Posts tagged with "public art":

Placeholder Alt Text

LinkNYC kiosks will display iconic film director’s photos of old New York

Beginning this Thursday, LinkNYC kiosks around the city will feature images from the Museum of the City of New York’s (MCNY) extensive photography archive. The aptly named campaign, Summer in the City, is a partnership between the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT), LinkNYC, the city’s free Wi-Fi kiosk system, and MCNY. Images will be displayed from the Museum’s current exhibition, Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Passerby on the street will be able to catch a glimpse of the old New York through the lens of the iconic film director. Kubrick’s photographs highlight his formative years as a photographer (before he became a film director) for Look magazine in New York City between 1945-1950. The photographs focus on and capture the pathos of everyday life of the city, from street scenes to sporting events. The LinkNYC kiosks can be found dotted all over the city. Since Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the program in 2016, more than 1,650 Links are active across all five boroughs and have replaced the old pay phones with sleek kiosks that feature free Wi-Fi, phone chargers, and digital displays for advertisements and in this case, art. It’s not the first time that LinkNYC has featured art on its kiosks from MCNY. Previous "exhibitions" on the kiosks include historic photos of women who influenced New York’s political history for Women’s History Month and "On This Day in NYC History" information. The MCNY and LinkNYC partnership is one of many programs that disseminate New York City’s history; others include the NYC Space/Time Directory from the New York Public Library, an app from Urban Archive that made more than 2,500 images of old New York available on-the-go, and a Civil Rights & Social Justice Map from the Greenwich Village Society.
Placeholder Alt Text

Visiting UAP, the studio fabricating many of the biggest projects in art and architecture

UAP may not be a household name, but the firm is behind the scenes of many of the biggest projects in public art and architecture. With studios in Brisbane, Shanghai, and New York, UAP works with world-renowned artists and architects like Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller, and Frank Gehry on highly complicated sculptures and architectural features. Most recently, it manufactured Phillip K. Smith III’s Open Sky with clothing brand COS for Salone del Mobile in Milan. UAP is also overseeing a number of projects in the Hudson Yards mega-development. Started in 1993 by brothers Daniel and Matthew Tobin in Australia, UAP collaborates with artists, architects, developers, and governments to plan and fabricate large-scale projects. However, at their core the Tobins are committed to protecting artists’ voices and maintaining conceptual integrity—dealing with tight deadlines, engineering challenges, and logistical complexities to deliver the creator’s vision in full. In this way, they function as an extension of the artist’s studio, allowing artists to step back from management and go back to doing what they do best: making art. UAP is organized into three sectors: UAP Studio, which produces site-specific artworks and offers curatorial oversight and public art strategy; UAP Factory, which works alongside architects on building projects; and UAP Supply, which offers limited-edition and custom furnishings. While UAP’s business includes working with artists to make their visions materialize, the firm also works with developers and governments to curate and consult on the how, where, and who behind public art. Recently, it has been going even bigger and helping develop master plans and long-term public art strategy for clients such as the Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane. Although handwork, traditional CNC, and cutting-edge fabrication techniques are integral to the practice, UAP is constantly looking for new ways to utilize technology. The team has been introducing virtual reality into its design process and collaborating with manufacturing researchers at Innovative Manufacturing CRC, Queensland University of Technology, and RMIT University to experiment with new robotic manufacturing systems that present a range of new possibilities. With his artist pedigree, founder Daniel has designed monumental projects, including the 197-foot-tall concrete tower Al Fanar (Beacon) in Saudi Arabia (with bureau^proberts) and a National AIDS Monument with the West Hollywood Foundation, to be completed in 2019. It’s this creative sensibility that’s central to UAP. It can help artists because they themselves are no mere fabricators; they’re partners in the creative process with an intimate knowledge of production and a deep investment in creative expression. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors New York This past winter’s blockbuster five-borough public exhibition from Ai Weiwei, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, showcased the work of UAP in one of its most memorable sculptures: the 40-foot mirrored cage underneath the Washington Square Arch. Made in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, the arch sculpture was one of two that UAP completed for Ai’s project. The subject of many photographs, the sculpture approached serious topics with levity—juxtaposing a passage with a cage, it troubled the constructed notion of borders and highlighted the different ways they restrict, regulate, and permit the movement of differentiated bodies. Nuage, promenade Miami Working with renowned designers (and another fraternal pair) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, UAP oversaw the construction of a series of metal and glass canopies in Miami’s design district. Called Nuage, promenade, the pergola is designed to engage with not only the surrounding built environment of Paseo Ponti, but also the natural environment, as native plants will slowly grow around the blue and green structure. SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico UAP worked on every step of the process, from design to fabrication to installation, for an external cladding system for a SHoP Architects expansion to the New Mexico contemporary art space SITE Santa Fe. The layers of folded and perforated aluminum cladding for the two entrances help to unify the extension as a whole and mesh it with the museum and the public space. UAP also worked with SHoP on the interiors of the American Copper Buildings in Manhattan. Wahat Al Karama Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates In 2016, UAP worked with British artist Idris Khan to realize the massive memorial park Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The central monument comprises 31 leaning tablets made of aluminum plates recycled from decommissioned armored vehicles. The tablets are inscribed with the names of service members and poems and quotes from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At one end of the park is the Pavilion of Honor, completed with bureau^proberts. Made of 2,800 aluminum panels encircling seven glass panels by Khan, the meditative space is a quiet interior pause that complements the monolithic structure outside.
Placeholder Alt Text

