Posts tagged with "Sculpture":

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Robert Stadler and Noguchi Museum join forces for sculpture and weird furniture in new exhibition

To most, "accessorizing with Noguchi" means adding that famous coffee table or a paper lamp to the living room. Unlike regular people, though, designer Robert Stadler had the famous sculptor's whole catalogue on hand, choosing, among others, Big Id—a phallic marble sculpture—to complement his own work in an exuberant new show at the Noguchi Museum. Solid Doubts: Robert Stadler at The Noguchi Museum is the museum's first exhibition to feature another designer's work in such close dialogue with Isamu Noguchi. It's an opportunity, said Executive Director Jenny Dixon, to "layer contemporary voices into the museum." But it's also a high-stakes conversation—in addition to being one of the most peaceful places in New York, Noguchi designed the original galleries himself. How to create a space of your own and respect Noguchi? As its title suggests, Solid Doubts complicates the artists' work down to its very definitions. The first impulse is to pick out Noguchi from Stadler, Where's Waldo? style, but that's not the point. The actual fun is in the adjacencies across four installations that fold work from Stadler and Noguchi into each other. Stadler, who's based in Paris, and curator Dakin Hart arranged these tableaus in an intense collaboration they jokingly referred to as a "long-distance date." In the main gallery, Stadler's Cut_Paste #4 hosts two Noguchi sculptures, one in chunky slate and the other, a delicate gold anodized aluminum piece clinging to a marble shelf. The arrangements resist easy categories: Can you put a drink on it? Sit on it? Well—in the Cut_Paste series, these everyday distinctions don't really matter. "It's all designed to be used," Stadler said. "It's not meant to be sculpture." "They play with the typology of furniture but doesn't sit evenly or comfortably in any category," Hart added, noting that Stadler's confusing and borderline gaudy assemblages are supposed to recall leftovers from a bad 1980s luxury condo development. Two other galleries are reserved for more elaborate tableaus. In one, two fictional scenarios join together: Noguchi's set pieces for Martha Graham's ballets are placed among Stadler's digitally-milled PDT furniture in a meeting of fantasy and function. The room is organized, loosely, around Stadler's Anywhere #2, a moveable ceiling lamp which the artist guided around the room to illuminate Noguchi's props and his own ashlar table, bench, and mirror. In the other gallery, a deconstructed Chesterfield sofa melts against one wall, like tar, guarded by a pouf in the same material and flanked by sit-upons that would be at home at a Girl Scout meeting. The "biomorphic assault," as the museum calls it, underscores the subtly of Noguchi's lighting: two of his Akari lanterns anchor the walls, while one of the rarest Noguchi lamps, on loan from a private collector, surveys the room from above. The unencumbered layout—developed collaboratively with Stadler and the museum—lets visitors move in and around the works as they please (the accident-prone should note that this arrangement is easy to trip over). Outside, in Noguchi's garden, Stadler installed two works, playful riffs on cheap plastic garden furniture. Cast aluminum mockups of the white table and chair, looking sturdy in spite of their mottled surfaces and missing pieces, are placed apart from each other, a deliberate break from the table→chair→sit progression as well as a comment on the long-term sustainability of these familiar but flimsy items. For those reluctant to make the trek to Queens, Solid Doubts coincides with two upcoming opportunities to see Stadler's work in New York: He will have another Noguchi pairing at the Collective Design Fair next month, and at Weight Class, a solo exhibition at Carpenters Workshop Gallery that begins April 27. But really, why not go to the museum first? Solid Doubts: Robert Stadler at The Noguchi Museum opens April 26 and runs through September 3, 2017.
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Coachella art installations are a riot of color and whimsical forms

