Posts tagged with "Daniel Buren":

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Six can’t-miss sculptures from the Münster Sculpture Project

Once every decade, the German city of Münster hosts a sculpture exhibit in its public spaces. The first exhibit was in 1977 and so in 2017 it’s time again for the experimental program in this Westphalian village. Münster is a thriving regional capital with a large university, thousands of bicycles, and town and regional leaders of great vision who have a desire to support art. It is hard to imagine an American city of Münster’s profile hosting an adventurous project—even if it would bring tourists to its hotels and restaurants. The curator of the exhibition, Kasper König, choose not to have a theme for the event: it’s better, he believes, to allow artists total authorship of their work and for them to exist in their own site-specific context. Participating artists are invited to Münster in advance to investigate the city before they propose a project. It allows the work to be site-specific while also enabling it to point “beyond its boundaries,” as the Project's catalogue says. Münster purchases several of the sculptures from each edition of the event so they remain permanently in place and there are several of these works visitors should not miss: a bus stop by Dennis Adams, Siah Armajani’s study garden, Dan Graham’s Octagon for Münster, Daniel Buren’s red stripe gate in a narrow alleyway, and Rachel Whiteread’s balcony of books in the LWL-Museum of Art and Culture. This strategy of purchasing works by the world’s best sculptors is such a smart way of bringing the world of forms and ideas into this provincial town and our city planners could learn a great deal about the role of culture in the city. In any event, here is my list of 2017 installed projects not to miss if you are lucky enough to be in Westphalia in the next three months. The most spectacular work in Münster this year is Pierre Huyghe’s After A life Ahead, an excavation of a large, shuttered ice rink on the city’s periphery. Huyghe ripped the concrete floor with saws and then piled the newly freed slabs around the site like ancient shards. He then excavated into the earth below the old floor and created a hilly, damp landscape accessible by visitors. In the middle of this landscape on a sand hill is a glass incubator that contains a HeLa cancer cell line, the growth of which triggers “the emergence of augment reality shapes,” according to the Münster Sculpture Project catalogue. These shapes are mirrored in the triangular forms of the slabs and window openings in the ceiling; this creates a sculpted landscape experience that Hugyhe calls “a time based bio-technical system.” Before I nervously focused on mold growing on the ceiling panels, the immersive experience of the installation was one of the most powerful interior spaces of recent memory. In the Westfälischer Kunstverein is the installation Surplus of Myself by American artist and architect Tom Burr; this piece investigates Paul Rudolph’s Yale Art and Architecture building as if it were a suit of clothes. Burr, who thinks all architecture is “a matter of participation of the human being,” asks us to “consider a room impersonating a body, an inverted volume with naked walls quivering in plain view of the town.” He concludes there are “moral codes: that are applicable to rooms” and, like few others, he able to take on this formidable building and its architect, whose image is included in the exhibit. He describes this tough architecture school interior as one with “swagger and sway” that asks to be “touched; asked to admired, but never fondled.” Is there a better description of this important building anywhere? The best participatory installation in Münster is Ayşe Erkmen’s On Water. She submerged a metal mesh bridge just below the level of a Danube Ems canal so that participants and viewers get the sensation of walking on water. They are able to traverse the narrow body of water from an area that has been totally gentrified with fancy flats to the other side of the canal that is still an industrial oasis and primed for gentrification. It's like walking across time as well as space from the present to the deindustrialized past and people seem to love it, though it's not the cleanest body of water. The most powerful pure sculpture/architecture project in Münster is Thomas Schutte’s Nuclear Temple, which is cast of Cor-ten steel. It has beautiful but odd proportions (like a large pencil eraser) and it's beautiful and horrifying at the same moment. It draws us in but is too small to actually enter and thus becomes a self-contained monument that questions the role of architecture in today’s world. Is architecture today meant for only gazing or branding and not use? No architect in Münster will miss artist John Knight’s beautifully machined and playful large metal water level attached to the side of the LWL-Museum of Art and Culture like a sign, branded with Knight’s initials, which brings the role of design and construction into the public sphere. It takes this beautiful object of construction and reminds us of architecture’s significance for culture and the ambitions of the city. Let’s hope it remains on the museum facade long after the 2017 sculpture project comes to an end later this year. Lastly, Jeremy Deller’s Speak to the Earth and It Will Tell Yyou started in 2007 and won’t leave the city. The artist is fascinated by popular, working class and bottom-up culture. The artwork started out in local allotment gardens in 2007 and asked the gardeners to keep a daily diary’s of their gardening efforts as a way of marking changes due to climate change and as a record of how local residents work in these spaces. They are a record of daily life and a plea for more environmental awareness. There are some who argue that international surveys like Münster no longer matter as powerful statements since curators have become the true stars, selecting work out of public view and then setting their own limits and themes over the combined display. Of course, at this exhibition, there is no theme, but the curators are still making choices and writing catalogue essays in a traditional survey format. But to have a chance to see Huyghe, Deller, Buren, Whiteread, etc., take on Münster and the world is still worth the time devoted to a special trip. In all, there are thirty-five sculptures and installations spread over Münster that are easily accessed by the rent-a-bikes parked all over the city so go and make your own decision. The Münster Sculpture Project runs through October 1, 2017. See its website for more details.
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Artist Daniel Buren transforms Tribeca gallery with mesmerizing installation

