Posts tagged with "Exhibitions":

Placeholder Alt Text

How are architects drawing in the world of digital culture?

We have a lot to thank computers for; the laptop I typed this article on can execute millions of instructions every second. This is a number us humans can’t comprehend, but thankfully, computers can. Computers have changed the way we see and interact with the world around us: able to connect people across the globe and able to optimize oil extraction from prime sites decided through digital derivation. Those most grateful for our microprocessor-driven overlords should be architects: they may romanticize the analog medium of sketching, but the truth is every building constructed today is “drawn” up using a computer at some point and the computer allows them to conceive every shape and size imaginable. Depending on who you ask, this has either saved or ruined architecture, and this friction is acknowledged in Drawing Attention, currently on show at the Roca Gallery in West London, where drawings from 70 participants are on display. Drawing digitally is now part of the process of design, something historian Mario Carpo describes as the digital turn in architecture. Drawing Attention, curated by Jeremy Ficca, Amy Kulper, and Grace La, professors at Carnegie Mellon University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Harvard GSD respectively, attempts to unpack the manifestations of this and asks questions such as: Where does the advent of BIM (Building Information Modeling) leave 2D digital drawing? As evidenced in this exhibition, the second dimension is far from obsolete. In a post-digital age, and as digital representation techniques allow architects to obfuscate renderings and reality, we find these 2D drawings to be evermore abstract as they take on more artistic qualities, representing architectural ideas more so than buildings themselves. The 70 drawings are thematically displayed in the following categories: Drawing limits; Drawing omniscience; Drawing instrument; Drawing environments, and Drawing as world-making. In Drawing limits, architects like Zachary Tate Porter play with scale: his Topographic survey of two Sidewalk Holes in Downtown Los Angeles (see gallery above) is wonderfully ambiguous; the holes could easily be moon craters. “The digital model presents a crisis of scale,” he argued, and the scroll of a mouse facilitates a “seamless” and “disquieting” transition between scales. Architect Achim Menges, meanwhile, achieves ambiguity in a different way. An abstract view of his Bundesgartenschau Wood Pavilion celebrates the structure's parametric qualities, something which is fitting for the exhibition’s venue (the Roca Gallery was designed by Zaha Hadid). However, this view is a reminder of how alienating parametricism can be. Where Porter’s scale subversion was playful and called upon the viewer to interrogate a terrain they see every day but probably ignore, Menges’s drawing is devoid of any scalar reference; it could be any size—a daunting and maybe exciting prospect, but one thanks to Hadid, we’ve already experienced. Rightfully so, parametricism doesn't get much more of a look-in; but still many works on show exhibit the digital tropes from this period (fractals and excessive iteration) which is odd considering, by the exhibition's own definition, this is an examination of the contemporary. ‘Drawing as world-making’ showcases the industry’s biggest names. Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular; Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen (KGDVS); Mark Smout, Laura Allan, Geoff Manaugh, and Tom de Paor are all on show. All exhibit interesting works though only KGDVS’s OFFICE 171 Crematorium from 2014 stands out, a hallmark of the post-digital ‘style’ pursued by other offices such as Point Supreme, Hesselbrand, and Fala Atelier, among others which aren’t part of the exhibition. Drawing Attention also partially highlights how architects are representing the environment. C. J. Lim of Studio8 Architects goes against the grain of using endless amounts of data to inform a drawing, instead opting for a tongue-in-cheek cartoonish depiction of the ocean littered with plastic bags with phrases like “recycle or die” written on them. Lim’s Ocean Cleaning falls under the ‘Drawing Environments’ section of the exhibition, which arguably misses a trick by omitting architects who are aggressively pursuing a more sustainable planet. As the academic Peter Buchanan argues, without the computer we could not grasp the complexities of climate change nor be able to design the built environment to ameliorate it. Where are the drawings that exhibit this way of thinking? We are in a climate crisis after all. That aside, there are some outstanding drawings on show: Sarah Wigglesworth’s The Disorder of the Dining Table is a classic—dating back to 1997—but always a joy to see and still relevant, as evidenced by James Michael Tate's development of this drawing for an architecture office showcased adjacent. Meanwhile, Maj Plemenitas’s MSFM — Territorial Printing with Ocean Currents riffs off graphic designer Peter Saville’s timeless work on Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover. That work was informed by radio signals from a neutron star, whereas Plemenitas’ piece is derived from a simulation of the autonomous “production” of islands, seamounts and resilient shorelines. “Drawing is taking a line for a walk,” said artist Paul Klee in 1961. When he said this, he was invariably inferring a pen, pencil, or paintbrush being guided across a page by a human hand. Through drawing, architects conceive spaces and places; stage sets for the theater of life. British anthropologist Tim Ingold takes it a step further, proposing that life is carried out on such lines, not just within them. Today, however, algorithms, scripts, and strings of code are used to represent architecture, serving as more than architecture’s final form before the hand-over to contractors and builders—the people that make architecture manifest in physical, tangible reality. However, contractors and builders will never use the drawings exhibited in Drawing Attention, for drawing digitally is not just a means to an end, like it was before Carpo’s “digital turn”, defined by him as a period between 1992–2012. We’re now well beyond that and Drawing Attention gives us a glimpse of our post-digital trajectory.
Placeholder Alt Text

