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Josiah McElheny, Blue Italian Modernism and Yellow Czech Modernism, 2010, handblown glass with flashed color, extruded colored glass filters, LED electric lighting, painted wood display structure, 21 x 65 x 18 3/4".

Josiah McElheny

Donald Young Gallery

Josiah McElheny, Blue Italian Modernism and Yellow Czech Modernism, 2010, handblown glass with flashed color, extruded colored glass filters, LED electric lighting, painted wood display structure, 21 x 65 x 18 3/4".

“Crystalline Modernity” opened with two color drawings that McElheny had made on silver-gelatin photographs of Mies van der Rohe’s 1922 plans for a Glass Skyscraper. Not to be confused with Mies’s visionary Friedrichstraße project, these plans were part of a series of experiments made the following year, in the wake of Friedrichstraße’s failed construction. Such source imagery provided an apt introduction to an exhibition that reimagined the legacy of modernism by reframing its historical forms. The show’s centerpiece, Crystalline Landscape After Hablik and Luckhardt (all works 2010), a diorama of a modernist utopia, was populated not by concrete pillars or hard-edged cubes of steel and glass but by red, yellow, green, and blue crystalline glass structures encased in a cabinet of two-way mirrors. Instead of Mies’s or Le Corbusier’s stoicism, however, McElheny gave us a fun house,

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