M. Arch Studio – Bade Stageberg Cox

This semester, the second-year Masters of Architecture students are divided into two sections.  Half of us are being taught by the principals of Bade Stageberg Cox, a Brooklyn-based architecture studio.  (The other studio section will be the topic of another blog post).  The project brief requires the design of a new branch library for Brooklyn.

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(photo + exposure:  Catherine Joseph)

Located on the corner of Williamsburg’s summertime flea market, Brooklyn Flea, the space must assimilate modern and often digital ideas of a library with the continuing need, and nostalgia, for paper books.  All of these considerations are also affected by the state park in which the site is located (bustling with the market during summer, cold and desolate in the winter), the connection to the urban fabric of the Williamsburg neighborhood at the street corner, and finally, the waterfront and its relationship to the Manhattan skyline.

Erickson_BSC Studio Pin-up 2

(photo:  Luke Erickson)

It’s safe to say that each of us has a different idea of what form a branch library should take, of how it should relate to the surrounding neighborhood, of how the book should be conceptualized, and of how people will flow through the space.  More updates on the studio progress to follow throughout the semester…

Four Freedoms Park

A sunny and (relatively) warm President’s Day saw a few Masters of Architecture students out on Roosevelt Island, enjoying some time out of the studio and taking in the work of the late master architect, Louis Kahn. Kahn’s FDR Four Freedoms Park, located on the southern tip of the island, was not finished during his lifetime. In a respectful turn of events that every architect can only hope for, the design Kahn completed in 1973 was constructed posthumously, opening for the first time in 2012. The park has a magnificent view of the city – Brooklyn to the east, the Williamsburg Bridge to the south, the United Nations on the immediate west bank and a detailed Manhattan skyline behind it. With the Cornell Tech Campus that will soon grow up behind it, Four Freedoms Park maintains an important historic legacy in a place that will soon become a hub for the future.

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photo by Luke Erickson

 

The Professional Practice and New York City Seminars

The New York City program is unique from the Ithaca experience in many ways. Fine Arts majors sign up for some familiar classes such as Art History and a studio course, but also take a couple that may seem quite mysterious and different from those back in Ithaca. The Professional Practice and New York City Contemporary Seminars may, at first glance, seem like fairly standard critical theory or visual studies courses, but actually are incredibly helpful sneak peeks into the often frustratingly inaccessible professional art world. Professional Practice, taught by historian Jane Farver, is geared toward professional skill building, career opportunities, and a behind-the-scenes look at museums and galleries. The NYC Seminar, taught by artist Jane Benson, is a compliment to this—focusing instead on an artist’s perspective and featuring studio visits, artist’s talks, and the cultivation of a unique and introspective standpoint on what being an artist means today. So what does a “normal” Thursday look like for the B.F.A. students studying in New York City? Here’s a brief look at last Thursday (2/6):

10:30am- The Professional Practice class gathers at the Bronx Museum and meets Lia Zaalof, a Bronx Museum curator who speaks about the Artists in the Marketplace program that has transformed the careers and practices of a multitude of successful artists since 1981.

11:15am- We are introduced to Holly Block, the Executive Director of the museum and the co-commissioner of the United States pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The class had the chance to discuss everything from how to ensure community engagement in an art museum to the challenges of representing the United States in one of the most renowned art festivals in the world.

12:30pm- An exhibit of Tony Feher’s work is on view in one of the galleries downstairs. Curator Lia Zaalof treats us to a special tour of this curiously beautiful exhibition.

2:00pm- After a quick lunch on the subway over, we meet professor Jane Benson at Greene Naftali Gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan for our second class of the day—NYC Seminar. Our readings this week related to the changing place of painting in a post-genre, anti-hierarchical art world. On view were paintings by renowned Scottish artist, Michael Fullerton.

3:00pm- Next, we went across the street to another famous Chelsea institution, James Cohan Gallery, to see and discuss Ingrid Calame’s latest large scale wall drawings.

3:30pm- Finally, we head to famed sculptor, painter, and videographer, Robert Melee’s studio to meet him and learn about both his recent work and the path he took to get where he is today. This inside look at his journey from art school to exhibiting in galleries and museums internationally while receiving critical acclaim from such publications as the New York Times and ARTFORUM, was truly inspirational and a rare opportunity.

5:00pm- Classes are over and we all scatter to head back to AAP NYC, apartments, dorms, or art supply stores to begin work for Friday’s morning studio.

 

 

Jane Farver introduces curator Lia Zaalof at the Bronx Museum
Jane Farver introduces curator Lia Zaalof at the Bronx Museum. Photo: Danni Shen
Jane Benson guides students through Michael Fullteron's show at Greene Naftali gallery.
Jane Benson guides students through Michael Fullteron’s show at Greene Naftali gallery. Photo: Danni Shen
Students observe Tony Feher's work at the Bronx Museum
Students observe Tony Feher’s work at the Bronx Museum. Photo: Danni Shen

AAP NYC B.F.A. Internships

BFA students in their Professional Practice class with professor Jane FarverArt Professional Practice Professor Jane Farver (center) introducing BFA students to artist and author Jackie Battenfield (center left). Photo by the author.

All of the Fine Arts undergrads are required to participate in an internship in addition to their regular coursework while studying in New York City. This unique addition to the NYC semester curriculum makes use of some of the plentiful opportunities for professional development that the city has to offer; such opportunities would be much more of a challenge for students to find in Ithaca. I sat down with the B.F.A.’s to find out a little more about where they’re interning and what it’s like:

 

1) Aisha Abbassi, B.F.A., ’16

  • What is your internship?

I am working for Arcade Creative Group, which is the creative group of Sony Music and Columbia records.

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

I thought it would be interesting to see how what I’ve studied in art would apply to a big corporate company rather than a smaller fine art focused group such as a gallery or museum.

  •  What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

Usually I go in and if I don’t have a project I’m working on from the previous day, I ask people if they need help. It could be cutting up paper or helping design album covers and redesigning logos. The best part is being the entire creative group’s intern; I can work in a variety of fields—graphic design, video production—there are many things to explore. The worst part is that the amount of work I have is inconsistent—sometimes I have nothing to do, other times I’m overwhelmed.

 

2) Liseidy Bueno, B.F.A., ’15

  • What is your internship?

I’m a graphic design intern for nAscent Art.

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

I knew I wanted to do some kind of design internship, so I looked for things in the city that would give me good work experience for my portfolio. I looked for smaller companies and firms.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

This is what I want to do as a career. This could lead to another internship in the summer and hopefully a job when I graduate.

 

3) Sara Cheong, BFA, ’16

  • What is your internship?

Design/Marketing at Pilobolus Dance Company.

  • What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

Sitting down and working. A lot of computer work. The best part was going to Connecticut yesterday to meet their home office. The office here in New York is very small.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

I’m designing a lot of posters and merchandise but I guess I’m not learning anything from a supervisor… However, I am learning how to manage social media and marketing techniques.

 

4) Jae Hee Cho, BFA, ’15

  • What is your internship?

My internship hasn’t started yet, but is starting next week. I will be the personal assistant of the Artbook Director, Skuta Helgason at MOMA PS1.

 

5) Minhye Choi, BFA, ’16

  • What is your internship?

Sony Music Entertainment, Recordings, Digital Marketing.

  • Why did you choose to pursue this internship?

I wanted to apply the skills I’ve learned in fine arts to another field. I’m a business minor so I wanted to incorporate these two areas of study. My internship includes working with social network and making instant videos for Singer of the Month, for example.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

Definitely a career in the future. This is a field I can go to with my fine arts background.

 

6) Jessica Chu, B.F.A., ’16

  • What is your internship?

International Studio and Curatorial Program.

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

I chose it because I like that it’s an international community of artists. It’s great to interact with artists from different places who are all very experimental and emerging too.

  • What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

I sit at a desk and do database work and go through applications to the residency program. I also sit in on staff meetings. The best part is getting to talk to the artists. The worst part is it’s cold!

 

7) Esther Jun, B.F.A., ’15

  • What is your internship?

I’m working at Abrams Books.

