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Re-Contemplating the Void, New York City, United States

Friday 11 Jun 2010

Filling the void

David Andrew Tasman 
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Guggenheim names contest winners to close 50th anniversary celebration. 

To celebrate the close of the Guggenheim Museum’s 50th anniversary year the museum ran a month-long online competition in conjunction with its exhibition ‘Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim’, inviting participants to re-imagine the museum’s iconic rotunda and submit their ideas via the image-sharing website Flickr.

The competition drew over 200 entries and resulted in five winners, who were selected by the exhibition curators Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator, and David Van Der Leer, assistant curator for architecture and design. The five winners are : ‘The Buried Void’, by Noel Turgeon of St. Paul, Minnesota; ‘Favelart’, by Lucio Carvalho of Sao Paulo, Brazil; ‘Sunflowers’, by David Andrew Tasman of New York City; ‘Void Condition(ed)’ by the team Bad Architects Group (Paul Burgstalle and Ursula Faix) of Innsbruck, Austria; and ‘WTF?! (watch the fool)’, by Bruny Yan You Fu of Rennes, France.

In ‘the Buried Void’, a stream of sand falls from the oculus into the museum where it collects on the floor of the rotunda. For 50 years the sand will gradually fill the void, completing on October 21, 2059, the Guggenheim centennial. ‘Favelart’ is political commentary on the relationship of culture to impoverished communities. Carvalho, the artist, said “if culture does not reach out to the parts that are in poverty, then poverty will in turn invade the culture.”

‘Sunflowers’ proposes the installation of sunflowers on the upper level of the rotunda. According to artist Tasman “by bringing the outside in, the typical relationship between building and landscape is inverted, making the natural available for contemplation in a way that is normally reversed for works of art.”

‘Void Condition(ed)’, according to artists Burgstalle and Faix “was inspired by the German word for ‘void’ (luftraum), which literally translates to ‘air space’, and the idea to change the space completely by changing it as little as possible.”

Lastly, ‘WTF?! (watch the fool)’ tries to give a geometrical response to contemplating the void. Artist Bruny Yan You Fu drew inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome and a story about the architect Tadao Ando. “When Ando was young, the roof of his house collapsed and left a big hold. This was when Ando came to realize that ‘contemplating the void’ is also feeling the space, feeling the beauty of something invisible,” Fu said.

While the competition is closed, the Flckr pool will remain open for others to share their own ‘re-imaginings’ of the Guggenheim rotunda.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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