Monday, September 20, 2021

An Egalitarian Museum: Peter Zumthor Remaking Los Angles's LACMA

Artist's rendering of the new LACMA designed by Atelier Peter Zumthor (set to open 2024). Fly-through video by Andrei Juradowitch © 2021. http://andreiucop.com/

THE NEW YORKER published a thoughtful article on Peter Zumthor's newly (and controversially) designed LACMA in October 2020. The article touches on several nuances of the project: local and municipal politic, meaning of art within cultural milieu and institutional structures -- all in the context of conversations with Zumthor in his hermitage in Haldenstein, Switzerland. Read the full article, here.

Below is the latest release from LACMA:

New galleries. More art. For all of Los Angeles.
A new way to encounter the world’s cultures—past, present, and future.

Over the last two decades, LACMA has sought to find new ways to embrace all the communities of Los Angeles County and honor all the world’s artistic traditions. Our goal is to make the experience of our collection richer and more accessible than ever before, while ensuring that the museum can be a place of reflection, expression, and empathy for everyone.

Interior gallery, exhibition level, Atelier Peter Zumthor/The Boundary

These years of evolution and expansion are culminating with the addition of the David Geffen Galleries, a magnificent new building for the permanent collection designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor. With over $670 million raised out of a $750 million goal, and construction well underway, we are in the final stages of bringing this next evolution of LACMA to all of Los Angeles.

View north across Wilshire Boulevard, Atelier Peter Zumthor/The Boundary

An exciting aspect of LACMA’s new building is that it is Peter Zumthor’s first project in the United States. One of the world’s most respected architects, Zumthor is known for projects including the Therme Vals, Switzerland (1996); the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (1997); Kolumba Art Museum, Cologne (2007); and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London (2011). 

A hallmark of Zumthor’s work is that no two buildings are the same; it is often noted that he has no single style. Several characteristics, however, are common to each project. First is the attention to the site, and another is the use of specific materials—wood, concrete, brick, or stone. Most prized of all is Zumthor’s skillful choreography of light and shadow in each of his buildings.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

SAY IT LOUD - Anne Johnson featured in the Nevada Virtual Gallery.

SAY IT LOUD - Nevada Virtual Gallery in collaboration with UNLV ©2021 by BeyondtheBuilt.com.

Beyond the Built Environment "uniquely address the inequitable disparities in architecture by providing a holistic platform aimed to support numerous stages of the architecture pipeline. [They] promote agency among diverse audiences and advocate for equity in the built environment through [their] approach which utilizes a method ... termed "the triple E, C". The triple E, C method is a strategy to: Engage, Elevate, Educate, and Collaborate."

A collaboration between Beyond the Built Environment and The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, explore Anne's two virtual galleries at SAY IT LOUD - Nevada Virtual Gallery. The two featured projects are:

  • Winchester Cultural Center Dance Studio (2013) - Las Vegas
  • RTC Mobility Training Center - Interior Murals & Streetscape (2016) - Las Vegas
Find additional project details, photographs, and a Q&A session with SAY IT LOUD, here

Friday, August 20, 2021

A Deeper Look at Jim Hodges' Shining Boulders


 Jim Hodges’ sculptural boulders, Untitled (2011). Source: Walker Art Center, Paul Schmelzer © All Rights Reserved.

One is easily captivated by Jim Hodges' shining boulders, with their brilliant colors and refracting light. The idea behind these pieces came to him during a trip to India. Jim's experiences of a cacophony of color and complex layering: temples flying flags in Rajasthani fields, Ganesha statues painted orange and gold, images of the Hindu deity Hanuman enhanced with red or orange paint, women pouring water as they prayed... 

“As you walk amid the sculptures and they are animated by light, they at once seem massive and monumental yet light and buoyant, almost weightless,” Walker executive director Olga Viso wrote. For Hodges, the initial idea came to him quickly, but the process to fabricate the stainless-steel high-gloss skins to each rock, each over 400 million years old, was an intensive and prolonged process.

Paul Schmelzer writes: "Seemingly dipped in molten metal, the sculpture is an accessible, shining landmark on the Walker’s grassy slope. But the simplicity of the design—especially its highly reflective surface—is the result of a complex, sophisticated process. Body putty was applied to each boulder to create a smooth exterior; then, after a mold was made from that, the stainless steel was cast. The rock surface was chipped away to accept the stainless steel veneers, arriving at a perfect fit between skin and stone. The thin steel sheets, which were painted with clear-coat mixed with a dye typically used on motorcycles, were adhered with pins and epoxy."

Read the full article from the Walker Art Center, here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Sparkflight Studios believes in the power of public art.


