SVA MFA Design Criticism Lecture Series - Spring 2012

SVA MFA Design Criticism Lecture Series: Spring 2012

SVA MFA Design Criticism Lecture Series, held on Tuesday evenings at D-Crit, presents the most interesting and provocative writers, editors, designers, thinkers, and curators practicing today.

Curated and hosted by D-Crit first-year students, the speakers this Spring include: Cincinnati Art Museum director, architect and critic Aaron Betsky; industrial designer Jonathan Olivares; The New York Times senior critic and chief architecture critic Michael Kimmelman; public radio producer and writer Starlee Kine; architect Jimenez Lai; urban theorist Meredith TenHoor; designer and Center for Urban Pedagogy founder Damon Rich; urbanism critic Witold Rybczynski; and cutural critic Cintra Wilson.

Each lecture is followed by a Q&A session and refreshments in the D-Crit Reading Room. All lectures are free and open to the public but you do need to register to reserve your space.

January 31
Aaron Betsky, "Architecture Beyond Building"

In a culture in which buildings are more and more restricted by building, life safety, and financial codes, the best architecture often appears in other media-in fiction, film, and the visual arts. Aaron Betsky will show how we can find and present this architecture, and speculate on how such a re-presentation can itself be architecture.

Betsky is an architect, critic, curator, educator, lecturer, and writer on architecture and design, and is currently director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. He has served as curator of Architecture, Design, and Digital Projects at San Francisco MoMA, and the director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute. Betsky was named the director of the 11th Exhibition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2008. He is also the author of False Flat and Architecture Must Burn.

February 7
Jonathan Olivares, "Working with Jonathan Olivares"

A self-described autodidact, Jonathan Olivares will discuss the process and thinking behind three of his office's projects: A Taxonomy of Office Chairs published by Phaidon Press; Smith, a multi-purpose home-office cart designed for Danese Milano in 2007; and the exhibition "Useless: An Exploded View," curated and designed for the EXD design Biennial in Lisbon.

Jonathan Olivares' multi-disciplinary practice comprises industrial design, research, writing, and exhibition design. The office has designed furniture for Danese Milano and Knoll Inc. and exhibitions for Nouveau Musee National Monaco, CENTRO Diseno Cine Television in Mexico City, and the EXD design Biennial in Lisbon. Research projects have included a survey of the American furniture industry for Domus, an installation explaining some of the spatial effects of mobile devices for the 2010 St. √Čtienne Design Biennial, and a four-year investigation of office chairs which culminated in the book A Taxonomy of Office Chairs (Phaidon Press, 2011).

February 14
Lunchtime Q&A with Michael Kimmelman

From public housing and community development to issues of social responsibility, The New York Times' Michael Kimmelman has already shaken up our traditional notion of what an architecture critic is supposed to cover. In this intimate lunchtime Q&A, Kimmelman will address questions relating to the role of an architecture critic, discuss the possibilities for the future of criticism, and suggest what a burgeoning generation of critics should take notice of.

Michael Kimmelman is an author, critic and columnist. He is the chief architecture critic for The New York Times and has written on issues of public housing, public space, community development and social responsibility. He was the paper's longtime chief art critic and, in 2007, created the Abroad column, covering culture, political and social affairs across Europe and elsewhere. In July, 2011, the Times appointed him chief architecture critic and also made him the paper's senior critic.

February 21
Starlee Kine, "How to Capture the Culture Zeitgeist: What Phil Collins and Zombies Have in Common"

Starlee Kine will discuss how she converts her personal obsessions, of both the negative and positive variety, into universal themes-and how it's impossible not to read the comments. She will also explain her process of getting orphaned ideas out of her head.

Starlee Kine is a radio producer, writer, and pop culture critic. A frequent contributor to PRI's This American Life, CBC Radio's WireTap, and New York Magazine's Vulture blog, Kine has also written for The New York Times Magazine and the object-based periodical THE THING Quarterly. She is currently working on a book about the self-help industry titled, It IS Your Fault. Along with illustrator Arthur Jones she co-created the Post-It Note Reading Series.

February 28
Jimenez Lai, "Cartoonish Architecture"

Jimenez Lai will speak about the alternate worlds depicted by his comics, physical installations, models, and small buildings. He'll discuss the nature of his visual narratives and the ways in which they are fed by themes and issues such as representation, history, taste, theory, and storytelling.

