Architecture of Independence: African Modernism Graham Foundation Madlener House, 4 West Burton Place, Chicago Through April 9, 2016 Based on a book of the same name, Architecture of Independence: African Modernism explores the boom of modernist buildings in sub-Saharan Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. With research by architect and writer Manuel Herz and photographs by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster, Architecture of Independence looks at 80 buildings in five countries. From new parliament buildings to schools and central banks, the show presents architecture as a means of declaring and expressing independence after centuries of colonization. Along with local architects and planners, architects from Poland, Yugoslavia, Scandinavia, Israel, and, surprisingly, former colonial powers, transformed urban and government centers across the continent. This exhibition is being shown for the first time in the United States at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts in cooperation with the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Numerous talks and film screenings will accompany the exhibition throughout its run.
Posts tagged with "Photography":
As part of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, 20 photographs by 18 individuals have been chosen as winners of the “My Detroit” Postcard Photo Contest. “The twenty photographs to be printed as postcards will help us tell the exhibition visitor short stories about life in Detroit,” explained co-curator Cynthia Davidson in a press release. The pavilion, entitled The Architectural Imagination, will present 12 speculative architectural projects for four sites around Detroit. The postcards, made from the contest winning photographs, will be available at the pavilion as well as be part of the exhibition catalog. Picked from 463 entries, the images were chosen by photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara, who has photographed Detroit since 1985, and Davidson. The images range from views of iconic Detroit architecture, including the Michigan Central Station, to family portraits of local Detroiters. Ten of the contest winners are Detroit residents. "Detroit has a rich culture and history to draw from as we work toward creating a vibrant future," said Robert Fishman, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning interim dean and professor. "The photos recognized in the postcard contest are a reflection of Detroit over time that we are excited to share with the world." The Architectural Imagination is being organized through the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture, by co-curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de León. The U.S. Pavilion will be open at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale from May 28 – November 27, 2016. The Postcard Photo contest winners are: Sara Jane Boyers, Santa Monica, CA Derek Chang, New York, NY Jon DeBoer, Royal Oak, MI Antoinette Del Villano, Brooklyn, NY Jennifer Garza-Cuen, Reno, NV Geoff George, Detroit, MI Erik Herrmann, Ann Arbor, MI Julie Huff, Detroit, MI William McGraw, Dearborn, MI Ayana T. Miller, Detroit, MI Ben Nowak, Oak Park, MI Kevin Robishaw, Detroit, MI Salvador Rodriguez, Saint Clair Shores, MI Harrell Scarcello, Southfield, MI Sue Shoemaker, Brown City, MI John Sobczak, Bloomfield, MI Cigdem Talu, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Corine Vermeulen, Hamtramck, MI
Each year, thousands of visitors descend into Salina Turda, a Transylvanian salt mine dating over 2,000 years. In its lifetime the salt mine has had many uses, storing the coffers of Hungarian kings and Habsburg emperors, providing shelter during World War II, and even operating as a cheese storage center. In 1992, Salina Turda reopened as a visitor attraction, and after 16 years and $6.5 million of investments, has transformed into a museum and theme park. British photographer Richard John Seymour, documented this subterranean destination. Salina Turda's attractions include ferris wheels, spa treatment facilities, recreational sports, boat tours, and an 80-seat amphitheater, all backdropped with stalactites and salt formations, captured in Seymour's photographs. In the chambers, visitors inhale the salt mine's purifying air, and spa guests are treated with halotherapy. Salina Turda’s biggest mine is the bell-shaped Theresa, reaching approximately 300 feet and containing a salted lake. As Seymour's photographs show, the theme park provides small boat tours of the meteoric waters. https://vimeo.com/57143945 Seymour said, "I am often drawn to contradiction in my work, where the heroic, idealistic, or epic meets mundane reality. Salina Turda embodies this idea particularly well. It is an undeniably beautiful historic monument of engineering and human endeavor, but it is now used as a theme park with ping pong tables, bowling, and boat rides." Richard John Seymour's photographs will be on exhibition at the London Art Fair from January 20–24. For more of Richard John Seymour work visit his website here.
