Decontextualized and often minimalist, the white cube has long been the model for many exhibition interiors. Yet, White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes, an exhibit on now in Pittsburgh, explores six case studies that blow this archetype apart. These examples are lauded for breaking down the barriers between inside and out – even presenting art in pastoral settings – and for encouraging non-linear exploration of gallery spaces. All of the projects find new ways to address the interests (sometimes complementary, sometimes competing) of architects, patrons, visitors, artists and curators.
Drawn from all over the world, the featured projects include Weiss/Manfredi‘s Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, an open, angular space that connects parcels of land, melding urban views with Washington’s natural splendour. Another gallery, Germany’s Raketenstation Insel Hombroich takes the shape of a complex made up of structures by Tadao Ando and Álvaro Siza, with pavilions spread across a wooded landscape interspersed with art that’s presented without labels or explanation.
In Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, Benesse Holdings has erected a number of sculptural buildings to create the Benesse Art Site Naoshima. It features Ando’s Benesse House Museum and Chichu Art Museum, Ryue Nishizawa’s Teshima Art Museum, and art houses containing massive installation works. Other featured galleries, in Brazil, Mexico and Italy, likewise bring a fresh perspective to incorporating the natural landscape, rather than shutting it out.
The exhibition space at the Heinz Architectural Center is designed to embody the principles it explores; rather than the white cube, it’s modelled on the concept of the green maze, and encourages visitors to roam the site and find serendipitous connections of their own. Models, sketches and diagrams are accompanied by a series of photographs by Iwan Baan. The show also boasts a beautiful catalogue that profiles these projects in depth, with the help of Baan’s newly commissioned photographs and essays by exhibit curator Raymund Ryan, O’Doherty and professor emeritus of architecture Marc Treib.
White Cube, Green Maze will be on view at the Heinz Architectural Center, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, until January 13, 2013. From February 14 to May 4, 2013, the exhibit is on view at Yale School of Architecture Gallery, 180 York Street, New Haven, CT.