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Here are five new architecture exhibitions to check out this summer

Here are five new architecture exhibitions to check out this summer

With Memorial Day just around the corner, your summer calendar is likely/ideally being quickly populated by planned beach excursions, backyard grill outs, picnic-based appointments, bug spray-intensive treks into the woods, and other warm-weather diversions. As always, AN’s editorial team is here to provide a few suggestions for new and notable art and architecture exhibitions to add to your summertime to-do list, too. (Having plans to visit an air-conditioned museum or gallery space is never a bad idea as the mercury rises.)

Below are just a small handful of newly on view and forthcoming exhibitions on our radar that are worth scoping out as summer kicks off, in locales ranging from Chicago to Manhattan to West Hollywood. Also included is a Detroit-based digital exhibition that can be enjoyed remotely from anywhere no matter where your summer travels may take you.

Reset: Towards a New Commons

Aging Against the Machine,  one of the four proposals at The Center for Architecture that explores more inclusive and just models for living together in community. (Courtesy New York Center for Architecture)

Center for Architecture

536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012
Open through September 3

How can we live together? Reset: Towards a New Commons, on view this summer at the Center for Architecture in New York, offers some answers. Cocurated by Barry Bergdoll and Juliana Barton and designed by Natasha Jen of Pentagram, the exhibition showcases models for collective habitation that aim to overturn unjust planning practices. As was done with Bergdoll’s 2012 exhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, organizers matched four interdisciplinary teams to four sites in cities across the country: In Berkeley, California, Irene Cheng, David Gissen, and Chip Lord, et al., explore housing for the disabled; in Oakland, THE OPEN WORKSHOP, Ignacio G. Galán, and Karen Kubey, et al., imagine an infrastructure for eldercare; in East Harlem, Deborah Gans, Kate Levy, and students from Pratt Institute, et al., revitalize public playscapes; and Architensions, Parc Office, and Sharon Egretta Sutton decolonize a Cincinnati suburb. Jack Murphy

Architecture of Reparations

image of a digital collage
Isabel Strauss, Gaze,  digital collage, 2021. Including elements from Howardena Pindell, Untitled #51, 2010; Lorna Simpson, Earth & Sky, #30, 2016; Richard Nickel, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Avery Coonley Residence, 300 Scottswood Road, Riverside, Illinois designed or built 1907. (Image: Chicago Architecture Biennial)

AB Studio at the Chicago Cultural Center

78 East Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602
Open through December

In March, the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) opened a permanent gallery on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center to stage programs in the event’s off years. Riff Studio’s Architecture of Reparations, the space’s inaugural exhibition, investigates how the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side was partly cleared to make way for the Illinois Institute of Technology (née the Armour Institute of Technology), whose campus was designed by Mies van der Rohe in the late 1930s. But Reparations, which made an earlier appearance at CAB’s 2021 edition, doesn’t stop there; its branching time line continues right up to the present. Architectural designs responding to a request for housing proposals in the area are foregrounded, and the project’s website sports a playlist, questionnaire, and bibliography, along with the original RFP, which itself is worthy of appreciation. JM

Designing Peace

an interactive pink see-saw installation along the us-mexico border
Teeter-Totter Wall; designers: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Rael San Fratello; collaborators: Collectivo Chopeke; locations: Anapra, Chihuahua, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico, 2019. (Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello)

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

2 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128
Open June 10 through September 4

The premise of Designing Peace is fairly self-explanatory. Curated by Cynthia E. Smith with Caroline O’Connell and featuring displays by Höweler + Yoon and graphics by Common Name, the show implicates design in processes for mitigating, if not expunging, conflict. The pair has organized the exhibition’s varied contents—40 contributions from 25 countries, including models, full-scale installations, maps, and film—with the help of prompts. For example, how can design preserve community safety? How can design be used to root out the causes of a conflict? How might design contribute in smoothing the transition to peace in unstable contexts? And more curiously, can design engage “creative confrontation”? Given the sad state of geopolitics, the findings and solutions presented in Designing Peace are as urgent as ever. JM

Schindler House: 100 Years in the Making

archival photo of a home being built in los angeles
Photographer Unknown, “Construction of the Schindler House using the Slab-Tilt process,” 1922. (Courtesy of R. M. Schindler Collection, Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara)

MAK Center for Art and Architecture

835 North Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA 900969
Open May 28 through September 25

In 1922, the Austrian architect Rudolph Schindler completed his low-slung Kings Road House in West Hollywood. Designed as a duplex for two couples (Schindler and his wife, Pauline, and their friends Clyde and Marion Chase), the residence features a pinwheel plan anchored by a single kitchen. The tilt-up concrete walls were a structural innovation, while the home itself, argued the critic Esther McCoy, captured the “spirit of feminism and the whole revolutionary spirit of the time.” Today, the property is maintained by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, which plans to celebrate the centenary with the exhibition Schindler House: 100 Years in the Making. At the invitation of MAK director Jia Yi Gu, artists such as Carmen Argote and Peter Shire will stage installations in the rooms of the house, which will complement the bevy of archival materials in vitrines. Additional programming—seminars, reading groups, benefits, edible performances, and tours—will keep up the festivities through summer’s end. JM

 SITE: McGregor Conference Center

view of a sculpture work digitally inserted into a modernist backdrop
Installation view of Untitled by Radcliffe Bailey, 2020. (Installation photography by James Haefner)

Presented digitally by the Library Street Collective

1274 Library Street, Detroit, MI 48226
Open through July 16

For the fourth iteration of SITE: Art and Architecture in the Digital Space series (read more about the inaugural exhibition in May 2020 here), the Library Street Collective, in collaboration with architectural photographer James Haefner, turns its attention to a new Detroit architectural landmark: the Minoru Yamasaki-designed McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State University, completed in 1958. During the run of the wholly digital exhibition, Yamasaki’s marble-clad modernist masterpiece will serves as a backdrop in which to showcase works created by a diverse cohort of contemporary artists including David Altmejd, Olga de Amaral, Radcliffe Bailey, Judy Bowman, Elmgreen & Dragset, Sam Friedman, Matt Kleberg, Paul Kremer, Alicja Kwade, and Erwin Wurm. As noted by the gallery, SITE is meant to “foster a unique digital connection between the visual arts and the built environment, incorporating aspects of storytelling, architectural history and an artist’s unique perspective.” Ten percent of proceeds from works sold during SITE: McGregor Conference Center will be donated to local nonprofit Humble Design Detroit. Matt Hickman

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