Posts tagged with "Art":

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Find out one reason why this year’s Armory Show had record-breaking attendance

The result of seven month’s work, involving copious amounts of organizing, planning, scheduling, revising, assembling, testing and eleventh-hour tweaking, culminated in a five-day art frenzy: The Armory Show 2017. Held on Piers 92 and 94 in New York City, this year's fair hosted 200 galleries from 30 different countries—a significant reduction from the previous year's showing (230). However, Bade Stageberg Cox Architects (BSC) designed the layout of the show and the New York firm was on hand to remind visitors how effective the Miesian principle, "less is more" can be.

"We're always playing with scale," said Jane Stageberg, a principle at BSC who showed The Architect's Newspaper around. "The art is big, so the space must be big!" One way to get more space is to have fewer galleries, argued Stageberg, who added that on the flip side, this afforded galleries more floor space to work with themselves. The result was a more fluid and dynamic experience of The Armory Show.

In 2016, Pier 94 had three aisles of circulation, whereas this year two were employed, facilitating a much smoother and more logical route up and down the pier. This also allowed BSC to create what Stageberg called "town squares." For an experience that had the potential to feel like a head-spinning cavalcade of art, the open spaces offered visual relief and acted as convenient meeting points. They also housed "big" public art, making them handy tools for way-finding. Saying "meet by the red and white polka-dotted mushrooms" (or to the more sophisticated "Yayoi Kusama's 2016 work, Guidepost to the New World") made for an easy-to-find reference point. Or, if that didn't take your fancy: the champagne bar by the hanging piano (Sebastian Errazuriz's 2017 piece, The awareness of uncertainty).

"Our goal was to open up the plan and create sight-lines, carving away corners to create diagonal views," Stageberg explained. "The galleries realized that this was good for them too as it meant more exposure. Their goal is to sell art and that's our goal too." The risk paid off, though, as galleries did well. “We sold an enormous amount,” said Sean Kelly, whose Chelsea gallery can be found on 475 10th Avenue.

Additionally, Stageberg said that the bones (especially the roof) of Pier 94 itself were also exposed to acknowledge the site's industrial past. In a refined environment predominantly comprised of white gallery walls, the juxtaposition of evident decay seen on the roof and odd bits of wall was a welcome sight.

On Pier 92, this was less the case, but the inclusion of generous amounts of daylight made possible by numerous windows, supplemented the sense of place BSC strove for. Around these areas of fenestration was more "public space." (This year, public space made up more than a third of the square footage allocated to galleries.) In a setting where square footage and wall space are prime real estate for galleries, the decision to do so was justified as visitors came in record numbers (65,000 over five days—the most ever). In addition to this, the show's busiest days over the weekend were gloriously sunny. Light shimmered off the Hudson and the pier—which is roughly 30 feet narrower than its neighbor—felt open and breathable.

Another advantage of this was simply being able to see where you were in the scope of the city. Be it views of BIG's Via 57 or simply Pier 94, the windows aided orientation and provided a pleasing change of focus. This was particularly the case in the VIP Lounge on Pier 92 where a large window punched through the end of the pier was the highlight of the show’s premium venue.

BSC has been working The Armory Show since 2011 when the firm began designing the 2012 edition of the fair. Between then and now, two directors (Paul Morris and Noah Horowitz) have come and gone, but this year marked the second year BSC had been working with its current director, Ben Genocchio.

For the 2017 show, Genocchio wanted Piers 92 and 94 to be in greater unison. Curatorial programming at previous shows had created a disconnect between the two piers, a phenomenon amplified further due to their differences in elevation (Pier 92 is almost one story higher than its neighbor) resulting in tricky circulation. To challenge this, both modern and contemporary galleries could be found on the two piers and emphasis was placed on the corridor that linked them.

It wasn't all smooth sailing on the water, however. While an oversized floating concrete block (Drifter, by Studio Drift) did well to draw visitors to the connecting stairwell, traveling between the two piers was still awkward. This problem, though, may be impossible to solve. Stageberg was disappointed in the food outlet "Mile End" at the end of Pier 94. "It felt like a dead-end space," she said. Likewise, it's hard to see how such an issue will be resolved without sacrificing more gallery space.

