The Swiss Institute for Contemporary Art has opened its new 7,500 square foot Selldorf Architects-designed location on St. Marks Place in New York City. Taking over four levels of a former bank built in 1954 and designed by Alfred Hopkins and Associates, the renovation is, in the words of Swiss Institute director Simon Castets, a “counter narrative” to the building’s former financial, low-occupancy use. The Selldorf redesign uses a seemingly minimal touch. Though there have been significant changes—full stairwells and elevators have been added along with a total plan rework—the overall architectural sensibility feels light and unimposing. White walls remain unadorned. Flooring is understated. On all ceilings, ductwork, lighting, and structural elements remain exposed—a departure from many recent galleries in the city that have instead focused on hiding every functional detail, even the lighting, as much as possible. Curators generally aren’t keen on losing space to the workaday trappings of administrative necessity. Swiss Institute has filled every corner, wall, stairwell, and even the elevator with art to allow “artists to reclaim the space lost to New York City building code” as part of the SI ONSITE program. Stairwells feature sculptures and frescoes by Shahryar Nashat and Latifa Echakhch. The elevator has been turned into an artwork, skinned in a welcoming pink from Sherwin Williams called “Memorable Rose,” which is taken from the color of a tongue by artist Pamela Rosenkranz for an installation appropriately titled Color of a Tongue (Director) (2018). A cellar gallery remains honest about what it really is with layers of gray paint applied by Dusty Baker. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkd-vN1FN80/?taken-at=1339491416095759 Like the building itself, the current exhibition, Readymades Belong to Everyone (open through August 19), is packed with art. The first floor, which features ceilings that soar over 17 feet, is dense with all variety of sculpture and 2D work. Despite lower ceilings, the new location's upper level is airy, wrapped in windows with exposed wood shining on the ceiling. There is a reading room, currently taken over by a project from Heman Chong in collaboration with Ken Liu. Chong and Liu’s Legal Books (Shanghai) features hundreds of books selected by Liu, a sci-fi writer and attorney, inspired by thinking on the Chinese legal system. The art instillation-cum-reading room features painted curtains by Jill Mulleady, another way in which the Institute is packing in the art. https://www.instagram.com/p/BkVg-UtlioO/?taken-at=5122362 One enters from Second Avenue to find a visitor welcome desk and a bookshop from Printed Matter. The entire space is decked out in the clean lines of USM’s furniture, and behind the visitor information desk is John Armleder’s Royal Flush (2018) installation of mirrored tiles reminiscent of a disco ball. https://www.instagram.com/p/BkYmINDnsN8/?taken-at=5122362 The Swiss Institute also takes the art outdoors with a terrace that places visitors in the midst of the city. The current plein air setup includes work by Valentin Carron, Nancy Lupo, and Michael Wang. In Wang's Extinct in the Wild series, the artist references Peter Stuyvesant's original orchard, composed of native plants that now only grow with human care and populated what is now the East Village. Signage on the building is multilingual, not merely with the four official languages of Switzerland, but also with the most spoken languages in the Swiss Institute's new surrounding area: English, Spanish, and Chinese. The Swiss Institute, which has free admission, has also been collaborating with local community organizations for artist-led workshops and is actively celebrating the artistic history and present of their new East Village location. The Swiss Institute’s new 38 St. Marks location opens with the exhibition Readymades Belong to Everyone, on view now, curated by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen. In addition to the artists described above, the show features many architects and designers including OFFICE, Rem Koolhaas, MOS Architects, and Sauter von Moos in collaboration with Herzog and de Meuron.
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The Swiss Institute (SI) announced this morning that it will be moving to the corner of St. Mark’s Place and Second Avenue in Manhattan’s East Village. Selldorf Architects will be renovating the preexisting building, a former bank. The new 7,500-square-foot building will house four levels, including a basement, ground floor, second floor, and roof. This scheme will contain spaces for exhibitions, projects, public programs, a library, a bookstore, and a rooftop. It is slated to open spring 2017. "This new building offers tremendous opportunities to expand upon our mission and serve a growing audience, to whom we will continue to offer forward-looking exhibitions and public programs, always free of charge," said Swiss Institute director Simon Castets in a press release. "We look forward to joining and contributing to the diverse community of cultural organizations and artists that have called the East Village home for many years." The SI is a nonprofit contemporary art institution with a focus on experimental art that promotes forward-thinking artists and designers with exhibitions and programs. So, part of the draw to its new location is its proximity to Anthology Film Archives, Cooper Union, Danspace Project, ICP, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, New Museum, New York University, The Poetry Project, and The Public Theater. In addition to announcing its relocation, the SI said that nine new trustees will join the board and that Maja Hoffman will be taking over the role of chair. "I am thrilled to begin my tenure as chair with the support of such a stellar, expanded and international Board of Trustees, at the start of an exciting new era for the organization. I am looking forward to working with the exceptional Swiss Institute team as they thoughtfully develop the institution and its program in the context of such a storied, creative neighborhood,” Hoffman said in a press release.
Mexico has a unique architectural and artistic culture that spans generations and decades. It's is a combination of a powerful indigenous vernacular created when the Spanish met the native peoples, sophisticated European designers immigrating to the country, and a long period when it was cut off from the international flow of capital and ideas. But now a new generation of young architects is redefining this tradition in the most creative and exciting ways. One of those young designers—Frida Escobedo—is in New York and will be presenting her work at the Swiss Institute on Saturday. Escobedo will discuss her recent work and overall practice with Beatrice Galilee, associate curator of architecture and design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Escobar founded the studio Perro Rojo with Alejandro Alarcón in 2003, and, since 2006, has worked as an independent architect. She has said of her work, "In sum these don't pretend to announce any form of grandeur, but rather expose their minutia. They are nothing more and nothing less than substrates, processed through participation, their means of production never finished, always turning anew, lineworks and lattices buried beneath a deep tissue of milieu and event." It all happen at the Swiss Institute in Soho at 18 Wooster Street on Saturday, November 8 at 4:30p.m.
The Web Swiss Institute New York Through April 28 Jon Kessler’s The Web, currently on view at the Swiss Institute through April 28, is an immersive array of monitors, enlarged MacBooks, cameras, mechanical and animatronic sculptures—the latter of the artist himself—set to a sound track of the eponymous Apple computer chime. Enabled through mobile technology, the environment plugs you into a closed-circuit feedback loop. You download an iPhone app that allows you to feed your experience of the installation into the system as your movements are also simultaneously tracked, captured, and fed into the system. Cleverly re-staging Jean Tinguely’s self destructive drawing machine for the digital age, you are only image. Caught in this web, you are broadcast at those moments when you think you are most in control. You appear only to disappear and then to reappear somewhere else again, and again. You have your images, but The Web has you. At 7pm, Saturday, April 28 at the Swiss Institute, Jon Kessler will hold a press conference/performance announcing the launch of his latest business enterprise, GlblVlgIdiot, devoted to the creation of iPhone apps similar to The Web that "bridge the gap between life and art." Click here for reservations.