Iowa City this week picked engineer-turned-artist Cecil Balmond to anchor an overhaul of the city's downtown pedestrian plaza. His sculpture will be the focal point of Iowa City's Black Hawk Mini Park Art Project, the first phase of an $11 million streetscape redevelopment project that officials hope to start next year. Balmond's work aims to enliven public spaces with forceful, architectural installations. His studio has strung shafts of light in Anchorage, Alaska, explored the Solid Void of sculpture with a forest of metal filigree in Chicago's Graham Foundation, and woven steel like rope to bridge a Philadelphia railway. The Chicago Transit Authority recently tapped Cecil Balmond Studio to contribute art for an overhaul of the 91-year-old Wilson Red Line station. An artist review panel consisting of Genus Landscape Architects Brett Douglas and Angie Coyer, and Iowa City staff Geoff Fruin and Marcia Bollinger selected U.K.–born Balmond over artists Vito Acconci and Hans Breder. Construction on the project is expected to begin next year.
Posts tagged with "Sculpture":
The New York architect and designer Dr. Haresh Lalvani has been researching the forms of living things-particularly those of shape codes akin to our own DNA makeup for 30 years. This research and analysis he then translates into sculptural forms that seem always to be merging and growing not fixed or frozen in place. At his solo exhibition, Mass Customization of Emergent Designs, at Moss Gallery at Design Miami in 2011, he used an algorithm to create 1,000 design variations of a common fruit platter out of a total of 100,000,000,000 possible designs before the computer crashed. Each platter was created with the same technology but preserved its inherent uniqueness. Lalvani’s claims this technology requires no economy of scale, as it costs no more for a factory to make all products different (mass-customization) than it costs to make them all the same (mass-production). His Brooklyn-made sculptures have appeared in galleries and public forums around the city including his beautiful 9-foot-tall, folded-titanium volume covers that were displayed at the entrance into the architecture room at MoMA for several years. Now you can see his morphological forms in the beautiful Columbia county countryside of Ghent, New York at the Omi International Arts Center. Lalvani has installed two sculptures X-POD and X-TOWER in the rolling landscape of the arts center. His X-TOWER for example is based on the towering form of California's Sequoia trees and emerges from a single flat metal sheet and raises into a towering almost pine cone shape form that is at once beautiful, mysterious and powerful as a work of art.
Barcelona-based artist Jaume Plensa said the first thing he does after checking into his hotel during stays in Chicago is drop by Crown Fountain, the digital waterwork that features human faces spitting water, just to make sure his popular downtown installation really exists. “Sometimes I think it was just a beautiful dream I had 10 years ago,” Plensa said at a press conference Tuesday. Millennium Park, which turns ten years old in 2014, counts Plensa’s whimsical fountains among its more popular installations. A new piece of his, on loan from the artist through the end of 2015, attempts to build on that momentum. Entitled 1004 Portraits, the new installation features three cast-iron heads some 20–23 feet tall, their tranquil expressions facing west toward Crown Fountain and Michigan Avenue. Walk around the visages, though, and their volume drops away—the figures, all portraits of young girls with their eyes closed, are warped and stretched along their vertical axes. Their names are Laura, Paula, and Ines. A fourth head—this one 39 feet tall, bleach-white, and made of resin—watches over the entrance of Millennium Park at Madison Street and Michigan Avenue. That piece is entitled, Look Into My Dreams, Awilda. (The other 1,000 portraits referenced in Plensa's title refer to the LED projections that cycle through as the backdrop for Crown Fountain.) “I invite everyone in Chicago to dream with me and with my heads in Millennium Park,” said Plensa.
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.
