Posts tagged with "Rachel Whiteread":

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Luhring Augustine’s sculpture survey celebrates a half-century of the form

Spread across Luhring Augustine’s Chelsea and Bushwick locations, Sculpture explores its namesake form with work from 17 artists—living and dead—made over the past six decades. Given that sculpture already shares a fuzzy boundary with other spatial practices, the exhibition unsurprisingly features a number of artists working explicitly with architecture and the built environment. Perhaps the most well-known artist who deals with architecture and one of the biggest living names in the exhibition is British artist and Turner Prize winner Rachel Whiteread, famous (or infamous, depending who you ask) for her three-story sculpture, House (1993). Whiteread has two pieces on display in Sculpture. In Bushwick, there is the ghostly cast plaster and polystyrene work Untitled (Double) (1998). The long, monumental prism is simultaneously unitary—a single long form—and an identical pair, defined by deep symmetrical grooves. A visual paradox, it uncannily uncouples precisely through its coupling. Untitled (Double) continues Whiteread’s use of casting and molds to trouble the binaries of absence and presence and constructed and negative space, exploring the entanglement of memory and built worlds. In Chelsea, Whiteread’s Untitled (Amber Floor) (1993) is on display. The rubber slab is nearly eight feet long, invading the viewer’s space while its small fold crawls up the wall, calling attention to the gallery’s form as a whole. It forces one to notice the unnoticed—the very floor they are standing upon. Complementing Whiteread’s work in Bushwick is a sculpture by Los Angeles-based Oscar Tuazon, who the gallery will be presenting in a solo show at its Chelsea location beginning April 28th. Though primarily self-identifying as a sculptor, Tuazon occupies a space between artist, architect, and activist. He creates sculptural work, installations, and public sites that are constantly in flux, their maintenance and use thus becoming part of their artistic production. Tuazon’s contribution, Condenser (Venta Contracta) (2015), is a tilted pyramid of concrete and fiberglass tubes that reconfigure the familiar, if often hidden, forms of urban infrastructure. Like Whiteread, German artist Reinhard Mucha explores the intersection of memory and the built world, often simultaneously recalling personal and political meanings.The diptych Untitled (“Pearl Paint” New York West Side Highway 1977) (1998) (displayed in Chelsea) and the two-part “ensemble” of works Before the Wall Came Down (2008) and Lennep (2009) (on view in Bushwick) are bricolages of found materials, enamel, oil paint, readymade objects such as stools and rulers, and images which memorialize the artist’s own collaborative urban interventions. The work in Sculpture takes many scales and styles. Some are decidedly smaller, such as the mononymous artist Zarina’s wall-mounted sculpture Memory of Bangkok (1980–2011) which exhibits an architectural interest rendered with a printmaker’s sensibility. Glenn Ligon takes language itself as his material, while some artists like Cady Noland and Tunga rely on everyday objects—construction barriers, oversized lamps, vases, beer cans—in their work. The show has nearly too many artists to mention, as Simone Leigh, Janine Antoni, Tom Friedman, Roger Hiorns, Steve Wolfe, Phillip King, Jeremy Moon, Martin Kippenberger, Pipilotti Rist, and Christopher Wool are all also featured in the two-gallery, two-burrough exhibition. Not only expansive in its roster, Sculpture displays work produced over a wide swath of time (Phillip King’s Ripple was originally produced in 1963 and Jeremy Moon’s Untitled is from 1964 while Simone Leigh’s Opuwo is from this year). Despite (or, perhaps, precisely because of) the range in dates of the objects’ creations, Sculpture makes no attempt at organizing a clear trajectory or historical narrative. However, many of the artists are represented by Luhring Augustine or have shown with the gallery before, suggesting that the exhibition is a self-portrait of the gallery of sorts. In this way, we perhaps can see Sculpture as a look at the gallery’s history rather than at the history of a form. Even still, with its wide-reaching constellation of work, Sculpture highlights the plurality of materials, means, and motivations behind sculptural practice of the past six decades. Sculpture Luhring Augustine 531 West 24th Street, New York, NY and 25 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY On view in Chealsea until April 14 and in Bushwick until May 5
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Six can’t-miss sculptures from the Münster Sculpture Project

