Most New Yorkers know Housing Works though cheerfully crammed thrift stores where vintage blazers, crystal candy dishes, and nice books can be had for good prices. Yet the storefronts are infrastructure for a larger mission: As its name suggests, Housing Works provides housing and social services to homeless New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. A new project by a Columbia curator teases many stories out of the documents stretching back to its founding in 1990, when the city had few of supportive housing for an estimated 13,000 homeless citizens with HIV/AIDS. Housing Works History is a meticulous digital archive that covers the organization from its founding 27 years ago to its work today in a multimedia timeline that's as elegant as it is thorough. Timed to the 30th anniversary of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), the grassroots group and Housing Works precursor that formed in response to government inaction around HIV/AIDS, Housing Works History speaks to the past and future of supportive housing in New York for the most marginalized groups. That housing, and the activism that made it happen, shaped the city subtly but profoundly. "Focusing on physical spaces gave me a way in, a way to talk about the history, the stories, and the different voices from those spaces," said Gavin Browning, the curator behind Housing Works History. Drawing on his academic background in urban planning and his work at Columbia University (he's the director of public programs and engagement at Columbia University School of the Arts, and the inaugural director of Studio-X), Browning's project provides a forum for a distinctly New York story. Inspired by oral history and the Howard Zinn–esque bottom-up approach to historiography, Housing Works History sorts each significant event, program, or housing milestone chronologically along with links to important court rulings, scanned newspaper clippings, photographs, video, and other ephemera, grounded by parallel timelines of diagnosis and infection rates. The juxtaposed timelines, Browning said, help connect data to lived experience to "expose an archive that wasn't being seen or used, or really acknowledged. Most people don't know this history, and how it's connected to the development of the city. It's really essential New York City history." A click on the year 2000 brings viewers, via archival footage, to the Housing Works Gay Pride parade float, and to the organization's stewardship of two brownstones on West 130th Street, a project started by community group Stand Up Harlem. The project is a platform for collective voices that have shaped the organization and the movement it foregrounds, as well as a window into how a social movement shaped architecture and design in New York. Long abandoned, those brownstones were transformed into supportive housing for substance users. Designed by architect Benjamin Kracauer, the Stand Up Harlem House opened in 2008 and provides 16 units for single adults and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The design connects two adjacent brownstones but moves entryways to the garden level, providing streetscape continuity while allowing for greater accessibility. In addition to the timeline, Browning collaborated with Laura Hanna to shoot five original films featuring the architects, activists, and Housing Works employees behind five of the organization's housing projects. In one, Browning interviews, roundtable-style, a Stand Up Harlem resident, Desi Glazier, program director Ivan Gonzales, a Housing Works attorney, and Kracauer. For the spatially-inclined, there's a map, too, that organizes the group's projects and significant sites. Housing Works History, Browning said, was influenced by Group Material's 1989 installation, AIDS Timeline, which used media, artifacts, and ephemera to document AIDS's evolution from its roots as a health issue to one that shaped LGBT and dominant culture. Close to home, the project grew from a 2012 project Browning curated with Karen Kubey in New York. Living Room: Housing Works Builds Housing explored the group's activism and advocacy that led to the construction of 170 units in three neighborhoods for its target population. Despite his work, Browning isn't employed by for Housing Works; he obtained project funding from the Graham Foundation. Though the website officially debuts today, Housing Works History's official launch party is next week at the New York Pubic Library's main branch (details here). Browning sees the project as a "stepping stone" for other's work—he hopes, for example, the work could inspire others' academic research or ground perspectives on today's struggles for equity and visibility.
Posts tagged with "Exhibitions":
Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is holding dual exhibitions exploring the past and the future of the UIC campus. Back to the Future: Visualizing the Arts at UIC and The Netsch Campus: Materializing the Public at UIC bring together architects and designers to imagine a new arts site, while looking at Walter Netsch’s original vision for the campus. Back to the Future: Visualizing the Arts at UIC presents three speculative proposals by teams of architects and designers. Teams member include: Sarah Dunn, Kelly Bair, Maya Nash, and Cheryl Towler Weese; Sam Jacob, Alexander Eisenschmidt, and Mischa Leiner; Andrew Zago, Sarah Blankenbaker, and Sharon Oiga. Each team’s design engages with Netsch’s campus, while bringing together the currently separated arts programs around campus. The designs also symbolize the ambitions of the university and act as a gateway into the city. The Netsch Campus: Materializing the Public at UIC explores the Field Theory design of UIC. Opened in 1967, the complex Walter Netsch design was never completed. The exhibition displays original drawings, sketches, and watercolors of the campus’s design. Photographs by Orlando Cabanban show the portions of the campus that were completed. Complementing the new designs, the show includes never-before-displayed watercolor rendering of a consolidated arts building in Chicago’s West loop. The concurrent shows were co-curated by Judith K. De Jong and Lorelei Stewart and will run in Gallery 400 August 10th through August 27th. There will be a public reception on August 18th and guided tours are available throughout the run.