Argentine designers bring geometric shapes and brazen colors to the Casa FOA interiors exhibition

In a rich juxtaposition of material and color, a sea of peachy pink and teal green is peppered on marble tabletops, velvet seat cushions, a hand-tufted wall tapestry, and other furnishings and finishings in this art moderne inspired interior. ART HAUS—an installation at the 36th edition of Bueno Aires's premier interior design exhibition Casa FOA—is the lucid Rioplatense rationalist dream conjured by a local trio: interdisciplinary studio Arenal Estudio, color specialist Marina Christe, and furniture purveyor La Feliz. Taking cues from the subconscious of Argentina's post-war reaction to European avant-garde (an era from which European stylistic tropes traveled with those seeking refuge between both World Wars), ART HAUS features a distinct art moderne inspired flavor. Referencing the aforementioned historic style, the overall aesthetic emphasizes the horizontal. Namely, the metal screening framed by an arrow-like cutout seemingly gestures itself along the wall towards the "La Feliz" neon light. This articulation of movement pushes itself further into the space with a pronounced geometry found in the exuberantly shaped furniture, the graphic patterned wall tapestry, and the symmetrical painted shapes on the walls and floors. Meanwhile, the robust palette of colors handpicked by Marina Christe was were meticulously paired all the materials and finishes to accentuate the objets d'art, built-in furniture, and the La Feliz furniture. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.

CONSTRUCT - AEC Education & Expo

CONSTRUCT is an AEC educational program and exhibition that has the goal of bringing together the different disciplines within the construction industry to help improve the future of the built environment. Breaking down the barriers between the different players within the construction process allows for a more collaborative work environment. CONSTRUCT is the place to share the latest in standards and best practices, industry trends, and emerging technologies. Join Construction Architects, Designers, Specifiers, Engineers, Project Managers, Contractors, Construction Managers, Estimators, Owners, Product Representatives, and Manufacturers for cutting-edge, solutions-driven learning opportunities.
Placeholder Alt Text

London’s Universal unveils new NYC office with an interactive installation

On the heels of opening their first U.S. office in Manhattan, London’s Universal (formerly Universal Design Studio) unveiled a performance-based installation at A/D/O/ by Mini in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The participatory On Loop underpins the firm’s research and development-driven methodology, a process of collaborative experimentation to design unique spaces that interact with their users. In a sort of "formal-exercise-slash-performance-piece" hybrid, the installation underscores this ethos with a set up that asks visitors to experiment and co-create.  On view through the duration of this year's Archtober, On Loop highlights the design process with an unassuming setup. Fashioned from inexpensive materials—plywood, plexiglass, and masking tape—a half-painted loop and semicircular shelf circumscribe a round table and stools. Inspired by the Surrealist game Exquisite Corpse, where a drawing is arbitrarily finished by multiple artists, visitors are encouraged to participate in an on-going evolution of infinite accidental outcomes. In this context, masking tape is randomly placed on a plexiglass square on a spinning tabletop slide carrousel-like display. Over the 31 days On Loop remains on display, the “finished” works by individuals will contribute to a collective display on the installation’s surrounding shelf.  Universal will continue to activate its New York presence with a series of workshops co-led by local artists, designers, and makers. With the same premise as On Loop, the programming will ask visitors to participate in a similar Exquisite Corpse-like performance in different mediums. Including a clay, sound, drawing, writing, motion graphics, and food, the curious selection of medium-focused workshops can be found on the dedicated A/D/O/ Eventbrite page At their new location in the Manhattan wing of design agency AKQA, Universal will focus on continuing to collaborate with local architects, designers, and artists on various projects. When asked, they took particular interest in the hospitality typology—citing previous projects like the London Ace Hotel and Stockholm’s At Six Hotel. The design duo will operate on a bi-continental basis; codirectors Jason Holley and Paul Gulati will continue to work with founders Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby in London and at AKQA in New York.
Placeholder Alt Text

