Death + Art: Our next DELVE event and the subject of several NY exhibitions!

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God, from The Highline website, photo Timothy Schenck

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God, from The Highline website, photo Timothy Schenck

We're looking forward to spending an evening at the Morbid Anatomy Museum later this month for DELVE: Death + Art, and as we've been researching the subject, we've stumbled across several exhibitions that are currently on view in New York City that relate to the topic. We're definitely going to check them out, and hope you find them interesting, as well! 

We also hope you'll join us on April 29th to hear from artists Spencer Merolla and Terence Hannum and to take a look at the curiosities on display at the Morbid Anatomy Museum. You can get tickets here.

In thinking about Death + Art, we are interested in how artists may transcend literal or personal experience to examine such topics as war, obsolescence, the “death” of materials through loss of function, decay or disintegration, or how death and the past can be reframed in the present to create a spectacle, an oddity, or an educational experience. It is our hope that this exploration of death will result in a new creation.

Here are some current exhibitions that grapple with these same themes:

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God, September 21, 2014 – Summer 2015
High Line at the Rail Yards, On view daily from 7:00 AM until sunset.

"Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas is known for his large-scale, site-specific sculptural installations that transform their environs into a vision of their own potential future. Employing a unique mixture of cement and clay, Villar Rojas imbues his sculptures with a material destined to crumble while on view. His works combine the daunting scale of conventional public sculptures with a precarious fragility, keeping viewers mindful of the ephemerality of even the most imposing monoliths.

For the High Line, the artist presents The Evolution of God, a new, site-specific installation composed of thirteen abstract sculptures which punctuate the wild, self-seeded landscape of the High Line at the Rail Yards, and creates a sculptural progression and a rhythmic sequence of forms, reminiscent of a musical score. This new project extends the artist’s own traditional treatment of materials, by integrating organic elements such as seeds, vegetables, and other perishable components inspired by the natural landscape on the High Line as well as non-perishable items such as clothing, sneakers, and rope. Seemingly sturdy, the sculptures will instead turn into living organisms, revealing the passage of time through vegetal sprouts and tectonic cracks, which will slowly return the sculptures to the surrounding landscape."

Kwakwaka’wakw artist. Thunderbird Transformation Mask, 19th century. Alert Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Cedar, pigment, leather, nails, metal plate, open: 48 x 71 x 15 in. (121.9 x 180.3 x 38.1 cm), closed: 20 1/2 x 17 x 29 1/2 in. (52.1 x 43.2 x 74.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1908, Museum Collection Fund, 08.291.8902, from the Brooklyn Museum site.

Kwakwaka’wakw artist. Thunderbird Transformation Mask, 19th century. Alert Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Cedar, pigment, leather, nails, metal plate, open: 48 x 71 x 15 in. (121.9 x 180.3 x 38.1 cm), closed: 20 1/2 x 17 x 29 1/2 in. (52.1 x 43.2 x 74.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1908, Museum Collection Fund, 08.291.8902, from the Brooklyn Museum site.

Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas, The Brooklyn Museum, 5th Floor galleries.

"Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas presents over one hundred masterpieces from our permanent Arts of the Americas collection, exemplifying the concept of transformation as part of the spiritual beliefs and practice of the region's indigenous peoples, past and present. Themes of life, death, fertility, and regeneration are explored through pre-Columbian and historical artworks, including many pieces that are rarely on display."

Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, November 22, 2014–May 25, 2015, Museum of Modern Art.

"In 2030, the world’s population will be a staggering eight billion people. Of these, two-thirds will live in cities. Most will be poor. With limited resources, this uneven growth will be one of the greatest challenges faced by societies across the globe. Over the next years, city authorities, urban planners and designers, economists, and many others will have to join forces to avoid major social and economic catastrophes, working together to ensure these expanding megacities will remain habitable.

To engage this international debate, Uneven Growth brings together six interdisciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners to examine new architectural possibilities for six global metropolises: Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. Following the same model as the Rising Currents and Foreclosed, each team will develop proposals for a specific city in a series of workshops that occur over the course of a 14-month initiative.

Uneven Growth seeks to challenge current assumptions about the relationships between formal and informal, bottom-up and top-down urban development, and to address potential changes in the roles architects and urban designers might assume vis-à-vis the increasing inequality of current urban development. The resulting proposals, which will be presented at MoMA in November 2014, will consider how emergent forms of tactical urbanism can respond to alterations in the nature of public space, housing, mobility, spatial justice, environmental conditions, and other major issues in near-future urban contexts."

Fatal Attraction, Piotr Uklański Photographs, March 17–August 16, 2015, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"Since emerging in the mid-1990s, the New York–based artist Piotr Uklański (born Poland, 1968) has worked with a wide variety of materials, from eye-popping collages made with pencil shavings and motley assemblages of fiber and crockery to paintings made with tie-dye or globs of brightly colored resin. This exhibition, the first to survey Uklański's photography, locates his work with the camera at the center of his artistic practice. Reveling in moribund or marginal artistic languages from a position at once ironic and sincere, the artist simultaneously subverts and pays homage to defunct modes of expression."

 

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