Posts tagged with "The Museum of Modern Art MoMA":
Ithaca, New York—based practice Jenny Sabin Studio has won the 18th iteration of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and MoMA PS1’s annual Young Architects Program for her project entitled Lumen. The immersive design will be on show starting June 27 at the MoMA PS1 courtyard in Long Island City.
Lumen changes throughout the day, offering shade and shelter from the sun, while also providing artificial illumination after sunset. This is achieved thanks to a tubular lattice canopy comprised of recycled, photo-luminescent, and solar active textiles that absorb, collect, and emit light. The canopy reacts to changes in daylight, absorbing and producing light when necessary. In conjunction with this, fabric stalactites will release mist in response to visitors' proximity, allowing the adaptive structure to respond to changes in heat and the density of the crowd.
Sabin's design will be present for the 20th season of Warm Up, an outdoor music series from MoMA PS1, and will stay on view for the rest of summer. Lumen was chosen as the winner ahead of four other projects. The competition brief called for projects that address environmental issues such as sustainability and recycling. The temporary outdoor installation had to be capable of providing water as well as seating and shade.
"Jenny Sabin's catalytic immersive environment, Lumen, captured the jury's attention for imaginatively merging public and private spaces," said Sean Anderson, associate curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. "With innovative construction and design processes borne from a critical merging of technology and nature to precise attention to detail at every scale, Lumen will no doubt engage visitors from day to night in a series of graduated environments and experiences."
Losing out to Sabin were four other finalists. These included Bureau Spectacular (Jimenez Lai and Joanna Grant), Ania Jaworska, Office of III (Sean Canty, Ryan Golenberg, and Stephanie Lin), and SCHAUM/SHIEH (Rosalyne Shieh and Troy Schaum). Despite not being realized, their work will be on show at the MoMA during the summer.
“The Young Architects Program remains one of the most significant opportunities for architects and designers from across the country and world to build radical yet transformative ideas. This year's finalists are no exception; their projects illustrate a diversity of approaches and refreshing ideas for architecture today,” Anderson added.
Modernism’s alienating functionalism seems not so subtly hidden in the perfect grids and modular shelters of refugee camps. The urgency of survival turns shelter into a problem to be solved while ignoring the complexities of refugees’ situations. For example, the 2007 edition of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Handbook for Emergencies presupposes that refugee camp shelters can be organized around nuclear family units (hardly a universal cultural constant). MoMA associate curator Sean Anderson cited a similar example of poor shelter design as the impetus for his exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter. In Jordan, where Anderson spent extensive time visiting camps, refugees were given metal shelters—a disastrous choice in the punishing desert heat. To counter the seductive notion that “architecture is the solution to assist, aid, represent and help these populations,” as Anderson said, the exhibit presents a range of drawings, photography, artworks, and objects to question whether there is a simple “solution” at all. While Insecurities laudably forefronts this perennial issue (there are some 60 million refugees worldwide) and highlights what makes it challenging (a complex fusion of geography, violence, international politics, and architecture), it also seems like a missed opportunity to take a long, hard look at specific instances where designers failed refugees.
I say a long, hard look because—as Anderson himself said in an interview—refugees often find themselves trapped in camps for years, decades, sometimes in seeming perpetuity. One of the exhibition’s most poignant works is a large wool tapestry designed by Sahrawi refugees in the Western Sahara. The Sahrawis were forced from Morocco some forty years ago and have subsequently remained in a remote region of neighboring Algeria ever since. The National Union of Sahrawi Women, in collaboration with Switzerland and Germany-based architect Manuel Herz, created this map of Rabouni (the camp-turned-capital of the Sahrawi government-in-exile). The camp bears the hallmarks of a proper capital, with ministries of defense, the interior, and education, though with a key difference: The UN’s World Food Program is at the heart of Rabouni.
Much like the Rabouni tapestry, Refugee Republic testifies to how camps evolve. This immersive audiovisual installation mapped the sounds and layout of Camp Domiz, a collection of some 58,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq. On a visceral level, it places you in the camp: Users hear the sounds of a small city while they take an illustrated walking tour of its shops, bus stops, community spaces, restaurants, hairdressers, and more. While permanency and the camp-cities are critical dimensions to the global refugee crises, the exhibition also rightly highlights the extreme and immediate vulnerability of refugees: Liquid Traces: The Left-to-Die Boat is a video, assembled by a team of researchers and designers, that tracks how a boat of migrants was left to drift on the Mediterranean Sea within a NATO surveillance area, leaving 9 survivors out of 72.
