Like cheese and crackers, music and architecture is a natural pairing. Last November, Steven Holl debuted his ballet, Tesseracts of Time. This year is shaping up to be a promising one for synergy between the two practices: A Marvelous Order, the opera based on Jane Jacobs' and Robert Moses' epic feud, is in previews this March, and last weekend, concertgoers at the 92nd Street Y's "Seeing Music" festival were treated to a Gabriel Calatrava–designed installation that dialogues with Bach's “The Art of the Fugue." The installation, mounted in a 24-foot-by-17-foot frame, is meant to evoke the strings on musical instruments, Bach's fugues, and a game of Cat's Cradle, the children's game played with an endlessly transfigured loop of string. While the Brentano String Quartet performed Bach's piece live, dancers manipulated Calatrava's installation in response to the music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2ePyvNgVJA New shapes, spaces, and patterns are created as the dancers work. “My fascination with moving architecture inspired me to design a set piece that serves as both a work of art and a functional installation that reacts to music,” Calatrava said in a statement. In the video below, he dives into the design process and the challenge of syncing architecture, a medium with material products, to music, tangible but non-physical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsHXd-8p0PE The Calatrava name should be eminently familiar to anyone who follows architecture. The younger Calatrava, trained as an engineer, is now an architect, working on his own and with his father's firm, Santiago Calatrava Architects & Engineers. An affinity for white, sinewy geometries may run in the family: the 92Y piece recalls the elder Calatrava's recently completed Museum of Tomorrow and the soon-to-open World Trade Center Transportation Hub, below. For those interested in checking out more musical pairings, the 92Y’s “Seeing Music” festival runs through February 18.
Posts tagged with "Art Installations":
Until July 2016, Plexus A1, an art installation comprising of nearly 60 miles of handwoven threads by Mexican artist Gabriel Dawe, will be exhibited in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's newly renovated Renwick Gallery. Dawe's installation consists of 15 hues to mimic the full spectrum of visible light. Curator-in-Charge at the Renwick, Nicholas R. Bell, said, “I was immediately drawn to [Dawe’s] work, the ethereality of it, and the illusion that the material—cotton thread—is anything but that. In the long history of our relationship with textiles, how many creators have successfully changed the way we think about the very nature of the material?" Gabriel Dawe spanned the sewing thread from Renwick's 19-foot-tall ceilings and worked layer by layer, gradating hues to resemble visible light. Dawe completed the installation in ten days. Dawe said, "Once I have an idea of what I want to do in a space, it’s just a matter of attaching hooks and stringing them on site, one thread at a time. I use a tool I’ve developed that works as a giant needle that takes the thread up and down. In a space like the Renwick, which is rather big, I also rely on a lift and helpers to be able to reach over such a big span of space.” The Renwick Gallery opened last fall, after two years of renovations. Dawe is one of nine artists displaying works in the exhibition, WONDER, as the gallery gradually bring in the permanent collection. For more information on the WONDER exhibition visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum's webpage here.
The holidays are here when the Coniferous Tree Exception kicks in. This New York City ordinance allows dead pine trees to be sold on city sidewalks in the weeks leading up to Christmas. One true marker of the season's end is the Christmas trees that line those same sidewalks in January, awaiting DSNY pickup. In years past, one artist has revivified these trees, albeit illegally, creating semi-real pine forests from discarded trees in marginal urban spaces. This year, the trees will have a second chance at life in the most popular place for dead New Yorkers: Queens. In 2012 and 2013, San Francisco–based artist Michael Neff rounded up 35 Christmas trees from the curbs of Brooklyn. He hung them with twine from a metal pipe and displayed them under a BQE overpass, at Metropolitan Avenue and North 6th Street, in Williamsburg. Within a matter of hours, the trees were removed and discarded by the city. https://vimeo.com/150815655 This year, Neff is reprising his installation, legitimated and indoors, at the Knockdown Center, in Maspeth, Queens. A time-lapse video (above) shows the installation in process. Working a cherry picker, Neff and his team suspend coniferous trees of slightly varying sizes from the ceiling in a neat grid. In a statement on the exhibition's event page, Neff describes the advantages that a change of venue con(i)fers:
The exhibition at Knockdown Center allows for a much different experience, most importantly time for the trees to shed their needles into halos on the smooth concrete floor below. Paired with the subtle pine fragrance of the trees and the opportunity for quiet contemplation, the exhibition encourages repeated viewing.Suspended Forest is on view from January 9th to January 31st.
Last year artists Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero led a collaborative effort to take over Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House with kaleidoscopic light and video loops. That project, INsite, followed similar work at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Robie House, and imbued Mies' modernist touchstone with a vivacity often lacking in the contemporary experience of midcentury interiors. (Read AN's review of Luftwerk's INsite installation here.) Now that work will live on as a show, INsite ONview, which runs September 11 – November 15 at the Matthew Rachman Gallery in Chicago. Photographer Kate Joyce's images of the original installation will be on display, along with “dynamic, kinetic ephemera based on the installation.” Luftwerk also recently announced they would mount an installation at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory. That project, dubbed solarise, opens September 23.
Plants are usually the star of Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory, but a forthcoming art installation will help brighten the Jens Jensen gem with lights, mirrors and prismatic panels. Local firm Luftwerk Studio is calling the project solarise, and promising a site-specific “series of immersive light and sculpture installations.” According to a press release from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, solarise is part of the Chicago Cultural Plan—a diffuse planning and marketing initiative launched during Emanuel's first term to crowd-source ideas for new cultural programs in the city. Solar-powered LEDs will illuminate reflective panels and sculptures in the conservatory, which is open every day of the year from 9:00a.m.–5:00p.m., with evening hours extended to 8:00p.m. on Wednesdays. The installation will be on display at the Garfield Park Conservatory from this year’s Autumnal Equinox to next year’s Autumnal Equinox, September 23, 2015 to September 22, 2016. Here are some more details, per Emanuel's office:
• The Beacon: A permanent LED facade connected to the ribs of the historic Palm House. The Beacon will be the focal point of the exhibit and will be visible from both inside the Conservatory and from the grounds in front of the building. • Florescence: A sculptural canopy of red and blue petals that will cast colorful shadows throughout the Show House by day and by night. The Show House color panel installation will reveal the spectrum of light necessary for plant growth. • Seed of Light: A continuous interaction between water and light will create a ripple of shadows that will play out across the Conservatory’s Horticulture Hall floor. • Prismatic: An immersive prism sculpture in the Desert House will refract natural and LED lighting. A sound installation using plant material from the Conservatory collection will accompany the sculpture and lighting. • Portal: A series of mirrored sculpture panels will frame the Palm House reflection pond and the Fern Room’s waterfall. • Lobby: A light box that will play on Jens Jensen’s concept of the Midwest Prairie as a sea of all colors.
In February, a Twin Cities design firm advertised an unusual yard sale of sorts. CityDeskStudio offered to pay $5,000 to whomever could haul away and repurpose an 84-foot long section of Minneapolis' famous skyway system that once spanned South 5th Street. The skyway segment is now headed to a private residence in Brainerd, Minnesota—but not before playing host to a contemplative art installation that examines the philosophical dimensions of this defunct piece of pedestrian infrastructure. Dubbed LONGING—“an emotional expression and a verbal play on lengthening,” in the words of its Vancouver-based artists—the exhibition opens Saturday at 2:00 p.m., and will remain open through May 10, 2015. It is located at the edge of the University of Minnesota campus, northeast of the intersection of 6th Street SE and SE 23rd Ave. (44°58’39.3”N 93°13’10.2”W) “We have been working on this off and on for two years, so we are really excited to see this come to life,” said Jennifer Newsom Carruthers, principal of Dream the Combine, the artists mounting the exhibition. Their installation uses strategically placed mirrors to alter visitors' perception of the object. Per the artists' description:
LONGING reestablishes this fragment within a network of its own making. Using two inward-facing, 10’x15', moveable mirrors suspended at either end of the skyway from a tensegrity supported gimbal, LONGING creates a visually infinite environment that bridges toward distant horizons. This virtual space flexes as the wind rotates the mirrors and the audience performs with and occupies their reflections. By using just 35lbs of pressure on a dampened counterweight at the rear of the panels, people can manipulate the large mirrors and the illusion of depth within them. As the images move and infinity wanders, the space bends into unpredictable forms.After the exhibition closes, the 140-ton skyway segment heads 130 miles north to bucolic Brainerd, Minnesota where a young family has commissioned the current skyway owners, CityDeskStudio, to repurpose it as a lakeside home. Aimee and Preston Jobe plan to add a wing to the skyway segment to make an L-shaped floorplan. "It's like a dream come true," said Aimee Jobe, a photographer, in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I'm a lover of old things and I live to renovate things." Here's a gallery of the installation, currently under construction, from Dream the Combine:
