kulapatyantrasast

Hosted By:

Kulapat Yantrasast

co-founder and principal of wHY Architecture & Design

Nov 25

2012

The environment for experiencing art is no longer confined to the white walls of a gallery, it extends away from the traditional exhibition space out into the landscape and other natural elements. Many of these places (including site-specific installations and outdoor exhibitions like The Lightning Field and The Chinati Foundation) are regarded as pilgrimage sites, and often have a standard set of ingredients: art, nature/landscape, and architecture. This movement somewhat connects art back to environment, to public spaces and to society, and also opens up a wider definition of an art experience.

Could this formula, often applied to post-war and contemporary art, work for older works of art such as Stonehenge or Versailles? Or be applied to work that reaches beyond the visual arts, such as audio, tactile, culinary, etc.?

What are the effects when nature, landscape, and architecture are successfully infused with art? Where have you experienced this combination? 


kulapatyantrasast

Kulapat Yantrasast

co-founder and principal of wHY Architecture & Design

Kulapat gave the final word

I am excited to see that this question has inspired such diverse and well-researched responses, as I was not trying to sum up but rather to offer an arena where ideas are shared. Rather, I’d like to highlight a few of the responses that were born out of this question of art, landscape/nature, and architecture, however go on to extend into further realms of thought and bring up new questions and ideas:
From fellow architect Peter Zweig:
‘… The more I travel, it is the definition of art defined by a particular culture that elevates the awareness of it’s people to appreciate the landscape, their architecture, nature and art. I have learned to take each encounter with a new culture on its own terms, taste the culinary cuisine, embed my mind in the local art and architecture and see the world from a different point of view. It is this process of being transported to another sense of place that is different from my own world, that is, for me, the true effect of this creative mingling of art, architecture, landscape and nature.’
From Alan Wade:
‘…I wonder if in future the 20th century won’t be seen as an anomaly in the history of art, a detour, during which art was confined to a series of shoeboxes, before and after which it was mostly found in the wild. Donald Judd and Walter de Maria weren’t so much innovating as getting back to an historical norm, no?’
Marc Pally expands on Alan’s point by saying:
‘… The white box is a blip on art’s timeline and is a powerful metaphor for the often secondary role art has come to play in western culture. (…) One of the seeds of the current flourishing of public art is the relocation of art from the gallery to open and public spaces. Gordon Matta-Clark’s architectural interventions happened in urban spaces and Michael Heizer’s earth works occurred in remote sites, both however affirm each artist’s desire to work outside of the white box, to place art directly into the world without the mediation of a supporting and/or presenting entity. (…) The richness and diversity of formats in which art thrives will only intensify.’
Let the conversations continue!

Sunday, November 25 at 8:17pm

kulapatyantrasast

Kulapat Yantrasast

co-founder and principal of wHY Architecture & Design

Kulapat gave the Final Word

A few examples that come to mind that take form in their own organic way using this set of ingredients, are the Inhotim Institute of Contemporary Art in Brazil, the Benesse Art Site in Naoshima, Japan, and Chateau le Coste in France. Many of the artworks are site specific and made to enhance the central vision of the projects. These places extend beyond a sculpture park where artworks are installed in idyllic natural settings. I wonder what the ingredients are that make these places seem more fresh and further interactive?

Sunday, November 25 at 8:17pm

    I just wrote a short thought about art in nature below…check it out
    but to your thoughts and Toyo Ito..
    the art of the ephemeral is what excites our neuro wires is what brings us to the possibilities of art science and…

    Tuesday, November 27 at 5:13pm

Kulapat, what a great question!
I think we can learn a great deal from artists.
I immediately think of the buildings in built or altered by Donald Judd in which he lived, worked, and displayed art in Marfa, Texas. Whether at the Chinati Foundation or those run by the Judd Foundation (including 101 Spring Street), they highlight a love and understanding of vernacular architecture, the rustic, high plains landscape, and straightforward presentation of late 20th century modernism. Outside of El Paso, The Hill of James Magee is fascinating, deeply moving, and underappreciated.

