Art Papers  

more from the March/April 2013 issue:

Greta Magnusson Grossman:
Walking Away

by Arianna Schioldager

Transformational Intent:
The East River Blueway

by Ryan Gravel

March/April 2013
Letter from the Guest Editor:
Special Issue: Architecture + Design

Design and the built environment provide the context for our experience, a framework for memory, and a way to envision the future. This issue of ART PAPERS casts a loose and wide net around that expansive theme in order to consider the vital engagement between art-making and design practice. Even now in the 21st century when information and images can fly at the speed of Twitter and Instagram, magazines continue to provide the welcome luxury of a great conversation—thoughtfully packed with new information, startling insights, coincidences, reassurances, and inspiration. In this issue, the lively conversation circles around how we look at the world and what we do to shape, represent, and understand it. The dialogue bounces between ideas and people, proposals for the future and readings of the past.

During the late 1930s, Garrett Eckbo, the noted landscape architect, had been one of the co-founders of Telesis, a progressive interdisciplinary design group whose work both influenced public policy and anticipated social practice. As I was thinking about Telesis, I began to talk with doreen Morrissey. When we'd first met, she was making a series of photographs that suggested the New Topographic works of the 70s but laced with a warmer sense of humor. More recently, she'd completed an MA in landscape architecture and now works as a transportation planner. For Eckbo, the designer is an observer, critic, and creator in society and it's a definition of art and design that is at the heart of our theme.

On the cover, we've featured designer Greta Magnusson Grossman's fantastic midcentury Grasshopper lamps, a sleek, high-spirited pair that appear to be leaping through space and heading into the future. Vibrant ideas about the future shine throughout this issue—from Futurama, designed by Norman Bel Geddes for the 1939 World's Fair, to new work by Studio Gang Architects.

When Ryan Gravel, an Atlanta-based urban planner, interviewed New York architect Claire Weisz about the proposed plans for a Blueway along the East River, their conversation reflected on the complexity of city life and its everchanging relationship with nature and culture.

In Derry, Northern Ireland, and Detroit, Michigan, cities marked by dire political histories and economic misfortune, artists and architects have generated inspired projects that recognize the past and approach the present with energy and imagination.

Writer and ART PAPERS contributing editor Jennie Klein visited Green Acres, a dynamic eco-friendly exhibition that extended from the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati and into the surrounding community. In Green Acres, the land serves as both subject and material, a common ground shared by earth artists of the 1970s and current city-dwelling artists who have turned to farming.

The always quotable Garrett Eckbo also stated that "environment is everything, social as well as physical, that surrounds us and affects us throughout our lives." In this issue, as we look at visionary museums, American postwar dream homes, and a South London house transformed into a living sculpture, we can see how astonishing and varied our environment is—by design.

—Susan Morgan
Guest Editor

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