Starting this weekend, Jai & Jai Gallery in Los Angeles will be hosting a new exhibition showcasing the work of Oakland, California-based architecture firm, Endemic Architecture. The firm’s new exhibit, Mind Your Mannerisms, delves into the zany world of San Francisco architecture by examining that city’s ubiquitous corner turret morphology through drawings, scaled models, and photography. By embarking on a formal and existential exploration of quirk-heavy San Francisco Victoriana, Endemic Architecture Principal Clark Thenhaus and his team seek to analyze the turret and its multivalent tendencies. In their efforts, the design-researchers deftly use a mix of traditional architectural representation and contemporary digital manipulation to explore elaborations of the Victorian turret. The isolated corner turret is treated as representing the incongruities, complications, and controversies of Victorian era architecture. Endemic Architecture arrives at several provocations that embody what the firm calls “mannerisms,” what Thenhaus described to AN via telephone as “forms of articulation slightly strange but not so strange as the become unfamiliar.” These formal and stylistic incongruities, described as “architectural contradictions, exaggerations, and counter-intuitions” in exhibition text, are treated as bad habits, amplified, and made worse to prove a point. As the designers manipulate and exaggerate the turret’s salient qualities, fascia boards get extruded and swept across facades, rooflines pucker at their corners, newels turn parabolic, and shingle patterns shift, grow, and change in scale. Thenhaus, recent recipient of a 2015 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers, described the underlying thesis of the project one of working through a ubiquitous architectural feature of his newly adopted city, where turrets are part of the accepted vernacular, inscribed within the city’s zoning code, sometimes clashing with more prosaic urban issues like lack of affordable housing and a need for increased density. The exhibition goes on view August 13th at 6pm and runs through the summer.
Eleven San Diego and Southern California cultural organizations are joining forces this fall to celebrate the life and works of Irving J. Gill. Gill, a famously overlooked San Diego architect who was responsible for introducing the beginnings of modernism to Southern California in the early 1900s. An uneducated migrant from upstate New York, Gill would eventually find himself working in the Chicago offices of Adler & Sullivan, where he worked on the firm’s designs for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Gill left the White City for Southern California in 1893, going on to a prolific career at the helm of the firm Hebbard & Gill. A firm believer in the positive social impacts of proper architecture, Gill took on a variety of clients, providing design services for wealthy, white gentry as well as for several Native American reservations, an African American religious congregation, and the families of migrant Mexican workers. While well-known—if not more renowned—as contemporaries such as Greene and Greene during his lifetime, Gill’s reputation fell off the radar quickly after his death. With a blockbuster lineup of coordinated exhibitions, San Diego institutions are re-elevating Gill as their city’s patron saint of architecture. The San Diego History Center is leading the effort with their exhibition, Irving J. Gill: New Architecture for a Great Country, a survey of Gill’s greatest San Diego works, including many of his influential house designs as well as the La Jolla Women’s Club from 1914, considered to be the first tilt-slab construction building in Southern California. Among other institutions showcasing Gill’s work, The La Jolla Historical Society and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will team up to showcase an exhibition focused on Gill’s orthographic and perspectival drawings, sketches, and watercolor renderings on loan from Gill archives at University of California, Santa Barbara and the San Diego History Center. The Oceanside Museum of Art, housed in a Gill-designed structure originally used as the town’s City Hall from 1934 to 1994, will present a historical overview of the 5,000 square foot structure. In conjunction, the museum will also showcase the work by Frederick Fisher and Partners, who completed a large expansion to the structure in 2008. Lastly, the Save Our Heritage Organisation will present two exhibitions at the Gill-designed National Historic Landmark, Marston House Museum and Gardens. One, Irving J. Gill: Photographer, will showcase Gill’s previously-unknown architectural photographs as well as pictures of his buildings by other photographers. The second, Gill & the Decorative Arts, will dissect Gill’s interior and garden design philosophies through the lens of regional sustainability. The exhibitions open September 24th and run through March 31, 2017.