The Coachella Arts and Music Festival kicked off this weekend in the desert outside Los Angeles with a bang, debuting a series of cute and colorful, large-scale art installations for concertgoers to revel among. One consisted of a “mirrored lighthouse for immigrants” by Brazilian artist Gustavo Prado. The work is expressed as a tall lighthouse for travelers—pivoting, curved mirrors sit every which way atop a series of metal armatures, reflecting views and sunlight in a multitude of directions. In a statement, Prado explained the structure as “a way to empirically present how the mind turns the continuous interconnectedness of phenomena into separate beings.”
Brooklyn, New York–based studio Chiaozza (pronounced like “wowza”) designed a garden installation consisting of a series of whimsical, desert-inspired plant structures. Like some type of Martian golf course, the stucco-clad, Dr. Seuss-ian masses—tall and knobby, in some cases, bulbous and squat in others—are wrapped in Memphis Group–inspired squiggles and dots and sit atop circular bases made of astroturf. Adam Frezza of Chiaozza explained in a statement that the group wanted “to create a visual bath, something you can explore and get lost in” with their acre-sized installation.
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Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous created Crown Ether, an un-occupiable home supported by a series of angular, tree trunk-like pillars. The work, according to Jeyifous, is inspired by the artist’s longstanding interest in the intersection between public architecture and displacement, here symbolized by the tension resulting from the visual accessibility of the structure that cannot actually be occupied.
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Lastly, United Kingdom–based artists Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan created a massive installation that works as a visual pun for the phrase “elephant in the room” made up of large masses of faceted, brightly-patterned elephants. The 75-foot tall herd stands in a rough circle, with various exposures of each creation wrapped in a different geometric, colorful pattern. The installations will be on view through April 23.
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Here’s where art on the facade of the Brooklyn Heights library will go

Last week the Department of Buildings (DOB) approved demolition permits for the Brooklyn Heights branch library, clearing the way for a 36-story tower but raising questions about the ultimate fate of the art on the library's facade. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that exterior demolition at 280 Cadman Plaza West will begin in late March, and take about three months to complete. The new tower, designed by New York's Marvel Architects, will add 133 condos, retail space, and a STEM lab for young people in the neighborhood. An almost 27,000-square-foot library will occupy the development's mezzanine, part of the ground floor, and a below-grade level. Though it's smaller than the low-rise building it's replacing, the city maintains that the new branch will contain more usable space. Moreover, the sale of the city-owned property to developer Hudson Companies for $52 million is set to generate $40 million in capital repair funding for the BPL. Although site work has begun, the library sale and delayed transfer of ownership have remained a point of contention for activist groups like Citizens Defending Libraries, which maintains that no work should begin until the deal between the two parties is signed. So, with plans filed and permits in, there's just one more question—what's happening to the art on the library facade? The Architect's Newspaper previously reported that New York City's Public Design Commission (PDC) had to weigh in on the two bas–relifs by Clemente Spampinato before they could be removed. Keri Butler, deputy director of the PDC, shared the latest on the art's final home in an email:
The Public Design Commission has reviewed the methods and materials for removing the artworks from the facade of the library and temporarily storing them, and has found these methods to be appropriate with the understanding that a proposal for relocating the artworks within the new development at 280 Cadman Plaza West will be submitted by September 2017.
Displaying Spampinato's work in the new library underscores its civic function while preserving the art more-or-less in situ for public enjoyment. There's no word yet, though, on where in the new building the reliefs will be hung when it opens in spring of 2020.
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The High Line announces a new major stage for sculpture on the park’s new section

The Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, a high-profile venue for a changing program of temporary commissioned artworks, has inspired a similar landmark destination in New York: the High Line Plinth. New York’s plinth will be a visible stage for sculpture located on the High Line's new "Spur" section at West 30th and 10th Avenue; the plinth and the Spur are scheduled to open together. High Line Art (which describes itself as "Presented by Friends of the High Line," the non-profit group that funds and maintains the famous rails-to-trails park) has said construction is expected to begin in 2017, with the opening coming sometime in 2018. According to The New York Times, the plinth will likely change shapes and sizes depending upon the artwork showcased. "High Line Art continues to reach a broad, diverse audience—including more than 2.3 million New Yorkers annually—with free, world-class artwork 365 days a year," said Robert Hammond, cofounder and executive director of Friends of the High Line, in a statement. To determine what artworks should inaugurate the plinth, 12 international artists have been shortlisted by Hight Line Art and an international advisory committee. Models of the artists' proposed sculptures will be displayed from February 9 to April 30, 2017, on the High Line at West 14th Street. Of the twelve, two will be the first High Plinth commissions. The first artwork will be installed in 2018, and each piece will be available for viewing for 18 months. The artists include Jonathan Berger, Minerva Cuevas, Jeremy Deller, Sam Durant, Charles Gaines, Lena Henke, Matthew Day Jackson, Simone Leigh, Roman Ondak, Paola Pivi, Haim Steinbach, and Cosima von Bonin. See the gallery above to sample some of their proposals. The Friends of the High Line also reported that the Spur will provide storage space for park operations, maintenance, horticulture, and new public restrooms for the park. "The High Line Plinth will expand the program's impact by creating a one-of-a-kind destination for public art on the Spur, a new section of the park with even more space for public programming and dynamic horticulture,” Hammond said.
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Artist Drew Conrad cannibalizes his old installations to create new sculptures

