Posts tagged with "The Museum of Modern Art MoMA":

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Met, MoMA, and more go dark over coronavirus concerns

As New York City and other major cultural hubs around the world slowly shut down to head off the spread of COVID-19, museums and other art and design institutions are also closing their doors. Besides Broadway, which went dark last night, here’s what not to visit if you’re working from home, as they won’t be open. And if you’re thinking of catching a movie, be aware that Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have imposed 50 percent operating capacity at venues with under 500 seats. Venues with over 500 seats? Those have been closed as a result of a state of emergency. The Brooklyn Museum The Brooklyn Museum will close later today and reopen at an as-of-yet undetermined later date while the museum undergoes cleaning. Programs and classes through April 29 have also been called off, as has their spring gallery program. The Cooper Hewitt Beginning March 14, all Smithsonian institutions, including the National Zoo and Cooper Hewitt, will be closed for an indeterminate amount of time. The Guggenheim Bad news for Rem Koolhaas fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Countryside; the Guggenheim is closed until further notice, and all events have been canceled until after April 30. Thankfully for those cooped up inside, Taschen has produced a booklet containing all of the exhibition’s accompanying research. The High Line Although a park, the High Line’s narrow stairways, elevators, and bottlenecking in certain areas makes social distancing difficult. In order to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s warning against gatherings of 50 or more, the linear elevated outdoor space has shut down for the time being. No potential reopening date has been given. The Metropolitan Museum of Art All three branches of the Met (including the Breuer and the Cloisters) will be closed as of today, March 13. All three locations will undergo a deep clean, and it’s uncertain when they’ll reopen. This is an unfortunate blow for the Breuer outpost, as the museum is scheduled to move their collection back to the Fifth Avenue location later this year as the Frick tentatively takes over the Marcel Breuer-designed building. In a double whammy, the museum was also gearing up to celebrate its 150th anniversary. The Museum of Modern Art The MoMA and MoMA PS1 have shut down until March 30. The museum’s associated design stores are also closed, and the institution will evaluate the situation after the 30th before deciding to reopen. The Shed Hudson Yards’ semi-mobile art museum is also closed until March 30, according to a press release sent to AN. Unfortunately, that also means the early closure of the Agnes Denes retrospective Absolutes and Intermediates—the blockbuster show was supposed to conclude March 22 but is now finished. Performances through March 30 have also been canceled and refunds are available for those who purchased tickets in advance. The Whitney Museum of American Art The Whitney, come 5:00 p.m. tonight, will also shut down for an undetermined amount of time, and all of their associated events have been canceled for the foreseeable future.
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Neri Oxman grows tools for the future at new MoMA retrospective

