Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Embracing Challenges

"Momentum," a light and sound show at The Curve, an art space at the Barbican Center in London.
Galleries are creating unconventional  spaces to showcase unusual exhibits.
Credit James Medcraft/Barbican 
What is an "unconventional" space? In the gallery world, unconventional usually means non-rectangular. Take a look at the space at Barbican, London. This area shown above was deemed a concourse (think airport) non-site yet it has become the hub of installations of late. Artists are drawn to the unusual space and take advantage of it. A former challenge is now embraced.

Here's a photo of the lavish interior of the Guggenheim.
I took this photograph last Winter at the Gutai exhibition.

Exterior of the Guggenheim, New York

An unconventional space that might be a bit more familiar comes from our art history survey textbooks...Frank Lloyd Wright's structure for the space that would become known as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on New York's Upper East Side. Think of the Guggenheim as one piece of bread and the Met as the other—the slices of architecture embrace the natural environment of Central Park.

When it opened in 1959, the Guggenheim was deemed an eyesore because it was considered a work of (applied) art that could perhaps detract from the real art on view. Like the Barbican's space, the Guggenheim presented installation challenges — how to hang in a space that lacks 90-degree angles. But now, this New York gem is a coveted space for artists to use. Truly, artists of the modern and contemporary eras have risen to the challenge and embraced such overbearing structures and, as a result, have activated spaces in new ways.

Perhaps in a very short while, London's Barbican will become the kind of cultural icon that Solomon R.'s building has become.

No comments: