Monday, June 18, 2018

'Architecture Books' Opens at Storefront

In September last year I attended the Storefront for Art and Architecture's Architecture Books / Yet to be Written / 1982-2017-2052 at the Cooper Union. The five-hour-long event marked the beginning stages of Storefront's New York Architecture Book Fair, which takes place this week and consists of numerous components, such as Book Salons, a Bookstore Network, and an exhibition in Storefront's distinctive space. The last, called Architecture Books – Yet to be Written opens tomorrow evening and runs until late August. Details are below.

Description from the Storefront website:
April 19th Exhibition Opening:
6 – 7 pm: Press and Members Preview
7 – 9 pm: Public Opening

As part of the first edition of the New York Architecture Book Fair, Storefront for Art and Architecture presents Architecture Books – Yet to be Written, an exhibition that invites us to reflect upon the cultural contribution of architecture through the medium of the book from 1982 to today. With an archaeological and projective twist, the installation seeks to celebrate and evaluate both the existing and the missing volumes of a history still in the writing.

Storefront was founded in 1982 as an alternative platform for discourse and debate that brings important issues to the forefront, and that extends beyond ideological and disciplinary boundaries. The period of exploration for the first edition of the New York Architecture Book Fair coincides with this recent history, taking the last 35 years as the starting ground for a discussion about our contemporaneity. The series of programs organized as part of the book fair produce a forum for discussion and debate about the books that provoke us to understand architectural discourse in a wider cultural, social, and geographical context. The project focuses on the ways in which architects, as well as urban planners, landscape architects, and all professions and people who engage in the making of places and spaces, contribute to our understanding of the built environment.

Questioning the idea of the canon this project seeks to broaden the existing references for architecture culture, which have served to homogenize architectural discourse. With the purpose of opening up the conversation to new ideas, Storefront launched a Global Survey of Architecture Books that reached more than 1600 scholars, critics, museum directors, historians, and others from nearly 100 countries, asking them to contribute nominations of books from the past 35 years that are fundamental to the development of ideas and culture in architecture.

A selection of the nominated books, with brief statements that contextualize their relevance, are presented in the installation as the structural support for bookshelves that will be populated by additional publications throughout the duration of the exhibition. These additions will be nominated and contributed by invited groups, including non-profits organizations, independent publishers, creative collectives, and visitors.

A series of visualizations upon the walls of the gallery space present the scope of the project and prompt visitors to actively nominate, think about, and reflect upon the contemporary context of architectural publications.