Arch-Art: A Conduit for Context
Drawings for SITE
September 8 – October 21, 2017
Rhona Hoffman Gallery is proud to announce James Wines, Arch-Art: A Conduit for Context. Presented in conjunction with the second Chicago Architecture Biennial, this exhibition of ink, wash, and watercolor drawings from 1991 - 2017 examines Wines’ commitment to the fusion of architecture, the natural environment, and public space.
In 1970, following extensive work in public sculpture and environmental art, James Wines founded SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) with the intention of expanding Green-design and creating new models of architecture through the hybridization of art, architecture, and design. Drawing early influence from artists and architects such as Vito Acconci, Alice Aycock, Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Smithson, Haus Rucker, and many others, SITE considers buildings and their surroundings not as isolated objects in an environment, but as the environment itself. As such, Wines’ drawings include elements of existing structures, cultural and religious references, and local typography to advocate for an architecture that is mutable, fragmentary, and challenges formal design conventions.
The drawings featured in Arch-Art: A Conduit for Context emphasize James Wines’ architectural and theoretical concept of passages, which imagines walls as absorbent membranes that integrate with the ecosystems of their surroundings and blur the boundaries of building and nature. Drawings such as Prince William County Environmental Education Center (1995) utilize the term literally and illustrate the gradual conversion of winding nature paths into the building’s façade, which is produced from recycled industrial waste. Wines’ drawings for the proposed 2016 Serpentine Pavilion depict a freestanding, slanted structure that rises from the ground to the sky. Completely covered in greenery and integrated with the existing tree line, the pavilion would also act as a functional elevated garden indistinguishable from its surroundings at certain vantage points. For James Wines, architecture fails without art; his drawings provide a platform for spontaneous experimentation and the execution of ideas.
James Wines is an architect, sculptor, and writer. Educated at Syracuse University, he is the founder and president of SITE New York, a multi-disciplinary architecture and design firm that has built more than 150 art and architecture projects internationally. James Wines is the former Chair of Environmental Design at Parsons School of Design and is currently a Professor of Architecture at Penn State University. He has written seven books including DE-ARCHITECTURE, published in 1987, and GREEN ARCHITECTURE, published in 2000. In the past decade, twenty-two monographs and museum catalogues have been published on Wines’ projects for SITE. Wines’ drawings and architectural models are included in the public collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Centre Pompidou, Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and many others. He has received twenty-five art and design awards including the 1995 Chrysler award for Design Innovation, and fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kress Foundation, The American Academy in Rome, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Graham Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and the Pulitzer Prize for Graphics. A constant innovator and a pioneer in green architecture, Wines was awarded the Cooper-Hewitt Lifetime Achievement National Design Award in 2013.