Posts tagged with "Storefront for Art and Architecture":

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Storefront’s Critical Halloween invites guests to vote on more than costumes

The Storefront for Art and Architecture’s annual Critical Halloween is trying to bring a dose of reality to this year's celebration—even if that means celebrating a day that is usually reserved for everything but reality. Perhaps, however, in a time of increasing unreality and (pun intended) dressing up the facts, a sobering celebration is what we need. The theme of this year’s event is REAL and it has a very real focus. Instead of the traditional glitzy party—last year’s hole-themed event was at the Museum of Sex—Storefront is inviting people to come their Soho gallery to have a drink and watch the hotly-contested midterm election results roll in on Tuesday, November 6 (after those who can have voted, of course). In place of tickets for purchase, this year Storefront is asking that attendees become members and is pledging to match the funds raised from the memberships in donations to the Movement Voter Project “in support of issues such as economic fairness, racial justice, gender equality, immigration, LGBTQ advocacy, healthcare access, and environmental sustainability through electoral change.” (Current members can also give with their RSVP and the amount will be matched.) Also, given that this Critical Halloween will be coming nearly a week after the actual day, instead of merely costumes Storefront is inviting ideas for slogans as part of what they’re calling the “Truly Democratic Costume and Campaign Slogan Competition,” which will be judged democratically by attendees rather than by jury as usual. They’re also inviting contributions to the event’s supporting bibliography, REAL REFERENCES.
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Storefront’s Subculture show sets big ambitions by focusing on the microscopic

The history of modern architecture is filled with the efforts of architects responding to germ theory: sanitariums, hospitals, apartments for TB survivors. It was a dirty world and the early 20th century modernists were going to sanitize it through design with plenty of light and air and molding-free walls. Even burger joints and gas stations were covered in glossy white tile to signal safety and sanitation. But the curators of the latest exhibition at Storefront for Art and Architecture, Subculture: Microbial Metrics and the Multi-Species City, position their show as a corrective to all this germ anxiety by proposing we not eradicate our microbes but explore them as a force for design innovation. The show, which runs until January 12, finds Storefront as both a subject of study and a laboratory. The curators—Kevin Slavin, Elizabeth Hénaff, and The Living, a firm headed by David Benjamin—have set out to study locations around in New York by capturing microbes and sequencing their DNA. The team’s method is elegantly simple: by sandblasting wooden blocks to various depths, they’ve created a set of porous tiles filled with crevices for microbial life to accumulate. Not coincidentally, the tiles, as arranged on Storefront’s facade, also have an aesthetic dimension, making patterns that from a distance, recall smudged fingerprints, old-school identity markers. And that’s suiting since the real star of Subculture isn’t so much the microbes themselves as the human ability to identify them using DNA sequencing. Accordingly, the exhibition is divided into three parts: Models, Metrics, and Maps. The first lays out the rationale of the exhibition: Today there are multiple ways that architects and builders set out to ensure a clean environment. But, the show asks, what exactly are we getting rid of? Since life on earth is 90 percent invisible to the human eye, we can use the newest tools available to learn more about the microscopic stew we’re unwittingly steeped in. To that end, the Metrics section has been set up in Storefront’s exhibition space to provide what the exhibition text calls a “working laboratory that features the equipment and processes used in metagenomic experiment.” What’s on view isn’t half that exciting—there are pipettes, a DNA sequencer, and a wall-mounted device that types out the sequence of genetic proteins, a sort of teletype for the invisible. But of course, the point is that the action is exactly what we can’t see. Not surprisingly, the curators all are alumni of the MIT Media Lab where there have been numerous projects using gene sequencing to understand the microscopic level of the environment. While at MIT, Slavin spearheaded a somewhat similar project in which data was collected from beehives around the world. The Living investigates biological systems for their architectural potential. In 2014, the firm won MoMA PS 1’s Young Architects Program by growing a 14-foot tower out of bricks they made from refuse: corn stalks, mycelium spores, and root structures. And Hénaff has examined microbial life in locations from the Gowanus Canal to Penn Station, that last as a post-doc in the Cornell lab that produced a 2015 report on subway microbiomes. It revealed among other pathogens, the presence of bubonic plague, a fact that was met with only a slight dent to the usual New Yorker sangfroid. Some visitors to the show seemed to agree that we have been sanitizing ourselves to death. “I mean, we use all these HEPA filters!” said one man, though one wonders what he’d make of the current rash of Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx resulting from dirty water towers. The show isn’t calling for the end of all sanitary precautions, but the curators’ idea that we are “undermining the importance and actual presence of legitimate bacterial diversity in our urban lives” may be a stretch in an era when so many people lack even those basic protections. Yet with the unfolding catastrophe engendered by the bigger-is-better ethos, it seems natural that we should be turning our collective lens to the microscopic. The show implies that the destruction of microbial matter is a form of spatial isolation—one that hasn’t served us well. It’s a powerful thesis that opens extraordinary possibilities for design. But their position will be a tough sell: On a recent evening outside of Storefront, a woman ran her hands along the whorls of the wooden tiles, then rummaged through her backpack for a tube of hand sanitizer. After slathering herself in the stuff, she offered some to a friend: “It’s getting to be flu season.”
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José Esparza Chong Cuy named new director of Storefront for Art and Architecture

