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Back in Motion
For its 250th anniversary, San Diego gets an update
Museum of Modern Art receives massive gift of African contemporary artwork
French-Italian art collector Jean Pigozzi has gifted New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) a substantial collection of contemporary artwork from across Africa. The 45 pieces included in the donation feature work by Sierra Leonean artist Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Malian photographer Seydou Keïta, and Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kingelez, whose fantastical models of cityscapes formed the retrospective exhibition Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams at MoMA last year. According to MoMA, Pigozzi’s is the largest single gift of African art that the museum has ever received and will contribute significantly to future displays of its permanent collection.
Born in Paris to Italian businessman and Simca-founder Henri Pigozzi, Jean Pigozzi amassed his fortune through inheritance and a variety of enterprises, including photography and fashion design. He jumpstarted his collection of African contemporary art in 1989, soon after seeing the exhibit Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Curator André Magnin lent considerable guidance as Pigozzi accumulated upwards of 10,000 pieces, now widely recognized as one of the largest collections of African contemporary art in the world. Pigozzi has maintained his holdings as the Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) in Geneva, which has no permanent galleries for exhibition. Pieces from the CAAC have been lent to museums and galleries across Africa, Europe, and North America for a range of temporary exhibits.
The move by Pigozzi sheds light on a broader effort by MoMA to overcome its longstanding focus on American and European modernism. The museum’s leaders have been appealing to donors with collections that highlight other regions of the world, including Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, who has given Latin American artwork to the institution twice since 2016. For MoMA, the acquisition may represent an opportunity for both redemption and growth. Between 1984 and 1985, the museum held an exhibit titled ‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, which many have excoriated for promoting reductive, racist, and deeply ingrained notions of African inferiority. The Pompidou show that catalyzed Pigozzi’s collection was largely considered a rebuttal to MoMA’s own curatorial efforts, prompting Pigozzi himself to spend much of his life advocating for African contemporary art as on-par with, and often more interesting than, Western examples.
The growing stature of African contemporary art on the global stage extends well beyond MoMA’s walls. Earlier this year, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair made its Manhattan debut at New York’s Industria, six years after its founding in London and four years after popping up in Brooklyn. In 2016, the international auction house Sotheby’s opened a department dedicated to African art in London, which has been frequented not only by Europeans but also by wealthy collectors from Nigeria, Kenya, and elsewhere in Africa. MoMA is likely looking to get in on the action, and Pigozzi’s gift presents the institution with its best opening yet.
While it is still unclear exactly how curators will incorporate Pigozzi’s pieces into the MoMA’s permanent collection displays, they are sure to play a role in the museum’s continuing growth. MoMA’s newly expanded facility, including its reconfigured permanent collection galleries, will open to the public on October 21, 2019.
Time's Running Out
AN rounds up must-see exhibitions to catch this summer
Summer is a great time to explore the world of art and architecture, whether through tours of an exquisitely restored historic house or through online exhibitions that celebrate the cutting-edge work of the Bauhaus. Here are some openings you might have missed:Just: The Architectural League Prize Exhibit
June 21 - July 31, 2019 66 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10011
In an exhibit closing today, The Architectural League of New York has put work by the winners of its 2019 Architectural League Prize on display, a coveted award that has been recognizing promising young architects since 1981. Provocative models, drawings, and installations produced by the six winners have been assembled in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at the Parsons School of Design.
The work selected for display covers a wide range of scales and media. With honorees hailing from cities across the United States and Central America, the exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to engage with a diverse array of perspectives and thematic focuses that relate to architecture, urbanism, and the design world at large.Big Ideas Small Lots
August 1 - November 2, 2019 526 LaGuardia Place New York, NY 10012
Starting tomorrow, New York’s Center for Architecture will exhibit winning submissions from Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC, a competition jointly organized by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter. The competition asked designers to propose ideas for converting small-scale, difficult-to-develop lots across the city into viable affordable housing. Five finalists, including Palette Architecture and Michael Sorkin Studio, emerged from an initial pool of 444 proposals. The exhibition highlighting their work will be on display from August 1 until November 2.Changing Signs, Changing Times: A History of Wayfinding in Transit
Through November 6 Grand Central Terminal New York, NY
The New York Transit Museum is hosting an exhibit on wayfinding in its satellite gallery at Grand Central Terminal. On view through November 6, the exhibit includes objects, photographs, and other archival materials exploring the evolution of signage in New York’s transit system. The items, which come primarily from the museum’s own collection, shed light on the changing needs of transit users and the ways in which designers have addressed those needs over time.
The gallery is located just off the Main Concourse in the Shuttle Passage, next to the Station Masters’ Office.Bauhaus: Building the New Artist
Earlier this summer, the Getty launched an online exhibition as a complement to Bauhaus Beginnings, a gallery exhibit on display at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California. Planned as a centennial celebration of the Bauhaus’ groundbreaking approach to architectural education, the web-based exhibition features historical images from the Getty’s archives and information about the Bauhaus, as well as opportunities for visitors to test exercises crafted by the school’s pioneering luminaries, including Josef Albers and Vassily Kandinsky.Dilexi: Totems and Phenomenology
June 22 - August 10, 2019 Parrasch Heijnen Gallery 1326 South Boyle Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90023
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery in Los Angeles is displaying counter-cultural works of art from San Francisco’s Dilexi Gallery, including pieces by Arlo Acton, Tony DeLap, Deborah Remington, Charles Ross, and Richard Van Buren. Much of the art featured in the exhibition, which ranges in media from photography to sculpture, uses nontraditional materials and explores the very nature of perception.Pope.L: Conquest
September 21, 2019
New York's Public Art Fund will present Pope.L’s most ambitious participatory project yet. Pope.L: Conquest will involve over one hundred volunteers, who will relay-crawl 1.5 miles from Manhattan's West Village to Union Square. According to the Public Art Fund, participants will “give up their physical privilege” and “satirize their own social and political advantage, creating a comic scene of struggle and vulnerability to share with the entire community.”