OK, then there’s Japan–you already mentioned the Benesse Art Foundation’s groundbreaking work, but I would single out Inujima, an amazing artistic and architectural reclamation and artistic intervention within an abandoned copper refinery by SAMBUICHI Hiroshi and YANAGI Yukinori, and also the wonderful Art House Projects in the villages on Naoshima, where typical building types including homes, warehouses, and shrines have been transformed by artists and are open to visit. Also, the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum and studios in Japan and Long Island City do a great job of integrating art, architecture, and nature.
OK, there’s a start! Glad to be a part of this project—
Dana Friis-Hansen Director, Grand Rapids Art Museum

Sunday, November 25 at 10:02pm

    kulapatyantrasast

    Kulapat Yantrasast

    co-founder and principal of wHY Architecture & Design

    Dana, our NY office is in S0HO on Mercer just down the street from Judd’s 101 Spring Street, and it has been amazing to watch that renovation and reinstallation. It feels like an art time machine from SOHO past to our present SOHO of boutiques and commerce.

    Monday, November 26 at 11:46am

One place where I experience art, architecture and nature coming together is in 18th and 19th-century cemeteries. The atmosphere is conducive to reflection about life and death, morality, shared fate, mystery, great deeds, how one wishes to be remembered, commemoration, history, and so on. I used to go to one or other to read and to pay homage to luminaries of the past (it’s especially good when the monuments include not only artworks but biographical texts). And there are admirable miniature-temple mausoleums, and refreshing landscapes with horticultural specimens. I also like Isamu Noguchi’s California Scenario, a kind of walk-through abstract landscape in Orange County, California. It should be a pilgrimage site, but it’s too little known.
And I imagine that should Christo build his giant Mastaba of oil cans in the Abu Dhabi desert, it too will bring together the essential elements of art, architecture and nature into a powerful whole. The project always struck me as his greatest gesture (perhaps aside from wrapping the Reichstag) and I do hope that pyramid for our age is realized. – Jason Edward Kaufman, art critic, NYC

Sunday, November 25 at 10:21pm

ericshiner

Eric Shiner

Director of The Andy Warhol Museum

The results of a successful combination of art, architecture and landscape can lean to the magical and transcendental, and many of my most memorable interactions with contemporary art have taken place under such circumstances. I was lucky enough to visit Benesse House on Naoshima in Japan soon after it opened, and I truly consider my trip there to have been a pilgrimage of sorts–and most definitely a journey into a rare and incredible environment where history and contemporaneity collided in a most exhilarating way.

Other memorable visits include the Wanas Foundation in southern Sweden–a royal estate with art scattered across the property, including a multi-storied installation in the estate’s barn by Ann Hamilton that is one of the best site-specific works I have ever seen.

This conversation is most timely in that we have an exhibition devoted to the topic up in Pittsburgh now at The Warhol’s sister institution, The Carnegie Museum of Art, titled “White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes.” Curated by CMA’s Ray Ryan, the show looks at examples of such projects from Brazil to Mexico, Europe to the States, and the above-mentioned Naoshima project in Japan. It’s a fantastic show. More information can be found here:

http://web.cmoa.org/?page_id=5994

We at The Warhol pay very close attention to these projects around the globe, and we certainly hope to see how we can help generate similar ideas in Pittsburgh. to me, the city’s unique geography, layout and history seem to be the perfect stage upon which something very unique can unfold.

Sunday, November 25 at 11:41pm

kulapatyantrasast

Kulapat Yantrasast

co-founder and principal of wHY Architecture & Design

Thanks, Eric ! When I was writing the question I forgot to mention the great show that CMA’s Ray Ryan curated with many great examples of art in landscape. I was thinking about Philip Johnson’s note about how most of the buildings he loved are mostly one-room buildings, as the form and space of these buildings are so close to one another and the interior space is so close to outside space.

Most of the recent examples; Benesse in Japan, Ihotim in Brazil, Museum Insel Hombrich in Germany, employ great use of one-room buildings like Philip Johnson did at the Glass House.
I think in these moments, the interior space connects to the exterior form, both also connect to landscape or natural setting around them. the experience there could be so tight and intimate even for a large building like Judd’s Chinati Foundation or Inujima project in Japan.

Monday, November 26 at 12:05am

Kulapat:
In America, the 19th century Shaker communities developed an intimate relationship with nature, their spirit, a modest architecture and the unique development of the art of objects in the service of life, including: furniture, vases, utensils, and functional tools. In many ways their approach to life as a minimal philosophy related to the Japanese sensibility towards their enviromnents responding to interior and exterior space in a very modulated manner. The Japanese, at once Shinto and Buddhist learned to live in multiple world views in a very compatible way. The Shakers, similarly, lived in a heavenly and earth bound life that conveyed a preciousness to all aspects of living.

The unique intersection of architecture, landscape, nature, and art exists in all cultures to many degrees: The Thai enclosed, walled, political and spiritual spaces of Watts (particularly the Jade Buddha), the gardens of Suzhou in China, the mud palaces of Yemen, the ancient pyramids of Mexico, the Brion Cemetery of Carlo Scarpa, Versailles, France (even when Jeff Koons had a recent exhibition there), and the global, cultural list is infinite. The more I travel, it is the definition of art defined by a particular culture that elevates the awareness of it’s people to appreciate the landscape, their architecture, nature and art.
I have learned to take each encounter with a new culture on its own terms, taste the culinary cuisine, embed my mind in the local art and architecture and see the world from a different point of view. It is this process of being transported to another sense of place that is different from my own world, that is, for me, the true effect of this creative mingling of art, architecture, landscape and nature.
It is in this realm that I have found I can, for a moment, sense my place in the universe. It is like being on a beach at sunrise in Bali, or on a mountaintop in Kyoto with no visible buildings in the morning fog, sitting on a perfect wooden bench. For me, these are my important spiritual markers on a journey through life.

Monday, November 26 at 12:54am

kulapatyantrasast

Kulapat Yantrasast

co-founder and principal of wHY Architecture & Design

I was thinking over night about what Jason and Peter wrote and remembered that one of the few experiences I have had that is such an integration of many art forms, though temporary, is the cherry blossom viewing tea event in Japan.

Toyo Ito once wrote that architecture could be as simple and beautiful as people sitting on mats and sometimes shade under the cherry blossoms. There you have temporary architecture, erected to enjoy the scenery and enhance our comfort. You also have food and drinks created to heighten the awareness of the season. You also have music, poems and sometimes calligraphy. All for the moment of beauty that lasts for a very short time.

Monday, November 26 at 11:44am

    There is a very interesting, ongoing project in Joshua Tree, CA called High Desert Test Sites, that is the brain child of artist Andrea Zittel.
    http://www.highdeserttestsites.com/hdts
    Every two years she invites a group of artists to make and install art on her property (or other nearby parcels that she has gained access to) in the desert. It is an ambitious project that yields fascinating results. There are many different micro-desert contexts to chose from and make work in response to. Some of the work is performative, temporal…some makes an attempt at permanence, although the desert often has its own ideas about that. There is man made architecture to engage in the form of old prospector shacks, and new design…as well as “architecture” created by glaciers, the sun, wind and rain. I installed a piece on Andrea’s property during the last HDTS, and the experience was transformative, for me and my work. My work usually lives inside, and usually in domestically scaled spaces, so to try to operate in such a foreign and sublime terrain was almost too much. In the end I found an architectural structure to ground myself and the work. Formed by molten magma that forced itself up from the center of the earth millions of years ago, the jagged lines of raised rock, known as aplite dikes, look man made. The three clay pieces that I installed along the dikes had one way of being in my studio in LA, which was fine, but once they moved to the desert and took their place under the vast blue sky, on the horizon of endless sand, and amongst the boulders, and hugging the dikes, they came to life in a way that could only be in that one spot on earth.

    Monday, November 26 at 4:25pm

Having just recently come back from Japan, I feel as though I experienced this everywhere I went: at every temple and garden complex, certainly, and at Katsura, and in the gardens and tea houses of Shugakuin, and in Kengo Kuma’s Nezu Museum in Tokyo, among many other places (sadly I haven’t yet made it to Naoshima). The integration of art and architecture and landscape would seem to be at the heart of Japanese culture. But this is also true in the west: from the cave paintings of Lascaux to the pyramids of Giza to the totem poles of the Pacific Northwest to the Acropolis to the Doge’s Palace to Versailles to all the altarpieces now in the Met and the Louvre, most art in the western tradition was site-specific, and not intended to be seen in a white box. I wonder if in future the 20th century won’t be seen as an anomaly in the history of art, a detour, during which art was confined to a series of shoeboxes, before and after which it was mostly found in the wild. Donald Judd and Walter de Maria weren’t so much innovating as getting back to an historical norm, no? I’m not sure what the question about Stonehenge and Versailles means, but it sounds almost as though you’re asking, “Can butterflies exist somewhere other than pinned to a corkboard?”

