Posts tagged with "Graham Foundation":

Placeholder Alt Text

Graham Foundation announces 2018 organizational grants

The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts has once again provided funding to foster experimentation, creativity, and discourse in architecture. The 2018 organizational grantees join a worldwide network of individuals and institutions that the Chicago-based Graham Foundation has generously funded over the course of its 62-year history. Individual grantees were announced in March. $609,500 in new grants will be distributed across 53 grantees, funding new media works, site-specific installations, films, exhibits, and publications. Proposals are multifaceted and cover a broad range of approaches to the study and consideration of the built environment. While educational institutions and nonprofits make up some of the familiar names, other grantees build on existing inertia, and still more explore radical ideas. Several grantees are set to explore the complex relationship between architecture and cultural life, including Jamaican-born architect Sekou Cooke, who through the Center for Architecture will explore the relationship between hip-hop and architecture as a discipline. MK Gallery, through Milton Keynes, will focus on how land ownership and landscape design define leisure activities. Julia Fish’s Bound by Spectrum at the DePaul Art Museum will present a personal take on vernacular architecture seen through works inspired by the artist’s home in Chicago. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), Southern California Institute of Architecture, and Columbia University are among some of the more well-known educational institution grantees. Columbia intends to use the award money to produce a publication on the architecture of incarceration, while SAIC, along with the University of Chicago, will continue to expand their vision of what it means to be a citizen via the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.  UNAM will analyze Mexico’s Olympic architecture through print media. Architectural history has a strong presence as well, with exhibitions planned to dig further into the work of Portland architect Willard Martin, and Eileen Gray, a pioneer of modernist design.  London’s Whitechapel Gallery looks back on itself with a critical analysis of its landmark 1956 exhibition This is Tomorrow. Both the Graham Foundation itself and critic Mimi Zeiger are planning site-specific installations, with Zeiger curating an exhibition at Rudolph Schindler’s Kings Road House for the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. A series at the historic Madlener House, the home of the Graham Foundation, presents the work of Lampo, one of music’s leading experimentalists. More information on grantees can be found on the Graham Foundation website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Graham Foundation announces 2018 grant winners in art and architecture

Today the Graham Foundation revealed the winners of its 2018 grants to individuals. The Chicago organization is disbursing more than half a million dollars to 74 artists, architects, and academics the world over who are working on books, exhibitions, and artistic endeavors that investigate spaces and environments, real or imagined. Per the Foundation's mission to develop ideas around architecture, many of the winners will use their grants on projects that straddle disciplinary boundaries between architecture, art, and history. Although the depth and reach of each of the 74 selected projects is too rich to cover in one post, The Architect's Newspaper (AN) did its very best to survey this year's winners and pull out an interesting (but by no means comprehensive) assortment of proposals from architects, historians and critics of the built environment. Of these, at least five architects won grants to further their practices. Zeina Koreitem and John May, co-principals of MILLIØNS, the Los Angeles–based experimental architecture firm, got a grant for an exhibition on their speculative projects at the A+D Museum. On the other side of the country, Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS are publishing an "anti-monograph" on their firm. (Philippe Rahm, though, is taking the traditional path with a book on his own practice.) Many will bridge art and architecture to bring performances and exhibitions to the public. In collaboration with Norman Kelley, artist Brendan Fernandes is creating a performance series and installation on Madlener House, the Prairie Style mansion that the Graham Foundation calls home. Both Fernandes and Mark Wasiuta, co-director of Columbia GSAPP's CCCP program, are two of this year's four Graham Foundation Fellows, which means that, in addition to their projects, they will be mounting exhibitions of their work at the foundation's Chicago headquarters.
More than a few grantees are focused on the Bauhaus. Grantees Alysa Nahmias, Petter Ringbom, Marquise Stillwell, and Erin Wright are producing a documentary on Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, the Hungarian painter and photographer. Karen Koehler is writing a book on Walter Gropius, while Ben Thorp Brown is producing Gropius Memory Palace, a film set in the architect's Fagus Factory (full disclosure: Karen was this author's college advisor). Ines Weizman, professor of architecture theory at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, is collecting case studies on the Bauhaus, a movement whose history she calls an "entangled problem."
Other projects span terra firma—and outer space. Performance artists Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly of Gerard & Kelly are making a film centered on Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House and Eileen Gray's Villa E-1027 in southern France to investigate queer and feminist space in modern architecture. Fred Scharmen, an assistant professor of architecture at Morgan State University and AN contributor, is using his Graham money to author a book on a massive space settlement design initiative spearheaded by NASA in the 1970s. While many of the proposals engage well-known practitioners, other grantees are studying architects that are not well known. Christopher Domin and Kathryn McGuire are writing a book on influential Arizona architect Judith Chafee, Joseph Litchfield Conteh is researching a book on Nigerian artist and architect Demas Nwoko, and Vikramaditya Prakash is writing a biography of the Indian modernist Aditya Prakash. Curator Carl-Dag Lige, meanwhile, is exploring the life and work of Estonian precast concrete expert August Komendant, an engineer and architect who worked with Louis Kahn on the Salk Institute and Moshe Safdie on Habitat 67.
More information on these projects, and all of the other winners, can be found here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Endurance art that explores ‘mastery’ in architecture and ballet

