This lecture examines the Grand Tour as a site of origin for the Picturesque, the aesthetic category that would come to dominate landscape representation in Britain by about 1800. It offers a link between the European grand tour and that made by Joseph Banks and James Cook – a world tour. It also highlights Frederic Church as both an artist and world traveler. The lecture moves on to make the unusual claim that we can trace a range of similarities between paintings made by British artists in Italy, and those made after 1788 by a less privileged category of image-makers – the prisoners held in the British prison colonies of Australia, who produced an distinctive, antipodean form of Picturesque landscape. The lecture concludes by arguing that global grand tours of American painter Frederic Edwin Church continued this tradition and brought it to a climax. Tim Barringer is Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. He specializes in the eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century art of Britain and the British Empire, nineteenth-century American and German art and museum studies.
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Public design review on the project has yet to start, but it looks like downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row could be getting bohemian-style artists housing courtesy of national firm Shepley Bulfinch. By suspending chrome Airstream trailers within a diamond-shaped scaffolding, developer True North Studio, artist Wayne Rainey, and Shepley Bulfinch hope that the four-story Roosevelt Land Yacht Club will supply up to 30 units of affordable housing for local artists. Rather than acting as a standalone building, the project presents a novel type of urban infill; the Roosevelt Land Yacht Club will wrap around the exterior of an existing corner parking garage and fill in the 15-foot gap between the building and the sidewalk. Each trailer—the Airstreams may have to be replaced with a less iconic model—will feature about 350 square feet of living space. The multilevel steel matrix will be constantly painted over by the artists to create a structure that’s half living space, half piece of art. The diamond motif and airy framing reference both rolling desert dunes as well as the sense of freedom brought on by the open road. Of course, this is all speculative at the moment. True North Studio expects that the design review and permitting process with the city of Phoenix will take approximately six months, and hopes to break ground in 2020. While no rent information has been released yet, making it unclear how affordable the spaces will be, the scheme could still create a new precedent for infill housing if it moves ahead. The Roosevelt Land Yacht Club is part of the much larger, multi-building mixed-use renovation titled Ro2. True North Studio is handling the entire project after being selected through a request for proposal issued by the city of Phoenix, but, as the Phoenix New Times noted, it was also the only developer to submit a proposal.
English artist Anthony McCall is bringing his ghostly, “solid-light” installations back to New York City in December, with a new solo show at the Sean Kelly Gallery in East Midtown, his sixth in the space. From December 14 through January 26, 2019, visitors can catch two new works from McCall, and his 2003 piece Doubling Back, which was first shown at the 2004 Whitney Biennial. A number of McCall’s black-and-white photographs will also be on display. While McCall’s show at Brooklyn's Pioneer Works in February was able to take advantage of the space’s cavernous ceilings and present vertical light pieces, horizontal installations are the focus of the Sean Kelly show, Split Second. Despite the format change, McCall’s hallmark exploration of volumetric forms using a volume-less medium, light, will be fully on display. Split Second and Split Second (Mirror) will be making their world debut at their namesake show. In Split Second, a flat blade and elliptical cone will be projected on the gallery’s back wall and slowly combine and form intersecting planes that rotate around each other. In Split Second (Mirror), McCall will split a projected “cone” with a wall-sized mirror, “cutting” the shape with a plane of light reflected back at the source. Doubling Back was McCall’s first return to the form after a 20-year hiatus. Each of McCall’s solid-light installations are actually very slowly moving films—up to a half hour or longer—and Doubling Back is no exception. Two sinuous waves, one moving horizontally and the other vertically, overlap and form pockets of light and shadow, integrating the architecture of the gallery itself into the piece. A selection of photos from McCall’s solid-light installations from the 1970s and 2000s will also be on display, capturing still images, or slices of time, from past work. That sort of snapshot is a bit ironic considering McCall’s description of his work as intentionally slowed down, creating an ever-changing relationship between the viewer and the piece. For best results, patrons will have to experience McCall’s “sculptures” for themselves. Sean Kelly Gallery is located at 475 10th Avenue in Manhattan and is open from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.
