrianizing central Copenhagen. Similarly, Jeanette Sadik-Khan, NYC Commissioner of Transportation, looked at how 90 percent of Times Square real estate was allotted to cars, which only accounted for ten percent of use. This statistic was flipped to give over 90 percent to people in plazas, bike lanes, and Bikeshare stations. Another side of the Bloomberg administration’s legacy can be seen in My Brooklyn, which could almost be an ad for Bill deBlasio’s “Tale of Two Cities” New York. Examining gentrification vs. diversification, the film zones in on downtown Brooklyn and the redevelopment of the Fulton Street Mall which was the third-most-profitable shopping area in the five boroughs (behind Fifth and Madison avenues). With rezoning, this vibrant retail area that catered to African-American and Caribbean populations, has been transformed into a luxury, high-rise residential area despite the promises of local developers. The real estate feeding frenzy and deal making is examined in the vein of another recent film, Gut Renovation, also from the personal point of view of a displaced white female Brooklyn resident. Frustration with the corporate world and abundant idealism led two architects, Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, to start Studio H: a design/build high school curriculum with the mantra “Design, Build, Transform” heard in If You Build It. Their approach is a practicum in design thinking, and they were invited to teach a class in rural North Carolina by a forward-thinking superintendent who was soon dismissed. (They agreed to stay on without salary.) The students learn basic tools to visualize their ideas—drawing, model-making—which were turned into inventive, practical projects like chicken coops and a farmer’s market structure for their economically depressed town. A formative influence was Miller's Cranbrook thesis project, a house he constructed in Detroit that would be deeded to a family contingent on their payment of utilities for two years but went unmet and was abandoned. He concluded that the end user has to have a stake in the process. Optimism was also a motivator of the “pilgrims and émigrés” of Cape Cod in Built On Narrow Land. This spit of land at the tip of the peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay became a haven for freethinkers, artists, and the modernist architects who gave a physical form to their lifestyle. The Bohemian Brahmans who owned large swaths of land that enabled this development was embodied by Jack Phillips (of the Phillips Exeter Academy family), an amateur architect who briefly studied with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard, and became the Pied Piper for mid-century modernism here. His instructors followed him, as did Serge Chermayeff (father of Ivan and Peter), Georgy Kepes, Paul Weidlinger, Charlie Zehnder, and other modernists and Bauhaus alumni that taught in Boston at MIT and Harvard. Gropius’s daughter Ati, and Ruth Hatch who commissioned the stunning Jack Hall–designed Hatch House are among the witnesses who lead us through this summertime oasis amidst the more conventional New England Cape Cod gabled cottages. Modernist architecture in Moscow, which was borne from a similar forward-thinking spirit that embodied the Russian Revolution, has a more problematic fate today. The title of the film, Away from All Suns!, is taken from Nietzsche who wrote: “The advent of modernity had swept away all foundations. Modernity is liberation and total destruction...What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving?... Away from all suns?” This unmooring is threatened by commercialism, illegal destruction, and new building as we are shown life behind the walls of three buildings: Ogoniok Printing Plant and Zhurgaz Apartment House (1930-35), the only surviving El Lissitzky building currently under threat; Communal Student House of the Textile Institute (1929) by I.S. Nikolaev, built to house 2,000 students and now under “restoration”; and Narkomfin Communal Apartment House (1928-30) by Moisei Ginzburg and Ignaty Milinus, considered the model for Corbusier’s Unité d'Habitation and currently on UNESCO and World Monuments Fund watch lists, is now a ruin occupied by guerrilla artists before it is turned into a hotel. We also get a brief glimpse of Tatlin’s Tower being paraded through the streets. Modernism is more cherished in a few building portraits: The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat, is a much-loved house in Lone Pine, California between Death Valley and Sequoia National Park. Commissioned by the unassuming Richard Oyler, who boldly wrote to the famous architect, charming Neutra and causing him to fall in love with the site. Neutra created an un-ornamented, post-and-beam structure with expansive glass that fit organically into the site (they even dug a swimming pool out of giant rocks in a mini-quarry). The realtor, Crosby Doe, who specializes in mid-century modern houses, said the experience of seeing the Oyler House for the first time was on par with Macchu Picchu. The house is now owned by actress Kelly Lynch and screenwriter Mitch Glazer (she is interviewed), who also own John Lautner’s Harvey House in Los Angeles. Another adored building is Fagus—Walter Gropius and the Factory for Modernity. Built in 1911 in a small town near Hannover, it was the architect’s first major building that he chronicled extensively in photographs. Light, elegant, and beautifully