There is a mesmerizing new interior in Tribeca that architects and designers should rush to see before it is taken down on June 24. Created by artist Daniel Buren for the new Bortolami gallery at 39 Walker Street, it's titled To Align: works in situ 2017. Buren has spent 50 years transforming all sorts of interior and exterior spaces with his signature contrasting stripes motif, but if you are familiar with his earlier work, like the Palais Royal installation in Paris, you are aware of his blue and white stripes and will be surprised by the colorful turn his work has taken in the last few years. Installed in the Bortolami space, To Align: works in situ 2017 uses white and brightly colored alternating stripes of red, blue, yellow, and black-and-white exactly 8.7 cm. in width, as derived from the fabric he first used as a canvas in 1965. The stripes are spatially oriented on the sides of 44 rectangular columns so that from different perspectives one is engulfed by entirely different palates of color. These color fields both react to the existing cast iron architecture and challenge its ‘spaciousness.’ The 44 tightly-packed columns in the space create a magical forest of color while challenging its ‘galleriness’ and, with the gallery’s back skylights covered with colored film, the space is in daytime even more memorable. Buren’s signature vertical stripes wrap around Bortolami’s exterior Corinthian columns, where they will remain until 2021.
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This Mexican city turned an abandoned rail yard into a 86,000-square-foot museum and arts campus

When asked why he installed his latest public intervention at the Museo Espacio in Aguascalientes, Mexico, French artist Daniel Buren simply said, “Because I was invited.” But it is not difficult to see what makes the Museo Espacio and the larger Macro Espacio para la Cultura y las Artes (MECA) campus desirable for an international artist. Over the past five years the local government has been quietly developing one of the most intriguingly designed arts destinations in North America.

Many municipalities profess a dedication to the arts, but the government of the state of Aguascalientes, with assistance from Mexico’s federal government, has successfully implemented an ambitious master plan that transforms a century old rail yard into MECA, a world-class destination and center for the arts.

Carlos Lozano de la Torre, the governor of Aguascalientes, always viewed the revitalization of the rail yard as a cultural imperative. Established by an American railroad company in 1898, the 200-acre property was shut down by the government in 1991, effectively leaving Aguascalientes without any viable industry. Recognizing an opportunity for “regeneration through culture,” Governor de la Torre assembled a homegrown team including architect José Luis Jiménez García and Aguascalientes Cultural Institute director Dulce María Rivas Godoy to develop a master plan to stealthily transform the industrial structures into modern containers for the arts and connect the campus to the other established arts institutions in the small urban center.

Museo Espacio, one of the first buildings to open, is a generous 86,000-square-foot, intentionally barebones contemporary platform for international artists to display large-scale works of art. The former wood warehouse was revitalized with simple materials that nod to the building’s industrial history—polished concrete, steel, and glass—all seamlessly integrated into the long, wide bays often favored by conceptual artists. Rail tracks weave through the building and the site maintaining the balance between old and new. A custom metal screen wraps the exterior with monumental openings on either end.

In January, Museum Espacio opened with a site-specific installation by Jannis Kounellis, followed by a site-specific intervention by Buren, who has a long-standing relationship with Mexico. Buren’s work, titled Como un juego de nino, fills over 64,000 square feet, creating an exaggerated colorful playground on one side that is mirrored by one devoid of color on the other. Buren, who likes “to work with different spaces as much as possible,” found “the transformation of this space very original. It is very simple, and is so sophisticated in many aspects. They took a lot of care [with the structure], so you have this connection between a very straight, modern view of architecture inside and the shape of an old manufacturing outside. The connection of both is very successful.”

While the Museo Espacio and the master plan were conceived of over five years ago, it was built in a quick five months, which is inconceivable in the United States. Construction is complete on new offices for Grupo Modelo, an archaeology museum, and a concert hall. All of the buildings on the campus were designed by an in-house design team at the Secretary of Infrastructure and Communications (SICOM) offices headed by Jiménez García, director of projects and secretary of infrastructure and communications. Governor de la Torre hopes MECA will inspire other cities in Mexico and beyond to not just revitalize local resources, but to use native talent to do it. “It was something that was broken’ for a long time it was a place that nobody went, and now we have people from all over the world visiting,” he said. “They always ask, ‘Who did this?’ and we tell them, ‘Our own people.’”

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Daniel Buren’s “Observatory of Light” set to open at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Starting on May 11 this year, Frank Gehry's Fondation Louis Vuitton building in Paris is set to host a dazzling glass installation by French conceptual artist, Daniel Buren. Titled L’Observatoire de la lumière (or Observatory of Light) the installation will see some 3,600 tiles of glass alongside a series of colored filters, broken up at regular intervals by alternating vertical white and blank stripes. The articulation of light and interplay of color spans across the building's twelve classic Gehry-style volumes, known as "sails," working in sync with the Gehry's design which, until now, employed a colorless paneled facade. Making use of thirteen different colors, arranged to create the illusion of forms disappearing at different times during the day, light entering the building through these filters will enhance the interior spaces, changing their spatial qualities. Bernard Arnault, President of the Fondation Louis Vuitton said “Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent and enchanting, the result of a real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building.” "The transparency and quality of a colour projected by means of a coloured filter, as I see it, make it much more alive than painted colour covering a surface” said Buren in a Press Release. “There is a quantity of mirror effects here at the Fondation that actually don’t come from mirrors but from the windows. Almost everywhere something is reflected (...) through the coloring of the sails, all those reflections will become more and more present and will awake those sleeping mirrors that are everywhere. I think that this will enable visitors to further understand and enjoy the singularity of this architecture,” continued Buren. To commemorate the installation opening, a catalogue, designed in collaboration with Buren, will amalgamate works touching on color, transparency, light, translucency, and projection all created since the 1970s. Alongside L’Observatoire de la lumière, a theatrical piece will be shown from June 2 to 4. BurenCirque: 3 times another Hut revolves around three fairground inspired huts. Again using light as a key theme, the huts will become "translucent and mysterious lanterns at night." The piece was conceived in the early 2000's by Buren working with brothers Dan and Fabien Demuynck. Children visiting the Fondation Louis Vuitton will also be able to appreciate and engage in Buren's light spectacle. Aimed at children aged six to ten, The Light Trap lets the projections and reflections of color within the building form a giant kaleidoscope. A workshop will then allow the children to explore different opacities and discover how light can alter space perception. The Light Trap will run from May 28 to August 28, every Saturday and Sunday, from 2:30–5pm.