Once every decade, the German city of Münster hosts a sculpture exhibit in its public spaces. The first exhibit was in 1977 and so in 2017 it’s time again for the experimental program in this Westphalian village. Münster is a thriving regional capital with a large university, thousands of bicycles, and town and regional leaders of great vision who have a desire to support art. It is hard to imagine an American city of Münster’s profile hosting an adventurous project—even if it would bring tourists to its hotels and restaurants. The curator of the exhibition, Kasper König, choose not to have a theme for the event: it’s better, he believes, to allow artists total authorship of their work and for them to exist in their own site-specific context. Participating artists are invited to Münster in advance to investigate the city before they propose a project. It allows the work to be site-specific while also enabling it to point “beyond its boundaries,” as the Project's catalogue says. Münster purchases several of the sculptures from each edition of the event so they remain permanently in place and there are several of these works visitors should not miss: a bus stop by Dennis Adams, Siah Armajani’s study garden, Dan Graham’s Octagon for Münster, Daniel Buren’s red stripe gate in a narrow alleyway, and Rachel Whiteread’s balcony of books in the LWL-Museum of Art and Culture. This strategy of purchasing works by the world’s best sculptors is such a smart way of bringing the world of forms and ideas into this provincial town and our city planners could learn a great deal about the role of culture in the city. In any event, here is my list of 2017 installed projects not to miss if you are lucky enough to be in Westphalia in the next three months. The most spectacular work in Münster this year is Pierre Huyghe’s After A life Ahead, an excavation of a large, shuttered ice rink on the city’s periphery. Huyghe ripped the concrete floor with saws and then piled the newly freed slabs around the site like ancient shards. He then excavated into the earth below the old floor and created a hilly, damp landscape accessible by visitors. In the middle of this landscape on a sand hill is a glass incubator that contains a HeLa cancer cell line, the growth of which triggers “the emergence of augment reality shapes,” according to the Münster Sculpture Project catalogue. These shapes are mirrored in the triangular forms of the slabs and window openings in the ceiling; this creates a sculpted landscape experience that Hugyhe calls “a time based bio-technical system.” Before I nervously focused on mold growing on the ceiling panels, the immersive experience of the installation was one of the most powerful interior spaces of recent memory. In the Westfälischer Kunstverein is the installation Surplus of Myself by American artist and architect Tom Burr; this piece investigates Paul Rudolph’s Yale Art and Architecture building as if it were a suit of clothes. Burr, who thinks all architecture is “a matter of participation of the human being,” asks us to “consider a room impersonating a body, an inverted volume with naked walls quivering in plain view of the town.” He concludes there are “moral codes: that are applicable to rooms” and, like few others, he able to take on this formidable building and its architect, whose image is included in the exhibit. He describes this tough architecture school interior as one with “swagger and sway” that asks to be “touched; asked to admired, but never fondled.” Is there a better description of this important building anywhere? The best participatory installation in Münster is Ayşe Erkmen’s On Water. She submerged a metal mesh bridge just below the level of a Danube Ems canal so that participants and viewers get the sensation of walking on water. They are able to traverse the narrow body of water from an area that has been totally gentrified with fancy flats to the other side of the canal that is still an industrial oasis and primed for gentrification. It's like walking across time as well as space from the present to the deindustrialized past and people seem to love it, though it's not the cleanest body of water. The most powerful pure sculpture/architecture project in Münster is Thomas Schutte’s Nuclear Temple, which is cast of Cor-ten steel. It has beautiful but odd proportions (like a large pencil eraser) and it's beautiful and horrifying at the same moment. It draws us in but is too small to actually enter and thus becomes a self-contained monument that questions the role of architecture in today’s world. Is architecture today meant for only gazing or branding and not use? No architect in Münster will miss artist John Knight’s beautifully machined and playful large metal water level attached to the side of the LWL-Museum of Art and Culture like a sign, branded with Knight’s initials, which brings the role of design and construction into the public sphere. It takes this beautiful object of construction and reminds us of architecture’s significance for culture and the ambitions of the city. Let’s hope it remains on the museum facade long after the 2017 sculpture project comes to an end later this year. Lastly, Jeremy Deller’s Speak to the Earth and It Will Tell Yyou started in 2007 and won’t leave the city. The artist is fascinated by popular, working class and bottom-up culture. The artwork started out in local allotment gardens in 2007 and asked the gardeners to keep a daily diary’s of their gardening efforts as a way of marking changes due to climate change and as a record of how local residents work in these spaces. They are a record of daily life and a plea for more environmental awareness. There are some who argue that international surveys like Münster no longer matter as powerful statements since curators have become the true stars, selecting work out of public view and then setting their own limits and themes over the combined display. Of course, at this exhibition, there is no theme, but the curators are still making choices and writing catalogue essays in a traditional survey format. But to have a chance to see Huyghe, Deller, Buren, Whiteread, etc., take on Münster and the world is still worth the time devoted to a special trip. In all, there are thirty-five sculptures and installations spread over Münster that are easily accessed by the rent-a-bikes parked all over the city so go and make your own decision. The Münster Sculpture Project runs through October 1, 2017. See its website for more details.
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Denise Scott Brown wins Jane Drew Prize, Rachel Whiteread given Ada Louise Huxtable Prize