Marble Manor Enhancement Project (2009), Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority. Image by Sparkflight Studios, © All Rights Reserved.

Sparkflight Studios believes in the power of public art. From our experiences, we know art to be a vehicle for uplifting the human spirit. Over the years, we have refined our approach, which tends to be four-fold, ranging from the "small" to the "extra-large":

  • Small: attention to detail, materiality, and scale.
  • Medium: the concinnity of the "small" elements. 
  • Large: sensitivity to the social, environmental, historical, and cultural milieu.
  • Extra-Large: holding the past, living the present, and projecting art for future generations.
In the past, we've posted organizations such as Artolution and Forecast, to whom we look towards for trustworthy guidance when it comes to making powerful art and positive change in communities. For us too, community participation is important. For instance, in our Canal Convergence sculpture proposal in Scottsdale, community members would write messages to be tied on the steel sculptural framework as "good wishes" to be exchanged. In our Marble Manor Enhancement Project, we facilitated community participation to enliven the building with brightly-colored murals.

We are now excited to announce that we are working on two new public art proposals:
  • Milestone Park in North Las Vegas
  • City of Henderson Water Street sculptures
Check back on the blog for more information coming soon!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

It's Back-To-School Time!

 

Futuro Academy, Charter Schools Development Corporation, East Las Vegas campus. Images by Sparkflight Studios, © All Rights Reserved.

It brings collective joy and relief that our children are back to school and enjoying running, playing, and learning together in the same space again! It has been Sparkflight's privilege to realize the Futuro Academy, together with the Charter Schools Development Corporation, as a long-term client through four phases, and ongoing projects for the school. Futuro Academy now operates in a former grocery store that has been renovated on approximately 4.6 acres of land, and includes classrooms, a health center, and multi-purpose room with adjacent food service area.

Friday, July 2, 2021

From ev'ry mountainside, Let freedom ring!

Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, © All Rights Reserved.

With joy and shared enthusiasm, Sparkflight Studios wishes you and your loved ones a blessed Fourth.

 

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

...

We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

 — Langston Hughes, July 1936


From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Happy Juneteenth Freedom Day!

The Sankofa Village for the Arts drum and dance group performing during the Jubilee of Freemen Parade to celebrate Juneteenth at Point State Park last year in Pittsburgh. Credit: Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via Associated Press.

On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told they were free. A century and a half later, we hold that moment in collective joy, and listen to its resonance pass down to every generation. Happy Juneteenth Freedom Day!

Follow this link for a list of tomorrow's celebrations in the Las Vegas valley, here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Forecast advances justice, health, and human dignity through public art.

Image credit: The annual 4th Avenue Fest in Austin, MN was imagined by city planner Holly Wallace, Cheryl Berglund of MacPhail Austin (pictured percussion experience), and multiple community artists and volunteers.

Forecast is a non-profit arts organization founded in 1978 by and for artists working in public space. Based in Saint Paul, MN and working both locally and nationally, Forecast connects artists with cities, institutions and communities to courageously tackle the vital issues of our time. They partner with decision-makers and stakeholders on arts and cultural planning efforts, and support public artists with funding, training and opportunities to create partnerships and advance their public art careers. They also help others find, select, curate, fund and commission public artists. Forecast emphasizes access for artists of color, indigenous artists, and groups that are traditionally excluded.

This blog post's headline image captures moments from a Forecast project which assisted with identifying evaluation criteria and survey questions for the annual 4th Avenue Fest in Austin, MN, involving volunteers in capturing responses to the expanded, intercultural event (with very positive responses).

Download Forecast's LookBook to view the full Planning + Engagement and Commissioning + Curation project portfolio.

Monday, May 31, 2021



 

Our gratitude and reflection on the sacrifices by our armed services and their families.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Artolution: Strengthening Communities Through the Power of Art

Artolution imagines a brighter future for global refugees.

Artolution began a decade ago with two nomadic artists, circling the globe to promote positive social change through one-off projects in crisis-affected locations; in places that few people would dare to travel on their own. They brought together groups of people who never knew that they could exist in the same room; only to discover their shared traditions and hopes for the future created the capacity to feel hope together. The communities where they worked repeatedly asked, “But, when will you be back?”

Artolution believes that through the process of creating collaborative art, diverse communities can come together in times of conflict and social turmoil to address the challenges they face together. 

Projects are organized and facilitated in partnership with local artists, grass-roots organizations, schools, and international organizations to ensure locally-led programs survivability and long-term, integrated presence within the communities they serve.

In 2016, Artolution became a not-for-profit corporation. By 2019, Artolution established five year-round, sustainable regional programs; accredited 68 local artists; and impacted more than 6,000 youth annually. 