We often have books come into our office that are not necessarily on the topic of architecture or urbanism. Slowly, they move down to the bottom of one of our review piles, topped by new arrivals. One such book is School of Nite by the artist and photographer Nancy Goldring and the writer Peter Lamborn Wilson. School of Night, however, it so beautiful and succinct that it does not deserve to end up at the bottom of a pile. The book is a small but beautiful volume of poems and images that has Wilson speculating on subjects of interest to all form makers: The Last Secret Place on Earth, Mesopotamia, Fibonacci’s Airstream, and of course an Ode to Nite. Goldring’s beautiful, accompanying images bring the poetic texts into sharper focus with evocative images that are themselves colorful poems to places, experiences, and atmospheres evoked by Wilson. The book (designed by Dennis Crompton) is published by Spuyten Duyvil and can be ordered through the company's website.
Matter, Light, and Form: Architectural Photographs of Wayne Thom, 1968-2003 WUHO Gallery 6518 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles Through December 20, 2015 Best known for his keen documentation of Late Modernism, Wayne Thom’s architectural photography brings drama and beauty to a period marked by corporate and developer-driven design. Now, the Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury University presents an exhibition of Thom’s work at the WUHO Gallery in Hollywood. Curated by Nicholas Olsberg and Andrea Dietz, the show spans the photographer’s five-decade career and is organized into three sections based on typologies: towers, pavilions, and plazas. The exhibition title Matter, Light, and Form speaks to the photographer’s belief in architecture as sculpture. According to the curators, Thom has never “lit” a piece of architecture, instead he would wait for days for the right light to hit a building. “[T]o paraphrase Louis Kahn, sometimes buildings don’t know how beautiful they are until the camera’s eye falls upon them,” noted Olsberg. In July, when AN profiled Thom’s work, writer Daniel Paul made a plea for an institution to acquire Thom’s archive. Later that month, the University of Southern California Libraries, Special Collections announced that it would purchase and manage the archive, thus securing Thom’s legacy and singular architectural eye.
Cairo's Townhouse gallery is hosting an exploration of Egypt's housing crisis through the lens of 18 photographs by Anthony Hamboussi. The views encapsulate urban and architectural vistas that tell the story of "housing real estate in all sectors of the economy, formal and informal, from high-end developments to state-built “affordable” housing and piecemeal private investments." But act fact, SURPLUS! Housing from the Periphery closes on November 4. The selection is distilled from a larger pool of 180 photographs called “Cairo Ring Road,” which Hamboussi collected over a four-year span. Presented as large-format prints, the photographs are universally dystopic, portraying vast uninhabited landscapes frozen in a single moment of time. Hamboussi focuses his camera on varying housing typologies, from the ashwaiyyat, desert gates communities common in Cairo, to the city's hinterland edges. For more information, visit the Townhouse gallery's website.
