Posts tagged with "Art":

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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).
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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.
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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

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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.
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Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse adorned with illusory art courtesy of Felice Varini

Defacing the work of Le Corbusier has become something of a trend of late. However, Paris-based Swiss artist Felice Varini has taken a more elegant approach to the fad. Using optical illusions, Varini's art installation, À Ciel Ouvert (Open Air) is located on top of Le Corbusier's La Cité Radieuse, built in 1952, an iconic modernist structure. “This is the first time that I have exhibited on, in, and with architecture designed by Le Corbusier," said Varini in a press release. "This place is a landmark, a huge influence. It is a true microcosm, designed as a small city with its range of complex volumes, a small city with a view over the large city of Marseille. It is extremely exciting!” Famed for his illusory artwork, Varini has applied his hallmark approach to numerous buildings-turned-canvases over the years. His work ranges from cellars to gothic churches, town squares, and a variety of urban environments. The art, by nature, relies on perspective and orientation. His style features a fragmented geometric aesthetic: circles, triangles and linear forms interact while others fall apart upon the concrete surface of the house. “My concern is what happens outside the vantage point of view,” said Varini in 2008. Speaking of his work on La Cité Radieuse, he added: “I generally scour the venue taking in its architecture, materials, history and function. Based on its varying spatial data, I define a viewpoint around which my initiative takes shape. For me a viewpoint is a point in the space that I choose carefully: it is usually situated at my eye level and preferably located in a key passageway, for example where one room leads to another, a landing, etc. I don’t make a rule of it, as spaces don’t all systematically have an obvious path." "The choice is often arbitrary. The viewpoint will function like a point of interpretation, that is, like a potential starting point to approach the painting and the space. The painted form makes sense when the spectator is in this spot. When the spectator leaves the viewpoint, the work encounters the space generating an infinite number of views of the shape. Therefore I do not see the accomplished work through this first point; this is encompassed in all the views that the spectator may have of it.”
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A new exhibition explores art and architecture projects that minimize their environmental impact

The issue of construction and its environmental effects on land and space is one of great importance to contemporary architects. A new exhibition, Relevant Notes at the Cara Gallery in New York, mixes the works of younger and older architects and artists whose work strived to make minimal permanent change to a site. The exhibit places, for example, projects by Andrés Jaque and Florentine ‘Radical’ Gianni Pettena in close visual and conceptual dialogue. The exhibit includes the work of: Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Ebtisam AbdulAziz, Matteo Berra, 
Igor Eškinja, Bruna Esposito, Franklin Evans, Diango Hernández, Federico Luger, Jason Middlebrook and Gianni Pettena. Cara Gallery is located at 508 West 24th Street and the exhibit runs through July 30, 2016.
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Art F City plans to document the ghosts of art studios past

When artists seize whatever space they can for art-making, frequently the stories behind those transient activities are lost. "What’s now the nanny’s room in Brownstone Brooklyn might’ve been a tiny gallery in a riotous punk house," said Art F City, who's organizing a series of print and online publications that will record the innovation and creativity that once lived in such places. They'll be appropriately titled We Are SO Not Getting the Security Deposit Back: a Guide to Defunct Artist-Run Spaces. Art F City is calling for anyone with a story of such a place to submit to, providing details about the “now-defunct artist-run space” (where it is located, what it once housed and now is, etc).
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An architecture course built around Burning Man and students finding ways to fund their projects

