Approaches To Modern Art Museum Environment Cultural Studies Essay

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Chapter one examined how the 21st century contemporary art museum compares to its predecessor: the traditional museum within society, through architectural design, spatial experience and contents. This chapter investigates what factors contribute to the spatial experience of the modern art museum user and how they integrate to benefit the spatial experience.

Caruso argues that 'Contemporary artists install their work and that here is a spatial awareness in the work of many contemporary artists in the kind of spatial...there's a spatial component in how the art is displayed...that's since the end of the sixties been the case.' (2/11/2009, 36.31mins-37mins)

Alex Farquharson argues that 'after the war the dominant convention was the white cube, where you are not supposed to notice any activity that would detract from the viewing of the art.' He believes that the only activity that should be distracting the user is installation art and not exhibition design.

Encounter and exploration are important aspects of the spatial experience of museum visits and consequently influence its quality. All architecture includes the experience of movement and encounter as an essential aspect of experiencing it. A user explores space by moving through it and this is central to appreciating a museum's spaces, as well as its contents, that cannot all be seen at once. Encounter is central to social forms in which seeing is complemented by the awareness of being seen and where mutual visibility gives rise to a sense of spatial culture in addition to the appreciation of the contents.

It is thought that the setting for art makes a difference to how products are understood and experienced. People who choose to visit a modern art gallery or museum understand that the spaces within them are essentially contemplative spaces, as De Oliveira (2003 p.53) states that the gallery 'succeeds in disconnecting the spectators from their everyday surroundings and transporting them to a place of contemplation.'

Architect Tony Fretton has designed many galleries and studios for artists and from these spatial explorations he believes art is capable of informing architecture.

Fretton designed the Lisson Gallery in 1986, which is internationally recognised as an exemplary space for art. He has also designed ArtSway centre for visual Arts and also the gallery and store for the Arts Council Collection of Sculpture at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. 

Fretton believes that art acquires a particular intelligence regarding the way objects exist politically, while 'architecture is much less willing to understand it is representing the values of society and the people it is built for'.

Fretton argues that architecture is constrained by function and use and therefore suggests that architecture could use art as a learning platform; however, Fretton fears that architects will misinterpret art practice as another style: 'eventually architecture will commodify and use up art'.

The primary concern of architecture is the creation of space and facilities for behaviour; however, behaviour is conditioned by space. Within collaboration the artist's intervention is considered to offer imaginative modifications that will increase the users' sense of spatial meaning and emotions.

Fretton collaborated with artist Diego Ferrari on a project called Faith House intended for the local community in Dorset during 2000 to 2002. Ferrari used photographs of public buildings and sites with the aim of exploring the existing connection between artist, object, architecture, spectator and public space. During the development process he created panoramic photographic strips reconstructing time, movement and space. These photographic strips are incorporated within the internal space; in the porch there is a photograph of an enlarged tree creating an optical haziness reflected in the architecture.

This visual technique is similar to the optical illusion Le Corbusier created within Villa Savoye, mentioned within chapter one. This collaboration resulted in a heightened sense of awareness towards human interaction within interior and exterior space for Ferrari. Fretton's performing arts background influenced his later architectural thought regarding the relationships between humans and the material world, leading Fretton to believe that architecture has the ability to be a social art within people's lives. It is interesting to point out that Fretton is deeply inspired by artist Dan Graham, who explores the interaction between private and public space and the way people relate their bodies to objects. Fretton's main reason for collaboration seems to stem from his personal sensitivity towards art, he believes that the conceptual small-scale approach that artists bring to collaborations is positive: 'There is

a scale below which I don't see… as an architect my brush is very broad'.13 Collaborations enable Fretton to develop a greater understanding towards the emotional impact a building could have on its users, believing that the same emotional effect can be experienced by looking at art.

Like Fretton, the Caruso St John practice relates contemporary art to their architecture. Adam Caruso thinks that contemporary architecture should be based on the way contemporary art is installed within space by stating that, ''

Caruso criticises modernism's intention to idealise and order the world, contrasting that with art's primary concern to subjectively interpret the world.