Thursday night, Barbara Kasten’s first major retrospective opened at the Graham Foundation as an offsite event of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Set in the Madlener house, a turn-of-the century Prairie-Style mansion, the exhibition brings together a roughly chronological overview of the artist’s practice from the 1970s until today. The works on display are of an astonishingly contemporary quality—many of the framed photographs follow the aesthetic paradigms of current net—or Tumblr art featuring primitive geometric shapes of varying surface texture lit in a rich palette of pastel colors forming surreal spatial compositions. Kasten started her career working with fibers, with some of the most impressive works in the show being a series of cyanotype prints from the 1970s achieved by laying down fiberglass molds onto large sheets coated with chemicals. The images evoke seemingly three-dimensional rippled fabric brought to the flat plane through a technical process. Moving further into the third dimension Kasten started to build large-scale studio sets in the 1970s. Her forms highly geometric at first, she increasingly started adding more specific elements such as column details from architectural catalogues. These photographs are highly reminiscent of much more recent images circulating on the internet produced with 3d modeling and rendering software. Many of the analogue processes used by Kasten in this phase of her work can be applied particularly well in the virtual domain. The backgrounds are simplistic and contained, there is no natural light or environment to complicate the render process, and the objects are geometric primitives or sourced from catalogues rather than created from scratch. Despite formal similarities a significant difference separates the ethereal digital spaces from Barbara Kasten meticulously constructed environments. As Kasten points out in a recent interview, weight and gravity play an important role in the construction of sculptures. The props used by Kasten are never mounted in place but rest on or adjacent to each other through gravity. By the 1980s Kasten moved on to incorporating existing buildings into her sets, transforming them through light, color, and mirrors to create compositional photographs. She first worked with corporate headquarters and financial centers and later turned to museums as different kind of spaces of authority. Depicting these composed, lasting, authoritative buildings with temporary, fragile, colorful and disorienting sensibility she produced what Sylvia Lavin coined a kiss, or a powerful statement through a gentle gesture. The images produced in this series act as records of an atmospheric transformation of a number of establishment-reinforcing spaces. On the third floor of the Madlener house the show culminates with a site specific installation. With moving light projections directed at sculptural forms it is like one of her photographic stages come to life. It is a beautiful experience yet also feels like an unmasking of a magicians trick—with the mechanism behind the photographs exposed, the stage-like installation loses some of the precision and specificity of the highly controlled still frames. The piece is most successful at illustrating the incredible breadth of Barbara Kasten’s work, blurring the boundaries between art, installation, and architecture—despite the fact that all the illusions are based on the limits of physical space.
Last year artists Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero led a collaborative effort to take over Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House with kaleidoscopic light and video loops. That project, INsite, followed similar work at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Robie House, and imbued Mies' modernist touchstone with a vivacity often lacking in the contemporary experience of midcentury interiors. (Read AN's review of Luftwerk's INsite installation here.) Now that work will live on as a show, INsite ONview, which runs September 11 – November 15 at the Matthew Rachman Gallery in Chicago. Photographer Kate Joyce's images of the original installation will be on display, along with “dynamic, kinetic ephemera based on the installation.” Luftwerk also recently announced they would mount an installation at Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory. That project, dubbed solarise, opens September 23.
Kim Stringfellow’s Jackrabbit Homestead The Autry in Griffith Park 4700 Western Heritage Way Los Angeles Through August 23 The California desert has long been an object of fascination for creatives and explorers fleeing the monotony and sprawl of Los Angeles. Artist Kim Stringfellow follows in that tradition with Jackrabbit Homestead, an exhibition that explores—through photographs and audio interviews—a collection of dilapidated 1950s cabins and the surrounding reclamation of land and structures in this harsh landscape. The show also introduces local artists, and investigates the area’s contentious relationship with land use and ecology, especially as water runs short. Stringfellow is a winner of the Autry’s Theo Westenberger Award for Artistic Excellence honoring contemporary women whose work in photography, film, and new media transforms how we see the American West.
