Remember that space-station-esque addition to the CFA courtyard? Well, put an end to your puzzlement tomorrow and head over to the opening reception for the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery’s latest show, Paul Villinski: Emergency Response Studio (ERS for short). The show consists of a refurbished FEMA-type trailer and a host of other materials on view in Zilkha (including books, a video interview, a mock-up of the original layout of the trailer, and a model of the new design). The trailer features a myriad of green technologies, like recycled denim insulation and a wind turbine to name a couple. Eco-minded folk and aesthetes alike will enjoy what they find (like the Eames chairs inside the trailer..okay, maybe that was just me and my designsponge obsession).
But anyway, as a CFA intern (which you could be, too!) I got a chance to hang around while they were setting up , and it really seems like a cool project. The whole thing got started after the artist’s visit to New Orleans in 2006. Post-Katrina conditions inspired him to undertake the project, which is an artist’s studio designed to allow artists to set up camp in post-disaster areas. Villinski’s idea is that the visual arts have the capacity to “aid in the understanding and transformation of such settings” (quote from the website).
What I like is that every little aspect of the renovation was carefully thought out, but not in such a way that the artist didn’t learn anything while making it. Actually, when I asked him if he knew much about the technologies, he said that he knew a little, but mostly learned a ton as he went. The piece is also a pretty positive take on dealing with both the challenges of today (as in, super toxic trailers that off-gas formaldehyde) and tomorrow (climate change and the like), emphasizing the creativity aspect instead of the gloom-and-doom-we’re-all-screwed angle. Plus, it’s just plain sweet (especially the dome).
I could go on, but I’ll spare you my internal monologue and just say check out the opening. It starts at 5:00, with the artist giving a talk at 5:30 (so you can hear the details straight from him). Also, remember: gallery opening=food. Just saying.