Curating with a Conscience
Upon entering Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement‚ the latest exhibition from MoMA's Architecture and Design department‚ the tone of the exhibition is immediately set by a graphic of critical demographic statistics from each of the communities where the projects are built: 80 percent of the population in Port Elizabeth, South Africa are unemployed; fishermen in Tyre, Lebanon earn $15 a day in the high season. The exhibition, organized by curator Andres Lepik (who Dwell editor Jaime Gross interviewed last week for a Q&A) and curatorial assistant Margot Weller, is the most recent in a string of proactive exhibitions from the A+D department. Like Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront and Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, Small Scale Big Change sparks new ways of thinking about global issues like sustainability, community development, public policy, housing, poverty, and inequity, among others.
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- The exhibition "Small Scale, Big Change" opens at the Museum of Modern Art in New York this Sunday.
- The United States Artists announced the USA Fellows on December 14.
The most comprehensive exhibition to date of Francesca Woodman's brief but extraordinary career in on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through February 20, 2012.
In less than a decade, before she committed suicide in 1981 at age 22, Woodman produced a potent body of photographs exploring the human body in architectural space and the complex problem of representing the self. Haunting and intimate, direct and visceral, her work reveals the unusually coherent vision of an artist who had barely entered adulthood but who has greatly influenced subsequent generations of artists, particularly women.
- An exhibit up at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC chronicles the museum's initial conception, and the Canadian, Philip Johnson-designed city in which it was meant to live.
Organized by MoMA, the exhibition focuses on 11 major architectural projects in underserved communities around the world: Alabama, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Lebanon, Los Angeles, Paris, South Africa, Southern California, and Venezuela. Confronting inequality via the tools of design, these architectural projects engage social, economic, and political conditions by developing post-utopian architectural interventions beginning with an understanding of and deference to a community. In each of these projects, ranging from schools to housing to community centers to infrastructural interventions, the architect is as much a moderator of social processes as a designer of a structure.
The exhibition runs from October 3, 2010 to January 3, 2011 in the third floor galleries.
- Earlier this week I visited a new exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the recently-opened Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward.
- On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries,1922-1960 recently opened at the Noguchi Museum.
We have all spent time in parking garages, but we rarely stop to think about what they have meant for our cities and ourselves. House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage explores the unique relationship between parked cars and the built environment and encourages visitors to see these familiar structures in a whole new way. A showcase for innovation; a training ground for the 20th century's best-known architects; and now, a new direction for sustainable city planning; the parking garage tells many stories.