New York City’s Storefront for Art and Architecture has a new executive director and chief curator, and it is writer and curator José Esparza Chong Cuy. Esparza will be stepping down from his post as curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and will take over from Storefront’s interim director Jinny Khanduja (who will serve as deputy director) come November 1, 2018. Esparza’s selection follows a summer-long search after Storefront’s previous director, Eva Franch i Gilabert, decamped for London earlier this year to lead the Architectural Association. Franch’s eight-year tenure at Storefront saw the nonprofit organization dramatically expand its fundraising activities, programming, lectures, and the variety of its shows (Full disclosure: The Architect’s Newspaper’s editor-in-chief William Menking serves on Storefront’s board). AN spoke with Esparza on what led him to Storefront, his history with architecture and art, and what’s next for the well-known New York institution now that he’s at its head. Esparza, who grew up in Mexicali and studied architecture in Guadalajara—a city deeply influenced by the legacy of modernist legends like Luis Barragán—was hugely marked by the city’s formalist approach to architectural practice at the time he was studying. This eventually motivated his move to New York City in 2007, where he interned at Storefront and eventually became a curatorial associate under the tenure of former director Joseph Grima. That experience in his early years, according to Esparza, is what gave him a “completely different sense of the practice, both the limits and the possibilities.” A research fellowship at the nearby New Museum, his time spent writing for Domus, and the Master of Science he received in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia University in 2012, helped expose Esparza to what he described as a radical new type of energy for the profession. In 2013, Esparza co-curated the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and commissioned work by Frida Escobedo and Andrés Jaque, including Escobedo’s tilting civic stage and Jaque’s Superpowers of Ten. He attributed the experimental ideas he wanted to bring to the Triennale as stemming from his time at Storefront and the organization’s history. So, what’s next for Storefront? In discussing the organization’s future, Esparza was sure to mention the “revolutionary” moment in the 1970s and '80s where museums of contemporary culture sprung up one after another to exhibit work that wasn’t being shown anywhere else. The Studio Museum in Harlem was founded in 1968, El Museo del Barrio in 1969, the New Museum in 1977; Esparza explicitly connected the spirit of that moment to the existence of Storefront (founded in 1982). “I think there is a huge opportunity in the flexibility that a small organization allows. I think it’s a really rare case in the landscape of cultural institutions, not just because it operates at the intersection of art and architecture, but also because it’s preserved its alternative voice. This might be one of the few remaining alternative spaces. “I want to design a strong exhibition-based program that builds on itself, so that somehow, one after another, it unfolds this broader message. I want it to build bridges between not only context and geography, but disciplines and audiences.” Esparza, who previously served as associate curator at Museo Jumex in Mexico City, mentioned that he would also like to expand Storefront’s programming beyond a regional scope to wherever groundbreaking work is occurring, “whether it’s in Chinatown or Caracas.” As the program unfolds, a message of what Storefront is working toward and what it stands for will, according to Esparza, become clear to the audience. Esparza stressed that he would look to bolster both Storefront’s experimental critical voice and its foundations, so that the institution could continue to flourish. “We are thrilled to welcome José to the helm of Storefront, the very institution where he began his curatorial career over a decade ago,” said Charles Renfro, president of Storefront’s board of directors. “Since then, he has established himself as an innovative thinker working across disciplines in some of North America's most prestigious cultural institutions. “José’s rigor and insight will reinforce Storefront’s role as a crucial and necessary platform at the intersection of art and architecture. Through his background and experiences in Mexico, the U.S., and globally, he embodies the broad perspectives that Storefront has become known for, bringing a critical voice to contemporary issues at every scale—from local and regional to national and international. We are excited to have him lead the vision for Storefront’s future.”
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Subculture show converts Storefront for Art and Architecture into living lab

