Posts tagged with "Pulitzer Arts Foundation":

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With a trio of exhibitions, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation makes an in-depth exploration of the home

Home. Everyday. Ordinary. These words describe what binds the three summer exhibitions at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (PAF) in St. Louis: 4562 Enright Avenue, Exquisite Everyday: 18th Century Decorative Arts Objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum, and The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull: Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Sculptures. But they raise as many questions as they answer. Whose home? What routines? Which physical structures/objects are used? The prospect is ripe with dichotomies: fluidity/stasis, divisions/confluence, asset/liability, thought/action, open space/occupied territory, vacant/inhabited, continuity/disruption, utopian/dystopian, creation/devastation, fade/appear. raumlaborberlin, the German architecture collective, is behind 4562 Enright Avenue, which transposes elements of this long-abandoned house—windows, beams, doors, staircases—into a nearly identical-sized gallery at the Pulitzer’s Tadao Ando-designed building 1.7 miles and lights years away. (Like Duchamp’s Fountain [urinal], it’s all about context.) Meanwhile, on site, the brick shell remains. At the museum, one turns the corner to encounter a facade of two stories with arched windows and a door crowned with a glass door light featuring the number 4562. You enter the first room, a living room with stately, upholstered chairs and a mantle. On the floor there are chalk outlines, like police evidence at a crime scene, of more furniture, that constitute the formal room from the house’s heyday—and that Jan Liesegang of raumlaborberlin imagines was barely used. The next room is filled with debris and stacks of materials precisely as found in the abandoned house in 2015. The third and last room on the ground floor imagines what could be for St. Louis housing going forward, displayed in a workshop setting with drafting table, photographs (Saarinen’s Gateway Arch), drawings (Pruitt-Igoe), and books (including Mapping Decline by Colin Gordon), all of which can be handled by visitors. Two staircases—one front-of-house and one for service—lead to a second floor that sports a suspended sink, wooden slat backboards, and, in contrast to the found objects and materials, a new pod-alike intervention. The pod is wrapped in white-painted newsprint in a neatly folded, scale-like pattern, around a translucent rectangular oculus lit from within. This belongs to Liesegang’s fanciful occupant of the house, an imaginary scientist. Since visitors cannot climb the stairs, this apparition remains mysterious. Shelves and tables outside the house are workstations and a video display showcases interviews with residents and neighbors of Enright Avenue. raumlaborberlin: 4562 Enright Avenue - Time-lapse from Pulitzer Arts Foundation on Vimeo. The process of creating this display was nearly a year in the making. raumlaborberlin, whose name means “space” + “laboratory,” is known for projects in transitional urban spaces that combine architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and art (See Spacebuster at Storefront for Art & Architecture and the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for the New City, 2008 & 2011). St. Louis was described to me as a fetishized Detroit, a city where, in certain neighborhoods, lots are vacant and houses are abandoned like missing teeth, directly alongside occupied homes. The description painted a hollow urban center—the City of St. Louis—ringed by a suburban collar and the County of St. Louis (Ferguson is in the County). St. Louis is recovering from a long slide of white flight coupled with the decline of manufacturing and Mississippi River traffic. It’s a long way from the city’s role as Gateway to the West, the start of Lewis and Clark’s journey. The city is also bisected by Delmar Avenue; Enright Avenue is one block north (where 98% of residents identify as black, median home value is $73,000, and median