On October 10, the doors of Detroit’s long-abandoned State Savings Bank will open to the public and reveal a space radically different from the building's original interior. Among the building’s elegant columns, historic bank vault, and vast interior space sits Doug Aitken’s latest art installation, a mystifying sculpture in the form of a one-story American suburban house, equipped with a maze of mirror-clad rooms and hallways that will leave visitors both disoriented and perplexed. The sprawling design, known as Mirage Detroit, diffracts and reflects every aspect of its surroundings, including the historic architecture of the antiquated building in which it resides. The resulting contrast is intense: the bank, with its bold sculptural supports, decorative enrichments, elaborate cornice, and over-scaled features, is juxtaposed with Aitken’s angular, mirrored sculpture and the room’s marble floor, which has been completely obscured by raw earth and river rocks. The merging of these elements conjures images of “a constantly shifting landscape that incorporates the organic and inorganic, reflects the past, and questions the future,” according to a statement from the artist's studio. Mirage Detroit will mark one of the first times that the public has had open access to the State Savings Bank, which was built in 1900 and has been vacant for decades. The bank, which is impressive by virtue of its sheer size, classical décor, and adaptation to the urban American landscape, represents the history of Detroit while looking towards its future. It was saved from demolition after it was purchased by Bedrock in late 2014. “In many ways, Mirage will become its surroundings,” says Anthony Curis, owner of Detroit-based art gallery Library Street Collective. “It will reflect and intensify one of the city’s greatest historical and cultural contributions—its grand architecture.” Over the course of the exhibition period, Mirage Detroit will host an array of cultural events ranging from educational programs, musical performances, and community programs funded by organizations like Cranbrook Academy of Art, Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art Detroit (MOCAD), and College for Creative Studies.
Posts tagged with "Doug Aitken":
Founder and Chair of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, announced today that Cara Starke, the director of exhibitions at Creative Time, will step into the role of director at the St. Louis–based cultural institution, beginning this July. During her years at Creative Time, Starke spearheaded some of the organization's more elaborate, large-scale projects and exhibitions, including this past summer's popular installation, A Subtlety, by artist Kara Walker. “Cara’s approach to the work and operations of an arts institution is exceptional. She has a keen understanding of the evolving role the arts play in our lives and in our communities—a vision that is well in line with the Pulitzer’s tradition of pushing the boundaries of the arts experience,” said Pulitzer in a statement. Prior to her tenure at Creative Time, Starke cut her teeth as the assistant curator for the department of media and performance art at the Museum of Modern Art, where she helped organize several exhibitions, such as Olafur Eliasson's Take your time and Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers. The Tadao Ando–designed Pulitzer building is currently undergoing an expansion to add 3,700 square feet of public space—complementing the 7,500-square feet of existing galleries—to carve out new areas for exhibitions and programs. Starke will take over for Kristina Van Dyke who has served as director since 2011 and worked with Mrs. Pulitzer in the conception of the institution's expansion. "The Pulitzer is a remarkable space that brings together intellectual experimentation and thoughtful contemplation with a commitment to local audiences and experiences that extend beyond the institution’s walls,” said Starke in a press release. “With the recent expansion, the Pulitzer has increased opportunities to offer unexpected, profound, and innovative approaches to artistic and cultural expression. I am honored to lead the Pulitzer into its next phase as an open and inspired space for art and culture.”