Yet, for all the urgency and nuance that some works in Insecurities bring, others fall short. One wall features a grid of photographs depicting different emergency shelters made from plastic, metal, sandbags, etc. It seems dangerous to present these shelters—as well as large photographs of camps from around the world—without context. Tasked with helping respond to a refugee crises, any architect or organizer would immediately face tremendous dilemmas: By preparing a community for the long haul (building permanent homes, economic infrastructure, local government) refugees may fear that tacitly admitting that a return to their homeland would be impossible and, consequently, that they must settle for whatever fate their host country provides.Government-provided shelters and protective fences may later seem like prison cells and walls. Where’s the line between providing shelter and containment? How does architecture—supposedly solid and sturdy—respond to communities in limbo?
This is a paradox the exhibition makes clear and it’s a question that architects must consider if they’re to be part of a response to refugee crises. But when the exhibition displays photographs of countless camps—Nizip II (a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey), Mugombwa in Rwanda, Dadaab in Kenya, Dheisheh in the West Bank, and shelters in Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport—it makes one wonder: What worked? What failed? How can architects respond? Perhaps a tall order, but the exhibition could have investigated further to offer at least bread crumbs toward a new, comprehensive architectural response.
Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter highlights how refugees are caught between invisible borders, relocated to the periphery, and controlled by governments under the guise of protection or security. Those are the symptoms of a deeper reality: Refugees are, by definition, individuals and communities without the protection of architecture or government. The fact that refugees are without the advocacy of their national government (assuming it exists somewhere) makes the role of the designer even more fraught (not to mention the potential shades of colonialism, something the exhibition doesn’t address). The UN can provide instructions to help leaders manage a crisis, but we would hardly expect a single, universal manual for any field of design or planning. If architects are to step up, there must be a deep and broad institutional awareness of past failures and successes to chart a path forward.
Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter Museum of Modern Art, New York, through January 22
How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior will recreate a dozen full-scale interior spaces dating from the 1920s to the 1950s and feature over 200 objects. Each interior will focus on the design elements within its specific setting, as well as its connection to external factors and attitudes—aesthetic, social, technological, and political.Divided into three chronological groupings—the late 1920s to the early 1930s, the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, and the late 1940s into the 1950s—the scenes will also explore several designers’ own living spaces, and frequently overlooked areas in the field of design, such as textile furnishings, wallpapers, kitchens, temporary exhibitions, and promotional displays. Works by major women architect-designers, many created in partnerships, also will be highlighted. Featured collaborators include Lilly Reich and Mies van der Rohe; Florence Knoll and Herbert Matter; and Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier. Among the interiors on display will be the 1927 Velvet-Silk Café, designed by Reich for a women’s fashion exhibition in Berlin, with tubular steel furniture by Van der Rohe; 1929 furniture and exhibition designs by Perriand, Le Corbusier, and Pierre Jeanneret; the 1948 Knoll furniture showroom in Manhattan, designed by Knoll and Matter; and a 1959 study bedroom for the Maison du Brésil at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris by Perriand, Le Corbusier, and Lúcio Costa.
How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York Through April 23
In The Architect’s Newspaper April East edition, editor in chief William Menking broke the news that MoMA will be closing its architecture and design galleries. To continue the conversation, Menking sat down with Martino Stierli, the museum’s Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design.
The Architect’s Newspaper: As part of MoMA’s renovation of the current building, the collection galleries on the third floor of the museum, which include the architecture gallery, were closed over the course of the last few weeks. These galleries will reopen in a new configuration in early 2017. Can you explain that new configuration and how you believe the architecture and design collection (the museum calls them “medium designated”) will be better represented?
Martino Stierli: Indeed, as has been communicated earlier, the whole third floor is currently undergoing a renovation with the goal of having three bigger galleries that will have a variety of uses. One of the galleries has already undergone a slight conversion. That is the former design gallery in which we are currently showing A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond. The other two new galleries on the third floor will open early next year. Going forward, all three of these galleries will be used for a variety of programs that include collection-based shows as well as special exhibitions.