Resident Alien: Austrian Architects in America explores the globalization of locality in design

The Austrian Cultural Forum’s iconic building by Austrian-American architect Raimund Abraham plays a fitting setting and set-piece for Resident Alien: Austrian Architects in America. The exhibition, jointly curated by Stephen Phillips and Axel Schmitzberger, opened on September 25 with a standing-room-only panel and five galleries showcasing the iconic works of expat Austrian masters, from the classic modernist forms of Adolf Loos to the current high-tech work of Peter Trummer.  The opening night panel used the contextual significance of the exhibition as a springboard to address broader themes, opening with a conversation between the Austrian passport-carrying panelists including Herwig Baumgartner, Andrea Lenardin, Christoph Kumpusch, Peter Trummer, Bettina Zerza, Duks Koschitz, and Matias del Campo. Their varying generations resulted in the discussion of the contemporary meaning of hyphenated Austrians, as well as the implications of being from an era of voluntary, rather than forceful, migration stateside, differing from their predecessors in the ‘30s and ‘40s.    Andrea Lenardin referred to this 20th/21st-century transition as stemming from a collective “idea of the misfit,” to the nods and agreement of everyone else on the stage; “we weren’t forced out, we were free to come here. Hopefully, the 21st-century idea of who you are will not be tied to locality,” said Lenardin.  With ideas of identity and the weight of the creators of modernism on the mind, visitors were invited into the galleries after the panel, which was forced to end on time despite the high energy circulating through the conversation to the very end. The galleries are thematically split into the five themes: Primitive Domains, Aggregate Families, Urban Terrestrials, Cloud Natures, and Media Atmospheres, all said to explore the idea of bicultural heritage. However, while the stated intent was ascribed to the sort of heritage discussed on the panel, these five themes were presented more so as shelves on which to categorize interesting projects and objects, rather than come alive as platforms for deeper cultural ideas or placemaking. Starting with Primitive Domains, drawings, models, and photographs explore the beginnings of modernism as geometries set in landscapes, free from ornamentation and following the concept of form and function. As the galleries progress, towards Aggregate Families and Cloud Natures, the architectural forms acquire added complexity, both in form and context—including an evolving urban setting. The works and representations on the walls reach towards increasingly digitized methods of creating, viewing, and building, with the uppermost gallery housing Media Atmospheres, a darkened and immersive space where spatial manipulation—even intangible elements, like neon light—is explored as a manipulation of the human condition itself.  While this exhibition explores the physical outcomes of the flow of ideas and design culture from Austria to the U.S, the objects and concepts read more as being a part of the flow of contemporary messages we recognize today, global in scale and adaptation—there is a continuous feedback loop, not a one-way street, in the design world. Today, practicing architects are often true global citizens, like the panelists, all of whom have worked in their home country, the U.S, and around the world, not just as “cosmopolitans” in the dated sense, according to Duks Koschitz.  Design and architectural representation, pushing new limits in digital and post-digital worlds, is a language in itself, with an identity untethered from locality, the same untethered existence that Lenardin hopes for the professionals themselves. So while there may indeed be some truth in the humorous myth of the Trummer-suggested Austrian “architect gene” that sent laughs around the stage, it’s no longer contained, but carried by the self-proclaimed misfits in the lab, studio, and world.  Resident Alien is on display at the ACFNY until February 17, 2019.
Placeholder Alt Text