Christo floats monumental oil barrel installation in London’s Serpentine Lake

Artist Christo, famous for his large-scale landscape interventions, has completed work on The London Mastaba, a massive trapezoid made of multi-colored barrels and set afloat in London’s Serpentine Lake. The installation sits adjacent to the Serpentine Gallery and will run concurrently with the gallery’s retrospective of Christo and late wife Jeanne-Claude work. The London Mastaba is Christo’s first large-scale installation in the UK, and the trapezoidal form and the use of barrels is a return to both a shape and a material that Christo and Jeanne-Claude have consistently explored throughout their long career. The temporary sculpture, floating in the middle of the historic Hyde Park on top of an interlocking platform, was designed to be extremely visible without damaging the ecologically sensitive lake. The 7,506 barrels, arranged to create a colorful face on either side of the trapezoid, are stacked 65 feet high, 130 feet long, and 90 feet wide. When reflected in the surrounding lake, The London Mastaba’s split-face creates an ever-changing reflection. Much like the Serpentine Pavilion nearby, the sun’s movement over the course of the summer and resultant shadows will alter the work’s appearance every day. In name, form, and color, The London Mastaba references Islamic art. The red-and-white stripes on the round side of the barrels creates a visually homogenous “outer coating,” while the mauve, blue, and red outer walls are abstractions of the pointillist-styled artworks found in Islamic architecture. Even the word Mastaba references similarly-shaped Egyptian tombs. “For three months, The London Mastaba will be a part of Hyde Park's environment in the centre of London," said Christo in a statement. “The colours will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting. It has been a pleasure to work with The Royal Parks to realize The London Mastaba and with our friends at the Serpentine Galleries to create an exhibition showing Jeanne-Claude’s and my 60-year history of using barrels in our work.” The London Mastaba and accompanying show Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018 are free to the public. As with his other pieces, Christo has entirely self-financed the sculpture’s construction through sales of original works of art. The London Mastaba is currently open to the public and viewable through September 23, 2018, while the exhibition will run from June 19 through September 9, 2018. Christo is also well known for his fabric installations; the Lake Iseo-spanning The Modular Pier in Italy drew major crowds to the region in 2015, while the series of gates installed throughout Central Park in 2005 were met with widespread media attention (for better or for worse).
Placeholder Alt Text