Each year, the Burning Man festival held in the Black Rock desert of Nevada attracts fantastical sculptures of all shapes and sizes. Joshua Potter, a fifth year student at the University of Westminster in London, is hoping that his structure "PURSUIT" will make to this years festival. Part of his studio assignment, PURSUIT follows a parametric approach—and an emphasis on self-reliance to fund student projects—that has become synonymous with his studio unit. Run by tutors Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess, the studio, named DS10, has garnered a strong pedigree for complex designs. However, DS10's primary approach, according to Potter is about producing "happy and fun" architecture that also relies on rigorous testing such as model making and digital fabrication. “The studio's philosophy is to involve students as much as possible in the design, fabrication and construction process" the two said. "We chose Burning Man for its ten guiding principles which include ‘Radical Self-Reliance,’ ‘Radical Self-Expression,’ ‘Leave no trace,’ and ‘communal effort.’ This meant playful and climbable structures, fully built by us as a team in a way that wouldn't harm the local environment.” Within the past five years, DS10 has submitted over 80 projects to the Global Arts Grant of Burning Man. As a result, six proposals have been provided funding through the scheme, notably Fractal Cult and Shipwreck constructed in 2013 and Hayam in 2014. Students are heavily encouraged to seek funding for their projects either through the Global Arts Grant or Kickstarter, to see their projects realized. "They try and make it a lot of fun, but it's a lot of work!" said Potter, who also added that DS10's ethos has taught many students, including himself about being independent and self reliant. His project brief, meanwhile, called for a project that could respond to a social agenda, through a set of parameters. As a result, PURSUIT was born. Deriving from a mathematical theory known as "pursuit curvature," a system that relies on inputs and thresholds. Potter used the shape of an arrowhead and formed the idea of six arrowheads pointing towards the center. Using the this algorithmically, an iterative process forces certain points to move in accordance with each other. "With Pursuit Curvature, each point starts at a unique position of a polygon, and moves incrementally towards the nearest adjacent point until they all converge in the centre. The path travelled is directly influenced by the points around it, so the final curves represent the effects all of the points have on one another as a group," he explains. On his Kickstarter page, he goes on to say that his project "celebrates humanity's ongoing quest for Peace, Freedom and Joy - in Life, Love and Art" aiming to "create an interactive and unique sculptural playground for visitors."
  The design forms three interconnected spaces that offer unique perspectives of their surrounding and interior spatial arrangements. Potter adds that this encourages "playful interaction" and allows visitors to climb up the and around the structure while also providing a "space for personal reflection and communal gathering." If Potter's $25,575 dream is realized, PURSUIT will be burnt to the ground when Burning Man is over, perhaps symbolizing the final end of the "pursuit."
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Our recap for architects and designers of the Frieze New York art fair

The Frieze New York art fair (May 5-8), currently ensconced in its large SO-IL designed tent on Randall's Island, always has a few works on display of special interest for architects and designers. This years fair is not brimming over with such works—but still there are a few. And this year, for me, they were all on wheels. William Kentridge's rolling wooden and metal accordion machine labeled TBC turned Marian Goodman’s booth into a dynamic space covered with the South African drawing and textual works. It was also a great—yet still somewhat sad—to see Krzysztof Wodiczko’s 1988-89 Homeless Vehicle Project. A major work by the artists in New York, I first saw it employed at Union Square where there were encampments of some of the estimated 70,000 homeless people in the city that winter. It’s sad to think we still have this enormous problem the city and this rolling homeless shelter is a reminder of all those people that push their homes shopping carts on the streets. Their was also Erwin Wurm’s 2016 corpulent white polyester and acrylic VW micro bus often seen at art fairs. But it's always an effective comment about the body of both humans and cars. The highlight of the Frieze art fair wheeled works was a special Frieze project: a remake of Mario Bellini’s Kar-a-sutra created for The Museum of Modern Art's 1972 New Domestic Landscape show curated by Emilio Ambasz. It's green 1960s fantasy of a car as a house for a Mediterranean seaside. Re-creator Anthea Hamilton also creates “an inhabitable mobile space meant to foster human creativity, imagination and communication.” It was all so sexy and easy in the 1960s!  
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Colorful animal sculptures coming to Cleveland's Public Square