AN selects seven more upcoming exhibitions you shouldn’t miss

It’s that time again! AN has rounded up another list of the top architecture, design, and art exhibitions open or opening over the next couple of months. The exhibitions below dive into the lives of lesser-known figures in architecture, uncover hidden histories and explore the importance of identity and place. Check them out below: Revealing Presence: Women in Architecture at the University of Illinois, 1874-2019 Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 500 East Peabody Drive Champaign, IL 61820 September 26 through October 12, 2019 Mary Louisa Page was the first woman to earn an architecture degree in the United States in 1878 from the University of Illinois—the school offered its first architecture course ten years prior. Revealing Presence showcases the breadth of work that women have contributed to the built environment through a chronological presentation of historical data and images. Spanning the course of 145 years, the show reveals the growing representation of women in the architectural profession over time through the inclusion of a timeline illustrating the increasing number of female faculty and students at the University. Women currently comprise over 40 percent of architecture graduates.  Marc Yankus: New York Unseen ClampArt 247 West 29th Street Ground Floor New York, NY 10001 October 3 through November 16, 2019 Marc Yankus is a New York-based photographer with over 40 years of experience capturing historic buildings, streetscapes, and abstract compositions found when one looks closely at the built environment. In his sixth solo show at ClampArt, Yankus exhibits a series of photographs that continue his investigation into the buildings of New York City. Through his expert use of Photoshop, the artist removes all of the distractions that come with urban life—traffic, pedestrians, and noise—providing a glimpse into a New York “unseen.” The result is a collection of prominent city buildings seemingly frozen in time.  Housing Density: From Tenements to Towers  The Skyscraper Museum 39 Battery Place New York, NY 10280 On view through December 2019 This new exhibition at the Skyscraper Museum takes a look at the history of residential development in New York City throughout the twentieth century. By examining the approaches to private, public, or publicly-assisted housing, the guest curators Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthias Altwicker aim to sort out the different meanings of density over time and how they have shaped the ways residents live in the city today.  Given contemporary debates on infilling NYCHA projects and up-zoning neighborhoods, the exhibition hopes to inform some of these discussions by offering a clear illustration of urban density through historical projects. Some of the projects examined include models of communities such as Tudor City and London Terrace, early NYCHA projects such as the Queensbridge Houses, and large-scale postwar projects such as Stuyvesant Town. Resident Alien: Austrian Architects in America Austrian Cultural Forum New York 11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022 September 25 through February 17, 2020 Curated by Stephen Phillips and Axel Schmitzberger, Resident Alien, explores the cultural contributions of Austrian-American architects on modern, postmodern, and digital design culture over the past century. The exhibition is organized into five form-driven categories—Cloud Structures, Aggregate Self-assemblies, Media Atmospheres, Primitive Domains, and Urban Terrestrials—as a way to investigate how bicultural heritage has informed formal, technological, and psychoanalytic architectural discourses. Architects and designers that will be featured include Rudolph Schindler, Victor Gruen, Hans Hollein, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and Frederick Kiesler, among 27 others.  Lucy Sparrow’s Delicatessen on 6th Rockefeller Center 45 Rockefeller Plaza New York, NY 10111 October 1-20, 2019 Presented in partnership with Art Production Fund as part of the “Art in Focus” Public Art Program, Lucy Sparrow’s interactive installation is opening at Rockefeller Center this week. The British artist has become well known for her felt art pieces and this exhibition marks the sixth installation in her felt shop series. The installation is set to resemble a New York City “upscale deli” with every item—from chocolate to fruit, cheese and fish—all handmade out of felt. All of the items in the fine food shop will also be available for purchase.  Off the Wall: Harold Mendez The Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University 61 Main Street Houston, TX 77005 September 21 through August 24, 2020 Rice University’s Public Art series “Off The Wall” has commissioned a series of site-specific installations by recent graduates of the Core Residency Program at the Glassell School of Art. Each installation is scheduled to be on view for a year on the south wall of the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion, a modern structure designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners. The inaugural artist in the series is Harold Mendez, an artist whose work integrates photography and sculpture as a way to explore identity, place, and geography.  Mendez received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has since been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA, and the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, among others. Entre Deux Actes (Ménage à Quatres) 1014 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10028 November 6-8 at 7:00 PM November 9-10 at 5:00 PM Co-commissioned by Performa and 1013 and co-produced with The Kitchen, this collaboration between artist Nairy Baghramian and choreographer Maria Hassabi will be inhabiting a Fifth Avenue townhouse for five nights this November. The building, originally built in 1906, will serve as the stage for an intimate performance that takes cues from the qualities of the domestic environment. The work aims to "probe the interplay of architecture and gender while teasing out fantasies," according to The Kitchen.
Placeholder Alt Text

