Issue #197
Clues By The Thousands September 28, 2012

Rendering, signed only “Lutz” of Colonial Hotel Nassau, aerial view, 1954—56. Gouache on board.
Image courtesy of the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation / Harry Ransom Center

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I Have Seen the Future & TRASH

I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America
The Harry Ransom Center, Austin
September 11, 2012 – January 6, 2013

Renaissance man, polymath, whatever moniker you want to give him Norman Bel Geddes (1893 - 1958) lives up to it. Over the course of his life and career he designed costumes and lighting, stage sets, theater buildings, houses, nightclubs, and offices; while writing numerous books and articles. A Utopian thinker Geddes held fast to the belief that cultural production embodied by art, architecture and design could make peoples lives better; psychologically and emotionally. A nice idea in light of contemporary political polarization and economic hardship.The Harry Ransom Center continues its rigorous and exemplary exhibition program by delving deeply into Geddes life and career. Organized by Donald Albrecht, an independent curator and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of the City of New York, five thematic sections make up I Have Seen The Future, spanning from 1916 - 1958, with each tackling a specific period of his output. Geddes most impressive project was the immense visionary model of 1960’s America made for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. Some 27,500 daily visitors viewed the model and emerged with a pin bearing the phrase that makes the exhibitions title. I Have Seen the Future promises, like all Ransom Center exhibitions, to be immersive in its rigor. Give over your afternoon to it and you won’t be sorry. Through the lens of the past you might just catch a glimpse of the future. 

Eric Zimmerman is an artist and Editor of ...might be good.

The New Children’s Museum, San Diego
October 8, 2011 – September 3, 2013

The New Children’s Museum in San Diego is an inspiring model for engaging kids with contemporary art. A non-profit housed in an environmentally sustainable building and dedicated to creating meaningful art experiences for children and their families, the NCM is currently host to TRASH, an expansive exhibition consisting of twelve artists—including names like Vik Muniz and Ed Ruscha—whose work explores our relationship with the rubbish we produce. Installations like Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s San Diego Midden and Chris Sollars’ Play-Fill seem particularly fitting in this exhibition, creating pieces that not only prick at your curiosity, but also create an interaction between the work and the viewer in a way that does not feel like an addendum. In San Diego Midden, the Wertheim sisters collaborate with museum-goers to create a plastic midden—an idea first conceptualized when two artists collected all their domestic plastic debris over time in order to create a visual statistic of how much material one uses. In line with the humor of most of Sollars’ work, he has created a refuse playscape in which he asks viewers to take on the point of view of trash itself, complete with climb-in dumpster and a video of walking trash bags journeying through downtown San Diego. If you haven’t already, get in the mood by watching the award winning Waste Land, a documentary that follows artist Vik Muniz to the largest landfill in the world to create his Pictures of Garbage series, then go see the work for yourself. Whether you view it as indoor playground or important artistic exposure to young minds, TRASH is fun and inviting exhibition, and it’s difficult to believe that anyone could walk away without some satisfied playtime alongside some serious meditation on our growing global trash problem.

Emily Ng is an artist and Production Associate at Fluent~Collaborative.

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