This year’s Park City offerings at the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals ranged from portraits of architects, a mayor with architectural dreams, a victim of the foreclosure crisis, those trapped in physical and dreamed spaces, and individuals exploring the cultural landscape. Always a harbinger of what is coming up, look out for these films and media projects coming to a screen near you. https://vimeo.com/117273601 Concrete Love. Gottfried Böhm, the only German architect ever to be lauded with a Pritzker Prize (1986) is part of a long line of architects, from his grandfather, father, wife, and three of his four sons. The film’s title refers not only to the Brutalist architecture he favored, but also the love between husband and wife, father and children. Concrete is a shape shifter, a malleable liquid that takes the form of its mold—an apt metaphor. The filmmaking is a sensitive, knowing guide that is as reflective of the creative process as the architectural work itself. A model film which won this year’s Goethe Documentary Film Prize where the jury noted “the film tells a multi-layered tale of love, the passion for architecture and four generations of German history. With sensitive observations, intimate interviews and stirring filmic explorations of an extraordinary architectural legacy, the film creates a lasting impression of the buildings and the people.” Chinese Mayor. This is a rare look at the inner workings of a Chinese city that is remaking itself under an ambitious mayor, Geng Tanbo, who permitted a film crew to follow him around for three years. His goal is to transform China’s coal capital, Datong, population 3.4 million, into a city of culture by rebuilding the structures of its heyday 1,600 years ago including city walls with museums inside, and grottos with Buddhist sculpture and murals—all without residents. He states that Datong can be a new Paris or Rome. This necessitates tearing down much of the existing city and relocating 30 percent of the population or a half million residents, giving the mayor the nickname “Demolition Geng” or “Geng Smash-Smash.” There is not an architect or planner in sight. One of the more interesting meetings takes place with a large group of other Chinese mayors and party secretaries who are all rebuilding their cities into cultural meccas (it is worth noting that mayors are appointed, not elected). Geng deals with corruption (a shady developer made off with $12 million), incompetence (sewer pipes too narrow), shoddy work (paving without cement), delays (hospitals and roads are way behind schedule) until he is suddenly removed from office and transferred to another city, leaving 125 construction projects in Datong halted indefinitely. 99 Homes. Against the backdrop of the 2008 housing foreclosure crisis, a hard-working and honest man (Michael Shannon), cannot save his family home. A real estate shark throws him a lifeline—an offer to join his crew and put others through the same harrowing ordeal of throwing families onto the street that he experienced in order to earn back his home. A portrait of a man whose integrity has become ensnared in this recent American meltdown. The Wolfpack. Locked away from society in public housing on the Lower East Side, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch, which they re-enact with homemade props and costumes. Everything changes when one of the brothers escapes, and the power dynamics in the house are transformed. A claustrophobic environment explodes. Forbidden Room. Guy Maddin’s familiar art-house filmmaking takes the locales of “forbidden” spaces—bathrooms, submarines, volcano, caves, elevators and gets lost in non-linear, episodic, absurdist storylines. An ode to the silent movie era, the visuals, sound and story are layered, while color schemes morph into one another. The Nightmare. Following his exploration of the hotel that inspired Kubrick’s The Shining, director Rodney Ascher now investigates the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, the trap between the sleeping and waking worlds. Eerie dramatizations of what the subjects see are created in an architectural moodscape. New Frontier exhibition, Dérive. In this installation, in the distance, you see a city glistening in the dark. The closer you get to it, the larger the city grows until it engulfs you in its presence. This interactive projection is driven by the viewer’s body motions to explore 3-D reconstructions of urban and natural spaces that are being transformed according to live environmental data, including meteorological and astronomical phenomena. Station to Station. Visual artist Doug Aitken embarked on a nomadic experiment of art creation, exhibition and participation in summer 2013 (see AN coverage of its launch from Williamsburg). Station to Station chronicles a train that crossed North America over 24 days making 10 stops, with a rotating roster of artists, musicians, and curators, who collaborated in the creation of recordings, artworks, films, yurts and happenings, across the country. Comprised of 61 individual one-minute films that form a high-speed trip through today’s culture. Films/Media Directors: 99 Homes, Ramin Bahrani Chinese Mayor,Hao Zhou Concrete Love, Maurizius Staerkle Drux Dérive, François Quévillon Forbidden Room, Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson The Nightmare, Rodney Ascher Station to Station, Doug Aitken The Wolfpack, Crystal Moselle