In many ways, architecture and ballet are natural accomplices. Both disciplines are irrevocably entwined with the body–as much as contemporary architectural practice tries to shirk this fact–and both are dedicated to the illusion of impossible ease, obscuring endless hours of grueling work and practice. But an exhibition opening this week in Chicago at the Graham Foundation strips away that mask. Instead, Brendan Fernandes: The Master and Form demonstrates the often perverse labor that goes into the pursuit of perfection. The Master and Form exhibition consists of a series of installations placed throughout the Madlener House, the Graham Foundation’s Prairie-style home, designed in collaboration with Chicago and New York-based practice Norman Kelley. These installations double as hyper-specific training devices on which dancers from the Joffrey Academy of Dance train their bodies into classic ballet poses, in performances of site-specific endurance art. “The exhibition is a means of exploring the relationship between mastery and masochism–what we do to our bodies, the pleasure and the pain–in service of aesthetic perfection,” said Fernandes, a former dancer and the 2017 Graham Foundation performance artist-in-residence. The Master and Form is also a kind of sculptural love affair between architecture and ballet. On the first floor of the Madlener House, three geometric wooden devices that look like creative coat stands occupy the foyer and two galleries. With Fernandes acting as ballet master, the dancers move repeatedly in and out of iconic poses, using the sculptures as guides to attain a more perfect form. On the second floor, three large-scale installations made of black metal piping occupy the east and west galleries. They resemble a cross between scaffolding and a pilates reformer. On these structures, dancers will bend their bodies into extreme postures and forms, stretching the limits of their strength and flexibility. The west gallery is also hung with pieces of thick rope, which serve as BDSM-style endurance devices for the dancers to hold onto with their arms overextended while moving between ballet positions on pointe, to the point of fatigue These performances are meant to elicit an intense intimacy between the dancers and the objects, as well as between the dancers and the audience, who will be standing close enough to hear them breathe and see them sweat. When the dancers are not present, three-way audio recordings of their movements will play in each room. Ellen Alderman, Managing Director of Public Programs at the Graham Foundation, said, “Sounds of pointe shoes moving across the old oak floor, creaks, the dancers breathing heavily, will elicit an experience of the physicality of the sculptures and the choreography that will draw the audience to their own bodies and experience of the space.” In addition to the sculptural instruments, Fernandes and Norman Kelley also designed a series of gestural arches and frames that echo existing and historical thresholds and windows in the Madlener House. These moments call attention to architecture’s most intimate moments in relation to the human body, and serve as another layer of sculptural circulation influencing the movement of bodies through the house. Performances are scheduled for four dates throughout the duration of the exhibition, including the opening reception. The exhibition closes on March 10. The Master and Form performance schedule (at the Graham Foundation, 4 W Burton Pl, Chicago, IL 60610): Thursday, January 25, 2018, 6–8:00 p.m. Opening Reception and Performance Thursday, February 1, 2018, 6–8:00 p.m. Talk by Jaffer Kolb Saturday, February 10, 1–3:00 p.m. Performance followed by Brendan Fernandes in conversation with Zachary Whittenburg Thursday, February 15, 6:00 p.m. Talk by Hendrik Folkerts followed by Q&A with Brendan Fernandes Saturday, February 17, 1–3:00 p.m. Performance Saturday, March 10, 1–3:00 p.m. Performance
Placeholder Alt Text

The Graham Foundation announces 2017 Carter Manny Awards for architectural scholarship

The Graham Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Carter Manny Awards. Founded to recognize promising doctoral students engaged in advanced scholarship in architecture, the awards are given to two recipients for writing and research each year. Since 1996, the award has provided over $775,000 to PhD candidates. This year’s winners are James Graham of Columbia University for writing, and Razieh Ghorbani of UC Berkeley for research. James Graham’s dissertation, "The Psychotechnical Architect: Perception, Vocation, and the Laboratory Cultures of Modernism, 1914–1945," examines the influence of psychology on architectural pedagogy and practice during the period between the world wars. The research focuses on the rise of the interrelation of psychology, vocational education, and occupational therapy, all of which saw a rise in the mid-20th century. Comparisons are also explored as these fields are applied to architecture in the Soviet Union, the United States, and Germany. Ghorbani’s dissertation, entitled "The Space of Sanctions: Architecture and Construction in Contemporary Iran," looks at the “culture of sanctions” and its effect on architectural practice in Iran. Rather than a strictly political or economic understanding of sanctions, Ghorbani’s work explores the material and special implications of forced austerity. In particular, the research looks at how sanctions have transformed the way in which the design and building industries perform culturally and socially. This year the awards were also extended to three citations of special recognition. These three awards went to Kera Lovell of Purdue University, Nikki Moore of Rice University, and Matthew Mullane of Princeton University. The Graham Foundation awards three categories of grants each year to dozens of architects, designers, historians, and academics. Over the past 60 years, the foundation has awarded millions of dollars to support research in architecture.
Placeholder Alt Text