ArtPrize brings an inaugural biennial to Grand Rapids

“What does it mean to belong?” is the question posed by the inaugural biennial Project 1: Crossed Lines by ArtPrize taking place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The public art exhibition aims to spark dialogue around questions of access and boundaries through a showcase of public events, sculptures, art installations, and urban interventions. By asking five artists to engage with the community, temporarily alter public space, or create new space, the work exhibited also begs the question: How and for who is the city made? The five artists selected for this year’s iteration include Amanda Browder, Heather Hart, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Olalekan Jeyifous, and Paul Amenta & Ted Lott. Each produced a piece evaluating how lines are drawn and how public and private space is determined—a theme inspired by Grand Rapids’ legacy of public art “defining and enhancing civic space” as outlined in Project 1’s mission. The Boom and the Bust is one such project that references the challenges of housing discrimination and urban inequality, past, and present. The monumental sculpture was created by Olalekan Jeyifous, a Nigerian born, Brooklyn-based artist and architect whose work spans installation, large scale murals, drawing, and sculpture. The 25-foot-tall sculpture resembles an abstracted high-rise building with various styles and sizes of windows. In the center lies a cage-like structure constructed of metal beams. Inside are a collection of small red house-shaped forms. In an interview with ArtPrize, the artist said, “Public art appeals to me because it’s high visibility for the artwork. It allows me to center the art first and put it in front of a larger public audience who may not have access to or even know about gallery openings.” Another highlight from the exhibition is the Oracle of the Soulmates by Brooklyn-based sculptor and performance artist, Heather Hart. Hart’s work often looks at how rooftops serve as thresholds between public and private space. She engages her viewers and activates the installations through oral histories and performances, thus transforming the everyday image of the roof into a stage in which urban space can be reclaimed and personal narratives shared.  Two of Hart’s submerged rooftops can be found in Grand Rapids during the exhibition. One is located in the center of Rosa Parks Circle downtown and the other on the lawn of MLK Park. Visitors are invited to climb on the sculpture, go in the attic, and attend one of many performances staged there throughout the biennial.  Hart is not the only artist in the show engaging the intersections of architecture and performance. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer does just that in his site-specific installation, Voice Bridge, which takes place along the handrails of Grand Rapids’ Blue Bridge, a pedestrian walkway that connects the east and west sides of downtown. The bridge is adorned in 400 lights controlled by the user’s voices. Participants are asked to speak into the intercoms at the end of the bridge and their recorded messages then playback as a loop across the span of the structure.  Now in its 10th year, ArtPrize is one of the world’s largest art competitions, distributing $500,000 in cash prizes by public vote and jury. Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor of Grand Rapids said in a press release, “For the last decade, ArtPrize has infused the City of Grand Rapids with unparalleled energy... this next evolution of the event will generate new ways for us all to be inspired and challenged, to come together as a community and deepen our connection.”  This year’s programming will run until October 27th. The biennial schedule for years to come is as follows: 2019 — Project 1 2020 — ArtPrize, Sept. 16-Oct. 4 2021 — Project 2 2022 — ArtPrize, Sept. 21-Oct. 9 2023 — Project 3 2024 — ArtPrize, Sept. 17-Oct. 5
Placeholder Alt Text

Third exhibition of the Cruising Pavilion goes institutional in Stockholm

This weekend, the third and final exhibition of Cruising Pavilion: Architecture, Gay Sex and Cruising Culture opened at ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm. The first two exhibitions took place in Venice, Italy (Spazio Punch) and New York City (Ludlow38), examining the emergence and evolution of cruising practices over time. The third iteration centers on the relationship between the architecture of urban spaces and sexuality.

