Ernest Pascucci

  • Apocalyptic Wallpaper

    Back in 1952, when Harold Rosenberg wanted to dish spurious examples of Action painting, he called them “apocalyptic wallpaper.” But a number of nineteenth-century writers saw something more than just decorative in the domestic patterns covering Victorian interiors. Apparently so do some artists, whose maddening, unsettling, repetitive designs paper the walls of the Wexner this summer. Curated by the Wexner’s Donna De Salvo and Annetta Massie, “Apocalyptic Wallpaper” features Robert Gober’s spatially disorienting Forest covering, Virgil Marti’s fluorescent Bullies prints, patterns of derriere

  • Shiro Kuramata, 1934-1991

    For Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata, functionalism was an ideology to be overturned, gravity a force to be overcome (or at least outsmarted), and light an element to be captured. What emerges from his idiosyncratic design philosophy is a perversely pleasurable, if not particularly tactile purism—doors rarely hindered by handles, glass and steel-mesh chairs that only begrudgingly acknowledge the ground, and colored acrylic blocks that seem to glow from within. Organized by Tokyo’s Hara Museum around designer Ettore Sottsass’ thematic schema, this first major retrospective features some forty

  • Scene of the Crime

    What began as a survey of West Coast art since 1960 has become, in the hands of curator Ralph Rugoff, “The Scene of the Crime.” Premised on Henri Michaux’s notion that the artist is “the one who, with all his might, resists the fundamental drive not to leave traces,” the exhibition asks visitors to play detective, criminal, victim, and bystander. Bringing together a planned seventy-five works by a slated thirty-six California-based artists, from John Divola’s ’70s Forced Entry Site photographs to Uta Barth’s recent “Blow up” series, “Scene of the Crime” is accompanied by a catalogue including

  • The Architecture of Reassurance: Designing the Disney Theme Parks

    For purist architects and cultural critics alike, Disney theme parks embody every abhorrent architectural tendency in American consumer society. Rather than rehearse this now-familiar lamentation, “The Architecture of Reassurance” suspends judgment, replicating Disneyland’s “hub and wienie” plan—plazas leading to a signature vertical landmark—in the galleries of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Curated by cultural historian Karal Ann Marling, the show traces the evolution of “imagineering” from the original Disneyland in Anaheim to far-flung colonies in Marne-la-Vallée and Tokyo. June

  • Tschumi:Projects in/of Motion

    Though best known for the bright red folies that punctuate the Parc de la Villette in Paris, architect Bernard Tschumi is no one-hit wonder. This major exhibition finds Tschumi once again championing the architecture of the event, but now the event has moved indoors. Tschumi’s in-progress work like the Ecole d’Architecture in Marne-la-Valleé, France, and the Columbia University Student Center makes for a seductive presentation—state-of-the-art computer images accompanied by the architect’s hand-scrawled harangues. Most striking, however, is the Studio National des Art Contemporain in Le Fresnoy,

  • “Viewing Olmsted”

    Why do we equate images of open space with democratic ideals? And what role has Frederick Law Olmsted, the extraordinarily prolific nineteenth-century landscape architect who carved green spaces in the middle of so many North American cities, played in the construction of this visual fantasy? Though not explicitly articulated, these questions haunt the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s exhibition “Viewing Olmsted: Photographs by Robert Burley, Lee Friedlander, and Geoffrey James.” Mounted on the 100th anniversary of Olmsted’s retirement, as if to test his prediction that it would take his parks

  • “Landscape Reclaimed”

    “Landscape Reclaimed,” a consistently smart show comprising the responses of twenty conceptual artists to “landscape” and curated by Harry Philbrick, took full advantage of its site: a museum surrounded by aging, underappreciated Minimalist sculpture and sweeping suburban lawns generously punctuated with Dole/Kemp signs—in short, a site just waiting for Komar & Melamid to stage a local version of their America’s Most Wanted, 1994–. And that’s just what happened. Of the twenty artists represented in this show, it was the Soviet-born duo that engaged the community most directly with their sublimely

  • Arakawa/Gins: The Mechanism of Meaning in Reversible Destiny Architecture

    Back in the ’80s, when Magritte and Merleau—Ponty collided on their canvases, Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins called themselves artists. Nowadays, they call themselves architects but refer to their “reversible destiny architecture” as “landing sites” for bodies weary of laws of perspective and gravity. Nine such projects—improbable spaces, imaginary gardens, self—interrogating constructions—are on display at the GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM SOHO. Curated by Michael Govan, director of the Dia Center for the Arts, this first extensive presentation of Arakawa/Gins’

  • “No Place (Like Home)”

    As national identities linger despite the pposed end of the nation-state and personal geographies grow more complexly placeless, the WALKER exhibits multimedia work, some commissioned for this show, by eight international rtists that reconsiders the notion of “home.” Organized by chief curator Richard Flood, with pieces ranging from Nick Deocampo’s grainy films and videos of abandoned army bases and ramped squats in the Philippines to Kay Hassan’s Technicolor found-poster ollages that equate the transience of the printed image and South Africa’s owing refugee population,

  • “Icons: Magnets of Meaning”

    Lipstick, Minicam, Kitchenaid, compound words specific to consumer society (okay, lipstick predates it a bit), are elevated to the status of “Icons” at SFMoMA. The appeal of the twelve featured objet types (from blue jeans, surfboards, and BMWs to the CBS Eye and the place-marking “@” of the Internet) goes beyond promises of total knowledge, speedy transcendence, and a fabulous ass. “By taking such icons out of context and looking at them purely as forms,” explains Aaron Betsky, curator of Architecture and Design at SFMoMA, “we begin to understand how they can become anchors in a world of sprawl.”

