A new exhibition will bring the immersive environments of Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse will present several of the artist's responsive artworks that use biometric sensors to modulate visual and sonic effects. The works play with the growing ubiquity of public surveillance, frequently used to monitor and control large populations, a topic that designers and artists are increasingly exploring for its ethical and aesthetic implications. Lozano-Hemmer's works in the show record data like heartbeats and fingerprints from visitors and volunteers and translate that information into the gentle pulsing of a field of light bulbs, a projected grid of skin, or waves in a pool of water. The works play with the way sensors can transform biological phenomena into ephemeral robotic effects, in the process dehumanizing the lived experience. Rather than focusing on the political implications of big data collection, the works instead suggest that there might be something beautiful in the role of sensor technology in modern life and that people should feel empowered to assert control over when and how they give their information. The show opens on November 1 and will run through April 28, 2019. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Independence Avenue and 7th St Washington, D.C. 20560 Free admission
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A 27-acre expansion of Arlington National Cemetery opened yesterday in Arlington, Virginia, with a ceremonial burial for two unknown Union soldiers from the Civil War. The $87-million addition, designed by landscape firm Sasaki, design architect Beyer Blinder Belle, and Jacobs Engineering, added 27,282 interment spaces to the cemetery, including 6,000 pre-dug graves and 16,000 niche wall burial spaces for cremated remains, according to Military Times. The development, dubbed the Millennium Project, began nearly two decades ago when the cemetery announced it would likely run out of space to bury the nation’s veterans by 2040. Currently housing over 400,000 gravesites, Arlington only has about 100,000 spaces left, even after the addition, but the new land will extend the 154-year-old cemetery’s lifespan by 10 years. Construction on the project began in 2014 just above the northwestern part of Arlington’s current plot. The new section takes over land formerly used as a recreation spot for a nearby military base, the cemetery’s construction staging area, and woodlands owned by the National Park Service. The Millenium Project is the first time in 40 years the site has undergone any significant additions, and it won’t be the last. By 2025, another project called the “Southern Expansion” will add 37 acres of land to Arlington, taking over the location of the demolished Navy Annex building. Both projects will provide new, space-saving opportunities for the cemetery. The new addition features pre-placed concrete grave liners that ease grave openings and prevent major amounts of on-site excavation. They boast only a 3-by-8-foot footprint compared to the 5-by-10-foot footprints found throughout the rest of Arlington, wrote Military Times. Shelters made of granite and concrete were also constructed for the expansion, along with new walkways, stainless-steel step railings, and stone gardens. The landscape additionally features new trees, plantings, and shrubs native to the region.
The Library of Congress announced last week that it has digitized its massive collection of personal papers and correspondence detailing the life and work of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. ARCHITECT reported that the resource comes online ahead of the bicentennial of Olmsted’s birth, which will be celebrated in 2022. Olmsted is best known for designing both Central Park and Prospect Parks in New York, as well as the U.S. Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C., and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Many of his long-loved landscapes across the United States and Canada, including his designs for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and Montreal’s Mont Royal Park, are still vibrantly maintained and visited today. His vision for these sites and more can now be studied via the Olmstead Papers on the Library’s website. The collection includes about 24,000 items—that’s 47,300 images—dating from 1777 to 1952. The bulk of the papers, including family letters, journals, drafts of his articles and books, as well as correspondence with his clients and colleagues, spans from 1838 to 1903. The collection is organized online in eight sections and additionally unveils Olmsted’s project proposals, reports, drawings, speeches, lectures, and his legal and financial records. The papers were acquired by the Library as a gift from Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and other family members from 1947-1948 and 1968-1969. Laura Wood Roper, one of Olmsted’s first biographers, gave the Library nearly 3,000 items in 1975. Two additional items purchased six years later were transferred from the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection to the Olmsted Papers in 1996. According to the Library, the Olmsted Associates Records collection, which documents the work of the architect’s sons and their associates, will also be digitized ahead of the bicentennial celebration.
