Century of the Child
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
Through November 5
Is design for grown ups? Hardly. While a child’s own designs might be limited to block towers or crayon masterpieces, design touches nearly every part of early life. Children use toys, wear clothing, play in playgrounds, use furniture, and sit in classrooms, all of which are created specifically for them. Opening at the Museum of Modern Art, Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000 surveys the material world constructed for the child over the 20th Century. Visions of children and how design has followed or shaped their perceptions over the past century are considered in the exhibition. Take Frederich Froebel, whose famous toys (a gift box edition, pictured below) were favorites of Frank Lloyd Wright as a child. Froebel designed his blocks to be given in a sequence, educating children as they learned and matured over time. The exhibition identifies and merges the many facets of design that consider children, presenting these products together and revealing the ideas and ambitions of the designers who created them.
Russian Posters – Rodchenko 120
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
Herron School of Art and Design Marsh Gallery
735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN
Through August 24
In recognition of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Rodchenko, Moscow Design Week organized a poster campaign honoring the Russian avant-garde artist, graphic designer, and photographer. Commissioning work from twenty prominent Russian poster artists, the campaign sought to create a dialogue between contemporary graphic designers and a master of the discipline. Sergei Serov, curator of the project, writes, “The posters are not only a tribute to the great artist, but a reflection on the historical destiny of graphic design.” The posters all bear Rodchenko’s influence in unique ways. Elements from some of his most notable designs are repurposed, utilizing Rodchenko’s own language of collage and geometric composition. These strict geometries inform Nikolai Shtok’s entry, above, where simple geometric forms are abstracted and composed as a Rodchenko-inspired typography.
Joseph Albers Painting on Paper
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
Through October 14
Josef Albers (1888–1976) was both a student and professor at the Bauhaus, one of the most influential art and design schools of the 20th century. Known for his precise use of line and unparalleled sense of color, Albers meticulously worked through his ideas in successive studies on paper. Josef Albers in America: Painting on Paper is an opportunity to see Albers’ process at work. The exhibition features approximately 60 studies spanning most of Albers’ career, from the 1930s through the 70s, many of which include hand written notations, including architectural inspirations. The studies, evidence of his mind and hand working toward final painting, are expressive and moving in their own right. The Morgan exhibition is the only US venue for the show, which will travel to several European cities.
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA
Through August 12
The SCI-Arc Media Archive, comprising four decades of lectures, symposia, and events from many of the most creative contemporary architects and thinkers, is scheduled to go online this fall. In anticipation of this resource becoming publicly accessible, the MAK Center (above) presents selected material from the archive curated by architects and architectural historians, each composing a singular argument out of their selections. Focusing on Peter Cook’s record 11 talks, architect Roger Sherman presents “Cook Off,” portraying the architect as a SCI-Arc “doppelganger” and lens through which the school may consider its “alternative” status. Scholar Dr. Paulette Singley offers “Teasers, Ticklers, and Twizzlers,” a look at interdisciplinary performance and architectural research. The architect, historian, and curator Anthony Fontenot presents “City Talk,” reflecting on the evolving dialogue on cities at SCI-Arc with a monitor dedicated to excerpts from each decade. Architect Marcelyn Gow investigates the role of drawing in architectural practice with “Drawn Out,” focusing on its evolution in our era of computational design.
Socrates Sculpture Park
3205 Vernon Boulevard
Through October 21
Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League of New York present the inaugural recipients of the park’s “Folly” grant and residency for emerging architects and designers to New Yorkers Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp. The residency was established to investigate the intersection of architectural and sculptural disciplines and the increasing overlap in references, materials, and techniques between the two. To this end, young architects and designers were asked to propose a contemporary interpretation of the folly, a structure whose purpose is purely decorative but architectural in form. Haferd and Knapp’s winning submission, Curtain (above), is composed of a series of slender wooden posts that define a space of 20 feet on each side and a triangulated roof canopy approximately 8 to 12 feet high. White chains, some suspended between posts and some left hanging, will suggest occupiable spaces within the structure and will sway with the breeze off the East River—a play on the modernist conception of the “curtain wall.”
Storefront for Art and Architecture
97 Kenmare Street
Through July 28
Storefront for Art and Architecture presents 30 newly commissioned drawings of its gallery space by emerging and established architects, now being auctioned on the Storefront website through Saturday. The gallery is plastered in wallpaper composed of images sourced from architectural drawings produced in the past ten years and describes graphic tools deployed to express properties of drawing that the architectural drawing itself cannot represent, such as birds suggesting movement or green surfaces conveying ecologic awareness.
