Last Call for NY, Milan Exhibitions


The avant-garde exhibition, Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture, commented on last week by TIME Art & Architecture Critic Richard Lacayo, ends this Sunday at New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

Meanwhile in Milan, The Triennale is featuring Le città visibili (Invisible Cities), an exhibition of Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Pritzker winner Renzo Piano & company designed the recently completed New York Times building in Manhattan and the magnificent Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center. Over halfway into its schedule, you still have till September 16th to visit.

Special thanks to Eve Kushner for the Frank Stella tip.
Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture

Architectural thought has always informed Frank Stella’s work, from the late 1950s when he shared a studio in New York with the architect Richard Meier to his recent stint as a professor at the Yale University School of Architecture. His early paintings, in black, aluminum, and copper paint, were forceful statements of a restrained, minimalist, and architectonic aesthetic. His later, explosive, wall reliefs anticipated the formal vocabulary made famous by Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and other architects working in an expressionist mode. But since 1989, he has become increasingly consumed with designing structures and conceiving buildings himself.

Even those who have been following Stella’s meteoric development over the last fifty years will be surprised by the youthful exuberance of his foray into architecture. None of his projects has yet been built, although he has come tantalizingly close to realizing an addition to a museum in Groningen; a Kunsthalle and garden complex in Dresden; a museum and sculpture park in Buenos Aires; a band shell in Miami; and a gatehouse for a prominent collector.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Le città visibili

The Triennale di Milano presents Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Le città visibili, a superb anthological exhibition featuring the work of Renzo Piano and opening the Festa per l’Architettura – 4th edition.

The subtitle of the exhibition is based on the novel Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, one of the writers who had the greatest influence on the architect’s awareness.

The extraordinary urban vision of Piano’s architecture is exhibited here in the original designs, plans and models documenting over forty years of production, against the backdrop of the transformations that have marked the transition from the 20th century industrial city to the 21st century post-industrial city.

Renzo Piano’s projects can be seen as an attempt to rekindle and revamp the humanistic tradition of the European city, reworking its architectural design principles in the context of contemporary culture.

Whether it is the Parisian prototype of the Beaubourg, the Lingotto factory conversion in Turin, the Cité Internationale in Lyons, the redevelopment of the old port in Genoa, or the Potsdamer Platz reconstruction in Berlin, Renzo Piano has worked on the transformation of the old model of the industrial city into the blueprint of the city of information and culture. Meanwhile, his experiments on the brown areas of Milan, Sesto San Giovanni, Lyons, Paris and Harlem in New York reflect the transition from the city of production to the city of exchange.

Piano’s city offers the idea of multi-purpose spaces that convey the restlessness of contemporary life by placing the accent on complexity, transparency and permeability.

His work on the consolidated architectural typology of the skyscraper redefines the relationship between the public and private spheres, as is apparent in the case of the New York Times Tower and the London Bridge Tower.

Piano’s projects act on stratification and addition in order to mirror contemporary layers of complexity. Added to this is his stress on the use of greenery in recognition of the importance of the natural element in architectural design.

In Milan, New York, Genoa or Rome, the traces of the past are not removed but reintegrated, using the ideal of lightness of touch as the starting point for design.

Le città visibili therefore launches an interpretation of Renzo Piano’s work hinging on the centrality of the urban vision based on several key core projects: the city of art, the city of music, the city of water, the city of love (Paris, New York, Genoa, Milan).

Image Credits
All works by Frank Stella. In order of appearance.

First Model Kunsthalle Dresden, 1991
Mixed media on wood board; 5 7/8 x 48 1/2 x 33 7/8 in. (14.9 x 123.2 x 86 cm)
Lent by Sammlung Hoffmann, Berlin
Photo by Steven Sloman, New York 2007

Guest House (model), 2007
Nylon, metal, and acrylic; 45 5/8 x 46 9/16 x 19 13/16 in. (115.9 x 118.2 x 50.3 cm)
Computer-generated image: Veronika Schmid

The Ship with Walkway (model), 2004
Nylon rapid prototype; 12.5 x 12.5 x 8 in. (39.4 x 31.8 x 20.3 cm)
Lent by The Estate of David Whitney, courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Photo by Steven Sloman, New York 2007

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