John Saunders Chase, FAIA (1925–2012) was a Houston architect who realized a large body of work in the city, throughout the state of Texas, and around the United States. At its peak, his office had nearly fifty employees in four cities: Houston, Dallas, Austin, and Washington, D.C. Chase, an African American in a profession that has struggled with diversity and discrimination, achieved many historic firsts during his career. His life, as seen via his personal and professional achievements and the work of younger architects who passed through his office, was on display this spring in Chasing Perfection, a two-part exhibit produced by the Houston Public Library. Born in Maryland, John Chase moved to Austin in the late 1940s after receiving initial architectural training at the Hampton Institute in Virginia and serving in the Army during World War II. He applied to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) School of Architecture after the Sweatt v. Painter Supreme Court decision in 1950 that fought the “separate but equal” policy of racial segregation in college education. After graduation, no firm would hire him, so Chase established his own practice in Houston, and in 1956, he became the first African American architect to be licensed in the state. Throughout his career, he designed churches, homes, union halls, libraries, high schools, fire stations, and institutional buildings, including much of the campus of Texas Southern University. He was a founding member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) in 1970 and received his AIA Fellowship award in 1977. In 1980, Chase was selected by President Jimmy Carter to join the Commission of Fine Arts and was part of that committee during the contentious process of realizing Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. He was the first African American to serve on this commission. During the 1980s, his office was part of a consortium of local architects responsible for the design of the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Chase is survived by his wife, Drucie, and their three adult children. According to Danielle Wilson, the exhibition’s curator, discussions about the show began in 2009 with Chase’s participation. At that time, his architectural archive had been donated to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center’s Architectural Archives, and his personal archive was in the process of being donated to the African American Library at the Gregory School. Wilson’s father grew up next to the Chases in Houston, so she was familiar with the family and immediately knew that she wanted to work on a show about the architect when she joined the staff of the Gregory School. After Chase passed away, it took a number of years to assemble the parts for this successful exhibition. On the second floor of the Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston, letters, photographs, and artifacts were installed alongside photographs of built work, architectural drawings, and hand-drawn renderings. Seen together, Chase’s life and work could be understood through the staging of these personal and professional artifacts, sequenced together to tell a holistic life story. Wilson said, “When I think about architects and their work, everything goes all together. I think it’s great when you have that context of both. I think it makes works more powerful.” The room also included a large–scale model and drawings of the George R. Brown Convention Center mounted on a drafting table. At the Gregory School, the work of four architects who worked with Chase is on display and demonstrates the effect his mentorship had on a subsequent generation of African American architects. “When I was focusing on his work and life, it was hard to tell a comprehensive narrative without talking about these men,” Wilson said. Daniel Bankhead, AIA; Darrell Fitzgerald, FAIA; James Harrison; and Wilbert Taylor all worked at various points with Chase and went on to become professional and community leaders themselves. In February, the library hosted a discussion between these architects, in addition to a conversation with Mrs. Chase and her children. Chasing Perfection offered a powerful portrait of a 20th–century American architect through Chase’s life, work, and impact on the profession. Wall text for the exhibit was excerpted from a manuscript titled The Life and Work of Architect John Saunders Chase: You Can Do More from the Inside, by architectural historian Dr. Wesley Henderson with Andrea Lazar. Both worked for two years to conduct interviews with family members, colleagues, and former employees of John Chase. Henderson and Lazar believe that Chase’s life story deserves to be more widely known since very few biographies of successful black architects have been published. They were very pleased to be able to contribute to the show at the Houston Public Library. Chase’s legacy continues to be explored and celebrated. In February, UT Austin announced that it had purchased one of Chase’s early buildings in east Austin to renovate and use as a community engagement center. While Chasing Perfection closed in early June, Wilson says there are already discussions underway about touring the show at other institutions. She also said a brochure from Chase’s firm and drawing supplies from his office were recently acquired by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. Wilson added that she and Mrs. Chase are “going to go through his personal archives to see what materials might go to the NMAAHC, and the rest will be housed at the African American Library at the Gregory School.” Chase is an important figure among the talented architects who practiced in Houston during the second half of the 20th century. His career opened the door for many architects of color to enter the profession, and he serves as an example of the countless ways in which an architect can effect positive change in the world.
Chasing Perfection: The Work and Life of Architect John S. Chase Houston Public Library Julia Ideson Building
Chasing Perfection: The Legacy of Architect John S. Chase The African American Library at the Gregory School
In an effort to encourage locals to reduce landfill waste and pollution, Washington, D.C. has relaunched a beloved program that wraps recycling trucks in brightly-colored art. The “Designed to Recycle” initiative, put on by the Department of Public Works, selected 15 local artists this year to design graphic artwork for the trucks this summer. Last week, the city released the first two of the newly-wrapped trucks and will continue to launch them in weekly pairs through September 6. The program, which started in 2015, also plans to rewrap and “refresh” five of the trucks that received the treatment during the inaugural year. The project is funded by the Commission on the Arts and Humanities and is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s commitment to expanding the creative economy in the city. “Through the Design to Recycle Project, we are able to support and showcase the talent of our local artists, further enhance the visibility of the city’s recycling efforts, and add to the creative landscape of the District in all eight wards,” said Angie Gates, interim director for the commission, in a statement. As one of the country’s leaders in sustainability and efforts to address climate change, D.C. has worked tirelessly to advance its zero waste goals and introduce green building laws into its current construction market. Here are the 15 selected designs along with the artists: Waste Not by Nicole Hamam; Recycle Now by Michael Marshall Design; Urban Jungle by Jackie Coleman; Nurturing Nature by Kofi Tyus; Untitled by Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann; Untitled by Dean Kessman; Recycled Fish by Carly Rounds; Evolution with an “R” by Gordon Steven Spencer Davis II; Mapping by Santiago Flores-Charneco; Inform, Reduce, Recycle by Minsoo Kang & Andre Sanchez-Montoya; Untitled by Anne Masters; Pop District by Sarah, James & Parvina Gilliam; Recycled Flowers by John Gann; Nuestra Terra I recycle DC by Nicolas F. Shi; and Fair Chard Value by Michael Crossett.