The Desert is a Good Place to Die, curated by Mitra Khorasheh, is a new exhibition of works created by Drew Conrad that utilizes dismembered parts of his old installations to build new sculptures intended to reflect ceremonial shrines of distant cultures. The structures vary in size, delicacy, and complexity, and call to mind feelings of vulnerability, dependency, and our fundamental ties to sentient beings. Conrad explained the theme in a statement: “A piece of me went missing when six years of creative output was erased from the world, now existing only as a ‘phantom limb.’ I have been known to say that the desert is a good place to die. This foreboding thought has existed since the first time I set foot in the arid lands of the Southwest, and traveled across and upward into the Rockies. It is a harsh, rugged, beautiful terrain that beckons me like my own modern day Manifest Destiny, but at times exudes a feeling that death is lingering in the air just beyond the horizon.”

Drew Conrad: The Desert is a Good Place to Die CUAC 175 East 200 South Salt Lake City Through January 13, 2017

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Public art component added to San Diego’s “Super Prime” Pacific Gate development by KPF

A new public art installation by Jaume Plensa, the artist behind the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park, has been commissioned to adorn a plaza at the foot of the Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects (KPF)-designed Pacific Gate development in San Diego. The sculpture, made with stylized characters from the Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and Hindi alphabets and inspired by the roots of rainforest trees, will stand about 25-feet tall. It takes the shape of a seated individual looking out over the Pacific Ocean. The sculpture was commissioned by Bosa Development, the firm behind the project, specifically to compliment the new tower. It will adorn the public plaza beneath the so-called “Super Prime,” 41-story high-end condo tower. Residences in the development are being priced between $1.1 million and $2.8 million for two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, respectively. The 215 units contained within the tower will run between 1,240-square feet and 2,608-square feet in size and will feature interior design by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), a group known mostly for high-end hotel interiors. Overall designs for the tower echo the form of a sea shell, with the facade of the tower taking the shape of a pair of conjoined, nested-curve-shaped towers designed to maximize outward views from each unit. The residences are to be located above a three-story parking and retail podium that will house 16,000 square feet of retail space and 460 parking stalls. Interiors will feature automated climate, lighting, and window treatments that can be controlled via smartphone or tablet. The units will also feature custom-designed kitchens by HBA, with cabinets made from “grain-matched cathedral veneer hewn from single lengths of wood,” as well as custom kitchen hardware, also by HBA, as well as quartz countertops and appliances by Wolf, Sub-Zero, and Miele. The project’s master bathrooms will contain polished stone floors and stone mosaic walls. Vancouver, Canada—based Chris Dikeakos Architects acted as architect-of-record for the project. The Pacific Gate development is expected to finish construction toward the end of 2017.
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The Astor Cube is back, along with plaza and streetscape improvements by WXY