In Veszprém, a historic medieval town in western Hungary, 12 designers have coated walls of an aging school to illustrate the significance of architectural ornamentation and what it means for and to young architects today. The Elementary School of Music (formerly the Industrial School) was designed by Hungarian architect Lajos Schoditsch, a building which sits across the street from the Petőfi Theater, designed by another Hungarian, István Medgyaszay. Both buildings are integral to the city's architectural history and represent the changing use of motif and ornament in Hungarian architecture. Both are also scheduled to be renovated, with the now-vacant Elementary School of Music due to become an office building serving the theater. Seizing the moment before the renovation, the Hungarian practice Paradigma Ariadné, led by Dávid Smiló, Attila Róbert Csóka, and Szabolcs Molnár, saw the chance for architectural intervention. Working with Heléna Csóka, the curators of the 12 Walls project invited designers from across Europe to come up with wall installations that riffed on the history of ornament embedded in the former school. The result is a series of painted walls vying for visual attention in a cacophony of color and ornamentation. Each wall has its own agenda, courtesy of the 12 designers. The walls serve as standalone works but end up interacting with adjacent and nearby painted walls to create a dazzling landscape inside the vacant building. The designers and collectives commissioned include: Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop, Enorme Studio, False Mirror Office, Gyulai Levente, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Andrew Kovacs, MNPL Workshop, Giacomo Pala, Space Popular, TREES, Very Good Office, and Paradigma Ariadné itself. "Many emerging architects and studios are struggling to settle with the repeatedly omitted, yet constantly resurfacing ornament," the curators said in a statement. "Presenting different approaches by young collectives, the works at the exhibition examine the current roles and boundaries of the ornament, by appropriating the late Industrial School’s empty, undecorated walls." The majority of the walls are awash with bright colors. Austrian-based architect and researcher, Giacomo Pala's wall, titled, Frank Variation, riffs on the work of Austrian architect, Josef Frank. According to Pala, he was one of the first modern architects to deal with ornament, and Pala's work abstracts the late architect's approach to city planning, interior schemes, and watercolor architectural paintings. British designer Adam Nathaniel Furman's wall, Diadema, bursts with even more color. In a kaleidoscopic arrangement, brightly colored triangles and ellipses splay out across the wall creating an almost 3-D illusion. "Ornament is not a language. Ornament doesn’t speak," he said in a short text describing his work. "Ornament is the flush in the cheek, the color of life in the eye…it is the vigor of the fleshly moment captured in time for anyone and everyone who enters a space. Diadema is a taste of this, a crowning moment of chromatic delight in miniature." Space Popular, formed by Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg and based in London, has created one of the few walls to use text. At first glance, Tilt Lines looks like it was made with CAD sketching tools, but the piece was crafted by hand instead of digital tools to depict what Space Popular describe as an "endless mass." "Working with the line in 3-D space highlights the fact the we tend to identify spaces with enclosures," the firm added. "This notion is challenged when we are given a brush that draws in mid-air and we desperately try to fill in surfaces, consequently making everything look like gingerbread houses." Only one installation refrains from using color and that comes from MNPL Workshop from Odessa, Ukraine. The monochrome pattern has a hidden message, however. "By eliminating unnecessary decorative elements for modern society, modernism created a perfect environment for filling with elements of marketing and advertisement," said MNPL in a statement. One such element is a corporate logo and numerous logos have been embedded into the black and white ornamentation by MNPL.