Jimenez Lai is the founder of the Chicago-based architecture firm Bureau Spectacular. Previously he worked for MOS, AVL, REX, and OMA/Rem Koolhaas in New York, Rotterdam, and Toronto. Lai has exhibited "Point Clouds" at Chicago's Extension Gallery and the exhibition "White Elephant" at Land of Tomorrow in Louisville KY. His monographic graphic novel / manifesto, Citizens of No Place, will be published by Princeton Architectural Press later this year with a grant from the Graham Foundation.

March 13
Meredith TenHoor, "The Infrastructure of Mass Consumption"

Meredith TenHoor will present some of the markets, transportation networks and other infrastructures which made the mass consumption of designed goods possible in the 1960s and 70s. She will discuss how they were designed, what forms of consumption they enabled, and finally, how they have been appropriated and transformed for more sustainable uses today.

Meredith TenHoor is writing a history of architecture and biopolitics in Paris's food markets. She contributed the essay "The Architect's Farm," to Above the Pavement, the Farm (Princeton Architectural Press/Inventory Books, 2010), and co-wrote the book Street Value: Shopping, Planning and Politics on Fulton Mall, (Princeton Architectural Press/Inventory Books, 2010.) In addition to curating a series of performances imagining everyday life in New Towns of the 1970s, and a series of lectures, dinners, and an architecture library at the Metropolitan Exchange in Downtown Brooklyn, TenHoor is a PhD candidate in the Architecture department at Princeton.

March 27
Witold Rybczynski, "The Biography of a Building"

Witold Rybczynski will share the remarkable inside story of the planning, building, and use of the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, designed by Norman Foster in the mid 1970s for Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury's private collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures. Rybczynski explores the nature of collecting and collections, the purpose and function of the art museum, the relationship between architect, client and sponsor, and the evolution and roots of late twentieth-century architecture.

Witold Rybczynski is Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Edinburgh, he studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal, where he also taught for twenty years. Of his many books, perhaps the most popular are Home, and A Clearing in the Distance (winner of the Anthony J. Lukas Prize).

April 3
Cintra Wilson, "Fear and Clothing"

Considered one of the 50 most influential people working in New York fashion, Cintra Wilson will discuss the process and thinking behind her forthcoming book, entitled Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling America's Fashion Destiny (W.W. Norton and Company), which is a meditation on her belief that the American psyche manifests itself in what we wear.

Cintra Wilson is a culture critic and author, known for her highly effective, humorous, and irreverent popular culture and political commentary. She was a retail reviewer in The New York Times Fashion & Style section (Critical Shopper), and she currently writes a political column called C-Word, a column critiquing tabloid culture called The Dregulator, and contributes to Her books include A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease and Other Cultural Revelations (Viking/Penguin 2000); Colors Insulting to Nature (Fourth Estate, 2004); and Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny (Bloomsbury, 2008).

April 10
Michael Meredith, "Playful Experimentation and Criticism"

MOS studio is an architectural practice that was born out of playful experimentation. But what does being experimental mean and how is this related to criticism? From its Greek kritikos, the ability to make judgments is vital in MOS's deliberate practice. Michael Meredith, co-principal and co-founder of MOS, will talk about critical theory through his experience as an editor, critic, and educator and how this has shaped the way he sees the world of architecture and design.

Michael Meredith is an associate professor of architecture at Harvard and Princeton University. In 2003, he was a resident at the Atlantic Center for the Arts with the art critic Dave Hickey and, in 2000, he completed a residency at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Together with his partner, Hilary Sample, his firm MOS has designed furniture, products, sound, speculative architecture projects, artist collaborations such as the MoMA/P.S.1 AfterParty in 2009, and residences in New York, Ontario, Texas, and California.

April 17
Damon Rich, "Working the System"

From designs for an experimental financial learning center in Queens to the first riverfront park in Newark, New Jersey, Damon Rich will share recent attempts to bring design and politics to productive crisis.

Damon Rich is the Urban Designer for the City of Newark, New Jersey where he leads design efforts with public and private actors to improve the city's public spaces. In 1997, Rich founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and was its executive director for 10 years. His work has been used to represent the United States at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, and has been exhibited at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Netherlands Architecture Institute.

School of Visual Arts