A pioneer in materials, objects, and construction, Neri Oxman is showing work from her 20-year career as an architect, designer, and inventor at the Neri Oxman: Material Ecology exhibition currently on view until May 25 at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Curated by Paola Antonelli with help from curatorial assistant Anna Burckhardt, Oxman’s work on display explores the intersection of the science of materials, digital fabrication, and organic design in pieces both extruded from and infused with the wisdom of nature. This is Oxman’s seventh exhibition at MoMA, and Material Ecology is a magnifying glass for the vibrant microstructures that give shape to the world. “My team and I stand in the crossroads, challenging some of the processes that designers face at the intersection of biology and technology, nature and culture,” Oxman said during a media preview of the show on February 20. “There will come a moment where we will find material singularity [a state in which we cannot differentiate between what is man-made and what is grown]—was this made, was this built, or was it grown? And does it matter?” As a professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab and founder and director of The Mediated Matter Group, Oxman observes naturally occurring structures, such as birch tree bark and crustacean shells, and routines, such as silkworm behavior, and presses them forward toward innovative building materials. “We envision these different objects that are processes and materials as tools for the future,” Antonelli said. “As tools for architects, designers, artists to make in a different way together with nature.” The exhibition includes demonstrations of what these processes could ultimately lead to one day, with tables arranged to resemble Oxman’s lab, videos displaying the projects’ progressions, and the artifacts themselves. The works are categorized into “Infusions” and “Extrusions”: Infusions Totems is a series of 3D-printed photopolymer resin infused in melanin. The three 5 7/8” x 5 7/8” x 19 5/16” blocks are set within black columns, suggesting a future as a compressive building material. They stand in front of a rendering of an illuminated structure in Cape Town, South Africa, that employs Totems as walls. A collection of contemporary interpretations of ritualistic death masks made from photopolymer, Vespers are infused with natural minerals and bacteria. The 15 futuristic masks range from the size of a human head to nearly twice that and were created with spatial mapping algorithms. Some seem to be almost coral-like metallic kaleidoscopes, while others resemble opals with frozen whisps of color. Imaginary Beings are multicolored photopolymer interpretations of body armor inspired by Luis Borges’s Libro de los seres imaginarios (Book of Imaginary Beings, 1967), which described 120 mythical animals from folklore. The creations range from protective helmets to breastplates resembling crystalline dragonfly wings. Extrusions Glass, pseudo-cylindrical printed structures, were created with The Mediated Matter Group’s 2015 invention G3DP, or Glass 3D Printer. The exhibition includes smaller samples, roughly 8 inches in diameter as shown below, and larger columns of printed glass, reaching almost 10 feet high. As the focal point of the exhibition, Silk Pavilion II is a suspended structure of water-soluble mesh stretched across an aluminum framework covered in silk spun by 17,532 silkworms. The twisted gossamer cylinder stretches almost 20 feet, nearly doubling the size of the Silk Pavilion I dome constructed at the MIT Media Lab in 2013. Through 3-inch-square studies (exhibited beneath the pavilion), Oxman and her team were able to pinpoint the geometrical situations in which silkworms spin flat sheets as opposed to three-dimensional cocoons, enabling the researchers to design a structure that could be spun by the silkworms themselves, rather than a machine that uses the silk. This discovery allowed for a fabrication process that works in harmony with nature rather than in dominance over it. Aguahoja I is a collection of objects printed from biopolymers, including wood-pulp cellulose, apple pectin, calcium carbonate, acetic acid, vegetable glycerin, and chitosan. The installation stretches across the wall of the gallery and consists of a library of fabricated pieces designed to be compatible with nature. The water-based objects are designed to decay over time, serving as a temporary alternative to plastics.
Oxman and her research team at the Mediated Matter Group operate through what they call the Krebs Cycle of Creativity, which is “a framework that considers the domains for art, science, engineering, and design as synergetic forms of thinking and making in which the input from one becomes the output of another,” as defined in the exhibition’s catalog, designed by Irma Boom. “The input for science is information. Science converts information into knowledge. Engineering then takes knowledge and translates it to utility. Design then takes utility and places it in a cultural context,” Oxman explained. “Then art takes all things designed around us in the built environment and questions the perception of the world.” Funded by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation, Material Ecology embodies Oxman’s Krebs Cycle with artifacts that are more grown than made, through a process called templating. The researchers and designers at the Mediated Matter Group used environmental, geometrical, chemical, and genetic influences to manipulate materials. “They are singular materials that differentiate their properties locally to accommodate for environmental and structural strengths,” Oxman said. “They are not made of parts. They are wholes that are bigger than the sum of their parts.”
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MoMA will open a major black architecture exhibition this fall

