Never Built: Los Angeles
A+D Architecture and Design Museum
6032 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
July 27–September 29th, 2013
It is difficult to envision the city of Los Angeles any differently than it exists today, but AN West editor Sam Lubell and co-curator Greg Goldin, in collaboration with Clive Wilkinson Architects, have organized an exhibition at the Architecture and Design Museum that grants visitors the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of the city as it could have been. The team gathered a diverse assortment of renderings, models, and various media depicting parks, buildings, master plans, and transportation schemes that were designed with the intention of being built, but were deemed too novel to actually be brought to life. The collection features unrealized projects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1925 Civic Center Plan, William H. Evans’s 1939 design for the Tower of Civilization, and B+U Architect’s 2009 design for an office building on Firestone Boulevard, as well as many other projects that, had they been carried out, would have completely changed the physical reality of the city of Los Angeles.
Cut ‘n’ Paste: From Architectural Assemblage to Collage City
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY
Through December 1
Cut ‘n’ Paste: From Architectural Assemblage to Collage City, on view at The Museum of Modern Art from July 10 to December 1, examines the essential yet overlooked role of collage in architectural representation. The exhibition places Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s early photomontages next to the cut-and-pasted experiments of artists, photographers, and graphic designers. Together, these pieces suggest an immersive “collage city,” originally conceived by Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter in the 1970s, that becomes animated through superimposing various elements.
Reprogramming the City
Boston Society of Architects Space
290 Congress Street, Suite 200
Through September 29
BSA Space presents a mixed-media exhibition, Reprogramming the City, curated by urban designer Scott Burnham. The works on display—videos, photographs, media stations, renderings, models—explore how the built environments of cities around the world are being retrofitted to accommodate new urban inhabitants and visitors. The exhibit also includes examples of urban infrastructure and systems that are being reimagined to reinvent a more functional urban landscape. There are 40 innovative examples from London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and Boston that seek to develop new ways of urban design from within the city.
Tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice. On the occasion, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open the doors on a major solo show of the work of James Turrell, called simply James Turrell. It’s a fitting day to open an exhibition on the American artist. Since the 1960s, Turrell has developed a diverse body of work that uses light as material and medium. The centerpiece of the show is Aten Reign, a site-specific installation that fills Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous rotunda. Made from a series of interlocking fabric cones that relate to the Guggenheim’s interior ramps, Aten Reign interlaces the prevailing daylight with subtly changing color fields produced by concealed LED fixtures. Viewed from below, on reclining benches or lying flat on the floor, with the gentle bubbling of the Guggenheim’s fountain providing aural accompaniment, the installation provides a meditative, perception altering experience.
Buster Simpson // Surveyor
The Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue, Seattle
Through October 13
Buster Simpson is a Seattle-based artist who has dedicated his artistic career to developing community-focused and urban environmentalist public art projects. For more than forty years he has created site-specific, agitation and propaganda works that have not only troubled neighborhoods to think about the health of their communities but also suggested local solutions to global issues. This exhibition at the Frye Art Museum features some of Simpson’s most compelling works, filled with explicit messages and rich metaphors, such as his “Hudson River Purge” (1991), a video performance in which he addresses the problem of acid rain by dropping 42 ½-pound soft limestone discs, or “antacid pills,” into the Hudson River, neutralizing the acidity of the water. This collection of Simpson’s public artwork celebrates his artistic legacy and captures the regional and global impact of his work.
Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Through September 2, 2013
Abelardo Morell is a Cuban-born American photographer who over the past 25 years has used photography and his unique way of looking at the world to create compelling works of art. Morell finds inspiration for his pictures in the environment he is most comfortable in, his home. The subjects of Morell’s photographs are common household objects—still lives of books and money—but the photographer is most known for his Camera Obscura series. To create these unique, large-format photographs, Morell cuts out a small opening in a dark room that reveals a view of the outside world. An upside down image of the outside is then projected back into the interior of the room. Morell then photographs a projection of the outside world set against the common objects that fill a room’s interior, such as a bed, or a table of stacked books. This exhibition features more than 100 of the artist’s works in which he experimented with various techniques, including photograms, still-life tableaux, stop-motion studies, and the tent camera.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Avenue
Before his passing at the young age of 57, Los-Angeles based artist Mike Kelley created an exact duplicate of his childhood home in the Westland area of Detroit, on-wheels. The artist intended to use the mobile-home as a community center, it’s rooms dedicated to hosting local events and providing community services and education programs, save for the two-story basement, which he would close to the public and use as his private underground studio. Kelley was never able to use his studio. He tragically committed suicide before he could ever see his vision come to life, but his artistic legacy lives on. The mobile home, which provides a solid example of the architecture of working-class neighborhoods in the American Midwest, was wheeled to The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit where it has been transformed into a center for community programs, just as Kelley intended.
Valerie Hegarty: Alternative Histories
The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Valerie Hegarty: Alternative Histories is part of a series at the Brooklyn Museum that asks artists to stage the museum’s Period Rooms with site-specific art. In Hegarty’s work, featured in the Cupola House parlor and the dining room, she explores themes of colonization, Manifest Destiny, and repressed histories. Her display in the Cupola House includes a Native American patterned rug and portraits of George Washington and an anonymous Native American Chief. The rug looks to be tattered with unkempt plants and roots growing over it and the portraits appear to be engaged with one another. In the dining room, 19th-century still-life paintings come to life with fruit overflowing from their frames and being attacked by black three-dimensional crows, referencing Alfred Hitchcock and segregation, among other cultural themes.
A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living
The Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Through September 8
Archibald Quincy Jones (1913–1979) was a Los Angeles–based architect known both for the glamorous homes he designed for actors like Gary Cooper, as well as his dedication to the redevelopment of middle-class housing using effective, innovative, and sustainable building methods during the 1950s and 60s. His 5,000 built projects were centered on the premise of “better living” and “greenbelt planning.” He experimented with materials like plywood, steel, and masonry block construction and intentionally built in locations where his buildings would have access to natural light, air, ventilation, and views. This exhibition is presented as a part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. The documentation on view—including original architectural drawings taken from the architect’s personal and professional archive, a case study house model, and vintage photographs—highlights a variety of Jones’s projects, including community developments, churches, libraries, restaurants, residential homes, work spaces, and schools.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
Through July 7
Sopheap Pich is a contemporary Cambodian painter and sculptor known particularly for his unique rattan and bamboo sculptures. He uses these two culturally meaningful materials to create organically flowing, three-dimensional, open-weave forms. Most of his works emulate the naturally fluid forms of human anatomy and plant life. For example, “Morning Glory,” a mesh sculpture inspired by the blooming vine that served as an important source of nourishment for the Cambodian population during the 1970s, gently slinks across the floor before gracefully opening into a delicate flower. This exhibition features ten of the Cambodian artist’s most important works, which appear to be weightless, but deliver deep and complex statements about culture, faith, nature, the rich, and the sometimes-tragic history of Cambodia.
Sean Kelly Gallery
Through June 22
There is a renewed interest in the west of Soviet modern architecture from the Cold War and its strong and determined sculptural form. Much of the work was barely known in the west—at least in this country—and has come as a revelation to scholars and critics. A recent exhibition Soviet Modernism 1955-1991 at the Architekturzentrum in Vienna and a fascinating exhibit Cold War Cool Digital at Pratt Institute featured Soviet designed pre-fabricated and globally distributed Cold War Era housing systems. Both of these exhibits featured the ambitious and determined socialist realism that one would expect from work of this period, but now an exhibition, Irreversible, at the Sean Kelly Gallery by the Havana- and Madrid-based group Los Carpinteros features work that expresses what it felt like to be the receiver of these Soviet-inspired architectural and sculptural forms and their realist messages.