The 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. may have already passed, but the MLB Assembly, a weeklong collection of art, architecture, fashion, and food projects centered around baseball, is worth revisiting. New York-based Snarkitecture contributed to the Assembly, which ran from July 13 through July 16, with their Field installation. Visitors to the Wharf’s District Pier were greeted with a rising forest of baseball bats supported on white plinths and arranged into four diamonds that referenced the layout of a baseball field. At the beginning of Field’s four-day installation, 1,100 baseball bats were mingled with 200 billets, or unfinished raw wood cylinders. A woodturner was stationed in a booth behind the installation and using a lathe, they converted the billets into fresh bats. The project was envisioned as an interactive exhibition, where visitors would enter the rising arrangement of baseball bats and uncover the performance on the other side. Field was constantly evolving and on the last day of the exhibition, the billets had all been swapped out for finished bats. Field was not the only immersive Snarkitecture installation available to those in D.C. Fun House, the sprawling 10-year retrospective of the firm’s work, is on display in the lobby of the National Building Museum for the rest of the summer, and the same sense of spontaneity brought to Field permeates that show.
The largest public art campaign in U.S. history features 52 artist-designed billboards and will commence in September in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, thanks to more than 2000 backers across 52 Kickstarter campaigns. The publicly-funded campaign is part of the 50 State Initiative, organized by For Freedoms, a project sponsored by non-profit arts service organization Artadia. The 50 State Initiative also amasses more than 200 institutional partners and 250 artists to produce “additional billboards, lawn signs, town hall meetings, and special exhibitions to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation around November’s midterm elections,” according to a statement from the organizers. Kickstarter Director of Arts Paton Hindle explained that he was pleased to help the For Freedoms team with their first step. “At their core, both For Freedoms and Kickstarter seek to make art an integral part of society. Having all 52 projects succeed on Kickstarter is an affirmation that the greater global community believes in the power of art to spark dialogue and participation.” The billboards will tackle nationwide topics such as democracy, religion, sexual orientation, expression, and systemic oppression. Through the launching of the 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms hopes to create “a network of artists and institutional partners," as well as to “model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.”
Few know that Native Americans are more likely than any other population group to serve in the U.S. armed forces. A new National Native American Veterans Memorial spotlights the contributions and sacrifices of Native Americans who have served. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. has recently selected the design by artist Harvey Pratt titled “Warriors’ Circle of Honor.” The memorial will break ground in 2019 and is expected to open in the following year. According to a statement from the Smithsonian Museum, Pratt designed “an elevated stainless steel circle” built on a stone fountain in the shape of a drum. The water symbolizes the blessing of holy ceremonies, and a fire will light up at the base of the circle during Veterans Day and other holidays. Pratt is a self-taught Oklahoma-based artist and a Vietnam War veteran. As a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, his work deals with the history and traditions of those people and other Native American communities. Pratt partnered with Hans and Torrey Butzer of Butzer Architects and Urbanism in designing this memorial. Last year, Congress commissioned the museum to build the memorial to honor “the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military since colonial times.”
Makeup brand Il Makiage has opened up a new Soho pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to coincide with the launch of their new 800-product collection. The pavilion’s angular tunnel of ribbons with alternating gloss and matte finishes mimics the makeup’s packaging in exploded form. Each of the ribbons is slightly different and lighting is installed in them and around the mirrors, helping shoppers accurately choose the right color and tone. Kar-Hwa Ho, head of interiors at Zaha Hadid Architects, said that they “wanted to create an environment defined by the woman celebrated by Il Makiage,” adding that the pavilion is intended to be a “personal space that’s all about her.” The mobile pavilion will be open in Soho for six months and a second New York City pavilion will be opening in Flatiron this summer. Zaha Hadid Architects is also developing the permanent Il Makiage New York boutique, as well as locations in D.C. and Miami.