Alberta-born, New York–based artist Elaine Cameron-Weir has made a name for herself with her sculptures in all variety of scale, shape, and material. Most recently, she was commissioned by Storm King Art Center as part of their now annual Outlooks series, which invites an emerging or mid-career artist to devise a temporary site-specific installation for the art park. AN sat down with Cameron-Weir to talk about her new sculpture, the problem of design, and, naturally, the apocalypse. Architect's Newspaper: Can you remind me of the title of your installation at Storm King; it's quite a title. Elaine Cameron-Weir: It’s A toothless grin. A STAR EXPANSION! GLOBE OF DEATH A graveyard orbit. “A toothless grin” is kind of like a play on a colloquial saying, something about missing teeth and death—with connotations of something unsettling, like decay. And then “A STAR EXPANSION!” comes from this fastener company that the people who started Storm King had, the Star Expansion Industries Corporation. I thought that was a beautiful name. The “GLOBE OF DEATH” is what this spherical cage is called that stunt motorcyclists ride around in during shows. And then ‘A graveyard orbit’ is a phrase for the orbit of a satellite that extends beyond its useful orbit; when the satellite is no longer to be used, they send it into a graveyard orbit. It just keeps circling the earth as space junk. AN: The shelter is a found piece; is the globe also found? ECW: No, the globe was fabricated specifically for the piece, but it's based on objects that already exist. So it’s about the same dimensions as the globes of death that are generally the ones that travel to county fairs and other venues. AN: What was it like working in that sort of scale, at a scale that's not intended to be experienced in a room but in a landscape? ECW: The absence of surrounding architecture for art is really strange. I didn't expect it to be so…it wasn't difficult, and I wouldn't say it was easy. It was just there was the removal of the constraints of a room. There's such a specific way that people behave in an art space. I've done projects where it's been in an environment that's not specific to looking at art, like abandoned buildings, but you're still dealing with something that's around you. And the scale is really different. Something huge does not necessarily look huge outside. And you have to think about the weather and transparency; if the piece itself is partially transparent and if you look at it from a certain angle, it disappears into the trees behind it, whereas in a clean white space, nothing disappears in the same way. It was interesting and I'm really glad I got the chance to do that. Because those things are so obvious after the fact, but until you do something like that, you don’t think about it the same way. AN: You don’t realize that you were designing objects for a room the whole time. ECW: Or you do realize it, but then that relationship is removed and you realize that you were operating in a system that’s actually largely invisible to you until you don't have it, even though you were addressing it. AN: Part of what you engage with is not just the space in its physicality but also the history of that physical site. Could you give a bit of background of this? ECW: Con Ed was trying to build a power plant in Storm King Mountain from the early 1960s to 1980, which would’ve totally altered it. There were all these protests and it went to court and eventually, the environmentalists won. It’s not super related to the piece in the end, but I was researching some materials about it: the court documents, reading the transcripts of the people testifying against the project. Basically, they're just giving these apocalyptic scenarios of what would happen if the power plant were built. It totally reads like science fiction, a hyperbolic vision of the future. I found that really important because I write a lot surrounding my work. It's kind of like sketching; a way to keep track of ideas. The fact that these documents alluded so much to the future that it became science fiction, that's kind of what connected this mountain to the project. AN: There’s an element of fictionalization in the piece, as well, in that you’ve totally detached these objects from their original context. You’re imagining these possible reuses. But it also is a bit apocalyptic. For example, there’s, of course, a repurposed bomb shelter. How do you get things from the military? ECW: I bought it from some guy in the Midwest on the internet. I didn't really ask how he got it. But a lot of times people, like resellers, will buy stuff like this at auction in lots. And they'll resell it to people like me or to people that are making doomsday preparations. Generally, in fictionalized versions of the future, people just get their hands on this kind of equipment somehow because the government’s been destroyed or something and it’s anarchy. There’s a feeling of that kind of future projection in the work for sure. AN: It's a bit of a harsh object in some ways. It's not, like, a pretty thing. I don't want to harp on the apocalyptic, but are you interested in violence? It is, after all, literally a military object. ECW: I am a nonviolent person when it comes to confrontation. But I think that most people