Subculture: Microbial Metrics and the Multi-Species City is the new exhibition that will be held at New York City’s Storefront for Art and Architecture starting Tuesday, September 18. The exhibition will showcase the collaborative work of innovative scientists and designers, including Kevin Slavin, Elizabeth Hénaff, The Living, and Evan Eisman Company, who have merged biology, data science, and material science with design to provide viewers with a better understanding of the city's microscopic world. The gallery space will be transformed into an active genetic sequencing lab that will collect, extract, and analyze the microbes that dwell in our surrounding environment. Although the exhibition will center on fungi, bacteria, and other unspecified germs—facets of New York’s street life that most city-dwellers try to avoid like the plague—Subculture will force its visitors to come face to face with these microbes to better understand the ecologies and identities of the city’s buildings and spaces. Rather than focus on a single artist or architect, the exhibition highlights common goals that have linked the collaborators' careers over the past decade, including their commitment to reinterpreting the biological environment and providing insight into the future of design. These seemingly complex goals and ideas—represented through the installation in the gallery space, along with the analysis of various sites across the city such as rooftops, subway stations, and waterways—will be presented in a detailed and explicit manner within three distinct zones of the gallery. As one moves through the exhibition, they will find that each space has been dedicated to a specific process or idea, starting with the facade of the Storefront—an introductory area that will highlight the existence of microbial species in urban environments. The facade of the Storefront, like the remainder of the gallery space, is both modern and minimalistic, with its use of fine lines, colorless walls, and rotating geometric panels that intend to blur the border between the gallery and the street. Assembled on the doors of the facade will be a series of wood tiles that have been deliberately eroded to form a pattern of diverse microclimates. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, each tile will accumulate and host entire civilizations of microbes, which will later be extracted and analyzed within the gallery’s genetic laboratory. After exploring the concepts, images, and models on display at Subculture, visitors should come away with a better understanding of the goals of environmental architecture and design. The exhibit also urges its visitors to shun their common preferences for cleanliness and sterility, and provoke them to think of buildings as complex, evolving, and living organisms. Whether you are a scientist, architect, inquisitive scholar, or simply a resident of New York City, Subculture could help you discover the importance and presence of the bacterial diversity that dominates our urban lives.
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Bookshelves for unwritten books on display at the Storefront for Art and Architecture

The Vito Acconci- and Steven Holl-designed rotating facade panels of the Storefront for Art and Architecture have been retrofitted with bookshelves filled with unwritten books for a new exhibition titled Architecture Books / Yet to Be Written, now on view through August 25. The installation is designed by New York-based practice Abruzzo Bodziak Architects (ABA) and is part of the New York Architecture Book Fair, a new initiative from the Storefront. The shelves are made of painted MDF, and will hold book covers and titles of books “that we should have written, but that we never did, and books yet to be written, that we still should,” according to a statement from the Storefront. The initiative named Yet to be Written was launched to start discussions about the opportunities missed by architects and architectural theorists. The exhibition starts with mostly empty shelves. The shelves gradually fill up as "non-profit organizations, students, independent publishers, creative collectives and gallery visitors” nominate books to the Storefront. Check out this link for more details.
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Sightings at the Venice Biennale and news from the UC Berkeley expansion