Exhibition on Architectural League of New York’s League Prize for Young Architects + Designers opens
The 2016 Architectural League of New York's League Prize for Young Architects + Designers focused on the theme of (im)permanence. As the League's website says, this year's competition "asks how time affects architecture’s assertion of style, methods of assembly, and relationship to program." The exhibition, open until July 30, showcases the drawings, models, and research of the winners at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries at Parsons School of Design at The New School. As The Architect's Newspaper reported in May, this year's diverse group included: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, DESIGN EARTH, Cambridge, MA and Ann Arbor, MI Juan Alfonso Garduño Jardón, G3 Arquitectos, Querétaro, Mexico Neyran Turan and Mete Sonmez, NEMESTUDIO, San Francisco, CA Neeraj Bhatia, The Open Workshop, San Francisco, CA Hubert Pelletier and Yves de Fontenay, Pelletier de Fontenay, Montreal, Canada Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest, Ultramoderne, Providence, RI Three of the winners will also discuss their responses to the theme of (im)permanence in a June 30 lecture; the event can also be streamed live through the Architectural League of New York. The 2016 League Prize was organized by the Architectural League and its Young Architects + Designers Committee.
Now on view at BSA Space is an exhibition and accompanying education program that focuses on playgrounds around the world. Dubbed Extraordinary Playscapes, it will run until September 5, 2016 and was curated by Design Museum Boston. On display are drawings, sketches, videos, scale models, and playable installations featuring 40 international playgrounds. Examples of contemporary architect-designed playgrounds in the U.S. abound: in April, the Rockwell Group–designed Imagination Playground (featured in Extraordinary Playscapes) opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Similarly, in December the renovated Adventure Playground in Central Park, designed by Richard Dattner, also opened. These two playgrounds provide the opportunity for “unstructured play,” a growing trend in playgrounds. Some of the designs featured in the exhibition include: Wild Walk in Tupper Lake, New York, designed by Chip Reay; PlayForm7 in Singapore, designed by Playworld Inc; Esplanade Playspace in Boston, designed by Halvorson Design Partnership; Takino Rainbow Nest in Takino, Japan, designed by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam; Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; and Ambulance Playground at Beit CURE Hospital in Malawi, Africa, designed by Super Local. You can read more about Extraordinary Playscapes here.
For design and architecture enthusiasts in the New York City area and Long Island, it’s your last chance to see the architecture exhibition Public Practice at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) Old Westbury campus before it closes after May 1. The solo show features models and drawings by Brooklyn-based architecture firm, Peterson Rich Office, also known as P.R.O. The exhibit is hosted in the NYIT architecture gallery and holds six P.R.O. conceptual projects that the firm created over the past four years. P.R.O. co-founders Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich are visiting professors at the university. The school invited them to produce both an exhibit as well as a lecture under the theme of public practice. The projects address design in the context of small public spaces and propose temporary and adaptable installations for parks, sidewalks, plazas, and more. The concepts are “experiments in public space: quick, small-scale design exercises that engage issues related to the public realm in and around New York City,” explained Nathan Rich. “Each proposal is adaptable to multiple sites, and intended to generate dialogue about public space within its built context. They address specific urban conditions, but could be installed in a wide variety of spaces.” The six P.R.O. projects all feature two renderings as well as a ¼ scale 3D printed model. The models rest on mirrored tables “that reflect the public space around our designs, inviting viewers to consider how they might be a part of the work,” said Rich. There’s Stoop (2016) that considers the stoop as means of transition between public and private space along New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) fences. “The stoop, a common space for interaction, is precisely the mediator between the public and private realms that is lacking in NYCHA campus planning,” Rich said. “At a time when affordable housing is very much in the public discourse, we decided to use this familiar form to think about how we can chip away at the edges of public housing superblocks, and start to think about integrating them back into the urban fabric.” There’s also Brooklyn Cloud (2012), conceived as a temporary traveling exhibit for downtown Brooklyn spaces that cannot be developed. “As a reaction against the static, sculptural designs that are more typical of architectural installations in public spaces, we conceived of this installation as a series of white air dancers: nylon tubes powered by high velocity fans.”