are interested in violence. And by interested, it doesn't mean you’re… AN: Going to go on a killing spree or anything. ECW: Yeah. It just means you are perhaps terrified by it or you are curious about it, you've been a victim of it, you've inflicted it. And I don’t think it’s all a bad thing; there are people who are very much devoted to the application of the potential of violence in measured instances. I’m thinking of things like BDSM, or even skydiving. It's a force of human life, for better or for worse. And I think that what I'm interested in more is the latency of that and the potential. The piece for me is more about potential energy, and I think that there could be a certain amount of violence inherent in potential energy because it's something that is yet to happen. But I don't think that my stance with the piece would be that it’s a warning about aggression or that it's aggressive. I think the violent feeling comes in part from it being human-sized. AN: Which is actually what I was about to ask you about, the relation to the body and personal scale. ECW: One way to make something, at least how I’m working right now, is to make it body-sized or relatable in scale, and things that are designed to protect the body also carry a suggestion of violence because they're preventing harm. If you suggest protection, you suggest violence. And that has to do with the fact that we're physical animals and we have a body that's susceptible to all sorts of things. AN: You just used the word “designed.” You recently spoke on the issue of design and its separation from art proper in Art Forum, saying about the work that “It’s almost like designing. That’s a dirty word, maybe. But my work is related to design.” Of course, you went on to say “Personally, I don’t think design is a dirty word. It really just means making something work.” How do design and architecture intersect with your practice, or diverge from it? ECW: Some people still don't love when art and design sit next to each other. It could be seen as disparaging just to say, "Oh, that piece of art looks like design.” I meant it was a dirty word if you look at it from this narrow-minded perspective of thinking that design means shiny plastic objects in a store and maybe an Eames chair. Basically, believing that the need for function kind of upsets the “purity” of our art, which I disagree with. I think that when something has a function or requires a function a lot of interesting things can happen. But it's not that you need parameters to do something interesting. Earlier we were talking about not having architecture around me to respond to at Storm King. That absence of architecture didn’t make way for some kind of purity, it was just replaced with another set of parameters involved with working outside. With design, things also change. I'm not an architect and I'm not a designer, but I could imagine that making something with a function you would be solving so many different problems all the time. I find that there still could be so much potential for freedom in that. Outlooks: Elaine Cameron-Weir Storm King Art Center 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, New York Through November 25
For centuries, art collecting and art brokering were comfortably ensconced in the exclusive domain of the super-rich. Now, things could be changing. A start-up called Masterworks is trying to build a stock exchange for high-value art. This summer, Masterworks acquired Claude Monet’s Coup de Vent at an auction for $6.3 million and plans to launch a public offering with individual shares valued at $20. Unfortunately, your fractional ownership won’t allow you to take the painting home and hang it over your mantelpiece, but it will allow you to participate in a highly lucrative and historically-tested investment vehicle that has never been previously available to the masses. According to Masterworks’ website, masterpiece paintings have outpaced growth in the leading U.S. stock exchange index by nearly 300 percent in the last 20 years. Current sales of expensive art are limited by liquidity and transaction protocol. There simply aren’t that many people willing to fork out a hundred million dollars for a Picasso on any given day. By creating an affordable entry point, Masterworks also hopes to help art reach a wider audience while giving the general public more agency in selecting and determining the true value of cultural artifacts. Masterworks art transactions will be recorded through an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that creates transparency and immutability. Ownership can be clearly tracked using smart contracts and digital currencies, allowing for instant transfers across geographic borders without the involvement of banks and auction houses that traditionally charge high fees. New AI-based art platforms like KODAKone, for example, allow artists to register their artwork digitally before entering the art market, providing security to all present and future stakeholders. Ironically, your digital kitten art may one day be more easily authenticated than Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, which recently sold at auction for $450 million. Plus, telling your friends down at the pub that you own a Picasso could be, well…priceless.