annual income is $18,000), whereas Washington Avenue, where the Pulitzer is located, is one block south (where 73% of residents identify as white, median home value is $335,000, and median annual income is $50,000). To raumlaborberlin, this urban divide was familiar from the Berlin Wall in their home city and seen as hopeful since that barrier is now a memory after the wall’s demise 27 years ago. Asked to address the ways that we inhabit the urban landscape, and specifically engaging St. Louis and its residents, the collective zeroed in on the Lewis Place/Vanderventer neighborhood and its contemporary ruins. (Interestingly, A.E. Hotchner’s coming of age book, King of the Hill, was written about his childhood in a seedy hotel at Delmar & Kingshighway, a few short blocks away.) Together with neighbors and the City of St. Louis Building Commissioner, this uninhabited, structurally unsound Romanesque/French Renaissance Revival house built in 1890 (and slated for demolition) was selected. To shine a light on issues, they decided to move the building to the museum in order to reimagine the structure and what might replace it. It is meant to pose questions, rather than answers. A key one Liesegang asked is “How much can you take away from a house and it's still a home?” Exquisite Everyday: 18th-Century Decorative Art Objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum at first seems to be the antithesis of 4562 Enright. But it signifies someone else’s “everyday,” in this case upper class French and Italians. These objects—sauceboat, armchair, wall sconce, carpet, basin and ewer, chamber pot—are beautiful, ornate, and highly crafted, yet represent changing styles and practices. The sauceboat, for example, shows a more casual buffet style where diners helped themselves, rather than relying entirely on footmen. The objects for personal hygiene were used for ablution, rather than bathing by submersion, which was considered unhealthy. One can imagine their equivalents at 4562 Enright Avenue, when it was first inhabited by middle-class Germans, and then by black residents in the 20th century. Claes Oldenberg’s soft sculptures in The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull depict household objects including light switches, key, tires, 3-way electric plug, clothespin, ice bag, folding chair, and an array of food that includes french fries, baked potato, and green beans. Oldenburg shines a light on the everyday, making us look at the familiar in unfamiliar ways. In addition to exaggerating their size by inflating them to a vast scale, he also questions the traditional notion of sculpture’s substance by making them soft and pliable, rather than of more conventional hard, solid materials. The Pulitzer has a tradition of engaging the city, starting with The Light Project (2008), a series of public art commissions; Urban Alchemy/Gordon Matta-Clark (2010) by Theaster Gates, Robert Longer, and Jenny Murphy; and Crossing the Delmar Divide (2012-14), a 2-year project with the Missouri Historical Society and the Anti-Defamation League addressing racial and socioeconomic disparities. PAF’s work will continue with PXSTL, a collaboration with Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, that has commissioned a site-specific temporary structure for community-based programs and events by architect Amanda Williams and artist/educator Andres Hernandez to open in May 2017. Director Cara Starke, who previously served as Director of Exhibitions at Creative Time, spearheaded the raumlaborberlin commission when she assumed the position one year ago, so we can look forward to continued inquiry into the built environment from the Pulitzer. Pulitzer Arts Foundation 3716 Washington Boulevard St. Louis MO 63108 raumlaborberlin: 4562 Enright Avenue Exquisite Everyday: 18th-Century Decorative Arts from the J. Paul Getty Museum The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull: Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Sculptures All exhibits on view through October 15, 2016.
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New Pulitzer Arts Foundation exhibition will explore drastic urban decline in St. Louis