Twenty Five young American architects are taking on current significant issues facing the world in the 5x5 Participatory Provocations show at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. With the aim of engaging with the public while still being provocative within the field of architecture, 5x5 argues for participatory criticism, or critical engagement through architectural practice. The curators posed five prompts for offices to explore one of through physical models. The prompts include; Droneports – contemplating the future of drone deliveries, Inve$tment Tower$ – the consequence of the construction of extreme luxury high-rises as financial investments, Lunar Resort – luxury tourism on the moon, NSA Community Branch – the fictional development of NSA community branches, and Trump Wall – the potential construction of an anti-immigration wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. The 25 offices participating are: Abruzzo Bodziak Architects Andrew Kovacs / Archive of Affinities Anthony Titus Studio Brillhart Architecture Carl Lostritto Club Club David Emmons Formlessfinder Future Expansion GELPI Projects is-office JKurtz KNE studio Kyle May, Architect Michael Abrahamson Norden Design Platform for Architecture + Research Path + Price Studio P.R.O. + Quarra Stone Company Sean Gaffney / Christina Nguyen Snarkitecture SOFTlab SPACECUTTER Studio Cadena Ultramoderne The resulting models range from the playful to the austere, while questioning the current status of their prompted issue. Abruzzo Bodziak Architects’s NSA Community Branch invites guests to "spy" on the model through cellphone peepholes, the interior revealing and endless web of space. PATH + Price Studio’s take on the same subject places an obtrusive metal building over a neighborhood intersection. Below the ground of the model, the building is revealed to be iceberg-like, with massive underground information storage space. Brillhart Architecure’s Droneport model visualizes the very airspace companies like Amazon are fighting for as product delivery systems are rethought. Projects working with the Inve$tment Tower$ prompt also take to the air with slender supertowers. Both SPACECUTTER’s and P.R.O.’s Inve$tment Tower$ step over the cities below them with thin legs, physically expressing the separation of the rich from the rest of the city. 5x5 Participatory Provocations is curated by Julia van den Hout, founder of Original Copy, and co-founder and Editor of CLOG, Kevin Erickson a New York–based designer, and an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture, and Kyle May a New York-based architect and co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of CLOG. Sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 5x5 Participatory Provocations will be open through March, 4th 2016.
The 18 winning projects shortlisted in the Field Constructs Design Competition flag a range of pressing socio-environmental issues through whimsical takes on interactive public art. The exhibits will occupy an old landfill and brownfield in Austin within the Circle Acres nature reserve, turning the site into a bizarre outdoor museum teeming with site-responsive sculptures and unforeseen creatures. Here, we take a look at some of the winning proposals to be displayed from November 14–22. Cloudfill by Blake Smith, John Cunningham, Seth Brunner (New York) This three-part installation is made of plastic bottles stuffed in bags. Each piece is specifically designed for either forestland, wetlands, or dry land, and references a different environmental issue, from deforestation to strip mining and microplastics in the ocean, to advance the educational mission of the Ecology Action of Texas. A floating bridge is planned for the park’s wetland area, which used to be a quarry.
Commpost by Daniel Gillen, Colby Suter, Gustav Fagerstrom (Beijing)These disorienting camel humps rising in the middle of a field are an educational commentary about composting. Visitors scan QR codes or use the on-site WiFi to learn about ecological food disposal. Like a LEGO set, it comes with a step-by-step assembly manual and can still function with minimal component parts. Visitors can throw scraps and water into pits within the sculpture and watch them turn into dirt. Dis-Figure by Aptum Architecture (Syracuse) This vaguely equestrian sculpture looms out of the swampy shadows like a guardian angel. Built from a wood frame covered in latex, the sculpture reportedly “glows” and changes appearance throughout the day. “Through the intertwining of skeleton and mutilated skin, a digitally enhanced structure and its biodegradable latex ornamentation disfigures the form and, in turn, alludes to a new reading of ‘form meets nature’ as the grotesque, the uncanny, and the unexpected,” said the architects. Las Piñatas by Goujon Design (Austin) This exhibition bespeaks the proverbial tension between development and preservation. The giant piñatas pay homage to a local family-owned piñata store that was razed in early 2015 by a pair of transplanted property developers in the city’s rapidly gentrifying East Austin neighborhoods. “The low-income and predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Montopolis”—where the park is located—“will inevitably become another friction point between the development of a ‘new’ Austin and the preservation of ‘old’ Austin,” according to Field Constructs. Meat Church Field Kitchen by Jordan Bartelt, Scrap Marshall (Los Angeles) The design for this short-lived smokehouse riffs on a lone church standing in the Texas barrens, where seasoned grill-masters prepare juicy meats to be consumed with others like at a church picnic. However, folks of all faiths are welcome at this non-denominational gathering.
