A green and golden lace-like structure will soon stand 40-feet tall at the southeastern edge of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. From one angle it will unveil the profile of a woman and from another, the outline of the U.S. Capitol dome. That’s the winning design for the monument dedicated to trailblazing Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. Created by artists Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous—both trained as architects—Our Destiny, Our Democracy was chosen among the top five proposals submitted through She Built NYC, the city’s new initiative to make more monuments dedicated to women throughout the five boroughs. The pair’s bold vision to honor Chisholm will be the first public project to be built through the program and is set to rise on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Parkside Avenues by late 2020. AN spoke with Jeyifous, a Brooklyn resident himself, and Williams via email about how they came up with the striking memorial design and why it best embodies Chisholm’s spirit. AN: How did you conceive of intertwining the image of the Capitol with Chisholm's profile? OJ + AM: It’s best described in our proposal: The U.S. Capitol dome figures prominently as a backdrop in many of her photographs. The strategy for our primary sculptural profile reverses this relationship so that her figure engulfs or embodies the dome iconography, thus claiming ownership. This composite symbolizes how she disrupted the perception of who has the right to occupy such institutions and to be an embodiment for democracy…When approached from the park, a symbolic opening breaks through the capitol silhouette, creating a threshold that reinforces Chisholm’s fight to ensure that everyone could access their right to participate in the political process. Not a basic bust or figure statue, why do you think this design best represents Shirley Chisholm and her legacy of "leaving the door open" for others? We are not sculptors (in the most traditional sense of the word) so we knew that we would not be proposing a cast bronze representation of a figure. We are, however, trained in how to use space as a medium. We both bring that into our artistic practices in different but complementary ways. That proclivity toward space as an occupiable object inherently begs to be participatory and invites engagement. That seemed like a perfect analogy to Chisholm’s philosophy on democracy. Making a sculpture commemorating this incredible political figure in our current climate is about remembering the long arc of democracy. Her words ring true because she was ahead of her time, but also because her philosophy was embedded in core values of inclusion and meeting people where they were in order to bring them into the process. We feel strongly that we have made a thoughtful and decisive piece that pushes the boundaries of what it means to embody the ideals of a person and not just their visage. What are the connections or differences between the monument's design and the traditional ironwork you might see in a gateway to a park? The design is ultimately a threshold into what is a major urban park and that is reflected in the vine and leaf motif that weaves through the monuments tertiary sculptural profile. This was an intentional nod to the traditional garden gate typology. Now that we’ve been awarded the commission, we will begin the process of actually researching specifics and refining the design. We want to do a deeper review of the historic language of gates and thresholds associated with public parks, that material language for Prospect Park’s history, and then what we would want to add as new motifs. In what ways do you foresee the sun playing a role in the way the monument is experienced? We envision at certain vantage points the patinated and bronzed steel to be a glowing beacon and for the detailed filigree in the screens and perimeter fence to cast marvelous shadows on to the plaza surface. That the installation can be occupied contributes to the various ways in which light will transform the experience of visitors to the site. Shadows will also give it dynamism and whimsy as the sun angle changes by day and year. Its intensity is also something we hope to carry into night hours through the considered placement of lighting.
Posts tagged with "Olalekan Jeyifous":
Francis Kéré, Office Kovacs, NEWSUBSTANCE, and other artists, architects, and designers have been chosen to bring creative and immersive installations to the Coachella Arts and Music Festival later this year. In years past, the festival has hosted an eclectic cohort of rising and established designers and artists, including Los Angeles–based Bureau Spectacular, Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi, Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous, along with many others. This year’s slate of creatives boasts several new and returning acts, including artist Robert Bose, whose kinetic balloon sculpture was present at the 2017 festival. United Kingdom–based installation artists NEWSUBSTANCE are also making a return this year. Their 2018 installation, Spectra, consisted of a seven-story sloping ramp tower wrapped in polychromic panels. Los Angeles–based Do Lab will also be participating again this year. The professional music festival venue creators have previously created installations for The Great Convergence at the Great Pyramids at Giza in Egypt, the Virgin Music Festival, and other large-scale events and music festivals around the globe. In 2018, Do Lab created a tent-like performance venue for Coachella that was fashioned out of yellow and blue triangulated panels. https://www.instagram.com/p/BsKcG6KHeJD/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet Absurdist art duo Dedo Vabo will also be returning to Coachella this year. In 2018, the team brought Corporate Office, a multi-story, LED-wrapped diorama to the festival. This year’s first-time acts are due to bring a breath of fresh air to the festival. Los Angeles–based Office Kovacs, helmed by Andrew Kovacs and Erin K. Wright, will be a part of the festival for the first time this year. Office Kovacs recently completed an installation at Woodbury University’s Wedge Gallery and also received an honorable mention designation for the Lima Art Museum New Contemporary Art Wing competition in 2016. Architect Francis Kéré will also be exhibiting his work at the festival for the first time in 2019. Kéré is currently working on a musical reflection pavilion for the Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana, among several other international projects. DKLA Design, a group of designers known for their life-like animal and abstract public art sculptures around the country, will bring their stand-alone pieces to this year’s festival, as well. Experiential designers Poetic Kinetics will bring one of their iconic works to Coachella. In 2016, the team partnered with the Architectural Association Visiting School Los Angeles (AAVSLA) summer program, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and the arts organization NOW Art L.A. to create Liquid Shard, a mesmerizing, iridescent wind-driven sculpture for L.A.’s Pershing Square park. Local artists Sofia Enriquez and Raices Cultura will also create installations for the festival, which takes place April 12-14 and again April 19-21. For more information, see the festival's website.