Graham Foundation announces 2017 Grants for Organizations

As part of its annual Grants to Organizations program, the Graham Foundation has awarded over $400,000 to support architectural projects around the world. Grants went to 41 projects ranging from exhibitions and publications to events and research projects. Winners were chosen from more than 220 submissions from museums, educational institutions, architectural organizations, and architectural festivals. In the past 61 years, the Graham Foundation has awarded more than 4,300 grants. Some highlights from the awardees include the Palais de Tokyo's Singing Stones exhibition, which will be part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial and Expo Chicago. The Serpentine Galleries were awarded a grant in support of their annual pavilion project, designed by Francis Kéré this year. A film about Stanley Tigerman, entitled TIGERman, produced by the Chicago Architectural Club, was also awarded grant. In the public programs category, 2017 Black in Design Conference: Designing Resistance, Building Coalitions, organized by the Harvard University – Graduate school of Design – African American Student Union was given support. Foreign publications including Paris’s The Funambulist and Buró-Buró from Mexico City also made the list. Along with the Grants for Organizations, the Graham Foundation provides grants to individuals and an extensive exhibition schedule in its Chicago galleries. This year’s Grants for Organizations include: Exhibitions The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art-Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture (New York, NY) Heritage Fund-The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County-Landmark Columbus (Columbus, IN) Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art Ltd (Liverpool, UK) Materials & Applications (Los Angeles, CA) The Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY) New York Foundation for Architecture-Center for Architecture Foundation (New York, NY) Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France) Queens Museum (Queens, NY) The Renaissance Society (Chicago, IL) S AM Swiss Architecture Museum (Basel, Switzerland) Serpentine Galleries (London, United Kingdom) Socrates Sculpture Park (Long Island City, NY) Storefront for Art and Architecture (New York, NY) University of Chicago-Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (Chicago, IL) Film/Video/New Media/Web The Architectural League of New York (New York, NY) Chicago Architectural Club (Chicago, IL) Other-Fellowship The University of Illinois at Chicago-College of Architecture, Design (Chicago, IL) Public Programs Association of Architecture Organizations (Chicago, IL) Harvard University-Graduate School of Design-African American Student Union (Cambridge, MA) Illinois Institute of Technology-Graham Resource Center & Master of Landscape + Urbanism Program (Chicago, IL) Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, United Kingdom) Lampo (Chicago, IL) National Trust for Historic Preservation-Farnsworth House (Washington, DC, Plano, IL) Navy Pier (Chicago, IL) The University of Illinois at Chicago-School of Art & Art History (Chicago, IL) Publications Anyone Corporation (New York, NY) Architectural Association School of Architecture – Unknown Fields (London, United Kingdom) Buró-Buró (Mexico City, Mexico) E-Flux Architecture (New York, NY) Flat Out (Chicago, IL) Front Exhibition Company (Cleveland, OH) The Funambulist (Paris, France) Harvard University-Graduate School of Design-New Geographies (Cambridge, MA) Het Nieuwe Instituut-Research Department (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, NY) Performa (New York, NY) Project: A Journal for Architecture (Brooklyn, NY) Rice University-School of Architecture (Houston, TX) Terreform Inc (New York, NY) University of California, Los Angeles-Department of Architecture and Urban Design (Los Angeles, CA) University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
Placeholder Alt Text

Graham Foundation announces 2017 grants for individuals

The Graham Foundation has announced this year’s class of 72 grantees. Over $560,000 is being awarded to individuals and teams, with projects ranging from exhibitions and publications to live performances and site-specific installations. The 72 projects were selected from over 700 applications, which came from around the world. The grantees hail from 20 different countries, from fields including architecture, design, curation, filmmaking, visual arts, music, and writing. “Many of our grantees this year are exploring the agency of design,” explained Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda in a press release. “They are testing the limits of conventional practice to make new work that directly engages the social and political dimensions of the designed environment.” In the past 61 years, the Graham Foundation has awarded grants to more than 4,300 projects. This year’s grantees include: Exhibitions Marcelo Araya, Andrés Garcés, Iván Ivelic & Manuel Sanfuentes Daniel Cardoso Llach Assaf Evron Nathan Friedman Anna Halprin Suzanne Harris-Brandts & Angela Wheeler Rick Lowe Zahra Malkani & Shahana Rajani Senam Awo Okudzeto Maxi Spina Martine Syms Film/Video/New Media Projects Josef Asteinza & Mariano Ros TOMA: Leandro Cappetto, Mathias Klenner, Eduardo Pérez, Ignacio Rivas & Ignacio Saavedra Aggie Ebrahimi, Oscar Molina, Brenda Isabel Steinecke Soto, Catalina Ortiz & Sandra Tabares-Duque Daniel Eisenberg Sean Lally Liam Young Public Programs Seán Curran & David Skidmore, with Diana Balmori Publications Kunlé Adeyemi & Suzanne Lettieri Esra Akcan Barry Bergdoll & Jonathan Massey Caitlin Berrigan Michael Carriere & David Schalliol Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II & Mabel O. Wilson Alison J. Clarke Francesco Dal Co Roberto Damiani Martha Deese Teresa Fankhänel Leonardo Finotti Reto Geiser Design Earth: Rania Ghosn & El Hadi Jazairy Cristina Goberna & Urtzi Grau Sarah Williams Goldhagen Maria Gough Helen Gyger Aimi Hamraie Rory Hyde Office for Political Innovation: Andrés Jaque Omar Kholeif Tiffany Lambert Paolo Nicoloso Conor O’Shea Itohan I. Osayimwese Kyong Park Angelo Plessas Mil M2: Fernando Portal Anders Herwald Ruhwald Catherine Seavitt Nordenson Elisa Silva Christopher Sims Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin Molly Wright Steenson Paulo Tavares Allyson Vieira Research Michelle Moore Apotsos Tulay Atak Lee Azus Andrea Bagnato Eva Díaz WAI Think Tank: Nathalie Frankowski & Cruz Garcia Miyuki Aoki Girardelli Virginia Hanusik Sophie Debiasi Hochhäusl Branden W. Joseph, Felicity D. Scott & Mark Wasiuta Jeffrey Mansfield Rebecca O’Neal Dagg Jason Oddy MK Smaby & Carolyn Wheeler Irene V. Small Despina Stratigakos Chat Travieso For more on the Graham Foundation, visit its website here.
Placeholder Alt Text

“Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth” at Chicago’s Graham Foundation

There is a productive dissonance among the many pieces in the current exhibition at the Graham Foundation, Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth. A dissonance between scale and size, performance and perception, and artifact and object. Each contribution from the 24 participating designers, architects, and artists implies its own narrative, separate from the other pieces. Yet, as a whole, the entire show has a clarity that resonates across the disparate objects and installations.

Spaces without drama is curated by the Mexico City–based Ruth Estévez and Wonne Ickx of LIGA, Space for Architecture. The duo propositioned participants to explore two-dimensional surfaces as a means of producing architectural space. The prompt is a direct reaction to the recent proliferation of digital collage, and an attempt at drawing a lineage through the historic works of canonical postmodern designers and artists. The result is a diverse set of works that straddle the lines of stage set, model, and installation. The genesis of much of the work comes from the Aldo Rossi’s Small Scientific Theatre and David Hockney’s design for The Magic Flute, both of which are present in the show in drawing and collage form. From that starting point, the more contemporary work ranges from full-scale environments to carefully crafted maquettes.

At the largest scale, pieces throughout the show set the gallery spaces as stages to be explored, or backdrops to view the work against. Cité de Réfuge by OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen wraps two walls in a large curtain. This blocks off the Graham Foundation’sground-floor windows, while extending the visitor’s view to Ceuta: a refugee city in the no-man’s-land between Spain and Morocco. Batia Suter’s Vale/Cabenet plays a similar game with some of the Graham’s built-in cabinetry, which is tactically covered in digitally manipulated scenery. Silke Otto-Knapp’s Stage (after Kurt Schwitters) is the closest to what might be called a true stage set. Large hand-painted panels fill the end of one gallery space, forcing viewers to weave among them to circulate through to another space. The result is a purposefully exposed “back-stage” which questions the piece’s own illusion of space.

Other works seem to fit more comfortably in the category of illustration or model, but these still rarely play out as simple representations. While House no.8, Image no.1, with Layers and Masks by MOS Architects seems to be a simple, yet uncannily flat, model, its position in the middle of the gallery allows guests to peak through a peephole on its back side. This effectively filters the view of the rest of the gallery through the model. Sam Jacob’s Untitled touches on a similar effect with a model of a series of spaces divided by four translucent colored planes. The resulting confusion of space and scale looking at the model itself can be extended to the greater gallery space as one looks through it.

Johnston Marklee’s Teatro del Mare inversely makes the guest question the scale of the piece itself. The large model appears to be representing a scaled space, referencing the office’s Vault House. But the inclusion of a series of full-size objects designed by Rossi twists the perception of the piece from scale model to display case, and then back. The cheekiest of any of the pieces is Drop-Leaf Table in Oblique Elevation (with Drop-Leaf Table in Oblique Elevation) by Norman Kelley. A finely crafted piece of furniture in its own right, the Drop-Leaf Table is skewed, as if directly built from an axonometric drawing. Sitting against the gallery wall, like one might expect a similar piece of furniture, the table is also the display stand for a smaller flattened version of itself. It should also be noted that the leaves and a small drawer in the table, like those of the miniature version, don’t “work.” This makes the table, as well-made as it may be, about as useful as any other theater set piece.

Along with the other fascinating works from the likes of Charles Moore, baukuh, fala atelier, Emilio Ambasz, Monadnock, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, and more, the show is a delight for the academic, as well as those simply interested in beautiful images and objects. At the least one will get to see original pieces by Hockney and Rossi, and at the most one will gain a new respect for power of flatness to evoke space, and—dare I say—drama.

Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth is on show at The Graham Foundation through July 1, 2017.

Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts 4 W Burton Place, Chicago

Placeholder Alt Text

Graham Foundation exhibit explores set design, collage, and architectural representation

The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts’ spring exhibition Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth will examine the proliferation of collage in architectural representation, specifically in scenography and theatrical set design. The show has invited contemporary designers to rethink the relationship between theatricality and architecture, while drawing on historical references from 19th-century toy theaters through Aldo Rossi’s Little Scientific Theater. The show features the work of a wide range of architects and artists, including Argentinian architects Emilio Ambasz and Gerardo Caballero, Portuguese firm fala atelier, Brazilian architect Marcelo Ferraz, and British architect Sam Jacob, as well as American offices Johnston Marklee, MOS Architects, and Norman Kelley.

Other contributing architects include OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Cecilia Puga, Aldo Rossi, Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, and Pezo Von Ellrichshausen. Artists in the show include Pablo Bronstein, William Leavitt, Silke Otto-Knapp, Gabriel Sierra, Batia Suter, as well as dramaturge Jorge Palinhos. Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth is curated by the Mexico City–based LIGA, Space4Architecture, Ruth Estévez, and PRODUCTORA founder Wonne Ickx.

Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth The Graham Foundation Madlener House 4 West Burton Place, Chicago Through May 27, 2017

Placeholder Alt Text

With latest exhibition, The Graham Foundation explores Iraq’s modernization period

Every Building in Baghdad explores the work of Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji through his own photographs and building documents. Curated by Mark Wasiuta, the show was originally produced for the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. Chadirji was an important cultural figure in Iraq though its modernization period of the 1950s and 70s. A prolific architect with over 100 buildings, his work ranged from factories and communications structures to monopoly headquarters and colleges. Every Building in Baghdad fills the Graham Foundation with custom display armatures holding over 70 photographic paste-ups of Chadirji’s photographs of his work and the streets of Baghdad from the 1960s through the 80s. The show will also include drawings, etchings, and more photographs by Iraqi photographer Latif Al Ani.

Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation runs at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (4 W Burton Place, Chicago) to December 31, 2016.

