Design-focused exhibitions to check out this fall at galleries and museums across the country

Invoking Thought

Design-focused exhibitions to check out this fall at galleries and museums across the country

Reassembling Spilt Light: An Immersive Installation by Carlos Bunga is on view at the Sarasota Art Museum (Ryan Gamma)

With summer now behind us, fall programming has kicked into full gear with galleries, museums, and cultural institutions staging new exhibitions curated to invoke thought and spark conversation. In the September issue of AN, our editors highlighted four exhibitions on view across the country, among these is a show examining AI, a survey of works by Kwong Von Glinow, artist Carlos Bunga’s meditation on human needs, and a staging of work from Mexican graphic designers. From large-scale sculptural pieces to image-forward designs, these exhibitions are feasts for the eyes and mind.

(Kira Xonorika)

What Models Make Worlds: Critical Imaginaries of AI

Ford Foundation Gallery
320 East 43rd Street
New York
Through December 9

What Models Make Worlds assembles an impressive cast of artists working at the forefront of creative “algorithmic imaginaries,” using them to imagine, reimagine, and critique their world-building abilities. Cocurator Meldia Yesayan said that this exhibition hopes to “rethink how we engage with our communities and imagine a future in which femme-identifying, BIPOC, and queer creators control our algorithmic worlds.” With AI disrupting so many of our systems of production, creativity, and economy, it’s becoming more critical for the “black box” of AI production to open up, and that’s exactly what the work of the 16 represented artists does. Exploring such diverse themes and activities as surveillance, archiving, cultural capital, cartography, and colonialism, the work questions who gets to use, define, and mobilize AI in our world today.

(© Dan Kelleghan Photography)

There is Room

MAS Context Reading Room
1564 North Damen Avenue
Through October 14 (by appointment)

This new exhibition surveys the work of Kwong Von Glinow and focuses solely on housing projects on standard lots in Chicago, therefore offering a close reading of the city’s vernacular apartment typologies. Whether new-build apartments or historic structures more than a century old, housing types, from two- to six-flat arrangements, survive despite radically changed living conditions, lifestyles, and trends. There is Room sees optimism in work of home building through this exhibition of half-inch-scaled models (1:24) replete with tiny furniture and the accoutrements of living. The show explores forms of inhabitation (as seen in the grids of images on the walls) and, through the established medium of the model, doubles down on the value of circulation, natural light, and “quality”—as in quality of life.

(Ryan Gamma)

Reassembling Spilt Light: An Immersive Installation by Carlos Bunga

Sarasota Art Museum
1001 South Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, Florida
Through October 29

Crafting sculpture, or what artist Carlos Bunga calls “expanded painting,” out of mundane materials isn’t just an aesthetic choice. Materials like cardboard and masking tape combined with high-viz color palettes shaped his childhood as a refugee living in the very real decrepit conditions of government housing. Born into an Angolan family living in Porto, Portugal, Bunga channels these formative spatial experiences into monumental, architecture-scaled art forms that museum-goers can walk through, touch, feel, and inhabit. Whether one is navigating columns made of taped-together flatpack boxes or meditating on the unexpected vitality of a boldly painted cargo blanket, the politics of migration come to a head in these built spaces where one can meditate on themes of aid and the real human need for compassion.

(Courtesy Red de Reproducción y Distribución)

Eso es la vida/This is life

Palm Springs Art Museum
101 North Museum Drive
Palm Springs, California
Through November 27

The exhibition title recalls the advice of activist printmaker Leopoldo Mendez: The role of the maker is to be an agent in such struggles over the everyday: eso es la vida. This sets the tone for a new exhibition curated by Robert J. Kett that highlights the work of Mexican graphic designers. Lettering that has become instantly recognizable is revealed to be deeply rooted in a collaborative national graphic language, spearheaded by foundational designers like José Guadalupe Posada and the Taller de Gráfica Popular. These histories exist in conversation with contemporary figures like Estudio Herrera, the Red de Reproducción y Distribución, and Carla Valdivia Nakatani. From colorful handmade posters and painted signage techniques to emerging digital media and videomaking, Eso es la vida examines graphic design as a core facet of popular culture today.