The Center for Architecture’s latest exhibition in New York City, Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture, combines 20 years of research on a movement that’s barely been covered before and is at the cusp of exploding. Hip-hop architecture, the movement on view, could become the next big design style despite historically being a lesser-known development compared to the global impact of hip-hop culture on music, film, and dance industries. By tackling issues such as hip-hop's role in identity and placemaking, Syracuse University professor Sekou Cooke curated a special exhibition that details the theoretical and physical rise of hip-hop architecture in the built environment and how it can inform a more inclusive design practice for the future. Now showing in New York through January 12, this comprehensive exhibit unveils the work of 21 architects, professors, and students who have imagined architecture as a distinct part of hip-hop’s cultural expression. The show chronicles these figures through history, starting with the “godfather of hip-hop architecture,” Nate Williams, who completed his thesis on the subject at Cornell University in 1993. Also on display is the work of Boris “DELTA” Tellegen of Heren 5, artists Olalekan Jeyifous and Lauren Halsey, and more. Layered behind the images, drawings, and models in the show is extensive tagging done solely in black by pioneering graffiti artist David “Chino” Villorente. Complemented by graphic design from WeShouldDoItAll, the graffiti brings a visual punch to the Center’s main gallery spaces and transforms their walls into a medium for cultural commentary. Repurposed shipping containers painted white are bolted to the walls, providing another layer of backdrop for the framed artwork. Not only is the exhibit eye candy for visitors and passersby, it also includes audio and video components of lectures, podcasts, and hip-hop music reflecting on the built environment. At Monday’s opening reception, Barry Bergdoll, the new board president of the Center, called Close to the Edge a “landmark exhibition” for the movement of hip-hop architecture and compared it to Philip Johnson’s seminal Modern Architecture International Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932. That exhibition drew wide praise and helped usher in the International Style in the United States—something similar to what Cooke and his team hopes will come out of this effort. The Center will host the Hip-Hop Architecture Symposium on Saturday, October 6 from 1 to 6 p.m., moderated by Cooke, as well as a workshop with BlackSpace that will explore architecture as a tool for Black cultural preservation.
The Coachella Arts and Music Festival kicked off this weekend in the desert outside Los Angeles with a bang, debuting a series of cute and colorful, large-scale art installations for concertgoers to revel among. One consisted of a “mirrored lighthouse for immigrants” by Brazilian artist Gustavo Prado. The work is expressed as a tall lighthouse for travelers—pivoting, curved mirrors sit every which way atop a series of metal armatures, reflecting views and sunlight in a multitude of directions. In a statement, Prado explained the structure as “a way to empirically present how the mind turns the continuous interconnectedness of phenomena into separate beings.”
Brooklyn, New York–based studio Chiaozza (pronounced like “wowza”) designed a garden installation consisting of a series of whimsical, desert-inspired plant structures. Like some type of Martian golf course, the stucco-clad, Dr. Seuss-ian masses—tall and knobby, in some cases, bulbous and squat in others—are wrapped in Memphis Group–inspired squiggles and dots and sit atop circular bases made of astroturf. Adam Frezza of Chiaozza explained in a statement that the group wanted “to create a visual bath, something you can explore and get lost in” with their acre-sized installation.
Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous created Crown Ether, an un-occupiable home supported by a series of angular, tree trunk-like pillars. The work, according to Jeyifous, is inspired by the artist’s longstanding interest in the intersection between public architecture and displacement, here symbolized by the tension resulting from the visual accessibility of the structure that cannot actually be occupied.Day ✌️ 📷: @ravivora A post shared by Coachella (@coachella) on
Lastly, United Kingdom–based artists Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan created a massive installation that works as a visual pun for the phrase “elephant in the room” made up of large masses of faceted, brightly-patterned elephants. The 75-foot tall herd stands in a rough circle, with various exposures of each creation wrapped in a different geometric, colorful pattern. The installations will be on view through April 23.Come thru 📷: @ari_fararooy A post shared by Coachella (@coachella) on
This year's University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Urban Edge Award will focus on post-industrial urban sites
As part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning’s biennial Urban Edge Award, students are engaging with visiting designers, architects, and artists through a series of design workshops. Working with the students over the semester in three charrettes will be artist and designer Olalekan Jeyifous, Catie Newell of Alibi Studio, Fionn Bryan of the Harvard GSD, Joyce Hwang of Ants of the Prairie, Sergio Lopez-Pineiro of the Harvard GSD, and Aleksandr Mergold of Austin + Mergold. The award program will culminate in a public symposium with a keynote address by Walter Hood of Hood Design. Of the 15 projects produced by students with the workshop leaders, one exemplary work will be chosen and highlighted by Hood at the conclusion of the public symposium. In years past, the Urban Edge Award has been given to a single individual. The award was founded to recognize excellence in urban design through creating positive change in the public realm. By inviting six design professionals, the award could allow for a semester-long investigation into three sites across the City of Milwaukee. The theme of this year’s Urban Edge Award is "FROM WASTE TO WONDER: Working with What Remains." The main focus of the program will be three research and design workshops lead by two guest leaders each. The first workshop will be led by Jeyifous and Newell and will focus urban vacancy in the four-mile-long 30th Street Industrial Corridor. The 880-acre industrial landscape suffered like many Midwest industrial centers and now has over 100 acres of vacant land. The second workshop will be led by Fionn Byrne and Joyce Hwange and will focus on adaptive reuse along the Kinnickinnic River Corridor on the south side of the city. The third will tackle the idea of productive landscapes area around the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee River in the once thriving industrial Menomonee River Valley. Each of the sites throughout the city is typical of the post-industrial struggles Milwaukee has been dealing with for the past 40 years. The public symposium will take place on Saturday, April 15th, at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Along with the keynote address by Walter Hood, students and workshop leaders will present their work.