Guggenheim Museum Opens Intervals. Nicola Lopez

The Guggenheim Museum presents Brooklyn-based artist Nicola López with a site-specific sculptural collage environment in the rotunda, titled Landscape X: Under Construction, on view October 11–25, 2011. Conceived to reflect the spirit of today’s most innovative practices, Intervals invites a diverse range of artists to create new work for the interstitial spaces of the museum, in individual galleries, or beyond the physical confines of the building. This exhibition marks López’s first solo institutional presentation in New York. Intervals: Nicola López is organized by Helen Hsu, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition is part of Intervals, an ongoing series. The Intervals Leadership Committee is gratefully acknowledged.

Nicola López (b. 1975, Santa Fe, New Mexico) creates sculptural forms and environmental installations with woodblock-printed elements, often constructed out of Mylar. For her Intervals project, she engages the Tyvek scrim that temporarily encloses and conceals the atrium of the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Guggenheim Museum. The site-specific intervention of Landscape X plays with the conditions of anticipation and imminence by appropriating the visual vocabulary of construction sites. Orange danger barriers, chain-link fencing, and barbed wire are translated via woodblocks that have been carved with irregularities and distortions and printed on pliable materials. The cacophony of forms, including other citations of urban infrastructure, not only signals the hidden activity, but also presents flux and process as phases to contemplate.

The devices of containment, separation, and definition are repurposed to alter our spatial experience. Landscape X encourages trespassing, or straying into the wrong lane, providing a visual field that leads the eye from wall to ceiling to floor. Simulated road markings, contorted in response to the architecture, defy organization. Combining printed elements with light industrial materials, López composes images inspired by the abstracted aerial view of cityscapes, capturing the quasi-scientific element of urban planning frequently described by the physiological metaphor of veins and arteries. López utilizes extension cords, lights, and tape to draw and sculpt. Negative spaces cut from printed Mylar “fencing,” retaining halos of pigment, punctuate the transition between two levels. Another section traces every edge of the existing architecture with blue painter’s tape, paying homage while exploring the building’s idiosyncrasies and overlooked details.

Landscape X invites the viewer to embark on a journey. Whether the route is ascending, descending, or takes a more haphazard course, all signs encourage the consideration of place and space, the movement of one’s body through the site, and the ways in which our surroundings are organized. López has created a situation where the exterior floods the interior, the grid invades the spiral, and distortion trumps order.

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. Currently the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation owns and operates the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, and provides programming and management for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin is the result of a collaboration, begun in 1997, between the Guggenheim Foundation and Deutsche Bank. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a museum of modern and contemporary art designed by Frank Gehry on Saadiyat Island, adjacent to the main island of Abu Dhabi city, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is currently in progress. More information about the foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.

Image: Nicola López, Closed System 11, 2011 (detail). Woodcut on mylar, wire mesh, chains, lights, cords, and zip-ties, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy Nicola López.

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