Virginia's Chrysler Museum of Art is staging an exhibition that will look at the contradictions at the root of much of the early architecture of the United States. The show will focus on Thomas Jefferson, one of the nation's "founding fathers," who designed neoclassical buildings inspired by ideals of freedom and democracy that were constructed by slaves. Jefferson's life as both an idealistic revolutionary who fought for liberty and justice, and as an opponent of racial mixing who fathered several children with Sally Hemings, one of the people he enslaved, has become emblematic of the country's philosophical inconsistencies, and the exhibition will explore the brutal realities of the young republic. The show will display models and drawings of Jefferson's designs, including a proposal for the president's house, pictured above, alongside photos and tools of people like Isaac Granger Jefferson, who was held as a working slave at Jefferson's Monticello estate. “Thomas Jefferson engaged with the most advanced ideas of architecture and city planning of his era. He was also a slave owner who failed to resolve his ideals about freedom and democracy with his reliance upon the institution of slavery. We will examine these facets of Jefferson’s architectural formation and practice to foster a new and fuller understanding of his accomplishments,” said Chrysler Museum director Erik H. Neil in a statement. The show will also feature examples of the work of Andrea Palladio, whose work deeply influenced Jefferson. Palladio's Pantheon was an inspiration for Jefferson's work at the University of Virginia. The Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy, collaborated with the Chrysler Museum on the show and loaned several of the models that will be on view. Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles and the Conflict of Ideals will be on view at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, from October 19 to January 19, 2020.
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On View> "Thomas Bayrle: Chrysler Tapete" Opens September 6 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
Thomas Bayrle: Chrysler Tapete Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 3750 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO September 6, 2013 to October 27, 2013 From September 6 to October 27, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and chief curator Dominic Molon present Chrysler Tapete (1970) as part of the institution’s ongoing Front Room program. One of a series of wallpaper works that German artist Thomas Bayrle has produced since the late 1960s, Chrysler Tapete features the repeated image of an automobile until its distinctiveness subsides into a colossal collectiveness. The purpose is to signify the tension between positive, shared experiences and the feeling of oppressive uniformity. Bayrle, a leader in European Pop Art—frequently referred to as Grey Pop—continues to experiment with painting, sculpture, fashion, and graphic design and currently lives and works in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Through solo and group exhibitions, his objective is to uncover how our society of mass production and consumption influences our understanding of the world. Bayrle investigates how physical space, scale, and pattern influence the observer. Chrysler Tapete, consisting of silkscreen print on paper, has an intense visual presence that provides visitors with a new way to experience the exhibition space itself, a fitting role as the installation coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Contemporary Art Museum’s building.
Buried deep in a New York Times article on Fiat’s proposed alliance with sad old Chrysler is a detail that will make many architects happy. As part of the deal, Chrysler will build small cars for the American market, like the Cinquecento-styled Fiat 500. But more to the design point, Chrysler will also start building Alfa Romeos for the domestic market. As it has long been the favorite of architects—from the Italian Futurists to Craig Hodgetts—let’s hope the design of the new Alfas remains in Italy with Bertone and Pininfarina. And not in Detroit.