Posts tagged with "art":

Placeholder Alt Text

Aranda\Lasch and Native American artist Terrol Dew Johnson combine traditional and modern craft in this new exhibition

As contemporary architects continue to integrate craft into their designs, they’d be well served to take a close look at the new exhibition Meeting the Clouds Halfway at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (MOCA).

Stemming from a more than 10-year collaboration between New York architects Aranda/Lasch and Native American artist Terrol Dew Johnson of the Arizona-based Tohono O’odham Nation, the show examines the merger of contemporary and traditional materials, techniques, and ideas.

“I’ve always been fascinated by things that were really different and took me out of the traditional realm,” said Johnson. “I saw this as an exciting adventure.”

The show, staged inside MOCA’s generous, light-filled Brutalist main gallery, includes works ranging from jewelry and small baskets to furniture, sculpture, and large-scale structures that grew out of the designers’ experiments with the traditional native technique of coiling, in which a bendable material is woven around itself to create a solid surface.

The teams incorporated a large palette of traditional materials like bear grass, yucca, sinew, wood, gourd, horsehair, and feathers, and more modern ones like aluminum, steel, copper, and fiberglass. They merged coiling and weaving with computer modeling and fabrication techniques like CNC milling and water jet- and laser-cutting. Often a design would bounce between the teams across the country, digital and analog creations emerging in new and unexpected ways.

In one case, a wood basket was formed from laser-cut panels, assembled via weaving and connected with yucca and sinew. In another, a laser-cut metal loop would start in New York, and then come back from Arizona looking utterly transformed.

The artists first teamed up in 2006 for a show at New York’s Artists Space. The current show, curated by Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, displays diverse pieces on platforms and walls, and even hangs them from the ceiling.

The project was as much about process as it was output, said Chris Lasch, principal at Aranda/Lasch. “What it boils down to was looking for a way to exchange information. The design was always collaborative. The pieces were always done through discussions and design sessions.”

Both sides of this creative team are not only happy with what they’ve learned from the other, but are looking to collaborate again. Lasch notes that perceptiveness to local craft and materials is helping them with a new furniture system they’re developing for a school built by the 14 + Foundation in Zambia.

“The sky is the limit,” added Johnson. “I’m definitely looking for what the future holds with more collaborations or ideas to expand on what I need to express myself.”

Meeting the Clouds Halfway runs through January 29, 2017, see MOCA's website for more details.

Placeholder Alt Text

New York Historical Society to partner with MTA to preserve ‘Subway Therapy’ installation

Earlier today, Governor Cuomo announced that the New-York Historical Society will partner with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to preserve the spontaneous “Subway Therapy” installations that appeared throughout New York City subway stations in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory, which was largely predicated on openly racist, misogynist, and xenophobic rhetoric, as well as the denial of climate science. The project was created when artist Matthew Levee Chavez brought sticky notes and pens to subway stations in the days following the election results, and encouraged New Yorkers to “express their thoughts, feel less alone, and also become exposed to opinions different than their own,” Chavez said. Working with the artist, the New-York Historical Society will archive the sticky notes as “an emblem of emotion and humanity in the month following the [2016 national] election,” according to a press release. "Over the last six weeks, New Yorkers have proved that we will not let fear and division define us. Today, we preserve a powerful symbol that shows how New Yorkers of all ages, races, and religions came together to say we are one family, one community and we will not be torn apart," said Governor Cuomo. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society spoke of the way “ephemeral items in particular can become vivid historical documents,” and the importance of ensuring “future generations can understand the historical impact of present events.” “‘Subway Therapy’ perfectly evokes this historic moment,” Mirrer said of the participatory art piece. As the removal of the sticky notes is already underway, the public will still be able to participate in the project, this Tuesday through Inauguration Day on January 20th, by placing sticky notes on the glass wall inside New-York Historical Society’s front entrance, located on Central Park West at 77th Street.
Placeholder Alt Text