Nonprofit Cleveland-based LAND Studio has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation to install temporary outdoor art over the course of three years. The installations have been designed by Italian art collective Cracking Art Group. Art will be displayed in the city's Public Square, currently in the final stages of a $50 million overhaul by New York Firm James Corner Field Operations. The Mall and balconies and garden of the main Cleveland Public Library will also be used as locations. Based in Milan, Cracking Art Group are well known for interspersing brightly-colored oversized animals across the city. Clevelanders can expect huge yellow snails or mobs of pink meerkats to invade the ten-acre civic space, adding a vibrant dash of color to the scene. Other animal additions include groups of swallows, wolves, frogs, and a red elephant, are set to be the showpiece focal point of the installation. Rising to some eight feet high, the elephant, the symbol of the GOP, will welcome Donald Trump and co. to the area for the Republican National Convention this year on July 18. Being made from plastic, the colorful animals will not be fixed to the ground, allowing for children to interact with them though LAND Studio acknowledge that this means some could be stolen. Others, meanwhile, will be weighed down with sand to keep them in place. "The choice of recyclable plastic for its aesthetic appeal shows acceptance of the inevitability that our world is becoming increasingly artificial," say Cracking Art Group on their wesbite. "The artworks are designed to inspire a community-wide conversation about the importance and the environmental impact of recycling, while leaving a potent artistic trace." Before the installation can go up, however, the the city's Landmarks Commission has to award approval to the finalized proposals, though it was reported that "stakeholders, including the city, have already weighed in." Even when the animals leave the area however, LAND Studio, who are working alongside fellow stakeholders Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, James Corner Field Operations and Nelson Nygaard hope that their colorful impact will remain with Public Square that they will essentially inaugurate. concert hill design "Public Square will be transformed from four individual quadrants into a singular public park that can be used throughout the year for a wide range of programs and events," they say.  "Landscape and design will create a soft colorful space that invites people in and encourages them to stay. The Square will include pedestrian pathways, green spaces for concerts and events, areas to sit and lounge, a water feature, a café and restrooms. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument will remain, but will be integrated into the overall park and become more accessible." The display by Cracking Art will feature 376 of the group's standard creatures, plus a bright red elephant, standing more than, which begins July 18.
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John Waters shares his perspective on remodeling with exhibition titled Home Improvements

Baltimore filmmaker and writer John Waters lives in an architect-designed house that’s approaching 100 years old, so it’s not surprising that he knows a thing or two about home improvement and remodeling. Now he’s sharing his perspective on the subject with an art exhibition entitled Home Improvements, which he curated for a new gallery in San Francisco called FraenkelLAB. Home Improvements features the work of 13 artists, including Waters. All contributed pieces that in some way make a comment about remodeling or home repair, with an off-kilter sensibility. There’s a wall mounted toilet paper holder that substitutes silk chiffon for three ply sheets of Charmin. A floor mat that’s chained to the wall. A triptyph of orange sponges with surfaces that look like the craters of the moon. A collage of shopping bags saved from trips to home improvement stores. According to the gallery, the works are intended to transform the mundane and pay tribute to ordinary domestic materials, such as shopping bags, a wall mirror, bath towels and staples. Some reveal unexpected aesthetic pleasure in overlooked fixtures of the home, such as a light switch or a breaker box. Waters’ contribution is an S & M-themed baby stroller called Bill’s Stroller, 2014. It looks like an ordinary stroller from a distance and has ordinary baby stroller wheels. But it features logos from old New York sex clubs on the seat and sunshade portions and uses part of a black leather harness to strap baby in for the ride. Waters rails against the ‘adult baby’ community in his stand-up shows and interviews, so this appears to be his revenge. The other artists, working in a wide range of media, include Martin Creed, Moyra Davey, Vincent Fecteau, Paul Gabrielli, gelitin, Paul Lee, Tony Matelli, Doug Padgett, Karin Sander, Gedi Sibony, Lily van der Stokker, and George Stoll. Waters, who turned 70 in April, describes the exhibition as “a celebration of the low-tech concept of ‘remodeling.’ These twelve artists’ humble but surprisingly imperious paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings will hopefully make any serious property owner want to throw caution to the wind, pack up their living space, and start over.” Home Improvements is the inaugural exhibit for the new gallery at 1632 Market Street, a satellite of Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary Street in San Francisco. It’s on view until May 28.
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Catherine Opie on designing a monumental artwork for SOM's Los Angeles Court House

When SOM’s federal courthouse opens in downtown Los Angeles, the 633,000-square-foot civic edifice will feature a monumental new artwork from L.A.-based artist Catherine Opie. Over the course of her career, Opie has taken on many architectural subjects: freeways, modernist interiors, and even lonesome icehouses. The General Services Administration commissioned her six-panel photographic mural of Yosemite Falls, which is installed in the multi-story atrium of the boxy glass building. Mimi Zeiger spoke to Opie about architecture, nature, and justice.

