Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show
Institute of Contemporary Art
University of Pennsylvania
118 South 36th St., Philadelphia, PA
Through August 12
While Stefan Sagmeister is known as a graphic designer, his work often subverts the boundary between design and art. For his first museum exhibition in the United States, Sagmeister will present a vision of his journey to find happiness, taking over the second-floor galleries and Ramp in addition to interstices throughout the museum. The narrative of the exhibition is structured using personal maxims as expressed through typographic investigations. Alongside these maxims appears social data from psychologists, anthropologists, and historians, contextualizing Sagmeister’s experience within the larger factors of age, gender, race, and economics. “I am usually rather bored with definitions,” Sagmeister explains. “Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down.”
Olympia Kazi has resigned as executive director of the Van Alen Institute one year and a day since the opening of Van Alen Books, possibly her most visible contribution to the 100-year-old organization known for its engagement with pressing urban issues through competitions, exhibitions, research, and public programs.
EVOL: Repeat Offender
Jonathan LeVine Gallery
529 West 20th Street, 9th floor
Through May 5
While his artwork might be hanging on the walls of a gallery in Chelsea, Berlin-based street artist Evol adds a distinct element of urban grit to his used-cardboard and spray-paint stencil works now on display as part of his Repeat Offender exhibition. The incredibly detailed views capture the abandonment of low-income German neighborhoods, using the texture of the cardboard base to enhance the paintings’ architectural qualities. “Clean surfaces don’t speak to me, so recording these marks is a process of visually remembering the charm of a place that will soon be painted over,” Evol said in a statement. Besides his cardboard paintings, Evol is also showing paintings on metal and photographs on his 2009 installation from a slaughterhouse in Dresden, Germany.
Brooklyn-based architecture practice Bureau V unleashed a spectacular design for the Original Music Workshop, a new non-profit arts organization which will open in 2013 with a wide range of musical programming, from classical to jazz to experimental sound. Located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the performance center was designed in collaboration with engineering gurus Arup and features state of the art acoustical technologies.
It wasn’t a usual trip to the World Trade Center site today as AN segued over to the river to get a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Enterprise’s flyover. We caught the shuttle on its second loop at 10:55 on the dot. The pristine prototype shuttle skimmed south over New Jersey on its way round the Statue of Liberty. In all, a very uplifting day when combined with news that the One World Trade will likely surpass the Empire State Building as the city’s tallest building by this Monday. Come summer the shuttle will make a barge trip up the river to its new home at the Intrepid Museum. No news yet on speculation that new building across the street from the museum might house the shuttle.
Newly Drawn: Emerging Finnish Architects
The Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
Through April 30
A shift is occurring in Finnish architecture as a new generation of firms is emboldened by a unique competition culture that allows anonymous submissions from young and established architects alike. Helsinki is undergoing a major process of renewal with the transformation of former industrial and harbor areas to new uses; as such, large-scale commissions are available to otherwise inexperienced practices with new approaches to the city, such as Kilden Performing Arts Center by ALA Architects (above) and Kuokkala Church by Lassila Hirvilammi (below).