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s new curatorial strategy looks to move beyond the Western canon into histories and territories that have been overlooked, underrepresented, or downright ignored. The museum describes this new approach and their new, Diller Scofidio + Renfro–designed galleries, as offering “a deeper experience of art through all mediums and by artists from more diverse geographies and backgrounds than ever before...recognizing that there is no single or complete history of modern and contemporary art.” One of the more exciting shows in the MoMA’s upcoming fall season will center black architects and the ways that architecture has configured sensibilities around blackness in the U.S. MoMA associate curator Sean Anderson, Columbia GSAPP professor Mabel O. Wilson, and MoMA curatorial assistant Arièle Dionne-Krosnick are organizing Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, opening October 17. The show is described by the team as “an investigation into the intersections of architecture, Blackness and anti–Black racism in the American context.” How can we understand contemporary architecture through a lens of systemic racism and the violent, discriminatory histories it has fostered in the United States? This exhibition will be the fourth iteration of the ‘Issues in Contemporary Architecture’ series, which began in 2010 with Rising Currents: Projects for NY’s Waterfront (March 24 through October 11, 2010), followed by Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream (February 15 through August 13, 2012) and Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities (November 22, 2014, through May 25, 2015). Reconstructions will feature a series of ten newly commissioned works that will, according to the MoMA “explore how people have mobilized Black cultural spaces, forms, and practices as sites of imagination, liberation, resistance, and refusal.” Engaging with public policy, city planning, and architecture, these projects will respond to narratives and conditions found in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Syracuse through consideration of the impacts on African-American and African diaspora communities. The exhibition will include the work of black architects, designers, and artists such as: Emanuel Admassu, Germane Barnes, Sekou Cooke, J. Yolande Daniels, Felecia Davis, Mario Gooden, Walter Hood, Olalekan Jeyifous, V. Mitch McEwen, and Amanda Williams. As with previous exhibitions in the series, community workshops and panel discussions will be held that will inform the works on view from each contributor. April workshops in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles will engage students from local architecture schools who will collaborate on a set of public forums and workshops with the curatorial team and the 10 architects, designers, and artists. A “field guide” publication will feature newly commissioned photographs from artist David Hartt and the book will be designed by Brooklyn-based Morcos Key. Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America will be on view from October 17, 2020, through January 18, 2021.
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Japanese engineering gets its due in Structured Lineages

Structured Lineages: Learning from Japanese Structural Design Edited by Guy Nordenson Published by the Museum of Modern Art MSRP $45.00

Western architects’ fascination with Japan is indisputable, a tendency most famously personified by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. Contemporary practices are contributing to what is perhaps the third or fourth wave of Japanese influence on American architects, and this group was the focus of the 2016 Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibition A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond, organized by Pedro Gadanho and Phoebe Springstubb. There is something simple yet sophisticated in the examples of contemporary Japanese architecture selected for this exhibition—attributes one can trace to the synthetic nature of Japanese design itself.

To accompany the exhibition, Guy Nordenson, a structural engineer and professor at Princeton’s School of Architecture, organized a symposium that sought to delve more deeply into Japanese design from the vantage point of the structural engineers who have collaborated with these architects. (Nordenson himself has a significant engineering practice, and worked with SANAA on the New Museum in New York and Johnston Marklee on the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston.) The resultant publication, Structured Lineages: Learning from Japanese Structural Design, illuminates key figures of postwar Japanese structural engineering and the hybrid nature of their consulting on the major works in the MoMA show. Consulting is not the right word for the essential, creative contributions of these talented engineers. As Nordenson noted in his introduction, “In Japan the cultures of architecture and engineering are entirely intertwined.” Laurent Ney observed that the architect and engineer Saito Masao titled an exhibition that he organized at the Architectural Institute of Japan in Tokyo in 2008 Archi-neering Design, coining a term that neatly grafts the two disciplines. Aspiring Japanese architects and engineers study together at university in the first phase of their education and specialize only later on. Design and technical skill are given equal weight academically, which forges a hybrid of both disciplines from a unified way of thinking.

The Structured Lineages symposium highlighted various practitioners of this fusion of art and technology: In addition to Masao, Yoshikatsu Tsuboi, Mamoru Kawaguchi, Gengo Matsui, Toshihiko Kimura, and the most significant contemporary structural engineer, Mutsuro Sasaki (who has collaborated with architects like Kenzo Tange and Rem Koolhaas), were given their rightful prominence by experts such as Marc Mimram of l’Ecole d’Architecture de Marne-la-Vallée, Mike Schlaich of Technische Universität Berlin, Jane Wernick of Jane Wernick Associates, and William F. Baker of SOM. Three roundtable discussions, moderated by Sigrid Adriaenssens, John Ochsendorf, and Caitlin Mueller and transcribed in the book, explored the basis for this “intertwining” of disciplines. These revelations—of what would be considered in Japan to be open secrets—feel like the discovery of why there is such qualitative consistency in Japanese design and architecture.