Eavesdrop from Venice We were wondering if we would see any celebs in Venice this year—perhaps Brad Pitt and Neri Oxman would be strolling the Giardini, or maybe Kanye West would show up at the Arsenale. But instead, AN editors ran into none other than legendary comedian and actor Chevy Chase, who was spending the week at the Biennale. Chase was in town because his old friend, photographer Peter Aaron, was showing a series of pictures about pre-Civil War Syria. Aaron’s wife wasn’t able to make the trip, so Chevy—an old college friend—came with him. The pair was spotted dining with the Architectural League’s Anne Reiselbach at a small osteria in the San Polo neighborhood. What national pavilion at the Venice Biennale seemingly featured more Americans than the U.S. Pavilion? The Dutch! With GSAPP’s curatorial program—including Mark Wasiuta, Felicity Scott, and Dutch Pavilion curator and CCCP grad Marina Otera—talking to themselves and their friends, as well as Beatriz Colomina in bed with other (mostly New York) friends, it seemed more like a U.S. academy than the actual U.S. pavilion. Now that Eva Franch i Gilabert is packing up her paella pans and heading to Brexitland, the Storefront for Art and Architecture needs a new director. It is currently assembling a list of prospective directors from over 100 applicants. A new director will need to be in place by early fall. In the world of architects’ archives, two of the biggest have recently been promised to major collecting organizations, and we will reveal them shortly. Stay tuned. People's Park No More
The University of California, Berkeley recently announced intentions to make good on a 70-year-old plan to convert the university’s People’s Park into a student housing site. The school hopes to replace the notorious park—site of the 1969 “Bloody Thursday” police violence incident—with new student housing structures containing up to 1,000 beds. The move will displace many of the people currently living in and around the park, which officials have likened to a “daytime homeless shelter.” Plans for the site are still in the works, but the university is considering dedicating a portion of the site to supportive housing and social services. The housing is due to be completed by 2022, according to a UC Berkeley spokesperson.
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15 great events to attend during the AIA Conference in New York City

The AIA Conference on Architecture is just around the corner, from June 21 to 23 at the Javits Center in New York City. To add to the excitement, the city will be bustling with architecture events and exhibits, including at MoMA PS1, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Van Alen Institute. Here are our editors' highlights for the week. 1) MoMA PS1 
Young Architects Program Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53rd St. (Midtown) June 18 6:00–8:00 pm. Free. RSVPs required* www.momaps1.org Exhibition reception for 2018 Young Architects Program, featuring finalists LeCAVALIER R+D, FreelandBuck, BairBalliet, and OFICINAA. The winning scheme Hide & Seek by Dream The Combine (Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers), opens to the public June 26. Opening reception, limited space. 2) Night at the Museums Various locations June 19 4:00–8:00 pm. Free. NightattheMuseums.org Fourteen Lower Manhattan museums open their
 doors, free of charge, as part of this annual event. Visit the Skyscraper Museum, African Burial Ground, Museum of Jewish Heritage, South Street Seaport Museum, National 9/11 Memorial, and others. 3) Architecture Books Opening Reception Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 19 7:00–9:00 pm. Free. Storefrontnews.org Now on display at the legendary Steven Holl and Vito Acconci–designed gallery, selection of 100 fundamental books, selected by a jury, based on Storefront’s Global Survey of Architecture Books. On June 26, Storefront will host a conference at the New York Public Library Main Branch (6:30–8:30 pm, free), featuring prominent architects. 4) Solstice: 24x24x24 Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 20–June 21 Storefrontnews.org Making the most of the longest day of the year, 24x24x24 brings together 24 designers to shape a day of programming and contribute a seat for a collective gathering during the summer solstice. From dawn until dusk, 24x24x24 is an experiment in collective production in design, action, and thinking. 24x24x24 is collectively organized and curated by a group of architects who will be taking over Storefront for Art and Architecture from 7pm on June 20 to 7pm on June 21. 5) Mind the Gap: Improving Urban Mobility Through Science and Design Van Alen Institute 30 West 22nd St. (Flatiron) June 20 6:30–8:30 pm. Free. VanAlen.org An examination of how populations move through cities, using tools and methods from neuroscience and behavioral psychology. Organized by the Van Alen Institute. AN’s very own Assistant Editor Jonathan Hilburg will moderate the discussion. 6) Summer Solstice Aperitivo
 Vitra 100 Gansevoort St. (Meatpacking District) June 21 4:00-8:00 pm. Free with RSVP* aiany.org Toast the summer solstice with Vitra and Skyline Design. Aperitivi, live DJ, and special exhibitions. 7) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 1 Sheila C. Johnson
 Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 21 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by the winners of the Architectural League’s prestigious annual prize, recognizing the nation’s top young architects: Gabriel Cueller & Athar Mufreh, Coryn Kempster, and Bryony Roberts. Followed by reception 8) Modulightor Building Open House 246 East 58th St. (Midtown) June 22 6:00–9:00 pm. $15. RSVP required* modulightor.com Tour Paul Rudolph’s stunning four-story glass townhouse.
9) Infrastructure: The Architecture Lobby National Think-In Javits Center 655 W 34th St, New York June 22 7:00 am–7:00 pm Prime Produce 424 W 54th St (between 9th and 10th aves) June 23 10:00 am – 7:00pm This Think-In is divided into two parts over two days: active engagement with relevant sessions at the AIA National convention to ensure substantive dialogues on professional issues on Friday, June 22; and Think-In panel discussions on Saturday, June 23 at Prime Produce that examine the theme of Infrastructure. Infrastructure is the network of systems necessary for an organization to function. When those systems are degraded enough, the defining functions of the organization fail. The Architecture Lobby has selected this theme for its first National Think-In to generate a way forward and rebuild our discipline’s infrastructure. 10) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 2 Sheila C. Johnson
 Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 22 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by winners of the Architectural League’s prize: Anya Sirota, Alison Von Glinow & Lap Chi Kwong, and Dan Spiegel. 11) A’18 Community Service Day Various locations Check-in: Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place 7:30 am–6:00 pm; reception 6:00–8:00 pm aiany.org/a18 Looking for a meaningful way to spend the last day of conference? AIANY encourages you to volunteer for a half or full day of work that will benefit local nonprofits. Roll
 up your sleeps and pitch in on projects that range from upgrading a church kitchen, fixing a shelter’s community room, working a mobile farmer’s market in an underserved community, and installing infrastructure at a school’s educational outdoor garden. Volunteers will have the chance to make a real difference for these organizations and the people they serve, and
 see parts of New York City that they might not otherwise visit. Collaborating firms include: Cannon Design and Stalco Construction, James Wagman Architect, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, FXCollaborative, Perkins Eastman, and 1100 Architect. Participants must sign up in advance. 12) Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers
 Arnold and Sheila
 Aronson Galleries Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave.
(Greenwich Village) June 22–23 12:00–6:00 pm. Free. ArchLeague.org Exhibition featuring the 2018 winners of this prestigious prize program. This year’s theme, Objective, asked entrants to consider objectivity and criteria by which architecture might be judged today. 13) Panorama of the City of New York
 Queens Museum Flushing Meadows Corona Park Ongoing QueensMuseum.org Conceived by urban mastermind and World’s Fair President Robert Moses for the 1964 Fair, the Panorama is a 1:1200 scale model of New York City, covering 469 acres and including hundreds of thousands individually crafted buildings. In 1992, the original modelmaker updated the Panorama while the museum underwent its expansion, designed by Rafael Viñoly. 14) New York at Its Core: 400 Years of NYC History Museum of the City
 of New York 1220 Fifth Ave.
(Upper East Side) Ongoing MCNY.org What made New York New York? Follow the story of the city’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” Framed around themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, the city delves into its past and invites visitors to propose visions for its future. 15) Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City Center for Architecture 536 La Guardia Place (Greenwich village) Through September 1 CenterforArchitecture.org Waste is a design problem. This show presents strategies for architects, designers, and building professionals to help divert waste from landfills. Curator Andrew Blum will lead tours of the exhibition on Friday, June 22, 10:00–11:00 am, and Saturday, June 23, 11:00 am–12:00 pm. This exhibition is based on the Zero Waste Design Guidelines and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Text by AIA City Guide, Storefront for Art and Architecture and AN.
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Giant, inflatable dome will host a week-long Democracy Lab at the Brooklyn Public Library this summer

From June 11-17, an inflatable bubble that can fit more than one hundred people will rise at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn to house the week-long Democracy Lab. The lab is organized by the Brooklyn Public Library, in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance, Storefront for Art & Architecture, and visitBerlin, and will feature workshops and talks on social justice and civic engagement by established community members of Brooklyn and greater New York. The dome, dubbed the Spacebuster, is designed and developed by raumlaborberlin, a collective of eight Berlin-based architects. It was first commissioned by Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2009 in New York City. The giant dome hatches in the back of a delivery van. People can enter into the space through the passenger door of the van, then walk through to the dome down a ramp. A fan under the ramp generates the air pressure. The Spacebuster is a not only a backdrop for events but also actively participates in them. The translucent membrane acts as a blurred boundary, so pedestrians can look into the events happening inside the billowing urban room. Images can be projected onto the membrane and can be viewed both from the outside and the inside. It can also accommodate tables and chairs, depending on the program taking place inside. Democracy Lab will feature workshops and talks by The New Yorker writer Rachel Aviv, The Simpsons show-runner and writer Mike Reiss and daily guided readings of The New York Times led by community leaders and writers such as the paper’s own critic Wesley Morris, among others. To see the full calendar of scheduled events, check out this link.
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Storefront honoree makes the case for expanding the domain of architecture books in New York