Stageberg, though, took this as a positive. "We're learning what we can do next year," she said. “We’re very pleased with how the public spaces in general turned out, they were really needed.” In the end, it's the piers' quirks that make The Armory Show what it is. There are few, if any, places where you can gaze over millions of dollars worth of art amid expertly organized chaos, all under one, slowly dying roof in the middle of New York.

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New Museum unveils partnership with Nokia Bell Labs to support art and technology collaborations

The New Museum in New York has announced a new partnership with Nokia Bell Labs, the American research and scientific development arm of the Finnish phone company. The news means that artists and designers at NEW INC, the New Museum's in-house incubator, will be supported for their work relating to art and technology. The scheme will kick off this month with three artists from NEW INC working with engineers from Bell Labs on robotics, machine learning, drones, and biometry to create performative projects. Subsequent works will be displayed at unconventional locations as the program looks to bring the medium outside typical museum and performance space boundaries. Nokia Bell Labs has forayed into the creative world before. E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) was begun by Bell Labs engineers, Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer, and two artists, Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman, more than fifty years ago. The three NEW INC members chosen for the 2017 partnership are:

HAMMERSTEP A collective that uses choreography, technology, and nontraditional audience engagement to tell new stories through theater and dance. They are currently developing an immersive theater production called Indigo Grey that invites the audience to become a part of the action.

Lisa Park A performance artist who strives to create intimate environments and experiences that trigger emotional states and meditative reflections in viewers. She has explored themes of vulnerability, self-control, and confrontation by integrating biometric sensors, such as heart rate and brain wave sensors, into her work.

Sougwen Chung Chung’s artistic practice spans installation, sculpture, still image, drawing, and performance, informing her multifaceted approach to experiential art. Her ongoing collaborations with a drawing robot, begun while at NEW INC in 2015, explore the difference between handmade and machine-made marks as an approach to understanding the interaction between humans and computers.

“Bell Labs is known for shaping the state of the art and creating pioneering technological solutions for over ninety years. We are continuing this tradition by exploring new sensory dimensions and examining motion and emotion in order to try to discern current and future human needs and desires," said Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs, in a press release. "We are also working on methods to help people think more efficiently, using a combination of machine learning and new graph-based mathematics to augment human intelligence and perception. I believe that Bell Labs working together with NEW INC will create a new frontier in multimedia sensory art experiences.” Meanwhile, Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director of the New Museum added, “The New Museum has long been at the forefront of art and technology; this partnership with a legendary research lab will help us continue to push boundaries of cultural expression and possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration. The NEW INC community embraces an untapped demographic of practitioners.”
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Anish Kapoor will install a dark, ominous whirlpool at Brooklyn Bridge Park

British artist Anish Kapoor will bring Descension to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The work is as dystopic as its name implies: A dark whirling funnel of water will descend down into an abyss, adjacent to the East River at Pier 1. Descension sees Kapoor's desire to coalesce negative space and energy finally realized, coming in the form of a 26-foot-wide whirlpool. To create the dark look, an all-natural black dye will be used to evoke the sensation that the water's journey is never-ending. Perimeter railing that traces the pool's circumference will stop audiences plunging into the illusory chasm, but will allow them to peer over, perhaps creating a swirling sinister phone-swallower in the process. The concept was first conceived in India (Kapoor's country of birth) at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale that ran from 2014 to 2015. There he exhibited the work as an interior piece, though later he furthered the idea in Versailles, France, exhibiting Descension as an outdoor work. Descension has also made an appearance in Italy where it was exhibited inside the Galleria Continua, a disused cinema theater. “Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us. With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume in a press release. “In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.” The Public Art Fund—a non-profit arts organization which receives public and private support—is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. "We’re thrilled that Anish’s newest work will be a highlight of this anniversary season, more than a decade after his outdoor debut with us," added Baume. Descension will be on view from May 3 to September 10 this year.
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Visual chaos descends on a gallery in downtown Manhattan