Tuesday, November 27 at 4:43pm

It is really a silly conversation. But God intended for us to make broad proclamations
Most people have “Charles Bonnet Syndrome”
Some people see Nietzschean’s side long glance
Some like Oliver Sacks consider the hallucinations before their eyes. Truth exist in the “mind’s eye”.
Art in the environment is a personal experience next to God if you so happen to believe in God..Nature is not meant for the extraordinary it is the extraordinary.
When you place a piece of art in the middle of the Amazon in Brazil or or or…you are battling not man but its origins…and most artists tread gingerly
Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy only want you to discover their brilliance for the discovery of their “mind’s eye”…but they don’t offer a mind set…just take it or leave it attitude as if there is no other possibility for what they have created…that is a serpent’s dialogue
But the truth comes through Peter Greenaway who created the “Steps” in Switzerland demonstrating a vision of seeing the environment.
Life’s unexplainable: is Stonehedge
But the Tinguley and Nicci de Saint Phalle at the Pompidou
is the toy that the environment did not ask for…but got
I love art in nature
but the artist whose imagination and appreciation for natures evolve
is a rarity…
Why is that
When the Pope chose Michelangelo for the sistine chapel there was caution and inspiration
now artists are only brands unsuited for the tasks
yet…you “gotta” love Kapoor, Koons and other taskmasters for their brazenness
Can’t you imagine Louise Bourgeoise’s Spider in nature?…which exist in France already.
But it is nature talking to nature…it is not an art’s sake for cash exchange
Bring me an unfathomable lark of nature…and let’s talk about whether Nietzsche’s process of discovery applies…How we discover Art ,Architecture and Design are I think clear perceptions of our world around us

Tuesday, November 27 at 5:05pm

This is a great question and a fine aspiration for architects to consider when musing about creating a structure and siting it. My favorite ever is probably Russel Wright’s Manitoga http://wrightmoment.blogspot.com/p/manitoga.html where the house is actually carved around a cluster of boulders that clutch it rather like a hand. The decorative arts, building envelope, and fine art aspects of this house whisper in and out of one another in a subtle chord that makes this site unforgettable even though it is very simple, it’s hauntingly so. It is as much a grotto or meditative and minimal sculpture as it is shelter where one might live, rest, or create. A more extreme example of this might be Burning Man where a nomadic tribe of 50,000 create home made structures, systems of signs and attractors of sorts, and fill them with art, music, revelry, contemplation and celebration of various sorts. The landscape is so austere and reserved it might be oppressive, but it is an incredible foil for the colorful payload of these pop up creations,and the sky presses it down into this puzzling “sandwich” that is quite compelling as the sun sets or rises overhead, or the entire scene modulates to adapt to a dust storm!

Saturday, December 1 at 6:48am

One of my favorite examples of art, architecture, and landscape working together is the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, where the buildings push into the earth or run along a ridge as a narrow, glass corridor. The art roams through a remarkable range of landscapes–from meadows and hills to woods and waterfront. You can wander around the grounds in many different ways, experiencing art and nature differently each time. I visited it on a truly gorgeous late spring day, which may have influenced my reaction to the place. But I think even a drizzly, cold day at the Louisiana would elicit some wonderful insights on integrating art, architecture, and nature.

