Art, Events, Greenspace November 21, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

Doug Aitken, Altered Earth,  2012. Commissioned and produced by the LUMA foundation, photo © Robert Leslie.

Doug Aitken, Altered Earth, 2012. Commissioned and produced by the LUMA foundation, photo © Robert Leslie.

aitkenheader Doug Aitken’s Altered Earth
The gallery walls came tumbling down in the 60’s and 70’s when a generation of land artists stepped outdoors and used nature as their canvas. For Robert Smithson, the doyen of the Earthworks movement, whose “Spiral Jetty” still protrudes from the shore of the Great Salt Lake, art was meant to engage with the outside world in a way that it couldn’t when cooped up inside. “A work of art when placed in a gallery loses its charge,” he stated in that earlier era.

It’s a shame Smithson couldn’t be there for Doug Aitken’s projection of movie images on the façade of New York’s MoMA for 2007’s “Sleepwalkers.” It was a case of art finding its way outside the museum’s walls but with the added twist of actually becoming the museum’s walls. Delineations between inside and out, real world and representation, never felt so fluid.

As a multimedia innovator, Aitken has built a reputation for reimagining time and space. Few artists come better equipped to capture the kaleidoscopic fever dream we know as life in the present day. With his latest installation, “Altered Earth,” he sets about creating what’s being billed as land art for the electronic age, and in 21st Century fashion, the results are disorienting and overwhelming.

1 2 3 4

Book, Features, Greenspace, film November 15, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

<em>The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History</em>/Chronicle Books/Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, TX

The Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History/Chronicle Books. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, TX.

dustbowlheader The Dust Bowl
The southern portion of the Great Plains was especially hard-hit during the Great Depression. Along with financial hardship, an environmental catastrophe of biblical proportions hung like a black cloud over the region. Severe drought in areas where the farmland had been overextended led in many cases to the drying up of an entire way of life and every conceivable thing around it. The Dust Bowl now gets the Ken Burns treatment with a new PBS documentary and an accompanying book. Burns and his collaborator, the producer and writer Dayton Duncan, consider this seminal event to be “the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.” At a time when numerous other events are giving the Dust Bowl a run for its money in that distinction, Mr. Duncan spoke to PLANET about the lessons worth learning from this chapter in our past.
Can you describe your working relationship with Ken Burns and how you arrive upon chapters in American history that you decide to explore?

We’re both drawn to topics that are uniquely or quintessentially American. I have the best job in the world, because the films that I write and produce are about topics that I’ve suggested, from The West and Lewis and Clark to The National Parks and The Dust Bowl. I have a great interest in the connection between our land and our people, and how that interplay has affected our nation’s history.

1 2 3 4

film November 13, 2012 By Chloe Eichler

postop115 DOC NYCdocnyc header DOC NYC
Now in its third year, the IFC Center’s DOC NYC is one of the most consistently absorbing and downright important showcases for documentary film. The buzziest entries this year are The Central Park Five, Ken Burns’ look at the 1989 “crime of the century” rape, and Alison Klayman’s portrait of Ai Weiwei, which PLANET profiled here. But the best thing about DOC NYC is its knack for finding lesser-known gems. The festival ends this Thursday, but there are still five standout films that are screening—some more than once—over the next few days.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Architecture, Book November 6, 2012 By Nalina Moses

Garden and house, Tokyo, Japan, 2011. Office of Ryue Nishizawa.

Garden and house, Tokyo, Japan, 2011. Office of Ryue Nishizawa.

skysheader The Skys the Limit
If there’s any rule at all governing architecture today, it’s that anything goes. Advanced computer-assisted modeling and fabrication techniques make it possible to build highly complex shapes. Emerging economies and burgeoning cities demand super-sized structures. And there’s no lingua franca for architects working around the world: just about anything each one of them draws can be built. A new book, The Sky’s the Limit: Applying Radical Architecture, takes a closer look at some prominent avant-garde buildings from around the world and tries to puts a finger on what’s really going on. It’s no easy task.

This book classifies buildings according to their physical character: organic, sharp-edged, pixellated, interior, and outward-looking. While radially different from one another, each of these approaches can be understood as a form of resistance to the generic, commercial glass-box buildings that have come to populate our cities. There’s a movement towards gently swollen and rounded forms, expressed in a language similar to Zaha Hadid’s Acquatics Center for the 2012 London Olympics. There’s also a movement for modulated structures that have been broken into an array of smaller parts, like Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Both these types of buildings reflect a yearning for more varied, surprising and sensual forms. In that sense they’re opposed to orthodox twentieth-century modernism.