Culture Watch: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Announces Short List for the 2020 Hugo Boss Prize

Six artists have been short-listed for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020, the biennial award for significant achievement in contemporary art. The short list is selected by a panel of international curators and critics in recognition of artists whose work is transforming the field. Since its inception in 1996, the prize has consistently functioned as a platform for the most relevant and influential art of the present, and has become a cornerstone of the Guggenheim’s contemporary programming.

On the occasion of the thirteenth Hugo Boss Prize, I’m delighted to announce the finalists for the 2020 cycle,” said Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and jury chair. “After a rigorous examination of today’s artistic landscape, the jury identified a group of artists whose practices are beacons of cultural impact. While diverse in their approaches and themes, they each exemplify the spirit of experimentation and innovation that the prize has always championed.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York logo

The Hugo Boss Prize recognizes the achievements of both emerging and established artists, and sets no restrictions in terms of age, gender, nationality, or medium. The winner, who will receive a $100,000 honorarium, will be announced in the fall of 2020 and will present a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in spring 2021.

Since its inception in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize has been awarded to twelve influential contemporary artists: American artist Matthew Barney (1996); Scottish artist Douglas Gordon (1998); Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč (2000); French artist Pierre Huyghe (2002); Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004); English artist Tacita Dean (2006); Palestinian artist Emily Jacir (2008); German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann (2010); Danish artist Danh Vo (2012); American artist Paul Chan (2014); American artist Anicka Yi (2016); and American artist Simone Leigh (2018). The related exhibitions have constituted some of the most compelling presentations in the museum’s history.

Previous finalists include Laurie Anderson, Janine Antoni, Cai Guo-Qiang, Stan Douglas, and Yasumasa Morimura in 1996; Huang Yong Ping, William Kentridge, Lee Bul, Pipilotti Rist, and Lorna Simpson in 1998; Vito Acconci, Maurizio Cattelan, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Tom Friedman, Barry Le Va, and Tunga in 2000; Francis Alÿs, Olafur Eliasson, Hachiya Kazuhiko, Koo Jeong-A, and Anri Sala in 2002; Franz Ackermann, Rivane Neuenschwander, Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij, Simon Starling, and Yang Fudong in 2004; Allora & Calzadilla, John Bock, Damián Ortega, Aïda Ruilova, and Tino Sehgal in 2006; Christoph Büchel, Patty Chang, Sam Durant, Joachim Koester, and Roman Signer in 2008; Cao Fei, Roman Ondák,Walid Raad, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2010; Trisha Donnelly, Rashid Johnson, Qiu Zhijie, Monika Sosnowska, and Tris Vonna-Michell in 2012; Sheela Gowda, Camille Henrot, Hassan Khan, and Charline von Heyl in 2014; Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, and Wael Shawky in 2016; and Bouchra Khalili, Teresa Margolles, Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark, and Wu Tsang in 2018.

The following artists are finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020:

  • Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Isfahan, Iran)
  • Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.)
  • Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.)
  • Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
  • Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948, Santiago, Chile)
  • Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980, Rosario, Argentina)

The Hugo Boss Prize is our most prestigious engagement in the field of arts,” said Mark Langer, CEO and Chairman of HUGO BOSS AG. “We are excited about this diverse and distinguished short list for 2020 and looking forward to the announcement of the winner next fall.

HUGO BOSS PRIZE 2020 SHORT LIST

Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Isfahan, Iran) lives and works in Berlin. In an oeuvre that probes the boundaries between the decorative, the utilitarian, and the art object, Baghramian has illuminated new possibilities for sculpture. The artist’s disarming biomorphic forms, made with a range of materials including steel, silicon, resin, and leather, elicit various unexpected art-historical and sociopolitical references, reimagining the workings of the body, gender, and public and private space.

Nairy Baghramian, Stay Downers: Nerd, Fidgety Philip, Dripper, Truant, Backrower and Grubby Urchin, 2017. Various media, dimensions variable
Installation view: Déformation Professionnelle, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2017–18. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. Photo: Timo Ohler

Baghramian’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions such as Privileged Points, Mudam Luxembourg—Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (2019), Breathing Spell (Un respire), Palacio de Cristal del Retiro, Madrid (2018); Déformation Professionnelle, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent (2016); Nairy Baghramian: Scruff of the Neck (Supplements), Zurich Art Prize, Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2016); Hand Me Down, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2015); Fluffing the Pillows, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Mass. (2013), and Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2012); and Class Reunion, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2012).

Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.) lives and works in New York. Working at the intersection of sculpture, installation, and performance, Beasley constructs revelatory formal and sonic experiences. In works that embed found objects in substances such as resin, foam, and tar, or incorporate unconventionally manipulated audio equipment, he amplifies the cultural resonances of his materials to excavate personal and shared histories of class, race, and institutional power.

Kevin Beasley, Your face is / is not enough, 2016. Performance view: Liverpool Biennial, July 14, 2018. © Kevin Beasley. Photo: Pete Carr, courtesy Casey Kaplan, New York

Beasley has presented and performed in solo exhibitions such as ASSEMBLY, The Kitchen, New York (2019); a view of a landscape, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); Kevin Beasley, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2018); Movement V: Ballroom, CounterCurrent Festival, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Houston (2017); Hammer Projects: Kevin Beasley, Hammer Museum at Art + Practice, Los Angeles (2017); Rubbings, Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga, Latvia (2017); and inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2016).

Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.) lives and works in New York. Her large-format photographs channel vernacular, art-historical, and documentary traditions within the medium, in compositions that valorize black diasporic culture. Picturing individuals she encounters over the course of her everyday life within carefully staged domestic settings, Lawson choreographs every nuance of scenery, lighting, and pose to create tableaux that powerfully evoke the agency of her subjects.

Deana Lawson, Mama Goma, Gemena, DR Congo, 2014. Pigment print
35 x 44.125 inches (88.9 x 112.1 cm). © Deana Lawson, courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago

Lawson’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions including Deana Lawson, Huis Marseille, Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam (2019); Deana Lawson: Planes, The Underground Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Deana Lawson, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2018); Deana Lawson, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2017); Deana Lawson, The Art Institute of Chicago (2015); and Corporeal, Light Work, Syracuse, N.Y. (2009).