Pope.L has organized more than 30 performance art projects since 1978, but this will be the largest of the bunch. The crawl will take place on September 21, beginning at the Corporal John A Seravalli Playground.It Might Be a Place (for LLH), as part of Unfoldingobject
June 20 - August 11, 2019 Concord Center for the Visual Arts 37 Lexington Road Concord, Ma 01742
The Concord Center for the Visual Arts in Massachusetts is displaying an installation by James Andrew Scott as part of its ongoing exhibition Unfoldingobject. Curated by Todd Bartel, the exhibit compiles collages by 50 different artists, each of whom has a distinct interpretation of the medium. Scott’s work, which is integrated into a skylight in the gallery building, presents a dramatic series of irregular pyramids that protrude from the ceiling at different angles. The entire exhibition is on view through August 11.
A Local Visit
AN catches up with Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Open March 2020
Cooper Hewitt taps James Wines for Willi Smith streetwear show
Remembering César Pelli
Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform employs photography and drawings to capture a movement
“We care deeply about the Whitney. Over the years, many shows at the Museum have inspired and informed our art. We were angry when we learned of Kanders’s role as CEO of Safariland, a company that manufactures tear gas and other weapons of repression. At the time, we had already accepted your invitation to participate in the Whitney Biennial and were all well into fabrication of major pieces for this show. We found ourselves in a difficult position: withdraw in protest or stay and abide a conflicted conscience. We decided to participate.” “But the Museum’s continued failure to respond in any meaningful way to growing pressure from artists and activists has made our participation untenable. The Museum’s inertia has turned the screw, and we refuse further complicity with Kanders and his technologies of violence.”Among the eight artists to denounce the Biennale was the University of London-based research group Forensic Architecture, which uses architectural spatial analysis and forensic techniques to study human rights violations around the world. Hyperallergic reported that the studio and its partner Praxis Filmes has asked the Whitney to replace its 10-minute video Triple-Chaser, which traces the spread of tear gas and bullets through companies like Safariland, with a new film that shows incriminating evidence that Kanders is directly linked to a bullet company that’s been selling products to the Israeli Military Industry. The New York Times dually noted that Kanders’ supply of tear-gas grenades have been allegedly used during protests at not only the Israeli-Palestinian border in Gaza, but also at United States-Mexico border, in Ferguson, Missouri, and at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles both North and South Dakota.
Forensic Architecture and its founder Eyal Weizman have not commented on the news yet, but Whitney director Adam D. Weinberg, released a statement on Friday saying the museum will follow through with the artists’ requests, according to the New York Times. “The Whitney respects the opinions of all the artists it exhibits and stands by their right to express themselves freely. While the Whitney is saddened by this decision, we will of course comply with the artists’ request.” It’s unclear exactly when the pieces will be removed from the exhibition, but it will likely happen quickly as the Biennale is set to close in two months. So far, work from the remaining 67 exhibitors will stay on view in the showcase through September 22. After this article was published Forensic Architecture released an official statement on its withdrawal writing: "As a result of our findings, and in solidarity with Palestinian resistance, Forensic Architecture and Praxis Films together believe our position within the Biennial is no longer tenable. We continue to demand that Kanders is removed from his position on the Whitney’s board of trustees."
Forensic Architecture Says It Has Found Bullet Linking Whitney Vice Chair to Violence in Gaza, Withdraws from Biennial https://t.co/12GWIy4J0k— 艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) July 21, 2019
In 2005, Pelli renamed his studio to Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, giving credit to his long-time partner Fred Clarke and son Rafael, who assumed a large role in the company. His wife, Diana Balmori, was a landscape architect, urban designer, and a partner on his team as well. She passed away in 2016. They are survived by another son, Denis, and two grandchildren. Though Pelli didn’t open his firm until age 50, the impact he made on architecture within the last four decades of his life was widespread. He designed hundreds of buildings and was awarded just as many times for his efforts. Pelli received the profession’s highest honor, the AIA Gold Medal, in 1995. In response to Pelli's passing, Robert Ivy, chief executive officer of the AIA, provided the following statement: “César Pelli was a consummate architect, teacher, and mentor. Rooted both in the creative legacy of Eero Saarinen and the pragmatic leaders of west coast development, César transformed skylines around the world and influenced the modern city as we know it. A master of both the urban scale and the carefully conceived individual detail, he leaves a legacy that stands as tall as the buildings he designed and as rich as the lives of the many architects whose careers were shaped by his generous teaching.”
“It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our founder, mentor, and great friend, César. He was a gifted architect and teacher, two callings he effortlessly combined as one. I am profoundly grateful to my great friend and partner.” – Fred W. Clarke, PCPA pic.twitter.com/g3UkbjCIyw— Pelli Clarke Pelli (@PCPArch) July 21, 2019