Ulllens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China; David Diao Exhibit
Almost Nothing, 100 Artists Comment on the Work of Mies van der Rohe, coming soon in 2016
Why is the work of Mies van der Rohe an attraction for artists to engage long after the architect’s work is built and he has passed on?
The range of possible interactions between artists and architects would seem to be limited only by their imagination, but in actual practice there exists a set of undefined boundaries, unconscious separations and unspoken limitations. This book is both a exploration of possible options and improbable actions on the overlap between these two art forms.
Out of all the architects to use as a focus and collector of artist interests, Mies van der Rohe (Maria Ludwig Michael Mies) is a perfect lighting rod. His work, writings, teaching, students and personal mythological construct lay waiting for a response from the visually curious, obsessive and angry.
Many critics have been obsessed with Philip Johnson and the scandal of his sexuality, politics and influence. But few have tried to make a serious analysis and study of his large body of writing, exhibitions and building designs. With the template of appropriation, as used in the world of contemporary art, it is possible to examine and explain the limitations and values of one of the most renown and idiosyncratic American architects.
Appropriation in the arts is the controversial reuse and duplication of previous artwork by other artists that call into question the ideas of inspiration, authorship and commercialization of the art world. The legal problems of copyright infringement have always been part of the radical nature of this art idea. For the first time, this book will discuss the complicated problems of appropriation that are used in the discussion of Philip Johnson and his work.
This study discusses the influence and work of various contemporary artists such as Frank Stella, Indigo Manglano-Ovalle, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, who were all involved with the ideas and goals of appropriation, with a few directly connected to the work of Phillip Johnson.
In the long history of collaboration between artists and architects, the spectrum of their interaction has ranged from benign neglect to utopian idealism. This book examines the many of the ways in which modern art has been integrated in buildings and monuments since 1914 to the present. Coordinated projects in the arts are not without conflict and sometimes with a production tension and friction, an anxious alliance can often be found as a successful basis of participants’ common endeavors. Therefore, the full range of human interaction, both positive and productive contrasting to competitive and destructive, are examined. Wherever artists and architects establish a common territory in the public arena, highly integrated schemes may result that in amazing climaxes within our culture.
In recent years, the barriers between art and architecture have come down even further, while many artists are attracted to the spatial presence of architecture and its language and scale, contemporary architects also seek the inspiration of art and include artistic concepts into their designs. Great works of art / architecture have resulted from these co-operations which are highlighted in the book across five time periods in the modern era.
Young contemporary artists as Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Olafur Eliasson, Thomas Ruff, Peter Halley, Chris Ofili, Pae White, Sarah Morris are studied along with their famous elders as Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi and Fernand Leger.
First House: The Grid, The Figure and The Void, 2002
First House presents a range of innovative first houses from the mid century that were designed by a group of famous Harvard graduates from the 1930’s. The first works of those students were also the first houses that they produced and the first modern buildings in their location. These include influential figures as Edward Larabee Barnes, Ulrich Franzen, John Johansen, Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei and Paul Rudolph.
Each building is accompanied by a rich collection of background period information. Artworks by American painters such as Calder, Pollock, Motherwell and Kline are incorporated as both emblems of their time and sources of design inspiration. The furniture designed and used in many of the buildings is also illustrated and ranges from the well-known work of Eames to the forgotten steel wire chairs of Landrum.
To be inclusive the book concludes with a review of the personalities involved in publishing these modern houses: the photographer Ezra Stoller, writer Peter Blake and historian Vincent Scully. These men also tried their hand at self-designed “First houses” for their own families.
This book provides an extensively research text with previously unpublished discoveries that are tied together in a uniquely personal and emotional narrative that opens a clear view upon the designers and their time.