Art and architecture often share a blurry boundary, borrowing from one another as artists explore the built world, and architects experiment with abstraction. In the upcoming months, there are a number of must-see shows across the country for those interested in art with an architectural attitude. Rachel Whiteread Turner-prize winning Rachel Whiteread has long been one of the most prominent contemporary figures of architectural art. The artist, famous for her 1993 House where she made a concrete cast of the entirety of a Victorian home, is receiving her first comprehensive survey, which has been jointly organized by the National Gallery of Art and the Tate Britain. The exhibition comprises over 100 objects from her 30-plus year career, including documents, drawings, and large-scale sculpture. It also features a number of original works on view for the very first time. After a stint at the Tate and the 21er Haus-Museum of Contemporary Art, Vienna, Austria, the retrospective is on view this fall at the National Gallery of Art before it moves on to the Saint Louis Art Museum. Rachel Whiteread National Gallery of Art 6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. September 16, 2018–January 13, 2019 Michael LeVell / CONDO New York As part of CONDO New York, where galleries across New York City collaborate with other global galleries, White Columns partnered with First Street Gallery in Claremont, California, to present a solo show of Michael LeVell. LeVell, who was one of the eight founding members of the artist-run First Street Gallery, which was created by and for artists “living and working with mental, developmental, and physical disabilities,” creates acrylic paintings and miniature ceramic sculptures of domestic spaces and furniture, relying especially on the homes and furnishings featured in the pages of Architectural Digest, a magazine which he has collected exhaustively for years. Michael LeVell / CONDO New York White Columns 91 Horatio St., New York, New York Through September 15 Buckminster Fuller: Inventions and Models The inimitable R. Buckminster Fuller, famous for his geodesic domes among many other inventions, is getting an exhibition that’s a first-of-its-kind for Los Angeles, the city he last called home. Centered largely around the limited-edition print Inventions portfolio, R. Buckminster Fuller: Inventions and Models will feature an array of prints, objects, and structural models produced in the last years of his life that highlight the radical thoughts of one of the 20th century’s most iconic architectural thinkers. Buckminster Fuller: Inventions and Models Edward Cella Art + Architecture 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, California Through November 3 The Mile-Long Opera, a biography of 7 o’clock This October, New York’s High Line will come to life as singers from across the city perform while visitors move down a mile-long stretch of the elevated park. The opera was organized by High Line architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro along with David Lang, who is the opera’s composer, and features a libretto by classicist and poet Anne Carson and an essay from Claudia Rankine. While free tickets are already sold out for all five nights, hopeful attendees can still join a waiting list. The Mile-Long Opera, a biography of 7 o’clock The High Line, New York, New York October 3–7 Landon Metz: Asymmetrical Symmetry Landon Metz likes to get a sense of the space his work is going to occupy before he creates it. In Landon Metz: Asymmetrical Symmetry, Metz’s paintings of abstract forms presented in an array of diptychs, triptychs, and series, are all made-to-measure in sizes and proportions responding to the particularities of the architecture of Sean Kelly gallery. Most strikingly, this approach results in three ribbons of paintings, bending at 90 degrees, that fold from the wall to the ceiling, managing to make two-dimensional work that flows in and fills the intimidatingly immense space of the gallery. Landon Metz: Asymmetrical Symmetry Sean Kelly 475 Tenth Ave., New York, New York Through October 20
The London-based Arts Club’s new Gensler-designed California outpost has won planning approval from the City of West Hollywood. The 132,000-square-foot mixed-use complex is partially backed by wellness impresario Gwyneth Paltrow and represents the latest members-only club establishment to take root in Southern California. The new arts-focused clubhouse will be located on the Sunset Strip on the site of the original Hustler store, one of the former mainstays of the district. The proposed building is set to contain restaurants and a public art gallery on the ground floor, with private offices located on two of the floors above. The Arts Club facilities will be located on the uppermost floors and will contain private dining spaces, a movie screening room, up to 15 hotel rooms, and a rooftop pool. Renderings for the complex depict a dramatic structure that slopes into the site from the street edge, creating a semi-pyramidal building. The wedge-shaped complex is shown wrapped in vertical louvers with floor-to-ceiling glass-walled exposures located beyond the shading elements. A dining terrace on the third floor along the back of the building is set into the mass of the complex while a dual-level roof terrace steps back at the top floor to reveal a pool deck studded with cabanas. The Arts Club was originally founded in London in 1863 by cultural figures including Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and Frederic Leighton. The private, members-only club also boasts a location in Aspen, Colorado. In recent years, a spate of members-only arts-focused clubs has spread across Los Angeles, with the Neuehouse opening at the nearby Columbia Square development in 2016 and a new outpost of SoHo House slated to open in L.A.’s Arts District in coming years. The Arts Club is headed toward construction with an anticipated 2020 completion date.
