Typologies within typologies: 100 Abandoned Houses and the Heidelberg Project

We love typologies here at Typologica—quite obviously, considering they are our namesake. All that collecting and categorizing serves us curatorially-inclined folk well, facilitating critical connection-making on so many levels. As a scientific method, the use of typologies has existed for centuries within a tradition of exploration, classification, and analysis, but from the late 1950s when Hilla and Bernd Becher famously debuted their photographic archive of industrial structures, calling it Anonymous Sculptures: A Typology of Technical Constructions, typological methods within art have become widely appropriated and applied to all manner of people, places, and things.

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Ashes to dust: Swept Away at the Museum of Arts and Design

While in New York, we stopped off at the Museum of Arts and Design to see Swept Away: Dust, Ashes and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design. Part of a series of exhibitions that “explore the intersection of traditional or unusual materials and techniques as viewed through the lens of contemporary art and design,” Swept Away features painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, performances, and installations which confront “the ephemeral nature of art and life, the quality and content of memory, issues of loss and disintegration, and the detritus of human existence” through the incorporation of fugitive and often discarded materials.

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The good, the bad, and the ugly: A studio visit with Niall McClelland

Last year we were drawn in by Niall McClelland’s first solo show at Clint Roenisch gallery, for which he produced mainly paper and fabric-based works which had been folded and re-folded, inked, stained, bleached, and otherwise pushed around and abused. Unfolded, shaken out, and hung or draped to various degrees of looseness, they wore their cracks, folds, and stains with a hard-won pride and stark material beauty.

Last night we had the pleasure of visiting McClelland’s studio with the Ministry of Artistic Affairs. Speaking on the surprises and discoveries he has made in the course of rolling paint onto cheap dropcloths or spraying it over smashed light bulbs among other things, McClelland has developed a process-oriented way of making which is simultaneously rooted in the physical (experiments with materials, actions, and the effects of things like time, weather, friction and force) and the philosophical (engaging intuition, editing, and a constant questioning of when something is good, or right, or finished, and what ultimately qualifies as art and not just someone else’s trash, or vice versa).

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On becoming Lebbeus Woods

“Dry your eyes, Lebbeus Woods explains why architecture school and years of unpaid labor might be worth it” is how Architizer tweeted their recent post summarizing Woods’ lovely and concise true story, “Why I Became an Architect”. Posted in two parts on his blog this past week, the story is in actuality less about why and more about how one becomes and architect—or any creative professional, really—and therein lies the essence of its hard-won truth.

Leading off rather nicely with a Gustave Doré image of Virgil and Dante at the entrance to Hell, Woods traces the outlines of his early interests and influences in Part One, focusing on his passions for painting and light. In Part Two, Woods details how these outlines slowly began to resolve into the fuller picture of his life’s work, providing reassurance and inspiration to any creative professional who may currently be deep in the throes of dues-paying, or what one might more productively call practicing, to become a full-fledged architect, artist, designer, etc.

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100 years ago this week: A great-grandfather is born and Futurism takes Europe by storm

We celebrated the 100th birthday of a family member this past weekend, a rare and momentous occasion indeed. What stunning change he has seen, having lived through the past century’s exponential social and technological growth. In the days since, we’ve been wondering about the world into which he was born so long ago. A new century was just hitting its stride, and among many other international developments, the year 1912 proved to be a pivotal moment in the world of art when the first exhibitions of Italian Futurist paintings were held in Paris and London.

It was then that the painters Balla, Boccioni, Carrá, Russolo, and Severini made their now famous declarations against commercialism, academicism, and traditionalism: “For we are young and our art is violently revolutionary.” Vaunting new pictorial laws which would “deliver painting from the uncertainty in which it lingers” the Futurists boldly equated art with sensation, simultaneity, and discontinuity through a rendering of the invisible rhythms and forces between all things. In employing such “physical transcendentalism”, the painter—and by extension, the viewer—could become a full participant in the chaos and clash of contemporary life at the height of the 20th century Zeitgeist.

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The submerged subway: NYC

Making the rounds this morning is a fascinating article on New York City’s ghost subway system, comprising dozens of partially built or fully built but never used tunnels and platforms interwoven among and between the city’s currently bustling tracks and stops. Mainly originating from the 1920s and ’30s, these forgotten subterranean spaces represent the thwarted ambitions of city planners who once envisioned an expansive, interconnected future for every neighborhood in New York—until the fiscal repercussions and socio-political re-prioritizations of the Great Depression and World War II changed everything.

Reading all this brought to mind Stephen Mallon’s stunning 2010 photographs of the MTA’s ongoing “loadouts” and “drops” of retired subway cars into the Atlantic Ocean for the dual purposes of disposal and reef building. Coming to rest deep in the waters off the Maryland coast, the skeletal remains of obsolete trains circumscribe a virtual space of the sub-marine variety, existing as yet another invisible incarnation of the New York subway system’s many lives.

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The aesthetics of protest: how Occupy sees itself (chapter one)

Hello and thanks for visiting. We originally wrote this post at the beginning of December 2011, and as new information and events continued to unfold in the following weeks, we updated this page with fresh links and images. Now, as Occupy emerges from the winter months having given birth to an entirely new movement in contemporary visual culture, we feel it is appropriate to archive this post as a chronicle of Occupy’s visual beginnings, and allow the movement time and space to further evolve with respect to protest aesthetics in the arts and design, music and performance, giant puppets, flashmobs, bat signals, and whatever other forms it will eventually take. Thanks for the feedback and interest, and let’s all stay tuned.

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Homebase for graffiti art on Camden

One thing that surprised me when I first got to Toronto was how great the graffiti is. All those empty laneways must make Toronto a perfect breeding ground for innovative, immersive street art on a scale and level of consistency that doesn’t seem possible in New York.

As typophiles, the above mural on Homebase’s wall is a particular favorite of ours. Homebase is a storefront on Camden Street carrying graffiti art supplies, clothing and accessories. Click below for images of the retail space, with its eye-candy spray paint display.

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