  • “NY NY: City of Ambition”

    Someone forgot to tell the curators that this exhibition’s subject was twentieth-century New York, not Belle Époque Paris, and that it was to be installed at the Whitney Museum, not the New York Historical Society. The city of ambition never looked so cute. Ultimately, I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing: “NY NY: City of Ambition” or the critics who ooohed and aaahed over its daring juxtaposition of painting and photography. For me, that juxtaposition was the only redeeming aspect—not for the works themselves but for raising the important question of which cultural medium is privileged

  • Architecture

    With a few exceptions, 1996 will not go down as a particularly good year for noteworthy new buildings. A glance around New York City would seem to suggest that great facades are things of the past. From the showrooms of Versace, Diesel, and Calvin Klein to the translucent peekaboo shower stalls at nearly every gymnasium, architecture seems increasingly to be an indoor sport, but one worth playing. In the art world, architecture and its attendant modes of representation materialize in the gallery—and, with seemingly greater frequency, break out of its white walls altogether. Think of Andrea

  • Steven Brower

    Of all the contemporary work that extends neo-Conceptual art into the realm of architecture (from Tom Burr’s peepbooths to Andrea Zittel’s “escape vehicles”), Steven Brower’s may well be the cutest, which is not to say it lacks substance. If anything, the artist gives you too many ideas to consider, too many forms abundant with associations, and too many clever titles. In “Downsize,” Brower’s first solo exhibition, viewers were greeted with a six-foot-tall yellow pencil, Overwhelming Implement, 1995, leaning against the wall. Any similarity, conceptually or morphologically, to Claes Oldenburg’s

  • West 8

    The analogy might go something like this: Dutch landscape firm West 8 is to the Office for Metropolitan Architecture what Swedish bubblegum band Ace of Bass is to ABBA. Both West 8 and Ace of Bass are clearly derivative of iconic figures from their native lands who had made critical splashes (in architectural theory and ultra-white disco, respectively) in the United States in the mid ’70s. In both cases, the figures that the younger artists choose to emulate confirm their good taste, or at least their pop savvy, which is arguably more important.

    “Fuck the park,” the catchiest single to date from


    Last fall Andrea Zittel arrived in Berlin on a grant with the idea that she would design her own living space. Inhabiting an apartment in Berlin for a year would be like starting from scratch. The house in Brooklyn she was temporarily leaving behind was populated by A-Z Prototypes—various modular “Living Units” and “Comfort Units” designed to minimize demands placed on the body—that form the core of her artistic production.

    However clunky the term, “artistic production” accurately describes Zittel’s working method. Since 1992 she has manufactured domestic prototypes bearing the logo “A-Z

  • New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Venice, Turin, Paris, Cologne, Berlin, Stockholm, Liverpool, London, Brisbane


    This fall, Dada finally gets its due as a stateside movement. Curated by Dada scholar Francis M. Naumann with staffer Beth Venn, the WHITNEY’s show will include Duchamp’s Bride Stripped Bare. . . , as well as more than 200 objects by American and European artists associated with the movement on this side of the Atlantic. Along with the usual suspects—Francis Picabia, Man Ray, and, lately, Florine Stettheimer—you’ll also get to see works like Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s Portrait of Marcel Duchamp (feathers and a champagne glass) and a partial

  • “City Speculations”

    Of the two great panoramic views of ’60s New York, only one survives intact: the opening credits to the television series That Girl. The other, which goes by the name of the Panorama of the City of New York, was updated for the reopening of the Queens Museum in November 1994. Originally, this 10,000-square-foot model, still the world’s largest, was commissioned by Robert Moses for the 1964–65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park and became the fair’s central attraction, with its miniaturized five boroughs (one inch equals 100 feet) rendered within a contractually guaranteed one percent margin

  • “Light Construction”

    As the millennium approaches, everyone in the architecture world is searching for a new high concept, but no one seems willing to hazard what it might be. In the wake of deconstructivism (which, we are now told by the very publicists who turned it into a movement, was never supposed to be one), the very idea of a period style raises suspicions. Such a climate leaves the Museum of Modern Art (the cultural institution responsible for transforming nearly every formal variation in the architecture of this century into a “style”) face-to-face with a fundamental dilemma: how to present a thematically