Before the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is razed to make way for the massive SHoP-designed mixed-use complex, it has been transformed into a gallery for famed artist, Kara Walker. Inside the 30,000-square-foot space, which stills smells of molasses, she has created a 75-foot-long, 35-foot-high, sugar-coated sphinx (on view through July 6th). The work, which was created in collaboration with Creative Time, is called A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, and according to Walker’s artist statement, it is “an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.” Because of its sheer size, the bleached-white sphinx is impossible to fully see and comprehend from just one side; as the view of Marvelous Sugar Baby changes, so do the questions she raises. It is a work about ruins and time, female sexuality and power, and, most fundamentally, sugar and race. “A form like this form embodies multiple meanings, multiple readings all at once, each one valid, each one contrasting with the other,” said Walker standing alongside her work. Inside the cavernous space, Walker has also created a procession of figurines made of molasses and resin in the shape of smiling, basket-carrying boys who appear to be melting away under spotlights. Days before the unveiling, when two of the boys actually did melt away—or at least shatter—Walker picked up their pieces and placed them in the baskets of those still standing. For Walker, this installation was about more than creating another great piece of work and expanding her artistic vocabulary; it was about filling the factory’s final days with something grand. “It was my obligation, being given the opportunity to work in this space, to bring as much as possible into it because it is never going to happen again,” said Walker.
Posts tagged with "Ruins":
[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ] When the author Bill Bryson moved back to the US from England he wrote a goodbye book entitled Notes from a Small Island. I was frequently reminded of Bryson’s analysis as I rode through Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. By comparison to these great open spaces England is neat and manicured, with everything in its place. These huge states are shockingly profligate with their land—your barn falling down? let it, and build another next door; getting a new truck? leave the old one to rust in the field. Large areas of this beautiful countryside are disfigured by rotting trailers, wheel-less automobiles and discarded junk. Cities stretch out for miles and miles with low rise sheds and malls and scrub—Helena, capital of Montana, was probably the worst example we came across.When I get home I shall never again criticize the UK’s Green Belt policy; this key part of our planning system stops any development in a ring around the edge of major cities thus effectively restricting endless urban sprawl. To be fair to Helena they have done a pretty good job of improving their city center. Traces of the huge wealth created by the prolific output of gold from Last Chance Gulch can be seen in the heavy stone buildings of the CBD, St. Helena Cathedral, based on Cologne’s Domkirche, and the imposing State Capitol by Frank Mills Andrews. There is an open greensward outside the cathedral and Last Chance Gulch itself—now the main street—has been partially pedestrianized with spaces to sit out and for live performances. The landscapes we have cycled through have been awesome, but it is hard to say the same about the buildings. I yearn to see an elegantly detailed residence, a modern barn that has the charm of those that are now disintegrating. I long for a building positioned in the landscape with the elegance of composition of a Tuscan estate. So many buildings look like they have come out of a catalogue and just plonked anywhere. We’re a bunch of architects cycling through beautiful places, meeting friendly, welcoming people, served outsize meals, but we’re starved of ARCHITECTURE! I guess it is because there is so much space out here that development in such exquisite surroundings is taken so lightly. A map of the whole of Britain is just 1:10,000; the map I used to trace our route across the US is 1:3,800,000! That says it all really. When you’re a small island you care for every bit of it, sometimes too much, so that development is thwarted by conservation; but when you’ve got a lot of something, it’s easy to squander it.
The small tourist hotspot of Belize, with its pristine Caribbean coastlines, lush rainforest, and ancient Mayan ruins, suffered a dramatic loss recently when one 2,300-year-old ruin was razed. The 100-foot-tall Nohmul Mayan Pyramid was bulldozed to create gravel fill for a road-building project, its hand-cut limestone construction visible as excavators tore into the structure. According to CNN, authorities in Belize will be conducting an investigation and, even though the ruin was on a privately owned sugar-cane field, criminal charges are likely. The Nohmul pyramid, lying at the northern tip of Belize, was once home to a settlement of 40,000 people in 250 B.C. It was not open for tourists but had been excavated many times throughout the past century. Under Belizean law, all Mayan ruins, even those on privately owned land, are protected from destruction, but being on privately owned land does make if more difficult to detect destruction. Thus, smaller Mayan ruins are destroyed continually across Belize and neighboring countries, though not usually at this scale.