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20th Annual SOUND UNSEEN | FILM + MUSIC FESTIVAL Announces 2019 Full Film Lineup

The Sound Unseen Film + Music Festival (November 12-17) announced the film lineup for this year’s 20th Anniversary edition of the film festival.

Highlights include a special appearance of John Doe with the screening of W.T. Morgan’s documentary X: THE UNHEARD MUSIC, award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner coming to Sound Unseen with a 15th Anniversary screening of her film, DIG!, as well as a special presentation of the MAPPLETHORPE Director’s Cut. Sound Unseen also announced that Scott Crawford’s BOY HOWDY: THE STORY OF CREEM MAGAZINE, would be the Closing Night selection.

In the fall of 1999, Sound Unseen introduced itself as a unique, cutting edge “films-on-music” festival in Minneapolis. Formulated as a cultural organization dedicated to the role of film and music as a conduit of powerful ideas and diverse viewpoints. Its mission is to foster a greater appreciation of cinema, to bridge cultures, create and expand community, provide cultural exchange, networking opportunities and educational outreach through regular interaction with great films, filmmakers, musicians and artists.

Since its inception, It has established itself as one of the premiere niche festivals in the country, but more importantly as a vital part of the regional cultural scene. Now in its 19th year, the festival has expanded to include year-round programming, unique pop-up events, and special screenings including world and regional premieres.

Mystify: Michael Hutchence will have its Minnesota Premiere at the 20th Annual SOUND UNSEEN | FILM + MUSIC FESTIVAL

Named “One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals In The World” by Moviemaker Magazine in 2016, the “Best Winter Film Festival” by the Star Tribune 2012, and the “Best of the Fests 2010” from Mpls/St Paul Magazine, Sound Unseen continues its tenure as the region’s premiere films-on-music festival. While bringing the best in documentaries, short films, and music videos it also showcases rare concert footage, interactive panels, and live music events. As part of its year-round presence, Sound Unseen offers a successful monthly screening series and special events throughout the Twin Cities. This diversity in content is one of the things that separates Sound Unseen from the typical outdoor mega concerts and film festivals.

Sound Unseen Festival Director Jim Brunzell and Producer/Co-Programmer Rich Gill, said, “Our lineup this year is a wonderful mix of films hot on the film festival circuit, classics, and screenings that include appearances by wonderful filmmakers and musicians. We are really excited about this group of films and events built around them that should make our 20th Anniversary edition truly memorable.

Scott Crawford’s BOY HOWDY: THE STORY OF CREEM MAGAZINE joins the previously announced Seamus Murphy’s A DOG CALLED MONEY (Opening Night), and Brandon Vedder’s STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS (Centerpiece) to complete an impressive trio of Gala screenings. BOY HOWDY: THE STORY OF CREEM MAGAZINE looks at the seminal Creem Magazine‘s humble beginnings to becoming one of the publications of record for rock n’ roll. Fifty years after publishing its first issue, “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” remains a seditious spirit in music and culture. The film features interviews with Cameron Crowe, Alice Cooper, Kirk Hammett, Joan Jett, Michael Stipe, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Chad Smith, Peter Wolf and Wayne Kramer.

The one and only John Doe of X will come to Sound Unseen as part of a presentation of W.T. Morgan’s X: THE UNHEARD MUSIC. Screened on 35mm, the film is one of the best music films of the punk era. Shot over the course of five years, this documentary presents spectacular live performances interspersed with interviews with the band members and associates.

The only filmmaker to be a two-time Sundance Film Festival Grand Prize Jury Winner, Ondi Timoner comes to Minnesota with two of her films. The first is the 15th Anniversary screening of DIG!. The 2004 documentary looked at the collision of art and commerce through the eyes of The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The film was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art for their permanent collection. Timoner will also be on hand for her Director’s Cut of MAPPLETHORPE. Led by a devastating performance by Matt Smith in the title role, the stylish and well-crafted biopic covers the full life of its subject, world renowned and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, most frequently providing an alluring view of New York in its grittiest era.

Other highlights include; ALL I CAN SAY, a film created from hours of home video footage shot by tragic Blind Melon front man Shannon Hoon; Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni‘s GORDON LIGHTFOOT: IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND, a portrait of Canada’s most famous singer-songwriter; Tyler Measom’s I WANT MY MTV, which traces the beginnings and exploding influence of the music video channel; Steven GaddisLIVE FROM THE ASTROTURF: ALICE COOPER, about a super-secret concert event at a record store in Dallas, featuring the legendary shock rocker; the North American premiere of Simon David’s TIME AND PLACE, about cult favorite Atlanta R&B artist Lee Moses; and Brent HodgesWHO LET THE DOGS OUT, which explores the history, influence, and story behind the famous (or infamous) song.

For more information about Sound Unseen, as well as how to purchase tickets, go to: http://www.soundunseen.com.

The 2019 Sound Unseen Film Festival official selections:

Opening Night Selection

A DOG CALLED MONEY MIDWEST PREMIERE

Director: Seamus Murphy

Countries: Ireland/UK, Running Time: 90 min

Alternative-music icon PJ Harvey’s ninth studio album, 2016’s “The Hope Six Demolition Project,” was created through a unique process that blended travelogue, photography, performance art, and now a documentary feature. It began when Harvey, looking to develop a new set of politically tinged songs that would also evoke a tangible sense of place, decided to accompany award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker Seamus Murphy as he travelled on assignments to war-torn regions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as to the poor, mostly black neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.

CENTERPIECE SELECTION

STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS MINNESOTA PREMIERE

Director: Brandon Vedder

Countries: USA, Running Time: 91 min

After renouncing his long-held Christian beliefs and walking away from his critically-acclaimed band, Pedro the Lion, musician David Bazan retreated into a solitary life of touring solo, struggling to rebuild his worldview and career from the ground-up, and to support his family of four. STRANGE NEGOTIATIONS finds David a decade into his journey, during which he has become a sort of reluctant prophet to Americans reeling from their country’s own crisis of faith highlighted during the 2016 presidential election.

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION

BOY HOWDY: THE STORY OF CREEM MAGAZINE MINNESOTA PREMIERE

Director: Scott Crawford

Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min

Capturing the messy upheaval of the ’70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, the film explores Creem Magazine’s humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later.

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World-Renowned Artist Jon Batiste and New Orleans-Based R&B and Hip-Hop Group Tank and The Bangas Join Diaspora Songs Program at Carnegie Hall on Friday, December 6

Musical Director Terence Blanchard Leads Exciting Evening Celebrating the Extraordinary Impact of African Music on Today’s Cultural Landscape

Carnegie Hall announced that pianist, vocalist, and television personality Jon Batiste and breakout New Orleans-based R&B and hip-hop group Tank and The Bangas will join Diaspora Songs on Friday, December 6 at 8:00 p.m., for a one-night-only multimedia performance in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. Musical Director Terence Blanchard leads this dynamic program featuring his ensemble the E-Collective plus specials guests Vieux Farka Touré (vocals and guitar), Quiana Lynell (vocals), Joshuah Campbell (vocals), Carpenters United Choir, and RAREdancework. The evening shines a spotlight on the remarkably wide-ranging influence that African music has across multiple genres including gospel, blues, jazz, hip-hop, rock, and more. Beyond music and dance, the performance will also feature unique video projection created for the occasion to bring this journey to life.

This concert is part of Angélique Kidjo’s Perspectives Series which takes audiences on a journey of African music and culture throughout the world. The residency kicked off on October 19 with a sold-out Zankel Hall performances by Benin International Musical. In addition to Diaspora Songs on December 6, upcoming events on the series include:

Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke brings a program inspired by African and traditional jazz to Zankel Hall on Friday, December 13 at 9:00 p.m. Loueke and his trio, along with special guest Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, honor Kidjo in a concert that both celebrates and reinvents many of her marvelous songs.

The series culminates on Saturday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with a special concert marking both Kidjo’s 60th birthday and the anniversary of independence of her native Benin in addition to 16 other West African nations. For this momentous occasion, Kidjo will perform and is joined by a host of stellar guest artists to celebrate her remarkable musical career.

About the Artists
Terence Blanchard is a six-time Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter, composer and music educator who in 2019 received an Oscar nomination for best original score for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Blanchard has been named the first Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, which was established to honor Burrell, a legendary jazz guitarist and composer, as well as the founder and director of jazz studies at UCLA from 1996 to 2016.

Terence Blanchard is one of today’s foremost jazz composers. Photo Credit: Nitin Vadukul/Courtesy of the artist

Blanchard, a veteran of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, is a musical polymath who launched his solo career as a bandleader in the 1990s. Since then he has released 20 solo albums, composed more than 60 film scores, and received 10 major commissions. Among these works are two critically-acclaimed operas in jazz commissioned by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis – Champion which debuted in 2013, as well as the recently premiered Fire Shut Up In My Bones based on the memoir by Charles Blow (Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times). Blanchard has also composed work for Broadway revivals, plays, dance performances, and for national orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

In addition to Blanchard’s recent Oscar nod for the score for BlacKkKlansman, he also won his sixth Grammy for the haunting main theme from the film, “Blut Und Boden (Blood and Soil),” in the Best Instrumental Category. A recipient of the 2019 BMI Icon Award, Blanchard became a go-to composer for film beginning in the early 1990s, so much so that Entertainment Weekly called Blanchard “central to a general resurgence of jazz composition for film.” His credits include Lee classics Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, 25th Hour as well as Lee’s 2006 post-Katrina HBO documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Some of Blanchard’s other film credits include Black or White starring Kevin Costner and directed by Mike Binder; the Kasi Lemmons’ films, Eve’s Bayou and the upcoming Harriet (opening November 1); George Lucas’ Red Tails; and Tim Story’s Barbershop.

His latest projects include his new album Live, featuring seven songs recorded live in concert with his current quintet, the E-Collective. The album is a powerful musical statement concerning painful American tragedies from the past and present, and addresses critical issues, among them the staggering cyclical epidemic of U.S. gun violence. The album is also an impassioned continuation of the band’s Grammy-nominated 2015 studio recording, Breathless, which includes a title track written with the “Eric Garner ‘I can’t breathe’ NYPD chokehold in mind,” says Blanchard.

Later this year Blanchard will also pay tribute to his mentor Art Blakey with the staging of “AB-Squared,” an evening of Blakey’s music. Blakey is also known for developing and nurturing the next generation of jazz voices – a practice that Blanchard follows closely.

An avid music educator, Blanchard served as artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (now named the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz) from 2000 to 2011. In this role, he presented masterclasses and worked with students in the areas of artistic development, arranging, composition and career counseling.

Jon Baptiste. photo by Neil Grabowsky / Montclair Film

Born into a long lineage of Louisiana musicians, Jon Batiste is a globally celebrated musician, educator, bandleader, and television personality whose musical skill, artistic vision, and exuberant charisma has garnered him the well-deserved title of “crowned prince of jazz.” Batiste is recognized for his originality, jaw-dropping talent, and dapper sense of style. Batiste effortlessly transitions from commanding the piano with virtuosic skill to soulfully crooning to wailing on the “harmonaboard” (a hybrid of a harmonica and keyboard) to curating unique “social music” experiences all over the world, whether solo or with his band Stay Human.

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Major Exhibition, Exploring How Designers Today Are Shaping The Future, To Premiere At The Philadelphia Museum Of Art, October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020

Designs for Different Futures is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The role of designers in shaping how we think about the future is the subject of a major exhibition that will premiere at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this fall. Designs for Different Futures (October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020) brings together some 80 works that address the challenges and opportunities that humans may encounter in the years, decades, and centuries ahead. Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Designs for Different Futures will be presented at the Walker (September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021) and the Art Institute of Chicago (February 6–May 16, 2021) following its presentation in Philadelphia.

Among the questions today’s designers seek to answer are: What role can technology play in augmenting or replacing a broad range of human activities? Can intimacy be maintained at a distance? How can we negotiate privacy in a world in which the sharing and use of personal information has blurred traditional boundaries? How might we use design to help heal or transform ourselves, bodily and psychologically? How will we feed an ever-growing population?

“Another Generosity,” designed 2018 by Eero Lundén, Ron Aasholm, and Carmen Lee of Lundén Architecture Company in collaboration with Bergent, BuroHappold Engineering, and Aalto University (Courtesy of the designers). Photograph © Andrea Ferro. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

While no one can precisely predict the shape of things to come, the works in the exhibition are firmly fixed on the future, providing design solutions for a number of speculative scenarios. In some instances, these proposals are borne of a sense of anxiety, and in others of a sense of excitement over the possibilities that can be created through the use of innovative materials, new technologies, and, most importantly, fresh ideas.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “We often think of art museums as places that foster a dialogue between the past and the present, but they also can and should be places that inspire us to think about the future and to ask how artists and designers can help us think creatively about it. We are delighted to be able to collaborate with the Walker Art Center and the Art Institute of Chicago on this engaging project, which will offer our visitors an opportunity to understand not only how designers are imagining—and responding to—different visions of the futures, but also to understand just how profoundly forward-looking design contributes in our own time to shaping the world that we occupy and will bequeath as a legacy to future generations.

“PhoeniX Exoskeleton,” designed around 2013 by Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni for suitX (Courtesy of the manufacturer). Photograph ©suitX. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.
Lia: The Flushable and Biodegradable Pregnancy Test,” designed 2018 by Bethany Edwards and Anna Couturier Simpson (Courtesy of the designer). Photograph courtesy of LIA Diagnostics. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Thinking about the future has always been part of the human condition. It has also been a perennial field of inquiry for designers and architects whose speculations on this subject—ranging from the concrete to the whimsical—can profoundly affect how we imagine what is to come. Among the many forward-looking projects on view, visitors to Designs for Different Futures will encounter lab-grown food, robotic companions, family leave policy proposals, and textiles made of seaweed.

Some of these possibilities will come to fruition, while others will remain dreams or even threats,” said Kathryn Hiesinger, the J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, who coordinated the exhibition in Philadelphia with former assistant curator Michelle Millar Fisher. “We’d like visitors to join us as we present designs that consider the possible, debate the inevitable, and weigh the alternatives. This exhibition explores how design—understood expansively—can help us all grapple with what might be on the horizon and allows our imaginations to take flight.”

Alien Nation: Parade 0,” designed 2017 by Lisa Hartje Moura for HEAD-Genève (Private Collection) Photograph © Head-Genève, Michel Giesbrecht, 2017. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The exhibition is divided into 11 thematic sections. In Resources, visitors will encounter an inflatable pod measuring 15 feet in diameter, part of the work Another Generosity first created in 2018 by Finnish architect Eero Lundén and designed in this incarnation in collaboration with Ron Aasholm and Carmen Lee. The pod slowly expands and contracts in the space, responding to changing levels of carbon dioxide as visitors exhale around it, and provoking questions about the ongoing effect of the human footprint on the environment.

“Svalbard Global Seed Vault,” designed 2008 by Peter W. Søderman, Barlindhaug Consulting (Exhibition display courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation). Photograph courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.
Recyclable and Rehealable Electronic Skin,” designed 2018 by Jianliang Xiao and Wei Zhang (Courtesy of the designer). Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019

The section titled Generations will explore ways in which the choices we make today may contribute to the well-being or suffering of those who come after us. Here, visitors will find a model of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a repository that stores the world’s largest collection of crop seeds. Located within a mountain on a remote island near the Arctic Circle, the facility is designed to withstand natural or human-made disasters. The Earths section of the exhibition speculates on the challenges of extra-terrestrial communication in Lisa Moura’s Alien Nations installation and showcases typeface from the 2016 science-fiction film Arrival.

“Future Library,” 2014–2114, designed by Katie Paterson (Exhibition display gift of the Future Library Trust, 2018 and purchased with the European Decorative Arts Revolving Fund, 2018). Photograph © Bjørvika Utvikling by Kristin von Hirsch, 2017. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

In Bodies, designers grapple with choices about how our physical and psychological selves might look, feel, and function in different future scenarios. Featured here is one of the world’s lightest and most advanced exoskeletons, designed to help people with mobility challenges remain upright and active. Also notable is the CRISPR Kit, an affordable and accessible gene-editing toolbox, which has the potential to revolutionize biomedical research and open opportunities for gene therapy and genetic engineering.

“ZXX Typeface,” designed 2012, by Sang Mun (Courtesy of the designer). Photograph © Sang Mun. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Intimacies is a section that explores how technologies and online interfaces may affect love, family, and community. Here, urban experiences of sex and love are the focus of Andrés Jaque’s Intimate Strangers, an audio-visual installation focusing on the gay dating app. Through internet-enabled devices, designers explore the possibility of digitally mediated love and sex, suggesting what advanced digital networks hold for human sexuality.

Cricket Shelter: Modular Edible Insect Farm,” designed 2016 by Mitchell Joachim (Courtesy of the designer). Photograph © Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Foods contains projects that explore the future of the human diet. Among them is a modular edible-insect farm, Cricket Shelter, by Terreform ONE, which offers a ready source of protein for impending food crises. A kitchen installation suggests how technology and design may contribute to new modes of food production, including an Ouroboros Steak made from human cells.

“Circumventive Organs, Electrostabilis Cardium (film still),” designed 2013 by Agi Haines (Courtesy of the designer). Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Additional sections of the exhibition will focus on the future of Jobs and how Cities will function and look 100 years from now—with robotic baby feeders, driverless cars, and other developments—affording a glimpse at how we might navigate living beyond this planet. Shoes grown from sweat are among the innovations visitors will find in a section devoted to Materials, while Power will look at how design may affect our citizenship and help us retain agency over such essentials as our DNA, our voices, and our electronic communications in a future where the lines between record-keeping, communication, and surveillance blur. Data acknowledges and questions the different ways that information might be collected and used, with all its inherent biases and asymmetries, to shape different futures.

Raising Robotic Natives,” designed 2016 by Stephen Bogner, Philipp Schmitt, and Jonas Voigt (Courtesy of the designers) Photograph © Stephan Bogner, Philipp Schmitt, and Jonas Voigt. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The curatorial team is comprised of: at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kathryn B. Hiesinger, The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, and Michelle Millar Fisher, formerly The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700; At the Walker Art Center, Emmet Byrne, Design Director and Associate Curator of Design; and at the Art Institute of Chicago, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, and Zoë Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design. Consulting curators are Andrew Blauvelt, Director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Curator-at-Large, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Colin Fanning, Independent Scholar, Bard Graduate Center, New York; and Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts (Emerging Design Practices), University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia.

Kathryn B. Hiesinger is the J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her work focuses on decorative arts and design from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and includes the exhibitions and publications Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion (2011), Out of the Ordinary: The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates (2001), Japanese Design: A Survey since 1950 (1994) and Design since 1945 (1983).

Michelle Millar Fisher is the Ronald C. and Anita L Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and is currently completing her doctorate in architectural history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the co-author, with Paola Antonelli, of Items: Is Fashion Modern? (2017).

Emmet Byrne is the Design Director and Associate Curator of Design at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He provides creative leadership and strategic direction for the Walker in all areas of visual communication, branding, publishing, while overseeing the award-winning in-house design studio. He was one of the founders of the Task Newsletter in 2009 and is the creator of the Walker’s Intangibles platform.

Maite Borjabad López-Pastor is the Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an architect and curator educated at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Columbia University, New York. She is the author and curator of Scenographies of Power: From the State of Exception to the Spaces of Exception (2017). Her work revolves around diverse forms of critical spatial practices, operating across architecture, art, and performance.

Zoë Ryan is the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the editor of As Seen: Exhibitions That Made Architecture and Design History (2017) and curator of In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (2019) and the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial, The Future is Not What it Used to Be. Her projects explore the impact of architecture and design on society.

Centered on the innovative contemporary design objects, projects, and speculations of the exhibition’s checklist, the accompanying volume proposes design as a means through which to understand, question, and negotiate individual and collective futures, giving provocative voice to the most urgent issues of today. It asks readers to contemplate the design context within broader historical, social, political, and aesthetic spectrums. Designs for Different Futures addresses futures near and far, exploring such issues as human-digital interaction, climate change, political and social inequality, resource scarcity, transportation, and infrastructure.

The primary authors are Kathryn B. Hiesinger, Michelle Millar Fisher, Emmet Byrne, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, and Zoë Ryan, with Andrew Blauvelt, Colin Fanning, Orkan Telhan, Juliana Rowen Barton, and Maude de Schauensee. Additional contributions include texts by V. Michael Bove Jr. and Nora Jackson, Christina Cogdell, Marina Gorbis, Srećko Horvat, Bruno Latour, Marisol LeBrón, Ezio Manzini, Chris Rapley, Danielle Wood, LinYee Yuan, and Emma Yann Zhang; and interviews with Gabriella Coleman, Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin), Aimi Hamraie and Jillian Mercado, Francis Kéré, David Kirby, Helen Kirkum, Alexandra Midal, Neri Oxman, and Eyal Weizman.

Designs for Different Futures will be distributed by Yale University Press. The book was overseen by Philadelphia Museum of Art publishing director Katie Reilly and editors Katie Brennan and Kathleen Krattenmaker. It is designed by Ryan Gerald Nelson, Senior Graphic Designer at the Walker Art Center, under the direction of Walker design director Emmet Byrne.

Futures Therapy Lab

As part of the exhibition, visitors to the Philadelphia Museum of Art galleries will also encounter a space for community meetups, public programs, school visits, and self-directed activities. The Futures Therapy Lab will weave personal connections between visitors and the exhibition as part of a collaboration between the museum’s Education Department and the curatorial team. Weekly programs, many of which will occur on Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday Nights, will connect visitors with designers, artists, and locally based creatives. The Futures Therapy Lab will contain a crowdsourced Futures Library that includes everything from science-fiction books to the exhibition catalogue. “Thinking about possible futures is both exhilarating and anxiety-provoking,” said Emily Schreiner, the Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education, Public Programs. “The Futures Therapy Lab is a place for conversation, critique, and creativity in which visitors can imagine their own hopes, fears and solutions for the future through reflection, discussion, and art making.”

View Full Schedule of Related Public Programs

In Philadelphia, this exhibition is generously supported by the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Kathleen C. and John J.F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer in Honor of Collab’s 50th Anniversary, the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Fund for Special Exhibitions, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor.

Related Programs

The Futures Therapy Lab will host a series of weekly happenings:

Artists in the Lab

Artists and designers share their work through talks, demonstrations, and workshops. Wednesday Nights, 5:00–8:45 p.m.

The Designer is In

Talk it out. One-on-one sessions with local designers offer new perspectives on your everyday life. Thursdays & Saturdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Sci-Fi Sundays

Drop-in readings that explore narratives of the future. Select Sundays, 2:00–3:00pm

Exhibition Of Large-Scale, Immersive Installations to be Highlight of the Newly Expanded Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA)

The Museum of Modern Art will inaugurate its latest transformation on New York City’s Wesr 53rd Street with Surrounds: 11 Installations, opening in The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Special Exhibitions, in The Peggy and David Rockefeller building, on October 21, 2019. The presentation, spanning the entire sixth floor, presents 11 watershed installations by living artists from the past two decades, all drawn from the Museum’s collection and on view at MoMA for the first time. Each installation will occupy its own gallery, providing an individualized, immersive experience.

Surrounds is organized by Quentin Bajac, former Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography, Christian Rattemeyer, Harvey S. Shipley Miller Associate Curator for Drawings and Prints, Yasmil Raymond, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, and Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film, with the assistance of Lucy Gallun, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, Erica Papernik-Shimizu, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance, Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, and Taylor Walsh, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. The Killing Machine. 2007. Pneumatics, robotics, electromagnetic beaters, dentist chair, electric guitar, CRT monitors, computer, various control systems, lights, and sound (approx. 5 min.). 9′ 10″ x 13′ 1″ x 8′ 2″ (118 x 157 x 98 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Julia Stoschek Foundation, Düsseldorf, and the Dunn Bequest. © 2019 Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Photo: Seber Ugarte & Lorena López. Courtesy the artists and Luhring Augustine, New York.

Surrounds includes work by Jennifer Allora (American, b. 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (Cuban, b. 1971), Sadie Benning (American, b. 1973), Janet Cardiff (Canadian, b. 1957) and George Bures Miller (Canadian, b. 1960), Sou Fujimoto (Japanese, b. 1971), Sheila Hicks (American, b. 1934), Arthur Jafa (American, b. 1960), Mark Manders (Dutch, b. 1968), Rivane Neuenschwander (Brazilian, b. 1967), Dayanita Singh (Indian, b. 1961), Hito Steyerl (German, b. 1966), and Sarah Sze (American, b. 1969).

Mark Manders. Room with Chairs and Factory. 2002-2008.Wood, iron, rubber, painted polyester, painted ceramic, painted canvas, unpainted canvas, painted wig, chair, and offset print on paper. 125 1/4 x 94 1/2 x 159 1/2 inches; 318 x 240 x 405 cm (factory and figure), 29 1/2 x 57 1/2 x 36 inches; 74.9 x 146.1 x 91.4 cm (chair and newspapers).The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Painting and Sculpture Fund. © 2019 Mark Manders, courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

Each work included in the exhibition was conceived out of different individual circumstances—as a contribution to a biennial, as an element of a larger ongoing body of work, as a response to a classic work of art history, or as a stand-alone work unrelated to others—but the installations are united in their ambition and scope, marking decisive shifts in the careers of their makers and the broader field of contemporary art.

Allora & Calzadilla. Fault Lines. 2013. Ten metamorphic and igneous rocks, live performance by two boy soprano singers. Dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Bob Rennie. © 2019 Allora & Calzadilla. Installation view: Allora & Calzadilla: Fault Lines, Gladstone Gallery, New York, September 13 – October 11, 2014. Courtesy the artists and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photography by David Regen

The exhibition is made possible by Bank of America, MoMA’s opening partner.

Generous funding is provided by Agnes Gund.

Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, The Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Alice and Tom Tisch, The David Rockefeller Council, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, The Keith Haring Foundation, and The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Karen and Gary Winnick, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Clarissa Alcock and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Agnes Gund, and Oya and Bülent Eczacıbaşı.

MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

This Just In!: David Breslin And Adrienne Edwards Will Curate The 2021 Whitney Biennial

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that its 2021 Biennial, the 80th edition, will be co-organized by two brilliant members of the Museum’s curatorial department, David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards. The 2021 Whitney Biennial exhibition will open in the spring of 2021 and is presented by Tiffany & Co., which has been the lead sponsor of the Biennial since the Museum’s move downtown.

Image credit: Adrienne Edwards and David Breslin. Photograph by Bryan Derballa

Alice Pratt Brown Director Adam D. Weinberg noted: “The central aim of the Biennial is to be a barometer of contemporary American art. Each Biennial is a reflection of the cultural and social moment as it intersects with the passions, perspectives, and tastes of the curators. David and Adrienne will be a great team. They are inquisitive, curious, and are acutely attuned to the art of the current moment. No doubt they will bring fresh outlooks to this historic exhibition and reinvent it for these complex and challenging times.”

With a long history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking debate, the Whitney Biennial is the Museum’s signature survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States. The Biennial, an invitational show of work produced in the preceding two years, was introduced by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, and it is the longest continuous series of exhibitions in the country to survey recent developments in American art.

Initiated by founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Whitney Biennial is the longest-running survey of American art. More than 3,600 artists have participated, including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, Lynda Benglis, Frank Bowling, Joan Jonas, Barbara Kruger, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, David Wojnarowicz, Glenn Ligon, Yvonne Rainer, Zoe Leonard, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Mike Kelley, Lorna Simpson, Renée Green, Wade Guyton, Julie Mehretu, Cecilia Vicuña, Mark Bradford, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Ellen Gallagher, Rachel Harrison, Wu Tsang, Nick Mauss, Sarah Michelson, Laura Owens, Postcommodity, Pope.L, Jeffrey Gibson, and Tiona Nekkia McClodden.

The biennials were originally organized by medium, with painting alternating with sculpture and works on paper. Starting in 1937, the Museum shifted to yearly exhibitions called Annuals. The current format—a survey show of work in all media occurring every two years—has been in place since 1973. The 2019 Biennial (still on partial view on the Museum’s sixth floor until October 27) was organized by two Whitney curators, Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley. It featured seventy-five artists and collectives working in painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, performance, and sound.

David Breslin was recently named the DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, a role he will assume this month. Since joining the Museum in 2016 as DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, Breslin has spearheaded the Museum’s collection-related activities, curating a series of major collection exhibitions and overseeing acquisitions. Working closely with his curatorial colleagues, he has organized or co-organized four timely and thematized collection displays, including Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960, An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017, Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s, and The Whitney’s Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965, which is currently on view on the Museum’s seventh floor. In 2018, he co-curated (with David Kiehl) the landmark retrospective David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night.

Breslin came to the Whitney from the Menil Drawing Institute, where he created an ambitious program of exhibitions and public and scholarly events and helped to shape the design of the Institute’s new facility. He also oversaw work on the catalogue raisonné of the drawings of Jasper Johns and grew the collection. Prior to the Menil, Breslin served as the associate director of the research and academic program and associate curator of contemporary projects at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; he also oversaw the Clark’s residential fellowship program and taught in the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. Breslin co-edited Art History and Emergency: Crises in the Visual Arts and Humanities (Yale University Press, 2016), a volume that grew from a Clark Conference he organized with art historian Darby English.

In 2018, Adrienne Edwards was named Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney. Previously, she served as curator of Performa since 2010 and as Curator at Large for the Walker Art Center since 2016.