Boise, Idaho–based architects CTY Studio and design company Ecosystems Sciences have won an RFP to design a new public sculpture for Boise's soon-to-be-renovated City Hall Plaza. Both the sculpture and the plaza are expected to be completed by fall 2015. The $200,000 sculpture, called Terrain, Civics, Ecology, will be made up of nine 20-foot-tall steel panels, arranged in a circle to create an enclosure that pedestrians can walk through. Abstracted silhouettes of the area's cottonwood trees and their leaves—Boise is known as the "City of Trees," and the most significant is the Cottonwood—will be cut into the slates, changing their profiles as people pass by and with the shifting sunlight. Integrated lighting will make the sculpture glow at night. "The longer I looked at it, the more I enjoyed it. It kept surprising me," was one of the public comments, according to Boise Weekly. City Hall Plaza is being renovated by local engineering firm CH2M Hill. Its public art has been a long time coming—almost four years in fact. Two previous RFQs failed to produce a winner, but this team's plan finally resonated with a jury made up of local officials and residents. "We wanted to not only incorporate an ecological consciousness, but establish a civic identity for the plaza," said CTY partner Dwaine Carver. "It's really about Boise," added Zach Hill, principal at Ecosystems Sciences. "The idea is to really showcase City Hall's importance to the city." Which is a good thing, considering City Hall and its plaza have never been the civic magnets that the city has wanted.
Apex: Tip Toland Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Avenue Portland, Oregon Through May 11 Washington-based artist Tip Toland creates larger than life figures with painfully accurate details that highlight her subjects’ imperfections: wrinkles, sunspots, and other blemishes. Toland’s work has always dealt with figurative subject matter, though her approach has ranged from the surreal to the super-real. This exhibition focuses on the plight of albino children in Africa, many of whom face a never-ending nightmare of bigoted, superstitious persecution at the hand of the communities into which they are born. Deeply rooted in psychology, Toland’s carefully crafted portraits seek to disturb viewers, teasing out their deepest human sympathies only to clobber them with the cudgel of political subtext. The artist has said that her work “softens our hearts to what we are afraid of.” Unflinching in the face of terrible realities, it is certainly provocative.
An impressive new installation at JFK’s Terminal 4 should make air travel slightly less frustrating, or at least more interesting, for passengers. In late February, Bulgarian-born artist Dimitar Lukanov unveiled Outside Time, a soaring sculpture made of steel and aluminum tubes. Despite weighing-in at 4,600 pounds, the piece manages to appear weightless as it elegantly drifts upwards like a densely-packed school of fish. The work is even more impressive knowing that Lukanov created his flowing work—90 percent of which is airborne—without digitally rendering it. He scaled the work by eye over an eight-month period. “Outside Time is a veritable drawing in space, a breathless, effortless, instantaneous gesture in the air. The piece aspires to halt, even momentarily, the relentlessness of time, to indeed be ‘Outside Time,’” said Lukanov in a statement. “The end result of my sculpture is an abbreviated script of matter dissolved within the air.” This installation is the latest in a series of improvements to the terminal. But despite new amenities like Wifi, Blue Smoke barbeque, and a Shake Shack, JFK Terminal 4’s Yelp rating is still a paltry 2.5 stars. Perhaps Outside Time will boost that number, but if Shake Shack didn’t do the trick, don’t count on it.
Isa Genzken: Retrospective Museum of Modern Art New York Through March 10, 2014 In the home stretch before it closes on March 10, Isa Genzken: Retrospective at MoMA shows a sculptor whose work is infused with architecture from her sleek early works of lacquered wood in the engineered Hyperbolos and Ellipsoids series to rougher experiments in plaster, concrete, and steel which resemble architectural maquettes on pedestals including Bank (1985), Rosa Zimmer (Pink Room) (1987), Galerie (1987), Kleiner Pavilion (1989), and Fenster (Window) (1990). The architecture of Berlin and New York inspired some of her most significant work. It tackles subjects like the disposable global culture, the relationship between architecture and site, form and space. Fuck the Bauhaus, New Buildings for New York (2000), New Buildings for Berlin (2004), and Der Amerikanische Raum (The American Room) (2004) are the result: colorful, energetic, and made of many found and industrial materials. Genzken has lived in New York and was there on 9/11, which prompted a series of installations, Ground Zero (2008), and a play called Empire/Vampire (2003) with two protagonists, the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (video and sculptural set designs). On a more personal note, she has made architectural personification of artist friends including Dan Graham and Wolfgang Tilmans, titled by their first names: Andy, Isa, Dan, Wolfgang, Kai. Catch it.
Traverse A.I.R. Gallery Brooklyn, New York Through March 2, 2014 Traverse is an exhibition of new works by Melissa Murray and Erica Stoller at A.I.R Gallery in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood. Murray’s work focuses on pausing her daily life to examine personalized images that are swiftly tucked away in her subconscious. Stoller makes wall related sculptures that relate to the plane of the wall and garners meaning from the surrounding area. Murray and Stoller frequently exhibit together. The biggest shared element in both artist’s works—the line—represents aggression and physical restraint. The environments created in the artists' work relate and transcend their varied media. Stoller’s newest works mark her transition from two to three dimensional works. Stoller’s compositions in Traverse are made from converting unconventional materials including foam insulation, PVC conduit, plastic fencing, and swimming noodles into visual art. Murray creates large two dimensional works that strive to freeze an active moment of thought. She uses a stream of consciousness process to present an honest work where each piece is collection of coded memories. The works in this exhibition contrast each other to create a thoughtful conversation on the line. This exhibition is accompanied by a soundscape of ambient noise created by Impala Static.
It’s open season for public art in St. Louis, according to the groups behind Sculpture City St. Louis 2014—an ongoing festival “intended to draw attention to the rich presence sculpture has in the visual landscape of our region.” The programming leads up to and continues after an April conference. Art exhibitions throughout the year aim to continue the conversation. For instance, Art of Its Own Making, a show at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts that features sculpture, installation, film, and performance works through August 20. St. Louis Sculpture City showcases public art, sculpture, and design throughout the year, before and after its April 10–12 conference “Monument / Anti-Monument,” which will encourage dialogue about art and public life. A full list of the shows and events that make up the ongoing examination of public art is available on the group's website. Non-profit institutions, for-profit enterprises, and government/civic art programs with programming within 100 miles of downtown St. Louis during 2014 can submit their program to Sculpture City St. Louis, which may list them on their website. St. Louis is a fitting place for the topic. From the two-block sculpture park dubbed CityGarden to plans for a revamped park at the base of the Gateway Arch, it’s a busy time for public space in St. Louis.
Ken Price’s colorful, sensual ceramic sculptures have always posed the question as to whether they are art or craft. But the blur may also include the architectonic. His signature forms—cups and eggs—set up a tension between exterior and interior. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith has written: "Their forms oscillated between the biomorphic and the geometric, the geological and the architectural." Price’s friend, Frank Gehry, designed the installation of the exhibition, Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 22. He lives with Price’s ceramics, his first purchase being a cup festooned with snails. Gehry wrote of Price’s work, "They were like buildings." He cited a cup with a twisted piece at the top, and sees the similarity to his California Aerospace Museum, 1982-84, featuring an airplane jutting out of the structure. "I think the similarity of form was totally unconscious. Now I think a lot of architects must have been looking at those cups…the relationships are amazing." The relationship was probably both ways. The catalogue makes compelling visual analogies between Price’s Untitled (Slate Cup) from 1972-77 with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater; the blocky orange flats perched on yellow sides of Hawaiian from 1980, are compared with cliffside pueblo dwelling (both have small dark cutout “windows” set into rectangles) as well as OMA’s Seattle Public Library. Think of the openings into his sculptural forms, whether small or large, as the mysterious entrance to a darkened, monumental temple. With Price, scale is relative—Price quoted artist Joseph Cornell, whose boxes he admired: “Tiny is the last refuge of the enormous.” Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., through September 22.
Follow the Architecture Chicago Plus blog as Lynn Becker raises an eyebrow at the new sculpture that quietly popped up in the lobby of downtown Chicago’s celebrated Inland Steel Building. The 1957 SOM icon seems to have acquired a consortium of ice hunks, courtesy Frank Gehry. Ostensibly a formal counterpoint to the elegant energy of Richard Lippold’s Radiant I, the original lobby art, Gehry’s glass agglomeration (fabricated by the John Lewis Glass Studio of Oakland, California) frames Radiant I and responds to its angularity with carved blobs. It’s admittedly atypical in the setting of the modernist masterpiece, but doesn’t overpower the space or the original artwork.