proportioned, it is still used as a factory for making shoe laces, run by the original commissioning family. A palace for work, Bauhaus archivist Annemarie Jaeggi said it “defies gravity.” The Interior Passage portrays a more contemporary building, Sanaa’s Rolex Learning Center at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the prestigious institute of technology. It follows the selection process from 12 invited firms including OMA, Zaha Hadid, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro through the difficult engineering tasks solved by bridge builders to make this low-slung, flowing building stand up (the large central shell was cast in one pour over two days and nights, a mammoth logistical feat involving 20 simultaneous mixing trucks). A fascinating mingling of Swiss precision and Japanese minimalism, this film doggedly stays with the process until students fill the single expansive, unbroken fluid space of undulating floors and ceilings punctuated by glass-walled and domed bubbles. It takes the library as a building type one step beyond OMA’s Seattle Public Library. Perhaps the person who is able to best put architecture into a wider context is the Pritzker Prize winner in Tadao Ando—From Emptiness to Infinity. He thinks “we have to intensively deal with the present,” and encourages a young employee to communicate more with people, rather than just his computer because “this impacts on architecture and our society. Because communication, life, and architecture belong together.”
Of Walking Museum of Contemporary Photography 660 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago Through December 20 The Museum of Contemporary Photography’s exhibition, Of Walking, explores how the simple act of walking gives rise to countless intricate thoughts. Although walking may be perceived as one of mankind’s most simple acts, it triggers a series of emotions and contemplations. Of Walking shows that it is not just about putting one foot in front of the other, nor is it solely the motion from point A to point B. The curators sought to demonstrate how the process of thinking is made possible by the act of walking. To illustrate this concept, the exhibition goes back to the history of photography by showcasing famous streetwalkers and photographers such as Eugène Atget and Garry Winogrand. It focuses on navigation through space to determine how walking becomes a foundation for the human thought process. As such, it looks at movements in the history of art that have addressed the act of walking, and the works of artists such as Sohei Nishino that have evoked how meanderings through the surrounding built environment provoke numerous feelings for the individual. Finally, the exhibition also features the works of artists who have looked at political and social situations through interactions and walks through various landscapes.
Sky High & the Logic of Luxury The Skyscraper Museum 39 Battery Place New York, NY Through April 19, 2014 For Manhattan architecture, the sky has always been the limit. The current trend in super-slender, luxury high-rise residential buildings has excited a niche clientele and captured the attention of skyscraper architects. This October, The Skyscraper Museum explores these ultra slim constructions, from their contextual rise to the modern engineering technologies that have rendered them possible. Featuring projects from the “57th Street phenomenon” and downtown’s pencil-thin counterparts, Sky High & the Logic of Luxury surveys the multitudinous elements involved in the design, construction, and marketing of super-tall, super-luxurious residences. Penthouses in these spindly buildings sell for double-digit millions, but the exhibition claims there is a “simple math” in the logic of luxury behind them. Beginning with Manhattan’s history of slenderness, Sky High & the Logic of Luxury traces their growth. The exhibition reveals how New York City has the specific conditions, localities, and branding psychology that encourages these very tall, very thin, luxury skyscrapers and the subsequent market-demand that has shot their costs sky high.
Jennifer Steinkamp: Street Views Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 3750 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO Through December 23 The Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis has inaugurated Street Views, an exhibition featuring a series of works by digital installation media artist Jennifer Steinkamp. As part of the 10th anniversary of CAM’s building, the museum will be turned inside out, as its exterior will be transformed into a gallery with large-scale video art being projected onto its facade. Through the use of powerful projectors and intricate computer algorithms, Steinkamp will transform the museum’s metallic and concrete structure into a dynamic garden capturing a mesmerizing natural environment. Her utilization of video and new media enables the viewer to explore different ideas about architecture, design, motion, and interpretation. The use of vernacular imagery conveys the power of nature and enables visitors to perceive the building through a different lens, thus providing them with a new synaesthetic experience. This innovative outdoor moving image series strikes a balance between the natural landscape and computer-generated imagery. By transforming CAM’s building into a compelling projection screen, Steinkamp brings digital media into the mainstream of contemporary art.
