The Outdoor Office
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Through July 15
Jonathan Olivares takes a human-centered approach to industrial design and research. His 2011 book A Taxonomy of Office Chairs, published by Phaidon, provides an encyclopedic history of the office chair from 1840 to present day; building on this research, Olivares presents the speculative project The Outdoor Office (above). The advent of mobile communication means that work can be done outside of traditional offices and that the utility of outdoor space is no longer limited to recreation and leisure. Olivares examines how productive work environments can be created with new types of outdoor furniture and architecture, with consideration of privacy, shelter, and adaptability. The exhibition showcases the research and results of his findings, with images drawn from television, film, and existing offices, in addition to conceptual projects and models developed for new outdoor work spaces.
With investment in American cities on the rise, mixed-use development is all the buzz, but architect Deborah Berke says we must be careful not to leave industry out of the mix. “We need to sway mixed-use back to the direction of a real mix. We’ve gone to all residential,” she said. Berke and critic Noah Biklen just finished teaching an architectural studio at Yale on boutique urban manufacturing, where students explored bringing a bourbon distillery to downtown Louisville, Kentucky.
If Foreign Office Architects’ first project, the huge Yokohama International Port Terminal in Japan, was the vast scale of rolling dunes, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland—begun when the firm was still known as FOA and carried to completion by Farshid Moussavi Architecture—is compact as a cube. And size has made all the difference in keeping on track through the economic downturn with the $27.2 million building poised for opening in October.
The Sun Pavilion, winner of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s design competition in conjunction with their Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World Fairs, 1851-1939, is now open. Completed in 81 days, the pavilion is an expression of the innovation that reflects the ideals of World’s Fairs. Read More
Urban Visions: American Works on Paper, 1900-1950
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road
Through September 30
An upcoming exhibition at The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Alliance Gallery will explore the ways in which artists dealt with the rise of industrial modernization and urbanity. In the first half of the 20th century, rapidly changing cities served as inspiration for new portrayals of human expression within these new environments. “The spectacle of metropolitan life” is presented through 25 works from IMA’s print collection, including lithographs, etchings, and engravings from well-known artists such as George Bellows, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, Reginald Marsh, and Isabel Bishop. The exhibition will display the art alongside vintage construction photos from the Chicago and New York skyscraper boom, providing context for these early interpretations of the city. Pieces from lesser-known artist and architect Gerald Kenneth Geerlings, whose aquatinted technical drawings of the emerging cityscape highlight the juxtaposition of emotional romanticism and technological progress, will be on display at IMA for the first time since 1970.
Sarah Morris: Points on a Line
The Wexner Center
1871 North High Street
Through April 15
Points On A Line, a 2010 film by artist Sarah Morris, takes two iconic buildings as its central characters, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Illinois and Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut (above). Commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which owns both properties, the film is a meditation on the relationship between the buildings—Johnson, an acolyte of Mies and inspired by Farnsworth drawings, happened to complete his New Canaan house first—and the structures as they exist today. But it is the relationship of the architects themselves that becomes Morris’ narrative thread, serving as a springboard to explore their other architectural overlap: Johnson’s glamorized corporate interiors for the Four Seasons, the power-broker restaurant in the base of the Mies-designed Seagram building in Manhattan. Points on A Line underscores how our perception of a space is affected not just by its design but also its mythology.