Top picks from Miami’s art and design week

The annual December Miami art week has come to a close and the dealers, collectors, and artists have packed up their wares and headed home for another year. The centerpiece fair Art Basel, its next door tented neighbor Design Miami, and the nearly twenty other shows will likely be already thinking about 2017. But for the collectors and audience, it’s also time to go through our telephone camera images and remember what stood out and still looks good a day later on a computer screen. There are, of course, scores of art and design works at these fairs to interest an architect who wants to be inspired, educated, or seduced by visual eye candy. In retrospect, the objects and images that stood out to an architect's eye are really too numerous to mention but here are few highlights worth spending more time reviewing. The best single image to this architect's eye was surely Thomas Struth’s chromogenic print Schaltwerk 1 (2016) from Berlin at Marian Goodman Gallery, but there were dozens of other photographs that stood out, including Gordon Parks's Untitled, Mobile (1956) that depicts a sign reading “For Sale Lots for Colored…” and Nicola Lopez’s photo and hand-drawn image on a wall of an imaginary building rising like a modern totem. The print image that most fits the dark fears of today's racial conflict is perhaps James Casebere’s Vestibule (2016) for Sean Kelly Gallery; the object that raises the potential of playful fears is from Austrian Erwin Wurm in his Fat House Moller/Adolf Loos (2013) from Cristina Guerre Gallery. This year's fair had few sculptural objects for an architect's enjoyment, but American Brutalism (1978) by Marlon de Azambuja from Brazil (where he was “brought up in a place of full-scale utopias”) is different. It takes architectural “thinking and building” and creates a small scale megastructure of industrial blocks and clamps. It reminds us how powerful the connection between art and architecture can and should be in the gallery and real world.
Placeholder Alt Text

The Berlin Biennale explored how architecture defines us today

The 9th Berlin Biennale, The Present in Drag, is “more rooted in a time than a place,” explained curator Lauren Boyle of the New York–based collective DIS. For this citywide art exhibition, the DIS team wanted to expose the contradictions and sheer spectacle of today’s hyper-networked, content-saturated culture. The exhibition breaks from many past Berlin Biennales, as it does not, on the surface, take an immediate political stance. Instead, it acts as a platform for artists to perform the present, in a sense, caricaturing and parodying it in order to tease out the contradictions and confusing realities of contemporary culture. DIS assembled a list of young artists and collectives, including 69, Cécile B. Evans, Simon Denny, Hito Steyerl, and more to show across five venues in Berlin.

Many of the works confront the Internet and the effect that it has on our lives and the way we create our identities. Three of the works explicitly deal with architecture, and how it is being affected by changes in technology and new social cues in an evolving world.

The first and most outwardly architectural is “#3” by architect Shawn Maximo. In collaboration with German kitchen- and bath-fixture manufacturer Dornbracht—famous for its ongoing forward-thinking collaborations with artists since 1996—Maximo created a room based on the idea of a “comfort station” where you can get all the comforts of home, such as going to the bathroom, getting a drink, or taking a nap…but in the Kunste-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art. In the installation, a squat toilet, a kitchen sink, a large-screen monitor with digital videos and illustrations, and light boxes illuminated with images of nature create a place where the most intimate, private ritual collides with a social gathering space—a place for both comfort and information. The title, “#3” suggests a new way of thinking about the bathroom as a place where maybe you can use the toilet while your friend washes dishes and watches a movie. Maximo wanted to tackle some of the taboos and boundaries that we hang on to despite their lack of usefulness today. “The bathroom is a place where there is a lot of potential to make more of an impact in terms of design and aesthetic,” he explained.

Another installation at the Kunste-Werke is “ARCHITECTURE,” a long, thickened wall that incorporates six nooks filled with pillows, by London-based åyr. These cozy spaces are outfitted with outlets for phone charging and are meant to challenge our assumptions of “openness” and “crossing boundaries” common to both the sharing economy and corporate architectural discourse. The work also makes reference to Rem Koolhaas’s Berlin Wall studies and Testo Junkie by Paul B. Preciado, which conflates spaces of protection and incarceration.

Completing the trifecta of architectural, boundary-challenging works is a deconstructed showroom apartment in the Akademie der Kunste by Christopher Kulendran Thomas titled “New Eelam.” In the apartment, a video explains the concept of a new app that would utilize the sharing economy to introduce users to a network of luxury communal housing units. The app—named after the failed neo-Marxist movement in Eelam, Sri Lanka—breaks out of traditional borders, operating outside the traditional power networks of late capitalist, neo-colonial influence. By establishing a collectively owned network of housing inside the existing system, Kulendran Thomas hopes to create a new way of living through the “luxury of communalism rather than private property.”

Combined, the three artworks attempt to make sense of the architectural implications of the political and technological forces that are swirling around us, but are hard to pin down in an architectural context. Contemporary art succeeds where architecture struggles in this exploration, perhaps because art can more adeptly capture these subtle forces not necessarily embedded in actual buildings.

Placeholder Alt Text

New Guggenheim exhibit delves into place, politics, history, and more, with East Asian artists

Now on display at the Guggenheim is Tales of Our Time, an exhibition that opens up a discourse on the concepts of geography and nation-state. The exhibition's artists are primarily East Asian (Chia-En Jao, Kan Xuan, Sun Xun, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Tsang Kin-Wah, Yangjiang Group, and Zhou Tao) and their work has a site-specific focus that ranges from their homeland to remote border areas and untouched islands. Within this spectrum, notions such as territory, boundaries, and utopia crop up and are used to question the traditional understanding of place.