Numerous structures are presented throughout the book. Little known architect/engineer Mamoru Kawaguchi’s Fuji Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, the book’s cover image, could easily be mistaken for an early Ant Farm proposal (or a late Zaha Hadid project), with its colorful inflated tubular skin and curvaceous geometry. Toyo Ito’s innovative Sendai Mediatheque, with its occupiable structural elements engineered by none other than Sasaki, makes an appearance. MoMA curator Sean Anderson details how, in 1954, a traditional Japanese house came to be the third constructed “House in the Museum Garden,” following designs by Marcel Breuer and Gregory Ain.

This newly published book of the symposium offers essential enlightenment into the thinking, philosophy, and technical explorations behind these canonical buildings. It adds insightful analysis of and commentary on the special circumstances that gave rise to these projects, even though these significant Japanese structural engineers may be unfamiliar to the average American architecture student (and quite possibly for the average American architect). The documentation of the technical contributions, coupled with the high regard in which these projects are held internationally, makes Structured Lineages a necessary companion text for those with a deeper curiosity about the basis for the uniqueness of the design and structural experiments that have come to define architecture in contemporary Japan.

Craig Konyk is an architect and the chair of the School of Public Architecture at the Michael Graves College at Kean University in New Jersey.

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Participating artists protest MoMA PS1's relationship with toxic philanthropy

Thirty-seven of the artists participating in the current MoMA PS1 group show Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011 have collaborated on an open letter addressed to the museum calling for a reappraisal of its “dysfunctional and abusive relationship to toxic philanthropy.” The letter, in particular, asks for the museum to sever ties with two of its board members: Larry Fink, CEO of investment firm BlackRock, and Leon Black, owner of the military security group Constellis and equity firm Apollo Global Management. The two have profited from weapons manufacturing, private prisons, immigration detention centers, and other industries the artists find morally objectionable. The letter, signed by artists including Ali Eyal, the Guerrilla Girls, Mona Hatoum, Jon Kessler, and Martha Rosler, was sent to MoMA and MoMA PS1 directors Glenn Lowry and Kate Fowle, respectively, on January 9, and was copied to Ruba Katrib and Peter Eleey, the curators of the exhibition. It was partially written to address their support of fellow artist Phil Collins' withdrawal from the exhibition days before it opened to the public on November 3. “We, the undersigned participants in Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011," the letter states, "echo this call and support Collins in the hope that his action will ‘contribute to the global momentum to protest inequity, occupation, labour extraction and disenfranchisement, and to see, together, better days.’” Though the letter expresses appreciation for the exhibition's efforts to draw public attention to the wars in Iraq, the artists “wish to make visible MoMA’s connection to funds generated from companies and corporations that directly profit from these wars.” The issue was additionally raised in November when artist Michael Rakowitz asked the museum to pause a video of his that was on display in the gallery space. Following their rejection of his request, Rakowitz came to the museum on January 11 to pause it himself and place a written statement on the wall alongside it. “I’ve decided to press the pause button on my video, RETURN, so that we can discuss some recent events,” reads the statement. It then puts a spotlight on the investments BlackRock has made towards the GEO Group and Core Civic, two prison corporations that have been, according to the artist, “responsible for approximately 70 [percent] of all immigration detentions and are part of a racist, carceral system which has made the US the largest jailer in the world.” It separately addressed Apollo Global's connection to the defense contractor responsible for the deaths of 17 people at Baghdad’s Nisour Square. If Fink and Black do not divest from these companies, the letter requests that MoMa PS1 remove the two as board trustees “so that I may unpause my video and press play.” (It should be noted, as Hyperallergic also reported, the museum took down Rakowitz's statement and started the video again.) The artists' stance against the museum's board of trustees mirrors a series of events that took place at the Whitney Museum of American Art last July. Eight artists featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial withdrew their participation in a protest against Warren B. Kanders, a vice-chairman of the museum and owner of law enforcement and military supplies manufacturer Safariland. Kanders stepped down from his position later that month amid growing pressure from the artists and a number of activists that staged protests in the museum's ground floor lobby. MoMA PS1 has not yet provided a public statement regarding its stance towards the open letter.
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Curatorial collective augments MoMA with an AR exhibition

