Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture

Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture

Mills College Art Museum

January 14, 2009
Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture

Mills College Art Museum

Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture

Curated by Jessica Hough and Mónica Ramirez-Montagut

January 21 – March 22, 2009
Join us at 6:00pm for a walk-through with the curators.

Sixteen artists reconsider modern architecture and what it represents to a new generation in Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture.

Modern architecture is often identified with buildings by Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright, which represent a period driven by developments in technology, engineering, and the introduction of industrial materials such as iron, steel, concrete, and glass. However, architects at this time engaged in a practice that not only incorporated structural innovations, but also encouraged social change.

The artists featured in the exhibition are interested not only in the potential of utopian ideas that these buildings represent, but also the sense of a passing idealism and lost opportunity that modern architecture now embodies. Hough comments, “The artists are less interested in the built structures themselves and what it might feel like to be inside one, and more interested in the philosophy and idealism they represent. The way in which the buildings signal a possibility of utopia is essential-a future that could have been. Sentimentality runs through much of the work.”

Ramírez-Montagut adds, “This melancholic remembrance comes at a time when great works of modern architecture are at risk due to neglect, deterioration, and demolition. Underlying all the artworks is a feeling of deep admiration for the architects who sought to elevate culture and bring it to the broad masses, yet their sense of failure is also prevalent; the artists’ knowledge of modern architecture’s crisis and demise tints their works with nostalgia.”

Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture brings together two-dimensional works of various media (including video) that explore an interest among emerging artists in architecture of the modern period. The exhibition includes work by Alexander Apóstol, Daniel Arsham, Gordon Cheung, David Claerbout, Angela Dufresne, Mark Dziewulski, Christine Erhard, Cyprien Gaillard, Terence Gower, Angelina Gualdoni, Natasha Kissell, Luisa Lambri, Dorit Margreiter, Russell Nachman, Enoc Perez, and Lucy Williams.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 144-page book entitled, Revisiting the Glass House: Contemporary Art and Modern Architecture, co-published by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Mills College Art Museum, and Yale University Press. The book includes essays by David Auburn, Jessica Hough, Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, and Joseph Rosa.

Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture has been organized by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the LEF Foundation, the Joan Danforth Art Museum Endowment, and the Agnes Cowles Bourne Fund for Special Exhibitions.

Public Programs:

Sunday, February 1, 3:00pm, Danforth Lecture Hall, Art Building
Aaron Betsky, Blob Utopia: Digital Destiny or Aesthetic Escape?
For centuries, architects have promised to build us a better world. In their visions, new technologies ironically bring us closer to a return to nature without artificial forms. Is this really our destiny, or is it just one more mirage? Betsky is the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and was the artistic director of the 11th International Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2008.
Presented by the Technology and Society Lecture Series at Mills College.

Wednesday, February 25, 7:30pm, Danforth Lecture Hall, Art Building
Angela Dufresne, Imitation of Life, or why Queen Jane Should be Approximately
In her paintings, New York-based Angela Dufresne irreverently concocts imaginary communities that satisfy her vision for the world. She describes her paintings, which bring together disparate sources from film, music, architecture, and the history of painting, as “mashups” or hybrids.

Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94613

Museum Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday 11-4pm
Wednesday 11-7:30pm
Monday closed
Admission is free

Image above:
Daniel Arsham The M-House got lost found itself floating on the sea, affecting salination levels in the North Atlantic 2004 Courtesy of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris.

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Mills College Art Museum
January 14, 2009

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