Watch Artolution's featured video on CNN Connect The World, here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

"Share the Promise" TONIGHT with Family Promise of Las Vegas!

Tonight is Family Promise of Las Vegas' "Share the Promise" Facebook Live event! Come learn more about the mission of Family Promise of Las Vegas from 4 - 6 PM; at showtime, follow the link here.

Family Promise of Las Vegas has been empowering homeless families to achieve sustainable independence for over 30 years. They do this through support, education, and providing a safe place to land while a family re-stabilizes.  Their families experience a 70%+ success rate with establishing a permanent residence.  As more families are on the brink of homelessness following layoffs and shut-downs from the pandemic, Family Promise’s successful model is especially relevant—and needed.

We’ve been fortunate to partner with them for about 3 years while developing a new 12,300 square feet Family Navigation Center where families receive residential and support services all in one site.  Family Promise has received a significant grant from the County and gifted land.  And now, they have additional funding needs due to recent increases in construction cost.  

Tonight’s event will “Share the Promise” by introducing the new center, and will debut a video our office prepared to help tell Family Promise of Las Vegas’ story.  Please enjoy the event and get acquainted with this phenomenal local non-profit! 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day 2021 - #MoveTheDate

A country’s overshoot day is the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in this country. 

Humans use as much ecological resources as if we lived on 1.6 Earths. The Ecological Footprint is the only metric that compares the resource demand of individuals, governments, and businesses against Earth's capacity for biological regeneration.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2020, Earth Overshoot Day lands on August 22. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits. More information may be found, here.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Landscape of the Vernal Equinox

 

Landscape of the Vernal Equinox (III), Paul Nash. National Galleries Scotland.

In honor of the transition to spring...

This painting depicts Wittenham Clumps, an ancient British camp in Berkshire. The Clumps can be seen in the background; they are two dome-shaped hills with a thick clump of trees on top. Nash had been familiar with the area for many years, since spending family holidays nearby from 1909. He painted the Clumps in a series of dream-like works, three of which present the vernal (or spring) equinox, with the sun and moon depicted simultaneously in the sky. These paintings were intended as poetic metaphors, referring to the mystery and magic of the perpetual cycles of nature.

See our recent snow collage on Instagram here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Sparkflight's Virtual Tools

Although we wish to again be with one another in the same physical space, we have learned to adapt and rethink our approach to gathering virtually. As architects and problem-solvers, we look to our toolkit to provide means for visualizing and analyzing three-dimensional space with real-time feedback for our clients. In this post, we'll introduce a few of our tools illustrating how Sparkflight Studios is navigating architectural practice in a virtual environment.

Zoom

This video conferencing platform is well known, and for good reason. We use Zoom on a daily basis, both internally and with our consultants and clients. It's a reliable tool with features that allow for productive and engaging meetings. We find that the annotate and whiteboard options are especially useful when communicating ideas graphically. Often, we screen-share our 3D BIM model and annotate over floor plans to work through problems, and imagine new solutions.

BIMx

BIMx is a unique tool to interactively present 3D models and 2D documentation created within our ArchiCAD software. It can be used on desktop or mobile, and displays compelling visuals of the building with simple pinch and pan navigation. It also has a cut-away feature that easily allows for visuals of interior spaces. A handy tool in the field, BIMx is linked to construction documents for real-time feedback and coordination with the General Contractor and the trades.

Twinmotion

A product of Unreal Engine, Twinmotion is a real-time immersive 3D architectural visualization platform that is directly linked to our ArchiCAD modeling software. Intuitive and powerful, Twinmotion is able to produce stunning visual stills and videos with drag-and-drop features. Pre-programmed "smart assets", such as people, motorways, and trees, automatically adjust to the parameters you define, such as time of day, and atmospheric settings (weather, season, etc.). It's powerful enough to show blades of grass blowing in the wind!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Hockey Puck Art Installation - Lifeguard Arena in Henderson

The mission of the Henderson Arts and Cultural Council is to enrich the quality of life for those who live, work, and play in Henderson through the advancement of arts and culture. 

Under the direction of the City of Henderson, Evolution Art in collaboration with Sparkflight Studios, designed, fabricated, and installed five life-sized hockey puck benches at the new Lifeguard Arena in Henderson, Nevada. Find these fun public art pieces at the south building entrance adjacent to the pair of 25-foot tall chromed hockey sticks!

The hockey sticks also seen in the video are designed by TSK Architects and fabricated and installed by Evolution Art and Blaque Metal Works in collaboration with Sparkflight Studios.

Evolution Art - https://www.evoartnv.com/​

TSK Architects -  https://www.tska.com/​

Sparkflight Studios - https://sparkflightstudios.com/​

Blaque Metal Works - https://blaquemetalworks.com/