Jim Kazanjian doesn't make photographs of buildings, he makes photographs into buildings. His assemblages of "found" structures create fantastic worlds that resemble the post-civilization wreckage of 19th century England. Through the collapse of time and expansion of space, each collage tells an eerie story about making the familiar unfamiliar. Kazanjian works as a CG artist for companies such as Nike, Adidas, NBC, CBS, HBO, NASA, HP, Intel, and others, but in his spare time, he uses these talents to create digital images that resemble early twentieth century analog stills. Some compositions require up to 50 photographs, but none use a camera as part of the process. It is a haunting, timeless collection which he describes as "hyper-collage." While the results offer a glimpse into the artist's imagination, the process offers architects another weapon for exploration. By piecing together existing pictures into something so radically different, the artist has broken from the restraints of photography, and can create whatever he can imagine. It is a technique which holds much potential. Check out more collages on Jim Kazanjian's web site or purchase a limited edition print here.
1976: Movies, Photographs and Related Works on Paper Paul Kasmin Gallery 515 West 27th St. Through February 11 British-born James Nares has lived in New York since the mid-1970s, when Lower Manhattan was “a beautiful ruin,” according to the artist. While most celebrated for his large, single-stroke kinetic paintings, the artist has a long track record of documenting his fascination with movement and bodies in motion dating back to the days when he delved into many other media such as films and chronophotographs. The exhibition features five films including Pendulum (1976), in which Nares clocks a large spherical mass swinging from a footbridge, against the industrial backdrop of downtown Manhattan—evocative of the foreboding, dreamlike qualities also seen in Giorgio de Chirico’s surreal paintings.
Detroit’s most famous ruin, Michigan Central Depot, may soon see new life. Workers for the billionaire Maroun family have been clearing debris out of the 18-story building and a feasibility study for reusing the building is underway. Ann Arbor-based Quinn Evans Architects are among those working on the study. “Structurally, the building is very sound. What's different now from (previous attempts) is the momentum—the group of people behind this effort as well as the outreach to a wide group," principal Elisabeth Kibble, told the Detroit News. Local politicians, foundation leaders, and officials from the Detroit Institute of the Arts were recently given a tour of the space. New York-based developer Scott Griffin is working with the Marouns to find possible new uses for the building.
Detroit Disassembled: Photographs by Andrew Moore Queens Museum of Art Flushing Meadows Corona Park Queens, NY Through January15 The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) presents the powerful photography of Andrew Moore from his three-month visit to Detroit from 2008 to 2009. Moore’s photographs are a tragic yet beautiful glimpse into the decline of a city that was once the twentieth century industrial heart of America. Michigan Central Station (above) stands empty, the organ screen at the United Artists Theater is crumbling, and bright green moss covers the floor of the former Ford Motor Company Headquarters. “Moore’s exquisitely realized visions of architecture overtaken by vegetation remind contemporary viewers that our own familiar culture is subject to the forces of entropy and the eternal strength of nature,” says a statement from QMA.
Objects of Ruin. Israeli artist Ofra Lapid has taken society's obsession with ruin to a whole new level. Inspired by amateur photographs from North Dakota's urban and rural decay, Lapid's Broken Houses series consists of small models of the dilapidated buildings that are re-photographed without their original context. Her work produces an eerie sense of reality set against a stark grey background. Check out more images after the jump. Tree Time. A place for every tree, and every tree in its place. Two maps from New York and Philadelphia are pinpointing the exact location of trees in each city. The Dirt reported that Edward S. Bernard and Ken Chaya have produced an illustrated map entitled Central Park Entire that seeks to honor the work of landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux by graphically representing all of the flora and fauna of Central Park. In Philadelphia, the PhillyTreeMap provides a similarly detailed online database that crowdsources each green public and private property. Making Connections. According to the Daily Joural of Commerce Oregon, the AIA will launch an online matchmaking service in September for stalled development projects and their potential real-estate investors in hopes of giving life to long-stalled projects while compiling data that helps identify problem developments. Parklet, PA. Philly is the latest city to jump off the bandwagon and set up a park, joining pavement-to-parks pioneers New York and San Francisco. The city will convert parking spots into miniature parks as a low-cost way to open up green space in University City. Additional parklets could be introduced the upcoming years pending the success of their pilot project.
[ Quick Clicks> AN's guided tour of links from across the web. And beyond. ] Zigzag. In April 2009, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed a painted zigzag stripe where a road and a bike trail intersect. Wash Cycle reports that VDOT has since studied the effects of the experimental installation and determined the lines have improved safety and reduced speeds at the trail crossing. These zigzags common overseas, but could they be coming to a street corner near you? Distracted Walking? Better watch where you walk with those headphones. ABC reports that legislators in New York and Arkansas have proposed banning pedestrians from using cell phones or wearing headphones at crosswalks under penalty of a $100 fine. Proponents claim it will increase safety, but it seems to be a classic blame-the-pedestrian response to traffic fatalities. Any chance this will one day hit the books? Starchitecture? Well, sort of. With the Academy Awards right around the corner, Curbed rounded up a collection of design from this year's contenders including the decaying interiors in The King's Speech to the temple-like Inception dining room to Lowell, Mass.'s blue-collar homes in The Fighter. You might also remember AN's recent look at movie architecture. Back in '87. With the proliferation of shiny condo buildings across Manhattan, it's easy to forget the grittier ghost of New York past. EV Grieve uncovered a series of photos of the East Village from the late 1980s showing boarded and burned buildings in Alphabet City. State of the Rail. After last night's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., Transportation Nation takes a look at continued plans to criss-cross the nation with High Speed Rail. In his Speech, the President set a goal that 80 percent of the U.S. population would have access to High Speed Rail in 2036.
[ Quick Clicks> A guided tour of interesting links from across the web. And beyond. ] Carchitecture. What happens when you hire Herzog & de Meuron to design your parking garage? People suddenly begin to push out the cars. That seems to be the case in Miami Beach according to a NY Times article on the upscale soirees and and tourists that have become common place in the uncommon structure. Cats on Broadway. No, it's not a return of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, but a proposal to add a little theatrics to Chicago's Broadway. Curbed reports that the proposal is part of an IIT thesis project calling for a pedestrian-oriented street complete with a statue of a giant waving car (or more properly, a Maneki Neko). Please Litter. Could the latest trend in snail mail be a pro-littering campaign? According to TreeHugger, Google has embedded seeds in paper (recycled, of course) for a recent mailer. The letter advises its recipient to "plant in a sunny spot with a thin layer of soil... and watch it grow." Abandonment. Detroit has become infamous for its ruins, and ruins can be oh so seductive, but Noreen Malone at The New Republic says it's time to end our infatuation with "ruin porn." Malone takes aim at the message a deserted photograph devoid of people sends when Detroit's abandoned are left out of the abandonment. [ Photo credit: joevare/flickr. ]
The cult of decay is an enthralling topic. This inevitability of time serves as the inspiration of Italian artist Daniele Del Nero's new project "After Effects" consisting of a series of model houses in advanced states of decay. Del Nero covered the models in flour and mold which then grew to nearly consume the models. These eerie miniatures appear strangely similar to plant-strewn ruins of many ailing rustbelt cities that have captivated public imagination as cities continue to wrestle with abandonment and revitalization. [ Via designboom. ]
The plight of Detroit is a subject of endless fascination for architects and planners and has been irresistible to photographers. Still, the scale of the city’s problems retains the ability to shock. According to the Detroit Free Press, the city is moving to bulldoze between 2500 to 3000 abandoned homes this year—a fraction of the more than 10,000 homes considered dangerous and slated for demolition. Given the fact that it costs approximately $10,000 to demolish a house, the 2500 figure is all the finacially strapped city can afford to take down. Council President Pro Tem Gary is pushing to reduce the eight to nine month lag time it takes for the utility companies to shut off electric, gas, and water going at the houses. The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program is providing most of the funding for the demolitions.