After two years in storage, New York’s Astor Place Cube is back for a few more spins, along with a reconfigured plaza and streetscape that are designed to make high-density urban living more bearable. New York City officials held a ribbon-cutting and sculpture-spinning ceremony today to mark the completion of repairs to the rotating Cube sculpture by Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal and the larger $21 million Astor Place/Cooper Square reconstruction project that provides an improved setting for it. Officially known as The Alamo, Rosenthal’s Cube was removed for safe keeping and cleaning on November 25, 2014, so it would be out of the way during plaza reconstruction. It was returned this month, signaling completion of public improvements designed by Claire Weisz of New York-based WXY, in conjunction with the city’s departments of Design and Construction (DDC), Transportation (DOT), and Parks and Recreation. "The redesign of Astor Place brings us yet another beautiful public space that New York City has wrestled back from the automobile,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We have now made the plaza space more welcoming for pedestrians and we have brought back distinctive elements—like the iconic Cube—that have long made this such a special gathering place and gateway to the East Village." Trottenberg wistfully recalled her own involvement at Astor Place. After graduating from Barnard in 1986, she said, she worked in publishing near the Wanamaker Annex back when that's what liberal arts graduates did. “This space means a lot to me,” she said. “I once sold used books under the Astor Place Cube, back when you could still make money selling books.” “The reconstruction of Astor Place—and the reinstallation of the East Village’s beloved Alamo—provides a terrific example of how well-designed public space can create a more unified,  better functioning public sphere,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “Fluid, attractive and walkable spaces like Alamo Plaza are crucial as we work together to create a greener, healthier New York City.” “I am thrilled the Cube is back at Alamo Square and that we are celebrating upgrades to another pedestrian plaza in our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Marking the heart of the East Village, Astor Plaza, and this iconic artwork stand as a crossroads for thousands of New Yorkers.” The 15-foot Cube is one of the best-known sculptures in the city, popular for the way it spins on its axis. First installed in 1967, the Cube is made of jet-black Cor-Ten steel, weighs 1,800 pounds and spins easily when touched, making it a favorite late night toy for neighboring college students and others. Rosenthal (1914 to 2009) created the Cube as part of Doris C. Freedman's Sculpture in Environment installation, sponsored by the New York City Administration of Recreation and Cultural Affairs when the East Village neighborhood was a Bohemian haven. Symbolizing the constant swirl of urban life, it is as contextually emblematic as the Financial District’s 1987 Charging Bull by Arturo Di Modica. It was the first permanent contemporary outdoor sculpture installed in the city of New York. The reconstruction of Astor Place and Cooper Square were completed as part of an effort to upgrade infrastructure throughout New York City, to give residents and visitors public spaces that provide a relief as the city becomes more densely developed. The city has a goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of quality open space. The Department of Design and Construction managed the project for Transportation and Parks. The community enhancement project created two new pedestrian plazas and expanded and renovated two others, bringing 42,000 square feet of new pedestrian space to the neighborhood. The redesign incorporated an existing subway station and created a safer configuration for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. It introduced larger sidewalks; 16,000 square feet of planting areas with new trees and automated, in-ground irrigation systems; 6,700 square feet of permeable pavement; 2,100 square feet of curbside rain gardens for improved drainage; and racks for more than 100 bikes. The Cube was renovated at a cost of $180,000. According to a statement from the Department of Design and Construction: “Astor Place is one of Manhattan’s busiest hubs. With nearby institutions like New York University, Cooper Union, and Parsons School of Design, thousands of cars and pedestrians flow through the area every day. Activity in this plaza space has only intensified in recent years with new buildings rising and businesses moving in to accommodate Manhattan’s population growth.” In addition, the DDC statement notes, “Astor Place is the site of a tricky intersection. Three avenues meet one another, where they form two adjacent triangles. Because of this, the area has been notoriously difficult for pedestrians to navigate. You could very easily find yourself standing in the middle of a traffic median with no access to a protected crosswalk. For years, the surrounding community and city planners saw an opportunity to transform Astor Place into a calmer, safer space.” To reimagine Astor Place, the city agencies turned to WXY, an architecture and urban design firm with a track record for working in complicated parts of the public realm. “We tend to get projects that have gone a long time without being solved, like undersides of bridges or areas surrounding viaducts,” said principal-in-charge Claire Weisz, in a statement issued by DDC. “It’s really about bringing design thinking to unusual problems, or problems that people put off solving.” The redesign was intended to reduce stress for everyone in the area. It creates sidewalks and roadways that are more clearly delineated to calm and guide drivers, and it provides more space for pedestrians, especially in Astor Place’s Alamo Plaza. Custom-designed tables, chairs, and umbrellas encourage pedestrians to stop and take in the view. There are also more trees and benches in Astor Place. At the southern tip of the Astor Place area is Cooper Triangle and Village Plaza. Cooper Triangle got new street fixtures, including steps that provide seating and meeting areas for pedestrians. More pedestrian space was added by narrowing the width of the adjacent road. Reconstruction of Astor Place began in 2013 after the local Community Board approved the plan. Besides moving public art, work included relocating underground utilities and installing new features such as lighting, bicycle racks, and plantings. Planners say in-depth traffic studies were a key step in redesigning and rebuilding roadways to calm the flow of cars. Weisz said she used the unusual geometry of the area to reimagine pockets of under-used public space.  “How do we reconnect people to their environment, not just by views, but by interacting with it?” she said. “The more options we have and the more developed our infrastructure is, the more possibilities we have for continuing our density in the city.” While Astor Place is a high profile project, planners say, areas throughout New York City are receiving similar treatment on a smaller scale. The DDC launched its Plaza Program in 2008, inviting New Yorkers to nominate their own neighborhoods for a plaza redesign. Earlier this year, the DDC and DOT also completed Fordham Plaza in the Bronx and La Plaza de las Americas in Manhattan. Others in the works include George B. Post Plaza, Lowery and Bliss Plazas, Putnam Plaza, Roosevelt Island Plaza, and Times Plaza. Although the Cube was immortalized as a mosaic landmark at the nearby 8th Street-NYU Subway Station by artist Timothy Snell in his Broadway Diary mosaics (2002, for the MTA Arts & Design program), residents have long had concerns that the frequently and roughly used sculpture may change with the area. An Alexander Calder sculpture was planned in 2011 to take the place of the Film Academy Café during 51 Astor’s development but never arrived. The lobby of that building itself now features Jeff Koons’s whimsical 16-foot-tall Balloon Rabbit (Red), 2005-2010, ironically greeting all visitors to Big Blue. During the same plaza redevelopment in 2014 that prompted the Cube’s temporary disappearance, the Department of Transportation removed around 6 light posts encased with episodes of Mosaic Trail, a classic, yet illegally installed hallmark of the East Village begun around 1984 by local street artist Jim Power.
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When the Brooklyn Heights Library is demolished, what will happen to the art on its facade?