On Friday night at Riverfront Studios, motion-picture soundstages on 3 acres of East River waterfront between the Williamsburg Bridge and the Navy Yard, the newest art project by Doug Aitken called Station to Station was launched. Aitken did the “destruction” of Gallery 303 last year, Creative Time’s Broken Screen Happening at the Essex Street Market and Sleepwalkers projected on the wall of MoMA’s Sculpture Garden. On the site of the former Schaefer Brewery, spotted in the crowd was Agnes Gund, Klaus Biesenbach, Chrissie Iles, Roxana Marcoci, Linda Yablonsky, Lisa Phillips and other art world luminaries. This event marked the inaugural nomadic “Happening” that moves in an Aitken-designed train from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Coast stopping at nine different locations each time for a one-night-only live event in September. The scene was set for live performances that included a colorful site-specific smoke bomb installation by Olaf Breuning; food happening created by artist Rirkrit Tiravanija; and an original performance choreographed by Jonah Bokaer inspired by Robert Rauschenberg's Pelican (1963) on the occasion of work’s 50th anniversary and more. Being a nomadic endeavor, five artists were commissioned to create yurts, portable tent-like dwelling traditionally used by nomads in Central Asia. So bright they could be seen from the Manhattan side, all the yurts are 17 feet in diameter and made of canvas by Canadian firm Yurta, I was magnetically drawn to Ernesto Neto’s bright yellow bubble with circles punched out, and the discards scattered on the grass like pebbles. Inspired by his home city Rio de Janero’s beaches, the floor of this yurt was soft like walking on the sand. I then floated into Urs Fischer’s white yurt through a foggy mist, and landed on a king-size bed with spinning disco ball above and mirrors all around -- a hedonistic yurt that was hard to leave. This is contrasted with Liz Glynn’s black felt maze, a dark interior that reminded me of getting lost in a Richard Serra sculpture. Over the course of the train’s journey she will create a different model of the universe, moving from the Big Bang theory to Hubble's expanding universe and beyond. 86-year old underground experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger has created a bright red glowing tent with three screens featuring his films Demon Brother (1969), Lucifer Rising (1981), and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954). A pentagonal seating cushion centers the space. If you saw Carsten Höller’s Experience at the New Museum last year that featured a slide between two floors, his iridescent orange Ball- and Frisbee-House wouldn’t be a surprise. Entering through a hole and landing on the squishy floor that supports pliable columns, you can play with projectiles. Inside Riverside Studios, additional yurts were settings for local artists and artisans from Folk Fibers, Cobra Boots, Chimayo, and Junkyard Jeans crafting products in real time. But because this is the only venue that is on the water but not on a railway, we didn’t get to see Aitken’s train car. To do so, visit Station to Station as is winds its way across the country.
Chicago. September 10. Union Station
Minneapolis/St. Paul. Setpember 12. St. Paul Union Depot
Santa Fe, Setpemer 18. Santa Fe Railyard
Winslow, AZ. September 21. La Posada
Barstow, CA. September 24. Skyline Drive-in Theater
Los Angeles, CA. September 26. Union Station
Oakland/San Francisco. 16th St. Station
What do you do if a building is slated for demolition? If you’re the artist Doug Aitken and the building is your gallery, you devise a “time-based destruction installation.” Which is precisely what Aitken, who is known for wrapping the facade of the Hirschhorn Museum in with a 360-degree video installation to the tune of “I Only Have Eyes For You,” installing a video "land art" installation on the Seattle Art Museum, and the video “Sleepwalkers” projected on the facades of MoMA, “a cinematic art experience that directly integrates with the architectural fabric of the city while simultaneously enhancing and challenging viewers’ perceptions of public space” did. Aitken’s latest exhibition, which wrapped up at the end of March, entitled 100 YRS at Gallery 303 on West 21st Street was filled with word-based artworks such Plexiglas letters spelling “Art” with chocolate milk-like slurry cascading over the letters, black textured rock spelling “Sunset” and “Magic” featuring rear-lit images of the blowing up of Pruitt-Igo on each letter. Visitors were greeted by “Sonic Fountain” which is a round hole jackhammered out of the galley floor (since it was going to be destroyed anyway), filled with water from dripping pipes on the ceiling, and equipped with underwater microphones to amplify the dribbling sounds. The gallery walls and floors were gradually being destroyed around these artworks over the last week, not by construction workers, but by musicians. Three percussionists gently deconstructed the space climbing onto drywall, hacking away at rubble, and rising on scissor-lifts, making a music of sorts as they worked. The one-story building has been sold, and word from the gallery director Cristian Alexa is that Norman Foster has been retained to build a tower on the site.