Cruising is defined as the practice by which homosexual men search for sexual experiences and partners in a public space. Traditionally, cruising takes place in quintessentially urban spaces—city parks, public bathrooms, bathhouses, gyms, car parks, sex clubs, and other designated gathering points. More recently, however, the growing popularity of hook-up apps like Grindr, as well as increased pressure from large-scale property development in many cities, have prompted various adaptations among members of the LGBTQ+ community. The curators of the Cruising Pavilion at ArkDes—Pierre-Alexandre Mateos, Rasmus Myrup, Octave Perrault, Charles Teyssou, and James Taylor-Foster—sought to explore these tensions through the work of architects, designers, and artists from around the world.

In a critical acknowledgment of the diversity among those who have historically engaged in cruising, the installation in Stockholm explores it as a pursuit undertaken by groups other than cis-gendered gay men. According to ArkDes, “The exhibition presents cruising as the producer of a non-hetero architecture that closely mirrors the patriarchal nature of the built environment. Cruising is at once revealed as a resistance, and avant-garde and a vernacular, with an active relevance in and beyond LGBTQ+ circles.”

For the display in Stockholm, organizers have incorporated work from a wide variety of designers and firms, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Andrés Jaque's Office for Political Innovation, and S H U I (Jon Wang + Sean Roland). The exhibition is housed in Boxen, a studio gallery for experimental shows that opened at ArkDes in 2018. The Cruising Pavilion will be on display at ArkDes through November 10, 2019.

Placeholder Alt Text

AN rounds up our favorite coast-to-coast fall exhibitions of 2019

With summer finally falling behind us, the fall exhibition circuit is just heating up. Here, we’ve rounded up the season’s must-see art and architecture exhibitions from coast to coast. Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates The Shed 545 W. 30th Street, New York, NY October 9, 2019 - January 19, 2020 The second and fourth floors Hudson Yards' The Shed will display 150 of the Hungarian artist's seminal works confronting truths about society, our environment, and introspection. Working since the 1960s, Denes's 50-year career is explored and presented in a hopeful way as the echoes of the Climate March recede and Climate Week NYC begins.  The two floors dedicated to Denes address two separate arcs present in her oeuvre: her exploration of technology in relation to control over her artistic process is espoused on the second floor, with displays of her two series, Philosophical Drawings and Map Projections, while the fourth floor is completely dedicated to her meditation on the pyramid, simply titled Pyramid Series.   By utilizing the intersection of the environment around her and technology available, Denes envisions a future plan for our society that hit home during the beginning of the ecological movement in the ’60s, and rings even truer today.  THROUGH POSITIVE EYES The Fowler 308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Los Angeles, CA September 15, 2019 - February 16, 2020 The Fowler Museum at UCLA is bringing together the stories, photography, and performances of more than 130 people living with HIV/AIDS in the upcoming exhibition Through Positive Eyes. Artist and activists from 10 cities around the globe have come together to exhibit original photos and video of these individuals, bringing unique stories to life as well as revealing a more collective, global-scaled narrative of this epidemic. There will also be a sculpture installation by L.A.-based multimedia artist Alison Saar.  The title is taken from the Los Angeles-based Through Positive Eyes Collective, a group of seven HIV-positive residents who will be performing twice a week throughout the exhibition. Yet while there are so many voices, and so much artistic production going into this single exhibition, it has all been envisioned and curated around one core belief: that challenging stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS is the most effective method for combating the epidemic.  WITH EACH INCENTIVE: POSTCOMMODITY The Art Institute of Chicago 159 E. Monroe Street, Chicago, IL July 25, 2019 - April 26, 2020 The indigenous collective Postcommodity, currently comprised of artists Cristóbal Martinez and Kade L. Twist, have "completed" their purposefully incomplete With Each Incentive at the Bluhm Family Pavilion at the Art Institute of Chicago. Free and open to the public, the pavilion splashes a colloquial building form of the Global South—vertical concrete blocks columns topped out with exposed rebar—against the skyline of downtown Chicago.  By placing these built forms in a place where they are seen as foreign, the Postcommodity duo comments on the ongoing phenomenon of migration of Central and South Americans to the midwestern city. The installation is also accompanied by a custom made codex that brings in images of relevant people, places, art, and graphics that the artists believe join in this site-specific theme, as well as Postcommodity’s perennial stance towards issues of borders, indigeneity, and the pan-American experience. The Los Angeles Schools The A+D Museum 900 E. 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA September 21, 2019 - November 24, 2019  The Architecture and Design Museum in L.A. is putting on an exhibition of student work from the leading architecture and design schools in the city, from SCI-Arc to Cal Poly LA Metro. The show is curated to express the methods and thinking propagated at these institutions, working to position L.A. even more prominently as “a center for architectural production, investigation, and research charged with producing tomorrow’s leaders in the world of architecture and design,” according to a press release. In addition to the curated show, the museum is also hosting a number of events and lectures that are all open to the public throughout the exhibition’s run. Individual school voices and narratives will be highlighted in what is a showcase of talent-to-come from some of the world’s leading academic institutions shaping the next generation of the profession.  Tigerman Rides Again Volume Gallery 1709 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL September 15, 2019 - November 2, 2019 This Chicago gallery chose to honor the final works of architect Stanley Tigerman in this exhibition of his black and white, undulating geometries. In the final months of his life, the 88-year-old architect resumed his life-long practice of daily drawings that had briefly been put on hiatus, and produced what harkened back to some of his boldest paintings and drawings of the late ’50s and early ’60s.  The mind of the man behind a large portion of Chicago’s postmodernist architectural aesthetic, his commitment to and passion for architecture history, Mies van der Rohe, and his favorite contemporary artists, are all evident in this showcase of final works. The exhibition shows how Tigerman was able to bring in diverse influences from all over the art world and synthesize them into clear, poignant visions both on the street and on the page.  Fringe Cities: Legacies of Renewal in the Small American City The Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY October 2, 2019 - January 18, 2020 Designed and curated by MASS Design Group, this exhibition explores the specifics of the "fringe city;" a smaller city on the outskirts of a larger metropolis. These cities were hit disproportionately hard by the effects of United States government investment in urban planning schemes centered around demolition, superblocks and slum clearance in the years between 1949 and 1974, collectively known as Urban Renewal.  From traffic congestion to increased neighborhood segregation, the effects of this era of urban planning are still being felt today in cities all over the country. But this exhibition takes a deep dive into MASS’s exploration of the fringe city condition, and understand the challenges faced by residents and local organizations in order to find new solutions towards human-scaled change.
Placeholder Alt Text