A St. Louis symposium imagines alternate urban futures inspired by Afrofuturism

We have to imagine a place before we can actually be there. So St. Louis–based artists and curators Gavin Kroeber, Tim Portlock, and Rebecca Wanzo invited their fellow citizens to imagine the urban future with “a two-day festival of art and ideas that explores the collisions of race, urbanism, and futurism, providing a platform for alternate visions of the St. Louis to come.” The name of the event, “Dwell in Other Futures,” comes from the novel Dhalgren by the Afrofuturist writer Samuel R. Delaney, who also served as the keynote speaker and underpinning force that bound together a number of the program’s participants. To open the event, Delaney recited a chapter from his most recent novel that bolstered the role that intimacy might play in how we understand our spaces. Held on April 27 and 28, the program included a collection of workshops and presentations, with special emphasis on performances. For example, the multidisciplinary artist Eric Ellingsen, along with his team of Tyvek-hazmat-suit-clad landscape architecture faculty and students from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, invited the public to join as they performed a choreographic ritual on an empty land parcel across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation. Inspired by the spray paint markings that often indicate underground utility lines, Ellingsen’s team challenged the audience to assume agency over the colored ground markings that make up our cities in order to speculate how infrastructure may connect us in more creative ways. Children and adults took charge of rolling paint applicators to inscribe the site with colorful lines while an overhead drone recorded the real-time mapmaking from a bird’s-eye view. Inside, artist Autumn Knight invited audience members to offer impromptu proposals for civic institutions as part of her La-A Consortium performance, positing playful yet bureaucratic titles such as “Shephanique Center for Literacy” and the “Jadavian Center for Creative Ecologies” as a starting point. By leveraging the power of intentional naming, Knight prompted the audience to consider how they might creatively impact the identities and activities of the organizations that constitute our society. The event closed with a bang as six different local participants delivered “Manifestos for a Future St. Louis.” These brief, bold, and highly choreographed proclamations required each participant to articulate a scenario about a possible future through whatever artistic means necessary. Architectural historian Michael Allen delivered a prescient soliloquy set to a Hollywood soundtrack, warning of a “non-topian” future that intensifies our troubled present, brimming with privatization and distrust of the public sphere. Maxi Glamour, the self-proclaimed “Demon Queen of Polka and Baklava” projected a nonbinary, gender-fluid future enacted by a spectacular drag performance. Social practice designer De Nichols closed the series with an optimistic call to action, imploring us to consider what parts of the status quo need to be destroyed in order to make space for “audacious” culture-makers and “fearless” justice-makers. What conclusions did the festival draw? Its participants proposed more questions than answers, implicating the audience every step of the way, but most assuredly, the celebratory collective voice proclaimed that the future will be black, the future will be queer, and the future city demands all of our emphatic participation.
Placeholder Alt Text

David Hammons’ ghostly pier to rise in the Hudson after all

The skeletal recreation of Pier 52, an abandoned industrial shed that once jutted into the waters next to the High Line, will rise courtesy of the Whitney Museum, artist David Hammon, and a recent legislative victory in the New York State Senate. The pier was once a hub of for artistic intervention and under-the-radar sexual liberation, and Hammon has titled his “new” Pier 52 sculpture Day’s End after Gordon Matta Clark’s 1975 transformation of the building. The public piece was first announced in October of last year, and the Whitney has taken pains to avoid the mistakes of the adjacent Pier 55 by engaging with the local community boards at every step of the planning process. Complicating the sculpture’s installation has been the Hudson River Park Act, which established the Hudson River Park Trust’s stewardship of the waterfront and environmental protections for the river. Now, after the passage of legislation by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman yesterday (S8044A), the Hudson River Park Act has been amended to allow Day’s End to rise after all. While the Whitney will construct the stainless-steel sculpture offsite over a period of eight to 10 months and maintain the piece, the museum will be required to donate the sculpture to the Hudson River Park Trust under S8044A. While there are still regulatory hurdles to get over, Day’s End recently cleared a vote in the State Assembly and is likely to breeze to fabrication.
Placeholder Alt Text

