Berkeley

Ant Farm, House of the Century, 1971–73, Angleton, TX. Photo: Richard Jost, Chip Lord, and Doug Michels.

Ant Farm, House of the Century, 1971–73, Angleton, TX. Photo: Richard Jost, Chip Lord, and Doug Michels.

Ant Farm

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

The picture that emerges from the Berkeley Art Museum’s fascinating retrospective of Ant Farm, the experimental architecture collective founded by Chip Lord and Doug Michels in 1968, is one of relentless flatness. Co-organized by Constance Lewallen, senior curator of exhibitions, and Steve Seid, video curator at the Pacific Film Archive, the show overwhelms as an endless horizon of two-dimensional stuff: All matter of ephemera, expansive wall texts, and publicity material test the audience’s readerly skills as much as their visual inclinations. This quite literally superficial gestalt may at first seem at odds with the group’s underground ambitions. Ant Farm, after all, appropriated for its collective identity the subterranean metaphor of an insect colony tunneling beneath the earth; and in the group’s repeated exchanges with the counterculture’s techno-literati—among them Buckminster

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.