Sunday, December 2 at 6:54pm

For me, the Ellora Temple Complex in India is the most moving example that comes to mind. It’s architecture, landscape, sculpture all in one. I think historically, religion (from the Buddhist Temples in Asia, to the Islamic Gardens or even the great Renaissance/Baroque examples in Europe) has always played an important role in the integration of all those elements. Is that still possible today?
Edwin Chan, Architect

Monday, December 3 at 9:28am

sandrathompson

Sandra Thompson

Library Technician

Japanese visual design has been an eternal fusion of the symbolic elements found in nature and their landscape. It is a Japanese tradition to merge outdoor and indoor living areas and to invite nature into their daily lives and into their homes. Another tradition concerns the well-being of the mind and body for long life and the health benefits of clean water and living in a ‘green’ building. To consider the psychological and health aspects of living in a clean and calm environment is a recent design practice in Western culture more often driven by cost and sustainability rather than higher ideals or altruism.
For example, the ‘Katsura Rikyu’ Imperial Villa at Kyoto, Japan [Edo Period]. All design elements harmonise in accordance with Japanese tradition and with the subdued symbolism that is the essence of Zen philosophy and the tea-ceremony. It was constructed for the poetic pursuit of ‘moon watching’, especially positioned, to watch the night of the full moon from a bamboo platform that overlooks a central water feature when the moon is reflected in the water below. There appears to be two moons with the illusion of another moon in the water.
Romance is a lost design element.

References:
1. Katsura : imperial villa / Arata Isozaki … [et al.] ; edited by Virginia Ponciroli.
http://lccn.loc.gov/2011500799
2. ‘Katsura Rikyu: Imperial Villa of the Moon’ [Documentary 49min]
http://mediafire-tv.net/katsura-rikyu-imperial-villa-of-the-moon/

Monday, December 3 at 10:53am

I’ve just returned from Inhotim, the most amazing combination of art, architecture, landscape, nature (inc birds, etc), culinary experiences. What impressed me is the seeming equal attention paid to each of these components, joined into a singular vision and project. While on the one it is driven by the art and collection, the landscape and architecture are completely synthesized into the experience. Really incredible.

Tuesday, December 4 at 4:18pm

It may be too obvious to mention Frank Lloyd Wright, but Fallingwater is a wonderful marriage of landscape/nature, architecture and art. The structure of the house seems to have been made for the artwork collected by the Kaufmanns, not added to the space formed by Mr. Wright. And the relationship to nature is evident everywhere.

The Weltzheimer/Johnson house in Oberlin, Ohio is a lovely example of an Usonian created for a particular family, and when they moved on it was aquired by an art history professor who filled it with modern art. Now the modern art has gone to live in a museum and the architecture reigns supreme again. All this on a flat pieces of land in Northwest Ohio where the house seems to be part of the landscape rather than imposed upon it.

Wednesday, December 5 at 11:10pm

marcpally

Marc Pally

Glow, Artistic Director + Public Art Consultant

If we take a super long view of art, both in time and space, we’ll find the integration of art (I use the term as broadly as I am using time and space referents) into all manner of places (cave painting is the most obvious reference) and public rituals (pick a culture from the South Pacific to the Mongolian steppes to African river basins) and you’ll find masks, costumes, musical instruments and ritual objects that served specific and vital functions). The white box is a blip on art’s timeline and is a powerful metaphor for the often secondary role art has come to play in western culture.

Modernism promoted a passion for art that required a commitment and dedication mostly beyond the desire of most people. The disenfranchisement of art from dominant culture was mitigated by the advent of popular arts such as cinema and music. During the 1960s there were signs of artists disenchantment with the white box, its constricted ideology and its miniscule audience. One of the seeds of the current flourishing of public art is the relocation of art from the gallery to open and public spaces. Gordon Matta-Clark’s architectural interventions happened in urban spaces and Michael Heizer’s earth works occurred in remote sites, both however affirm each artist’s desire to work outside of the white box, to place art directly into the world without the mediation of a supporting and/or presenting entity. One way to describe art made outside the gallery frame was the term “site-specific art “due to its premium on the creation of original work responsive to specific contextual conditions, be they cultural or physical.

Concurrently with the advent of “site-specific art” was an aggressive movement toward politically-engaged art. Such art focused on issues of public life as well as personal narratives. Hans Haacke and Judy Chicago are prime examples. During the past fifty years many artists have consistently worked to situate art closer to a general audience through the physical placement of art in public spaces and often the incorporation of civic issues into a work’s content. I would say this trend is not just about integrating art and architecture and landscape but about integrating art and our shared civic life and culture.

