Pavilions | Lisson Gallery

Dan Graham Triangular solid with circular cut-outs - variation S, 2017


I nearly missed this exhibition thanks to a combination of NYC’s typical cold and miserable weather plus the short late January to mid February run length. With a couple of days before the close and snow mostly gone, I made it the Lisson Gallery to see Pavilions.

The exhibition explores the blurry area between art and architecture through the work of fifteen artists. The pieces ranged from full-size installations to scale models and 2d representations. What I found particularly inspiring about this show was the focus creating structures based on an artistic experience. These are spaces, real or proposed that capture and project a deeper meaning.

If this same show had been hosted at the Center for Architecture with contributions from a bunch of A-list firms, it would be totally different. No doubt there would be much more technical mastery of structure and materials, parametric modeling and spacial programming. All the things you’d expect architects to be good at.

A few standouts from the exhibition included Triangular solid with circular cut-outs – variation S by Dan Graham, who sadly died the weekend the show closed. Graham’s been using the reflective properties of glass in his work for decades. While this piece is simply a bisected box with circular cutouts, it generates some incredibly complex and kinetic reflection patterns as you walk around it.

A-Z Timeless Chamber: Model 004 by Andrea Zittel is shaped like a cross between a coffin and a shipping crate. Carrying the slogan vacation from time, the outer walls are just high enough that you have to peer over them to see inside. Like a TARDIS in reverse, the interior contains a scaled down living space complete with mock kitchen, bookshelf, tables and chairs.

Finally, there’s the early experimental pavilion models by Anish Kapoor. These were amazing to spend some time studying. Particularly the different explorations for moving through and experiencing space.

Photos and Text: Dave Pinter