A new show at Cooper Union bridges architectural research and fabrication

As architects further blur the lines between science and design, lab and studio, and academia and practice, the experiments that arise from architect’s labs are changing the way the profession operates. With new digital fabrication and design tools and the university-fueled facilities to play with them, architects are able to reach in and engage with the physical construction process of their buildings more than ever before, altering a professional cultural divide that has been occupied by stonemasons, engineers, and contractors for millennia.  “Really, this is an opportunity for architects to get back a lot of power they’ve lost over the last century,” said Fabio Gramazio, “We finally have the tools to take these risks.”  Gramazio is a cofounder of Gramazio Kohler Architects, along with partner Matthias Kohler. But in 2000, the firm expanded into Gramazio Kohler Research (GKR) with the support of ETH Zurich, where the two both teach. The duo started tinkering with industrial robots, like those found in automobile factories, in the early aughts when they adapted the programmable arms for specific, repeatable building tasks like stacking bricks. However, they’ve come a long way since 2000. How to Build a House, an exhibition on the future of digital architectural fabrication, opened at the Cooper Union last Thursday and showcases a body of research at GKR and their partners from the renowned DFAB House, Benjamin Dillenburger and Mania Aghaei Meibodi. The four architects walked me through the exhibition space, where pieces of their experiments on architectural robots, large-scale 3D printers, and VR visualizations were curated by Hannes Mayer. Displaying a sensuality through its intense realism, the exhibition breaks new ground and questions the role of the architect in the profession of architecture as well as in the traditional context of a construction site.  The technologies on display were adapted by these architects and tested for the first time in the real world with the construction of DFAB house, which was built on the third tier of the NEST building in Zurich. The inhabitable three-story structure is the first to be built almost exclusively with robots and digital technologies, designed from the computer screen up.  “But there’s no repetitiveness anywhere—except for maybe the screws,” said Dillenburger.  For the designers, the process of building the house itself was also a process of changing perspective and expectation. The new opportunities for digitizing age-old building methods like pouring concrete slabs, assembling timber structures, and shaping formwork further an already pressing question the profession is facing. As Kohler asks of his colleagues, “Is research the future of architecture, the core of the profession?”  But the technologies themselves, and their presentation, reinforce their reality and existence in the "now"—this is not a futuristic exhibition. Mayer has adroitly positioned standout pieces of text, like “Architect” and “A Robot” amidst 1:1 models of digitally fabricated, full-size mullions, real-time process videos, and even a complete piece of a detailed, 3D-printed concrete slab.  “It evokes an attractive industrial logic, as well as suggests a recipe,” says curator Mayer, gesturing to the thick black text that accompanies the eye as visitors travel around the non-linear exhibition floor, including the larger-than-life title type of How to Build a House.  And this recipe is still being tinkered with. “Concrete, like architecture, is only limited by convention,” Dillenburger told AN as he gestured to 3D-printed concrete details. “It can be freed if we change our ideas about what it should look like.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Storefront's Ministry for All breaks down Brasilia's socio-political infrastructure