Placeholder Alt Text

Graham Foundation announces their 2016 grants to organizations

Today, the Chicago-based Graham Foundation, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, released details on 31 international projects that will receive a total of $419,000 in grant funding. The grants are organized into four categories: Exhibition, Film/Video/New Media, Public Program, and Publication. According to the Graham Foundation, which also hosts events and exhibitions in addition to its grant program, highlights from this year's list of grantees include: LOS ANGELES FORUM FOR ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN DESIGN (Los Angeles, CA) Tu casa es mi casa Two modernist houses—the Neutra VDL Studio and Residence in Los Angeles and the Archivo house by Arturo Chávez Paz in Mexico City—are brought together via  the exchange of narrative texts, industrial objects, and installations by contemporary architects/artists, including Frida Escobedo, Aris Janigian, Pedro&Juana, and Katya Tylevich. MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (New York, NY) Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive The Museum of Modern Art’s major exhibition critically engages the recently acquired Wright archive, offering new interpretations of this rich trove to the public, 150 years after the birth of the seminal modern American architect. SERPENTINE GALLERY (London, United Kingdom) Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses 2016 The Serpentine Architecture Programme expands this year with the addition of four  newly commissioned Summer Houses by Kunlé Adeyemi, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman, and Asif Khan, which join the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels  Group. ARAB IMAGE FOUNDATION (Beirut, Lebanon) Rifat Chadirji: Architecture Photo Index A comprehensive publication of Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji’s photographic folio that records and analyzes the development of his building practice in and around Baghdad from 1952 through the early 1980s. CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE BIENNIAL (Chicago, IL) The State of the Art of Architecture The curatorial team of the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial invited practicing architects to converse with leading cultural figures, resulting in a collection of original texts that serve as both a legacy of the first Biennial and an invaluable survey of ideas and positions in architecture today. The full list includes: EXHIBITION (16 awards) ANYONE CORPORATION New York, NY The Architectural Imagination: US Pavilion, 15th International Architecture Exhibition  The United States Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Cynthia Davidson and Mónica Ponce de León, presents twelve speculative architecture projects across four Detroit sites with far-reaching applications for cities around the world. THE BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS New York, NY Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect This project examines the artist’s groundbreaking impact on rethinking architecture after the fall of modernism’s urban utopia and demonstrates, through a distinctive exhibition and accompanying publication, the unique role of the Bronx in both his artistic development and sociopolitical engagement. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY LONG BEACH-UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM Long Beach, CA Robert Irwin: Site Determined Four decades of artist Robert Irwin’s work—site-determined outdoor environmental projects—are explored in this comprehensive exhibition of his drawings and architectural models. CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM ST. LOUIS St. Louis, MO Urban Planning: Contemporary Art and the City, 1966–2017 Critical socioeconomic developments have resulted in the irrevocable transformation of North American cities through various stages of growth, decline, and revival—this exhibition features more than twenty international artists including Mark Bradford, Abigail DeVille, Glenn Ligon, Josiah McElheny, Catherine Opie, Michael Rakowitz, Robert Smithson, and Sara VanDerBeek, among others whose work demonstrates how such conditions offer fertile ground for artistic inquiry today. ISTANBUL FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE AND ARTS Istanbul, Turkey Are We Human?, 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial Opening this October, curators Beatriz Colomina and MarkWigley put forward eight interlinked propositions around the topic “Are We Human? The Design of the Species: 2 seconds, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years.” THE JEWISH MUSEUM New York, NY Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design This first US retrospective of French modernist Pierre Chareau—known for ingeniously integrating traditional craftsmanship with Machine Age–advances—showcases his creative contributions as an architect, artist, and furniture designer, within the context of his extraordinary life and Jewish cultural background. LIGA-SPACE FOR ARCHITECTURE Mexico City, Mexico LIGA Exhibition Program, 2016–2017 LIGA’s annual program will consist of four exhibitions, in which emerging studios from across Latin America intervene in their Insurgents’ Avenue gallery space, along with conferences, workshops, debates, and performances, each of which explore tangential relationships with architecture. LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART Liverpool, United Kingdom Céline Condorelli: Liverpool Biennial 2016 Portals Céline Condorelli’s artworks sit between architecture and contemporary art—here they will serve as gateways to access the fictional worlds of the 2016 Liverpool Biennial, which will unfold through the landscape of the city. LOS ANGELES FORUM FOR ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN DESIGN Los Angeles, CA Tu casa es mi casa Two modernist houses—the Neutra VDL Studio and Residence in Los Angeles and the Archivo house by Arturo Chávez Paz in Mexico City—are brought together via the exchange of narrative texts, industrial objects, and installations by contemporary architects/artists, including Frida Escobedo, Aris Janigian, Pedro&Juana, and Katya Tylevich. MADISON SQUARE PARK CONSERVANCY New York, NY Prismatic Park: Colored Glass to Destroy Hatred Artist Josiah McElheny will create an outdoor, multidisciplinary exhibition uniting architectural form, sculpture, and performing arts to explore the ongoing urgency of public space as a place for and catalyst of cultural expression and inclusion. MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART TUCSON Tucson, AZ The World Would Burn without Rain The architecture office Aranda\Lasch and artist Terrol Dew Johnson collaborate to showcase a collection of experimental new work that blends traditional Native American craft with contemporary design. MUSEUM OF MODERN ART New York, NY Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive The Museum of Modern Art’s major exhibition critically engages the recently acquired Wright archive, offering new interpretations of this rich trove to the public, 150 years after the birth of the seminal modern American architect. NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM Washington, DC Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project This exhibition examines the innovative architecture, construction, and planning of three cities built from scratch by the US government during World War II—Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford/Richland, Washington—in order to produce the first atomic bomb. SERPENTINE GALLERY London, United Kingdom Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses 2016 The Serpentine Architecture Programme expands this year with the addition of four newly commissioned Summer Houses by Kunlé Adeyemi, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman, and Asif Khan, which join the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels Group. SWISS INSTITUTE New York, NY Display Curated by Niels Olsen and Fredi Fischli, this conceptual project explores the tension in exhibiting architecture through layering modes of display in an atmospheric installation consisting of architectural drawings. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO-NEUBAUER COLLEGIUM FOR CULTURE AND SOCIETY & SMART MUSEUM OF ART Chicago, IL Fantastic Architecture: Vostell, Fluxus, and the Built Environment and Vostell Concrete, 1969–1973 In conjunction with the reinstallation of Concrete Traffic (1970)—a major public sculpture by leading Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell—on the University of Chicago campus, two original exhibitions examine Vostell’s use of concrete against the contexts of postwar art, architecture, and urbanism, and explore the Fluxus movement’s engagement with public space and the built environment. FILM/VIDEO/NEW MEDIA (1 award) MONOAMBIENTE Buenos Aires, Argentina Amancio Williams 2.0 Working with documents from the archive of Argentine architect Amancio Williams, this project will introduce Williams’s work to an international audience, while formulating a new vision of how to develop a living archive. PUBLIC PROGRAM (3 awards) CAMPO Bogota, Colombia Colombian Architecture Banal Envisioned to become a space reflecting upon architectural practice, this public program aims to discuss the production of the public sphere and question the proliferation of the biennial as a model for the “exhibition,” rather than reflection, of architecture. LAMPO Chicago, IL Lampo 2016 Concert Series at the Graham Foundation A concert series presenting the work of music’s leading experimentalists, bringing musicians and composers from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia to Chicago. SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORIANS Chicago, IL Making and Re-Making Glasgow: Heritage and Sustainability This seminar seeks to bring new perspectives and audiences to the dialogue addressing regeneration, preservation, and sustainability for Glasgow and other post-industrial cities as it relates to housing, open spaces, and waterways, particularly Glasgow’s River Clyde. PUBLICATION (11 awards) ARAB IMAGE FOUNDATION Beirut, Lebanon Rifat Chadirji: Architecture Photo Index A comprehensive publication of Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji’s photographic folio that records and analyzes the development of his building practice in and around Baghdad from 1952 through the early 1980s. ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION London, United Kingdom In Progress: The IID Summer Sessions Featuring a wealth of previously unpublished archival material, this book, edited by Irene Sunwoo, documents the history of Alvin Boyarsky’s International Institute of Design Summer Sessions (1970-72), an experimental school that convened architects, educators, planners, and students from across the world for the global exchange of emerging design strategies, teaching methods, and theoretical positions. ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History One of the first publications to explore the influence of architecture and design exhibitions long after their closing date. CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE BIENNIAL Chicago, IL The State of the Art of Architecture The curatorial team of the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial invited practicing architects to converse with leading cultural figures, resulting in a collection of original texts that serve as both a legacy of the first Biennial and an invaluable survey of ideas and positions in architecture today. GUAYABA PRESS Mexico City, Mexico Sur 3: Esther McCoy: The Mexican Years Taking as its starting point the connections between architectural critic Esther McCoy and Mexico, this publication includes moments from her personal life, her political and artistic acquaintances, her writings while in Mexico, and the relationships the writer started with some of the most emblematic figures of modern Mexican history. MAS CONTEXT Chicago, IL MAS Context, Issues 33–36 A quarterly design journal that addresses issues that affect the urban context, providing a comprehensive view of a single topic through the participation of people from different fields and different perspectives. PLACES JOURNAL San Francisco, CA Places Journal: Writers Fund This capacity-building initiative will allow Places Journal to proactively commission agenda-setting articles and to support the valuable intellectual labor of research, reportage, and critique. PROJECT: A JOURNAL FOR ARCHITECTURE Los Angeles, CA Project: A Journal for Architecture, Issue No. 6 Focused on publishing the work of emerging practices and critics, this print and online platform engages critical writing and architectural projects as a serious forum for work and thought on the discipline of architecture today. TERREFORM New York, NY UR (Urban Research), Volumes 07–11 This book series, edited by Michael Sorkin, devoted to speculation about the conditions and the future of the city continues to establish UR and Terreform as key venues for both individuals and organizations engaged in progressive urban research, design, and critical advocacy. UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG Johannesburg, South Africa Folio A dynamic internationally peer-reviewed publication that will focus on emerging discourses of architecture, education, and urbanism across the African continent. VERLAG DER BUCHHANDLUNG WALTHER KÖNIG Cologne, Germany Thomas Demand: Model Studies I & II Exploring the work of architects John Lautner and SANAA, German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand focuses his lens on the pockets, edges, and corners of architectural models made from materials such as paper and cardboard.  
Placeholder Alt Text