On a man-made island in East Amsterdam, this isn't your traditional campsite. The so-called Urban Campsite Amsterdam is an open-air exhibition that features 14 publicly accessible installations that can be booked for an evening under the stars. From trampoline roofs and hemispherical windows, each unique shelter is created by a wide array of designers, architects, and artists. Pictured at top is an installation from social design project collective Treehouse Fest or Boomhuttenfest entitled Solid Family. This bone-shaped icosahedron, created by graphic designer Tobias Berg and furniture designer Sander Borsje, is made from recycled materials and is deceptive with its seemingly unaccommodating shape. Surprisingly, it houses 2 queen-sized beds and can lodge up to four people at a time. From a four-person geo-structure to a two-person trampoline. Designer Vince Vijsma' coined Trampotent for his trampoline/tent hybrid that allows for an entertaining fun house and an eclectic gathering space. Exploring the "flux of garbage and its recycling and utilization in architecture and design," Refunc created IBC Shrinkwrap, housing a queen sized bed for two protected by, of course, shrinkwrap. Refunc believes that "creative reuse" is a better alternative to recycling and that there is potential in discarded materials to transform into something extraordinary. The concept behind the exhibit is to allow the public to interact with contemporary art and showcase its ability to transform a barren stretch of underused land into a common ground for tourists and locals. Urban Campsite also eliminates the barrier between a work of art and its audience through the participatory aspect of the campsite, thereby transcending the viewer-art piece relationship. So park the camper for the summer and crash in a spaceship for the night. The installations are available to book through August 31st.
Chicago's Graham Foundation today announced nearly half a million dollars in grant funding for “groundbreaking” architectural projects by organizations, including the first major career survey of architect David Adjaye, an urban planning program in Ukraine, and architecture festivals in Norway and Portugal. The Graham Foundation, whose director Sarah Herda sits on AN's editorial advisory board, will award $496,500 to 49 projects that “chart new territory in the field of architecture.” The award recipients were plucked from a pool of over 200 submissions representing 22 countries. The Adjaye show, titled Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye, opens September 19 at the Art Institute of Chicago and will be “the only North American venue for this globally focused exhibition,” according to the Art Institute. Other grant recipients include a plan to exhibit sound sculptures designed by Harry Bertoia at Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio, the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s biannual World Wide Storefront event, and the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale. The announcement follows the Graham's “grants to individuals” program, which in May awarded $490,000 for architectural research to 63 projects. Here's the full list of recipients, organized by category: EXHIBITIONS [23 awards] Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL) Chicago Design Museum (Chicago, IL) Columbia College Chicago-Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL) Elmhurst Art Museum (Chicago, IL) The Jewish Museum (New York, NY) MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, at the Schindler House (West Hollywood, CA) Materials & Applications (Los Angeles, CA) Monoambiente (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago, IL) Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY) National Trust for Historic Preservation (Washington, DC) Oslo Architecture Triennale (Oslo, Norway) Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art (London, England) Serpentine Gallery (London, England) Slought (Philadelphia, PA) Socrates Sculpture Park (Long Island City, NY) Southern California Institute of Architecture (Los Angeles, CA) Swiss Institute (New York, NY) University of California, Berkeley-Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, CA) University of Chicago-Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (Chicago, IL) Video Game Art Gallery (Chicago, IL) Yale University-School of Architecture (New Haven, CT) FILM/VIDEO/NEW MEDIA [2 awards] Wavelength Pictures (London, England) The Wende Museum of the Cold War (Culver City, CA) PUBLIC PROGRAMS [12 awards] Archeworks (Chicago, IL) Architectural League of New York (New York, NY) Association of Architecture Organizations (Chicago, IL) CANactions (Kiev, Ukraine) Chicago Architecture Foundation (Chicago, IL) Chicago Humanities Festival (Chicago, IL) Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago, IL) The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (Scottsdale, AZ) Lampo (Chicago, IL) Ohio State University-Knowlton School of Architecture (Columbus, OH) Storefront for Art and Architecture (New York, NY) Van Alen Institute (New York, NY) PUBLICATIONS [12 awards] Anyone Corporation (New York, NY) Art Papers (Atlanta, GA) California Institute of the Arts-REDCAT (Los Angeles, CA) Columbia University-Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (New York, NY) LIGA-Space for Architecture (Mexico City, Mexico) Lisbon Architecture Triennale (Lisbon, Portugal) MAS Context (Chicago, IL) Primary Information (Brooklyn, NY) The Renaissance Society (Chicago, IL) Rice University-School of Architecture (Houston, TX) Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) Zone Books (Brooklyn, NY)