"There’s so much modern and contemporary art that isn’t shown," the mononymous artist Damjanski said as we walked around the fifth-floor galleries of MoMA, iPhones in hand. "What if we could bring even more in?" Along with Monique Baltzer and David Lobser, Damjanski has come up with a solution to these limitations with MoMAR, an "unauthorized gallery" that lives inside the recently-reopened museum from which it derives its name. The gallery takes the form of an iPhone app that uses augmented reality (AR) to introduce new art into MoMA by latching onto physical artwork as triggers. Initial exhibitions earlier this year featured new works layered on top of the existing paintings, offering a sort of secret secondary exhibition.
 
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For its third iteration, titled Open to the Public, the MoMAR curators wanted to push the boundaries of the museum further, digitally intervening into the museum's architecture more directly. Manuel Rossner’s contribution, Reef, reconfigures the room it "sits" in. The German artist, who primarily works in virtual reality, has created a colorful cavern that expands beyond the gallery’s wall. Rather than simply replacing a painting, it cannibalizes it, and in turn considers what environments—physical or digital—might be made within the white-walled constraints of the museum. This vibrant, biomorphic intervention, which is algorithmically generated, adds a dash of play to the relatively rigid structure of the institution. One can imagine the artificial depth causing problems for the less attentive, and MoMA does officially restrict panning phones through rooms if you’re filming. Other artworks cheekily deconstruct our relationships to how we consume (and make) images in the museum. Akihiko Taniguchi has introduced an "augmented selfie" into the gallery, where a 3D avatar of the artist floats in the iPhone’s view. The digital Taniguchi’s arm is outstretched, phone in hand. If you press your screen it will save a picture to your phone and the animated avatar will take a photo too, his virtual self capturing his face in front of a wall of Morris Hirshfield paintings. Strokes, by the Japanese duo exonemo, is an act of artistic intervention (or vandalism). Just what it sounds like, when an iPhone is pointed at its tag (Joseph Pickett's painting Manchester Valley) random Pollock-esque strokes of "paint" will appear on the screen, disrupting and damaging the otherwise pristinely kept MoMA and its carefully kept goods. New York-based Erin Ko’s La Barrera diffuses glitchy fractured signs throughout the gallery—shattered emojis, 3D pyramids and bottles, all what Ko calls "floating garbage." Black brushstrokes cover a canvas that digitally displays quickly changing insipid networked truisms: "You don’t know stress until you own a charger that only works if your phone is at a certain angle." Is that stress? By disrupting the art on display and its vaulted home with her own internet throw up, Ko seems to point out the banality of the glut of content online and off, the constant distractions that the privileged find on their phones and in museums, in buildings and on networks developed by so much labor and producing so much waste, all of which so often is ignored. Where some smaller works hang on the wall a hole opens up, a portal beyond the museum, to nowhere real. An outside we can never reach, the hole reveals the museum as a trap. Despite the ways these works might prod at the museum that made and continues to makes the modern canon, flouting its celebrated art and its architectural integrity, Damjanski noted that he is not anti-museum in the least. He loves coming to the MoMA, but he sees many new opportunities in and beyond traditional institutions. "Museums are so often a one-way conversation," he pointed out. "We want to see if it could be a three- or four-way conversation instead." By involving the user and new artists in the museum, disconnected from its official institutional and curatorial structures, a more democratic, flexible, and updatable MoMA—an augmented one—can be imagined. MoMAR also provides and proposes new ways of exhibiting net art and other creative practices that engage with emerging technology that museums, excluding certain projects such as Rhizome, have been relatively slow to keep up with—though there are some net works like JODI’s video My%Desktop in MoMA’s rehang. Of course, to visit Open to the Public you still have to get to MoMA and pay admission or attend on a free night, which is also when MoMAR hosts its openings. To further the democratizing potential of AR exhibitions, MoMAR’s team offers up its Unity-based platform as an open-source tool so that people around the world can create their own installations and exhibitions well beyond MoMA’s rarefied walls. Open to the Public Viewable with the MoMAR app at MoMA, gallery 521, fifth floor Through January 25, 2020
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MoMA reopens with a $450 million mega-expansion and slick renovation

