Hermann Finsterlin (German, 1887 – 1973) a painter, toy designer and architectural theorist, is associated with German Expressionist architecture of the 1920s. Molded or cast models such as Study For a House of Sociability (c. 1920) played an important part in Finsterlin’s design process.
When this exhuberantly colorful model was acquired in 1968, MoMA curator Arthur Drexler observed that Finsterlin proposed an architecture that would essentially be hollow sculpture, free of functional considerations.
Finsterlin had a habit of retroactively dating his postwar pieces to the 1920s; the indefinite completion date here reflect this ambiguity.
One of my favorite pieces from the Here and Elsewhere, group exhibit currently up at the New Museum of Contemporary Art is a mixed media installation called Qalandia 2087 by Palestinian artist Wafa Hourani.
Qalandia 2087 fills nearly an entire gallery at the museum and is lots of fun to explore while contemplating the political and sociological ramifications of the piece, especially considering what is going on in that part of the world at this very moment in time.
Built from cardboard boxes and archive photographs, Qalandia 2087(2009) is the third and last part of a series of installations by Wafa Hourani.
The artist reproduced, as an architectural model, one of main check-points and Palestinian refugee camps. Located in the north of Jerusalem, Qalandia constitutes, since 1949, Ramallah’s entrance and the exit point, dividing the country on its western bank.
Hourani was interested in this particular place in the Palestinian history, because of its proximity with its own airport, transformed into military base during the Israeli occupation. This paradox of a territory, initially connected to the rest of the world and now a place for Palestinian isolation, illustrates the politico-social reality of the country.
In Qalandia 2087, the artist proposes a futuristic vision of this place, a hundred years after the first Intifada. Contrary to the first two pieces in the series, which presented an apocalyptic vision of Qalandia – a hundred years after the exodus Palestinian for Qalandia 2047(2006) and a hundred years after the six day old war for Qalandia 2067 (2008), the last version evokes the future of Palestine on the basis of political Utopia.
The question of the occupation of a given territory is no longer relevant, the main concern is now integration. The wall, which originally divided space between the check-point and the refugee camp, has been replaced by a mirror facade.
Qalandia Airport has also retrieved its initial function as a civil airport, while the check-point has become a place reserved for public speech. Life seems to win again.
Racing cars, airline planes, whimsically shaped TV aerials, a coffee terrace and a swimming pool transform the refugee camp into a space where communication and social links become possible again. The new party, “The Mirror,” has just won the elections and is sending each Palestinian back to their history by inviting them to take part in the construction of a better future.
— Vérane Pina
Translated by Valérie Vivancos
Here and Elsewhere is on Exhibit Through September 28th, 2014, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, located at 235 Bowery (at Prince street) in Soho, NYC.
If you enjoy minimalism and looking at sculptures that resemble bare bones architectural scale models, then you will go apeshit over the current Sol Lewitt exhibit, Horizontal Progressions now at PACE Gallery.
They are what they are. Be sure to stop in to the adjacent gallery to see PACE’s new Keith Sonneir exhibit, which will make the trip to West 25th Street worthwhile.
Sol Lewitt’s Horizontal Progressions will be on Exhibit Through February 22nd, 2014 at Pace Gallery, Located at 534 West 25th Street, NYC in the Chelsea Gallery District. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
I am a big fan of the work of maverick architect Frank Lloyd Wright; this much is no secret. When I was in Chicago in the Spring of 2010, I had the chance to take the train out to the suburb of Oak Park, where I toured Wright’s own family home and studio as well as a dozen or so other residences designed by Wright that still exist in that neighborhood. Wow, what a cool way to spend an afternoon is all I can say. Frank Lloyd Wright! Sadly, I did not get to see the Robie House – which resides in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood – because it was undergoing renovation at the time. Built in 1910 for Frederic Robie, a bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer, this home was one of the first houses to be turned into a national landmark. Now, LEGO has released a replica kit of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 101-year-old masterpiece. Because, how could they not? The LEGO Robie House, designed by Adam Reed Tucker, includes 2,276 pieces and is now available directly from LEGO at This Link for just $199!
Artist Liz Hickok has created something truly unique and beautiful with her sculpture project, San Francisco in Jell-O. Liz explains, “This project consists of photographs and video, which depict various San Francisco landscapes. I make the landscapes by constructing scale models of the architectural elements which I use to make molds. I then cast the buildings in Jell-O. Similar to making a movie set, I add backdrops, which I often paint, and elements such as mountains or trees, and then I dramatically light the scenes from the back or underneath. The Jell-O sculptures quickly decay, leaving the photographs and video as the remains.” Read more about the project at This Link.