Witnessing a 60 percent decline in population since its heyday in the 1950s, empty properties have become an all-too common sight in the city of St. Louis. More than 7,000 buildings are abandoned and the bulk of those dwellings are slated to be torn down. In reaction to this, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation asked: "What does a house represent, and how does it reflect our lives, desires, and dreams?"

To help form an answer, the Foundation has commissioned Berlin-based architecture studio Raumlaborberlin to create a physical reaction to their question. To prepare, the studio has been working alongside neighborhood residents and numerous figures in urban planning. For the exhibit, the studio will partially dismantle an empty property (pictured), essentially gutting it, and use its interior framework to rebuild it within the Pulitzer Gallery only a few blocks away.

As a result, the house, which sits on 4562 Enright Avenue, will survive as a shell for a few days before being finally brought to its knees and demolished in early August. This process is due to take e several days with much of the materials, most notably the brick, being resold within the community. Lending a hand a deconstruction and refabrication firm Refab. Funds from the materials will then go towards developing a youth program win the Enright neighborhood, while on July 30, a block party is being held to mark the beginning of the demolition process. The aim of this, says the Foundation, is to "reflect the house’s historical past, tenuous present, and speculative future."

The studio's first museum exhibition in the U.S., the exhibition will also offer video interviews carried out by Raumlaborberlin with local residents touching on the economic and social factors contributing to the urban dereliction.

“It’s a microcosm that exists across all American cities,” said Cara Starke, the Foundation’s director, speaking about the project in the New York Times. "The proceeds from the sale of the wood and bricks from the original house are to be reinvested into landscaping and youth programming in the Enright Avenue community.

“So many stakeholders have come together to create shared goals,” Starke added. “We’ll see how this persists past the project.” The exhibition, dubbed raumlaborberlin:4562 Enright Avenue, will run through October 15.

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Three finalists named in PXSTL design-build competition

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis have announced three finalists for the second iteration of the design-build PXSTL competition. The three finalist were culled from a list of 35 artist, architects, and designers, who were solicited by the organizer. The list includes: —Randstad, NL and Istanbul-based architects Merve Bedir and Jason Hilgefort —New York/Houston-based artist Mary Ellen Carroll —Chicago-based architect Amanda Williams and artist/educator Andres L. Hernandez PXSTL (David Johnson) Canopy of the 2014 PXSTL structure. (David Johnson) All of the finalist will travel to St. Louis in mid-February to conduct detailed site analysis and give public presentations on their previous work and interest in PXSTL. The winner will be announced in March. Along with an $80,000 budget to complete the project, the winner will teach an architecture studio as visiting faculty at the Sam Fox Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Planning in Fall 2016 semester. With commentary from community stakeholders, cultural organizers and local artist, the winner will work with their students to develop the project over the semester. PXSTL (an acronym for Pulitzer, Sam FoX School, and ST. Louis) is a competition for a design-build commission to build a temporary structure on an empty lot near the Pulitzer Art Foundation in the Grand Center arts district. The fist iteration of the PXSTL was completed in 2014 by the Brooklyn-based Freecell Architecture. Their project comprises of a large canopy under which dance, music, and community events were held throughout the summer of 2014. This year’s competition will conclude in the pavilion construction in spring of 2017 and community programing through the summer of 2017. The goal of PXSTL is in engage the community with small-scale intervention to encourage urban transformation. As part of this, the public will have a chance to offer feedback in public forums to be held in the fall. “Since its founding, the Pulitzer has been dedicated to creating opportunities for art and culture to have a positive impact on the broader St. Louis community. As PXSTL demonstrates, this means working closely with and listening carefully to both our community and cultural partners.” Remarked Cara Starke, director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, in a press release.
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Creative Time’s Cara Starke named next director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Founder and Chair of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, announced today that Cara Starke, the director of exhibitions at Creative Time, will step into the role of director at the St. Louis–based cultural institution, beginning this July. During her years at Creative Time, Starke spearheaded some of the organization's more elaborate, large-scale projects and exhibitions, including this past summer's popular installation, A Subtletyby artist Kara Walker. “Cara’s approach to the work and operations of an arts institution is exceptional. She has a keen understanding of the evolving role the arts play in our lives and in our communities—a vision that is well in line with the Pulitzer’s tradition of pushing the boundaries of the arts experience,” said Pulitzer in a statement. Prior to her tenure at Creative Time, Starke cut her teeth as the assistant curator for the department of media and performance art at the Museum of Modern Art, where she helped organize several exhibitions, such as Olafur Eliasson's Take your time and Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers. The Tadao Ando–designed Pulitzer building is currently undergoing an expansion to add 3,700 square feet of public space—complementing the 7,500-square feet of existing galleries—to carve out new areas for exhibitions and programs. Starke will take over for Kristina Van Dyke who has served as director since 2011 and worked with Mrs. Pulitzer in the conception of the institution's expansion. "The Pulitzer is a remarkable space that brings together intellectual experimentation and thoughtful contemplation with a commitment to local audiences and experiences that extend beyond the institution’s walls,” said Starke in a press release. “With the recent expansion, the Pulitzer has increased opportunities to offer unexpected, profound, and innovative approaches to artistic and cultural expression. I am honored to lead the Pulitzer into its next phase as an open and inspired space for art and culture.”