Buildings have been reliable photography subjects since the medium’s invention, and a new exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, tracks how architectural photography sells a narrative as much as the buildings themselves. Through careful selection by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture examines how architectural photography inherently creates subjective experiences. From now until June 17, 2018, patrons can view 57 images by 17 renowned and lesser-known photographers who shaped a language of architectural photography that’s survived well into the age of Instagram. Organized thematically intro three sections, Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces, and Public Places, Image Building places historical photographs alongside contemporary images to track an evolution in style, technique, and places themselves. Modernism has proven an especially rich vein for these comparisons. Image Building places Julius Shulman’s carefully staged Case Study House photos against images of quotidian features from cookie-cutter, low-income housing. Each series is trying to sell something, whether it be an idealized life of post-war leisure, or commentary on the alienation that mass-produced housing induces. This dichotomy is on display throughout the exhibition, and hammers home the heightened artificiality of architectural photography. Buildings are three-dimensional structures and flattening them hands the narrative over to the photographer. For instance, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s fragile, out-of-focus takes on famously photographed architectural landmarks are a commentary on their now-lessened status in the world, having been sidelined and (literally) overshadowed in the years since their construction. But this series serves another purpose, as it highlights how vital the technical aspects–light, depth of field, the use of color–are to each photograph's meaning. Take Iwan Baan’s delirious photos of Torre de David in Caracas, Venezuela. Devoid of people, but featuring the scattered items they’ve left behind, Baan captures the chaotic energy present in the half-finished Torre de David skyscraper, now overrun with squatters, from the perspective of its inhabitants. Looking at The City and the Storm, Baan’s aerial photo of a Manhattan plunged into darkness following Hurricane Sandy, Baan singles out what he calls the “electricity haves and have-nots,” as viewers are drawn to the centers of finance that serve as islands of light in a darkened city. The Parrish Art Museum, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and shaped like an extruded “M,” built from simple materials and completed in 2012, played an important part in the foundation of Image Building. As Lichtenstein told AN, the Parrish itself was partly the inspiration for the show. The way it was sited, the photographs that Baan took of the building, and the long, uninterrupted views down the museum’s “wings” all stoked questions of how photography proliferates the ideas behind the buildings themselves. As it becomes easier and easier to proliferate images of buildings, looking back to the history of the form may provide an important tool for the professional and amateur architectural photographer alike. On Saturday, April 14 2018 at 5:00 PM, the Parrish Museum will host a dialogue between The Architect's Newspaper's Editor in Chief William Menking and photographer Iwan Baan on the use of photography to instill buildings with feeling and meaning. More information on the talk can be found here.
Posts tagged with "Hiroshi Sugimoto":
The renovation of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto has been completed only two months after renderings were first revealed for the project. The lobby’s light new look not only pays homage to the curved Gordon Bunshaft-designed museum housing it but will also introduce a serpentine café when it opens to the public on February 23. Sugimoto and his Tokyo-based architectural firm, New Material Research Laboratory (NMRL), drew inspiration from the clash between the uneven swirls of the natural world and the mathematically perfect (and unnatural) roundness of the Hirshhorn. As previously reported, Sugimoto had discussed transplanting the roots of a 700-year-old Japanese nutmeg tree into the lobby, and he made good on his promise by turning the root bundle into a twin set of glass-topped tables. The effect is quite striking, as the chaotic branches have been trimmed down, cut in half, and trapped under a sheet of manmade material. “Looking deeper into the roots, I became equally delighted by the randomness of the lines, drawn by nature. There are no perfectly round circles or perfectly straight lines,” said Sugimoto in a statement. “I found it fitting to place one of nature’s circles inside this manufactured one so that we might compare the two: notional shapes and natural shapes.” The lobby’s white chairs also reference natural spirals in their design, with their backs twisting as they rise, resembling the helical curve of DNA strands. Brushed brass benches with legs made of optical glass blocks, referencing Sugimoto’s storied photography career, have been installed throughout the space. The largest change to the lobby has been the removal of a dark film over the 3,300 square feet of curvilinear windows, which has allowed natural light to flood the space, and the installation of Your oceanic feeling (2015), a swirling light sculpture by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson that hangs from the ceiling. While the Hirshhorn had held a special preview event of the space last week, the lobby will officially open to the public on February 23, 2018. Visitors will be able to check out the new Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato café, a 20-foot long coffee bar clad in diamond-shaped tin and brushed-brass plates that resembles serpent scales. Guests can also view a video preview of Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000 before the projection is once again displayed on the museum’s exterior.
San Francisco’s $50 million, arts and culture-focused redevelopment of the Treasure Island neighborhood, a manmade island in San Francisco Bay, is moving along with the announcement of a star-studded shortlist of artists for its massive sculpture displays. Ai Weiwei, Hiroshi Sugimoto, New Jersey-based sculptor Chakaia Booker and five other artists have been invited to submit designs for three public sites across the development, from an initial pool of 495 entrants. The plan to expand the Treasure Island district will include the neighboring Yerba Buena Island, and add up to 8,500 new residences and 550,000 square feet of retail across both islands. The $50 million art budget, to be spent in the coming decades, will be generated through the 1% for Art in Private Development fund, which would levy a 1% “art tax” on new construction projects on the island. The three sites will include the Building 1 Plaza in front of the ferry landing, with a budget of $1 million, Waterfront Plaza, with a $2 million budget, and the Yerba Buena Hilltop Park, with a $2 million budget. Of the eight artists, only Weiwei and Booker have been invited to submit proposals for more than one site. Weiwei, Booker and Los Angeles-based Pae White, with Ned Kahn as a standby option, will submit for the Building 1 Plaza. Weiwei, British sculptor Antony Gormley, and Cuban artist Jorge Pardo will also propose pieces for the Waterfront Plaza, a likely future ferry terminal location. At the Yerba Buena Hilltop Park, which will offer sweeping views of Treasure Island once the development is complete, Booker, British sculptor and photography Andy Goldsworthy, and Sugimoto have been shortlisted. Once complete, the Treasure Island redevelopment, which will be jointly masterplanned by SOM and Perkins + Will, will only build on approximately 25 percent of the available land. By clustering new buildings along Treasure Island’s southern and western shores and building for density, the master plan not only reduces the island’s dependence on cars but will also provide plenty of space for the “art park” concept to unfold. CMG Landscape Architecture has been tapped to design the 300 acres of rolling parks across both islands. “It is anticipated that proposals will be submitted in the spring and will be placed on public view on Treasure Island as well as elsewhere in the city for comment and feedback before being voted upon by the Treasure Island Development Authority,” according to the San Francisco Arts Commission. Neither Weiwei nor Sugimoto are strangers to large-scale art installations, or integrating art with the built environment. Most recently, Weiwei's Good Fences Make Good Neighbors touched down in public areas throughout New York City, while Sugimoto was tapped to redesign the Hirshhorn Museum's lobby. The entire Treasure Island master plan can be read here.
Artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has been selected to redesign the lobby of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the first time the space has been touched in the museum’s 42-year history. The Tokyo-born artist, along with his Tokyo-based architectural firm, New Material Research Laboratory (NMRL), will be responsible for not only designing sculptures and furniture for the lobby of the Gordon Bunshaft-designed museum, but the new café in the lobby’s east end as well. Seeking to reference the round form of the Hishhorn building, Sugimoto drew inspiration for the furnishings from the roots of a 700-year old Japanese nutmeg tree. The imagery of twisted, chaotic roots will be reflected in the lobby’s central group table, and the spiraling chairs surrounding it. "I became fascinated by the roots of an enormous tree, which fanned out to form a large circle, and I decided that this was the circle I would install in the Hirshhorn lobby - a symbol of life," said Sugimoto. "All art takes its inspiration from the power inherent in nature, and my hope is that as visitors enter the museum, they will experience the balance of the man-made and natural circles." Sugimoto will be leaving Bunshaft’s original terrazzo floors, deeply coffered ceiling and exposed aggregate walls, but the artist removed the dark film that covers the lobby’s 3,300-square feet of windows, and opened the space up to views of the National Mall. The rotunda will also see new signage and welcome desks, in addition to the installation of Your oceanic feeling (2015), a swirling light sculpture by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The lobby’s renovation will coincide with the opening of Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato at Hirshhorn, and Sugimoto has designed a 20-foot long, serpentine coffee bar plated in diamond-shape brass and tin plates. The Hirshhorn and Sugimoto have a long history together, as in 2006 the museum was the first institution to present a career survey of Sugimoto’s work. The new lobby, and Dolcezza, will formally open to the public in February 2018.
The Noguchi Museum has named architect Tadao Ando and artist Elyn Zimmerman recipients of the 2016 Isamu Noguchi Award. The award, given annually since 2014, recognizes practitioners who "share Noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and East-West exchange." The awards will be presented during the Noguchi Museum’s Spring Benefit in May. Like Noguchi, Ando incorporates natural elements into his designs, and shapes space with humble materials like concrete. Among many notable commissions, his Osaka-baed practice, Tadao Ando Architects & Associates, designed the Pulitzer Arts Foundation building in St. Louis, Missouri (2001), the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2002), and the Punta Della Dogana Contemporary Art Center, Venice (2009). Ando received the Pritzker Prize in 1995. Zimmerman is known for her site-specific stone installations that play on water and light. Her public commissions include the Sculpture Garden at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama (1993), a pool and granite sculpture, for the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. (1980), as well as Suspended Arcs, a commission for the Beijing Olympics (2008). In 2015, the award was granted to industrial designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Norman Foster and artist Hiroshi Sugimoto claimed the honor in its inaugural year.
This week, the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York announced the inaugural Isamu Noguchi Awards to recognize like-minded spirits who share Noguchi’s commitment to innovation, global consciousness, and Japanese/American exchange. The first recipients of the award are architects Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto. "The Isamu Noguchi Award serves to establish a dialogue with Noguchi’s profound legacy of innovation," Noguchi Museum Director Jenny Dixon said in a statement. "We are honored to celebrate Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto, whose exemplary work we believe demonstrates principles similar to those that inspired Noguchi.” Motohide Yoshikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will present the award during a special ceremony at the Museum’s annual Spring Benefit on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.