Community members and preservationists are worried that a local developer will pull a Trump on a Brooklyn library and send its art to the trash. In an unusual move, New York–based Hudson Companies this week filed plans to demolish the Brooklyn Heights Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West before they close on a deal for the site with its owner, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). Despite assurances that the art on the facade will be saved, city officials haven't issued a commitment in writing to preserve the work. If all permits are approved by the Department of Buildings (DOB), exterior demolition could begin in January to make way for a 36-story, mixed-use tower designed by Brooklyn-based Marvel Architects. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported this week that the branch, which closed in July and now operates out of temporary quarters, wants to get up and running inside the new building as soon as possible to minimize disruption to patrons. (Marvel Architects is also designing the new library.) As part of the BPL's $300 million capital repair campaign, the deal with Hudson and this new—smaller—library will generate a surplus $40 million in funds that will go towards renovations at other branches. The Business & Career Library, long headquartered at the Brooklyn Heights branch, moved to the main library this summer, though the neighborhood branch will retain specialized services for freelancers and entrepreneurs when it reopens. The reduced size of the new library caught the community's attention and the deal behind the site attracted the feds. In May, the New York Post reported that federal and city prosecutors are investigating whether the $52 million redevelopment deal was a quid pro quo for contributions to Mayor Bill de Blasio's nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York. Hudson's winning bid for the library site was a full $6 million less than another developer's. Although ongoing investigations will not affect the demolition timeline, the fate of the library's facade is still undecided. The six bas-reliefs by artist Clemente Spampinato surround the main entrance and depict industry and businesses; crafts; sciences; knowledge; literature; and arts. In New York, his architectural work graces the auditoria, gyms, and facades of public schools in the five boroughs. Back in 2011, Brownstoner contributor Suzanne Spellen (a.k.a. Montrose Morris) praised the library's art when she dismissed its "not great architecture." Designed by architect Francis Keally, one of the architects behind the main branch at Grand Army Plaza, the building opened in 1962 but looks like a throwback to the WPA era. Separated from the neoclassical post office and courthouses across the street by a grand allée on Cadman Plaza Park, it defines the character of the corridor despite its design shortcomings. Advocacy groups Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL) and Love Brooklyn Libraries, Inc. fought hard to keep the library open in its original building, but are now hoping that at least Spampinato's work will be preserved in some capacity. "There's a longstanding tradition of incorporating art into the grand civic architecture of public libraries. From the [NYPL's] Main Branch on 5th Avenue to the library on Grand Army Plaza, art is an integral part of the identity of New York library systems," said Michele Bogart, professor of art history at Stony Brook University and former vice president of the Art Commission (now the Public Design Commission). A Carroll Gardens resident, Bogart suggested the BPL should incorporate the reliefs, which are 20 feet tall and 11 feet wide, into the new tower's branch as an important continuation of tradition and a gesture to the neighborhood losing its public facility. In addition to architectural sculpture adorning libraries, there is a venerable history of spolia in New York's public works. Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a preservation advocacy group, said the reliefs could be repurposed in another municipal capacity, like the Marine Grill's opulent mosaic murals greet straphangers at Fulton Street. Alternatively, preservation activist Theodore Grunewald said the library reliefs could go to a museum, citing the Pegasus sculptures from the Coney Island High Pressure Pumping Station that now live in the Brooklyn Museum's extensive collection of architectural objects. The Public Design Commission (PDC) reviewed Spampinato's pieces when they were installed in 1963, Bogart said, and the PDC still has a chance to weigh in on the significance of the library sculpture. A spokesperson for the developer confirmed in an email that the reliefs will be saved in some capacity: “Hudson Companies will carefully remove the reliefs and store them for the duration of the construction period. The ultimate decision for the reuse will be made by the Brooklyn Public Library, which is committed to making sure they are preserved either at the new branch or another location." Echoing Hudson, a spokesperson for the BPL confirmed that the library will make the final decision about the reliefs, although there is no confirmation yet about whether "another location" means a different branch or another entity like a museum or private collection. At press time, Marvel Architects could not be reached to discuss plans for incorporating the reliefs into the new library, and PDC executive director Justin Garrett-Moore could not be reached for comment on the commission's plans, if any.
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Yours for $150,000: this lead fish sculpture by Frank Gehry