Absence is made tangible at the new national memorial to lynching victims

Absence is not abstract. It is felt and perceived. Absence implicates all of us inasmuch as it confounds the very writing of our stories. To see absence is to have our limits revealed, not as if in a mirror, but in a manner that shows that we are entangled with distant tethers that keep our bodies, our histories, in check. Absence, when made visible, is not observed immediately. It takes time. The April 26 opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, is perhaps one such catalyst for the effacement of the visitor with respect to the racial terror that led to the loss of thousands of lives through lynching. Lynching victims who were burned alive, hanged, shot—murdered—in and along the towns and byways of our nation from 1877 until 1950, are documented in this memorial initiated by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Such violence continues today in the form of excessive imprisonment; by the murders of black women and men by the police; by the enforcement of state-sanctioned economic violence. By crafting spaces in which the subtractive is both a tool and a frame, the design of this memorial signals the recuperative agency of building as a means to affect the erasable and irascible conditions that established and purvey hatred, fear, and ignorance in this country. Here, looking away is not conscionable, as it moves against the habitus of memory, where our own individual pasts intersect with the Past. That the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum are realized in this, the 50th anniversary of the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, is indeed an extraordinary feat indebted to the efforts of many individuals that came before. However, I would be remiss in not reminding readers that in recent reportage, including The New York Times and Rolling Stone, there is scant mention of the architects. During the spectacle of the opening ceremony, EJI’s Executive Director, Bryan Stevenson, acknowledged builders, contractors, laborers, and “local” architects—but did not name the project architects, MASS Design Group. Only on the EJI website can we find mention that the Initiative had the “assistance” of MASS Design Group. It feels purposeful, and we are thus left to speculate. I am left wondering: Are architects supposed to fade away in the fashioning of a memorial? I can think of recent examples for which this is clearly not the case. What has been wrought in other locations, including Washington, D.C., Berlin, Johannesburg, New York City, and Birmingham, all speak through their authors. And, in varying degrees, formal aspects of each of these memorial spaces are present now in Montgomery. Memorials render ghosts. And Boston-based MASS Design’s work with the EJI on the design and building of this structure is no less haunted by the iniquities of American history. With distant views of limpid hills and a semiformal state capitol town center with its empty shops, deserted lots, 59 Confederate markers, and recent loft conversions, the Memorial for Peace and Justice is adjacent, without irony, to the storefront of the State of Alabama Office of Pardons and Paroles Day Reporting Center. From the street below, the memorial structure is partially indiscernible due to its horizontal profile cutting across the sightline, but it may also be read as an empty pedestal through and on which the lives of so many passed, passed away, disappeared. One climbs farther up the hill alongside a boundary wall upon which a series of chronological narratives is posted to convey the story of “Why here?” and “Why now?” The manifestations of slavery, of incipient racism that persist today, are described as a backdrop to an unfolding of both landscape and architecture as marked sites for unceasing brutality. We are soon confronted by a bronze sculpture of humans in chains by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo. The signs begin too high to be read easily and meet our eyes as we climb the hill. A sharp corner, and one rises again to the structure while unfortunately overlooking the conclusion of the memorial space one floor below. There is no fixed entrance, per se, except a momentary pause with a large fire extinguisher. Stepping onto a timber floor, one is immediately surrounded by a dense array of body-size steel casks hung from pipes that disappear into a paneled metal ceiling. One moves cautiously through a grid of “bleeding” Corten steel containers, each incised with the name of the county and names accompanied by dates, including those unknown, of the lynched. The floor gradually descends as the casks remain above our heads; their intact volumes remain whole. By moving downward, one returns into the ground. The horizon has been excised. Gravity is idle. A series of narratives printed on thin metal strips is hung in a similar manner to the initial chronologies, describing in the briefest of ways the events of individual lynchings. The blunt quotidian language, their facticity, arrests our movements. At the next corner, one is presented with two very large indictments. A cascade of water pushes across the adjacent wall, merging with, not obscuring, an extended text. The temperature changes. Two choices are apparent: Climb a ramp or stair into the center of the quadrangle or leave. The empty center, while perhaps disguised as a space of confrontation, is more like a cloister in which condemnation is subdued, internalized; here it is possible to see across through the casks while observing others. It is not a sanctum. Greeting one’s unceremonial departure from the memorial upon moving outside, another sliver of text is located across from the pipes and pumps of the interior waterfall. This is not as much a “door of no return,” as merely a way out. This non-exit merges with an unmarked landscape of horizontal metal casks, akin to those held inside the structure—a topology of loss. Despite being worrisome for those who might wish to touch one of the steel containers after a hot day, one walks between their seemingly geographic order(s) locating states and counties, and names. Farther on, a series of bronzes by Dana King, depicting Rosa Parks and her heroic companions leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott, intersects the path. A small circular garden of mushroom-like concrete stools is sited nearby and is unlike anything seen elsewhere, with no explanation as to its role. One moves across on pathways above, around, and below another bronze, this one by Hank Willis Thomas, spelling bodies of containment, of stability falling away. With the building of such thresholds for historical reckoning, the arc of our knowing also asserts unknowing; absence lingers. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum attest to our own entanglements with reconciliation and truth. Memorials, like museums, are structures that attempt to keep us in their grasp as long as possible, allowing for the disclosure of our interior selves with multiple worlds. Such “new worlds” are partially uncovered at the intersection of reflection and remembrance, yet allow for and point to the rupture of what our passages have been and continue to be.
Placeholder Alt Text

