chicago architecture biennial 2017 announces sharon johnston & mark lee as artistic directors chicago architecture biennial 2017 announces sharon johnston & mark lee as artistic directors
sep 21, 2016

chicago architecture biennial 2017 announces sharon johnston & mark lee as artistic directors

the chicago architecture biennial (CAB) has announced that sharon johnston and mark lee, of the los angeles-based architecture firm johnston marklee, will be artistic directors of the 2017 event. the second edition of the biennial, which has been titled ‘make new history’, will run from september 16 to december 31, 2017.

 

the inaugural chicago architecture biennial premiered in 2015, and was the first and largest international exhibition of contemporary architecture ever to take place in the united states. CAB 2015 featured 120 participating architecture and design offices from more than 30 countries, with more than half a million local residents and visitors from around the world taking part. the hub of the 2017 biennial will once again be the chicago cultural center, located in the city’s downtown district.

johnston marklee infills MCA chicago with gridded mezzanine
johnston marklee also participated in CAB 2015, read more on the project here
image by nathan keay / © MCA chicago (main image © eric staudenmaier)

 

 

the chicago architecture biennial’s return in 2017 confirms chicago as an architectural hub,’ said chicago mayor rahm emanuel. ‘last year’s edition was a resounding success, and I’m pleased to see the great planning and support for the second biennial, which will be even better. not only is the biennial’s return a testament to our city’s architectural significance, but it speaks to chicago’s place as one of the world’s cultural destinations and our place in the world of architecture and design.’

 

the themes and focuses of the chicago architecture biennial 2017 are explained in more detail by artistic directors johnston marklee below — 

 

the two central themes of the chicago architecture biennial 2017 are the axis between history and modernity and the axis between architecture and art.

 

of critical importance in architectural discussion today is the renewed role that history plays in its making. one of the most dramatic ruptures in the evolution of architecture over the last century has been the fissure between history and modernity. the insistence on being unprecedented and unrelated to architectures of the past reached new heights at the beginning of the millennium, as more and more architects became reluctant to consider what they do as being part of a larger collective project or part of a longer architectural history.

 

on the other hand, a renewed interest in history and precedents of architecture has been emerging among a new generation of architects. committed to progress but always within an architectural tradition, these architects are producing innovative and subversive works grounded in the fundamentals of the discipline, rooted in the fabrics of the cities where they are built, without having to keep up with the latest micro-trends and being accused of cultural appropriation. this group constantly ventures into the realm of the new and the unknown, but always returns to history in order to find the old in the new and the new in the old.

 

while architecture is rediscovering its own roots and tradition, its relationship with art has become more fluid and dynamic. today this relationship between art and architecture is transforming into a new era of convergence. on one hand, both art and architecture have evolved as practices along with the changing nature of public space, in the function of specific sites, and in the expanding definitions of national and civic identities. on the other hand, the proliferation of multimedia art practices has further blurred the expertise and responsibilities of distinct disciplines.

 

at a time when anything goes, when there is too much information and not enough attention, when architecture does not celebrate shared values, the examination of this renewed interest in architectural history, the role of art and architecture, and their impact on cultural continuity is more pressing than ever before.

 

the chicago architecture biennial 2017 aims to address these issues through the lens of the city. with its abundance of wealth in architectural tradition, chicago becomes the ideal place where questions can be raised and ideas examined toward the making of a new history.

 

 

 

the second edition of the chicago architecture biennial (CAB) is the largest architecture and design exhibition in north america, showcasing the transformative global impact of creativity and innovation in these fields. this year’s biennial features over 141 practitioners from more than 20 countries addressing the 2017 theme ‘make new history.’ artistic directors sharon johnston and mark lee have selected architects and artists whose eye-opening creations will invite the public to explore how the latest architecture can and will make new history in places around the world.

 

CAB is hosted by the chicago department of cultural affairs and special events at the historic chicago cultural center. the ‘make new history’ exhibition extends to off-site locations and is amplified through six community anchor exhibitions in the neighborhoods and two special project sites — plus installations, performances, talks, films, and more hosted by over 100 local and global cultural partners.

 

the main exhibition is free and open to the public from september 16, 2017 through january 7, 2018.

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