Curator and director of Storefront Eva Franch writes in a statement, “An image (and its after-image) carries within itself a history or performative script of characters, discourses, and conventions. During the last ten years there has been a resurgence of certain representational devices and clichés that operate almost as placeholders or decorative devices to an architecture unable to draw itself.”
The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains at World’s Fairs
45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO
Through September 9
In conjunction with Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851–1939, the Nelson-Atkins Museum presents the first solo American exhibition of Belgian artist Ives Maes. In contrast to the technological and stylistic innovation showcased in the companion exhibition, Maes provides a study of the lasting artifacts of the world’s fair utopian aspirations. The photographs uncover fair grounds as they stand today, sometimes repurposed but often abandoned or in ruins (such as the site of London’s Crystal Palace, above), juxtaposing the optimism of the architects’ vision with the reality of the present. Co-curator Catherine L. Futter explains, “Ives’ visually compelling images and sculptural presentation lead us to examine the condition, context and activities of the sites in the present, yet evoke the magnificent and progressive ideals of these global events.”
Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago
Through September 23
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago brings together 50 international 20th and 21st century artists for a show that investigates our enduring fascination with building into the sky. Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity presents a history of these iconic structures and their impact on our understanding of technology, society, and myth. The exhibition is divided into five themed sections. “Verticality” reflects the optimism of building upward and the pursuit of iconic form. “Personification of Architecture” juxtaposes human and architectural form, placing the body in terms of building and vice-versa. “Urban Critique” examines the effects of modern housing on its inhabitants and the dislocation and alienation that can result from architecture’s utopian impulse. “Improvisation” records occupants’ responses to their built environment and the ways they transform and humanize buildings as documented in Marie Bovo’s courtyard perspective, above. “Vulnerability of Icons” considers our changing relationship to tall buildings post-9/11.
Design for the Real World REDUX
329 Broome Street, New York
Through July 15
Forty years ago, the Austrian designer and scholar Victor J. Papanek wrote in his influential book Design for the Real World, “Design, if it is to be ecologically responsible and socially responsive, must be revolutionary and radical.” His aim was to alert designers to their impact on the world, arguing for sustainable design generations before the term became a buzzword. This exhibition, organized by the Victor J. Papanek Foundation at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, in partnership with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, will showcase four winning entries and thirteen finalists from the inaugural international competition Design for the Real World REDUX. The winning projects include a social mapping platform for local sustainability initiatives, One Laptop Per Child XO-3 Tablet computer by Fuseproject, and Planetary ONE + Terreform ONE’s Urbaneering Brooklyn 2110: Ecological City of the Future, and wind powered streetlights by Alberto Vasquez (above).
131 Allen Street, New York
Through June 30
To architects and Chicago residents, Alan Wiener‘s resin sculpture Palace of the Clam’s Dream might evoke the distinctive scalloped plan of Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina Towers complex. While Wiener does admit admiring recent Chicago architecture—namely Studio Gang’s Aqua Tower—the sources of inspiration for his pieces tend to be more ancient, from Cistercian abbeys to the rock-carved domes of Cappadocia, Turkey, and, in the case of Palace, Japanese netsuke figures. “I like to imagine getting inside these spaces,” said Wiener, aiming to make forms whose nature is ambiguous. Read More
Artists X Architects
1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
Through July 31
As technology progresses and information expands, the line between art and architecture blurs. LA journalist Tibby Rothman knew this well when she put together the new exhibition Artists X Architects, presented by arts group V-SCAPE at Joe’s Restaurant in Venice. The event paired 11 local architects with 11 local artists. The conceit was simple: the designers met and selected existing work that revealed the similarities in their approaches. The result is more powerful than you might think, exposing two professions that have a lot to learn from each other. Some similarities are uncanny, revealing the fields’ parallels in research, material, form, and feeling. Kulapat Yantrasast’s building blocks for a bridge over the LA River, embedded with debris (including scrunched underwear), evoke the raw loneliness of Laddie John Dill’s excavated carvings out of textured stone. A resin-coated block of soda cans made for a Santa Monica housing project by architect Lawrence Scarpa was accompanied by a woven artwork (above) of soda cans by Alexis Smith. Smith’s artwork looks like mosaic tile while the block looks like a piece of sculpture. The three-dimensional sketches of architect Duane Oyler look like art while the precise graphite sketches of a cut diamond by artist Jennifer Wolf look like architecture. Pieces of Mark Mack’s sketches appear to be extracted from the colorful, amorphous art of Huguette Caland.