Caruso's opinion contradicts the deep fascination that modern architects had for art.

Modern architecture projects this fascination through its aesthetic, in the sense that Cubist artistic ideals influenced the configuration of architectural mass and space. Cubism intended to physically reconfigure the world; in contrast contemporary art intends to adjust inner perceptions of the world. Artist Ron Haselden openly dislikes the idea of being involved within an architectural collaboration, yet he collaborated with architect Robert Barnes on a public art project funded by the London Arts Board. Haselden prefers to be given a situation or everyday object, removing its natural context and then recomposing the object or situation in such a way that changes human perception. It is interesting to compare these contemporary art principles to the architectural exploration process, which investigates human responses to the built object. Artist Tess Jaray collaboratively worked on Birmingham Centenary Square with city architects.

Jaray has a particular interest in enclosing ideas within space and the results of visual architectural arrangements. She says that:

For 30 years, architecture was one of my main sources of inspiration as a painter. The shapes, the colours the sense of light all came from my responses to architecture and to a feeling for

Place. Even though there seems to be an apparent connection of thought between some contemporary artists and architects, chapter two demonstrated difficulties within collaborations. Collaborations encounter certain obstacles including the change of the working environment, issues of authorship and legal contract strains. These elements within the partnership could be seen as both beneficial and harmful.

Therefore, these issues require sensitivity and negotiation within the partnership, if the collaboration and its results are to be successful. During a P.A.C.A. conference, artist Andrew Darke stated: 'An art work has integrity because the artist is in total control; he works on every aspect in the studio'. However, it is interesting to point out that many artists who are studio based employ assistants to carry out the majority of the physical labour under the instruction of the artist. In contrast, architects work in close collaboration with each other in teams. These teams involve subcontractors, officials, clients and the public. This sense of involvement within the architectural process automatically results in a loss of control and forces compromise.

It is the general understanding that the motivation for collaboration originates from the P.A.C.A., which does not seem to have developed beyond a series of general discussions regarding the desirability of collaborations.

Lottery funding within public sites has enforced the strong economic interests of the Public Art initiative and its motivation to promote architectural collaboration. It seems that various issues such as using emotions as building materials in architecture, interactivity and flexibility within architecture could benefit from a process of investigation involving a broader collaborative base. The following section examines fundamental issues and individual attitudes regarding collaborations and primary connections between art and architecture.

Vidler identified evidence of artists using an architectural scale within spatial installations, also highlighted within chapter 2. Vidler believes that these overlapping spatial ideas are providing critical analysis towards architectural assumptions regarding the nature of space.

Zaha Hadid states that she is an architect who likes to paint and to explore space with other mediums and people. Hadid suggests that

Writer Mel Gooding believes that art is connected with sensation and celebration, which is capable of positively affecting people's lives. In comparison, architecture is concerned with making spaces; Gooding believes it is at that point where art and architecture connect. According to Gooding the creativity within painting is concerned with exposing new ideas, which has the capability to be highly influential to other disciplines.

Paul Finch, editor for the Architects Journal, suggests that architecture desires an artistic relationship with art in order to artistically enhance the experience and appearance of buildings, which until recently buildings did not need. According to Flinch, architects should be considered as artists but he does not believe this to be the general thought. ZAHA HADID.

Sculptor William Pye disagrees with McLean's response, believing the collaborative process to be a method of intermeshing between the roles within disciplines; he considers individual collaborators to be both artists and architects. Spatial concerns and the idea of human interaction seem to be shared interests between disciplines. These ideas are approached differently depending on architectural or artistic thought. These differences are seen to have a positive influence on individual thought and the shared thought process is considered to generally emphasise positive spatial outcomes. However, there seems to be a deeper sense of connection between the artist and architect, achieved through drawing. These thoughts are examined within the following chapter, which also investigates creative explorations between the artist and architect. These investigations are able to demonstrate how drawing and painting can positively integrate into architectural thought and design process.