On View> "3 in 1: Contemporary Explorations in Architecture & Design" at the Art Institute of Chicago
3 in 1: Contemporary Explorations in Architecture & Design The Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL Through January 5, 2014 3 in 1 Contemporary Explorations in Architecture and Design is broken down into three small separate exhibitions each revealing different categories: architecture, product design, and fashion. In Reality Lab, the Japanese designer Issey Miyake, head of Reality Lab Studio, reveals a spectrum of diverse and innovative products resulting from his experiments with material, structure, and form. The exhibition includes Miyake’s two products lines: 132 5 and IN EI, which are based on origami-folding techniques that create two-dimensional geometric patterns and unfold into remarkable voluminous forms. Los Angeles architect Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower explores how computer programming can act as a mode of creative expression. Lynn re-envisions and reconstitutes Chicago’s Sears Tower in order to develop a new kind of flexible and fluid type of architecture. Lastly, the Dutch designers Scholten & Bailings combine craft and industrial practices in order to re-invent everyday objects. Through the use of different colors, forms, and materials, their Colour reveals the numerous amounts of projects that the designers have accumulated over the past 13 years.
Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492–1898 Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, NY September 20–January 12, 2014 Within a hundred years of the Spanish empire first expanding its borders into the Americas, an abundance of incredible wealth had been amassed in the New World. This September, Brooklyn Museum is opening its doors and inviting visitors into an elite Spanish Colonial home. They will be showcasing extravagant domestic collections, which give insight into the private lives and power struggles of Spain’s New World Elite. Behind Closed Doors, will include paintings, sculptures, luxury goods from everyday life, manuscripts, textiles, and decorative objects. The exhibition explores themes that include representations of the indigenous and Creole elite, rituals in the home, the sala de estrado (women’s sitting room), the bedchamber, and social identity through material culture. The Brooklyn Museum began acquiring domestic Spanish colonial art in 1941 and now the collection ranks among the finest in the nation. This is the first major exhibition in the United States to explore the private lives and interiors of Spain’s New World elite. Richard Aste, Curator of European Art, organized Behind Closed Doors, which is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue co-published by the Museum and the Monacelli Press.
Look for Beauty: Philip Johnson and Art Museum Design Sheldon Museum of Art 12th and R streets, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE Through October 13, 2013 The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska, is currently celebrating the works of Philip Johnson, the influential American architect who promoted the International Style and, later, defined postmodernist architecture. One of his most iconic projects was the design of the Seagram building in Manhattan, a project undertaken in partnership with Mies Van Der Rohe. This particular project marked a decisive shift in Johnson’s career. Look for Beauty examines the design journey of Philip Johnson through the examination of three of his earlier museum buildings: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (now the Sheldon Museum of Art). These three projects form a coherent study of Johnson’s developing personal style in the early years of his career. The exhibition includes models, plans, furniture, photographic murals, and archival materials such as correspondence, exhibition photographs, and catalogs.