Denise Scott Brown has been awarded the Jane Drew Prize by the Architects' Journal (AJ) and its sister publication, the Architectural Review (AR). In 1991, Scott Brown was not included in the awarding of the Pritzker Prize that went to her husband, Rober Venturi, despite her integral role in the couple's firm, Venturi Scott Brown and Associates. More recently, in 2013, the Pritzker awarding committee was pressured to reexamine their decision twelve years prior and acknowledge Scott Brown. Alas, they did not budge. "There is an irony in it because I knew Jane Drew. I hold very different opinions from the ones she held," said Scott Brown speaking to Laura Mark in the Architects' Journal (AJ). "When we met over the years sometimes it was up and down," Scott Brown added. "I gave a lecture once and I said something about Walter Gropius and there was a lot of shouting from the back of the room and it was Jane Drew. She was quite a down right woman and I’m a down right woman. She might mind that I have been given the prize—but I don’t. I’m very happy that people want me to have a prize and that she should have a prize named after her." Scott Brown received this year's Jane Drew award for her contributions to architecture which include built works and research, notably the book Learning from Las Vegas, which was published in 1972 and co-authored by Venturi and Steven Izenour. Scott Brown and Venturi are also recognized as pioneers of the Postmodernist movement. In the wake the Pritzker jury refusing to change their position in 2013, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) amended a rule that stipulated only individuals could claim its Gold Medal prize. Scott Brown and Venturi were then jointly awarded the AIA Gold Medal last year. The AJ and AR awarded the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize to artist Rachel Whiteread. The award recognizes individuals working in the wider architectural industry who have made a significant contribution to architecture and the built environment. Whiteread is noted for winning the 1993 Turner Prize, her work with architects (such as Caruso St John Architects for the UK Holocaust Memorial International Design Competition), and her participation on the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016 jury. However, while such awards are good news for women in the industry, a recent survey has found that there is still much work to be done. Aside from awarding the Jane Drew Prize, the AJ and AR, as part of its annual Women in Architecture survey, found that female architects working in the U.K. earn $68,900 less than their male equivalents. The pay gap has reportedly widened by $52,700 over the past two years. The survey results also outlined that pressure to not have children and sexual discrimination were still prevalent. The AR also announced its Women in Architecture Awards 2017 shortlists, which includes the Architect of the Year Award and the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture.
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On View> Rachel Whiteread: Looking Out at Luhring Augustine Bushwick

Looking Out Luhring Augustine Bushwick 25 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY Through December 20, 2015 Rachel Whiteread is a thoroughly architectural artist. Her sculpture exposes the spatial relationships between common objects, or whole buildings, and their environments. Detached III, a concrete and steel cast of a garden shed, transforms the humble structure into a monument. Her works on paper respond to specific sculptures but are considered a body of work on their own. Whiteread uses unconventional media—graph paper, correction fluid, varnish—to mark present and absent spaces between forms. To complement the Bushwick show, there will be a parallel exhibition of Whiteread’s work at Luhring Augustine Chelsea from November 7–December 19.
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Pictorial> The Hills come alive on Governors Island