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

I was interested in learning about the workings of a publishing company. This specific one concentrates on books about art, artists, and architects so it fits my interests more than general publishing houses.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

It will help me see if I want to pursue a career in the publishing world. Also it’s a good resource for me as I am constantly surrounded by books about artists and illustrations.

 

8) Lauren Jung, B.F.A., ’16

  • What is your internship?

Sony Music, Creative Department.

  • Was it what you expected?

It’s different from studio practice, which is interesting. In studio I generally work alone, but now I’m working with a lot of people. This is helping me as an artist but also as a working person in general. It’s great to work in a community and build connections.

  •  What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

I arrive and get to work right away, either from the day before or a new task sent to me through IM. My projects usually involve using Photoshop and designing CD covers. The worst parts are the periods of time when I don’t have anything to do and am just waiting. The best part is getting to work with Aisha collaboratively on a project.

 

9) Valerie Kwee, B.F.A., ’16

  • What is your internship?

I am a design intern for the design agency, Kate Moodie Creative.

  • What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

I’ve done a lot of things—trend boards, calling people, admin work, going to fairs…The highlight will be going to fashion week this year! The worst part was that I was taking the wrong train for a while and it took an extremely long time to get there!

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

I was really interested in magazines and design and I thought it would be really cool to learn and see what it was all about.

 

10) Naima Reddick, B.F.A./B.A. Biology, ’17

  • What is your internship?

Gallery Nine5.

  • Was it what you expected?

For the most part yes. It’s interesting seeing the behind the scenes work of a gallery. I didn’t realize galleries go and actually scout artists—even B.F.A. students for shows.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

It helps me understand how galleries try to find artists, what they look for in artists, and how they build an image. It’s a good thing to know if I become an artist or if I work in a gallery.

 

11) Danni Shen, B.F.A./B.A. Art History ’15

  • What is your internship?

ArtNews editorial intern.

  • What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

We meet with our supervisor who’s the Executive Editor, Robin Cembalest. Then we preview and read over articles. Yesterday I worked with Barbara Pollack who is the China correspondent. We also do a lot of blog work and maintaining the ArtNews website—that’s the tedious part. The best part is when we get to go to openings with Robin. Yesterday I went to a VIP reception of a Xu Bing show. I got to meet him! It was really exciting—the best part so far.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

It really affects how I see the art world and how art world media plays a really big part in the recognition of artists and news throughout New York and internationally.

 

12)  Melody Stein, B.F.A., ’16

  • What is your internship?

Storefront for Art and Architecture production and curatorial intern.

  • What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

Generally, working with other interns preparing for a show or taking a show down. Storefront is both a gallery and a foundation so I’ll be sorting emails and working on administrative stuff in the morning and then working with exhibiting artists to install a show in the afternoon. The best parts are getting to meet people and see shows come together. The worst part is probably how cold it gets. The gallery is not very insulated and recently it’s been extremely cold.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

I get to meet some really remarkable artists and architects so the connections are very good. The process of researching some of they’re work and just talking to my boss is also very beneficial to my current practice as well.

 

13)  Emily Teall, B.F.A., ’16

  • What is your internship?

I am interning with an artist, Angiola Churchill. This means I get to help her put together pieces, but I also get to go to galleries, sort massive amounts of old work, and meet other artists. I’m excited for it!

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

I did not want to be in an office all day, and I hoped to have some insightful conversations with artists about their practice. Because I’m with an artist, I can see the process by which artists create exhibitions and document work. I thought I would gain more from this than from interning with a museum or gallery.

  • What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

Sorting through images of work, repairing broken work—Angiola works with thin paper—documenting work, running errands, meeting artists, visiting galleries…all’s been good!

 

14) Jin Young Yoo, B.F.A. ‘16

  • What is your internship?

I work at Dieu Donné Inc. Papermill.

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

The print studios back at Cornell recently adapted paper making into the curriculum and as a print studio monitor I thought it would be beneficial to work in an artisanal papermill and experience the range of possibilities possible with paperwork. Also, my boss, Lauren Valchuis, studied briefly at Dieu Donné.

  •  What does a normal day entail? What are the best and worst parts?

