Architecture Battling Art



The title of the exhibition, “Art and Architecture” depicts exactly what brings the pieces in the collection together, architecture being portrayed through art. The juxtaposition of the pieces next to each other seem to comment that there is not just one idea of what architecture is, each artist has their own portrayal of these buildings that we inhabit and are all around us.

The photographic piece by Theo Westenbeger called Sailors in Time Square shows sailors jubilantly viewing the towers of time square, they are not inside a building but the buildings enclose them. The piece expresses motion and emotion. Then directly juxtaposed is Lewis Baltz’s photograph Industrial Parks 47, which shows little emotion being that the piece is of a wall and a parking spot. This piece has a quality of contrast within itself, it is interesting the building is not how we would assume it would be, with the window being a small portion of the wall and not admitting much light.

The exhibit did a good job of contrasting colorful works with works lacking color. Jewel Light Temple, Chenchu. Sichua, Chitua by Spike Mafford is a print loaded with color. The leading lines in this piece are excellent and in my opinion this piece steals the whole exhibit. The vibrant red walls and the man struggling to walk all dressed up. Almost makes you think he is disoriented because of the unexpected surroundings. The light at the end of the hallway is deceiving because you would expect it to be dark. Then the light is coming from above almost creating an overexposed effect. This is confusing to the viewer and make it so that you have to look a little longer at it, creating the confusion with the viewer parallels the confusion or struggle of the man in the photograph.

Among the exhibit there is a hidden famous gem. Andy Warhol is just among the others, as if he is not well known. I enjoyed this about the exhibit it shows he does not have to be the center feature even though he is only one that the average Joe would know before walking into the gallery. The exhibit is making a comment on what does being famous really change? You are still an artist just like everyone else and if you looked at Andy Warhol’s photographs without knowing his name he would be just another artist. The exhibit seems to be also commenting on focusing on the art rather than the name behind the art.

Pause: The Dukes of Hazzard 69 Charger and Ted Kactzynski’s Montana Cabin by Chris Larson was the main piece of the exhibit. I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to the artist talk about his piece. He is interested in carpentry and building things, which is shown greatly through his work. In this piece as in his other pieces he utilizes milled wood because it seems more real to him and tangible. He picked two things from popular culture and wanted to depict the conversation they would have between each other. Larson also wanted to play off of his favorite show growing up, Dukes of Hazzard and when they went to commercial break they paused the frame, just as Pause is frozen in time. The delicacy of the piece even in its large size is shown in the details of the wood being placed just so and glued precisely. He also had to break the wood pieces in such a way that it seems as if the car really did crash into it.

This main piece also has a dialogue with John Haddock’s Lamda prints from digital films a series of pieces depicting events in the past that had to do with architecture. A direct conversation is going on in the exhibit between Cabin Early Spring, depicting Ted Kaczynski’s cabin, and Pause. The method that Haddock used to make these pieces was utilizing a program normally used to show future building plans, but instead he used them to depict past events. Both are pausing events in time and dealing with social issues.

The exhibit overall has many dialogues going on between pieces and that is what makes this exhibit successful. The pieces are talking to each other from wall to wall and lead the viewer back and forth. Even Robert Lazzarri’s Hammers references what we use to make buildings that surround us and the distorted image of these melting hammers almost comments on the ability to create or the fragility of the structures we build. The exhibit is able to go back to the art of the actual architecture itself that is being depicted through art. The architecture was made by someone at some point and seen as a work of art and then is recreated again by another artist as a work of art through a different lens. The exhibit almost asks the audience to decide is the art depicting the architecture is more of an art form than the architecture itself. The two art forms are battling against each other in necessary tension but also working together within that tension as well, making the exhibit charged and successful.



By Whitney Harmon
Expected Graduation: May 2011
Major: English Education with Minors in French and Fine Arts
Hometown: West Linn, OR

I was fortunate enough to be able to see the artist Chris Larson when he came to speak at Washington State University. I was intrigued by his piece and the thoughts behind his pieces and his integration of two unrelated popular culture icons. The most impressive part of the whole exhibit for me was the conversations that the pieces had with one another.