The architecture school at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco was only founded in 1986 and did not have its own campus until 1997. But the school—housed in a light filled old bus shed in the city’s Potrero Hill Design District—is quickly carving out a unique role for itself as a center of architectural creativity and pedagogy. The College, with its dynamic president and acting director of architecture David Gissen, seems to be trying to work forward from its Arts and Crafts traditions (the CCA itself was founded in 1907 in Oakland) but link up with the vibrant and young tech industries and attitude that proliferate in this south of Market area. A sign of this new spirit is a small but fascinating exhibit, An Olfactory Archive: 1738-1969, curated by Gissen and new faculty member Irene Cheng and designed by Brian Price and Matt Hutchinson.
On View> “3 in 1: Contemporary Explorations in Architecture & Design” at the Art Institute of Chicago
3 in 1: Contemporary Explorations in Architecture & Design
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Through January 5, 2014
3 in 1 Contemporary Explorations in Architecture and Design is broken down into three small separate exhibitions each revealing different categories: architecture, product design, and fashion. In Reality Lab, the Japanese designer Issey Miyake, head of Reality Lab Studio, reveals a spectrum of diverse and innovative products resulting from his experiments with material, structure, and form. The exhibition includes Miyake’s two products lines: 132 5 and IN EI, which are based on origami-folding techniques that create two-dimensional geometric patterns and unfold into remarkable voluminous forms.
Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492–1898
200 Eastern Parkway
September 20–January 12, 2014
Within a hundred years of the Spanish empire first expanding its borders into the Americas, an abundance of incredible wealth had been amassed in the New World. This September, Brooklyn Museum is opening its doors and inviting visitors into an elite Spanish Colonial home. They will be showcasing extravagant domestic collections, which give insight into the private lives and power struggles of Spain’s New World Elite. Behind Closed Doors, will include paintings, sculptures, luxury goods from everyday life, manuscripts, textiles, and decorative objects. The exhibition explores themes that include representations of the indigenous and Creole elite, rituals in the home, the sala de estrado (women’s sitting room), the bedchamber, and social identity through material culture. The Brooklyn Museum began acquiring domestic Spanish colonial art in 1941 and now the collection ranks among the finest in the nation. This is the first major exhibition in the United States to explore the private lives and interiors of Spain’s New World elite. Richard Aste, Curator of European Art, organized Behind Closed Doors, which is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue co-published by the Museum and the Monacelli Press.
Look for Beauty: Philip Johnson and Art Museum Design
Sheldon Museum of Art
12th and R streets, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Through October 13, 2013
The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska, is currently celebrating the works of Philip Johnson, the influential American architect who promoted the International Style and, later, defined postmodernist architecture. One of his most iconic projects was the design of the Seagram building in Manhattan, a project undertaken in partnership with Mies Van Der Rohe. This particular project marked a decisive shift in Johnson’s career. Look for Beauty examines the design journey of Philip Johnson through the examination of three of his earlier museum buildings: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (now the Sheldon Museum of Art). These three projects form a coherent study of Johnson’s developing personal style in the early years of his career. The exhibition includes models, plans, furniture, photographic murals, and archival materials such as correspondence, exhibition photographs, and catalogs.
On View> “Thomas Bayrle: Chrysler Tapete” Opens September 6 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
Thomas Bayrle: Chrysler Tapete
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO
September 6, 2013 to October 27, 2013
From September 6 to October 27, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and chief curator Dominic Molon present Chrysler Tapete (1970) as part of the institution’s ongoing Front Room program. One of a series of wallpaper works that German artist Thomas Bayrle has produced since the late 1960s, Chrysler Tapete features the repeated image of an automobile until its distinctiveness subsides into a colossal collectiveness. The purpose is to signify the tension between positive, shared experiences and the feeling of oppressive uniformity. Bayrle, a leader in European Pop Art—frequently referred to as Grey Pop—continues to experiment with painting, sculpture, fashion, and graphic design and currently lives and works in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Through solo and group exhibitions, his objective is to uncover how our society of mass production and consumption influences our understanding of the world. Bayrle investigates how physical space, scale, and pattern influence the observer. Chrysler Tapete, consisting of silkscreen print on paper, has an intense visual presence that provides visitors with a new way to experience the exhibition space itself, a fitting role as the installation coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Contemporary Art Museum’s building.