Standing near the top of Outlook Hill, Leslie Koch, president of The Trust for Governors Island, explained the reason for commissioning four huge earth mounds on an island in the middle of New York Harbor. "Most New Yorkers don't experience that fancy view [of the skyline]. You don't get to see the city on high from the city that created views." The Hills, part of a $220 million renovation of Governors Island, do create new ways of viewing the city and its surroundings. Landscape architecture firm West 8 was selected in 2007 to produce a master plan for Governors Island that included redesigns of the entire former military facility. Construction of the Hills began in 2013. Design was preceded by extensive on-site observation: the design team, led by Adriaan Geuze and Jamie Maslyn, spent hundreds of hours observing how visitors used the space. Maslyn noted that, for example, adults were using the swing sets intended for children. Discovery and play, consequently, are two themes that predominate in the realized design. To get to the site, visitors pass through a 40 acre welcome area. The space is meant for slow-paced leisure: reading, napping in hammocks, meandering through flower beds. The topography here creates a threshold for the rest of the site. Approached from the welcome area, the four hills rise smoothly from the level base of the island. Bright white concrete edging, to Geuze, "paints the topography more dramatically" and differentiates between fast and slow spaces. There is no main, or suggested, path to approach the hills. The paths fork in equally appealing directions, affording glimpses of the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, or the Verrazano, depending on which way one turns. The hills obscure and reveal these sites gently, manipulating the horizon dramatically while accommodating a range of programs. Ranging in height from 25 to 70 feet, the names of the hills—Outlook, Slide, Discovery, and Grassy—correspond with their most salient feature. "Each of the hills," Koch noted, "embodies one of the attributes New Yorkers love about the island." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK7Xay5JQoY A zigzag path takes visitors up to the apex of Outlook Hill, 70 feet above ground. The vantage point afforded by the new topography allows visitors to see, standing still, the East and Hudson Rivers, Buttermilk Channel, New York Harbor, and the mouth of the Atlantic.  The design team was intent upon creating a way  for people of all ages and abilities to experience this view. All of the paved paths are at a maximum 4.5 percent slope: ADA compliant and wheelchair friendly. Granite blocks, harvested from the island's 1905 sea wall, create scrambles up the hillside to engage young people (or adventurous adults). Adjacent Slide Hill (40 feet high) will feature elements of pure play: four long slides. Discovery Hill (40 feet) will host a permanent installation by sculptor Rachel Whiteread, while Grassy Hill (25 feet) will be a place to relax on a sloping lawn. Governors Island's exposed location makes it vulnerable to the effects of both normal and extreme weather. To prevent the hills from shifting, settlement plates were planted at the base of the hills to measure changes in elevation. Molly Bourne, principal at Mathews Nielsen, vetted plants on their ability to withstand salt spray and high winds. Sumac and oak trees (around 860), as well as 43,000 maritime shrubs, will adapt to harsh conditions on the island. Storm resiliency is an integral feature of the design. Post-Sandy, 2.2 miles of sea wall, erected in 1905, were replaced in 2014 by a more modern fortification. Some of the pieces were repurposed as infill, along with an imploded building and a parking lot on the site of the Hills. In all, 25 percent of the fill is from the island, while the rest of was delivered via barge down the Hudson. While the Hills' official public opening is set for 2017, the site is open for previews on September 26th and 27th. Details here.
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LPC Approves Adjmi’s Concrete Riff on Cast Iron

With unanimous approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Morris Adjmi's deceptively subtle take on the classic cast iron building is on its way to becoming reality. What at first glance appears to be a cast iron facade is actually a reverse bas relief cast in glass reinforced concrete—essentially a form in which you could mold a true cast iron facade. "This makes  you think of how these buildings were built, from the initial casting to being assembled as components," said Adjmi. "So this is really taking that and inverting it so it becomes a record of the process." The architect said that assembling the facade would be carried out in the same fashion as the nineteenth century buildings, as if ordered from the Bogardus cast iron catalogue—James Bogardus patented the cast iron building in 1850. Columns, lintels, and window arches will be cast separately and then individually secured to the facade. "It’ll sit right on the slab so you get the full effect of the inverted façade," said Adjmi. If the effect on the street will command a double take then the interior will surely give pause.  There, the positive of the facade will push into the interior, with the traditional exterior facade facing in living space. Adjmi said that he was inspired by the work of artist Rachel Whiteread whose 1993 piece, House, cast the interior of a house in London's East End in concrete. "I’ve always loved her work," said Adjmi, "and it was a natural progression from using historical references to reinterpreting them with modern materials." Apparently, the commissioners agreed. As the building is slightly higher than the zoning law allows, the next stop is City Planning, with the hope of beginning construction in six to eight months.