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Alice Aycock, Project Entitled “The City of the Walls: A Narrow City, a Thin City . . .”, 1978, pencil on vellum, 42 x 72 1/2".

Alice Aycock

Grey Art Gallery/Parrish Art Museum

Alice Aycock, Project Entitled “The City of the Walls: A Narrow City, a Thin City . . .”, 1978, pencil on vellum, 42 x 72 1/2".

Alice Aycock’s eleven drawings for Project Entitled “The Beginnings of a Complex . . .” (For Documenta), 1977, marked a subtle yet profound shift in her art. A series of architectural plans for her contribution to that year’s Documenta 6, in Kassel, the drawings portray five plywood structures composed of rudimentary walls, enclosures, apertures, and ladders—a more or less straightforward scheme. Yet when it came to translating these renderings into real space, there were differences: Two structures were built as planned, two were reimagined, a fifth was not built at all, and the complex lacked the eleven underground connecting tunnels in the original design. Only one structure was built when the project was realized a second time later that year, for Artpark in Lewiston, New York, reinforcing the drawings’ status as not a definitive plan but a jumping-off point. The title’s

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