Collages, cyanotypes, and portraits of a fallen Metabolist icon are on view in these must-see winter exhibitions

Coast to Coast

Collages, cyanotypes, and portraits of a fallen Metabolist icon are on view in these must-see winter exhibitions

1972/Accumulations at the MAS Context Reading Room, Chicago. (© Dan Kelleghan Photography/Courtesy MAS Context)

Looking for an enriching cultural engagement to add to your calendar before—or during—the busy holiday season?

AN’s editors have a few must-see exhibition recommendations, including shows now on view in both two big cities—New York and Chicago—and in the winter getaway–worthy coastal destinations of Savannah and Santa Barbara. The below picks, including a photographic remembrance of Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower and the first solo museum exhibition of architect and artist Marshall Brown, are pulled from the October/November issue of The Architect’s Newspaper.

Life Between Buildings

Growing Abolition at MoMA PS1 (Noel Woodford/Courtesy MoMA PS1)


22–25 Jackson Avenue,
Long Island City, Queens, NY 11101
Open through January 16, 2023

At a time when “greenwashing” is a common (and commonly criticized) practice among New York City developers, the premise of this group show is well pitched. Curated by Jody Graf, Life Between Buildings reconsiders the city’s most overlooked corners as microbreeding grounds of community and resistance. There is a natural affinity between Becky Howland’s Tied Grass (1977), a weedy sward irrupting out of a concrete traffic island, and Cecilia Vicuña’s Sidewalk Forests (1981), which tenderly posits the existence of a meadow beneath the street. Tom Burr’s 1992 work A Ramble in Central Park (two) memorializes a popular cruising site as a scale model, while Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates (1973–74) finds both grace and grubby value in Queens’s “gutterspaces.” Outside, in MoMA PS1’s courtyard, an installation by jackie sumell and The Lower Eastside Girls Club sows the seeds of an abolitionist future. Samuel Medina


1972/Accumulations by Noritaka Minami at the MAS Context Reading Room (© Dan Kelleghan Photography/Courtesy MAS Context)

MAS Context

1564 North Damen Avenue, Suite 204,
Chicago, IL 60622
Open through December 8

In Tokyo, the demolition of another dream of progress, the Nakagin Capsule Tower, began this past summer after decades of neglect rendered the structure uninhabitable. Or nearly uninhabitable. A few stalwarts, oddballs, and architourists continued living in the knobby tower, despite a lack of basic conveniences. But if you’re imagining a Metabolist Grey Gardens, Noritaka Minami’s photographs of life at the Nakagin reveal something more benign, even tranquil. In some images, the interiors of capsules have been renewed with varying degrees of fidelity to architect Kisho Kurokawa’s original vision. Modular built-ins have been sporadically retained, their zippy futurism having been supplanted by the mundanity of computer monitors and ergonomic office chairs. “My pictures,” Minami wrote in a text for a special feature in AN’s June issue devoted to the tower’s piecemeal disappearance, “captured the individuality present in each capsule; the accumulation of objects attests to the lives of the people who resided there.” SM

Studies in Form

Studies in Form by Randhir Singh and Seher Shah at SCAD Museum of Art (Courtesy SCAD Museum of Art)

SCAD Museum of Art

601 Turner Boulevard,
Savannah, GA 31401
Open through December 26

Trained as an architect, photographer Randhir Singh came to wide recognition earlier this year, when his work appeared in the exhibition The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947–1985 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His large-format photographs depicting, for instance, the beguiling board-formed exteriors of a Delhi office tower or the shade-endowing canopy of a Dhaka train station center the modernity of their forms. But Singh has also adopted a slantwise gaze at the architectural canon. An ongoing project, Studies in Form, dilates the brawny abstraction favored by architects such as Kenzō Tange and Ernö Goldfinger through fragmentation: 121 cyanotypes, reproduced on Arches Aquarelle paper, were realized with Singh’s frequent collaborator, the Karachi-born artist Seher Shah. Moving between photography and collaged arrangements, the excised shards, stairs, and swoops become ambiguous signifiers of progress. SM

Architecture of Collage: Marshall Brown

Je est un autre by Marshall Brown (© 2022, Marshall Brown Projects)

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

1130 State Street,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Open through January 7, 2023

Rather than eulogize modernity’s monuments, the Chicago architect Marshall Brown, who also teaches at Princeton University School of Architecture, takes a hatchet—or, more accurately, an X-Acto blade—to them. From this loose matter, he creates exquisite corpses, or as he prefers, “chimeras.” The eye charts a zigzag course over these imagined, spontaneous topographies. Pupil intake triggers synesthetic impressions: The collages “hum,” “whoosh,” “creak,” or “crack” up. Pantheon (2020) evokes the geological as much as the canonical, while The Gothic Arch (2021) suggests spatial continuity through visual punnery. If Brown’s practice is a tectonic surrealism (or an aleatory structuralism), then the collages function as way stations between disegno and construction documents. They depict uninhabitable spaces that one nonetheless gets lost in. While the prints made by Singh and Shah carve space out of blocks of color, Brown’s assemblies float atop the paper’s white expanse. SM