This past Sunday evening, Seattle officials closed First Avenue. It wasn't for road repairs, but to celebrate the unveiling of the Seattle Art Museum's facade refresh by multimedia artist Doug Aitken. Two giant LCD screens projecting kaleidoscopic images of the Seattle region now wrap the north and west facade of the museum, with emanating vertical bands of lights. For the MIRROR installation, Aitken built up a database of hundreds of hours of digital footage in and around Seattle, from sunsets, to Puget Sound, to the urban grid to old growth forests. Captured over five years, the scenes feed into the glass video displays and synchronized light bands, which are triggered by computer driven sensors pulling in local weather, traffic, and pedestrian data. Due to the spontaneous nature of the information used, there is no looping. Despite Aitken's global oeuvre, MIRROR is his first permanent installation at a museum, and was commissioned by the late philanthropist Bagley Wright, one of the developers of the Space Needle. The unveiling was choreographed to music by minimalist composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley, performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
Seattle is about to get a new public art installation on the walls of SAM, the Seattle Art Museum. The museum that created the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park—one of the best public art spaces in the country—has commissioned artist Doug Aitken to install a new reflective wall on the corner of their building at First Avenue and Union Street. Aitken calls the wall installation Mirror and it is meant to "reflect the energy and movement of the city." The piece consists of a large LED display wrapping the building's corner facade and up the building's primary wall with scenes slowly filmed by Aitken of "images, surfaces, locations and landscapes." These digital views will then be reduced to minimal compositions and alternate with empty landscapes and dense urban scenes of the Seattle region. Further Aitken has programmed the piece to be "conditioned and programmed by local "weather information, pedestrian traffic flow, atmospheric conditions and traffic density. The digital facade Aitken imagines will be "like choreography with no music" and allows the images to "define the composition and patterns in real time and into the future."
Thirty-five years ago in Austin, Texas, Willie Nelson forged an historic accord between the hippies and the rednecks. Today, some 200 miles to the north in Arlington, Texas, Gene and Jerry Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboys, are forming a similar pact, this time between the artists and the jocks. The Jones family has kicked off an ongoing initiative to commission contemporary artists to create site-specific installations for the newly completed Cowboys Stadium. The initial blitz of 14 works includes pieces by such art world luminaries as Franz Ackermann, Annette Lawrence, and Oafur Eliasson. See more after the jump. "From top to bottom, we're taking a whole new approach to what a national sports arena can be," said Jerry Jones in a press release. "Cowboys Stadium isn't just a place to go and see a game or a concert, it's an experience you share with your family and your community. That will include things that a lot of people wouldn't anticipate seeing at a stadium—like contemporary art. Football is full of the unexpected and the spontaneous—it can make two strangers into friends. Art has the power to do that too, to get people talking, and looking, and interacting. It's not just about what you see on the field or on the wall, it's about creating exciting experiences." The works will be installed in the areas of the stadium that have the highest concentration of pedestrian traffic, including the four principal entries and the two monumental staircases. The artists have already begun the installation process, and most of the initial 14 pieces will be in place in time for the first regular season game against the New York Giants on September 20. "We're breathing new life into a tradition that extends back to the Greeks and Romans, who integrated the art of their time in stadiums where the best athletes gathered to compete," said Gene Jones. "The art program at Cowboys Stadium brings this dialogue between art and sport into the modern day. We're making it possible for some of the worlds leading contemporary artists to create work on scale unimaginable anywhere else and we're connecting new audiences with their work." An advisory council helped the Jones family select the artists and works for the program. The members of this committee included Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth and Charlie Wylie, Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art. Other artists selected include Ricci Albenda, Mel Bochner, Doug Aitken, Teresita Fernandez, Terry Haggerty, Dave Muller, and Lawrence Weiner. As part of the initiative the Jones family will also be creating an art education program, which will include art tours of the stadium.