At the Aronson Galleries at the New School, a wall of pickle jars taped with black-and-white cutout portraits of twenty dictators lines the windowsill. A standard 8 ½ x 11 paper sign invites visitors to Pick Your Own Dick by placing a poker chip in a jar. Chairman Mao, a world-class “dick” whose Cultural Revolution starved and murdered millions of Chinese, and Turkish President Erdogan, an elected Muslim fundamentalist morphing into a military strongman, handily won opening night. Romancing True Power: D20, the mischievous exhibition designed by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss of NAO and conceived by Nina Khrushcheva, associate dean and professor at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at the New School, cheekily invites public debate about the nature of and difference between types of dictatorship, taking special glee in thumbing its nose at ostentatious symbols of power. The exhibit was accompanied by a journal compiled by Khrushcheva with Yiqing Wang-Holborn and by a book of graphic novellas designed as a result of Weiss’s seminar on new ideologies at Columbia GSAPP, both profiling selected dictators and their trappings. The co-curators selected twenty of the world’s biggest dictators—dicks for short, according to the lingua franca of the exhibition—considering them by various yardsticks and quantitative measures. It’s a pun that offers itself willingly and fluently throughout, and why not? Mark Halprin may have had to resign as an analyst at MSNBC in 2011 for disrespectfully characterizing President Obama’s as acting like “kind of a dick” after a press conference, but it’s good to know there’s still some humor left in academia. In the exhibition space, celebratory tchotchkes and representative “dick kitsch” adorns a roomful of stacked white cubes Scotch-taped with information about each leader. On the gallery walls, informational print-outs graph in three dimensions the greatness or infamy each of the selected dictators, and a video collects scenes of the symbolic displays of power—choreographed military parades, building-scale posters, salutes--that are the trappings of authoritarianism. In the hallway, a hall of dictators designed by NAO composed of photocopied black-and-white sheets invites you to compare each dick’s stature—with the exception of Margaret Thatcher all of the prime examples chosen are men—and each is crowned by his dick palace. Inflected by a distinctly Slavic black-humor, underlying Romancing True Power is an academically rigorous examination of the forms dictatorship takes relative to different systems of government. Most of the exemplars are conventionally accepted members of the group: President Vladimir Putin, a true dick by any standard, evinces a visible pleasure in flamboyant dissembling, willfully erratic behavior, and contempt for his opponents. Putin is joined as co-representative of Russia by his typological predecessor, Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Community Party of the Soviet Union, one of the great mass-murderers and political assassins of all time: another order of dick altogether. Vice President Dick Cheney, great fabricator of post 9-11 conspiracies and silencer of political opponents, is placed alongside another legendary Dick, President Nixon, known as Tricky Dick long before he was uncovered spying on Democratic opponents during the Watergate scandal and forced to resign. Khrushcheva and Weiss selected the twenty dicks in a lively debate while developing the book and exhibition, and created appendixes listing second and third tier adherents of the club. The European fascists of the WWII era fall into this latter category, along with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, currently a leading proponent of the genocidal category; possibly they’re too intellectually obvious and uncomplicated to make the first cut. Apart from academic credentials Nina Khrushcheva had special access to this field: she is the great-granddaughter of Soviet First Secretary of the Community Party Nikita Khrushchev, an honorary third-tier dick notorious for taking his shoe off and banging it on the table for emphasis at the UN. The twenty chosen “dicks,” the D20, are offered as a counterpoint to the G20, the leaders of the world’s 20 most industrialized countries who meet in Geneva each year to decide the fate of the international economy. The sole function of the twenty dicks, by contrast, seems to be to intimidate, harass, punish, dominate, silence, and display their true power. That is, their dickpower. The beauty of the show at the New School is the opposite. It constructs a public display about dictatorship that is itself an open public debate. The opening night panel discussion with Bobby Ghosh, a CNN Global Affairs analyst, exposed that debate to public scrutiny. Its exhibits are all paper monuments created samizdat style, in the manner of the Soviet dissidents of old, who secretly distributed photocopies of books and political pamphlets as handmade productions that were no less important because of their improvised character. Both the exhibition and the hardcover journal, available as an online journal, with informative chapters such as “Dicks and their Love of Sports” and “Dicks and their Music,” repudiates abuse of power by making it the subject of debate, play, and mockery. Nothing is as worthy of ridicule as the exercise of dickpower.