A yardstick is a straightedge with markings at regular intervals used to physically measure lengths in imperial units of up to a yard (three feet). It is also a standard for making a critical judgment. This measuring device was placed in once-forbidden zones of the World and Cold Wars that have since been abandoned, by Jane and Louise Wilson, the British fraternal twin artist duo who have a show on view at 303 Gallery. Building on previous explorations of such territory: Stasi City (1997), the former GDR secret police headquarters in Berlin and Gamma (1999) set in disused military silos at Greenham Common RAF station in Berkshire, England, they have now focused on Atomgrad (Atom City) in Pripyat, that housed Chernobyl factory workers, and Orford Ness, an isthmus off the English coast, site of H-bomb test labs, in their making of large-scale color photographs. The Wilson’s work opened the door for us into these hidden worlds. Jane has said, it’s “not to say that it’s something that has to be totally closed and inaccessible… It’s more… how we feel in relation to architecture… how we experience the space that we are [in].” As the daughters of a naval architect, they are accustomed to thinking about physical space. These “future ruins,” as Louise calls them, feature a quickly abandoned classroom with books strewn on the floor and desks, raked seating in what could have been a screening room, metal bedframes, disintegrating offices and laboratories. Hardly the romance of the ruin. In addition to placing the yardstick in their photos, the Wilsons also made cast aluminum and enamel-plated sculptures of yardsticks, as well as the wooden Altogether, 2010, a large skeletal-frame artwork at the center of the gallery made of 52 yard measures that is based on a 1924 photograph by Alexander Rodchenko called of Popova’s Studio featuring a hanging spatial construction. A final object is the cast of a 35mm Bolex camera used to document the Chernobyl site immediately after the nuclear accident by filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko. The film he shot was contaminated by radiation, resulting in forensically pock-marked footage. The camera itself was radioactive and destroyed, so the cast The Toxic Camera, Konvas Autovat is all that remains. 303 Gallery , 507 West 24th Street until August 2, 2013
The Museum of the City of New York presents A Beautiful Way to Go: New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery, a new exhibition that examines the Brooklyn cemetery’s astonishing 175-year history, on view from May 15 to October 13. As a National Historic Landmark that predates both of Olmsted's Central Park and Prospect Park, the cemetery grounds cover a vital 19th-century American public green space and remain a critical site in New York’s architectural history. The landmark landscape characterizes the “rural cemetery movement” and tells a complex narrative that links architectural, art, social, and cultural histories. The installation involves a gallery-sized map of the cemetery that serves as a guide for visitors to walk upon and as the framework for the arrangement of over 200 artifacts, sculptures, architectural drawings, and documents. The exhibit not only focuses on exploring the cemetery, but also its most eminent permanent residents. Burial at Green-Wood garnered considerable respect and attracted posh New Yorkers to choose it as the ultimate resting space. The cemetery also represents a new type of burial space: non-sectarian and not bordering a church. The rural burial ground concept, with its greenery and comfortable travel distance from the city, was first designed for Paris’ 1804 Père-Lachaise. The idea reached the United States by the 1830s and Mount Auburn in Cambridge was the country’s first such cemetery. Green-Wood Cemetery, designed by David Bates Douglass, followed in 1838 within the newly incorporated city of Brooklyn. Highlights of the exhibition include 19th-century landscape paintings by Asher Brown Durand and John William Casilear, chief Hudson Valley School artists who are buried at Green-Wood. The exhibition incorporates viewing machines with “stereographs” that provide popular period three-dimensional pictures of Green-Wood Cemetery and one of four zinc Civil War soldiers on site that were reproduced in cemeteries nationwide.
What do you do if a building is slated for demolition? If you’re the artist Doug Aitken and the building is your gallery, you devise a “time-based destruction installation.” Which is precisely what Aitken, who is known for wrapping the facade of the Hirschhorn Museum in with a 360-degree video installation to the tune of “I Only Have Eyes For You,” installing a video "land art" installation on the Seattle Art Museum, and the video “Sleepwalkers” projected on the facades of MoMA, “a cinematic art experience that directly integrates with the architectural fabric of the city while simultaneously enhancing and challenging viewers’ perceptions of public space” did. Aitken’s latest exhibition, which wrapped up at the end of March, entitled 100 YRS at Gallery 303 on West 21st Street was filled with word-based artworks such Plexiglas letters spelling “Art” with chocolate milk-like slurry cascading over the letters, black textured rock spelling “Sunset” and “Magic” featuring rear-lit images of the blowing up of Pruitt-Igo on each letter. Visitors were greeted by “Sonic Fountain” which is a round hole jackhammered out of the galley floor (since it was going to be destroyed anyway), filled with water from dripping pipes on the ceiling, and equipped with underwater microphones to amplify the dribbling sounds. The gallery walls and floors were gradually being destroyed around these artworks over the last week, not by construction workers, but by musicians. Three percussionists gently deconstructed the space climbing onto drywall, hacking away at rubble, and rising on scissor-lifts, making a music of sorts as they worked. The one-story building has been sold, and word from the gallery director Cristian Alexa is that Norman Foster has been retained to build a tower on the site.