The Architects Newspaper: What’s the difference between working on a piece such as the Federal Courthouse, which is for an architectural space, and photographing an architectural space, like your photographs of Elizabeth Taylor’s house?

Catherine Opie: I’ve done a lot of work in relation to architecture over the years. It’s, you know, definitely a love of mine. And you know they’re different. Working  in an architectural space, you would hope that you reflect the notion of space in relationship to the piece, where when you’re working on representing different moments of architecture, whether it be the American Cities body of work or Elizabeth Taylor’s house, they have to do more with the specificity of identity. And even though the Federal Courthouse piece can connote that to a certain extent with something that is iconic as Yosemite Falls, you still want the piece to actually work within the space or hope to.

It’s a huge piece: Each panel is 18 by 16 feet. How do you go about choosing a subject for and creating a piece that big?

The good thing about working with the architects is that they put steel in the wall exactly where I need it so it can hold the weight of the pieces. So, it was a really cool thing to problem-solve because I’ve never made anything this big before.

And the subject—I’ve been making these abstract photographs for the past three years in national parks. And so one of the things that I was thinking about when they offered for me to make a proposal was what is something that people can live with every day? Who works there? And what is it to make a piece that also creates an ability to recognize nature as a moment of reflection? I was asking myself a lot of questions about how nature serves us, as well looking at the history of image-making, specifically in California.

So, the Ansel Adams, Carleton Watkins, John Muir era?

Exactly. There’s also a nod to the kind of great mural projects that the government funded, which happened not specifically around the Farm Security Administration photographers, but more the WPA. So there’s a kind of breadth of the piece and making it very much this fractured mural, which is all in line with thinking about that history as well.

I’m curious about that, the question of murals and the history of the WPA murals, but also this question of identity. I think about the Diego Rivera murals of that time. Is there something to be said about identity through this kind of image making, especially in such a charged place as a courthouse?

Well, identity is interesting. Diego Rivera was always about political identity in relationship to the worker. My identity is about California as a site of identity. One of the things that I do within the piece that works on a more metaphorical level: I reflect the falls on itself, because I’m actually asking for people to have a moment of reflection. And also the way my piece is structured is in relationship to me thinking about the scale of justice. So, you have absolute clarity within the first half of the mural. Then you come to the middle section, which is this river and kind of a darkish moment of woods and then you have the falls reflect on itself in the last two panels. And for me that’s a little a nod to the scale of justice.

I’m asking for people to have that moment where life becomes incredibly abstract as well as perfectly defined with clarity. And that so much of life, for me, lies on that axis.

And then you’ll have to roam the building in order to experience the piece, too. And that’s what I really like about it. There won’t be one vantage point where you can see all six panels. You have to experience it by actually experiencing the architecture, the site.

Was there a practical reason to fracture the image? What were the technical challenges?

Well, technically you can’t just take one image and fragment it because of the scale of the images. So I had to map it out on-site and photograph each panel so that it would seem like it was almost one seamless photograph.

And you visualized the mural using a 3-D model of the courthouse lobby? Did you work directly with the architects at SOM?

Yeah, I plugged in existing images into the 3-D model to see how it would look. Then the architects would fly me around the space. It was great, and I had really interesting conversations with them about the building. The building inspired me because it’s a reflective building that also fractures the space; I realized that the outside cladding would reflect the city, but it wouldn’t be a mirror reflection, it would be also a fragmented reflection. That allowed me to think about the falls as fragmented.