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Art becoming Architecture: Informing the Discussion

Part 1 Dissertation 2013
Phillip Hedges
Ulster University, UK
‘Art and Architecture meet more often and more profoundly today than ever before – from public art to the art-fair tent, from pavilion to the installation. But if the interchange between these fields offers a host of new possibilities for structure, space, and experience, it also makes reflection on their status more urgent.’

This statement formulated by Chris Johanson, and Luke Fowler necessitated a discussion between critics, artists, and architects. Published in Artforum International Magazine The conversation identified an intrinsic relationship between art and architecture, a factor that enables a flexibility and fusion between the two disciplines. The exploitation and exploration of the professions’ propinquity has lead to the propagation of collaboratory works between artists and architects on an international level, signifying a move towards a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ model.

The expositions exposed within the ‘Trading Spaces’ article, although revealing, remain nevertheless insufficient in identifying a discernible relationship between art and architecture with regard to the generation of ‘new possibilities for structure, space, and experience’. They offer only speculative accounts and juxtaposed opinions on the interaction of art and architecture. The existing explanations fail to provide a tangible analysis of any projects discussed; therefore much uncertainty still exists about the significance of art-architecture interplay. Consequently, the primary aim here is to further examine and analyse an art-architecture project, and evaluate any subsequent implications that may have.

Architect Steven Holl gained a position within the aforementioned discussion group as a result of his ‘pioneering work (which) marks the front lines of art-architecture exchange’. His preeminent project at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City was a collaborative façade installation with artist Vito Acconci, executed between 1992 -1993 the resulting design lead Storefront’s curator Claudia Gould to the characterization as a “…hermaphrodite… a piece that is neither art nor architecture”.

Given the dynamism of the collaboration between artist and architect, the storefront for art and architecture became the main focus of this dissertation. Aiming to employ qualitative modes of enquiry, in an attempt to understand and extrapolate meaning from the work produced - effectively shinning new light on the debate presented by Artforum.

Phillip Hedges

Tanja Poppelreuter
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