Salesforce Tower’s massive light show to permanently illuminate San Francisco’s skyline

Salesforce Tower’s nine-story steel topper is set to light up San Francisco permanently starting tomorrow night, as video artist Jim Campbell’s enormous animations will start broadcasting from the top. The tower’s 130-foot-tall, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects-designed crown is hollow and has been clad in perforated aluminum panels–ostensibly to lessen the bullet-shaped building’s impact on the skyline. Using imagery from cameras scattered around the city (and 11,000 LEDs inside of the crown), Campbell will translate traffic, the sky, and each night’s sunsets into a public art piece visible for 20 miles in every direction. The fleeting, ephemeral images are an ode to the city’s vibrancy and energy. During a test run last Wednesday, giant ballerinas could be seen dancing across a beige background over 1,000 feet in the air. The tower’s signature piece, Day for Night, will start by showing the colors of that night’s sunset, followed by constellations against the night sky until the sun rises again. While the top nine floors of the Salesforce Tower are unoccupied and were used to push the building into “tallest in San Francisco” territory, only the upper six floors will be used to stage Campbell’s installation. The remaining three will hold the required equipment and will be bathed in a strong light to form a base for the animation above. While the punctured panels could theoretically show any images, Campbell swears that his work won’t be used for advertisements or to mark holidays. As for the electricity use? It’s the same as “five toaster ovens,” Campbell told the San Francisco Chronicle. The developers, designers, and engineers behind Salesforce Tower will be presenting on their work at the next Facades+ conference in San Francisco, taking place on June 7.
Placeholder Alt Text

An interactive fountain driven by train traffic is coming to Philadelphia’s Center City

Pulse, a snaking public art piece linked to the Dilworth Park fountain in Philadelphia, will soon be showing commuters what’s going on underneath their feet. The fountain sits in front of Philadelphia City Hall in Center City, and sculptor Janet Echelman will soon be realizing a light-and-mist installation that will track underground SEPTA trains in real time, thanks to a $325,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation. The project was originally commissioned in 2009 by the Center City District Foundation (CCD), and major pieces of its foundations were embedded in the surrounding plaza when the park’s fountain was built in 2014. Pulse, described as “a living X-ray of the city's circulatory system” by the artist, would create four-foot-tall walls of colored mist that track the trains passing below, specifically, the green, orange, and blue lines. Separate tracks of light embedded in the concrete would project into an atomized mist to create the kinetic effect. Echelman worked closely with the park’s architects, OLIN, to integrate Pulse’s infrastructure into the plaza redesign.' The $325,000 grant that the CCD announced last Monday will cover the construction of Pulse’s green section, which would follow SEPTA’s underground green line trolley. The installation of that phase will come to life this July, though the CCD is still seeking funding for the remaining orange and blue line tracks. The project was conceived as a tribute to Philadelphia’s first water pumping station, and Echelman was brought on board to design the piece back in 2010. However, the CCD has been trying to drum up the $4 million required to complete and maintain Pulse ever since it was announced (though a $20,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant awarded last year helped to get the ball rolling).
Placeholder Alt Text

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s mile-long opera is coming to the High Line this fall

One thousand opera singers will grace Manhattan's High Line from October 3 through 7, staging a massive public performance for five consecutive nights. The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock, produced by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), the High Line, and production company The OFFICE performing arts + film, will present a thousand sung stories about what 7:00 PM means to New York residents. The Mile-Long Opera has a star-studded production team: The show is a joint venture between DS+R and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang,  who will be setting the stories to music. Poets Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine will be writing the stories, based on interviews, about the liminal period between day and night. DS+R partner Elizabeth Diller will be staging the show, with the help of co-director Lynsey Peisinger, along the entire length of the High Line. Nonprofit cultural partners from each borough will be supplying the show’s singers, who will be directed by Donald Nally, and each partner will recruit volunteers, hold workshops, and throw cultural events in the lead-up to the October performance. Diller’s involvement has been known for some time now, and the idea supposedly took inspiration from the intersection and confrontation between public space and performance art. “After working on the design of the High Line for over a decade and witnessing the rapid transformation of the surrounding area, I thought a lot about the life cycle of the city—its decay and rebirth—full of opportunities and contradictions,” said Diller in a statement. “This vantage presented an opportunity for creative reflection about the speed of change of the contemporary city and the stories of its inhabitants. “The park will be a 30-block-long urban stage for an immersive performance in which the audience will be mobile, the performers will be distributed, and the city will be both protagonist and backdrop for a collective experience celebrating our diversity.” The Mile-Long Opera will be free, in keeping with the mission to open up opera to the public. Visitors can freely wander the length of the High Line while intermingling between the groups of singers, and each artist will belt out their own solo story. Guests can choose to linger and listen through to individual stories or explore as many experiences as they want. The High Line will close early to the general public on the nights of the show, and only those who have booked an advance reservation online (here) will be able to attend. With anticipation building for the 2019 opening of The Shed on the park’s northern end, it looks like DS+R will keep the cultural momentum going through the fall.
Placeholder Alt Text

Diana Al-Hadid’s delirious Madison Square Park installations are up for the summer

Delirious Matter, the 36th season of outdoor art at Madison Square Park, is now officially open, and park goers can discover ruined busts, dripping walls, and a mountainous, 14-foot-tall sculpture plunked in the northern fountain. AN recently had the opportunity to tour the park with Delirious Matter artist Diana Al-Hadid and discuss both the current installation and her upcoming exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Citadel, the voluminous fountain sculpture, was inspired by Hans Memling’s Allegory of Chastity, a 15th-century painting of a woman emerging from a mountain. Painting plays an intrinsic part in Al-Hadid’s process; Citadel started as two life-sized paintings, and Al-Hadid cut and welded steel rods to follow her design, later reinforcing it for stability. The dripping “snow caps” of aluminum foil and gypsum lend some solidity to a structure that would otherwise be made of voids. Continuing the dichotomy between new materials and old techniques and void and solid form, three female Synonym busts have been scattered around the park. The headless figures, resembling hollowed-out classical antiquities, are elevated on plinths but still totally accessible to the public and were created by dripping a gypsum polymer mixture over Al-Hadid’s existing works, Antonym. At the park’s center is the anchor of the installation, a hedged-in “room” created by opposing walls of dripped gypsum and paint. Gravida, named for the Roman god Mars Gradivus, is 36 feet long and arched to create an entrance way and directly frames the opposing wall, a 22-foot-long rising peak that also references Allegory of Chastity. The forms were originally painted on the wall and reinforced from behind after they were peeled off. Delirious Matter is Al-Hadid’s first outdoor installation, which necessitated thinking about how the sculptures would interplay with the landscaping, the elements, and the demands of the public. For a more traditional example of Al-Hadid’s work, the Bronx Museum of the Arts will be running a sister Delirious Matter show from July 18 through October 14, with the massive Nolli’s Orders sculpture at its center. A collection of voids and twisting figures supported by iconic pieces of Roman architecture, Nolli’s Orders references the 1748 survey of Rome by Giambattista Nolli. While the 2012 sculpture doesn’t correlate directly to Nolli’s map, Al-Hadid drew on the poses and depictions of public and private spaces in the city when planning Nolli’s Orders. The Madison Square Park show will run through September 3, 2018.
Placeholder Alt Text