On View> Museum of Arts and Design Presents “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design” Through September 15
You may think you know wood, but this exhibition stretches the material beyond convention into the 21st century, and has a distinct sense of humor. Artists and designers play with the form, starting with artist Martin Puryear, who inspired curator Lowery Sims to explore trends that destabilize conventional methods. His specially commissioned piece for this show is a puffy, tufted wing-back chair that looks so soft you could sink into it, but it is actually solid pine. Its title, A Skeuomorphic Wing Chair, 2012, refers to the ersatz, an object made to resemble another material to make the new look comfortably old and familiar, like a digital notebook app that mimics yellow lined paper. Weight is conveyed differently in Yuya Ushida’s Sofa_XXXX, 2010, a delicate lattice comprised of 8,000 recycled bamboo chopsticks, that can be expanded or contracted; or Mark Moskovitz’s Facecord, 2012, which looks like a stockpiled cord of logs, but is actually a chest of drawers.
On View> “Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry: 16th Century Ribbed Vaults in Mixteca, Mexico” Opens August 24
Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry: 16th Century Ribbed Vaults in Mixteca, Mexico
HGA Gallery Rapson Hall, Goldstein Museum of Design, University of Minnesota
89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN
August 24, 2013 to October 13, 2013
Sixteenth century Mexico was home to buildings of extraordinary construction quality erected for the thousands of people converting to Christianity. Indigenous craftsmen utilized the most sophisticated technology and their profound understanding of locally accessible materials in an intricate system of symbiosis to collaborate with Spanish architects who were experienced with the architecture of the ribbed vault. Employing Mixtecan masonry techniques and European geometry, they collaborated to construct three churches in the Mixteca region of southern Mexico with sophisticated geometrical vaults unique to 16th century America. Through digitally scanning San Pablo Teposcolula, Santa Domingo Yanhuitlán, and San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca, researcher and guest curator Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, was able to produce scale replicas of each gothic dome.
Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry: 16th Century Ribbed Vaults in Mixteca, Mexico, on view from August 24 to October 13, 2013, reveals the complex digital scanning, documentation, and three-dimensional modeling that facilitated the research and replication of the rib vaults in the late 20th century.
Unbuilt San Francisco
Through November 2013
AIA San Francisco/Center for Architecture + Design, California Historical Society/SPUR, The Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkley, and the San Francisco Public Library present this ambitious collaborative exhibition of architecture that never came to be. Spread throughout five venues, Unbuilt San Francisco describes a parallel history of “what if’s” and “could have beens” of architecture and urban design that were too fantastic or too grandiose for the City by the Bay. These unrealized visions offer San Franciscans a glimpse of the hopes and ambitions of past generations, as well as provide inspiration for the future of architecture and the city. Images offered in the exhibition include a grand casino on Alcatraz, freeways encircling the city, rejected neighborhood renewal plans, alternate designs for famous landmarks including San Francisco City Hall and the Ferry Building, and ecological provocations of today’s architectural vanguard. The opening reception will be held in Annie Alley between 678 and 654 Mission Street in San Francisco on September 6 at 5:00 p.m.
EXPO 1: New York
22-25 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City, NY
Through September 2
EXPO 1: New York is an art festival dedicated to the environmental and sociopolitical challenges of the 21st Century that runs through September 2. In addition to occupying the entirety of MoMA PS1’s Long Island City home, the show encompasses exhibitions at other venues throughout New York City, including the Rain Room at the Museum of Modern Art and the VW Dome 2 at Rockaway Beach. The festival is centered on the idea of what its curators call “dark optimism.” The exhibitions, installations, and prototypes featured in the festival suggest the end of an era plagued by climate change, economic suffering, and political strife, and the beginning of a new, brighter future. Highlights include the legendary artist-environmentalist Ansel Adams’ photographs, Meg Webster’s site-specific ecosystem Pool, and Olafur Eliasson’s glacial ice installation Your waste of time in the basement of MoMA PS1.
Robert Irwin’s “Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light”
The Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
Through September 1
It has been 36 years since Robert Irwin, now 84 years old, debuted his Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This summer, the legendary installation, designed specifically for the fourth floor of the Breuer building, returns to the museum. As the title suggests, Irwin’s minimalist installation is composed of three simple elements: a black line that runs along the length of the gallery walls, natural light that enters through the museum’s iconic trapezoidal window, and a white translucent polyester scrim hung from the ceiling that slices through the space. These elements divide the space into various geometric forms and create a disorienting experience. As visitors circle the gallery and daylight moves across the room, the perception of space is shown to be less definite than one might previously have imagined.
Center for Architecture
536 Laguardia Place
New York, NY
Through October 26
Colombia: Transformed/Architecture=Politics, on view at the Center for Architecture through October 26, examines 11 recently built, socially-mindful developments designed by six leaders in contemporary Colombian architecture: Daniel Bonilla and Giancarlo Mazzanti from Bogotá, and Felipe Mesa, Juan Manuel Pelaez, Felipe Uribe and Orlando Garcia from Medellín. The projects in the show embody the change occurring in Latin America today and reveal themes of social inclusion in addition to inventive architectural forms and spaces.