Photographer Wayne Thom captured Late Modernism like no one else, and now his archive is looking for a home
As 1970s and 1980s architecture returns to vogue, a new recognition of those associated with its making and documentation also arises. So it is with Wayne Thom, long the preeminent architectural photographer of the large, Late Modern building by the large firm. Thom began photographing in the late 1960s and his work in Los Angeles, the Western U.S. and beyond to the Pacific Rim documented changing tastes and approaches toward the architectural subject. Hundreds of images are on view on his website. It’s a distinctive and significant body of work, but one without a home. Presently Thom is looking for an organization or institution to take on his sizeable and meticulously organized archive. As time goes on, Thom’s remarkable work seems increasingly ill-suited for sequestration within any one house, including his own. Born in Shanghai in 1933, Thom was raised in Hong Kong, and emigrated to Vancouver in 1949 with his family that includes brother Bing Thom who went on to become a highly noted Canadian architect. Arriving in the States in 1964, Wayne graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in 1968. By the following year he was working with A. Quincy Jones (“A.Q.”) who gave him his big Los Angeles break. Jones, and others whom Jones later introduced on Thom’s behalf, were impressed with approaches that would over time become Wayne Thom hallmarks. These include the use of natural light only, no props whatsoever, and big buildings—particularly the high rise, as his subject. A breakthrough assignment, Wayne’s prominence further rose with his image of the 1971 CNA Park Place Tower in the Westlake section of Los Angeles. Completed by Langdon & Wilson, CNA Park Place was the first all-over smooth-grid mirror glass skin building—a soon to be corporate vernacular—completed in the Western United States, and likely the Country. Thom’s image of the building overlooking Lafayette Park and the people within it won the First Award of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) Architectural Photographers Invitational in 1973. Among his clients through the 1970s, Thom frequently worked with the A.C. Martin office where he photographed a variety of projects including their various Downtown LA projects, the underrated (and unfortunately renovated) Sears West Coast headquarters, and even an A.C. Martin–designed jet interior. In that decade he also began steady, multi-year work as the primary photographer for William Pereira (“Bill”); San Francisco’s Transamerica Building was among his many Pereira assignments. Among other publications, Thom’s images were featured in Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, Architectural Forum, and Domus—where he photographed for Gio Ponti, the magazine’s founder. His award-winning Bonaventure Hotel image is the February 1978 Progressive Architecture cover. Architect Arthur Erickson, whom Thom knew since his much earlier Vancouver years, tapped him to assist in assembling the team of associate architects, landscape architects and designers that ultimately won the 1980 competition to redevelop Bunker Hill sponsored by the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency. In a highly publicized coup, they battled against the “All Stars” team, which included Barton Myers, Frank Gehry, Ricardo Legorreta, Charles Moore, Cesar Pelli and others under Maguire Partners Development. Yet says Thom, “We won the battle but lost the war;” aside from a single Erickson building and the hardscape (Two California Plaza was completed by A.C. Martin) the rest of Erickson’s winning scheme was never realized. Thom continued in full-time practice until 2013, when he curtailed his workload. Living in Rowland Heights, he maintains meticulous records for his thousands of negatives and slides plus hundreds and hundreds of proof books and presentation prints. Now, he’s interested in releasing all of it. In addition to his artifacts, the photographer’s memory is institutional and he seems to have known every single Los Angeles Late Modernist, with insightful if not funny tidbits on most of them. If it all possible, his basic hopes are that archive stay intact and be made available to the public.
David Hartt: Interval Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago Through October 11 Canadian artist David Hartt examines the culture and built environment of a given locale through the changing needs and values of its community. For this essayistic series of films and photographs, Hartt selected two economically and geographically isolated sites: Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon and Sakhalin Island, a Russian territory at the tip of the Japanese archipelago. The exhibition is accompanied by a musical score by composer Mitchell Akiyama, and backed by a series of walls simulating the reflective exterior of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Hartt’s work focuses on the “periphery of their respective societies” as a precept for commenting on their centers. Meanwhile, the exhibition’s title calls attention to temporal and spatial displacements that occur at these sites in an increasingly globalized world.
The water is so clear right now in Lake Michigan, you can see sunken ships beneath the crystal waves
Winter ice is melting around the Great Lakes, revealing cerulean waters below—and, in northern Lake Michigan, an open graveyard of shipwrecks. Lake Michigan's Manitou Passage is a popular diving destination for shipwreck-seekers, but this year the Spring weather has conspired to produce an unusually plain view of the sunken ships. The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station of Traverse City, Michigan said last week in a Facebook post that an air crew first glimpsed the exposed wrecks during a routine patrol of the northern Michigan coastline. Though still a chilly 38.8 degrees Fahrenheit, the water will soon warm, welcoming recreational swimmers, divers, boaters and an influx of nutrient runoff from towns and farms in the watershed. That will usher in algal blooms and again obscure the wrecks currently visible through the crystal clear water.