After four months of work behind closed doors, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is finally ready to reopen its main Manhattan museum to the public on Monday. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) in collaboration with Gensler, the multi-phased renovation and expansion adds one-third more gallery space to the institution’s 80-year-old complex on West 53rd Street and integrates it more seamlessly with the public realm.  Since MoMA’s debut in its iconic, Philip L. Goodwin- and Edward Durell Stone-designed home, the museum has been physically inching closer and closer towards Sixth Avenue. Three individual extensions by Philip Johnson (1964), Cesar Pelli (1984), and Yoshio Taniguchi (2005) attempted to modernize the museum and keep it competitive, while also giving it increased room to display its permanent collection and rotating exhibitions. But these changes—in sheer size—pale in comparison to the massive new addition by DS+R and Gensler.  The MoMA’s new David Geffen Wing came into existence following the demolition of the American Folk Art Museum and the construction of Jean Nouvel’s 53 West 53 in its place. The 950-foot-tall apartment tower next door now houses three levels of gallery space that adds an additional 11,500 square feet per floor to the older, eastern galleries—all of which are now connected and configured in a single loop. A central blade stair, visible from the street below, reveals activity and circulation within the building while signaling the separation between old and new.  According to Charles Renfro, a partner at DS+R, the minimal and spacious design wasn’t meant to be a big, heroic gesture but help expand the museum naturally. “In order to make MoMA’s curatorial vision possible, our architectural intervention had to be quite stealthy in a lot of ways,” Renfro told AN. “We knew we couldn’t overwhelm those different building projects that have happened over the past almost 100 years, so we tried to work within the DNA of MoMA to advance a new concept of detail that reflects the 21st century.” Built out over the last three years, the $50 million renovations and $400 million expansion increased the museum's total footprint to 708,000 square feet. Approximately 165,000 square feet of that space is brand new, 40,000 square feet of which is used for galleries. Renfro said the design team was charged with making a more consolidated, borderless exhibition space that would help create a clear narrative within the museum and allow the curators to showcase various art disciplines. “The vision was to dissolve the media divisions that have guided the curatorial position since the beginning, merging up painting and sculpture with photography, film, design, and architecture,” he said. “We’re not service architects by any stretch of the imagination, but with MoMA what we’re trying to do is breathe a new kind of life of possibility into its curatorial direction.”  These ideas of mixing and mingling materials—just like the art—extend down into MoMA’s new main lobby space as well. Its formerly dark and crowded front door on 53rd Street received a much-needed makeover by the design team in an effort to make it more welcoming and less confusing for visitors. DS+R and Gensler added a thin, stainless steel entrance canopy (supported by only a few cables, giving it a cantilevering appearance) to the facade to signal its presence on the street. They also introduced a glass curtain wall to make for a broad, light-filled lobby. As patrons walk by, they’ll be able to see the installations hanging from the double-height interior or on the walls of the adjacent street-level galleries.  From the exterior, people will also get a new perspective of the 5,950-square-foot flagship museum store, which was sunken one level and is now accessible via a grand staircase. The floorplate cutout is a design move that adds new dimensions of depth to the museum’s public-facing spaces. Apart from any crowds inside, passersby should be able to see right through the lobby to 54th Street. The new ground-level galleries, like the lobby itself, will be free to the public. 
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André Fu stages a model apartment in the MoMA-adjacent 53 West 53 tower

Celebrated interior designer André Fu has completed a model apartment on the 36th floor of the new Jean Nouvel-designed 53 West 53 residential tower. Sitting adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and incorporating portions of its soon-to-open expansion, the new building soars high among a slew of super-tall and thin residential projects reshaping New York City's Midtown neighborhood. Accentuating the 2,000 square foot, 2-bedroom unit’s southern and eastern exposures, Fu and his Hong Kong-based design team implemented a scheme that is indicative of the practice’s recognized “relaxed luxury” aesthetic. However, the accolated talent still took stock of cultural nuances and was careful to juxtapose his design vocabulary with the building’s sharp features and the city’s dynamic skyline. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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Museum of Modern Art receives massive gift of African contemporary artwork

French-Italian art collector Jean Pigozzi has gifted New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) a substantial collection of contemporary artwork from across Africa. The 45 pieces included in the donation feature work by Sierra Leonean artist Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Malian photographer Seydou Keïta, and Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kingelez, whose fantastical models of cityscapes formed the retrospective exhibition Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams at MoMA last year. According to MoMA, Pigozzi’s is the largest single gift of African art that the museum has ever received and will contribute significantly to future displays of its permanent collection.