The Gallery at Cadillac House, located just west of Soho, is hosting Toiletpaper Paradise—an exhibition that is as eccentric as it sounds. Toiletpaper Paradise invites audiences to touch, play, move, sit, recline, and position themselves in the visual antics of artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrai's curated space. The kaleidoscopic spaghetti world features over-sized stringy pasta pasted to the walls and floor joined on either side by enclaves of further obscurities enamored with space popcorn and cloud fish wallpaper. This description alone should suffice in setting the tone for the exhibit: The inclusion of risqué carpets, a life-size crocodile, tombstone, and ionic column are strangely unsurprising inclusions in their context of peculiarity. Though overwhelmed with imagery, furniture and accessories of note have been interspersed throughout the space. Despite not jumping out at you as much as the wallpaper, a range of midcentury modern furniture can be found within the setting, a feature that has led the exhibition to be dubbed "Mad Men on acid." Meanwhile, if you can spot them, works produced by Italian homeware manufacturers Gufram and Seletti are on display, all carrying with them inflections of Toiletpaper Magazine's off-beat Instagram-ready aesthetic. The exhibition was made possible through creative media agency Visionaire and Toiletpaper Magazine; Ferrari and Cattelan are co-creators of the latter. Toiletpaper Paradise runs through April 12 and is free to the public. The Gallery at Cadillac House 330 Hudson Street New York City
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The London-based Hospital Club to open Los Angeles outpost in 2018

Los Angeles will soon be home to the first American outpost of the London-based Hospital Club, a private social club aimed at arts-focused creative professionals. The new venture, designed by HKS architects, would establish a hotspot for artists and creative entrepreneurs in Los Angeles’s Hollywood neighborhood by taking over the existing Redbury Hotel at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. That building, located across from the historic Capitol Records building, will be renovated to contain a slew of performance and shared office and studio spaces, as well as hotel rooms. The new complex, dubbed h. Club LA, will house facilities for film screenings, musical performances, exhibitions, among other types of cultural programs. It will also provide up to 36 bedrooms for use by the public. Hotel guests will become temporary members during their stay and will have access to the member facilities. The club will also offer a slate of member-accessible amenities, like a rooftop patio and restaurant, co-working spaces, gym, and music studio. In recent years, Hollywood has exploded with a large crop of housing, office, and mixed-use developments, including an office tower currently under construction by Gensler called the Icon. Los Angeles-based LARGE Architecture is also working on a midcentury modern style-inspired mixed-use residential tower in the neighborhood. The area also hosts a growing contingent of technology-related companies including headquarters facilities for Netflix, CNN, and Live Nation. With its Hollywood outpost, Hospital Club owners are betting the growing creative industries in the area will be a boon to business. Sue Walter, chief executive of Hospital Club told the Los Angeles Times, “Big names are moving into the area. I have been astonished by the level of development. It’s like it’s on the cusp of something exciting that is about to explode and we want to be part of that.” The club, which offers half-price memberships to individuals who are under the age of 30, is scheduled to open in 2018.
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Theaster Gates showcases artworks at Regen Projects in Los Angeles

Regen Projects is currently showcasing new works by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates in Los Angeles.
The exhibition, titled But To Be A Poor Race, uses painting to explore themes found within W.E.B. Du Bois's seminal book, The Souls of Black Folk. In the book, Du Bois uses essays to chronicle examples of exceptionalism within the African American community in an effort to humanize Black experiences during an era of segregation and racism. Du Bois's work is considered to be important both as a sociological exploration and a political text.
The paintings on display reinterpret statistical data presented in The Souls of Black Folk as abstract, geometric fields of color. The artist also uses sculpture—including a collection of sculptural objects, ephemera, and video artworks—to explore themes of Black experience, visual politics, and shamanism. Three of the works utilize bound copies of Jet magazines, a weekly digest focusing on important figures in the African American community that ran in print form from 1951 until 2014, to convey the lines of a long poem. Each of the works contains a stanza from the poem, with the three works arranged at eye level along the gallery walls so they can be read while walking.
In a press release for the exhibition, Gates describes the exhibition as an exploration of racialized poverty, saying, "But To Be A Poor Race questions a particular kind of poverty, one that is not just about a lack of economic capital but one that is deprived of the basic elements from which one can make a living."
In a work hearkening to contemporary political times, the exhibition also features a video titled My country tis of thee that depicts a musical performance of the song My Country 'Tis of Thee by Gates and musicians The Black Monks of Mississippi. In the video, the artists perform the patriotic song as both a sincere expression of patriotism and simultaneously as a work of satire. The exhibition is on view until February 25, 2017. For more information, see the Regen Projects website.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.