Artists exploit the open boundaries of art, the porous definitions of form and content, the evolving continuum between performance and object and object and subject. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer uses surveillance technology to empower audiences to control public spaces with their own images. At Glow 2010 (an all-night art event on the beach in Santa Monica, CA) Lozano-Hemmer created a multi-scaled environment taking live-action video feed from people on the beach and projecting them as one-inch tall images onto two small waist-high sandboxes onto which people where invited to dig their hands and find small trinkets and as their hands searched for prizes they also made contact with the project images of the miniature people. The final loop in Lozano-Hemmer’s Sandbox was the projection of the hands from the small sandbox onto the beach at gigantic scale, with hands and arms reaching the proportions of a colossus at 40 feet long. Lozano-Hemmer has also created scenarios in which a global audience, via the internet, participate in the making of public imagery for specific spaces, most recently Fairmont Park in Philadelphia. The advent of the internet dissolves concepts of landscape and site-specificity and replaces them with a field unbounded by time and space.

It is an astonishing trajectory in art history, say from the idealized and quasi-real quasi-mythological landscapes of Claude Lorrain to the abstract yet accessible landscape of the ethernet. Amorphous, invisible and ever-expansive cyberspace almost makes fixed physical sites quaint. The physical inaccessibility of Walter de Maria’s Lighting Field seems part of an earlier more innocent time, before the leveling and democratizing force of electronic media redefined ideas of space. And, the case can and must be made that it is in fact the very real physicality and concrete nature of Lighting Field that makes it all the more relevant today as an alternative to mediated experience.

The expanse of options for artists today is essentially infinite. From the surreal extravagance of Versailles, where Jeff Koons inserted his schlocky Celliniesque trophies of wealth and pop culture establishing an astonishing alignment of craftsmanship, privilege and (bad) taste across cultures and centuries to Jon Rubin’s Conflict Kitchen in a storefront in downtown Pittsburgh. Rubin’s project inserts aspects of cultures with which the United States is in conflict (Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, etc) into the street life of Pittsburgh via a storefront graphically designed appropriate to a particular culture. Every six months a new culture is explored with a storefront kitchen offering appropriate food for sale. A related program of talks and presentations rounds out Rubin’s project. Rubin is making use of existing architectural spaces for his own political purposes, his dialogue is not with the space (as is Koons in Versailles) but with the larger world of national and geopolitical dynamics.

Artists are less inclined and generally poorly trained to respond to program concepts that define the world of design, architecture and landscape architecture. The upside to this reality is that artists bring a degree of expanded possibility to opportunities that often exceeds that possible by the design disciplines. The epic feud between Robert Irwin and Richard Meyer over the design of the gardens for the Getty Center in Los Angeles is instructive. In this case, the program as defined by the architect required visible access to the view of Los Angeles from the garden and Irwin’s design deliberately blocked the view in certain sightlines for a larger goal of leading visitors along a series of experiences not always inflected by the powerful panorama beyond the garden itself. The argument was settled by the client who supported Irwin’s artistic vision.

Art has jumped out of the picture frame and off the pedestal into almost every facet of our cultural life. Government mandates for the inclusion of art in public and private development projects has aided in this trend and resulted in thousands of public art projects across the United States. Organizations such as Creative Time and the Public Art Fund in New York, Forecast in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Art Angel in London and LAXART in Los Angeles sponsor temporary projects across the full spectrum of artistic inclination and interest. The various forms of institutional support for public art is strong and growing. The tradition of guerrilla art and self-initiated projects is also strong and adds a fine anarchic touch to the mix. The richness and diversity of formats in which art thrives will only intensify, with many art colleges now offering degrees and curriculum in public practice as parallel and comingled trajectories for young artists to explore. The expanded field of art may start in the studio but it most definitely includes many stops along the way on the streets, fields and cyberspots of our current galactic down-home reality.

Thursday, December 6 at 1:06pm

sandrathompson

Sandra Thompson

Library Technician

‘Vaya con Dios’ to Oscar Niemeyer, 1907-2012.

Friday, December 7 at 4:38am

Keywords

Selected list of words appearing in this and other conversations.