Tales of Our Time draws on renowned Chinese author Lu Xun's Gushi xin bian (Old Tales Retold, 1936). In this story, ancient Chinese legends critique society, reimagine history, and shed light on contemporary issues. The line between reality and fiction is blurred by artists in the tale, thus causing disruption, drawing up new borders, demolishing old ones, and dividing communities, regions, nations, and continents in the process.

The artworks from the aforementioned artists are all new commissions. However, they don't focus solely on China and its art scene. Social and political tensions found across the globe manifest in the works through themes such as individual and collective memory, migration and urbanization, cultural inclusion and exclusion, and technological development. "The tales told in this exhibition consider our seemingly more connected, globalized world as one that is still filled with fractured land, fragmented history, and upended traditions, but, at the same time, they also propose ways to imagine culture differently," says the museum.

Placeholder Alt Text

Iván Navarro’s surreal neon and LED artworks now on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Iván Navarro’s Mute Parade exhibition opened this week at New York's Paul Kasmin Gallery. The show features two large works that employ light, sound, and language to engage ideas of migration, propaganda, and power. The first gallery features Navarro’s Impenetrable Rooma labyrinth of six 6-by-6-foot structures outfitted with mirrors and undulating, green neon lights whose interior spaces seem to recede into infinity. The adjacent gallery features two drums, each of them 6 feet in diameter, that incorporate neon LEDs, mirrors, as well a pyramid of six more drums on the rear wall. The interior of each artwork is outfitted with messages that play on the intersection of political and instrumental themes.  Iván Navarro was born in 1972 in Santiago, Chile, during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. He is known internationally for the politically charged messages of his sculptures and represented Chile at the 53rd Venice Biennale. The exhibition, running through late December, will be his second solo show at Paul Kasmin Gallery.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Regen Projects sculpture exhibition fuses cars, mixed media, and music

Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’s Autoconcanción, a collection of new sculptures, is on display at Regen Projects in Los Angeles. The collection of eight autobiographical, mixed-media installations uses the backseats from cars Cruzvillegas has used throughout his life and augments them with various apparatuses—lifting some on spindly stilts and shading others behind iridescent sheets of backlit, colored plastic. To these objects, the artist attaches radios that play reports from local stations. Each piece also contains some sort of native plant specimen perched somewhere, such as a palm tree still in its nursery bucket or a collection of oak saplings like those typically seen in Southern California freeway medians. The work, meant to be a reflection on Cruzvillegas’s life through Southern California car culture, is reflected via the Mexico City–based artist’s title for the exhibition, which translates to “car with song.”

Autoconcanción Regen Projects 6750 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles Through October 22

Placeholder Alt Text

James Turrell’s “Meeting” re-opens at MoMA PS1

After a three-year restoration and renovation, James Turrell’s Meeting re-opened at MoMA PS1 just last Saturday, October 8. The oculus, carved out of the ceiling, was originally commissioned in 1976, completed in 1980, and modified through 1986, ultimately becoming a prototype for a series of what the artist calls ‘Skyscapes,’ which invite viewers to gaze up at an unobstructed view of the sky. The re-opening at MoMA PS1 will feature a modulated lighting program at sunset, utilizing LED lights that gradually brighten and dim to contrast the sky in transition. The LED fixtures, common in Turrell’s more recent works, are controlled by a computer program that automatically aligns the sequence to the setting of the sun as it shifts throughout the year. He has also maintained the original tungsten bulbs for its stark yellow tones, according to a press release from MoMA PS1. The Museum of Modern Art acquired Meeting as a gift from Mark and Lauren Booth, who provided major support for the ongoing restoration and renovation processes in honor of the 40th anniversary of MoMA PS1. Turrell was involved intimately in the project’s revival, which included the repair of weather-related deterioration and components of a mechanical roof that covers the work when it is not open for viewing. Turrell also designed more durable teak wood seating to replace the original plywood, according to The New York Times. MoMA PS1 will be hosting a series of twenty after-hours sunset viewings for Meeting which require a free advanced ticket through November 5, 2015. Beginning on November 6, the program will fall within regular museum hours.
Placeholder Alt Text

