Beautiful Test Sites / Now I am become death
July 13 – August 31, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, July 13, 2018, 6 – 9 pm
In Beautiful Test Sites / Now I am become death, Mitchell Squire and Nora Wendl make full use of their research-based and architecturally-founded practices to present a series of photographs that meditate upon “beautiful test sites”: spaces and bodies wastelanded by the American techno-utopian imagination of the 20th century. For Squire, this means unearthing a series of inherited mid-20th century photographs taken by an amateur photographer—who at the time served as Executive Secretary of the Iowa Industrial and Defense Commission (1941-45), the first Director of the Iowa Development Commission (1945-53), and State Director of Civil Defense during WWII and again in the 1950s—and whose subjects were both women and nuclear blasts, whose images Squire alters through the strategic use of gilded frames, veils, and glass vases. Nora Wendl presents a series of photographs taken during her recent occupational performance of the all-glass Farnsworth House, designed by Mies van der Rohe for Dr. Edith Farnsworth in the mid-20th century—a house that was conceived the same year as the first American nuclear test. Wendl pairs these with a series of archival photographs of women within this house who have commonly been mistaken as being Dr. Farnsworth, which she heavily annotates with autobiographical and biographical information, thus bringing specificity to women who are otherwise anonymous within the visual discourse of architectural history: researcher and subject alike.
Above Image: Mitchell Squire, Untitled, 2018, dimensions variable, photographs and packing tape.
The mode of operation in viewing visual information today, and particularly photographs, is that even a casual observer must work as a journalist to determine veracity. At the same time, the photograph is a way to arrest beauty, to prolong it, and to catalog even those places and bodies that are wastelanded until a future time when they can be read and named.
Mitchell Squire: Mitchell Squire is an artist and educator whose practice encompasses architecture, visual art, and the study of material culture. His work employs techniques of assemblage and informational strategies of collection and archival presentation, toward understanding the sociopolitical complexity of material and immaterial artifacts. He holds the position of Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University.
Nora Wendl: Nora Wendl is a writer, artist and educator who uses disciplinary strategies drawn equally from literature, visual art, and architecture to amplify overlooked or suppressed narratives within the built and unbuilt environment. She holds the position of Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of New Mexico.
…on our street, twice a day- a steady stream of people travel to and from the Albuquerque Rescue Mission for food and additional resources. In my mind, it is a welcome reminder of privilege and deep disparities thickening in our communities. Last summer, we hosted our first social practice visiting artist. Christine Wong Yap’s project, Belonging was an outsider’s foray into one’s sense of belonging in a community. (to be continued)
two years ago(2016)…..”Let’s make this the next Wynwood”, neighbor business owner. Little did they know I had just returned from Miami a few weeks ago. I had stumbled upon the remnants of what appeared to be an industrial, working class neighborhood turned art party funded by huge wealth connected to BMW, UBS and the deep pockets of blue chip galleries. A year before that I had started reading about the relationship between artists and gentrification. I had just spent the past 8 years spending much of my time on my hands and knees setting tile in the mcmansions on the east side to pour all my income in the creating a sustainable art space.
By Emma Difani and Kacie Erin Smith
May 18 – June 22, 2018
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, May 18, 6-9pm
Sanitary Tortilla Factory is pleased to present Still Moving. In Still Moving Emma Difani and Kacie Erin Smith create print and sculptural works which respond to how people relate to land — the urban wild and cultivated landscape, respectively. Difani drafts maps for discovering alternative definitions of nature in the city that embrace the grown and the constructed alike, charting sincere connections to place. Smith offers a personal take on notions of utility, tradition and belonging based on her study of transhumance while on residency in Spain. With this work, the artists are still learning through endless observation, still moving through continual exploration.