In the southeast of England, a derelict building appears to be falling apart in the most unusual way: It's getting unzipped. This piece of architectural trickery is the work of British sculptor Alex Chinneck who this month unveiled his latest installation, Open to the Public. Comprising an oversized double zip, Open to the Public looks as if it is peeling away the walls of a 1960s office building in Ashford, Kent. Running 26 feet along the walls of the building, the zip reveals a dilapidated and abandoned interior. The building is due to be demolished, something that gave Chinneck "huge creative freedom and a license for ambition." Although the project took two months, the artwork appeared in zippy fashion, going up overnight. How the piece is made is not entirely clear. The Architect's Newspaper asked Chinneck what the work was made from, however, the artist was coy about his methods. "How the work is created is part of the magic, and I prefer not to spoil the illusion. All I will say is that we started by casting the facade of the building," he said. The surreal artwork is typical of Chinneck who has bemused passers-by in London and Kent before. In the past five years, he has slid the brick facade off a three-story property in Margate, constructed a full-size melting house from 7,500 wax bricks on London Bridge, 'floated' a stone building above London's Covent Garden plaza, and inverted an electricity pylon to stand on its tip. Chinneck said that he had wanted to "unzip a building for some time." He went on:
It had to be the right one, with the right set of circumstances. It’s often the case that the idea is there, in sketch form in my mind, waiting to be fully realized. It can take years for those ideas to find a home, and there are hundreds more still waiting. In this case, the site was originally a tannery and wool processing factory so there is a historical association with textiles. I like the fact that the building is so archetypal. I had school lessons in a building just like it and that sense of familiarity is one of the things that I like to subvert. I think we’ve all got a relationship with a building like this, somewhere in our past, so that imbues the work with personal meaning. Its position, right by the road, close to the post office, the council offices, the probation center and the leisure center means that people of all ages and from all walks of life will see it.
According to the artist, Open to the Public will remain 'open' until the end of August, "at least."
The mundane moments of Williamsburg trespass on Leigh Ruple’s canvases. The Brooklyn-based artist’s works are inspired by her daily life, featuring stylized, temperamental depictions of objects and figures abstracted within an array colors and forms. Her studio is located in East Williamsburg, allowing her to observe the architecture and people within the thriving neighborhood, and the geometries and patterns of the district’s local architecture have become motifs of her paintings. Her work also explores the city’s nightscape, with changing highlights and shadows. In a painting titled Nightstand, the Manhattan skyline is backlit by moonlight, while an assortment of prosaic objects including kitchen gloves, a pair of scissors, and a trimmed plant occupies the foreground, hinting at the inner life of an unseen subject. In Red Door, a bare-chested man sitting on an inverted tin bucket paints a fence door from blue to red; the red light shining from behind the fence illuminates parts of the man’s torso. The placid scene is dramatized with contrasting tones, hues, and lighting effects. Ruple is an expert in conveying moods through colors and composition. In Healthful, the ordinary scene of shopping for apples is exaggerated with backlit lighting and a heightened exaggeration of a mainly red-and-blue palette. The face of the shopper is tinted with magenta, the same shade as the apples in the basket. Ruple continues to draw references from New York’s cityscape and frequently captures the sidewalks, lampposts, animals, and plants with her paintbrush. In many paintings, a main figure takes center stage, often with blank and indifferent expressions; a reference to the solitude and loneliness of living in a bustling city like New York. Leigh Ruple’s most recent exhibition was at the Morgan Lehman Gallery.
