To get a sense of Jason Kelly Johnson’s vision for buildings of the future, drop by the Buckminster Fuller show on view at SFMOMA through July 29. Johnson’s San Francisco-based studio Future Cities Lab was one of the firms chosen to represent Fuller’s legacy in the Bay Area. You’ll see the motorized model for the HYDRAMAX Port Machine, a waterfront “urban-scale robotic structure” that harvests rainwater and fog, designed by Johnson and his partner Nataly Gattegno—a dynamic concept that makes today’s built environment look positively lazy by comparison.
Better yet, go learn from Johnson firsthand. On July 27 Johnson will explore how technical tools like Grasshopper, Firefly, and Arduino can help tap the potential of buildings in “Responsive Building Facades,” a special workshop that is part of AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.
The Architecture and Legacy of Pietro Belluschi
Oregon Historical Society
1200 Southwest Park Avenue
Through September 9
Shortly after migrating from Italy in 1922 and graduating from Cornell, Pietro Belluschi began practicing architecture in Portland with A. E. Doyle. He would quickly become one of the most important architects in America, first building churches, homes, and office buildings in Oregon and later throughout the country. Belluschi’s early work in Oregon contributed to the style of Pacific Northwest Regionalism, reflecting the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Arts and Crafts movement as well as the nascent modernist style. In 1951, when he became dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Belluschi continued to innovate in the field of modernism by collaborating with firms on buildings around the country. For the first time, Belluschi’s contributions to architecture will be exhibited along with personal mementos from the Belluschi Family archive.
Currents 35: Tara Donovan
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 North Art Museum Drive
Through October 7
The work of Tara Donovan demands close reading. By using strict rule-based systems, Donovan accumulates individual pieces of material into installations that defy easy identification. Milwaukee Art Museum chief curator Brady Roberts explains, “Donovan’s process involves selecting one material and finding one unique solution for its construction, whether it’s folding, gluing, stacking, or pressing.” Taking cues from 1960s conceptual artists like Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, whose works rely on rule-based processes, Donovan obscures her quotidian materials to compose spectacular objects. The exhibition includes several major works including Haze, a 32-foot wall covered in approximately three million straws, Unititled, 2008 on polyester film (detail, above), and Drawing (Pins), 2011 composed of gatorboard, paint, and nickel-plated steel pins.
Edward Burtynsky: Oil
Nevada Museum of Art, Feature Gallery South
160 West Liberty Street, Reno, NV
Through September 23
One of the most important topics of our time, oil and its industry serve as the departure point for the work of one of the most admired photographers working today. From 1997 through 2009, Edward Burtynsky traveled the world chronicling oil, its production, distribution, and use. Through 50 large-scale photographs, Burtynsky illustrates stories about this vital natural resource, the landscapes altered by its extraction, and the sprawl caused by the development of infrastructure needed to transport it. Behind the awe-inspiring photography is an epic tale about the lifeblood of mankind’s existence in the 21st century. Curated by the Center for Art + Environment, Oil forces the viewer to contend with the scale and implications of humanity’s addiction to energy.
Judith Turner: The Flatness of Ambiguity
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI
Opening June 14
Judith Turner’s photographs are the subject of the University of Michigan-Museum of Art’s new exhibition The Flatness of Ambiguity. Turner’s work captures architecture through an intense editing process where architecture is reinterpreted through unusual views. Operating from severe angles, the photographs capture the buildings in black-and-white compositions that play with the ambiguity of light, shadow, and tonality. Cropping them to further pull the buildings from their context, Turner abstracts the built landscape, transposing buildings into often unrecognizable flat artworks. Turner’s highly abstract signature style heightens the aesthetic character of her subject matter and reveals visual relationships that are not apparent when experiencing the building in traditional ways, in person or in photographs. This exhibition consists of approximately forty works, which span Turner’s three-decade-long career.
Bruno Cals: Horizons
511 West 25th Street #607
Through September 28
For city dwellers, the horizon line where the earth meets the sky can be impossible to find, hidden by the topography of the skyline. By pointing his camera upward, Bruno Cals repositions the horizon and reframes the built environment in terms of landscape itself. Cals deliberately obfuscates the subjects of his series; the photographs read not as structure but as texture and line.
Collab: Four Decades of Giving
Modern and Contemporary Design
Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Through Fall 2012
Few art institutions have design collections to rival the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s, thanks to the support of Collab, the Group for Modern and Contemporary Design at the museum. Since its founding in 1970, Collab has been an enthusiastic partner in the acquisition and promotion of modern and contemporary design. Spanning the history of design from 19th-century industrial arts to contemporary works, the collection showcases the history of design presented chronologically. From modernist furniture design by Charles and Ray Eames and Scandinavian designs by Alvar Aalto to post-modern designs of Ettore Sottsass (above), and contemporary work by Frank Gehry and Philippe Starck, these works showcase the unique support that Collab has given to the museum’s collection.
Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
Through September 3
The Land Art movement emerged in the 1960s as a mode of expression that used the earth as a medium and removed art from traditional context of galleries and museums. Focusing on the early years of experimentation to the mid-1970s when Land Art became an institutional category, Ends of the Earth will provide historical context to the movement. The exhibition reveals the movement’s social and political engagement, understanding Land Art as a media as well as sculptural practice shaped by language, photography, film, and television. Works by more than 80 international artists and projects will be on display, including Michael Heizer’s renowned work Double Negative (1969–70) from MOCA’s permanent collection. An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, featuring reflections from curators, critics, and dealers who contributed to Land Art and its development in the 1960s and ’70s as well as contemporary scholars who position Land Art in the critical discourse of today.