INDEPENDENT NEW YORK
A highly anticipated solo presentation on the work of Siah Armajani at Independent New York investigates the artist’s application of American vernacular architecture throughout his singular artistic practice. Drawings and sculptures spanning five decades explicate themes of democracy, anarchy and exile, underpinned by his philosophical and constructivist tendencies. The installation extends the dialogue of Armajani’s concurrent retrospective, Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, on view at The Met Breuer.
Exhibit highlights include a landmark sculpture from the artist’s celebrated Dictionary for Building (Dictionary for Building: Basement Window Under Front Door Steps, 1985), an effulgent 12-foot drawing (Sunset at Hiawatha Avenue, 2008) and five exquisite balsa wood sculptures, including the artist’s original model for Bridge Over Tree (1970).
Armajani’s use of the imagery of Early American architecture dates to his first works as a sculptor and continues throughout his career. The pragmatic ideas he implements offer an understanding of how straightforward and intelligent use of materials can be employed to provide settings for the exchange of thoughts. At the same time, by remixing various units of domestic architecture into improbable hybrid structures, Armajani renders the annexed architectural elements useless in a practical sense even while they reveal their axiomatic nature. His reconstructions of these vernacular components result in complex conceptual inventions that continue define his practice still today.
Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, curated by Clare Davies and Victoria Sung, was held at the Walker Art Center from 9 September to 30 December 2018, and is currently on view at The Met Breuer until 2 June 2019.
The artist’s seminal public project, Bridge Over Tree (1970) has been re-staged by Public Art Fund at the Brooklyn Bridge through September 2019.
THE ARMORY SHOW PLATFORM
Begun in 2016, Siah Armajani’s Seven Rooms of Hospitality responds with thoughtful urgency to the contemporary migrant crisis, referencing the uncertain spaces occupied by refugees, deportees, and exiles. While constituting a clear indictment of the nationalist politics that have produced the global refugee crisis, Armajani’s works convey hope in their attempt to revive the revolutionary internationalist energy of the avant-garde, alongside the communal impulse of vernacular American building.
The artist’s seven 3D-printed models for the complete series as well as the full-scale sculpture Seven Rooms of Hospitality: Room for Migrant Worker (2016) will be on view in Worlds of Tomorrow, The Armory Show 2019 Platform section curated by Sally Tallant.