Born in Paris to Italian businessman and Simca-founder Henri Pigozzi, Jean Pigozzi amassed his fortune through inheritance and a variety of enterprises, including photography and fashion design. He jumpstarted his collection of African contemporary art in 1989, soon after seeing the exhibit Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Curator André Magnin lent considerable guidance as Pigozzi accumulated upwards of 10,000 pieces, now widely recognized as one of the largest collections of African contemporary art in the world. Pigozzi has maintained his holdings as the Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) in Geneva, which has no permanent galleries for exhibition. Pieces from the CAAC have been lent to museums and galleries across Africa, Europe, and North America for a range of temporary exhibits.

The move by Pigozzi sheds light on a broader effort by MoMA to overcome its longstanding focus on American and European modernism. The museum’s leaders have been appealing to donors with collections that highlight other regions of the world, including Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, who has given Latin American artwork to the institution twice since 2016. For MoMA, the acquisition may represent an opportunity for both redemption and growth. Between 1984 and 1985, the museum held an exhibit titled ‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, which many have excoriated for promoting reductive, racist, and deeply ingrained notions of African inferiority. The Pompidou show that catalyzed Pigozzi’s collection was largely considered a rebuttal to MoMA’s own curatorial efforts, prompting Pigozzi himself to spend much of his life advocating for African contemporary art as on-par with, and often more interesting than, Western examples.

The growing stature of African contemporary art on the global stage extends well beyond MoMA’s walls. Earlier this year, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair made its Manhattan debut at New York’s Industria, six years after its founding in London and four years after popping up in Brooklyn. In 2016, the international auction house Sotheby’s opened a department dedicated to African art in London, which has been frequented not only by Europeans but also by wealthy collectors from Nigeria, Kenya, and elsewhere in Africa. MoMA is likely looking to get in on the action, and Pigozzi’s gift presents the institution with its best opening yet.

While it is still unclear exactly how curators will incorporate Pigozzi’s pieces into the MoMA’s permanent collection displays, they are sure to play a role in the museum’s continuing growth. MoMA’s newly expanded facility, including its reconfigured permanent collection galleries, will open to the public on October 21, 2019.

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Neri Oxman to get solo show at MoMA

Next year, a solo show on the work of the architect, designer, and inventor Neri Oxman will go on view at the Museum of Modern Art. Neri Oxman: Material Ecology will highlight eight major projects that showcase the evolution of the research and innovative designs Oxman has conducted over the course of her 15-year career.  Curated by Paola Antonelli and Anna Burckhardt, the monographic exhibition will shine a spotlight on the expertise Oxman has harnessed as a professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, and founder of the now well-known Mediated Matter Group, a research organization that fabricates nature-inspired design. One of Oxman’s biggest claims to fame is “material ecology,” a term she coined to describe the work process by which she utilizes computational design, digital fabrication technologies, and material science to produce projects that are “informed by the structural, systemic, and aesthetic wisdom of nature.”  The American-Israel architect’s self-titled MoMA show will be organized around a site-specific work viewable for the first time. Silk Pavilion II harnesses the strength of 6,500 silkworms to fill in gaps left in a 3D-printed cocoon created from an algorithm that produced the structure from a single, continuous thread. Up close, the object resembles an opaque geodesic dome with patches of thread in varying densities.  Aguahoja (2018) will run alongside Silk Pavilion II, which “aims to subvert the industrial cycle of material extraction and obsolescence” by using nature’s abundant biomaterials to create digitally-fabricated structures that are light, flexible, and react to the environment in ways synthetic materials can not. Glass I and II (2015, 2017) will also be displayed along with Totems (2019), a series of columns made from melanin synthesized from mushrooms. A prototype of these was first commissioned for the XXII Triennale de Milano Broken Nature exhibition, also curated by Antonelli. These pieces will feature a range of 3D-printed liquid channels of melanin pigments from different species. Neri Oxman: Material Ecology will be on display at the MoMA from February 22 through May 25, 2020, after the completion of the museum’s high-profile expansion. A video will accompany each of Oxman’s projects to demonstrate the specific science and production processes behind her work.
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MoMA exhibit looks back on twenty years of watershed installations

Surrounds: 11 Installations, an exhibition opening at the Museum of Modern Art this fall, will feature a series of immense, whole-gallery installations, each on view in the museum for the first time. The installations, which MoMA collected over the last two decades, represent watershed moments in the careers of 13 living artists: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Sadie Benning, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Sou Fujimoto, Sheila Hicks, Arthur Jafa, Mark Manders, Rivane Neuenschwander, Dayanita Singh, Hito Steyerl, and Sarah Sze. Among the most memorable works are The Killing Machine, a haunting scene of automated parts, electronic sound effects and flickering screens, and Fault Lines, a mesmerizing live performance by two plainclothes choir boys amid cleaved stone masses. Each installation will be displayed in its own gallery on the sixth floor of the museum, where it can be appreciated as an individual, immersive environment, or as part of a larger exploration of how physical space shapes our experiences. Although they were “conceived out of different individual circumstances,” explained the show’s press release, “the installations are united in their ambition and scope, marking decisive shifts in the careers of their makers and the broader field of contemporary art.” Surrounds: 11 Installations will be on view October 21 through Spring 2020 in the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center at the Museum for Modern Art. More information on the show is available here.
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MoMA to close for the summer as it finalizes design overhaul

The Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Gensler–led expansion of Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is inching closer to completion, and the institution today revealed a suite of new programming that will begin later this year. That is, when it reopens; the museum also announced that it will be shutting down from June 15 through October 21. With 40,000 square feet of new gallery space incoming, the MoMA is hoping to shed its staid institutional status and get back to its experimental roots. A new 53rd Street entrance is on the way, as are ground-floor galleries that will be open to the public, which the museum hopes will more fluidly connect the museum to the street. The westward expansion is building out through the site of the demolished American Folk Art Museum and into the base of the Jean Nouvel–designed condo tower at 53 West 53rd Street. With the expansion comes a reorganization of how MoMA will display its collection; the museum is moving towards a system of modular, rotating galleries with thematic, not material-based, exhibitions. Photography, painting, drawings, and other media will be shown alongside each other The second, fourth, and fifth-floor galleries will still be arranged chronologically but will expand the museum’s Eurocentric focus to include modernist works from all over the world. Beginning on the fifth floor, patrons will find an early history of modernism, followed by mid-twentieth century work on the fourth, and contemporary art on the second floor and beyond. The MoMA is aiming to rotate the gallery spaces on these floors every six-to-nine months. Choreography, performance art, film, and sound works won’t be left in the cold either. The new Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio, a double-height performance space, will open up to both the fourth and fifth floors. Stuart Comer, chief curator of the Department of Media and Performance, has promised that both established and emerging artists will be able to present “collection-responsive programming” therein. On the second floor, the Paula and James Crown Platform will present an experimental place for visitors to collaborate and engage with artists, as well as each other. The museum will offer both in-house and partnered educational experiences daily. When MoMA reopens in October, all of the opening exhibitions will draw from the museum’s existing collection to showcase the diversity of its holdings. According to Glenn Lowry, director of MoMA, the expansion will allow the museum to grow from showing approximately 1,400 or 1,500 pieces at a time to around 2,400. To cope with the constantly changing programming, the museum has promised that it will keep its website up-to-date on what will be on display when and where. MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens, and the Modern will remain open during the summer hiatus. How can the museum cope with four months of lost revenue? A $200 million gift from the estate of David Rockefeller was announced this morning. In recognition of the pledge, the museum’s Board of Trustees has voted to renamed MoMA’s directorship position the “David Rockefeller Director of the Museum of Modern Art.”