Patricia C. Phillips

  • Rod Rhodes

    It is rare that architecture as subject matter moves and incites. This is not because people are so unflappable; most contemporary architecture is an endurance test for architect and public, and it is difficult to find inspiration in drudgery. At a time when so many buildings fail us all, Rod Rhodes’ mysterious and disturbing constructions remind us of the imaginative, inventive, erotic, and agitating potential of architectural spaces. Although he chooses to work in condensed scale, the metaphorical content of his work is undiminished. His pieces state very succinctly that architecture has

  • Ursula von Rydingsvard

    In five new cedar constructions, Ursula von Rydingsvärd continues an evolutionary course of esthetic investigation, reclaiming the essence of her material and contriving to return the wood to the textural imperfection of nature. The thematic consistency of this new work is exceptional and highlights a complex content. Von Rydingsvärd takes cedar beams that have been milled into standard construction modules and intently chisels, grinds, and saws a natural and almost artless character and idiosyncrasy back into each element. These beams are then assembled to create virtually seamless walls,

  • Siah Armajani

    In recent works Siah Armajani continues to tread a unique path of synthesis, combining sculpture, architecture, product and furniture design, and American culture and language into a complex, articulate, and didactic formal system. (In fact, if his work were not as interesting and multiform as it is, this didacticism could seem oppressive.) Armajani’s pursuit involves the search for a uniquely American idiom that communicates the values and moral lessons of such intellectual heroes as Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Dewey. His explorations of American history and ideology inform

  • “Metamanhattan”

    New York is a symbolic center and source, as well as a material manifestation of the 20th century, for artists, architects, and curators, and “Metamanhattan” attempted to describe this metropolis which agitates so many ambitions. This group exhibition of both serious projects and fanciful proposals created in the past 25 years for New York sites included interpretive accounts of the city as well as architectural and environmental schemes which offer either to evoke or to alter the magic of Manhattan. Conservatives, revisionists, and reformers were represented; beyond the unrest Manhattan incites,

  • Luis Jimenez

    There is a tendency to approach public art timidly. Scale can, of course, be inflated to bravado proportions, but other dimensions are often reduced. In the search for common themes and shared associations, many artists digress to a muddled, simplified esthetic. The intentions may be good, but the works are blandly uncommunicative. No-brand, generic public art ignores everything but an anticipated majority, but the idea of a public is an abstraction; “the public” does not really exist. “Public” implies a transcendence of pluralism toward a meaningless neutrality. Pollsters perpetuate the idea

  • Mary Miss

    Mary Miss’ latest exhibition was a spartan but cogent presentation of 18 years of growth. Effectively and effortlessly combining a conventional installation of isolated sculptural work with an architectural reinterpretation of a gallery space, Miss created an environment that accommodated her past and current production, exposing both linkages and lapses. There is a need to summarize artistic careers, but in doing so, there is a troubling tendency to invent relationships and transitions, to manipulate cycles and passages so that they appear orderly. It would be impossible to categorize with any

  • Thomas Faulkner

    An art installation in Bryant Park must coexist with an urban space in metamorphosis which offers many identities yet seeks just one. Stretching behind Carrère & Hastings’ New York Public Library, the park is surrounded by graceful architectural texture to the south and east and lumbering banal giants to the west and north. This half-block zone absorbs influences and impulses from Times Square street culture and Fifth Avenue commerce, and there is no clear trend in the struggle for territory. Recent antidotes of white garden furniture, book stalls, and kiosks are awkward amenities transplanted

  • Daria Dorosh

    Daria Dorosh’s new paintings can be discrete objects inviting analysis and criticism in their own right, but they were not entirely planned that way, and actually evolved through an interesting permutation of collaboration between this artist and four architects whom Dorosh asked to work with her. Three of the collaborations are formal and visual, and the other is conceptual and philosophical; all four are installations involving a painting and a three-dimensional object. Although each action followed its peculiar course, generally the projects included initial meetings between artist and

  • Frank Lloyd Wright “Drawings 1893–1959”

    Frank Lloyd Wright’s unparalleled career spanned well over half a century. The longevity of his creative production inspires amazement, but it is his persistent evolution of ideas, the diversity of his built and proposed projects, his transcendence of style, and his synthesis of contrasting esthetic objectives into an organic unity that make him an unmistakable and lasting influence. His creative work encapsulates a history of contemporary architecture as esthetic resistance and resolution recapitulated, and presages the limitations of Modernism and post-Modernism.

    Wright’s organic architecture


    When man was placed in the Garden of Eden, he was put there to dress it and to keep it, to work, in fact; which proves that man was not born to an easy life.

    —Voltaire, Candide

    THROUGHOUT CANDIDE, VOLTAIRE’S COMEDIC PARABLE of the undaunted human spirit, the beleaguered hero’s compensation for maintaining faith is the assurance of an opportunity to “go and work in the garden.” Professor Pangloss, extolling the virtues of optimism in his final message to Candide. postulates that all of the woes his disciple has endured at the mercy of a cruel and uncompromising world are rewarded by this ultimate