The Storefront for Art and Architecture held its yearly spring benefit on May 7 in the beautiful 19th century Celeste Bartos Forum in the New York Public Library. The room, with its spectacular 30-foot-high elliptical dome of iron and glass, supported on four springing arches, is one of the city’s most dramatic rooms. The Storefront’s benefit always honors a member of the art or architecture community, and in the past, has honored Olafur Eliasson, Archigrammers Michael Webb and Dennis Crompton, Storefront's founder Kyong Park, Lebbeus Woods, Mary Miss, and Tom Mayne. This year it honored artist Mary Ellen Carroll and book publisher Lars Mueller. The publisher has a reputation for creating beautiful and important books on architecture, and in his acceptance speech, he made an impassioned plea for the “domain” of books. Mueller shared his speech with A/N and we publish it here:
Thank you for the honor. You are honoring a rare species, one which I represent here tonight: that of the independent publisher. Independent imprints used to be the backbone of publishing. Not anymore. In the field of architecture, you will hardly find a handful of them in the United States. I am proud to be recognized for what I do. To publish books with the best architecture schools of this country, with bright scholars, leading institutions like the Storefront for Art and Architecture or the Chicago Architecture Biennial, also with independent editors and authors, is a privilege and counts, even more, when we consider the location and the size of the publishing house. Why should relevant American content be detouring through tiny Switzerland? Ok, it is because of me—but also because of the lack of alternatives. Small presses have been forced out of business or have merged with bigger companies. Small-scale publishing, as part of the diverse book culture we have grown up with, is regarded anachronistic in the present time. This puts me in attack mode. If my business plan doesn't match the standards, it is not necessarily the business plan that is wrong. In my eyes, it would make a lot of sense, in this city and elsewhere, to preserve and strengthen existing structures in the book domain, and help to create new ones, knowing that the medium is far from dying out. This necessarily brings me to the precarious situation of bookstores in New York City. Why do we let them die? How can we give them up if we all confess that many of the most beloved and beautiful books in our bookshelves were unexpected encounters in bookstores? It is difficult enough to convince young professionals of the investment of both time and money in books—and more so if we inhibit the analog experience of sudden encounters. Therefore—if I had one wish—it would be for a landlady or a landlord who would take pleasure and pride in hosting the best-curated bookstore for art and architecture in this city. With her or him, I would gladly share the honor given to me tonight.
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Storefront for Art and Architecture seeks new director

As last month's architecture news flurry made clear, Eva Franch i Gilabert, Storefront for Art and Architecture's inimitable curator and director, is leaving New York for London to lead the Architectural Association (AA) after eight years at Storefront. In response to Franch's imminent departure, the organization's Board of Directors has started the hunt for a new leader.

The job description for chief curator and executive director was drafted by select members of the board and released to the public today. (Full disclosure: William Menking, The Architect's Newspaper's editor in chief, serves on Storefront's board.) As pretty much everyone on the New York architecture scene knows, Storefront isn't a staid institution—it's known for curating oddball shows on topics like sex and the built environment, as well as lectures centered on abstruse architectural theory (for the true heads only). Like any nonprofit leader, though, the new director and curator will also have to fundraise in addition to managing Storefront's programming. Per the job description, ideal candidates should have relevant curatorial experience in design, architecture, and art; a strong local and international network in those fields; experience in communications; and the requisite suite of leadership soft skills, like being able to manage a team and not being a grouch or a slacker. Interested candidates have until May 4 to apply. More information on the position can be found at storefrontnews.org.
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Architectural Association selects Eva Franch i Gilabert to be next director