At the Whitney, Edwards curated Jason Moran, the artist’s first museum show, now on view on the Museum’s eighth floor. She originated the exhibition at the Walker in 2018; it previously traveled to the ICA Boston and the Wexner Center for the Arts. The exhibition features a series of performances, Jazz on a High Floor in the Afternoon, curated by Edwards and Moran. She organized the event commencing the construction of David Hammons’s Day’s End, featuring a commission by composer Henry Threadgill and a “water” tango on the Hudson River by the Fire Department of the City of New York’s Marine Company 9. Earlier this year, Edwards organized Moved by the Motion: Sudden Rise, a series of performances based on a text co-written by Wu Tsang, boychild, and Fred Moten, which presented a collage of words, film, movements, and sounds.

For Performa, Edwards realized new boundary-defying commissions, as well as pathfinding conferences and film programs with a wide range of over forty international artists. While at the Walker, she co-led the institution-wide Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Initiative, an effort to expand ways of commissioning, studying, collecting, documenting, and conserving cross-disciplinary works. Edwards’s curatorial projects have included the critically acclaimed exhibition and catalogue Blackness in Abstraction, hosted by Pace Gallery in 2016. She also organized Frieze’s Artist Award and Live program in New York in 2018. Edwards taught art history and visual studies at New York University and The New School, and she is a contributor to the National Gallery of Art’s Center for the Advanced Study in Visual Art’s forthcoming publication Black Modernisms.

Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, said, “David and Adrienne truly represent the best spirit and ideals of the Whitney. Not only are they devoted to—and beloved by—living artists, but they bring to the art of our time a deep historical and scholarly awareness. The most recent editions of the Biennial have reaffirmed its vitality and relevance, and I look forward to discovering how another pair of Whitney curators will lend their voices to our signature exhibition.”

High Museum Of Art And Dallas Museum Of Art To Present Pioneering Design Exhibition Exploring The Spectrum Of Sensory Experience

Debut of New Works by International Designers Ini Archibong, Matt Checkowski, Misha Kahn, the Ladd Brothers Laurie Haycock Makela, and Yuri Suzuki

speechless: different by design Opens at the Dallas Museum of Art in November 2019, Travels to the High Museum of Art in April 2020

The High Museum of Art (High) (Atlanta, Ga.) and the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) (Dallas, Texas) announced the co-organization of speechless: different by design, an exhibition that merges research, aesthetics, and innovative new design to explore the vast spectrum of sensory experiences and new approaches to accessibility and modes of communication in the museum setting. Speechless will debut new work by six leading and emerging international designers and design teams—Ini Archibong, Matt Checkowski, Misha Kahn, Steven and William Ladd, Laurie Haycock Makela, and Yuri Suzuki—whose projects were informed by conversations with specialists from prominent academic and medical institutions. Their site-specific installations and new commissions will create participatory environments and distinct situations in which senses merge or are substituted for one another.

The High Museum of Art, Atlanta logo

Curated by Sarah Schleuning, The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design and Interim Chief Curator at the DMA, speechless will open at the DMA on November 10, 2019, and remain on view through February 23, 2020. The exhibition is presented in Dallas by Texas Instruments. The High will present the exhibition in Atlanta from April 25 through September 6, 2020.

This exhibition is about blurring the boundaries between senses, media, disciplines, and environments to encourage visitors to interact and communicate through design,” said Schleuning. “speechless is about what makes us as individuals unique—the challenges we experience through ourselves and others—ultimately defining the interconnections among all of us. Our perceptions, experiences, and differences should unite us instead of divide us, heightening our understandings and creating a greater sense of empathy in ourselves and our community.

Sarah Schleuning began to develop this important project while serving as our curator of decorative arts and design, so it feels very fitting, and full circle, to co-organize this exhibition with our esteemed colleagues at the DMA,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., Director of the High. “This exhibition dovetails perfectly with our ongoing and evolving commitment to access. Consequently, we’re excited to welcome audiences with wide-ranging abilities to experience these unique and immersive installations. We hope to learn something important about how such a diverse group of visitors interacts with these works as well as engages with each other within the spaces.

The DMA is committed to offering our audiences opportunities for discovery and for learning about different perspectives and cultures through our exhibitions and collections, and the intersections between them,” said Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “In line with this approach, Sarah’s work on this groundbreaking project—involving years of cross-disciplinary study and collaboration with designers, scholars, and scientists at the forefront of innovation in art and accessibility—is truly pioneering within our field and creates an incredible opportunity to provide a truly distinct museum experience to our audiences. We are pleased to partner with the High in presenting speechless, an exhibition that creates meaningful experiences for visitors of all backgrounds and abilities, and also contributes important scholarship and insight about how museums can innovate with everything from installation to the visitor experience.”

About the Artists

Ini Archibong. Photo Frank Juerey.

Ini Archibong was born and raised in Pasadena, California, where he graduated from the Art Center College of Design. After a period living and working in Singapore and traveling widely, he moved to Switzerland, where he is currently based, to pursue further studies in luxury design and craftsmanship and received a master’s degree from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL). He has designed furniture for such luxury brands as Hermès, de Sede, Bernhardt Design, Ruinart, Christofle and Vacheron Constantin. He is currently collaborating with the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York and Sé Collections in London, with whom he released the second installment of the Below the Heavens during this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Matt Checkowski. Photo: Shawn Michienzi.

Matt Checkowski is a designer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. He has served as the creative force behind the dream sequences in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report; The Sensorium, a first-of-its-kind interactive perfume museum in New York; and the digital media content for a science fiction opera at l’Opera de Monte Carlo; and he was the co-director of Lies & Alibis, a feature film starring Steve Coogan, Sam Elliott, James Marsden, and Rebecca Romijn. In 2006 Checkowski established the Department of the 4th Dimension, a multi-disciplinary studio working at the intersection of storytelling, technology, and branding with clients that include the Walker Art Center, MIT, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, Unilever, Electrolux, and the University of California. His work has been profiled in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Popular Science, among others.

Misha Kahn. Photo: Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Misha Kahn, Photography by Dan Kukla.