With regard to your question about the galleries for the architecture and design collection, these will be located in the new building. Until this new wing opens—given that we are going to have less space throughout the renovation—we are going to have to be more flexible about how we make best use of our available spaces. This doesn’t mean, though, that we are not going to have any media-specific installations during this period. So for example, we are working on a collection-based exhibition called Interior Propositions, which is curated by Juliet Kinchin. This exhibition will be shown where we are currently presenting A Japanese Constellation. Immediately after that, in summer 2017, the same space will be part of the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition, specifically for the education program. The main part of the exhibition will go into one of the new galleries, which will measure roughly 10,000 square feet. Having recently acquired the entire Frank Lloyd Wright Archives with Columbia University, that exhibition will again be overwhelmingly collection-based.
The Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition is an example of how we will be using spaces that have not previously been available for architecture and design collection shows. We’re also currently preparing an exhibition on the design of the early computer age that is going to go into a gallery on the second floor, traditionally [a space that] has been used for prints. Moreover, [associate curator] Sean Anderson is working on a collection-based exhibition on borders and migrations that will be presented in the Dunn Gallery on the second floor. The survey exhibition on the architecture of socialist Yugoslavia exhibition that I’m working on for the summer of 2018 will again go into the space on the third floor where the Frank Lloyd Wright show will be presented next summer. So one could say that a certain continuity on the third floor will be ensured. At the same time, exhibitions organized by other curatorial departments will also be shown on that floor.
So, because the museum is going to be larger with the new addition, it’s still not worked out where things are going to go.
That is correct. The new buildings will not open before 2019, and we are still working intensely on figuring out how the new spaces will be configured and what will go where. While we have not finalized the specific locations for the different parts of our various collections, we are committed to medium-dedicated galleries.
As far as the next few years are concerned, during the renovation and expansion projects, we will have to operate with more flexibility simply because we won’t have the same square footage available throughout the museum. Nevertheless, we are fully committed to presenting our rich collection in a way that will do justice to the specific needs of each medium, including architecture and design, while making visible the many meaningful connections among the different arts. It is a strategy that we think of as both/and: We are committed to both medium-dedicated galleries and more broadly comprehensive ones. There is no change in policy in this regard and the abolishing of architecture and design designated galleries is not and never has been an issue under consideration.
What you’re saying is that, in 2019, when all this opens up, there will be medium-designated galleries?
Yes. I can’t tell you at the moment what these galleries will look like specifically, simply because we are still very much working on these questions. But there will be medium-designated spaces.
If the departments of architecture and design will no longer have any dedicated exhibition spaces, the fear is that this collection will openly serve as a background to the other arts like painting and sculpture. You seem confident that this will not happen.
Yes. At the same time, I also want to say that I am interested in experimenting with new forms of displaying our collections and to see how far we can go in affording a more comprehensive look of the history of modernism. The exhibition on the fourth floor that deals with the 1960s is an example of this kind of experimentation, but it would be wrong to assume that this will be a model for other shows going forward that will also take a more comprehensive approach than we have traditionally done.
I agree with your belief that architecture is an art on the same level as painting, sculpture, and photography, but don’t you think, because of its necessity to be created collaboratively in a workshop, or needing to sometimes surrender to the wishes of the patron or client, or need to consider structural necessities, that architecture has its own requirements that can only be explored in a dedicated gallery? Doesn’t architecture also benefit from a gallery dedicated exclusively to its own medium?
Yes, I absolutely agree, and hence I believe it is important to have a space at hand in which the narratives specific to modern architecture and design can be explored.
Do you have plans to display the museum’s enormous collection of nearly 200,000 architecture and design objects? Many of these will not qualify as great major works, but are nevertheless important to the understanding of the museum.
Several of the exhibitions that I mentioned earlier are actually collection shows: Interior Propositions is a collection show. Frank Lloyd Wright is a collection show. The Borders and Migrations show is mainly a collection-based show, even though it will include some loans. The computer age design exhibition is also a collection show. And after the expansion opens, we’ll have much more space to show the collection. The whole idea of this expansion project is to have more space for our amazing collection.
How much more square footage are you getting?
50,000 more square feet and a 30 percent increase in gallery space. We will still only be able to present a fraction of the collection at one time, but it will be significantly more than before.