Snarkitecture makes a Fun-House mini-retrospective for the National Building Museum’s Summer block Party
For its 2018 Summer Block Party exhibition, the National Building Museum reenlisted Snarkitecture to create Fun House. The New York-based architecture firm also designed the museum’s 2015 Summer Block Party; BEACH, which covered the 10,000-square-foot Great Hall in white plastic balls, and proved to be one of the most popular Summer Block Party exhibitions ever. This year, Snarkitecture worked with curator Maria Cristina Didero to take a different approach with Fun House, a full-size house with over 50 objects and installations that reference some of the firm’s previous work. Eleven different rooms, a front yard, and a backyard invite visitors to explore and play. “We wanted to make the objects and environments in the show as accessible and interactive as possible, while also respecting the nature of some of the pieces as fragile design objects and ensuring the safety of visitors,” said Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture. “In the end we've aimed to create a balance between moments that are playful and interactive with ones that are reflective and visually engaging.” In the front yard, people will find soft, oversize upholstered letters derived from A Memorial Bowling—a sculptural artwork completed in 2012 for Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium—while a pool filled with white balls— “a domestic version of BEACH” explained Mustonen—occupies the backyard. Inside, functional items and accessories such as Broken Mirror and Pillow as well as limited edition pieces like Break and commissioned works like Beach Chair, provide moments of delight and discovery. “We wanted people to experience the projects in the same direct and tactile way that they would have with the original [versions],” Mustonen said. “With that as a starting point, we worked with Maria Cristina to develop the concept of the house as a framework that would organize the display objects and installations within an environment that would feel both familiar and unknown as visitors explore and discover the different rooms. Maria Cristina's proposal to reframe much of our work within an emotional context was something new for us, but also an idea that resonated with the way that we approach creating unexpected and memorable experiences.” “Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience,” said Mustonen in a press release. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.” Fun House opens at the National Building Museum on July 4 and will run through September 3, though Mustonen hints that it may travel to other locations in the future.
Washington D.C's Hirshhorn Museum has announced a site-specific commission for the Korean artist Lee Ufan that will debut in fall 2019. Approximately ten new sculptures related to the artist’s “Relatum” series will be installed across the museum’s 4.3-acre sculpture garden. An exhibit of Lee’s abstract painting within the museum will accompany the outdoor installation. This is the first time in the institution’s half-century history that its sculpture garden will be dedicated entirely to a single artist. A founder of Japan’s Mono-ha, or "School of Things" movement, Lee’s work emphasizes the relationship between site, materials and the viewer. This holistic treatment of artistic elements appeals to a contemplative and dynamic engagement with the work rather than static perception. The poignancy of Lee’s work derives from the thoughtful assembly of contrasting materials, which are subject to minimal alteration. Lee, who lives in Kamakura, Japan and Paris, will spend the next year conducting site visits to the Hirshhorn Museum. Additionally, Lee will visit individual quarries across the East Coast to source local materials to construct his work. Each sculpture constructed for the installation will relate to the museum’s unique circular form, allowing visitors multiple vantage points from above to view Lee’s work in the plaza below. While the installation will be Lee Ufan's first exhibition on the National Mall, the artist has conducted over 140 one-artist exhibits across the globe. These stand-alone works include 'Resonance' at the 2007 Venice Biennale, a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 2011, and a sprawling display of sculptural works on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.
Inspired by Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, the National Building Museum (NBM) in Washington, D.C. will be hosting Evicted, an immersive exhibition meant to expose visitors to the causes and fallout of eviction. From April 14 through May 19, 2019, guests can see original photography, audio interviews, and new data from Desmond’s Eviction Lab for free. The act of eviction can be a destabilizing force on families, as the evicted are thrust into uncertainty over their housing situation and marked with a blemish on their records that landlords can use to turning them down on rental applications. According to the NBM, “More than 11 million Americans are extremely low-income renters,” and 75 percent of qualified renters don’t receive federal aid. “Until recently, we simply didn’t know how immense this problem was, or how serious the consequences,” said Desmond in a statement. “Eviction does not simply drop poor families into a dark valley, a trying yet relatively brief detour on life’s journey. It fundamentally redirects their way, casting them onto a different, and much more difficult, path. Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.” Evicted will convey this hardship through photographs of the eviction process, interviews with those affected, and infographics specifically commissioned for the show. The Eviction Lab’s repository of national eviction information will be packaged for visitors in an easily digestible manner, as the sheer facts and figures involved are typically overwhelming. Far from simply presenting the problem of eviction in a void, Evicted will highlight affordable housing projects and how local and state governments–as well as nonprofits–are tackling the issue. Ultimately, the museum wants to empower patrons to leave with ideas on how to help those on the precipice in their own neighborhoods and lift up those who have already felt the sting of eviction. “Homes form the building blocks of community life,” said executive director of the National Building Museum, Chase Rynd, in a statement. “We have to reveal what happens when this stability is threatened, as eviction looms—as well as ways to help stem this crisis.”