The members of the Architectural Association (AA) in London have selected Eva Franch i Gilabert, Chief Curator and Executive Director of Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, to be their next director. Franch was selected with 67 percent of the vote from a shortlist that included Pippo Ciorra, Senior Curator of MAXXI Architettura in Rome, and Robert Mull, Head of Architecture and Design at the University of Brighton. The AA process now requires the proposed director to negotiate a contract and the final announcement will come in early March. Franch has been the Chief Curator and Executive Director of Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York since 2010. In her presentation to the AA community last week, Franch i Gilabert declared, “I believe in schools and cultural institutions that are anti-institutional even when being one, that act as cultural forums and civic platforms, and that believe in the importance of constantly redefining how we want to live together. Beyond regulating predefined domains of expertise, the AA has been a space for speculation, friction, and resistance. With a highly calibrated relationship between rigor and madness, the AA has been a hotbed for architectural experimentation, and should continue to be.” Let’s hope she can bring the AA, which has significant financial and institutional challenges, back to being such a hotbed. The official AA statement:

Dear AA School Community,

We are writing as the AA Search Committee to announce the results of the AA Director election:

1,077 ballots were issued by MiVoice to the AA School Community. 876 votes were cast by the AA School Community, representing a turnout of 81.3% for the election, the highest number of cast votes and one of the highest percentile levels of participation in the last 30 years.

The candidates received:

Eva Franch I Gilabert - 587 votes cast / 67% of the vote

Pippo Ciorra - 154 votes cast / 17.6% of the vote

Robert Mull - 135 votes cast / 15.4% of the vote

We wish to congratulate Eva on her election and receiving the highest majority in a contested election since 1990. We also wish to sincerely thank Pippo and Robert for their candidacy and presentation of their ideas on the AA and the role of the director.

We have advised the AA Council of the election results and requested they proceed with the formal appointment of Eva Franch i Gilabert as the new Director of the AA School of Architecture.

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Storefront exhibit excavates the themes of “Sex and the City”

As the 20th anniversary of the hit HBO show Sex and the City approaches, Andrés Jaque of Madrid and New York-based Office for Political Innovation in collaboration with Miguel de Guzmán of Imagen Subliminal have turned their examination of the iconic series into an architectural exhibition. Sex and the So-Called City, on view until April 3rd at New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, displays how the iconic series remains a prescient and even seminal text on the cultural and physical evolution of New York City, perhaps the show’s most central protagonist. As a vision of the city and those who live in it, the series Sex and the City traces over half a decade of social, political, and architectural changes through its narrative of sex, romance, friendship, and fashion. On the show, which obscured as much it revealed the psychosocial, bio-political, and architectural structures of Manhattan, Jaque/Office of Political Innovation uses “lifestyle forensics” to reconstruct the complex substructure that produces urban life and the way we choose to portray it. The exhibition comprises a large multi-wall video installation, which creates a disorienting space of edited and manipulated clips from Sex and the City containing choice quotes from the show (“He gave Samantha the opportunity to combine her two greatest loves: sex and real estate”) along with an archive of objects, images, and diagrams, some of which are architectural while others are more esoteric, including movie posters, Manolo Blahniks, coffins, and fleshlights. Sex and the So-Called City delves into how the city’s representation and the lifestyles we perform produce the urban landscape. Sex and its consequences on the city are central to the exhibit. Gay pornography is displayed alongside the latest in color-morphing architectural glass, highlighting how the generic luxury condos featured in popular porn videos produce a form of libidinal real estate aspiration. The entanglement of expensive reproductive technologies with architectural technology and urban development is elucidated through text, images and products, ranging from designer dresses to egg-freezing apparatuses. By relying on the television show as its primary material, Sex and the So-Called City demonstrates how media about the city produces the city by conditioning new cultural and lifestyle visions and reproducing a mass cultural imaginary. It also exposes the ways in which visions of the city create the urban layout of New York itself. Despite its whimsical, campy starting point, Sex and the So-Called City paints an uneasy vision of the new New York. Media, sex, and architecture have colluded to create an increasingly inaccessible breed of urban citizen, an entire class of people that accesses technology to avoid pregnancy and buys specially-hued glass to make their penthouse skies even bluer. Still, for all the (valid) outcry against sanitization and unaffordability, there remains an indisputable vibrancy to living in New York. For Sex and the So-Called City, the city is a palimpsest of the desires, choices, and imaginations of New Yorkers, fictional or not. Sex and the So-Called City is on view at Storefront for Art and Architecture, at 97 Kenmare Street, New York, until April 3.