Artist Heidrun Holzfeind, designer and artist Damon Rich, and writer Niko Vicario consider the legacy of modernist architecture, urban redevelopment, and self-determination in Newark, New Jersey, in an exhibition of new cross-disciplinary works produced on and around the 58-acre urban renewal site of Mies van der Rohe’s Colonnade and Pavilion Apartments. Built between 1954 and 1960, the Colonnade and Pavilion Apartments—three glass-and-steel towers—and the Christopher Columbus Homes—eight brick towers—marked the beginning of urban renewal in Newark. By the mid-1970s, this program of demolition and reconstruction had transformed and modernized nearly one-third of the city, yet simultaneously, these methods came under increased scrutiny by local social movements associated with civil rights and Black Power activist groups.
New works conceived for this exhibition consider how the formal designs of modernist architecture and planning, and the aggressive, deeply politicized modernization of Newark, have impacted the everyday lives of residents and their communities. Holzfeind presents a new documentary film and installation on the Colonnade and Pavilion Apartments that consider how the social fabric of these buildings has been shaped over time by their architecture. Rich presents models and drawings that explore the site, its alternative histories, and possible futures. Vicario contributes an essay that explores how notions of “site” are mobilized between and across the fields of art and architecture, taking Mies van der Rohe’s apartment buildings and the surrounding area in Newark as a point of departure.
Heidrun Holzfeind uses photography, documentary video and sculpture to explore individual and collective narratives that reveal the concept of identity as a social construct dependent on cultural and socio-economical circumstances. Born in Austria, Holzfeind holds an MFA From the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. She currently lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include, Mexico 68, De Vleeshal, Middelburg, The Netherlands; Mexico 68, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City; CU / 68, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck; Imprevistos. Obras de Heidrun Holzfeind, Lado B, MUCA museum, Mexico City. Holzfeind has also exhibited in numerous group exhibitions and screenings including, Documentary Fortnight 2010, MOMA, New York; Open: Poland – Architecture, Identity and the Avant-Garde, RIBA Gallery, London; Photocairo4, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; After Architecture, Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona; Documentary Fortnight 2008 , MOMA, New York; Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy. In May 2010 Holzfeind will show independently at Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw.
Damon Rich is a designer and artist, using video, sculpture, graphics, and photography to investigate the political economy of the built environment. His recent solo exhibitions include Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center, Queens Museum of Art, New York, 2009 and Red Lines, Death Vows, Foreclosures, Risk Structures: Architectures of Finance from the Great Depression to the Sub-Prime Meltdown, MIT Museum and Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Cambridge, 2008. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the 2008 Venice Biennale, Venice; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; SculptureCenter, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam. In 1997, Rich founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public participation in urban planning and community design, where he served as Creative Director until 2007.
Niko Vicario is a writer and PhD student in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art at MIT. In 2008-2009 Vicario held the position of Curatorial Fellow at CCS Bard. Vicario holds an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College and a BA in Art History from Vassar College. His curatorial projects include, Modernism: On and Off the Grid, an exhibition at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York and Differential Criteria, a presentation as part of Museum as Hub, New Museum, New York. His writing on contemporary art has appeared in Interview magazine and in the journal Impasse, Centre d’Art La Panera.
Presentation and Discussion:
Thursday, April 15, 5–7 p.m.
Preston Theater, Bard College
Artist Heidrun Holzfeind, designer/artist Damon Rich, and writer Niko Vicario present and discuss Living Modern. This event is held in conjunction with “Architecture after 1945,” a course taught by Noah Chasin, Art History Program, Bard College, and the Environmental and Urban Studies (EUS) Colloquium, an event series programmed by the EUS academic concentration, Bard College.
Living Modern is curated by Laura Barlow as part of the requirements for the master of arts degree in curatorial studies.
Student-curated projects at CCS Bard are made possible with support from the Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg Student Exhibition Fund; the Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Family Foundation; the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation; the Board of Governors of the Center for Curatorial Studies, and by the Center’s Patrons, Supporters, and Friends. Special thanks to the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.