Robert Irwin’s site-specific installation dialogues with both outside and inside

Robert Irwin Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles January 23–April 21, 2018 In Robert Irwin’s words, a scrim “is both there and it’s not,” a status that could just as easily describe the effects of history. His site-specific exhibition at Sprüth Magers in Los Angeles, which occupies two floors of the gallery, seems to resonate with L.A.’s history, not in the least because it so vigorously attempts a dialogue with both the exterior street and the interior structure. On the first floor, the windows facing Wilshire Boulevard are left unobscured, providing glimpses of passing buses, pedestrians, and William Pereira’s facade of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as veiled by the semitransparent sheen of the scrims. In contrast, the second floor features opaque interior walls that block out most of the exterior light, but are interrupted at the corners so that a viewer can walk behind the walls and stand in a purposefully awkward nook next to one of the building’s original windows. On the first floor, the visitor is made aware of the act of perception, while on the second floor the inevitable limitations of one’s perception become evident. The exhibition, which was on view through April 21, was designed by Robert Irwin for this specific, 5,000-square-foot space. Because the work is so intertwined with the building, it’s difficult not to describe the work in terms of decor. This is especially pronounced on the second floor, which features banks of neon tubes that seem to be oversize dispatches from a partial DNA sample. Space is occasionally left between the mounted tubes, creating the impression of absence within the bank. However, installed above the neon tubes in the ceiling are inactive fluorescent lights, which seem to hint at the inevitability of mortality. One may begin life as a vivid neon tube, but eventually, the light goes out. The darker interior, which is bisected by a black rectangular scrim, amplifies this feeling of absence: The room appears to be the remainder of something, not its origin point. The fact that the viewer is designed to encounter the second floor after the first makes the former both potentially a dramatic ending and a second act; depending on how long one lingers on the first floor after walking down the stairs, the second floor can become a referendum on how we choose to perceive. Once we’ve seen what’s out there, do we ultimately open our perceptions up to the outside world, or do we end up ensconced in our own darkened, incomplete rooms? Back on the first floor, a series of square black-lacquered panels are placed along the wall opposite the scrims. If a viewer walks around the installation, these panels visually align with the black squares on the scrim to create undulating tunnels of fabric and air. What was formerly indistinct and wispy suddenly becomes solid and intense. It is the architectural expression of realization, a tangible eureka moment. Walk a little farther on, however, and the squares once again fall out of alignment, becoming just shadows in the void. The exhibition can only be viewed during daylight hours, which lends it a certain poignancy, but not urgency. Much like Los Angeles itself, the materials involved and the ample amount of space in which to view them promotes a relatively serene atmosphere. There’s not a sense of hurry, but there is a sense of finitude. This is not an experience that can be repeated in some other room, at some other time. It is designed to root the viewer in that particular moment, and what a moment it is: The relative lack of ornament amplifies both the sleepy midday traffic outside and whatever feelings and thoughts preoccupy the viewer, which on a Wednesday afternoon in April 2018 in the United States are variegated, to say the least. Much like the scrims, the presence of history is both there and not there, subtly framing everything we see. Julia Ingalls is primarily an essayist who lives in Los Angeles.
Placeholder Alt Text

Lively seating and signage will brighten up Times Square this summer

New York’s Times Square plaza will be transformed by designers Brad Ascalon, Joe Doucet, Louis Lim, DYAD and Hive Public Space this May. Organized by the Times Square Alliance, the designers’ solutions rethink the street furniture of one of the world’s most visible public spaces. The collection includes conceptual designs for seating, signage, and book display. Furniture designer Brad Ascalon designs an "island" that incorporates planters, seating and storage. Product designer Joe Doucet envisions colorful pods that organize the interactions of people in the public space. Urban design and placemaking consultancy Hive Public Space combines a bookcase with a bench, echoing the Strand Bookstore nearby. DYAD, led by designer Douglas Fanning, formulates an eye-catching sign holder resembling a kick-boxing stand, and Louis Lim designs a teardrop-shaped, touch-responsive signage system. “Times Square asked great New York City designers to build on permanent transformations such as the red steps and the pedestrian plazas, and temporary transformations through design and public art,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, and the organizer of local events. The pieces will be revealed on the plaza together with the opening of the Design Pavilion during NYCxDesign. They are curated by Times Square Design Lab (TSqDL), which is a collaboration between 6¢ Design, a think tank led by Principal Victoria Milne, and the Times Square Alliance. NYCxDesign is an annual event that celebrates local and worldwide design talents and will take place between May 11 and 23 this year.