Up for auction at Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is a 44-inch long, 14-inch wide, and 12-inch high lead fish. Made by Frank Gehry between 1987 and 1988, the untitled sculpture was a custom commission for the Toronto offices of advertising agency Chiat/Day. The work also comes complete with a white enameled bathtub; the fish rests on glass that mimics water. Mark Linder, author of Nothing Less than Literal, studied Gehry's fascination with the figure of the fish. Linders detailed how fish have been prevalent in Gehry's life since he was a boy. When living in Toronto, Gehry's grandma, Lillian Caplan, would keep live carp in the bath, using them to make gefilte fish for traditional Jewish Sabbath suppers. Perhaps that was the inspiration for Gehry's lead creation? Speculation may, however, may be all we can do—the end of the line (pardon the pun). Speaking in the Globe and Mail, Gehry rubbished any fishy connections between Caplan's carp and his architecture, saying that they have "nothing to do with that house, nothing to do with the fish in the bathtub."

According to Linder, though, Gehry viewed the fish as an "empty signifier." Being "architecturally dumb," the fish's abstraction from architecture allowed the celebrated Canadian architect to "rethink architectural forms" from a withdrawn perspective. The fish was "anti-architecture" and "anti-humanist." Gehry played with these ideas at a time when referencing history and humanist themes were prevalent postmodern qualities in architecture.

