Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time-out... Architectural Cribbage

Exploring alternatives to the gallery system
Posted in Own This City by T.J. Carlin on Apr 16, 2009

As many of our favorite glass-fronted white cubes scuttle their Chelsea operations, pressured by exorbitant rents and stagnant sales, it’s a great time to take a harder look at those individuals and institutions harnessing their ambitions to unconventional structures and spaces less affected by the slump, as these ways of "thinking outside the box" are proving to have staying power. Whether art spliced with sustainable city planning or a call for artists to build their own structures that operate as ad hoc museums, the below projects are related in their relative freedom from or flaunting of contemporary market concerns.

"Unbuilt Roads"
e-flux, 41 Essex St between Grand and Hester Sts (212-619-3356). Subway: F, V to Lower East Side–Second Ave. A gallery presentation of the 1997 book project by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Guy Tortosa, this show offers the unrealized proposals of 107 artists (Louis Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Jenny Holzer, the Chapman Bros., etc.) in blueprint pages spanning the gallery interior. Though it's installed in a conventional white-walled context (e-flux’s new LES space), experiencing the show means entering the speculative environs generated by some of art’s more ambitious thinkers—there is a wonderful freedom in the fact that these vaulting ambitions are completely unrestrained by material tethers.

"Vertical Gardens"
Exit Art Underground, 475 Tenth Ave between 36th and 37th Sts (212-966-7745). Subway: A, C, E to 34th St. Through May 23. The third in an Exit Art series, SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics), this show brings architects and artists together to present existing vertical farms, urban gardens and green roof projects, as well as speculations on a future of more sustainable urban planning—visions with a deliciously sci-fi effect. Free lectures on April 21 and 22, and an indoor composting workshop, are detailed here.

Matt Bua, “Architectural Cribbage”
( Ongoing. Matt Bua’s “Architectural Cribbage” amounts to a platform for empowering people to define their own architectural surroundings, free from the normalizing strictures of building code. Through an ongoing open call, Bua along with Max Goldfarb organized an clearinghouse of hundreds of visionary architectural drawings (, which serve as potential designs for 12-by-12-foot structures built at Bua’s woodsy Catskills site, “b-home"). Artists are encouraged to install their own personal collections of odds, ends and artworks inside their visionary structures—an upheaval of gallery and real-estate conventions alike.
Brian Zegeer