Three upcoming NYC art exhibitions that architects will love

One of the advantages of being an architect in New York City is the opportunity to visit the plethora of architectural exhibits in the city's museums and galleries. If you include those art exhibitions that consider architecture directly—or comment on its concerns—then it's a monthly feast of riches. With the start of the post-Labor Day migration, the city's commercial galleries always seem to have a few exhibits for architects. This year is no different: The Architect's Newspaper has already written about The Time Capsules of Ant Farm and LST at Pioneer Works in Red Hook but there are three other potentially compelling exhibits for architects all opening September 8 and 9. The works of photographer Robert Polidori, who has long focused his camera on urban subjects, will be featured in Ecohilia/Chronostasis at Paul Kasmin gallery (293 Tenth Avenue, 9/8 to 10/15). The exhibition will focus on what Polidori calls “Dendritic” or “auto-constructed cities” (as opposed to tightly planned urban developments). Also in Chelsea, Andrea Rosen Gallery will open an exhibit by artist Andrea Zittel showcasing her environmental sculptural pieces (525 West 24th Street, 9/9 to 10/8). Finally, art historian Barbara Rose has curated ED MOSES: PAINTING AS PROCESSthe first major East Coast retrospective of the 90-year-old Los Angeles painter Ed Moses. Moses had long been a patriarchal figure within the L.A. art scene and a favorite of architects in California. ED MOSES is at the albertz benda gallery in Chelsea (515 West 26th Street, 9/8 to 10/15).
Placeholder Alt Text

Detroit’s Heidelberg Project to transform into artistic village

Of Detroit’s many enigmatic urban spaces, perhaps the most notable is the Heidelberg Project (HP). The urban art project is comprised two blocks of vacant lots and abandoned houses filled with found objects and brightly painted surfaces. Now 30 years into its existence, HP Founder Tyree Guyton is changing the project’s direction. The Heidelberg Project’s mission “is to inspire people to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the social and economic health of their greater community.” At the heart of the project is the belief that, “citizens, from all cultures, have the right to grow and flourish in their communities.” In order to expand on these ideals, Tyree Guyton is planning to disassemble the entire project. Guyton’s hope is to transform the one-man project into an arts-focused community project called Heidelberg 3.0. This will not be the first time that the HP has been dismantled. This is just the first time it has been done on purpose. The city bulldozed the project twice in the 1990s. Since its inception, the project has had its ups and downs, politically, economically, and critically. Funded primarily by donations and fundraising, the project has moved from a pilgrimage site of outsider art to a world renowned site of cultural expression. An estimated 200,000 visitors from around the world come to the Heidelberg project every year. The ever-changing project will slowly evolve over the coming years, with the familiar menagerie of old toys, painted signs, and discarded household items slowly disappearing. Eventually, the two blocks will be developed into a “Funky Artistic Cultural Village,” which will include indoor art and educational classes in the four houses within the project. The full vision of the new Heidelberg 3.0 has not been released, but it promises to be colorful.
Placeholder Alt Text

New Rashid Johnson exhibition to open at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery

Fly Away, named for the perennially reinterpreted gospel “I’ll Fly Away,” is a collection of paintings and sculptures by Rashid Johnson at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery. Johnson’s work has been referred to as “post-black,” and often deals with the African-American experience in a range of media, from photographs to music. Following the theme of last year’s Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men at the Drawing Center, the artist uses black soap and wax as materials in Fly Away. Inhabiting one room of the exhibition is “Within Our Gates,” a collection of black metal shelving populated by objects like live plants, books, and shea butter.

According to Hauser & Wirth, the enclosed objects are signifiers inspired by the African diaspora. The room also contains an upright piano that will be played in drop-in performances by Antoine “Audio BLK” Baldwin, a New York–based piano player and music producer. Baldwin will play original jazz compositions during the first week of the exhibition, with periodical unannounced visits afterward. Johnson’s work will also be featured in an exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, early next year.

Rashid Johnson: Fly Away Hauser & Wirth 511 West 18th Street New York September 8–October 22, 2016

Placeholder Alt Text

This tilting house is a piece of “performance architecture”

At the end of July, in a field in the middle of the Hudson Valley, this precarious house twisted and tilted for five days while its creators lived inside. The house is called Reactor and it's the latest from collaborators Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley. Schweder and Shelley told The New York Times their work is "performance architecture," a name that reflects their philosophy of building interesting structures and then living in them. Reactor was built at the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, New York, with dimensions of 40-by-8 feet balanced on a concrete pillar. As Schweder and Shelley lived in the space, both the wind and their own movements kept it in perpetual motion. As breezes spun the structure around the center, it would tilt up and down as the pair moved into the building's different rooms and changed its center of gravity. The installation has similar themes to the pair's previous works which involve a pair cohabiting an unusual space that requires teamwork to get around. For example Orbit from 2013 resembles a giant hamster wheel, with one artist living on top and another living inside the circle. Counterweight Roommate from 2011 had the two attached to each other on opposite sides of a vertical structure, so that for one to go up the other had to go down. Shelley and Schweder shared their journal entries from the first few days of living in Reactor with The New York Times. In them they express the irregularity of the weather and movement patterns in the house, and the calming effects of being in constant motion. They also shared the sense of being intimately aware of your roommate's presence, as the ground under your feet moves with them as well. The house will be on display at the Omi International Arts Center for two years. Scheweder and Shelley will return to spend more time in Reactor for several days in September and October.