I’m not going to define history. No matter how heavily that word weighs on the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which opened last weekend. Neither will artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee; although they provocatively titled the second iteration of the event “Make New History”, a phrase borrowed from the title of an artist book by Ed Ruscha.
In remarks to the press, they pointed to the many works displayed in the Chicago Cultural Center as explanation. And if these works are to be trusted, then history is not the dark angel haunting philosophers and historians, but rather something lighter: a shiny treasure trove of references – called forth by Google image search – to be appropriated and stylised.
Deadpan Rushca understood the irony of his slogan. With three simple words he poked fun at the impossibility of escaping our past. An edition of Make New History sits on the shelves of Johnston Marklee‘s office (or so says editor Sarah Hearne in her introduction to the biennial catalog).
Published in 2009 to mark the occasion of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art‘s 30th anniversary, the book’s 600 deliberately blank pages were meant to evoke hope in the future, perhaps, hope in the newborn Obama administration. Eight years later, the title unwittingly captures an anxiety to reproduce novelty and its imperative eerily echoes #MAGA sloganeering.
It is from those white pages that the curatorial framework emerges, and with it an exhibition that reveals a truth about contemporary practice: the desire to surf the wave of history rather than to challenge it. Organised around themes such as building histories, material histories, and civic histories, the overall show indicates a scope of interest internal to the discipline.
Read the full story HERE >>> Source: Dezeen Opinion: “Architecture as intellectual inquiry needs to take more risks”