The Graham Foundation announces 2016 grants for individuals

The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts has announced their 2016 grants for individuals. This year 59 projects by 94 individuals received a total of $490,000 in support for research and production projects by architects, designers, curators, filmmakers, visual artists, musicians, and writers. The new grantees join over 4,000 individuals and institutions that have been supported by the Graham Foundation in the past 60 years. The 59 projects where culled from 640 submissions from around the world. Projects from this year’s grantees include: an opera by director, animator, and visual artist Joshua Frankel about the conflict between urban activist Jane Jacobs and New York City Planner Robert Moses, a series of large scale public installations throughout Mexico City dealing with the legacy of the 1968 Mexico City Olympic games, and an ongoing research project by Athens-based Point Supreme looking at the “Post-Crisis” city. Other projects range from performances, publications, installations, films, events, and more. The 2016 Graham Foundation Individual Grantees by category: Exhibition Chelsea Culprit, Ben Foch, Jaffer Kolb, Ian Quate & Colleen Tuite François Dallegret Rear View (Projects): Jennifer L. Davis & Su-Ying Lee José Esparza Chong Cuy & Guillermo Ruiz De Teresa Adelita Husni-Bey Farzin Lotfi-Jam & V. Mitch McEwen Anders Ruhwald Quynh Vantu Fo (Folayemi) Wilson Film/Video/New Media Sebastian Alvarez, Andrew Benz, Yoni Goldstein & Meredith Zielke Esther Figueroa & Mimi Sheller LoVid: Tali Hinkis & Kyle Lapidus Prudence Katze & William Lehman Andrea Lewis & Maura Lucking Rob Mazurek & Lee Anne Schmitt Masha Panteleyeva, Svetlana Strelnikova & Nazli Kaya Juan Alfonso Zapata Public Program Joshua Frankel Aaron Landsman, Mallory Catlett & Jim Findlay Publication Michael Abel & Mina Hanna Mai Abu ElDahab & Benjamin Seror Zeynep Çelik Alexander Daniel A. Barber Pierre Bélanger & Nina-Marie Lister Michael Boyd Neil Brenner & Nikos Katsikis Maristella Casciato Benedict Clouette & Marlisa Wise Beatriz Colomina John Comazzi Dale Allen Gyure Leslie Hewitt & Bradford Young Sean Keller Léopold Lambert Alexandra Lange Amanda Reeser Lawrence & Ana Miljački Jennifer Mack Julian Raxworthy Gabriel Ruiz-Larrea Martino Stierli James Trainor Lori Waxman Allan Wexler Mary N. Woods De Peter Yi Jon Yoder Research Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Tatiana Bilbao, Gabriela Álvarez, Nuria Benítez, & Alba Cortés Isabelle Doucet Charlie Hailey & Donovan Wylie Simon Herron & Mark Morris Heinrich Jaeger & Dan Peterman Parsa Khalili & Shima Mohajeri Azadeh Mashayekhi Mariana Mogilevich Yasufumi Nakamori Point Supreme: Konstantinos Pantazis & Marianna Rentzou Damon Rich & Jae Shin Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi Filip Tejchman
Placeholder Alt Text

The architecture of independence? Or colonialism?