Save for the extreme examples—Beijing's “airpocalypse,” for example—air pollution is often an invisible problem. For at least a brief period, designers from Brooklyn and data scientists from San Francisco hope to change that in Louisville, Kentucky. Across the city 25 sensors gather data on air quality, including the concentrations of particulate matter and carbon monoxide, transmitting the data to a colorful, interactive kiosk on the corner of Fourth and Liberty streets in Downtown Louisville. Designers at Brooklyn-based Urban Matter, Inc. dubbed their project Air Bare. As the downtown screen displays real-time air quality data, they invite passersby to engage with the installation. Encased in bright orange, powder-coated steel, a video screen fills with bubbles representing particles of air pollution. Poke your head into the display and you can pop the bubbles, earning points and taking air quality quizzes. Urban Matter's Rick Lin told WFPL the playfulness is meant to inspire action:
A big part of the component of this piece is educational, so once we grab people’s attention, we want—without being too preachy—to give them some information to help them make better decisions every day.Urban Matter conceived the short-term piece with the Office of Civic Innovation, Louisville Metro Government, and San Francisco's Creative Commons. On their website, the firm said they hope the project “creates awareness, identifies sources of pollution and propels the public to take action.” Open in time for a health symposium attended by Prince Charles, the piece will be up for six to eight months.
Louisville installation elicits fabric-like behavior from wood.PART Studio designed and built their plywood Peek-a-boo Curtain in just four days, after a last-minute invitation from Louisville arts and business networking organization I.D.E.A.S. 40203. "We went to a meeting, talked about it, then drove to the plywood store," recalled principal Nathan Smith. Luckily, the architects were not starting from scratch. Rather, Smith and partner Mark Foxworth seized the opportunity to build a full-scale mock-up of an idea they had been tossing around for some time: a curtain that, though built of wood, would behave like fabric. Staged at FirstBuild, a design and fabrication studio run through a partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors, the exhibition also gave the designers a chance to explore the space between art and commerce. "With our piece we were looking not only to span the specific interests of the groups involved, but also to consider the relationships between product design, art, and architectural design," said Smith. The imminent deadline meant that Smith and Foxworth had to use the tools at hand, namely their studio’s own small-format laser cutter. The choice placed certain limits on the design. "Laser-cutting is great, but it gives you a lot of constraints because there aren’t that many materials you can use," said Smith. The architects opted for 1/8-inch-thick plywood. The size of the cutting bed also informed the scale of the individual tiles. The upside was that "because the tiles were so small, we could get a certain amount of fabric behavior," explained Smith. PART Studio developed the tiles' perforation pattern in Grasshopper, using a twisting-triangle shape to simulate a human body passing through the curtain, and exploring multiple iterations until they found one they liked. The designers had earlier tested the curtain concept for an interior design project, a dressing room. "In that, the open and closed relationships were pretty specific to the pattern," said Smith. "In the context of an art exhibit, it was more important to take the openness and opacity to extremes because it was a compositional thing." With respect to assembly, said Smith, Peek-a-boo Curtain "is frankly not a very difficult project from a technical standpoint." The architects wanted to laser-cut or otherwise fabricate square metal rings to attach the tiles to one another. But with just a few days to build, and with zero budget, they opted for an easier solution: yellow zip ties. The tiles are arranged in vertical columns, then staggered horizontally. Each component has a total of six holes for vertical and lateral connections. "The original hole pattern didn't work out; the tie holes were a little close," said Smith. As for staggering the tiles, "that was a big discussion that actually ended up making it a little less fluid," he said. "We liked the pattern, but it would’ve been a little more graceful if we'd done it straight. We thought it would have a more fabric-like stitched-together visual, and it does, but it behaves more like fabric as an actual grid." Peek-a-Boo Curtain, which Smith and Foxworth hope to refine for specific interiors projects, is part of the firm's broader mission to change Louisville’s design culture, one small project at a time. "We prefer to do installations and micro design-builds to competitions," said Smith. "We're in a very small market. For our practice, it doesn't really help us to show our clients a museum in Helsinki." But what they can do is participate in the area's nascent art scene, from organizing a competition for the annual Festival of Riverboats to putting on design-based shows at the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft. "We've been able to have a consistent practice in a way that wouldn’t have been possible two years ago," said Smith. "We're trying to do work, to do things like Peek-a-boo Curtain and whatever comes through the door, but at the same time we’re trying to improve the conditions, culturally, for where we are working."
