September 25 - November 22, 2009
Curated by Terri C. Smith
Westport Arts Center, Westport, CT

Aggregate: Art and Architecture -- a Brutalist Remix is a contemporary art exhibition designed to encourage fresh conversations about the impact of Brutalist architecture on society. It is inspired by the twentieth-century architectural movement of Brutalism, including concrete architecture in the shoreline region of Connecticut. The show features sculptures, videos, photography, prints, and documents that reflect, evaluate, and expand upon Brutalism’s monumental forms, social goals, materials, and mixed receptions. The exhibition explores aspects of Brutalism by including artists who remix these qualities in ways that complicate or comment on them. Brutalist architects aspired, in part, to create buildings that conveyed the visual immediacy of sculpture and were often designed to surprise, uplift, and challenge their users. Aggregate, through a combination of artworks and documents, asks visitors to look at the nuances of this, sometimes polarizing, twentieth-century architectural style.

Aggregate makes a metaphor of concrete, “a collection of items that are gathered together to form a total quantity” and the sand, gravel and crushed stone that is added to the chemical mix and water when making concrete. In this specific mix of artworks and architecture, individual works maintain their unique character and intentions. Some artists make literal use of concrete and the metaphorical meanings it possesses. Others touch on these Brutalist ideas through subject matter, narrative, political re-contextualization, or allegory.

The exhibition includes works from Alterazioni Video’s Incompiuto Siciliano project; a site-specific outdoor sculpture by David Brooks; selections from Nancy Davenport’s photographic series titled Campus; Cyprien Gaillard’s video, The Smithsons ; Andreas Kornfeld’s Polaroid photographs of key Brutalist buildings in the region; drawings and a sculpture by Fawn Krieger; Chris Mottalini's photographs from his series after you left, they took it apart; concrete sculptures by Jo Nigoghossian; Martha Rosler’s video How Do We Know What Home Looks Like?; and Heather Rowe’s sculpture Through the Glass. Contributions from renowned architect John Johansen are also on view, including slides of architectural projects, an abstract expressionist painting by the architect made in 1960, and a model of his unrealized "Auto Body" building. Related documents pertaining to local events that touch on Brutalism's inevitable conflicts with idyllic suburban landscapes are also on view.

Note: Invitation and gallery handout design by Maura Frana.