Brasilia, the midcentury planning marvel designed by Oscar Niemeyer along Lucio Costa's master plan, boasts monumental civic structures that have long provided a sense of stoicism as the face of Brazil's capital. But what goes on inside those government buildings—like many others around the world—changes from one administration to another, influencing the near future of a country seemingly in constant unrest.  Since Brasilia’s buildings can’t be stripped apart to reveal their inner workings, architect Carla Juaçaba and artist Marcelo Cidade will expose the physical infrastructure of the Storefront for Art and Architecture as a commentary on the social and political foundations of the built environment. This site-specific exhibition, Ministry for All, breaks down Niemeyer’s utopian vision for Brasilia by removing the concrete panels of the SoHo space’s iconic facade and bringing them inside. 
 
View this post on Instagram
 

A post shared by Storefront Art & Architecture (@storefrontnyc) on

Opening this Saturday, September 21, the showcase won’t look like a typical, polished art installation at Storefront. Instead, construction materials such as insulation foam and plywood boards will line the exterior, while the concrete panels will be rearranged to make new forms within the gallery’s interior. According to Juaçaba and Cidade, “this layered installation extrudes the facade inward and allows visitors to walk through it, providing a different reading of its panels now that they are no longer forming their intended function.”  Juaçaba and Cidade’s interventions will serve as a reminder that spaces are often used differently than they were intended for when originally built, solely because their users vary widely and change over time. It’s both a conceptual and poetic critique, according to the curators, on the resilience of architecture and will force the viewer to think deeper on how societies around the world can ultimately build systems that do work for all.  Ministry for All will be on view through December 14 and is the second exhibition in Storefront’s year-long program, Building Cycles, which explores the differences between building as a place and as a process. 
Placeholder Alt Text

Burglars steal Maurizio Cattelan’s golden America toilet

In a pastoral part of central England known for its stately homes and greenery, burglars made off this week with a valuable, if fairly unusual, piece of art. The theft took place around 4:50 a.m. at Blenheim Palace, a monumental country house in Oxfordshire, just northwest of London. The target of the crime? America, a 2016 sculpture of a fully-functional toilet crafted in 18-carat gold by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

The toilet, which was previously housed in an upper-level lavatory at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, had been installed in one of Blenheim’s wood-paneled restrooms as part of an exhibition of Cattelan’s work. It was connected to the estate’s plumbing system, enabling visitors to actually use it—rare moments of intimacy with an object valued at well over one million dollars. According to the Sunday Times, overnight security was relaxed because Edward Spencer-Churchill, the display’s organizer, did not consider the toilet a prime target for burglars. As he told reporters when the piece was installed in August, “It’s not going to be the easiest thing to nick…Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate.” Neither factor seemed an adequate deterrent for the thieves last week.

The crime caused significant damage to the palace beyond the loss of the art itself, as from photos, it appears the thieves simply ripped the fixture from the wall and left. The ruptured piping spawned a minor flood and one of the doors to the room was completely destroyed. While the display is now cordoned off, the toilet has yet to be recovered, prompting concerns that it may have been melted down. Authorities claim that a group of offenders used two vehicles to carry out the burglary but have only arrested one 66-year-old man in connection with the crime.

Cattelan himself highlighted the irony of the incident, pointing out that he created America to give ordinary people direct access to an extraordinary object. As he told The New York Times this weekend, “America was the one percent for the 99 percent, and I hope it still is. I want to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action. I wish it was a prank.”