The Detroit Design Festival is underway, featuring 30 design events and 500 designers through Sunday, September 28. Panel discussions, art installations and flash-mob style gatherings are all on the docket for the six-day festival, which is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) launched the festival in 2011 “in an effort to develop the economic potential of the city’s design and creative talent,” according to a press release. Corporate sponsors like Toyota have teamed up with the local AIA chapter to celebrate designers both celebrated and unknown. Read more about the festival on its website, where you can also find a full schedule of events.
In an ongoing endeavor to blend public art, architecture, and urbanism by artists Siyuan and Hwee Chong, The Doors Project subversively projects a series of doors onto public spaces in Singapore, reflecting the struggles of the urban poor and underprivileged. But while commenting on despair, the real message is one of faith, hope and empowerment. “We wanted to make a statement about life, and jolt people to think,” the artists said in an interview at Yolo. “Instead of following the light at the end of the tunnel, why not carry our own lights, and create our own doors! It’s really about rolling up our sleeves, and creating the opportunities we want for ourselves.” Inspired by true stories of people they’ve met—from a boy mastering kung fu to protect his mother from his abusive father to an Indian worker desperately raising money for his son’s surgery—the installation provokes the viewer to re-imagine boundaries as thresholds, opacity as reflection, and life’s roadblocks as opportunities. “These people, despite much hoping and praying, are faced with countless roadblocks that take them nowhere,” they said. According to Siyuan and Hwee Chong, people should take a giant leap of faith, work hard at what they believe in most, and open their own “doors” in life. “It’s just more meaningful that way.” Expect more public installations from Siyuan and Hwee Chong in the near future. “’Doors is meant to be an ongoing project. There’s no end date to it. For as long as we keep collecting stories of hope and despair, we’ll keep projecting people’s ‘doors’ onto roadblocks.” Read the full interview with the artists at Yolo or check out The Doors Project's website for more.
As the first segment of The High Line opened to the public on Monday, the first public art commission to occupy the space was unveiled. An installation by Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways, is a collection of 700 tinted films applied to the existing windowpanes of a semi-enclosed loading dock attached to The Chelsea Market. Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director at Creative Time, the cultural partner of Friends of the High Line, described the project: “He takes old window mullions in a dark, unremarkable tunnel and transforms them into reflections of color and light taken from the nearby Hudson River.” The installation is based on a single day Finch spent in a boat floating up- and downriver propelled only by the natural flow of the Hudson. A camera, on a timer, took a photograph of the water once a minute for 11 hours and 40 minutes. Later, selecting the exact color of a single point in each photograph, Finch produced a film with which he laminated the windows and organized in chronological order. The River That Flows Both Ways is a subtle work, unassuming at first glance, especially with construction still taking place around it. On its first day open, passersby were observed walking halfway through the underpass, apparently unaware of the exhibit, and suddenly stopped to look at the playfulness and soothing colors of Finch’s work. The park currently plans on presenting at least one other major public art project, scheduled for next spring. The artist and the project will be announced in the next few months. Pasternak explained that in addition, “Friends of the High Line will be launching an artist residency program this fall through which artists will be invited to create new work that interprets the site's past, present, and future.” The new curator for this program is Lauren Ross. Adrian Benepe, the Parks & Recreation Commissioner, also shared his view of the park’s future. “The High Line will be one of the city’s best outdoor art museums,” he said. With Finch's work now on view, the elevated park has a great start.