Misha Kahn was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and graduated from the Rhode Island school of Design with a BFA in furniture design in 2011. His work exists at the intersection of design and sculpture, exploring a wide variety of media and scales from mouse to house. Kahn’s approach melds an array of processes, from casting, carving, welding, and weaving, to imaginative and singular modes of production. According to former president of the Rhode Island School of Design John Maeda, “Misha creates work for a parallel wonderland, where traditional perception of material and structure is pushed to the edges of the room to make space for one big party.” His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of numerous museums and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Corning Museum of Glass.

Steven and William Ladd in Scroll Space. Photo: Nick Lee.

Brothers Steven and William Ladd have created multi–disciplinary works combining sculpture, performance, design, and social activism since they began collaborating in 2000. They have exhibited at the Musée des arts décoratifs and had solo exhibitions at numerous American institutions, including their hometown institution the Saint Louis Art Museum. Their work is labor-intensive and has varied from large three-dimensional murals to book bindings. Through their Scrollathon® they have worked with over 7,000 people, including children, hospital patients, and special needs individuals. Their work is in the collections of the Musée des arts décoratifs at the Louvre, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and Mingei International Museum.

Laurie Haycock Makela. Photo: Carmela Makela.

Laurie Haycock Makela has been a recognized voice of experimental graphic and trans-disciplinary design practice and education for over 30 years in the United States and Europe. She has taught at prestigious institutions in Sweden, Germany, and Los Angeles. She was designer-in-residence and co-chair of the department of 2-D design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, from 1996 to 2001 with the late P. Scott Makela. Their studio, Words and Pictures for Business and Culture, produced print and new media for clients such as NIKE, MTV and Warner Bros. She was awarded the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Medal, the profession’s highest honor, in 2000.  Most recently, she became the first designer-in-residence at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design.

Atelier Swarovski – Design Miami Basel – Wattens Visit – December 2015 (Yuri Suzuki. Photo © Mark Cocksedge.)

Yuri Suzuki is a sound artist, designer, and electronic musician who explores the realms of sound through exquisitely designed pieces. His work looks into the way people experience sound, and how music and sound affect their minds. His sound, art, and installations have been internationally exhibited and he has work in several permanent collections across the world. He began his own design studio in 2013, working alongside Disney, Google, and Yamaha, among others.  

Ini Archibong and Hideki Yoshimoto. Photo: Matt Checkowski.

Harnessing the power and impact of design, speechless offers audiences unconventional multisensory experiences that foster understanding of the varied ways in which we experience the world through our senses. The exhibition presents opportunities for new modes of communicating ideas beyond speech and words. Organized in five major sections, the exhibition is connected by a central introductory space and sensory de-escalation area, through which visitors must pass to move between sections. Six contemporary designers will create spaces that fuse multiple sensory experiences—for instance, rendering sound visible or language tactile. The works include:

  • The Oracle, designed and engineered by California-born, Switzerland-based multi-disciplinary designer Ini Archibong, will explore non-traditional ways of experiencing sound. The space occupied by Archibong’s work will be infused with a soothing, harmonious soundscape created by a custom synthesizer, which removes discordant sound and produces pure sound waves. The installation will feature an array of interactive elements designed to illustrate sound through movement, shape, light, and color, including a pool with an obelisk that visitors can rotate to tune the sound to various bass tones, thereby changing the shape and movement of the water as well; and brass pedestals holding handblown glass shapes that pivot to initiate shifts in light and color. Visitors can turn every element throughout the room to communally alter the sound in the space.
  • Glyph, by designer and filmmaker Matt Checkowski, will explore the creativity behind each designer’s work in speechless and the role of empathy that informs it through a series of narrative and intimate short film portraits of each artist. He is developing a method of word and image translation whereby the filmed speech of each artist will be transformed live into images, offering a new, universal visual language for the ideas conveyed by the creative minds involved with this project.
  • Brooklyn-based designer and artist Misha Kahn will create a meandering coral garden composed of vibrant, dynamic inflatables that will move in multiple ways, inflating and deflating over the course of each day. Visitors can touch, sit, squeeze, and otherwise interact with the inflatable forms, both observing the landscape change around them and themselves participating in the alteration.
  • Scroll Space, presented by New York–based brothers and artists Steven and William Ladd, will be a vibrant and tactile room created entirely of tens of thousands of hand-rolled textile “scrolls.” These scrolls will be made in collaboration with 2,000 community members in Dallas and Atlanta through the Ladd Brothers’ community engagement program Scrollathon®, which brings the arts to underserved populations through hands-on creative workshops. The Dallas program will include participants from the Center for BrainHealth and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas.
  • The exhibition’s graphic identity and corresponding publication speechless: Beyond Sense  is created by Laurie Haycock Makela, a leader in the field of experimental, transdisciplinary graphic design. Playing with the multiple meanings of the word “speechless,” the publication will explore the evolution of the project, document the installations, and feature conversations between the designers and the curator. Both innovative and accessible, her work contributes to the foundation of total inclusive and interactive experience of the project.
  • Sound Of The Earth Chapter 2, a sound installation by London-based sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki, will integrate audio crowdsourced from around the world. The work will take the form of a spherical sculpture with which visitors can interact by placing their ears against the surface. Each spot on the sphere represents a different area of the world and will “whisper” back a corresponding sound sourced from that region, enabling visitors to experience the globe in a fresh way, beyond text and words. Anyone around the world can submit audio via the DMA’s website at earthsounds.dma.org.
Misha Kahn. New work for Speechless, computer generated rendering, 2019. Courtesy of Misha Kahn.

speechless is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. The exhibition in Dallas is presented by Texas Instruments.

Support for the exhibition in Atlanta is provided by wish foundation. This exhibition in Atlanta is made possible by Exhibition Series Sponsors Delta Air Lines, Inc., Northside Hospital, and WarnerMedia; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters the Antinori Foundation, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, and Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter Anne Cox Chambers Foundation; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters Tom and Susan Wardell, and Rod Westmoreland; and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Lucinda W. Bunnen, Marcia and John Donnell, W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole, Peggy Foreman, Robin and Hilton Howell, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, Margot and Danny McCaul, Joel Knox and Joan Marmo, and The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust.

Steven and William Ladd, Scroll Space, 2019. Photo: Nick Lee.

Generous support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.