Peter Loughrey, director of Modern Design & Fine Art, said in a press release:
Probably more than any architect, Gehry liked to incorporate fine art and sculpture into his work. More freedom was available to him as an artist than with buildings. In 1970s he liked cardboard because it’s a material where you go from concept to prototype to finished product in one day. Gehry identifies as a an artist more than any other architect.
The fish and bathtub is currently estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Bids can be made online here.
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Look up at Chicago’s newest lakefront sculpture

Debuting during this year’s EXPO Chicago, Chicago’s lakefront will soon be home to a 33.3-foot-tall stainless steel figure. The sculpture, entitled Looking Up (2015) was produced by American artist Tom Friedman. In a collaboration between the Chicago Parks District, Luhring Augustine, New York and the Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, the gigantic figure will be on display at 4800 S. Lake Shore Drive from September 21, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The one-year exhibition will add to the parks already diverse and expansive collection of art pieces throughout the city. “With a permanent collection of more than 300 world-class fountains, monuments and sculptures scattered throughout Chicago’s parks, the Chicago Park District is proud to be a destination for world-class artists to come to exhibit their renowned artworks,” said Chicago Park District CEO and Superintendent Michael P. Kelly in a press release. “Public art not only serves to beautify our open green spaces, but it also provides patrons with even more access to cultural opportunities in our parks.” The second in an edition of three, Looking Up was recently installed for six months at the intersection of Park Avenue and 53rd Street in New York City. The first of the edition is permanently installed at The Contemporary Austin, Texas, as part of the Laguna Gloria Campus. The installation of the sculpture will be something of a homecoming for Friedman, who received his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1990. Friedman’s work involves the use of crushed aluminum foil, and other distorted and distressed metal objects, which are used as part of a molding and lost wax casting technique. Coinciding with the new addition to the lakefront will be the 5th annual EXPO Chicago, an international exposition of contemporary and modern art. EXPO will include work from 145 galleries from 22 countries from September 22 through September 25, at Navy Pier.
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An exhibition offers in-depth insight into artist Barbara Kasten’s career

The touring exhibition Barbara Kasten: Stages will arrive at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA) this summer, following presentations at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and the Graham Foundation in Chicago. The exhibition collects works from four decades in the artist’s career, from the 1970s to present. Barbara Kasten: Stages is the first major survey of the artist’s work, incorporating her sculptures and photography with documentation of her artistic process. According to curator Alex Klein, “stages” refers both to the stages of the artist’s career and her own process of staging sculptures in space.

The exhibition includes many of Kasten’s most well-known photographs from the Architectural Sites series, in which she abstracted works of postmodern architecture, like Frank Gehry’s Loyola Law School using an elaborate staging of light, sculpture, and mirrors and then printed them using the dye-destruction method Cibachrome for better depth of color and clarity. Stages will also include Kasten’s work with cyanotypes, which use the same technique used to make blueprints, and her early work with furniture sculptures.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Center 8687 Melrose Avenue West Hollywood, CA 90069 Through August 14

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Help save this folk art landmark in the middle of Detroit

Hatch Art has launched a crowd-funding campaign to save a quirky and kinetic piece of folk art in their hometown of Hamtramck, Michigan, a city of a little over 20,000 surrounded by the city of Detroit. The non-profit art organization is raising $50,000 for a comprehensive renovation of the site. Formerly the home of Dymtro Szylak, an auto-worker turned sculpture artist, was affectionately nicknamed “Hamtramck Disneyland” for its bright colors, lights, and eclectic collection of pop-culture iconography. Szylak worked on the installation above his garage for thirty years, from his retirement from General Motors until his death in 2015. The project is adorned with images of Disney characters and painted in bright colors inspired by its namesake theme park. Syzlak assembled everything by hand, including colorful windmills and other moving sculptures. Part of the charm of Hamtramck Disneyland is its unlikely location, in a residential neighborhood of a relatively unknown city. Hamtramck was a hotspot for European immigrants like Syzlak, who came to the United States from Ukraine. The sculpture was initially unpopular with Syzlak’s neighbors and the city council, but thousands of tourists have since made the pilgrimage to Hamtramck and were often greeted by the artist himself. Hatch Art purchased the property in May 2016 to preserve Hamtramck Disneyland as a folk art landmark. A group of volunteers is currently working to make critical structural repairs to the site, and to rewire and replace the mechanical parts and lights that bring the sculpture to life. They also plan to retrofit the interiors of the garages into a public art space and an artist’s studio. The crowd-funding campaign seeks to raise $50,000 by August 20, which will be matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan State Development Authority for a total of $100,000 if the campaign is successful. Hatch Art is also looking for volunteers to help with the restoration.