Legendary English light artist Anthony McCall has brought his ethereal explorations of time, form and cinema to Brooklyn, with a new show at the Pioneer Works cultural center in Redhook through March 11. Solid Light Works uses the venue’s 30-foot-tall ceilings to project monumental light “drawings” through a pitch-black, smoky room, creating explorable sculptures that have form but lack physicality. McCall’s work have always been presented as experiences rather than pieces, with his light sculptures contracting and expanding over time and constantly changing the relationship between the viewer and the art. Solid Light Works continues that tradition here, with four vertical and two horizontal installations that were selectively chosen from the artist’s bank of over 250 potential pieces. Speaking at a Pioneer Works panel discussion on February 27, McCall discussed how the works in the show, while not site-specific, were all “site sensitive”; after the sculptures were chosen, curator Gabriel Florenz worked with McCall to build out a unique exhibition space complete with controlled sightlines and room for the lengthy horizontal projections. Somewhere between a line drawing, sculpture, and structure, McCall has described the inhabitable portions of his works as “islands of serenity,” where viewers are sandwiched between seemingly tangible walls of light and treated to an experience that feels holy. Drawing on the language of film, all of McCall’s work relies on wipes, a film technique where one image quickly slides over another, to shift the structure of the piece over much longer spans of time. McCall explained that while short performances might draw crowds, the same experience stretched out into an all-day event attracted singular patrons interested in interacting with the work. Much has changed since McCall staged his first light sculpture, Line Describing a Cone. In his landmark 1973 film, the artist uses a projector to “draw” a circle with a projector in a smoke-filled room, creating a three-dimensional cone in the process. Gone is the cigarette smoke used as a transmission medium in the first showing. Moreover, moving to digital projection from film has enabled McCall to realize the towering sculptures at Pioneer Works; film projectors were simply too heavy to hang vertically. Technology has also changed the audience, and visitors might find that the delicate pieces have been drowned out by ambient smartphone light. Pioneer Works will be showing Solid Light Works through March 11, but will keep the installation (and the building) open for 48 straight hours from March 10 through 11. More information about the show can be found here.
Since the NYC Mayor’s Office released its first cultural plan, CreateNYC, in July, many have taken stock of the work that must be done to build equitable access to cultural institutions and increase staff diversity. Recently the New York Times released new data on several of NYC’s major cultural institutions that illuminates a striking disparity between institutions with and without a focus on racial parity among its employees and board members. The data show that while some institutions do employ staff members representative of their communities, boards and senior leadership are largely white. In the case of Studio Museum in Harlem both the staff and the leadership reflect the broader racial diversity of NYC. All cultural institutions currently receiving city funds must submit diversity plans within the first year of CreateNYC in order to continue receiving public support. While achieving more representative leadership is a high priority within the first year, accountability measures have also been set to ensure that cultural institutions are increasing access for those with disabilities and abiding by the city’s aggressive sustainability goals. These two provisions in particular will have an effect on the way private institutions that accept public money will develop their capital investments strategies and set the stage (so to speak) for progressive architectural environments. While CreateNYC has been in the works for months, cultural landmarks and institutions are receiving renewed attention as central figures in a national debate over identity following the traumatic events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Earlier this month Mayor De Blasio called for a 90-day review of New York City’s “symbols of hate,” commissioning a panel that will develop methods for altering or potentially removing public objects that espouse hate or intolerance of any kind. Now, the city is considering placing explanatory plaques next to controversial monuments that will contextualize the racist actions of the people they depict for a contemporary audience.