I get there in the morning and my boss gives us a summary of what we have to do for the day. Do ho Suh is a current artist the studio is working with. Currently, we are experimenting with different kinds of Asian fibers to caste Korean post World War II school uniforms. The best part is meeting new artists. We have four artists in residence, four guest artists, and we also have open studio for artists who rent space.

 

15) Katrina Yu, B.F.A., ’15

  • What is your internship?

Advertising and graphic design for Loyal Friend.

  • Why did you choose to pursue this specific internship?

It is about graphic design. I applied to a lot of fashion and design internships.

  • How do you see this experience either benefiting your current practice or leading to a career in the future?

Basically, professional skills. Photoshop, illustrator, etc.

Attending “A Conversation on the MoMA’s Plan for Expansion”

There is no better way to begin a semester of architectural study in New York City that to address head-on the most emotionally and politically charged decision presented, in recent days, to the architectural community: the scheduled demolition of the American Folk Art Museum by The Museum of Modern Art. “A Conversation on The Museum of Modern Art’s Plan for Expansion” was held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on January 28, hosted by The Architectural League of New York, the Municipal Art Society, and the American Institute of Architects NY Chapter. And I was fortunate to be in attendance.

DSC_0065(American Folk Art Museum.  Photo by Luke Erickson)

Touted as a “public” event (for members of the hosting organizations only), it was a somewhat social gathering of the architecture and art communities. And yet a cloud of despair, apprehension, and in some cases, outrage, hung over the group. From the woman whose shirt shouted “NO!” in neatly applied tape lettering to the whispered conversations with tilted heads and emphatic glances, each attendee seemed to understand the significance of this architectural “State of the Union.”

The presentations opened with an overview of the MoMA’s reasons for expansion that was given by Glenn Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art. Following that introduction, Liz Diller of Diller Scofidio+Renfro detailed the process and rationale for decisions made by she and her design team and the conclusions they had come to with respect to the fate of the American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams & Billie Tsien (notably not in attendance). A panel of gathered experts took the stage to discuss the responsibilities of MoMA to public interests, and its obligations to preserve and protect architecture. Of the entire group that spoke at the event, these individuals gave the most pointed, blunt, and occasionally emotionally-charged remarks. Everyone had an opinion. Even those whose voices were limited to the question cards passed out prior to the event ensured that their voices were heard with the various factions applauding at opportune moments.

In the end, the final question posed to the panel was perhaps what the entire event should have begun with: Does MoMA consider architecture to be an art? And if so, does it not have a responsibility to safeguard and preserve architecture?

Glenn Lowry responded to the question, stating that the MoMA does not recognize architecture as an art that is to be collected. In his own opinion, he said, architecture is intimately tied to a building’s function, and when that function is no longer supported, the responsibility to preserve it as an object is unreasonable.

On most accounts, I agree with Mr. Lowry’s assessment of architecture. And yet, I can understand the discomfort and unhappiness with the MoMA’s decision. Although the American Folk Art Museum and the MoMA are private entities and can utilize their buildings however they choose, a city feels a familial connection to its museums and cultural institutions. Intentional demolition of such a building is painful and presents all of the largely theoretical but very real questions about architecture. We, as architects, treat buildings as permanent entities. We feel a sense of ownership over our designs. But in reality, we hold no ownership over the physical building that results from our design. Should we collect architecture as we do art? Or better yet, can we call architecture art? We have already begun this collection of architecture through historical preservation and landmarked sites. But what constitutes “historical?” And who is given the final word in determining the cultural and historical value of a building? What is an architecture firm’s responsibility to its client when it disagrees with a planned demolition? And what of its responsibility to architecture? Should Diller Scofidio + Renfro have refused the commission to protest the demolition of the building? Would other firms have taken a similar stand?

As someone still sheltered by the walls of academia, these questions have begun to emerge as I study architectural precedents and visit landmarked buildings. Although I have little ability to engage in the conversations that were held last evening, you can be sure I will be spending time in front of the American Folk Art Museum, pondering these questions and formulating my own opinions and practical beliefs of the profession of Architecture.