Architecture of Independence(!): African Modernism(!). (Exclamation points mine). The title of the current exhibition at the Graham Foundation is the first hint that the show is a departure from the Graham’s usual oeuvre. More historical survey than discursive inquisition, Architecture of Independence presents an impressive catalogue of architecture from five sub-Saharan countries (rarely- or never-before-seen by Western audiences) built at the height of late-modernism, at the moment just after independence from colonial rule.

Rigorously researched and curated by Swiss architect Manuel Herz, the exhibition is the outgrowth of a book dominated by photographs by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster. Originally presented at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery in Germany, the mounting at the Graham is the first scheduled presentation in the United States. (It will also appear at the AIA New York Center for Architecture in Feb. 2017).

According to Herz, the aim of the research is to bring the architecture into the discourse through documentation and presentation. “There is virtue in just documenting these buildings,” he said. Focusing on the multitude of public and cultural institutions built during the era, the exhibition argues that architecture was used as a nation building tool in post-colonial Africa, and that the buildings themselves act as witnesses to the complicated and often violent history and politics of the regions following independence.

Aside from a case of archival materials that includes historical photographs, postcards, and architectural plans and sketches, the exhibition is an abbreviated representation of the book, exploded throughout the galleries. Like the book, the exhibit is organized by country: Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire are on the first floor of the Madlener House, and Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya are on the second. 

This approach works best with an illustrated timeline that spans the north wall of the library, charting the political, economic, demographic, and cultural histories of each country from the time of independence to the present. Where each country’s timeline is separate in the book, the exhibit overlays them all, quickly revealing trends and discrepancies between them.

Each building is presented within a wood box with photographs and texts arranged behind glass on a wooden back.

To fit over 700 images of over 80 buildings into the frames, the photographs are snapshot-sized and the text is small, forcing an intimate proximity to the walls. While the archival-style presentation unfortunately precludes large-format prints of most of the architecture, the clustering is reminiscent of a family portrait wall, which plays nicely against the residual domesticity of the Madlener House.

To absorb the scope of the assemblage is staggering. It inspires the speculation of an entire city composed of these buildings alone: skylines full of experimental, strangely expressive, beautifully dominating, concrete and steel monoliths. It is like a hyper-Brasilia, which is itself a close relative of the work on display, both in terms of architectural style and political ambitions.

The writing accompanying each building sticks mostly to close readings and formal descriptions of the architecture. The wall text introducing each country positions the architecture as intensely optimistic projections of the hopes and dreams of newly independent nations. Like La Pyramide market building in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, or Independence Square in Accra, Ghana, massive buildings were constructed to facilitate and anticipate the rapid cultural and economic development of each nation. Now both defunct, the exhibition reveals how the architectural style and utopian rhetoric of modernism were widely adopted to bring post-colonial Africa into conversation and competition with the Western world.

Also like La Pyramide and Independence Square, most of the architecture on display was designed by European or American architects, in many cases from each country’s former colonial power.

In fact, it could be argued that the work is not the Architecture of Independence at all, but is, in every way, the architecture of colonialism; the architectural manifestation of a kind of cultural Stockholm syndrome. The authorship and intentions of the architecture presented raise important questions about the meaning of freedom, autonomy, and independence in the wake of colonialism, the effects of which continue to play out today around the world. As Audre Lorde wrote, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

In the introductory essay to the book, Herz examines the complexities and problems of authorship and architectural expression in relation to the slippery meanings of the terms “independence” and “modernism” in the context of Africa. Unfortunately, that critical framework is not explicitly carried over into the exhibition.

There is also the unavoidable problem of the white gaze. The framing and narration of the exhibition and the book are situated firmly in the scholarly, white, Western view, for a Western audience, fetishizing both the architecture and the anonymous black bodies populating the images. The existence of the white gaze is not as troubling in and of itself as the fact that it goes completely unacknowledged.

From a purely disciplinary perspective, the Architecture of Independence brings attention to a canon of architectural history (for five countries) that is full  of important and interesting work by European, American, and some African architects. However, it raises the questions: Who can lay claim to this work Where does it belong? In the Western discourse of modern architecture, studied alongside other known works by Denys Lasdun, Harry Weese, and Henri Chomette, or through the lens of African politics, history, and culture? While the exhibition seems to be saying both, the framing of the work seizes it solely for the Western discourse.

Many of these issues could have been addressed by simply changing the title from a statement to a question. Changing “The Architecture of Independence” to “The Architecture of Independence?” would not only shift grammar and tone to be more reflective of the complexities and idiosyncrasies presented, but it would also provide a more compelling framework for the exhibition.

Go see this show. The architecture is stunning, the research rigorous, and the images striking. Stand too close to images of iconic architecture you have probably never seen, get a crash course in the recent history of five African countries, take in the sublime photography of Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster. Do it. It’s worth it. But do so with one eye sideways, craning around the singular gaze presented to the complex questions that the exhibition raises.